My parents told me the secret to a good relationship is falling in love with your best friend. It sounded like a great way to meet a guy, but it turned into a great way to hook up with my friends. So I spent my early 20s as a Friend With Benefits with a variety of beneficiaries.
It was a lot like college, except for the fact that I actually learned something: FWB dynamics are about trust like any relationship, except you trust someone to not catch feelings. A mutual lack of interest has a short shelf life when combined with sex, and inevitably needs to end.
For dudes, any exit strategy can turn you into the bad guy, but plenty of guys have managed to end a FWB relationship with me and avoided disaster. It’s still possible to stop having casual sex and stay friends. Here’s how…
1. Stop Drinking So Much
Early on in my FWB education, I mistook a guy’s late night drunk dials about “needing” me for real intimacy. It turns out he needed to get sober. If you make it clear you have to get your health and head together, she’ll give you the space to do that if she’s a real friend.
Even if you don’t have a problem, then at least stop drinking with your FWB or texting her when you’ve had a few too many, because this friendship needs to be dry to be platonic.
2. Ask To Borrow Money
This might be the least attractive way to cut off a FWB, but it is an effective and (usually) drama-free tactic. There’s nothing casual about a post-coital cash exchange, even if it’s just $20. The request alone will make her uncomfortable enough to stop pursuing sex, and you can go back to being her broke buddy.
3. Find A Real Girlfriend
Telling her you’re serious with someone else is one of the higher-risk options when ending the sexual relationship, because it seems so much like rejection it’ll probably hurt her feelings, even though you both agreed to not have those.
After my FWB got a girlfriend, it sucked but I eventually remembered that we both said, “I don’t want a relationship.” The subtext of that is always “with you,” and that’s why we were FWB. It’ll be weird for awhile, but breaking it off will free her up to find someone who cares about her as more than a friend.
4. Show You Have Too Much Baggage
A FWB can be great after heartbreak, but being too hung up on an ex is a valid reason to pump the breaks. My rebounding FWB proved to me that I don’t want a project who’s hung up on another project.
5. Tell Her You Want To Friends Without Benefits
This is the most difficult way to end a FWB relationship, because you’ve been avoiding relationships specifically to get out of these kinds of conversations. But this is also the least cowardly option and fully embodies Guy Code. If you’re clear about what you don’t want from the start, you can be clear about wanting to stop. A real friend will eventually appreciate you holding your ground, whereas a casual sex partner who’s dishonest about the “casual” part won’t.