Interesting question was raised during a conversation this week and it got me thinking. Dating and Friends with benefit (FWB) are similar and also not at the same time. Both could be considering the same with the major exception that Dating is more of a commitment. It could have different degrees of that, compared to FWB where there really is a no strings attached (NSA) belief.
The first thing is to get a definition of both and the see how they compare. Ironically I would think that this is going to be easy to find. Actually it was a bit harder to do for on than the other. So lets begin with dating which after some quick research I come up with this: to do an activity with someone you have might have a romantic relationship. This was a bit to vague from the dictionary so I did more searching and found this which seems to be a bit more accurate: A form of romantic courtship typically between two individuals with the aim of assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or as a spouse. The result of dating may at any time lead to friendship, any level of intimate relationship, marriage, or no relation. So common theme is that dating is between two people who could or could not have romantic relationship.
The FWB definition is: a friend with whom one has occasional sexual relations, without a commitment or dating arrangement. This is probably the best description that I have seen. It is states that occasional sexual relations with NSA. The key to this is that there is no commitment, just friends that enjoy each others company that may have sex. Nothing complicated. Normally if feelings start to become apparent the relationship is broken off. Either way it is way to have sex with nothing more than that. I guess the slang to this would be fuck buddy which is a person with whom another person has a relationship based on casual sex only. The principle is the same, no strings and just sex. Can be stopped at any time for any reason with no feelings involved.
Primarily the difference is regard to the end goal where one is looking for commitment or long-term relationship and the other is for pleasure and nothing more. Both can have pleasure and fun, but dating is focused on the couple and potentially if there is something more for long-term. Granted you can date and have sex and then break up, but most times that involves drama and usually complications. FWB go in knowing that there is no commitment. Straight forward that sex is on the table and that there is nothing expected beyond that. So benefits of FWB is no drama, or less likely compared to the breakup when dating and the complications that it entails from it.
Don’t get me wrong both have some major excitement. The relationship energy from dating is usually a high and carries on for a period of time. It is a drug, and you can’t get enough of it being around them all the time. This usually wears off and when it does it can make the blinders that could have been on come off. I have dated numerous times when younger and it is exhilarating. Even the few times that we have met new couples it is the same feeling. This energy can be a great catalyst but it also can cause problems if you are not aware. Things that you might have picked up early could be ignored because of the excitement which means things might not workout once the energy settles down.
FWB can have this same type of energy to a degree, although the FRIENDS FIRST is usually why it is not at the same level. Most times the BENEFITS are not seen right away, or come up due to convenience. And I refer to the sexual relations and not the convenience of where and when. NSA sex is great since it gives the freedom of both partners getting the benefit without any complications. Of course it really depends on the people involved but from my experience, and the clear understanding of NSA, it works very well. The few relationships that I have like this that have ended have not been complicated and with some we are still good friends. Again timing, distance, and other factors can change the relationship to where it can not be the same. This can apply to dating as well but most cases those involved that way will try to make it work depending on what is happening. With NSA there is no expectations or commitment. Simple and elegant.
The other question that has been asked as well is the FWB and how you don’t get feelings. Well for me I always have feelings. I care for all my women that I am involved with. The difference for me is that I already have my wife, my primary if we want to classify, and she will always come first. The other girls I am involved with I have feelings of different levels but I do care for all of them. Even the ones that are just friends (so far). That is in my nature and will never change. With FWB I fully understand that it is an arrangement of convenience. Doesn’t mean I don’t get a little hurt when sex is off the table, but doesn’t mean I go all drama queen either. Sex is just that, sex. Fun. We both get off, well the woman way more than me 99% of the time, and I have no regrets or complaints.
I won’t get into the polyamory my in this article since it is something that will take a whole lot more to explain and go through. I do have a poly wife along with another woman who I would classify as poly. Again something that will take a whole lot more time to explain so that will be another blog post to go over it again.
I really hope this helps qualify the differences, at least from my point of view. There is a fine line between both but the primary difference is the no strings attached (NSA) for friends with benefits (FWB). This allows the freedom of no commitment between the couple and with this ensures that they can have a healthy sex life with limited concerns of the relationship. For those that want this type of relationship it is the one that has the minimum of risks.