Frilationship: Are You In One?

by Clutch

Healthy-relationshipFor 7 years, I’ve been in what I call a Frilationship.  Although I thought it was just some random word I made up to get an appropriate title to what we’ve had, apparently Urban Dictionary describes it as:

“When two people are in a relationship that is somewhere between friendship and a romantic relationship. They are usually initiated by men who need female companionship but are unable to commit. It is often very difficult to determine if you are on a date or just hanging out as these men will often pay. The word comes from joining the words friend and relationship, thus you are in a Frilationship. The frilationship is a very grey place and it is very difficult to define the situation. It is very similar to friends with benefits except the benefits aren’t always sexual in nature and can be seen as help buying gifts for one’s mother, ect”

When I looked at the definition, I saw where it actually differed when it came to my situation.  He wasn’t the initiator, I was.  I honestly can’t say I want a commitment at this stage in my life.  But I want the companionship of one person, not a bunch of random dating.  Now, I will say, the “friends with benefits” comparison could be appropriate, but the benefits are less sexual and more emotional.  Don’t get me wrong, the sex is amazing.  But it’s not a common occurrence. Over the last 7 years, we’ve probably gone to more family gatherings than CVS runs for condoms.

Sure, we’ve gotten our fair share of side-eyes from family and friends. There’s always the questions, “Why don’t you two make it official?”, or “If you two love each other, why not just get married?”.  Unfortunately, neither of these are that simple. And we never have an answer.

Marriage has never been on the forefront of my life plan, or his.  A frilationship has worked for us. There’s no drama, no fuss, no snooping at each other’s text messages, no wondering if and when someone will pop the question.  No question will be popped.

But there is that grey area.

Last year I came across someone who piqued my interests. Because of our agreement with each other, I told my frilationshipend (as opposed to boyfriend) that I wanted to test the waters and see how things could go with this new person.  To say he was shocked was an understatement, but he understood and appreciated that I was being honest.   Two months later, after being on a “hiatus”, I Skyped him and told him that the new guy just wasn’t what he cracked up to be.  He listened and we laughed at the stories I had to share.  Two hours later, he was at my door with take-out and wine.  We watched our favorite movies, cuddled and fell asleep in each others arms.  The benefits weren’t sexual that night, but the chance to share my emotions were welcoming.

A frilationship isn’t for everyone, neither is a friends with benefits relationship.  But if you’re two honest adults, with the same expectations clearly defined, who knows, it may work out.

  • collegiatediva

    Maybe I’m missing the point here, but I didn’t really see any value in this article, short of you sharing your business and (it sounds like) trying to convince yourself that you’re happy with this. Any arrangement between two people, no matter where it lies on the friendship-relationship spectrum, is between those two people. Every situation is unique and I just don’t see the value in some generic article with a few too many details about your personal arrangement.

    Sister, I truly hope that you find the courage to decide what you really want, one way or the other, and ask for it. Trust me when I say, whatever it is you want will not be found in the Urban Dictionary or a 2,500 word article.

  • L

    clutch yall are all up in my street today!!! I can’t do this Frilationship thing. I’ve been doing this for about two months and im about to bail if it doesn’t turn into a relationship. Am i petty? maybe but like the author said, these little grey area situations are not for everyone.

  • Clutch

    Not every article/topic on the site needs a “value”- some articles are just women sharing their stories — the author is sharing her experience and some women will relate – some won’t — and we understand that.

    The article idea of the “Frilationship” was actually brought up in our weekly article idea brainstorming session – the topic is something we wanted to ask our readers if they have been in or heard of. :)

    Thanks for your comment!

  • Prettypoodle3

    I’ve never heard the name of this type of relationship before I do understand it. It seems like a relationship without the commitment to me and proves that there can be a really thin line between friends and boyfriends.

  • Cocochanel31

    I have this with a male friend. Either I am always in a relationship with someone else, or he is, , so we never have been able to make it official, however we have traveled together, had sex, and enjoy each other immensely…just has not matured to anything more. Cannot describe it..guess flirtationship is the best word! I sometimes wonder if he is “the one” since we just get each other and get along so well.

  • Chelle

    Lol your post made me laugh honey. You’re not petty. You want a relationship and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you can’t get that from this person, move on. Gray areas are for the birds and even they have distinct colors. Good luck love.

  • Stephanie

    okay, so …normally these types of relationships are just like the “friend with benefits” relationships. But like the author said, the benefits aren’t always sexual. Also, often times, one person, if given the opportunity wants more. 50% is someone giving affection needed and the other 50% is taking affection needed.

    Which are you?

    In my case, I often find myself giving affection needed. So when I realize I’m in a “Frilationship” with a man… I ask myself… “Do I want more?”

    If I’m not going to get what I want I back off. I stop taking his calls late at night. I don’t help him do anything with an intimate nature. I don’t want to confuse the friendship or give them more than I can handle. Will my feelings be hurt if he takes interest in another woman? Do I really want to hear about his relationship dramas? Or do I want him to talk about his feelings towards me? This reminds me of a previous article clutch had and its sort of the same thing.

    Honestly, the only way this works is if the man is gay… Otherwise, ultimately someone’s feelings will get hurt even if its just a mild heartache.

  • Laura Charles

    This sounds like a major setup for a broken heart, lots of tears and comfort food. If the author finds herself comfortable with arrangement and he (who is in no way committed to her) finds another woman, courts her, falls in love and marries her, trust me, it will be devastating.

    Not sure why people are so afraid of labels but if I had to guess I’d say these same people fear commitment. While it seems like a great set up now, later down the line it may just seem like a waste of time for both parties involved. You will lose a friend in the end or a chance at a great relationship, had you set boundaries and expressed expectations. Closed mouths do not get fed.

  • Pseudonym

    Very much so. Also, frilationship is exactly “friends with benefits.” The emotional support bit falls under the “friends” part and the sex under the “benefits.” The two are no different.

  • Pseudonym

    So…it seems like what you have is a “placeholder” so you can always have someone to play your boyfriend, even when you don’t really have one. It seems that if you were really into your “frilationship,” then you’d not ditch it when you met a guy you wanted to date. If you’re in one of those “committed but not official” relationships, you wouldn’t see other people and if you were in an “open” relationship, you’d still be able to continue to see you “frilationfriend” (or whatever it’s called) while seeing what’s up with the new boo. So, basically, you’re having emotional and sexual intimacy with a dude you like enough to hug you when you have no one better around to hug you, but that you don’t like enough to actually want to be in a real relationship with him. Is that what is going on?

  • Me27

    i swear you took the words out of my mouth. As soon as i read the definition i said, this sounds like a placeholder until someone better comes along…

    Personally, I think that is a terrible way to treat a person. They are good enough to kick it with sexually and emotionally, but the minute someone better comes along, you kick them to the side. It seems selfish and someone is bound to get hurt.

  • Lady Ngo

    We are >>>here<<<

    But i figured her partner is obviously ok with the arrangement (or really patiently waiting for her to "come to her senses") so *kanye shrug*

  • Nic

    No. The difference between you and the author is that she likes her arrangement and you are settling thinking you can get more.
    I’d say you probably can’t. If the other part of this equation is happy with the status quo, what incentive does he have to change it. If he doesn’t want you as his real GF, you might be better off cutting your losses b/c I think that these situations only work out if both people are equally detached.
    It sounds like you would be hurt if he popped up with someone he really wanted to be with. It sounds like her guy was a little shocked, nearly hurt when she tried someone else out. But their gray area sounds more balanced.
    This seems like an odd arrangement but one that works with both people are equally uncommitted and neither one has more feelings than the other one does.
    It is NOT a way for a man or women who is in love with someone to try to backdoor their way into a meaningful and equally loving relationship.
    Run and find yourself a man who wants what you want.

  • Ashley

    I appreciate articles like this that show the diversity of human relations. Not everyone finds normative relationships fulfilling. Besides, looking at all the relationship drama around so-called normal relationships showcased here and elsewhere I’d say most of you who are critical of the author would do well to learn from people who forge their own paths. based on what she’s saying, this is a mutual arrangement. At least everyone is being honest. As long as it’s affirming to both of them, what’s the harm anyway?

  • Brewchowskie

    Honestly this just seems really selfish. What you didn’t mention is whether or not the guy is also free to explore other options and how this would make you feel.

    I honestly hope he realizes you aren’t the person he can rely on the rest of his life and isn’t just waiting for you to “come around”.

  • GirlSixx

    Frilationship, Friends with benefits, Situationship, Cuddle Boo….. IT’S ALL THE SAME THING.. don’t let these urban dictionary words make you think otherwise. The terms and conditions are no different when dealing in these areas although people like to think their circumstance is the holy grail.. As long as both parties are on the same page and honest with themselves and each other then a successful outcome can be had.

  • ay

    Not petty. Same situation, but more like a year or two. I’m a very patient person, but I have my limits. I’m tired of the grey area. In fact, I’m extremely turned off by his readiness to dish out girlfriend treatment and his unreadiness to call me his girlfriend. I was going to approach him verbally about it, but he’ll take too long to say very little. Frustrating and painful bc he’s a great guy, but I’ve decided to slowly wean myself off. Wanna move on.

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