The dark side of friends-with-benefits

In today's world of dating and relationships it’s a very real option for many singles to have a friends-with-benefits situation while still looking for something more long-term. On the surface it seems like a great idea! Find a person who wants exciting, fun, carefree sex on the side with no-strings-attached. However, before you decide to jump into this scenario, there are some major drawbacks to this approach that are worthwhile considering.

Time Restrictions

You may think that a friends-with- benefits approach still gives you time to meet someone special, but it doesn’t. Every moment you spend in this causal liaison with this person is time you’re not going out meeting new potential love interests.

Emotional Attachment

It may seem like friends-with-benefits is an easy arrangement to sustain but it becomes tricky over time. The more you catch-up and spend intimate moments together, the more the feelings between you will grow, and this takes you away from meeting a long-term partner.


You want people to know that you’re single and available, ready to commit to the right partner long-term. Unfortunately, when you engage in a friends-with-benefits arrangement you send out a very different message. You’re telling people that you like casual, no-strings-attached sex. You’re not serious and want to still have fun. This reputation will work against you finding the one.


Friends-with-benefits is meant to be an uncomplicated physical arrangement. However, when you engage in this scenario you become complicated. You’re no longer single and available. You’re semi-attached and emotionally confused. And if you’re not, then your partner might be, and this can make things very difficult when you want to let go and meet someone new.

Overly comfortable

One of the biggest issues with a friends-with-benefits situation is that you can get too comfortable with it. Sex on tap whenever the urge arises, with no commitment. It can work so well, that there’s no drive or motivation to leave this for a long-term relationship. You can lose months or years coasting along in this scenario, and in the end you miss out on a number of high quality potential serious love interests.

So when you weigh up all of these drawbacks I’m suggesting that you’re better off saying ‘no’ to a friends-with-benefits arrangement.

Instead, really commit to being totally single, unattached and available. Your focus is only on meeting someone who wants long-term. This will drive you to get out of your comfort zone so you do more to find your ideal partner, and it makes you very uncomplicated and easy to date when you’re out there meeting new singles.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship psychologist, as seen on the hit show Married At First Sight, and on Ch 9’s Today show, Today Extra and A Current Affair. He is a best selling author, regularly appears on radio and in magazines, runs a private practice in Sydney, and is a sought after speaker. (

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