Friends With Benefits: 15 Disadvantages & Drawbacks (Real Cons)

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

Friendship concept

It’s the modern age and it seems as if anything goes, doesn’t it? In my time, the whole concept of “friends with benefits” was born, and it seems to have flourished. Having a FWB (friends with benefits) can be tempting, especially if you are lonely. Let’s be honest; we all have needs! Nobody judges…but what disadvantages might you be opening yourself up to? I recently considered this at length and would love to share my views with anyone considering FWB.

Okay, if you have gotten this far and don’t know what friends with benefits is, let’s take a quick moment to briefly explain it to you. What is “friends with benefits”? According to the definition found in the online Oxford English Dictionary, “friends with benefits” is:

“A friend with whom one has an occasional and casual sexual relationship”.

Lexico – Powered by Oxford

Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? In the end, it can be. 

Let’s take a look at each of the potential disadvantages of having friends with benefits so that you can decide whether it’s for you or not.

15 reasons why friends with benefits might be a bad idea:

1. You cannot expect emotional support from a FWB.

When you get yourself into a FWB situation, it is all about having someone available for a physical relationship. Because this is not a normal relationship, you will have to ensure that you don’t try to lean on the person for emotional support. This can be hard, and it can be exceptionally hurtful when you make the mistake of trying to get emotional support, and the FWB rejects you.

2. Unwanted jealousy could rear its head.

While you aren’t having a real relationship with this other person, it is only human to feel jealous when watching that person flirt with or show interest in another person that is not you. You may start to feel unattractive or unwanted, and before you know it, you will be behaving jealously and acting out.

3. It could destroy your confidence in the end.

Being with someone just for the physical aspects can really ruin your confidence in the end. It might make you feel like you have sexual power, but in terms of who you are as a person, you may start to lose faith in yourself. You might start to think that you aren’t worthy of being loved and in a normal relationship; and when that mindset takes hold, your entire confidence can come crashing down. 

4. You might place too much value on physical over emotional connection in the future.

The whole idea of a FWB is that it is a temporary thing. It might go on for weeks or months, but in the end, you will seek out a real relationship with someone else. Because you have used a physical approach in this dysfunctional relationship type, you might place too much emphasis on physical and sexual connections in the future. 

When you meet someone who wants to get to know you and doesn’t just want to take engage in a physical way all of the time, you might think that something is wrong with the relationship.

5. It might lead to unrequited feelings.

One thing that everybody knows about friends with benefits is that one person in the situation “catches feelings”. Unfortunately, this is usually unrequited and can lead to a lot of heartache and pain. 

6. You could lose your friendship.

Broke up relationship

“Friends with benefits” is a situation based on choosing a friend, who you trust and are attracted to, to “hook up” with. The moment that you take that step and cross that boundary, the dynamic of your friendship changes. You could lose your friend because things will be weird and awkward with your friend when the relationship is dissolved, or someone new comes along.

7. You will be dropped like yesterday’s news when someone “better” comes along.

Unfortunately, both you and your new partner will be actively seeking out a proper relationship while you are “hooking up”. This could lead to one of you feeling completely dropped and rejected when that happens. Imagine that your FWB finds the woman of his dreams while he is in a “friends with benefits” situation with you. You will be dropped like a hot potato. 

8. You could end up with an unwanted pregnancy.

People who are in a FWB relationship are probably having sex regularly, and this could lead to an “oopsie”. This is something to take very seriously. If you get yourself into such a relationship, always take precautions. Never risk it.

9. Your “relationship” could scare off other potential partners.

While you might think that no one can see you making plans to leave the bar together with your FWB, people actually notice a lot more than you think. If you are always socializing with your FWB or if some of your friends know about the situation and openly talk about it, potential future partners might notice this and this will be off-putting to them. 

10. Low expectations could result in you selling yourself short in the future.

Many people who get involved in such a relationship don’t get what they need out of it. The physical aspect may be fine; but in terms of emotional support and having someone to do fun life things with, there’s a void. Then when someone new comes along and gives you some of those things but isn’t exactly a perfect fit for you, you might jump at the opportunity simply because you are starved of such things. If you had normal relationships all along, you would be able to make more balanced decisions about who to date in the future. 

11. You might get a bit too familiar with a feeling of resentment.

If you develop feelings and you notice that your chosen FWB hasn’t, you might try to hide it for some time. The more you realize that this person doesn’t want to be with you while you want to be with them, the more resentment you may start to feel towards them. Living with resentment is not a healthy way to live.

12. When reality finally strikes, you may just feel insulted.

Friends with benefits might seem like a great idea in the beginning. It’s fun and exciting. But the more you start to realize what it means, the more you might start to feel insulted. Generally, when someone asks you to be their FWB, they are saying that you are good enough for sex, but not marriage or dating material. That’s pretty insulting at the end of the day – regardless of how much fun you might be having. 

13. Your family and friends may judge you.

Unfortunately, deciding to have a FWB is something that people close to you might judge you on. Your family (if they find out) might think that you are underselling yourself, whereas your friends might think that you are compromising your morals and happiness.

14. Having an empty relationship can lead to unnecessary stress and drama. 


Empty relationships are the worst. For instance, when your FWB gets into a fight with your best friend, whose side do you take and how do you handle it? Your bestie won’t have that “partner respect” you might expect. In general, if you choose to have a FWB, make sure you are open to the possible drama involved. 

15. Strangers may grow to disrespect you (as your partner flirt with others).

Imagine you are out at a busy bar with your FWB and other friends. You arrive together and your body language gives you away, yet new people you have met get to watch you sit around awkwardly while your FWB flirts outwardly with other people. What is that saying about you and your own self-respect and self-worth? You can only expect people to show you a level of respect and decency if you have noticeable self-respect.

Last Word

“Friends with benefits” has its pros and cons, but it’s really the cons that you need to be the most aware of. If you are not the type of person that can easily manage the abovementioned challenges, perhaps FWB is not for you.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who share their experiences and knowledge about the "Seven F's of Life".

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He mainly focuses on content about faith, spirituality, personal growth, finance, and sports. He graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in Marketing. He is a certified tennis instructor who teaches in the New York City Metropolitan area. In terms of finance, he has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.