Friends with benefits (FWB) sounds like a simple “no strings attached” agreement. You can talk openly, laugh, hang out and have s*x without the drama that comes with being in a relationship. You both know what you got yourselves into, knowing that it may not last forever.
It is never as easy as it sounds because things often lead towards complications. In this situation, feelings are likely to erupt and, when these feelings come from only one person, it becomes much more complicated than you ever signed for.
Hopefully, these tips will help you know how to end a friends with benefits situation and remain friends. It may not be easy, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as you think.
1. Appreciate them
Make sure they know you appreciate them as a friend and care about your friendship, but you think the benefits have run their course. It was fun while it lasted, but it is time to move on.
2. Ask if they are upset
After all, they are your friend. Talk to them and ask if they saw it coming. Try to communicate as effectively as you can. Let them know why you want to end things and make sure they know you are still there for them as a friend.
3. Prepare them
They are a friend of yours and may be following you on social media and seeing you around. If you are entering into a relationship or the dating scene, let them know ahead about it. Let them not be taken off guard when they see you making out with someone, even if they didn’t develop feelings for you.
4. Take a break
If they did develop feelings, or you did and want to get out before the feelings get more intense, take a break and get some space before going back to being just friends. Let them know that you think things are getting more complicated than you planned. Just make sure you are on the same page about maintaining your friendship.
5. Don’t avoid them
Developing a friends with benefits situation with someone meant that you both agreed to be honest. If you plan on being friends after ending the benefits, ghosting is not an option. Refusing to answer them afterwards and leaving them high and dry is both rude, disrespectful and cowardly. No good friend should act like that. Just let them know how you’re feeling. They will understand if they are a good friend.
6. Let them grieve
Since this is sort of a breakup, give them time to be upset. As I said, it is a sort of break up. This news might be shocking and upsetting to them, so give them a chance to come to terms. You can reach out to hang out but give them the space they need. Eventually, they will understand and your friendship should survive.
7. Stick to your decision
If you are ending your friends with benefits situation to start dating again, but then have a bad date, don’t expect them to wait around with open arms. Picking up a friends with benefits relationship after ending it is confusing and will make your friendship even more complicated.
8. Talk to someone
If a trusted mutual friend knows about your friends with benefits situation, talk to them. Ask for suggestions or if your friend is also thinking about ending things. It’s good to prepare yourself with information but do it respectfully. Also be careful not to share anything too private.
9. Do normal things
Ending your friends with benefits relationship doesn’t have to feel like a break-up. Keep hanging out with your friend and doing things you did together and things can drift back to normal. If you have a strong foundation, with truth and routine, you can swing back really quickly.
10. Don’t push it
As much as you may want to stay friends, not all FWBs can survive as friends without the added benefits, whether it was due to feelings, betrayal or lies. If this is the case, let it be. It will be if you are meant to stay friends. But do not drag their name in the mud because they couldn’t get past it or vent to people. Entering into an FWB situation is a risk you took.