‘Friends with Benefits’ by Will Gluck, staring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake, add sex to their friendship without the label of an official relationship but soon find it becomes quite complicated.
The film starts with the two characters being dumped by their respective partners, using all of the typical clichés like, ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ and ‘let’s stay friends’. The characters then cross paths when Dylan (JT) is head-hunted by Jamie (Mila) for a job in New York.
Watching the film was a fun and light-hearted way to spend my evening but I did think a lot about the idea of the film, as I always do, once it was over.
Many people, just like Dylan and Jamie, have had bad relationships and have found themselves with lots of ‘emotional baggage’, which then makes it harder and harder to find a relationship to accommodate the ‘excess’. So because people are so a versed to having partners with baggage, we then have to find new ways to satisfy our needs, hence friends with benefits.
The idea is great on paper; no strings or emotional attachment, no labels of a relationship, no commitment, just sex. But does it actually work? Is it possible to have no emotional relationship with someone you are with physically?
For most of us, the answer is probably no. For two people to have a physical relationship there has to be some emotion there. That emotion might just be lust but it is still an emotion, which negates the whole ‘no emotional strings’ thing. And when two people are so intimate, it usually ends up with one or both people developing feelings, which again negates the entire concept.
It becomes especially difficult when the two people are friends, like Dylan and Jamie. When things went badly in the ‘relationship’, their friendship was the first thing to suffer. They didn’t speak and when they did they argued and were no longer there for each other, all because of sex with no strings.
However, the two characters found a way to make it work for a short period of time and even parted as friends when they decided to date again, so it is possible for some of us. But how do you decide if you are one of those people?
My advice would be, don’t enter into a ‘friends with benefits’ relationship unless you are both emotionally strong and are both just up for a bit of fun. Do not have one for the wrong reasons, such as, you really like the person and it is the only way to be with them. It will only end in tears, not like the film, in which, the two characters realise they love each other. (That only happens very occasionally)
The idea of ‘Friends with Benefits’ is intriguing and if you can handle it, can be a fun and stress free way to have someone in your life. But as a long term solution to your ‘emotional baggage’ problems, it isn’t great.
There are people out there that are willing to have a relationship with you and your ‘baggage’; you maybe just have to look a tiny bit harder to find them.