Life After Divorce . . . Benefits of Friendship

By Lindy Earl

You have probably heard the term, Friends with Benefits.  It’s known in the dating world as FWB.  Sadly, I have received messages with nothing more than, “Wanna be fwb?”  That’s it.  They can’t be surprised when their messages are ignored and deleted.

One of the many benefits of on-line dating is the interesting assortment of people you meet, many of whom you would never have met any other way.  One of the benefits of meeting lots of people, is that some become friends.

In over a year of being on-line, the best result was the friendships I’ve made.  Even in my childhood I tended to be friends with men.  When I was part of a couple for 25 years I tended to get along with my friends’ husbands very well, so it’s not surprising to me that I’m gathering a lovely array of male friends on my journey.

What I find interesting is what I can do as a friend that I couldn’t do as a girlfriend.  For instance, friend to friend, I never play the “where do you want to eat?” dance, for which women are known.  I just tell them.  I’m polite, of course, but if they ask, I’m going to answer.  Why didn’t I do this more as a girlfriend?  I don’t know.  Age and experience helped with that.

I can correct manners with a friend, something you can never do with a significant other.  If you suggest that you can wait until they finish chewing to hear that oh-so-fascinating information they are spitting out, along with pieces of crackers they just consumed, then you are controlling and horrible.  If, however, you suggest to a friend that good manners can help them in their career as well as relationships, and their mother will think she did it all, then you’re golden.  How helpful! How thoughtful!  It seems odd, but it’s true.

I would never suggest decorating or rearranging a man’s abode, be it an apartment or house.  The gentleman could, and probably would, see it as invasive. As a woman, I would probably see it as invasive if I saw a guy’s girlfriend decorating his place.  As the friend, however, my ideas are sought after.  I’ve actually been invited to shop with men after we’ve decided to just be friends.

There are definitely joys to having male friends.  They have different perspectives – on men you are dating, on yard work and other house chores, on diet and exercise, and on body image.  When I ask a beau if I’m fat, his only answer can be a quick negative reply.  A friend can tell you the truth!  What I’ve learned is that the skinny twig body made popular in advertising, is not appreciated by men I know.  They tell me nice things, and it’s never to get me into bed, because we truly are just friends, not fwb.

Truthfulness is a lovely benefit of friendship. Some people call it tough love.  You know someone is a true friend when they tell you what you don’t want to hear.  A girlfriend recently called me on this.  I honestly told her, in an effort to spare her more pain, that she would not get the guy back.  She did and I was cast out of her life.  I had hurt her AND I was wrong.  Three months later she returned, declaring the guy an . . . well, not a nice word.  I was truthful but still lost.  I don’t think that would have happened with a male friend.  If I had told him the woman was just going to hurt him, he probably would have believed me and stayed away.  Truthfulness is somehow different when it crosses gender lines.

Yes, there are obvious and incredible benefits to a real relationship – love, hand holding, intimacy, forever.  Actually, when it comes to forever, I’ve found friendships last far longer than relationships.  Yes, there are benefits of couple relationships, but they do not negate the benefits that come from friendship.  Benefits from friendships are better than friends with benefits.

That’s Life After Divorce.

                Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant.  Contact her at or find her on Face Book.