One of the most difficult relationships of my life was a friends with benefits situation. For all the awesomeness it brought to my life, the pain and sorrow it caused, continued to outweigh the good stuff every time. It was dramatic and messy, complicated and argumentative, and toward the end it was just cruel and depressing; we were no longer on the same page and we both knew it: I was in love with him and he didn’t love me back. When all was said and done, I was destroyed, and it took far longer to recover from that relationship than any other legitimate relationship where the love was mutual, that I ever had. I’m still a long way off from being the person I was before that whole debacle.
The only thing that came out of my friends with benefits situation was the realization that such relationships are nearly impossible to keep alive and there is no flash mob dancing to “Closing Time,” at the end of it all, with Justin Timberlake being the one who takes you home. And if there’s anything I can impart upon those in friends with benefits relationships, it’s that you should walk away now, because you are not Mila Kunis. You just aren’t.
A recent study about friends with benefits or as they call them in the scientific world, FWBR, has proved that — wait for it — FWBR are bad, bad, bad. How bad? So bad that it took Kendra Knight, a communications professor of DePaul University, into the dark, seedy world of 25 college friends with benefits relationships in the hopes of finally figuring out what the problem is with these things, and how, if at all, we can sort of beat the messy demise to the punch. Her study was, well, a vicious circle.
According to Knight, when it comes to FWBR, both parties agree that communication about boundaries is key, but despite this acknowledgement, neither party ever makes a move to open the communication lines. For the FWBR crowd, such an open line of communication sort of defeats the purpose of the “all play, no work, NSA” relationship and could also result in one of the players being dubbed “crazy,” because OMG, what kind of psycho gets emotionally attached when all that banging is going on? I mean, are you human or what? No? Maybe a replicant, perhaps?
Another reason FWBR people steer away from talking about things is because they don’t want to reveal too much or set up the possibility of being deemed not just “crazy,” but jealous, which, of course, would lead to their F-buddy completely shutting off or finding someone else who might be less, well, you know, crazy.
Takeaway? Friends with benefits relationships can’t work without communication, and no one is willing to make that communication part of the equation, so FWBR are doomed, doomed, doomed. Not that this is going to stop anyone who’s mid-FWBR from going forward with their dastardly deeds, or cease all the hundreds of thousands of FWBR that are just another beer pong game away. But to Knight’s credit, I think it’s great that she brought all of this to light and gave us something over which to ponder, even if none of us will be taking it seriously into consideration, because, you know, why ruin what you think is a good thing by admitting it’s the worst?