The Difference Between Friends With Benefits and MTLRs

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The Difference Between Friends With Benefits and MTLRs

One of the primary reasons I can date so many women at once and almost never experience drama from any of them is because I am always, always, 100% consistent with my behaviors towards them. I treat FBs like FBs, never like MLTRs. I treat MLTRs like MLTRs, never like FBs, and never like a girlfriend or OLTR. All the women in my life know exactly where they stand with me at all times, with no inconsistency and no deception. They are welcome to stay with me, or to leave me whenever they like without any complaints. Neither person is telling the other what to do. No drama from either is required.

-By Caleb Jones

What is the single most common problem men run into when first attempting nonmonogamous relationships?

It's this:
They screw up the delineation between FB and MLTR.

I define these two terms here and here, but just to review:

FB, or "friends with benefits" or "fuck buddy" is a woman you're regularly (or irregularly) having sex with, but you are not attracted to her beyond very simple friendship.
MLTR, or "multiple long term relationships" is a woman you're having sex with and actually dating. You have real feelings for her. You might even love her (but usually is usually reserved for an OLTR).

The point here is that you're dating an MLTR, but you're just fucking an FB. And this, in a nutshell, is what guys screw up.
I've seen guys say things like, "So I was hanging out with my FB the other day. We went out to a movie, then we had dinner, then she gave me a bunch of drama about . WTF?"
If you're a sharp reader you should be able to immediately identify exactly what that guy did wrong. He took his FB out on date. Maybe he didn't view it as a date, but she did. Guys often don't realize the unspoken messages they're sending to women.

That's exactly what you don't do. You take MLTRs out on dates. You take your girlfriend or your OLTR out on dates. You do not take FBs out on dates. She was an FB, but he was treating her like an MLTR.
As a result, he was sending all kinds of mixed signals, which of course ended up in drama. Drama that was 100% his fault, not hers.

If you treat an FB like an FB, that's fine (as long as you're a nice guy about it). If you then start treating her like an MLTR, that's also fine. The problem comes when you start treating her like an FB again. She's going to immediately react with confusion, anger, and hurt feelings. Then you're in for drama and bitching. You're not being congruent or consistent with her.

The FB Behavior Set
Let's be very specific about how to treat FBs, and how not to treat them. The key is to treat them nicely and with respect, but not like a woman you're dating.

Hollywood, with it's pro-woman, anti-Alpha agenda, has done a great job at portraying a "fuck buddy" or "friend with benefits" as a negative, disrespectful thing. As a result, many women (especially the over-33s) are turned off by the label.

The common image is that of a guy fucking some chick's brains out, then rolling over and saying "Damn! Look at the time! I need to get up early tomorrow for work, so yeah, uh, you need to go now!". The very next image is the poor, half-dressed woman standing out on the sidewalk in the dark of night, her clothes bunched up in her arms, a hurt expression on her face. No.
This is not how you treat FBs. Not if you want them in your life for a very long time (which is always my goal). I have FBs in my life right now that I first started seeing back in 2007. If I treated FBs like the Hollywood version of the Alpha Male, such a feat would be impossible.

It's perfectly fine to spend time with FBs, both before and after sex. Many times an FB will come over to my place, we'll talk, maybe have a drink, then have sex, then relax for a while, talk while watching TV, then she'll go home. Much nicer.

Remember that the first word in "friend with benefits" is friend. I actually have one or two FBs in my life who are, in a sense, my closest friends. I'm serious. These are people I can really confide in, even in ways I can't with MLTRs (who might get jealous if I start taking about other women in my life). One of the many benefits of FBs over MLTRs is that long-term FBs never get jealous; they don't give a shit who you're having sex with. You're just an FB to them. Win / win.

However, notice that in the above example, all the time spent together is happening at my place. We are not meeting up at a restaurant to have dinner, or even lunch. We're not going to see a movie. We're not going to a picnic or the zoo or shopping or any of that shit. That's MLTR zone, and if you start doing that with an FB, you're in for some serious drama.

Your FB is your friend, not your girlfriend, and not a woman you're dating. Would you take one of your guy buddies out to dinner and then to a movie while paying for some or all of his expenses? Would you spend the night with your guy buddy in your bed? Probably not. Then don't do it with FBs. Thankfully I can read your mind, so here are some questions I can see you thinking...
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What if she asks to do that stuff?
You say no. Exactly how you say no is up to you. You can either give her an emphatic no, or you can just blow it off. If an FB ever asks me this kind of thing (which is very rare because I'm so congruent and clear with women) I will usually make some excuse about how busy I am. Which is true. If she keeps pushing, then I'll say no.

Again, me needing to do this is extremely rare. Women are very smart. They know when they're an FB...often before you do.

What if she's an FB, but later you decide to make her to an MLTR?

That's called an upgrade, and it's totally fine. It happens to me often. Some of my all-time favorite MLTRs started out as FBs who later impressed me and whom I upgraded as a result. (And I have downgraded MLTRs to FBs when they start screwing up.)

When you upgrade an FB to an MLTR, just start treating her like an MLTR (but still not an OLTR or GF!). Dates, spending the night, spending more quality time, romantic holding, all that great stuff can now be part of your relationship. Just be very sure that you're upgrading her to an MLTR because she deserves it and not just because you're getting lazy or needy.

Wouldn't it be okay to go out with an FB as long as you made her pay for her own food? And kept a solid frame?
Technically, yes. However most guys who try this end up fucking it up. So I would not do this unless you have a lot of poly/open relationship experience and really know what you're doing.

I do things like this occasionally, but I've been doing this open relationship stuff for years and my frame in this area is rock solid. It also helps if you go somewhere very cheap, like a fast food restaurant. This is also safer to do with younger women (under age 25), since older women tend their provider-sensors up more than younger chicks.

I don't see a problem with letting FBs spend the night. I do it all the time. Many men disagree with the "no FBs spending the night" rule I have. Well, okay then. If you start getting drama from your FB, you'll know exactly why. I'd rather not push the envelope. If there is a worst case scenario, like it's late at night and the FB is drunk or something, then I'll set her up on my couch, tuck her in, then go upstairs and sleep in my own bed.

The last time I spend the night with an FB in my bed was about a month ago when two women were sleeping with me, an MLTR and an FB. My bed is only a queen, and I'm a big bastard, so it was a little crowded. Thankfully both women were small. The FB actually got up in the middle of the night and went to sleep downstairs because she didn't like the fan I sleep with. Poor women...always getting cold.

But you can see how unusual a circumstance that was. Routinely spending the night with an FB, in your own bed after sex, is extremely dangerous and will cause the exact problems I'm trying to warn you against in this post. Don't do it. You asked if I would ever pay for a guy buddy if we hung out somewhere. Yeah, I've done that before. So what's the big deal if I do that with an FB?

The big deal is that your guy buddy is a guy. He's not a chick. When you pay for your buddy's movie ticket, he's not going to start running through all kinds of "What does this mean???" questions or "Wow, he really likes me!" thoughts for the next hour. He'll just think "cool" and then immediately forget about it and shift his thinking to popcorn. So even if you do pay for your buddies when you go out, that still doesn't make it a good idea for you to do it with your FBs.

What if your FB starts complaining that you're not taking her out and stuff? Do I even need to answer that? The answer is NEXT. Soft next her immediately. More importantly, once she's gone, examine your own behavior and make damn sure you didn't screw up the frame. If you look carefully, I think you'll find that you were treating her like an GF or MLTR, at least a little. An FB clearly bitching about how you're treating her is almost always indicative of something you did wrong several steps ago.

There's a reason my FBs never bitch at me, ever. (What little drama I do get usually comes from from MLTRs, where the nature and investment of the relationship is very different.) I hope this helps. As in many areas of life, the key to open/poly relationships is strength, clarity, congruence and consistency.

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This article was originally published on May 19, 2013


  • maldek 2013-05-19 06:34:49

    "The last time I spend the night with an FB in my bed was about a month ago when two women were sleeping with me, an MLTR and an FB. How did you initiate this setting and not get girl/girl drama?

  • Blackdragon 2013-05-19 13:04:06

    The two girls already knew each other. I had the MLTR bring me a "gift", and I simply directed things once they were both over at my place. Life is very good when you don't do monogamy.

  • Ken 2013-05-19 19:23:14

    Closet friends? 😉

  • Blackdragon 2013-05-19 21:40:36

    Don't you just love my Freudian typos?

  • Fedaykin 2013-05-21 20:47:22

    In the past year, multiple FB and MLTRs have been turning up the "wouldn't you like someone to come home to and cook for you?" requests, even so far as "we should get married, but you don't have to be monogamous". I'm pretty sure my frame has been non-provider, hell, I'm unemployed! Also all of these girls are ages 30-34. Do you think I've screwed up or is this more a function of age & a need of security?

  • Jack 2013-05-21 21:20:13

    @Fedaykin: Women want to cook for you and take care of you because that's how they trap you. A real man takes care of himself and is not weakened or betaized by the leverage that women obtain through his own laziness. You didn't screw up. This is just female biology doing its thing to coerce you into following their agenda of enslavement.

  • Adam 2013-06-14 10:15:33

    Hey Bd. If the fb asks to sleep in your bed the first night, how do you say no? I had sex with a girl at about midnight on a Saturday night, and she got pissed when I wouldn't let her stay the night, even thiugh i iffere to pay for her cab, which wouldve been $20 prob in nyc. (Bear in mind this girl was nuts, and I didn't see her again for other reasons). But assuming a girl is cool, what do u say that first night to make it clear you do not want, and will not accept, her sleeping in your bed? I think my confusion may be the old Disney thing of "oh if I don't let her stay the night then she will feel like a slut and that will be mean of me to cause her to feel that way blah blah." Ridiculous thinking I agree. Your site helps me get over this thinking, but it's tricky to know how to say it to them. Thanks.

  • Alpha girl 2013-12-10 20:42:37

    Wow you sound like a sexual predator to me. No doubt! Unless you 100% disclosing your intentions. Does being a predator make you proud? If you are fully disclosed then please dismiss my coment. Thanks!

  • Blackdragon 2013-12-10 22:45:25

    Do you have any factional reasons why you think I'm a sexual predator, or are you just being emotional? I never lie to women, and nothing ever happens with me and women without their full consent, so I can't wait to hear your answer.

  • Bradley 2015-09-01 14:14:12

    I have a quick question Blackdragon; you mentioned that we should only see MLTR's once per week; with that being said, how often (how many times) via the phone and/or text  per week do you recommend that we talk to MLTRs (once, twice, three times etc.)?

  • Blackdragon 2015-09-01 14:18:33

    how often (how many times) via the phone and/or text  per week do you recommend that we talk to MLTRs (once, twice, three times etc.)?
    You should ideally never initiate text/phone/Facebook communication unless it's to schedule your next meet. That's pretty much what I do. If she initiates the communication with you that's fine, provided she doesn't do it every day.  

  • Bradley 2015-09-01 17:42:36

    Also, does it matter on what day of the week that you see your MLTR's? For example, there are some people that suggest that you should never see girls that you're dating on Weekends.

  • Blackdragon 2015-09-02 14:05:43

    It doesn't really matter if your open/poly frame is strong. I usually don't see women on weekends but I do that for my own time management reasons, not because I think it's a bad idea.

  • Joy 2015-09-26 20:05:48

    I'm an older female who would like to be an MLTR of a really neat man I have met, dated, & slept with. I'm pretty sure he's a follower of yours. The problem? I gave him some drama when I first realized I wasn't the only woman he was sleeping with. Although he had told me upfront that he wanted no relationship and/or GF, I didn't fully understand. Now I do. However, he has now soft nexted me. Do I have any hope of returning to my MLTR (he calls us "partners") status? He has avoided face-2-face time with me for 4 weeks now. He only answers my texts & gives excuses for being unable to see me. I would appreciate any advice you could give me. I've never been an MLTR participant & never imagined I would agree to such a thing. But this guy is super nice, funny, & absolutely the most amazing lover I've ever had!

  • Blackdragon 2015-09-27 10:37:38

    He might be a reader of mine (though if he is he's doing the soft next wrong, but most men do the soft next wrong). The only thing I can think of is to be very clear and logical with him on your next text to him. Speak man language, which means direct and blunt. Tell him you want to have sex with him again because you want to make him feel good, and are 100% okay with him having sex with other girls at the same time, and that you respect his freedom. It might not work but it's worth a shot.

  • CharlieFox 2016-01-20 21:05:10

    I require some guidance. She's really really good at screwing me over. She's regularly (everyday so far) sending me nudes or texting me how horny she is for me. Emotionally I want to upgrade her to MLTR just so I can fuck her twice a week instead of once a week because of that, but logically, I know she's worthy of FWB at best based on her past attitude towards me (not keeping me happy and comfortable due to drama/demands). I dont want to ignore her messages cause that'd be ignoring good behavior...and I actually enjoy her nudes and sexting with her. But she's really pushing me to break that minimal-contact-other-than-next-meetup rule. Luckily, I havent initiated contacted at all but still.... Thanks!   -CF

  • Blackdragon 2016-01-21 10:55:41

    She’s really really good at screwing me over.
    That's your fault.
    She’s regularly (everyday so far) sending me nudes or texting me how horny she is for me.
    And this is a problem? Haha. (It's funny how we complain about "problems" most guys in society would love to have. We're awesome.)
    I dont want to ignore her messages cause that’d be ignoring good behavior…and I actually enjoy her nudes and sexting with her.
    Just ignore them two out of every three days. Once every three days, respond and do your sexting. On other days, ignore her. The idea is that you don't want to be responding to her shit every day. Or, option 2, go ahead and respond to her every day and enjoy your sexting. Just realize you're violating the rules and you're going to get drama from her much sooner if you do this, though you may be the type of guy who considers that "worth it."

  • CharlieFox 2016-01-22 21:52:12

    Yea. I see it now. My fault. Some scarcity mindset and definitely outcome dependent. Yea...I kinda want a day or two where she doesnt message me. Annoying thing with whatsapp is that stupid blue check mark thing. I cant even read and ignore. I have to completely not read it. I turned off the 'last online' thing but still shows her I'm online. So if we're both online at the same time, she knows I'm ignoring her. So ignoring her 2 out of 3 days is the solution? Then I'm slightly confused. Cause soft next is pretty much running away from bad behaviour. This is running away from good behaviour. Or the subtle difference is that in the soft next, I dont bring up the topic again, but texting (or sexting) I bring the attention back to that topic? So attention back to the topic is kinda like positive reinforcement even though I've ignored for a few days? ~~~~ How do you normally respond if she literally says (while she's out with friends) "Pick me up and lets go do it." But it's not the next week yet. It's Day 4 only. Or any other time within days 2-5 and messages me and pretty much says DTF? But that's assuming the above is legit horniness. However, she kinda admitted later to offering me sex so that she can get a ride home. LOL! I reframed it and thought she offered it to her friends. Then she some how thought my reply was offensive, claims I dont care if she slept with others, and wants to know if I'm busy or simply dont care. Read and ignored. Then she says she's really tired and contacts are irritating her. Then says thanks for not caring. Doesnt matter if she's currently the only girl I'm having sex with. Dont need abundance mindset if annoyance overwhelmed scarcity mindset. Manipulation and then drama and more manipulation and then sarcasm? Double blue check mark on whatsapp be damned! She can bitch through whatsapp all she wants. I'm just gonna delete those messages and pretend nothing happened and hold back my Alpha 1.0 (the one who really really really wants to tear apart her woman logic). Unfortunately, the stupid blue checkmarks is pretty much the silent treatment so not giving her attention is giving her attention. Damnit damnit damnit!! But BD, before it (or I) screwed up, in regards to the beginning, what would you do if it hasnt been day 5 or 6 yet and she's saying she's DTF? I know having abundance mindset would not ask this question, but wont it kinda train her to be less willing to be DTF? Or it doesnt matter still because of abundance mindset? And what about other messaging apps like whatsapp/wechat/kik/etc where it gives <last online time> and <read messages notification>? How do those affect the effectiveness of the soft next? Thanks! -CF

  • Blackdragon 2016-01-23 12:34:17

    Cause soft next
    It isn't a soft next.
    is pretty much running away from bad behaviour. This is running away from good behaviour.
    You said you don't like her texting you every day, so it's not good behavior.
    How do you normally respond if she literally says (while she’s out with friends) “Pick me up and lets go do it.” But it’s not the next week yet.
    "I'm busy. I don't do well on short notice."
    And what about other messaging apps like whatsapp/wechat/kik/etc where it gives <last online time> and <read messages notification>? How do those affect the effectiveness of the soft next?
    Just live your life and don't worry about it. If she sees you were online, that's her problem. You're all over the place here. Calm down and get a hold of yourself.

  • CharlieFox 2016-01-23 20:54:43

    Thanks BD! Frig... I need more experience in this. Chick logic can reframe everything so it's the guy's fault. "Youre not even treating me as a friend (with benefits), you just see me as an object. You dont care about me if I suddenly died. If you even care just a little bit, you'll offer to pick me up from the subway tomorrow." Yea. My frame wasnt as solid so I did screw up. But that reasoning though... Man. Hahaha! Thanks again BD! -CF

  • Terra 2016-02-20 09:41:27

    I find ur article quite interesting as it brings women into the minds of men. I am currently in a fb relationship in which both of us are in relationships. We have had sex 3 times since November, and do not communicate outside of scheduling our next meeting. We always meet in a hotel and he pays for it. We have a couple drinks, have awesome sex, drink some more and talk about stuff that has happened since we last met, have sex again and then part ways until one of us sends an invitation. I want to talk to him in between, but don't want to come off as needy or clingy so I don't pursue him as I truly do like him. I have this thought in my head that we should meet more than that or at least talk once on awhile, but am I wrong for thinking that considering the situation? Also, do you think I am just a object to him and not much else??

  • Blackdragon 2016-02-20 11:06:11

    Terra - I've just submitted that question to the girls over at Girls With Game. I strongly suggest you start reading over there, since I'm not qualified to give women advice in this area, but the women over there are.

  • Daryl 2016-03-24 15:10:43

    Hey Bd, i just discovered your website today. Good stuff !! So my question is, what's the difference between MLTRs and GFs, since you're dating both of them ?

  • Blackdragon 2016-03-25 11:10:28

    what’s the difference between MLTRs and GFs, since you’re dating both of them ?
    GF is monogamous, MLTRs are not. You're not dating other women if you have a GF. (Or at least you're not supposed to.) With an MLTR you can.

  • Tina 2016-04-16 19:48:27

    I recently had a fwb for four months now. He brings me out to dinner, ask me to stay over every time. usually see each other twice a week. And we went hiking the last time and had dinner outside too. He text me regularly but always just said hi. He talks about lots of his childhood stuff. I think we can be really good friend. He said he really likes me thru text and I told him I only have physical feeling toward him. I am a bit confusing now , as the fwb is he first initial. What is he doing now?

  • Mltr 2017-05-18 00:57:54

    Comment deleted for violation of Rule Number One.

  • MCM 2017-06-01 11:43:56

    I enjoyed your explanation of rules for the different types of relationships and how men can best navigate them. This framework is also a good thing for women to follow if they want to pursue these type of relationships. I'm a woman and use a similar way to balance my fwb, and 2 mltrs. I have a female fwb and mltr and one male mltr and it's been drama free.

  • Miriah2341 2017-06-12 17:13:38

    Well I'm 22 female, I've wanted a fb relationship, so in December 2016 I found one I like him as a fb because I'm not attracted to him enough to bring around family or friends, wow that sounds bad, but I want a relationship... Too! Not with my fb, I kinda only want to be friends with him.. Is that possible? Or do I have to kick him to the curb? Oh and I think I'm becoming an mltr because me and him would once a week go out eat dinner, movies, drink, have sex then I go home, I've slept over only 3 times, we had sex all night one time, I was faded one time, and the last was just because we enjoy each others company... It's been almost 7 months later and in the last couple months he's been thinking of me more than I have him, and he's been paying for everything when we go out I even cut down the outside the bedroom activity to once a month... And now he has been more attracted I feel then before I don't want to hurt his feelings he's a good guy, and okay the main reason I only want to be friends or nothing is because his feelings are getting stronger A. and B. The sex is not lasting as long he cums now before 10 min are even up and it's starting to not be arousing to me, you know? Help!

  • Gil Galad 2017-06-12 19:04:58

    @Miriah2341: LOL the first thing you should do if you're still attracted to him is to flat-out tell him he's not satisfying you and that he needs to last longer if he doesn't want you to leave. And if you're no longer attracted to him, then dump him. Reluctantly fucking a guy you're no longer attracted to - if that's what's happening - is way worse for both of you than hurting him now - because he's gonna be hurt no matter what, just way more if you let things drag - by telling him exactly what you wrote here. And if he accepts his FB status you can't have anymore sleepovers and you shouldn't let him pay for everything; then again, he doesn't sound like a guy who can make this work at all. Just tell it to him straight and see how it turns out, but chances are you'll have to let him go.

  • EP 2018-11-28 08:36:50

    Love this site! Quick question blackdragon, Regarding FB’s, is it okay to open all there Snapchat stories, or it doesn’t matter?

  • E3d2 2019-04-06 13:15:58

    I read your book on Amazon and completely get concept of MLTR, but there are some real every day life issues that I'm struggling with when having two early stage MLTR in the same time (Before the Talk with any of them). How to deal if one MLTR comes to the same bar while I am having a date with another MLTR and doing KINO/kissing ? Cause inevitably some level of drama will happen and she can even make a scene, even if my EFA in first month is ideal. Second problem is similar. It's a kind of weird to have a dinner date with MLTR, sex on a nearby beach and then not kiss her at the end of the date when you drive her home/wait Uber with her. Obviously sometimes people that I know see that as social scene in my city is not that big, and they might share with other MLTR that comes from the same social circle. Are you kissing MLTR at the beginning/end of date or not because that can seen by her as a boyfriend behaviour?