By, Tharanie Rajendran
There has been many cinematic approach towards the idea of Friends with Benefits (FwB). My first encounter was the version starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis and I simply brushed it off labeling it the “American Way of Living” and when Mani Ratnam painted a way more artistic picture of FwB with OK Kanmani, I was like, “Wow, that’s brave for catering that to the Indian market” thinking that it doesn’t happen here, around me. 4 years later, having moved to a bustling city and experiencing life in the most rawest way possible, I was like “Huh, it DOES happen”.
Reality kicks in, whether you like it or not. And not every FwB story ends like how Will Gluck or Mani Ratnam portrayed it to be. Flash news, life is not a rom-com! And to all you people that are heading towards the idea of FwB in hopes that it will play out liked one of those rom-coms, take a seat. Let’s discuss this.
To those who are following Sukesh on IG (IG Handle: Boggler Blogger), he stirred this conversation and basically made me write this as we have strong opposing views on this matter. Although so many views poured his way, I’m so glad most perception on FwB are on my side (YAY! Tharanie 1- Sukesh 0).
Ok let me play out the cards here without prejudice. The best way FwB was put in the screen, at least for me, it was through How I Met Your Mother, Season 4, Episode 12- Benefits. Of course it takes, a different turn but the moral of the episode as storied by Ted Mosby, is that, “this could ruin your friendship” "and someone always winds up getting hurt”.
Because, let’s face it, we all know someone, could be your friend or your friend’s friend who tried this FwB and grew feelings and the other party possibly ended this occasional “meet up” and you’re forced to listen to the saga of badmouthing from the top to bottom, during your every thanni trip to Bangsar (been there, heard that).
There was an amazing argument about an anonymous IG follower who said:
“People get into FwB to avoid insecurities of their own, like the fear of commitment, lack of trust and the fear of losing the their loved one. So over a long period of time, the insecurities will only get worse resulting in switching partners and increased doubts and insecurities. Similar to any other addictive behaviour, this also revolved around denial and not facing one’s fears”.
Another contradicting view also came my way through the IG reply was when another anonymous person replied saying:
“FwB is a bold act. You are ready to feed your needs and capable enough to ignore your basic human feelings and perceptions of others. It is not just sex, that would be prostitution, but with FwB you need a connection, just that this agreement is pre-decided for a short term and nothing is to sustain. Of course the idea of changing sexual partners regularly comes with many risks, like STDs and whatever not. It’s risky too, with betrayals and heartbreaks.”
There was another two more opinion which I found it to be very well said as as the follows:
"It should happen without consideration. Don't think much. If the soul needs it, yes it is."
"No to FwB because I'm someone who respects any bond. And a bond, whatever it may be, has to be something that puts a smile on my face when I think about it someday. If one is befriending someone for benefits, he/she isn't a friend in the first place. I'm one who treasures my people, I don't wanna benefit out of them, If anything, all I want to give and receive is love, with due respect."
This 4 opinions were the real standout of me among the numerous responds that was received. which then brings me to the following questions that I have:
1.What leads to FwB? Is it his or her body type that find it “tap-able” or you like the person, as a person but you are not ready for anything serious. Because, the second category is the most I heard about.
2.Sex alone is actually the benefit? Or is it the in-between moments where it feels like you’re in a relationship is the actual benefit? Because it feels like it’s the beautiful "butterfly-in-your-stomach" period when the start of a relationship, but it is not. You are also free to do whatever you want after your time together. That’s the arrangement, right?
3.Where do you draw a line with finding a connection for a FwB partner and getting in a relationship because you see a potential “the one” in them? Because not every love story ends up as love-at-first-sight because it is love is just as complicated.
My question number 3 was also then answered by another anonymous person:
“I started my ‘date’ with my husband via a FwB relationship”
And so that is the proof of rom-com can actually happen. But that’s not always the case, is it? There also comes another questions for those who went from FwB to marriage. Is marriage the goal and does it actually promises a happily ever after? Or was it a decision made because there’s a pressure for “marriage” by the elders at home and you have a certain attachment with this person that you are casually seeing and decide to work it from there? That isn’t love, is it?
FwB, as per many of those who replied thought that it revolves purely around sexual desires and not a genuine intention. When some see it as a way to “release some steam” others see it as an opportunity to eventually build this into something more solid and long lasting. The cups are in front of you, and the choice will forever be yours. And one thing guaranteed, no judgement from us, from Boggler Blogger!
If you have a view that is different to what is written here, we would love to here it!