So you're looking for a long-term relationship, but for now you got that "friend" you may call when you're looking for a little something something. While you know they aren't 'The One', it's better than nothing, right? You're still getting something out of it...but are you? Join us for this week's brunch talk as we talk about how this arrangement may be setting you back despite realizing it, the exceptions for when a friends with benefits may be helpful, and how to decide if yours is getting in the way or not.
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#brunchtalk: Is having a friends with benefits helpful or harmful?
00:00:01 - 00:05:06
The dateable podcast is an insider's look into modern dating that The Huffington Post calls one of the top ten podcasts about love and sex. On each episode, we'll talk to real daters about everything from sex parties to sex droughts, date fails to diaper fetishes and first moves to first loves. I'm your host UA Shu, former dating coach turned dating sociologist. You also hear from my co host and producer Julie Kraft chick as we explore this crazy dateable world. Wow, is it time for a brunch? It's always time for brunch. It's time for brunch talk. That's for sure. Always time for brunch talk where we're dishing about dating. Always. And I realized that people must listen to this at different times. So maybe it just sounds super awkward when it's like Tuesday night at 10 p.m.. Hey, anytime you could gab with your girlfriends or guy Friends. It's the best. That's the best. It could be dinner talk. It could be tea time. It could be whatever the fuck you wanted to be. Yeah. Whatever you want to call it, but we call it brunch talk. So welcome. It's a metaphor. Metaphor for dishing. Here we go. We are back again with another episode of brunch talk where we dissect your burning dating questions. We love getting these questions and it's very therapeutic for us to answer them and to answer them together. Yes. So to keep setting them in because it feels good to get them in. You can always DM us at dateable podcast, post in the love and the time of Corona, the Facebook group, but most important at least send it over at hello data podcast dot com. Those are the ones that we're always looking at. So make sure to send us an email with your burning dating questions. Yeah. So this burning question for this episode is what are your thoughts on a Friends with benefits situation? Yes, and more context that we got from the submission. I'm looking to find my person and to meet someone to have a long-term relationship with. I have been seeing this guy on and off, mostly as a hookup situation. The last ten months. I don't see a future with this person. Do you see any reason why I can't continue to see them? Is it actually helping me or am I shooting myself in the foot somehow by having this relationship in my life? Yeah. I get it. I get why this person is feeling this way because there's this notion of it's better to be with someone than to be alone. So might as well just have a warm body while you're trying to find your long-term warm body. Personally, I think this is a very individual experience. For me, that's never worked out because the friends would benefits situations have always turned to be a little bit messy. One person always wants something a little bit more at the end and it's a miscommunication or your misaligned. So I've had conversations where it's like, wait, you have feelings for me or now I have feelings for you and then where do we go from here? It gets very, very messy if you are still trying to find your person because eventually I find whoever's there can mold into your idea of your partner. I agree with the facts that it's easy to fall into. Well, this isn't causing any harm. I don't really have long-term feelings for this person. They're not getting in my way. I definitely did this approach for many, many years. We keep someone involved, even if they weren't what I wanted, or I knew that they could give me. And I think it's almost a little bit of a crutch. Yeah. It's less motivating to go on dates when you know that you can always get some. Basically. You've less motivation. And I think too, I almost feel like you need to make space for that person. Yeah. And I would say the other thing is when I was doing this and I think we see this with a lot of people too. What is it that you really want? Because a lot of times we say we want the long term relationship, but our actions dictate elsewise. So if you find yourself gravitating to Friends with benefits all the time or loosely defined situation ships or some unrequited love, something that is not a full fledged relationship. I think you need to ask yourself, what is it that I really want at this stage of life? And if it is something more casual, there's nothing wrong with that. I think what gets to be problematic though is when we say one thing and we do actions that are the opposite. Which is what people do all the time. That's what gets us in hot water. We say we want one thing and then we do the complete opposite. It's such a conflicting situation to be in. And with something like this, when you are with a Friends with benefits, you're not friends. You get over there. You're not friends. You're the buddies. Yeah, you are sleeping together, stop seeing Friends with benefits. That kind of cushions the fall a little bit to say, oh, I'm sleeping with someone that I care about. It's not. This is not a friend of yours. I'm just pulling from my past experience with all of this is that I've had times where I've had a Friends with benefit, which is not we just talked about that.
00:05:06 - 00:10:07
It's not the case. And then if my friends ask me if I'm seeing someone, I say yes, yes. I'm like, yes, I've been seeing some of this casual though. It's casual. And it's almost like you're making excuse for why this is not the thing that you actually want. And it never makes sense to say, yes, I am seeing this person because you're not, you're not friends, and you're not fucking seeing them either. Yeah, I think a lot of that because I've totally been there. I mean, some of it just depends on what is it that you really want out of relationships. I think a lot of times when I held onto these people that were not clearly not the right fit. There was this feeling that something was better than nothing. Which I think is arguably the opposite. It's actually worse than nothing because you're not fully available for something that could be what you actually want. And I wanted someone to talk to my friends about. I wanted the drama that I could have those conversations. One, not feeling left out, that I was the only one that didn't have someone, but it was almost the value of the relationship was more to bond with my friends than to have a relationship. And sometimes you just have to go through that stage. There's nothing wrong with it, but taking a step back of being like, where am I actually right now? And what is it? You decide, okay, this is where I'm at is I'm not really ready to make someone my whole life. I'm not really ready to fully integrate someone a 100%. I think you just need to own that and be okay with this. Yes. And not use it as a way to validate. I think that's what it is. To feel like you're validated in society because you have someone around, I love food, so I kind of think about this as you're trying to dine out at a Michelin star restaurant, yet you have frozen pizza at home. So they both will make you full and if you always fall back to the frozen pizza, it makes you delay the need to go to a Michelin star restaurant because you're a fault, right? I don't need to get after that. But you would prefer to be at the Michelin star restaurant. The cold pizza is never going to give you the same experience. It'll just gratify you in that moment because then you won't be hungry. Also, I feel like the more frozen pizzas you eat, the less desire the Michelin star restaurant is because you're like, this is easy. I can stay at home. Just pop it in the microwave or in the oven. I don't need to get dressed up. I don't need to go out, makes you more complacent in your journey to love. I think it distracts you also. I know there were times everyone has different opinions of this, but we've heard this from a few people to have taking a very intentional dating sabbatical, which means really not having all these fake relationships. And I'm going to call them fake relationships because I think they are. They're a relationship. I don't want to say they're not a relationship, but it's not this long-term partnership pending that's what you truly desire. And I think the more we have these going on, it gives us less time to reflect on what is it that we really want. And it also you kind of alluded to this too. It makes behavior normalized. I think for a while, I was like, oh yeah, it's totally normal that this guy will never text me, but he'll hit me up at 2 a.m. after the bars. That's not normal, but the more we engage in that, the more we feel, oh yeah, that is the bare minimum I accept from someone. We don't hold people to the standards and accountability that a full fledged integrated relationship needs to survive. It's a good point because that's when you get taken advantage of. And then you start making excuses for why you're taking advantage of. Because we're not committed because we're not in a relationship so they can treat me like shit. Again, going back to Friends with benefits, where are the flocking benefits here? It's like get a vibrator, you know? Having a hard time because the sex on someone's terms is not like you two are making plans to have sex next Saturday. It's no, it's one of you's horny and then you text the other person. That's not a benefit. That's using abuse. I think I realized, I guess I should say I didn't know this at the time, but I realized later on is that I needed someone that consistently showed up. Yeah. And felt safe with that I felt like was going to be there for me in difficult times. And I think a lot of people at the core of it that is the need of a relationship to feel like this person has your back. But if you never know the next time you're going to see someone, you never know what they're going to show up. That is basically the opposite of the core need of a relationship. It's true. I think the only benefit it's satisfying is the sex part. I guess there are no Friends with benefits out there where it's just cooked together. And that's it. That's not a situation. I feel like Friends with benefits, it's always a booty call with sex involved, but a real relationship is so much more than sex and I personally have felt this way getting out of these friends with benefit situations, devalued me even more.
00:10:07 - 00:15:04
I felt more insecure in myself and I really had to take a few months to get myself confidence back up to date the way I want to date again. Yeah. So I stumbled on Amy Chan. She's like a breakup expert. On Instagram and she actually had a really interesting perspective. She calls it the third. The third person that's lingering in a relationship. This could be an X that has it fully gone away. This could be a Friends with benefits. This could be an overbearing mother. She even pointed out. So it basically, who is this other person that's getting in the way of what you really want. And I think a lot of times we don't see it as they're getting in their way. For years, I tricked myself into being like, I can totally date with my ex in the picture. Like no problem. But it's like until I cleared that out, that's when things started to click. So I feel like people could pick up on the energy that there's someone else around. Clear out your space to make room for someone and that's a such a great way of looking at it because it's not an infinite space that you can just have all these people in your life. So you have to get clean out the trash in order to allow the good things to come in. So I like that perspective quite a bit. And I hope whoever wrote in this question can find some clarity to understand. What is it that you're looking for? And you're right, Julie, if it's just looking for some hot sex. Thank you. Go for it. Just say that. You're not dating anyone. This is not your friend. You're just getting some sex with someone. The only case I will put that's kind of pro Friends with benefits is, again, this goes back to where you are in your dating journey. I feel like in times that I've had them, maybe I wasn't as sexually confident, or I wasn't, I didn't have that intimacy at all. So it did at least teach me a little more about myself and what I wanted and gave that confidence. Again, we talked about how it can go haywire and ultimately lose that confidence, but I do want to not say that there is never a situation for our friends at benefits. So much of this is personal. Let's say you didn't have a lot of sexual experience. It's a good place to ease you in. There's many things that could be there. A lot of it depends, yeah. Where you are, who this person is, what the motives are, all that. What expectations are laid out up front? That's a big piece of it too. Yeah. Let's hold that thought for a few messages. This episode is brought to you by attitude, want deep, restful sleep without taking melatonin, trying to stop your night sweats or looking to get a little more eco friendly. You won't get these with any old cotton sheets, but you will with bamboo. Upgrade your stuffy cotton bedding in attitudes naturally breathable bedding made from their innovative clean bamboo fabric. It feels unlike anything else you've slept on, and no, they won't cost you or the earth, because right now you can get 20% off your first order by visiting attitude dot com slash dateable. These unbelievably soft clean bamboo sheets have over 15,005 star reviews, and they've been performance tested to be 51% more durable than standard sheets, 17% better at regulating temperature and 24% more moisture wicking. I have been sleeping on my attitude sheets and in addition to them feeling super soft and comfy. I'm really into the temperature regulating function. Now I no longer wake up in the middle of the night with night sweats. They're so sure you'll love sleeping with them that you can try any attitude bedding, risk free for 30 nights. If you're not completely satisfied, you can return it for a full refund. Don't forget, you can get 20% off your order plus free shipping for a limited time when you visit attitude dot com slash dateable that's ITU DE dot com slash DAT ABL E this is attitudes best offer right now so don't wait. Order today for free shipping and 20% off your order at attitude dot com slash data. Have you ever thought about how much better dating would be if you had a whole army of people supporting you along the way? We know that dating can be frustrating and lonely, but it can also feel fulfilling and fun. Have you recently decided you want to make some changes to your love life? Maybe you've recently reentered the dating scene. Maybe you've gone on one too many dates that went nowhere, or maybe you're just ready to take your current relationship to the next level. That is exactly why we created the sounding board, a true extension of our podcast that delivers a personalized experience, which includes monthly office hours where you can drop in and chat with us about anything. Weekly sound offs with guided discussions and regular virtual happy hours, allow Julie and I to become your dating sherpas to provide real-time guidance and wisdom in a more intimate way so we can all navigate dating and relationships together.
00:15:05 - 00:20:10
Join the sounding board today by going to dateable podcast dot com slash sounding board. Again, that's dateable podcast dot com slash sounding board. I think you should think about it from the other perspective of someone that would date you too. Let's say you do want a monogamous committed relationship. If you met someone that had a Friends with benefits on the side, while you were dating them, would that feel like a viable prospect to you? Probably not. I'm even just saying it out loud. I mean, I wouldn't want to be with someone that had this going on. Just because we do it, would we feel the same way if the situation was reversed? That just made me feel a little grossed out thinking about it that way. Yeah. Yeah, I don't like that at all. And I think it's unfortunate that so many people are so afraid of being alone. And that darkness being alone is more scary than being with the wrong person. Yeah. And I hope we have more discernment to know what is good for us and what is not good for us and in every fronts with benefits situation that I can recall and never ended well for me. I can identify that pattern. And I love the saying, you don't have problems, you have patterns. So if you can identify these patterns, then you can know how to shift your outcome. And end of the day, it's about what it is good for you and what it is that you truly want, not what it is satisfying in this moment right now. I had a Friends with benefits that went on way too long. Close to two years. And you know, I definitely develop feelings and it was something that I didn't have at the beginning, but I feel like just the dopamine hits of the sex hormones that go off, even if you are like objectively, I have no attraction to this person. You will be attracted by two years of sleeping with them. And I remember asking him to meet up to talk about what we were doing. And he said no. He basically was like, no, I won't meet up with you for a drink or a coffee. And I'm like, this is someone I'm allowing to sleep with me, but he won't meet me to like. It's so messed up. And I think you just accept the bare minimum. So often. And you know, I'm not like, you got to learn from this stuff. And I think that definitely helped me realize what I'll never stand for. Again, in my life and value, if someone said to me, no, I will not have a conversation with you. I'd be like, okay, fuck off. Basically, this is done. And it does take developing that and sometimes you have to go through these experiences. So I think if you are finding yourself in this situation, you're relating to this episode that, hey, I'm actually saying one thing and doing the other. It's time to take inventory, it's time to, you know, you can end this whenever you want and how can you take what you've done, what this action has been with this Friends with benefits or on reciprocal situation in use it to where you're trying to get. What can you learn for this? What standards can you have moving forward? What discernment can you have? How can you be more intentional of finding people that align with what you're actually looking for? Amen. Okay, so what advice do we have for someone that's in here? It's trying to get out. Let's say they're dictated or pussy with. We learned that. It's hard because we understand it's hard to let go of something when you have nothing. And it is unfortunate that society views something, even something terrible is better than nothing. How can people kind of unravel and get to where they need to be? I find that cutting people off cold turkey is the best way because otherwise there are no nothing lingering. There are no feelings that are going to be lingering past cutting each other off. So I feel like that's the most humane way of getting yourself out of the situation. I know that's probably sounds scary, but maybe it's about filling up your social calendar, reconnecting with your Friends, think replacing a toxic relationship with healthy relationships will help you rise out of the situation. So maybe it's like the Friends that you haven't seen in a while or the coworkers that you really enjoyed being around replace your time with this toxic person with the people who truly would care about you. Yeah, I think take yourself on a retreat and this could be somewhere that you travel to or it could be somewhere that you walk to. It does not need to be fancy by any means. There's probably some kind of nook or area in wherever you live, that could be soothing. I feel like somewhere with water always does it for me. In some way. And really getting clear and intentional of what is it that I want and what have my patterns been up until now. And I think giving yourself this reward and treat of putting yourself first can help minimize any feelings of not having this person in your life because you can at least know that I'm doing something that's helping me in the long run and it's so hard because we can't see the future and we're very present biased.
00:20:11 - 00:25:03
We just see what's in front of us today, but it's very short sighted when you think about it. I remember doing this like there was exercises that you'd visualize yourself like with your partner and what a Saturday looked for you, what a birthday looked for you. And I think even having the hope that that's possible in another one was what about my friends like do I love about their partnership? So you're kind of pulling that these examples actually exist. And that can help you kind of start to be more intentional and look for figure out what you're looking for ultimately and then realize when situations are getting in the way of that vision and not being additive to that vision. So instead of subtracting something from your life like a person, you're now adding by removing them to what it is you ultimately want. Yeah. A visualization exercise I've done in the past is visualize your room and put the person in your room. The said toxic friends would benefits in your room. What do you see? Where are they standing? Are they standing in front of a door or a window? Are they blocking the light? Are they blocking your furniture? Are they blocking your view? And when I did this exercise, I was like, they're standing in front of my fucking door. I can't leave. I'm trapped in here, and it's dark. So when I was able to visually push them away from the door, the light came in and it a breeze came in to my room that meant there was something much better out there and this person's blocking that space. Visualize what feelings what colors what temperature this person brings into your mind when you think about them. It's always a great gut check of who this person is in your life and what they represent for you. I love that. I was listening to this podcast about actually how to have more in life is to remove. And it kind of makes me think about that. It follows Marie Kondo, right? It's like all about eliminating. And Feng Shui, you're dating life. Yes. Getting rid of what's not serving you. So I love what you were just saying that examples, persons blocking the door. If that person was not there, the door is now wide open. So it's like, how do we reframe that to be like, I'm actually getting more by removing this. Yeah, I love that. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, this is a tough one because I think it's so easy to justify how this is helping. I've definitely felt this before. Like, oh, maybe I'm not as I won't have sex as early on dates because I'm like getting it elsewhere. Oh, right, right. Or I won't be as like thirsty or as I won't be as needy. But then when you really think about it, don't you want all that stuff in a relationship? I feel like it's just a justification that there's something deeper down of that you're not ready or you don't believe you could have it. Whatever that is. So how do you get to the root of what that really is to figure out if this is the right path, opposed to these kind of like surface level benefits that you're seeing? So true, so true. And just be honest with yourself, end of the day. Yep, be honest. Yeah. Awesome. Well, Friends with benefits always a fun topic. All been there. Yes. Don't let it go on two years. That's all I can say. I wish I could get those years back. But that at the same time, it got me to where I am today, so you could look at it that way. You could always spin it that way. I think the most important thing is that you're staying true to where you are at different stages of your life and you're not just repeating the same thing over and over again without learning from it. Yes, yes. Evaluated experiences is what makes us wiser. Just aging does not make us wiser. We're just collecting experiences. We've got to reflect on them. So thank you for this question. It's nice to reflect on those periods in my life. And I'm so glad I learned from those. You can't wait for these more questions to come in, so we can all reflect on them together. Yes. Okay, we'll see you next week. Bye. The dateable podcast is part of the frolic podcast network find more podcasts you'll love at frolic media slash podcasts. Want to continue the conversation? First, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the handle at dateable podcast. Tag us in any post with a hashtag stay dateable and trust us. We look at all those posts. Then head over to our website dateable podcast dot com. There you'll find all the episodes as well as articles, videos, and our coaching service with vetted industry experts. You can also find our premium Y series where we dissect, analyze, and offer solutions to some of the most common dating conundrums. We're also downloadable for free on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google Play, overcast, stitcher radio, and other podcast platforms. Your feedback is valuable to us, so don't forget to leave us a review. And most importantly, remember to stay dateable.
00:25:08 - 00:26:08
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