The Disadvantages of Friends with Benefits

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friends with benefits

In today’s convenience-obsessed world, people are fast becoming enamored with the concept of instant gratification. Things like fast food, on-demand videos, and instant messaging have trained people to expect everything to come easy. The same thing goes with relationships. More and more people are now buying into the prospect of a “no strings attached” type of arrangement. “Friends with benefits” is a popular euphemism to describe such a relationship, made popular by an Alanis Morisette song back in the 90′s.

According to many proponents of the concept, having friends with benefits allows one to enjoy the highs of being in a romantic relationship without having to deal with all the drama, the fuss and the hassle that comes with it. For a lot of people, it is a convenient situation which allows them to experience the joys of occasional companionship, free sex and physical intimacy without having to “be involved” with the other person. This holds especially true within a cross cultural relationship, where sometimes adjusting to each other’s differences could take a significant amount of time and effort for both parties.

But like many conveniences brought to us by modern living, everything comes at a steep price, which may not be readily apparent in the beginning. This is a dangerous situation to be in, particularly for those who are wondering, “How do I find true love?”

Believe me, it is not through having these so-called “friends with benefits”. Here are the top 5 reasons why:

1. Friends with benefits do not last.

A relationship built on a shallow foundation is doomed to end because of shallow reasons. Once everything ends, guess what? Both parties are back to square one! Surely, this type of arrangement is counter-productive and frankly, is a waste of time. After the initial thrill is gone, it leaves both partners feeling used and empty in the end. Not really healthy for one’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth, is it? For people in a cross cultural relationship, even doubly so because options are more limited and time is extremely valuable. Don’t waste it on a dead-end relationship or you’ll find yourself single after 40!

2. Friends with benefits are a poor substitute for the real thing.

You know what they say about junk food: it tastes great at first but ultimately, it’s not filling and it’s definitely not good for you. Friends with benefits are like junk food for the soul: it’s convenient and may feel good at first but ultimately carries no “nutrition” for the soul whatsoever. Also, just like when eating junk food, being in a friends with benefits type of relationship is usually a sign of a need or “hunger” that is being satisfied through less than ideal means. More often than not, this hunger is a gnawing sense of loneliness and emptiness in one’s life. The false sense of security that is provided by a friends with benefits relationship only becomes a temporary solution (I dare say it can only be a distraction and a diversion, to be perfectly honest.) which fails to address the real root cause of these feelings of loneliness. Consequently, since the hunger has been prematurely satisfied, the root cause remains buried, only to resurface once more when the relationship has run its course. And just like junk food, this type of situation only leaves a person more “hungry” afterwards, leading that person to seek yet another pointless friends with benefits relationship and further perpetuating the unhealthy cycle.

3. Friends with benefits rob you of the opportunity to grow and develop as a person.

Following the train of thought discussed in item #2, because the soul receives no “nutrition” whatsoever, friends with benefits relationships actually deny a person from ever answering the question, “How do I find true love?” It may even be harmful for one’s prospects of finding a soulmate because you end up cheating yourself from maturing as an individual and skipping out on many learning opportunities which can allow you to learn and grow as a person. Only within a genuine relationship can important concepts such as responsibility, the art of compromise and adaptation (very important in a cross cultural relationship) ever be learned. The emotional involvement required by a genuine relationship – with its joy and pain, its triumph and anguish – is like a fire that can forge a person into becoming the absolute best that they can be. By missing out on these opportunities, having a friends with benefits relationship can actually be harmful for your personal growth and keep you single after 40!

4. Health issues.

More often than not, people looking for a “friends with benefits” type of relationship have “been around the block,” if you know what I mean. Given the casual nature of these encounters, there is no guarantee that you would be able to know the full romantic history of a prospective partner. To use an analogy, would you eat something without knowing what it’s made from or where it’s been? It’s the same thing with romantic partners. Going for casual flings is like playing Russian Roulette: you’re taking a shot in the dark with your health with what amounts basically to a total stranger. With the growing reality of HIV and AIDS looming in today’s society, would the cheap thrill really be worth all the risk?

5. True love takes time.

This statement right here should address the ultimate question, “How do I find true love?” As the classic song goes, “You can’t hurry love, no you’ll just have to wait. Love don’t come easy, it’s a game of give and take.” A lot of points made in those two lines of lyrics still ring true to this very day. A real relationship should be like fine wine, getting better with age. Only through a genuine sharing of each other’s deepest thoughts, feelings and dreams can true love take seed, and the bonds of trust and respect be established – things that a FWB relationship cannot provide. And yes, this rings doubly true for a cross cultural relationship where both parties need to know each other well enough first. Even all the trials and tribulations, the hurt and sorrow serve a purpose because it is when a couple overcomes these together that a relationship builds a strong foundation. After all, finding a soulmate involves taking risks which sometimes means getting hurt and getting back up on one’s feet. These are things that people who go for a friends with benefits relationship try to avoid. But isn’t it true that a relationship can be more appreciated when it is worked for, and not an easy quick-fix arrangement only?

Given the above reasons, it comes as no surprise that many of these people with “friends with benefits” still find themselves single after 40! Finding a soulmate has absolutely no shortcut or quick fix. One must be mature enough, and responsible enough to handle the ups and downs of a genuine loving relationship in order to reap its rewards. In today’s convenience-obsessed world, the old-fashioned way is still the best way, particularly when it comes to matters of the heart.

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