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
Hopeless romantics and cringe-worthy chick flicks would tell you that it doesn’t matter what you do on the date, as long as you’re together. But they’re wrong. Dead wrong. Women use your date ideas to size you up, says matchmaker Rachel DeAlto, author of "Flirt Fearlessly." “You absolutely will be judged based on the date you plan. There are so many subconscious impressions that we take in while dating.” Gulp. Here are 10 terrible ideas that can land you on the no-lay list—and simple swaps to keep her happy. By K. Aleisha Fetters
Here are 15 signs we’ve been on "The Bachelor" bandwagon—all 27 seasons of it—for (possibly) longer than we’d care to admit.
In the grand tradition of celebrating love, we’ve chosen some of the mushiest, sweetest, and most memorable scenes to hit the big or small screen. From marriage proposals to unexpected serenades, these moments will make you believe in love (and want someone to cuddle up with, stat).
How to flag her little fibs. By Laura Tedesco
Revealr is a new iPhone app that allows those looking for love to hear their possible matches before they see them.
A new poll reveals 59 percent of the country supports same-sex marriage.
Celebrity engagements are so much fun to follow because every detail is bound to be over-the-top — from the proposal (like when Kanye rented out an entire stadium to propose to Kim) to the huge, sparkly engagement ring and, of course, the wedding. Plus, as trendsetters, celebs can be a source of inspiration even if you can't afford a million dollar ring. Here are our celebrity wedding predictions for 2014.
If you’ve ever been to a club—like, ever, even once—you are not going to be shocked to hear that women get a lot of unwanted, aggressive attention. But when you read the findings of this study on how often and why it happens, it might make you feel downright sick to your stomach.
No matter your current relationship status or past relationship fails, get a fresh start this month, with these tips for spring cleaning your love life.
Forget the rules you've always heard—it's time to start making your own.
Are you in an affair without knowing it? Unless you’re a swinger, having sex with someone else counts as cheating. But then there’s the fuzzy area between friendship and infidelity—and chances are, your girlfriend sees those shades of gray as more black and white than you do. “Men aren’t as attuned to identifying ambiguous behaviors as cheating as women are,” says Daniel Kruger, Ph.D., a University of Michigan psychologist, who’s studied gender differences in definitions of infidelity. In other words, what you consider totally innocent could be her deal breaker.
We spoke with relationship therapist Rachel A. Sussman, author of "The Breakup Bible," for her tips on how regular girls can survive a split like an A-lister.