The dynamic between friends and lovers often hinge on a precarious boundary line, most times leading to tricky and awkward situations when crossed. The movie Friends with Benefits, as the title suggests, explores this dynamic a bit further in the form of a romantic comedy starring critically acclaimed actress Mila Kunis (Jamie) and music heartthrob, Justin Timberlake (Dylan). In essence, the two friends quickly become lovers, agreeing that sex can be enjoyed without an emotional commitment. Predictably, as the story unfolds, the sparked physical connection matures into an emotional inferno, which totally challenges the principles upon which their previous sexual relationship was predicated. Sounds familiar? Friends becoming lovers may sometimes be a spontaneous move or a calculated, crafted decision. Furthermore, consider when these same lovers revert to their erstwhile friendship. Can the friendship survive? This age-old argument has been debated ad nauseum with a myriad of conclusions and perspectives being sought. WomanWise spoke with a few people who have been placed in this same scenario.
Rachel, 38 of Diego Martin, has been able to successfully manoeuvre this tricky situation twice.
"I think you have to be very mature when dealing with that kind of situation because if things go wrongin the lovers department you must be able to rise from that and keep the friendship". She said since the friendships with said men were good, it was easier for both parties to speak up about things they were uncomfortable with in their intimate relationships. "In the end when we went our separate ways as lovers butI found that the friendship becamestronger than ever". Twenty four-year-oldMargaret of Wallerfield,was able to give insight into the homosexual world and said that the title 'friend' and 'lover' is actually interchangeable. "This goes on in the lesbian world quite frequently- friends to lovers to friends because the community is small and the choices are so limited. Friendship is almost always based on sexuality, at least for me. "Our sexuality binds us to so it is easy to cross the line of friendship because that line is superficial. "Even when I was with men, I could separate sex/love with no qualms. It was always difficult for the other person."
For Richard, 33 of Couva,the experience can be "tricky." "It all depends on the amount of emotion invested by both parties... Usually the person who invests more winds up being the one toting feelings and getting hurt in the long run..." Michael, a university student, on the other hand saidcrossing the friendship line makes for an awkward scenario and the relationship dulled. "The whole sexual experience was awkward. The whole thrill of a relationship is getting to know each other day by day. When you become best friends before you get into a relationship, things become really difficult. "Attraction to me must always be established from the get go but you don't have that when aplatonic friendship is established. Twenty year old Hazel, of Couva, had no such problem. She has been with her boyfriend for the last 8 years - their relationship forged from a great friendship. "I know if we separate we will still maintain friendly communication. Friends are the best lovers because you trust them and you are comfortable enough to communicate effectively on an intimate level without hesitation. Once the chemistry is right it materialises into a deeper, more meaningful connection."
It seems that there is no real conclusion to thefriends-lovers-friends scenario, however, it shouldn't be ruled out as impossible. Ray Pahl, a professor at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, in an interview with the Telegraph on the same topic,believes that once there is trust it just might work. 'In our world the sheer struggle of two people trying to cope with everyday pressures and have a shot at a decent life is immense. If they feel they are in it together and can trust each other to be supportive, that is extremely appealing. "Also, as you move into middle age, you start to consider the question, "Do I want to get old with you?" If you have a trusting friendship, the answer will more likely be yes. ''Friendship is often the basis for a deeper kind of love, one that tends to be more long-term."