Janice Edman

In the endless game of love, there is a certain out-of-boundaries area on the playing field we almost all cross into at some point – maybe out of sheer boredom for the predictabilities of young love, or maybe completely accidentally. This zone I speak of, somewhere between the sides of “relationship” and “random hookups,” is that beat up section of grass and mud most commonly known as “the f– buddy” (or, in nicer terms, “the friend with benefits”). Sure you may be scoring when playing on this section of the field, but are you gaining any points in the game of love and relationships? Let’s review the points, penalties and fouls of the f– buddy situation.

The initial convenient score arises easily enough. Two people like each other, feel a mutual attraction towards one another, and eventually mess around, which they both enjoy. But for whatever reason, they both realize that this newfound nooky is not enough to sustain a relationship on. But that’s no reason for the good times under the sheets to stop, is it?

So the game continues. The fans cheer as each person no longer has to go home unfulfilled and lonely after a slow night at the bars. The commentators are impressed with the way the players deftly call each other when inebriated and desperate for some no fuss fun. Eventually, a routine emerges, and both players settle into that comfortable, mid-game stretch where nothing too exciting is happening, but everyone seems to be enjoying the sportsmanship of it all.

Until the inevitable happens. At some point in this commitment free, just-for-fun carnal throw-down, one of the players begins to enjoy the game a little more than the opponent. He or she begins to call more frequently and maybe even utter that most dangerous phrase, “Where is this all going?” All of a sudden the referee is blowing his whistle as the needier player begins to suffocate the competition. The constant phone calls, the subtle attempts to force a relationship and the need of commitment are too much for the opponent to handle and he or she eventually cuts off all communication. The fans begin to boo and contemplate rushing the field as all play has been suspended while the first player cries, head in hands.

All of us as players make mistakes in love and even the shrewdest participant lets the few odd points go by.

But the f– buddy situation is lose-lose, because no one comes out of it happy. The game of love is rife with emotions and needs, and nearly every shot at maintaining a friendship with benefits, feelings get involved on one side where they are completely absent on the other. One person will always get hurt, and the competitor who got out scot-free by not becoming too attached loses a friend in the process and therefore gains an ambiguous acquaintance he or she tries to avoid at all costs for the sheer awkwardness of it all.

We are all bound to get a few injuries on the playing field of love, but do your very best to stay away from that mucky area where the f– buddy always kicks the ball – in fact, I’ll even talk to the ref about putting some bright orange cones around it for everyone’s benefit.

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