Breaking up is one of the most awkward and painful things people go through. But breaking up with a friend with benefits is just plain awkward.
Once you start a friends with benefits relationship, you know that you can get out of it anytime. The problem is that there is no easy way to get out of it, unless you have a guilt-free, circumstantial reason. Most people would say that you don’t need to break up with your FWB. Unfortunately, that can end badly for so many reasons.
Why breaking up with an FWB sucks
Any type of breakup isn’t ideal. But there’s just something about the friends with benefits breakup that makes everything so much more awkward.
#1 They might like you as more than a “friend.” This is one of the biggest problems in engaging in a friends with benefits arrangement. Sooner or later, one of you will become attached. This can happen if neither of you are seeing anyone else, or if one of you has an underlying emotional or personality problem.
#2 You could be co-workers. This can get awkward, because your whole dynamic at work can get really screwed up. Both your decisions could be affected by your relationship, and it might even do irreparable damage to your workflow.
#3 You work in the same industry. Aside from working in the same company, working in the same industry also poses a problem. It’s hard to look professional to your peers when someone starts mouthing off about the fact that you slept with someone and ended it badly.
#4 You might end up making the same sets of friends in the future. Depending on your views on the situation, this could either be a bad thing or a non-issue. You might have wanted to keep things private, but that offer gets taken off the table when you end your FWB relationship in a bad way.
#5 They could react negatively to it. You never know what can upset any one person. If your FWB feels wronged, they could act out in so many different ways. They might get hurt and lash out at you verbally or even physically. You have every right to step away from a situation you don’t like, but there are instances when the consequences make it hard for you to do so.
How to break things off
When you feel like breaking off an FWB relationship for any reason at all, don’t be afraid to do it. It is much easier in theory, because the agreement in itself has no strings attached. Still, it’s best to do it in a proper way, rather than be an asshole about it.
#1 Try not to have sex before you break it off. Some couples can’t help themselves in these kinds of situations. Either you pity that person or you want to have one last good bout of no strings attached sex. Whatever the reason, avoid doing it because all that sex can mess up your rational thinking.
#2 Do it through text. But don’t do it using e-mail. That’s just tacky. Since being FWB is not a big deal, I doubt there would be any issues with breaking up through text. Or at least a phone call.
#3 If that doesn’t work, do it in a public setting. If your partner tries to avoid the subject, ask them out in a neutral, but public, setting. You can do it in a bar, perhaps, or a supermarket. Just not anywhere romantic. This way, you can do it without causing a scene or having sex… Again.
#4 Give an honest reason, if possible. If you want to end things in a civilized manner, be open and honest about your reasons. It’s better to give a sincere reason than a lie that can be called out in the future. It will also give them closure, so that they can move on to their next relationship, FWB or otherwise.
#5 If all else fails, tell them this reason: “My ex is back in the picture. We’re trying to make it work.” Seriously. This is the most effective excuse in the book!
How to do damage control
If the methods above don’t work, and you’re still left with a marginally clingy FWB, you can opt to take the high road and just leave things as is. No one can force you or guilt trip you into a relationship that you don’t want. The best thing you can do is to just be nice about it.
#1 Be magnanimous about it. Don’t be a bitch or a dickhead about it. Be as nice as possible. Use a soothing tone, and don’t make it seem like it’s your partner’s fault. This is where euphemisms and compliments can come in handy.
#2 Be self-deprecating. Even if it’s not your fault, it is still your decision. Take responsibility for this loss of a booty call, and make sure that you look like you feel bad about it.
#3 Offer your sincere friendship. If you can handle the pressure of being friends with a former FWB, then go for it. It’ll make the transition easier, because they won’t feel like they’re being left out to dry. If you don’t want to, I suggest ending it all immediately – Band-aid method!
#4 Never go out alone with them ever again. If they agree to the friendship thing, do everything in your power to keep it that way. Only invite them over when there are other people around. That way, you can be held accountable by your friends and their judgmental looks.
How not to relapse to your old FWB routine
Even when you successfully break up with your FWB, there is still a possibility that you and your partner will go back to your old ways. It might be due to nostalgia or an unbearable dry streak, but think about why you broke it off. Is it really worth starting again and going through the same awkward breakup?
#1 Just say no. There might be times when you feel guilty or horny, but try to control yourself. You ended things for a reason. Feeling bad about it is not a good excuse to start things up again.
#2 Call a friend. And listen to them. Make sure that they are the kind of friend who won’t let you do anything stupid. It’s also preferable if they have the guts to call you on your bullshit in a loud and obnoxious manner. Shame always works.
#3 Find someone else to focus on. If you feel like you can’t say no and find yourself in the arms of your ex-lover, find someone new to pull your attention away. Go on a friendly date with someone you like, or find someone to talk to online. Any type of distraction – aside from sex, that is – is an effective way to keep yourself in check.
Some of the longest and deepest relationships don’t last. What makes you think that being friends with benefits is any different? It’s physically fulfilling, but it’s shallow. It’s not something that you’re supposed to miss.
Being friends with benefits is a means to an end – that end being an orgasm. You can get that anytime, but there are more important things that you might want to focus on. With that said, keep the tips above in mind when you finally decide to call it off for good!