Key Takeaway: In a world of modern dating and non-relationships, it can get tricky to know the differences between dating and FWBs. The most important way to differentiate both is setting boundaries. We’ve listed out the signs and ways to tell the differences.
If you’ve been in the friends with benefits (FWB) pool for some time, you’ve probably been in the situation of being confused on whether you’re just friends with benefits or dating.
We live in a world where we prefer things to be black and white but FWBs can get tricky and before you know it, you stepped on a landmine.
Are non-relationships like FWBs the same as dating?
If you’re an experienced FWB seeker, you would know that ground rules play major importance in where the line should be drawn.
We’re answering your burning questions of “Are we dating or are we friends with benefits?”.
Here are the differences between dating and friends with benefits and signs you can look out for to distinguish the two.
If both of you have been holding hands or kissing while out in public, this is pretty much a sure sign that you guys are dating.
One of the ground rules of FWBs is to keep things casual and light.
People don’t display any form of romance or affection in public when they’re in a FWB arrangement unless it’s something more serious.
When it comes to friends with benefits vs relationships, this one is a clear indication that you guys are embarking on dates and not hangouts.
We’re not talking about the local bar you go to for drinks with your buddies.
We’re talking about nice fancy dinners, where you can smell romance in the air.
If both of you have been planning meet-ups outside that you feel toes the line of dating, both of you are dating.
And we don’t mean about your favorite food or what’s the latest season of Peaky Blinders you’ve watched.
If you’re talking about fears, your pasts, and plunging into the emotional sea at great depths, then you’re dating.
While the conversation about these things could be casual with a FWB especially if both of you vibe with one another, you’ll know when you’re cutting deep and this is no longer just about sex among friends.
It may be labeled casual dating, but not just friends with benefits.
If both of you were already hanging out with the same group of friends and are continuing to do so, then that’s fine.
But if they start introducing you to new faces and you find out that they’re people close to them, there’s a good chance you guys are casually dating at least.
People only introduce you to their families or close friends, if you mean a lot to them.
This is a red flag of dating vibes.
We’re not talking about just a casual “What’s up?” but more of wanting to know what you’re doing every day and checking up on you.
If they are texting you frequently every day, there is an emotional connection here.
Texting to check in once in a while is fine (you guys are friends after all) but every day is a sign that the FWB arrangement could be moving into something more serious.
Cuddling should be a no-no even when it comes to FWBs.
Cuddling always brings about an emotional attachment and could get intimate.
If you’re even having heart-to-heart talks after sex, that’s definitely dating and it’s time to bring it up.
The whole point of a FWB is to avoid any obligation to someone and if you guys are nagging and arguing like a couple.
If questions such as “Why didn’t you answer my calls?” and who you were with or where you were, these are sure signs that things are heating up into dating.
If you’ve been delaying the discussion on whether you guys are FWBs or dating before, it’s definitely time to step up and address the elephant in the room.
If you’re spending more time together rather than having sex, then you may need to think if the winds have shifted.
That means you’re talking more and engaging each other more outside of sex and the whole point of a FWB, is to be able to fulfill your physical needs.
While a good mystery is great to spice up your life, it’s best to leave that to your novels and TV entertainment.
While you’re enjoying the casual vibe that a FWB entails, it’s also good to check in with the person if both of you are still on the same page.
When you’re physically intimate with anyone, complications may arise from it, no matter how casual both of you are of the whole affair.
If you’ve been wondering for some time if the both of you have been crossing into dating territories, it’s best to know where both of you stand.
It doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable situation.
The question if both of you are in a relationship vs friends with benefits doesn’t have to come across as being needy or that you’re expecting something out of it.
But what’s important is, never ask this question after sex.
It puts the other person in a tough spot with hormones going berserk and it could be misunderstood as expecting intimacy in return.
With clarity, you get a better understanding of your position, will feel unburdened, and can enjoy each other’s company better.
Rather than being stuck trying to read the person’s mind, you’ll feel lighter knowing the truth.
FWBs are generally happy where they are.
They have the benefits of a friendship and they’re having sex.
FWBs are also clear that there’s no future or any progression after the arrangement is done.
People who are dating tend to set plans to spend more time together such as romantic dinners and practicing the usual courtship rituals.
If the person is also bringing subjects about the future such as marriage and kids, it’s an indication they may want more.
People who are casually dating would ask for more details about the person’s job, future, and goals.
If you’re still not clear about it from the answer above, friends with benefits get along on many common grounds, can hang out for hours like mates, then also have sex.
No feelings are involved and usually can still have other FWB partners.
Dating is more intimate at all levels and involves obligations such as making plans together and deciding things together.
A casual relationship means prolonged casual dating, you go on dates and treat them like a romantic partner.
However, some deem that a casual relationship doesn’t mean it’s exclusive and it all depends on the understanding between two people on their terms.
FWB is someone you enjoy hanging out with as friends and have sex sometimes and can usually go back to being just friends again.
Funnily enough, FWB could be exclusive to minimize the risk of STDs and maybe lose the condoms.
The most important distinction you need to know is that FWB usually means sex between two friends and have no hard feelings when they want to pull the plug at any given time.
While casual dating, there is usually more fulfillment on the emotional needs, and more is usually expected such as going on dates.
If you mean a serious relationship, then the difference is the emotional ties, commitment, and responsibilities to one another.
FWB is not supposed to involve feelings (some may catch them), whereas dating has a higher chance of having feelings for one another or evolving into deeper levels of relationships.
A serious relationship means you see the potential of having a future together and have romantic feelings for one another, rather than a FWB.
A FWB is only a short-term arrangement, with no feelings involved, that both can walk out at any time when it has expired.
Friends with benefits situation can be a tricky one but not impossible to maintain.
The ideal FWB relationship is one where people sleep with each other, live fairly near each other, and have a genuine interest in the other person, but at the same time, both parties don’t want anything serious.
Be real picky with who you want to get in bed and make sure the person doesn’t share a lot of mutual friends to avoid complications.
While it may be difficult at first, it’ll be worth it in the long run and save you a lot of headaches and heartaches.
Here are our top tips to keep your FWB-ship working and maintaining it while making sure it doesn’t cross the line into dating.
While it’s tempting especially if your FWB is hot, resist the urge to bring the person as your plus one, especially in family gatherings.
You can hang out with them in public but keep it to things like grabbing breakfast, brunch or a drink.
If you cross the line of bringing them as your plus one and introduce them to close friends as well as family, you’re dating.
If you have happy or sad things to share, pick your close friends rather than your FWB.
Your FWB is there to keep things light and fun, not to be your therapist.
Draw the line here to avoid emotional attachments.
Even if neither of you are sleeping with anyone else, it’s always good to be safe.
You don’t want to be caught in a pregnancy scare situation or even STDs.
Also, when you don’t include condoms in your sexcapades, you may tend to feel like you’re in a relationship.
This may be set before you start having sex so both sides are clear on when things would end.
That would be the ideal situation.
If not, set your own deadline anyway on when you should part ways and you need to stick to it to a tee.
It’s easy to let things slip because you get comfortable but comfort could open the doors to dating.
The deadline is up to you on what you think is best that you don’t start to catch feelings or get too attached.
I tend to stick to five weeks where the sex gets great after knowing each other’s bodies more, but not to the point I know the person’s schedule.
So, set a limit and stick to it!
(Last Updated: 7 May 2021)
About the Author
Kelvin Kevin is the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Content Editor of the World-Renowned HappyMatches.com Dating App and Dating Site. An avid writer since young, he is an Expert Dating and Relationships Coach for Casual Dating, Serious Dating and General Dating. You can follow him on Twitter (@HowToDateBetter), and also check out his personal Dating Blog, for the latest Dating Advice and Dating Tips to help Straight, Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Singles and Couples find and enjoy Fulfilling and Intimate Dating Relationships.
Adult Hookup | BBW Hookup | College Hookup | First Date | Free Hookup | Friends With Benefits | FWB Apps | Gay Hookup | Hook Up | Hookup Apps | Hookup Culture | Hookup Sites | Lesbian Hookup | Local Hookup | NSA Relationship | Quarantine Date Ideas | Reddit Hookup | Teen Hookup | Tranny Hookup