How do you turn a friends-with-benefits relationship into something more? The short answer is very carefully.
Taking the leap from bed buddy to boy/girlfriend can be tricky, since it requires that both parties be willing to trade in no-strings-attached sex for a committed relationship. If the feelings are lopsided in any way, that can spell the end of the relationship altogether—not to mention heartbreak for the person whose affection has gone unrequited.
What Is a Friend With Benefits?
A friend with benefits is someone with whom you enjoy a primarily physical relationship with no strings attached. You enjoy each other's company, but don't have a romantic or committed relationship.
But it's not unheard of by any means. According to Match.com's Singles in America site, out of the 55% of singles who have had a friends-with-benefits relationship, 45% said it evolved into a full-fledged relationship.
If you're confident that your hookup can be something more, here are four key steps that can help you take your connection to the next level.
Look for Signs
Tune into your friend’s cues and clues that they may want something more, too. Does this person include you in other aspects of his or her life beside hooking up? Do you meet for dinner, enjoy date-like activities, or even visit their family together?
If this person chooses to include you in other aspects of their life that provide emotional satisfaction rather than purely physical gratification, this is a clear-cut sign that they may want something more.
"When you notice that the person you're talking to invests considerable time to ask meaningful questions, it means that they want to know more about you. It's the chance for both of you to get to know each other in a non-obligatory way," according to forensic sexologist, chief of sexology, and director of clinical research programs at Felnett Health Research Foundation Damian J. Sendler. "Plus, things like asking how your day is going is another sign that you're heading into a more serious direction."
Create More Opportunities to Be Together
If you suggest G-rated situations for you to hang out, you can see firsthand if this other person is interested in upgrading your current status. For example, if your friend accepts your invitation to grab lunch during the workweek, then it's within the realm of possibility that they enjoy your company beyond the bedroom. However, if the reaction you get is that of confusion or aversion, this is likely an indication that they aren't really interested in making any changes.
Set an End Date
If your feelings for this person continue to strengthen while their feelings continue to waffle, it may be difficult and unhealthy for you to indefinitely put yourself in a position where your needs aren’t being met. And as much as friends with benefits relationships can work, they’re only successful if both members are on the same page in terms of their feelings for one another. Remember, you owe it to yourself as well as your friend to decide how much longer you can remain in limbo as friends with benefits.
Honesty is the Best Policy
It can be scary to make yourself vulnerable, but once you reveal your true feelings, you’ll be able to finally get your answer about your friend's thoughts and intentions for the future. Knowledge is power, and when the cards are all out on the table, you’ll either be able to cash in on a committed relationship or start taking steps to move and find the relationship you want and deserve.