Study Finds Friends With Benefits Can Lead to Long-Term Love
If Harry and Sally were sex buddies, they could've still ended up together.
It might be an awkward "how I met your mother" story, but a new study shows that couples who start out as casual sex buddies can later make the shift into long term partners without their histories getting in the way.
In fact, the study's lead author went so far as to assert, "friends with benefits may actually be the new form of dating."
Jesse Owen, a professor of psychology at the University of Louisville, led the study along with Frank Fincham from Florida State University. Owen and Fincham researched the behaviors of 764 men and women who were in serious relationships. They sought to find out whether a "friends with benefits" (FWB) past had any impact on a couple's ability to thrive in a blossoming, exclusive relationship. They found that although a FWB relationship is unconventional and stereotypically tumultuous, couples who start out that way are no more likely to fail than any other couple.
"Commitment is a foundation of any relationship," Owen told the Vancouver Sun. "And friends with benefits are really unstable, almost by definition. We thought that would carry forward but it didn't happen."
Of the 764 participants, 20 percent started out as FWB. Researchers tested relationship satisfaction, communication quality and relationship status ambiguity (not answering the "what are we?" question). They were surprised to find that FWB histories were "basically a non-factor in the health and viability of those people's relationships."
Four months later, Owen and Fincham checked back in with the couples to see who had broken up and who was still going strong. They found that FWB couples were no more likely to have separated than non-FWB couples.
There's no denying the instability and complexity of the FWB relationship, so it's understandable that Owen was surprised by the results. He offers two possible explanations.
First, there's the chance that the FWB couples entered the casual relationship with the hopes that it would blossom into something more serious—and it did.
A second explanation Owen offers is that the couples must have had a serious talk about changing their relationship status at some point, and that conversation set the course for healthy communication in the future.
Either way, Owen concludes:
"Just because people start out as friends with benefits, doesn't necessarily mean a doomsday scenario for their relationship."
Good news for sex buddies ready to settle down.
Photo: Lise Gagne/Getty Images
love: friendships, dating, sex & marriage
Or how to tell if you've reached THAT point in your bond.
Dating doesn’t have to be a daunting task, promise. Here’s how to make it fun for you and him.
This just in: A new study shows girls are warriors in the womb.
You can make a pros and cons list...but ultimately you know what works best for you.
Maggie Reyes is a life coach, writer, and the founder of ModernMarried.com. She helps newlyweds re-think what married life can be. Here, she’s revealing tricks every newlywed couple needs to know.
Government-supported Vietnamese classes teach women Korean language, customs.
Whether you're into creative artists or uber-preppy bankers, there's something to be said for trying something new.
Sometimes two characters on a TV show or movie can portray being a happy couple effortlessly, or can have lots of fun playing former spouses — especially if they're married to each other in real life! Keep scrolling for six celebrity costars you probably didn't know tied the knot, even after the bloodiest and craziest story lines.
Some couples want nothing more than a laid-back, by-the-book proposal. Then there are the other couples, where the proposal not only needs to be personalized, it also has to be unique and entirely different than the typical restaurant, bended-knee idea. Sound like you? Then get inspired by some of the most creative proposal ideas we’ve ever seen. If you find something you like, steal it and then modify it to make your proposal something totally unforgettable.
From Nantucket all the way to Cayo Espanto, we've rounded up some of the prettiest beaches to travel to for your honeymoon.
Researchers studied the age-old stereotype that women really are more talkative than men.
'There is a science behind attraction,' SingldOut says.