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The next morning (or even that night) come the recriminations: Was it wrong to give that person the sexual green light when you had no intention of rekindling the emotional side of the relationship?
Marilyn, a 57-year-old single colleague of mine, recently reconnected with someone she had worked with many years ago. "No," Marilyn said with a laugh, "it's better than that: I'm in like with him — and that's exactly where I want to be." She further confided that they planned to make their reunions "a regular thing — if four times a year can be called 'regular.' But I think that's about all I really want." Marilyn's casual approach to maintaining a friendship with benefits typifies the mindset of older folks who have reconciled themselves to having "great fun" even if it's "just one of those things." And episodic pleasure-seeking may be more common than you think: In The Normal Bar, a book I wrote last year with Chrisanna Northrup and James Witte, we reported that 61 percent of female survey respondents who had partners fantasized about someone they had met.
According to its website, Girl Friend Circles is “committed to introducing awesome women and inspiring real friendships.” Girlfriend Social explicitly states that it is a website for “ladies only” who are “looking to make platonic women friendships.” The process works similarly to online dating.
Can a casual sexual relationship exact an emotional toll?
For sure, people who associate intimacy with commitment are ill-suited to sex that's as meaningful as a summer breeze; for them, the FWB arrangement would be a bad idea.
The number of users online dating sites like Match.com, OKCupid, JDate and e Harmony now attract suggests that any stigma people once felt around looking for love online has lifted.
But would you use a matchmaking site to find female friends?