Julia works in a psychiatric ward. Besides her full-time job, she has 30 employees who, according to her design, create dresses from India. At 30, she wants to start her own business. She has been friends with Mark (name changed) for eight years and has sex with him occasionally. The relationship is called friendship with benefits.
On the one hand, the times when someone could “officially” have only 2-3 statuses in society (unmarried, married and divorced) are long gone. Even though the forms of partnership existed mostly unspoken, they often remained “hidden”. Today we talk more openly about the various forms of relationships: One-night stands, friendship plus, affairs, sugar daddies-sugar babes’ relationships or pure sex relationships.
On the other hand, women are increasingly taking their lives into their own hands: they often prefer to study first and want to realise their dreams (e.g., career). According to the OECD study, fresh mums and dads are getting older (around and over 30) – and the trend is rising.
What does Friendship Plus mean?
Definitely more than just being friends. Pure friendships exclude sexual activity. Friendship Plus stands between two types of relationships: friendship and relationship. Commitment and bonding are higher than in a one-night stand, where two strangers meet without having any feelings for each other, and deeper than in a relationship, where commitments play a big role.
The icing on the cake could be called the sex here, which at best sweetens the friendship – or spoils it. But what does it depend on whether Friendship Plus remains a cream cake or turns into a bitter apple?
What are the rules?
Friendships develop over time and can deepen: it represents a kind of attachment, but without any obligations towards the other. In this sense, the focus is not on my partner, but on me: to remain free of any emotional “burden” in order to realise my goals and to be able to continue living my life without any “disturbances”, without surrendering myself. Often one has no time or energy to build a relationship: The world “spins faster”, career or other priorities determine our lives – or we are so hurt on an emotional level that we shield ourselves from a relationship. The boundaries, as in any other relationship, need to be defined.
To “avoid” a deep, emotional connection, one should avoid the intimate moments, such as pillow talk, “emotional” messages, not holding hands or organising romantic meals. Jealousy is out of place, as well as “controlling” the other person. If the needs are clearly stated again and again, there is a chance that they will both feel comfortable in Friendship Plus. However, it is quite possible that one or the other, over time, will want more or less. Talking about it in time prevents injuries and disappointments (more on this in my blog: How do men and women communicate?).
How do I find Friendship Plus?
If you have someone in mind from your circle of friends, just ask. Take him/her out: dancing, eating or having a drink. Make your sexual interest clear and say what you would like and ask how he/she feels about it. Don’t be shy about your needs and don’t feel guilty about it. Sex always comes first in this type of relationship. Explain how it feels to be in a relationship without commitments. Maybe the other person will reject you, but we have to put up with that. It is better to risk a clear rejection than to keep sending ambiguous signals and possibly ruin the friendship. Maybe the other person is criticising you, but it’s quite possible that she’s doing it because she’s had bad sexual experiences or relationships. In all cases, listen carefully and uncover.
Don’t be ashamed of the fact that you are also interested in sex while hearing the words “you’re always thinking about sex!”: explain to her that you have found her very sexy for a long time and want to go in that direction. Just say that you are not only interested in sex and that your life includes many other facets. Having sex does not mean that the friendship ends.
And last but not least: Never ask someone you’ve known for a short time. Friends know each other well and know who I am.
Wish you lots of courage and strength to do this 😊