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Unlike casual sexual affairs, romantic love is a serious matter.
Friendship is also not a casual relationship—we do not make friends with all of our acquaintances.
While romantic love usually involves a similar relative weight to the friendship and the sex components, in friendship with benefits the friendship component is of greater weight, and the sex component is a kind of icing on the cake.
Hence, the two partners have often been friends or lovers first, prior to achieving the position of being friends with benefits.
What underlies this attraction, and is it a relationship that is beneficial? The complex emotional experience of romantic love involves two basic evaluative patterns: (a) praiseworthiness—positive appraisal of personal characteristics; and (b) attractiveness—an attraction to external appearance.
Some measures of preference, exclusivity, and uniqueness regarding the first priority are typically required.
A major reason for maintaining a friendship with benefits is the fear of commitment, as the boundaries of such a friendship are not clearly defined.
While the first pattern underlies friendship, the second underlies sexual relationships.
Romantic love combines the two types of evaluations in a profound and intimate manner.To avoid commitment, the following advice is often given to friends with benefits: Do not have expectations, have a timeframe for the relationship (e.g., not more than three months), limit your time together to no more than two hours a day, talk on the phone only once or twice a week, keep friends out of it, don't do pillow talk, no sleeping over, and do not romance the partner.