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
We know some of this may sound obvious, but these simple statements can make both of you happier.
Making your relationship more secure, connected, and intimate doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. Try these expert tips and reap the rewards now—and in the long run.
For those times when nothing big and horrible happened--but nothing is feeling right either.
What's more fun than animals in weddings? We've rounded up eight of the cutest.
Your puppy is all over your Instagram, Facebook and fridge, so there's no reason not to include him in your engagement pictures too. The best engagement photos give viewers a peek into your life. If you’re a dog owner, take this opportunity to show off your pooch, like these 22 couples did! And we can't thank them enough.
Our married blogger gets real about checking out other guys when you're taken.
He’s confident, distinguished and anywhere from 4 to 20 years older than you. Age is just a number, but there’s something about older men that we love. Here are eight reasons why being in a relationship with an older man is tops.
While a younger man may have less life experience, that doesn’t mean he’s not emotionally mature. Here are the eight reasons why being in a relationship with a younger man is tops.
While we do love crazy, funny and over-the-top engagements, sometimes there's just nothing like a proposal with a heartfelt story behind it (warning: you might need some tissues). We've rounded up some of the most romantic wedding proposals from couples across the country, so keep scrolling for seven of our favorites:
As much as you’d like to think your guests will love every single aspect of your wedding, the truth is you really can’t please everyone. However, you can try to avoid ticking them off. Here’s how.
You’d think brides and grooms who celebrate their nuptials with 50 guests have an equal shot at wedded bliss as those who invite 500, but apparently not.
Because some things are just better with a buddy (whom you happen to be dating).