THE THREE HIDDEN MESSAGES OF A “FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS” RELATIONSHIP

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FWBThis article is the second installment of my Behind The Music series. In each post of the series, I give insights into what I was thinking before, during and/or after the creation of one of my songs. In the first installment, I gave some background thoughts on “Don’t Worry,” the intro song on Transcenders, the album. In this article, I’ll move forward to give you some insight to “Still Love You,” the second song on Transcenders.

In thinking about the experience which led me to write the song, I discovered three negative subconscious messages that are reinforced when engaged in a friends with benefits relationships. Before I get into what those messages are, let me briefly expand on the main idea behind the song to give you some background.

“Sill Love You” looks back at a friends with benefits relationship that I was in and my hesitation to commit. After thinking about the situation in-depth, I’ve realized that not wanting to commit was the least of my problem. The friends with benefits relationship, itself, is destructive. Besides all the common objections, the one that is most harmful and unavoidable is that a friends with benefits relationship lowers your self-esteem by constantly reinforcing three destructive messages to yourself. I wish I had this wisdom when creating the song, it’ may be turned out differently.

The Three Destructive Messages Of A FWB Relationship

In a FWB relationship, it’s usually understood that the interaction between the people involved boils down to a casual booty call every now and then. That message is loud and clear. Unfortunately, those types of relationships also sends three destructive, not so loud and clear, messages to your subconscious. Those messages are 1) you don’t mind sharing someone, 2) you don’t mind being shared and 3) you let “societal norms” control your actions. Below, I explain each message in-depth.

1. You Don’t Mind Sharing Someone

The first message that a FWB relationship transmits is that you don’t mind sharing someone you sleep with, with another person (or people). On the surface of this, you might consider yourself as non-controlling or non-demanding, as I did.  The reality is that you don’t care enough about yourself to think that you deserve a person’s full attention. The only type of person you believe you’re good enough for is someone who would have sex with any number of other people. In other words, you’re agreeing that you’re not valuable enough to be the only person for your lover. This probably isn’t a conscious thought for most people in these relationship but that is what the actions imply. And of course… actions speak louder than words.

2. You Don’t Mind Being Shared

The second destructive message that is implied by an FWB relationship is that you don’t mind being shared. If someone finds you truly valuable the last thing they would want is to send you off to go be with another person. This nonchalant attitude on their part is a clear sign that they are not that interested in you. On your end, not only are you not offended by this, you also keep going back to someone who doesn’t think highly of you, thus confirming their appraisal of your value.

3. You Let “Societal Norms” Control Your Decisions

The last message of a FWB relationship is that you let societal norms control your decision. Let me back up a bit to explain what I mean. Part of the regret expressed in “Still Love You” is due to the fact that I didn’t make the girl exclusively mine when I had her. It was a lost opportunity for me. In thinking more deeply about the situation I arrived at the question, “why didn’t I want an exclusive relationship?”

The reasons that I could remember that played in the back in my head were, “I don’t want to be tied down” and “I want to keep all of my options open.” Where did those ideas come from? I actually like being tied down. It’s secure. It’s one less thing to worry about. Options? Most options are not worth effort of choosing. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. It would have been much easier to focus my time on the person that I had and not go chasing birds in bushes. Why didn’t I choose the easy route?

Societal norms…

When I say “societal noms” I’m talking about norms of the family, the first society that is imprinted upon us as children. In my family of origin it was generally understood that it is okay, encouraged and praised when men are promiscuous.  I’d get sly knowing looks from the older men in my family when I brought home different girl. The women in my family accepted it just as easily. I didn’t think anything was wrong with my behavior. It was a societal norm in my family and the people I hung around. Even when I felt more than a little uncomfortable about keeping my “options open,” I continued to do so because it was expected and accepted. If you feel the same way and continue to go with society, you chip away at your ability to evaluate a situation based on your feelings. Your feelings are valid and important. The more time you take to consider your feelings to make decisions, the better you’ll get at making decisions that benefit your well being. When you neglect your feelings, you reduce your ability to make decisions that benefit you. This leaves you vulnerable to people who’d take advantage of you.

Putting It Together

As a result of those three subconscious messages there’s a constant unease within the FWB relationship and yourself. Day in and day out your actions are reinforcing those subliminal messages to your subconscious.You become less confident and less sure of yourself without knowing why. You think that it’s the relationship is just getting sour so you try to find a good way to end it. Once it’s over you’ll find yourself regretting your lack of commitment. That’s how I felt when I wrote, “Still Love You.”

Putting more thought to the song and situation, I’ve realized that the friends with benefits relationship, itself, was my biggest problem. Fortunately, however, it’s never too late to change. Learning from past mistakes ensures that you won’t repeat them in the future. At least I know that I won’t.

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