From FWBs to Roomies?

Time to tackle a reader's question from Formspring:

Question: Can living with a "friend with benefits" work?  Relationship is pre-existing, but the possibility of being roomies is new.

Answer: My initial impression is that living with a friend with benefits cannot work, but that might be too simplistic an answer.

What prompted the discussion about moving in together?  Since you are asking if a relationship could work with your friend with benefits, then I wonder if you've developed feelings for your friend.  Has he or she given you any indication that this could be anything more than the current arrangement?  

If you care about this person and want more than a casual relationship, then living together as roommates might be difficult for you.  What if he or she is sleeping with you one night and then someone else the next?  What if he or she doesn't come home one night?  I would hate for you to get hurt and then, to add insult to injury, have to look for another roommate or place to live.

I recommend communicating with your friend with benefits prior to signing a lease.  What are your goals with this living situation and what are his or hers?  Be as honest as you can in the hopes that he or she will be honest, too.  If you both are only interested in being friends and saving money by living together, then maybe this can work.  Nonetheless, laying some ground rules might help you make a smooth transition from friends with benefits to roommates.  For example:

No sex once you start living together; or

No bringing people of the opposite sex over without giving the other person a heads up first.

(I appreciate that having rules might seem unnecessary since you’re both adults, but communication and a clear plan now will alleviate problems later.)

Typically in a friends with benefits arrangement, one person wants more than something casual.  There might be a chance that both of you want to be more than friends with benefits.  If that’s the case, then I would recommend trying to date each other before becoming roommates.  If you move in with someone you’ve just started dating, it automatically becomes a serious relationship.  Give yourselves time to figure out if you can transition from friends with benefits to being a couple before taking such a serious step.

What other advice do you have for this reader?

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