According to my friends with benefits, a boyfriend and girlfriend status is basically marriage without the paper, and I think he's right. We've had our current relationship status for about two years now and we've barely had a fight. I was on a mission to reduce the drama in my life, and this situation gives me a fancy date night, a best friend and confidante, and the best sex of my life all in one without any drama. If that isn't goals, I don't know what it is. As he would say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
But as a writer, overthinker, and perpetual researcher, I decided to delve into the why "everyone is doing it" and report the results. First, I have found that in my friends with benefits situation, compassionate love is gaining ground over romantic love. Second, I can still prioritize my career and my family. Third, I am free to be me, which is the most important aspect of any relationship.
The more I think about compassionate love and romantic love, I currently prefer compassionate love. Compassionate love involves feelings of mutual respect, trust and affection. Romantic love, for many people, leads to a veritable war zone when it ends and romantic love fall outs have been responsible for many a suicide. If you don't have respect, you have nothing. Further, once I have lost respect for someone, I have never re-respected them.
Trust is key is any situation where you are sharing your body with someone, especially now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. The price of physical contact skyrocketed with that decision! Further, the rate of STDs has escalated during the pandemic, with some old, very aggressive strains of viruses showing up. The prevelance of STDs suggests that by the age of 50, almost everyone has caught one. While common, they are very damaging to the self-esteem of many, which I don't believe is even warranted. There should be no stigmas attached to having sex. It's a biological function related to a need coded into your DNA. Don't apologize for that.
I love the affection in my current relationship. I've never been a hugger, but I'm turning into one, finally, at the age of 51. Some families hug over every event, both large and small, but not mine. Further, as a survivor of sexual trauma, I know that some men take the smallest acts of kindness the wrong way, and will try to turn a hug into 20 minutes of action.
My career is finally taking off, and if a guy wants to join me on the ride to the top, that is his choice. My guy does not want to join me. He wants to preserve his own identity separate from any woman. I am about a month out from my first book publication, and had I been in a traditional relationship, I probably wouldn't have had the time or energy to write the book. I seem to end up in the shadow of other people's dreams, and I'm done with all that. I'm halfway to the top of the mountain, I'm not stopping now. This focus on keeping your career path and identity is probably the reason why friends with benefits is gaining ground.
I'm also free to be me. I'm an addict in recovery; that has to be my priority and I've chosen to stay single until someone can appreciate my beauty and bruises without judgement, without expecting perfection. I'm fairly introverted, and I can replace people with a book if needed. I have a million hobbies. I have a very full life, with my friends, work, family and FWB. I have a well-rounded balanced life and I wouldn't change a thing right now.
During the pandemic, I embraced my alone time. I read, I journalled and I hiked. I learned to cook, developed a following here, and wrote a book. I started a tiktok under @soberqueenofhearts which is very successful. I've done it all! When life handed me lemons, not only did I make lemonade, I planted my own damn lemon tree!
All of this was only possible because I developed a friend group, including my friend with benefits, that didn't try to control me. On the flip side, they encouraged me. Compassionate love means that you want the best for the person even if their future doesn't include you. It's that simple, and that should be goal of any relationship!
As they say, keep it simple stupid! Love doesn't need silly things like diamond rings, it needs patience, kindness and a hug with a smile. Keep that in mind today, and life is like a remote. If you don't like it, get up and change the channel!
About the Creator
I am an aspiring writer currently writing a book on the Sober Revolution we are in the midst of, a book about essays that will change the way you think, and a novel about a serial killer. I am also working on a book of poetry.