How Do You Know If You’re Friends With Benefits Or Something More? You Ask!

friends with benefits

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

In today’s world of dating, I feel like more people then ever are “hooking up” and they don’t really define their relationship or what they are. Friends with benefits is pretty big right now, from what I hear. But while that’s perfectly fine, what happens when one or both partners wants to know what exactly they are doing?  Maybe one or both want more than a casual connection. That’s when they need to have the “what are we?” conversation, and that’s the topic of this week’s Love Essentially.

How to Have The “What Are We” Conversation

by Jackie Pilossoph for Chicago Tribune Media Group

“Honey, we need to talk…” That phrase is usually the start of a relationship conversation both partners know is going to be brutal. I’m talking about one of those awkward, dreadful, uncomfortable chats that boil down to statements like, “I need space” or “I met someone else,” or perhaps the one that feels most like a punch in the stomach, “I’m not in love with you anymore.”

But there’s a relationship conversation that isn’t necessarily always negative, and could even bring a couple closer together. It’s the “What are we?” discussion, in which couples have a heart-to-heart to define exactly what their relationship is, and to determine one of two things: are they committed to a future together, or are they just friends having fun?


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Dr. Victor Harris is a relationship expert at the University of Florida, who teaches courses on the topics of dating and healthy romantic and familial relationships. Harris said more and more couples are finding it necessary to have the “What are we?” talk because of the “hooking up and hanging out” culture.

“The way people get involved currently in relationships is that they get physical way too soon,” said Harris, who holds a Ph.D. in family consumer and human development with a focus on close relationships. “So, then they have to figure out, ‘Do we have a friendship here?’ ‘Do we have trust and should I commit to the relationship?’ It’s risky because they don’t know since they might not have the foundation of friendship, trust and commitment.”

How do you start the “what are we?” conversation?  (Click here to read the rest of the article, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press)

Like this article? Check out, “The Hot And Cold Guy”



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    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

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