You have probably watched a movie where the main romantic protagonists declare that they could “never be just friends: because their romantic feelings are simply too strong. However, what is rarely touched on in the cinematic world of ‘happily ever after’ is that while lovers may not want to be friends, friendship is a vital part of any loving relationship.
Drama can be drab
A solid relationship base of friendship may not seem as dynamic as the cannot live with/cannot live without drama of some couples’ lives. The reality is though that these seemingly passion-driven relationships can create an ever-tightening loop of repetitive behavior followed by the same old reactions, time and time again.
Friendship can benefit you and your partner by helping your relationship grow and blossom through open and friendly communication and connection. Here are 10 reasons why you should consider a friendship with your partner:
- Relationship survival: Deep friendships often stand the test of time, whereas the bright spark of a fleeting passion can soon burn out. Romantic relationships can come and go but strong friendships have a greater chance of lasting. Create a feeling of genuine friendship with your partner to give your relationship a better chance of survival.
- An ally in your corner: The world can sometimes feel like a lonely or harsh place and having a good friend, who is also the person you share your life with, can be a great support. Friendship isn’t just about feelings but often about someone being able to give you practical advice and be there for you when you need it. If your lover is not your friend you might feel alone when the going gets tough.
- Keeps relationships interesting: Some love relationships stray over into the friendship zone if the passion wanes, and many couples admit that they fear this happening if they become too friendly with their partner. The argument goes that keeping some air of mystery helps pique interest. This may be so, but being friends as well means you can get along on so many different levels. Try to bring in a good injection of humor and avoid a humdrum, business-style connection.
- Creates a connection beyond the physical: Friendship adds depth and variety to your union that transcends how attracted to and sexually interested in each other you feel. This bond, when strong, can resonate with who you are as individuals as well as how you connect as a couple.
- Allows you to be yourself: Friendship inspires understanding, empathy, and respect for your partner and vice versa. This can give you both an incredible boost by opening up a feeling of freedom to be who you are without having to limit your thoughts, feelings and life aspirations.
- Easier to get along: When you fall out with a good friend there is a better chance of recovery. You can also disagree without it leading to an all-out conflict. Friendship teaches both of you to know how to communicate, compromise and connect; an anchor to hold your relationship in place when life throws a curveball or two.
- Encourages positive behavior: Unless you have issues yourself that you are not dealing with, you will tend to view friends as people you care enough about to be loving and kind to and not purposefully deceive. These are all attributes you want to experience in your relationship with your partner.
- Stops resentment building: Resentment is often a by-product of lack of communication, whether on one or both sides. When you start to feel unduly taken advantage of or feel annoyed at your best interests being ignored, then feelings of indignation soon follow. If you are friends with your partner then you will feel comfortable communicating to them about how you are feeling. You do not have the emotional space or instinct to begrudge them.
- Emotional support: A confidante is someone you can offload to; a friend in need is a friend indeed. When you are upset or really want to vent or voice your feelings, you turn to a friend. What better way to deepen a bond with a loved one than to feel they are there for you emotionally to soften the landing when you falter and fall?
- Enhances feelings of love: Friendship creates a stronger, deeper and wider relationship with your partner, giving you both the space to fully express your love.
Even if you and your partner started out as friends before becoming romantically involved it is crucial to keep in tune with the friendship element of your relationship to keep positive feelings flowing. Keep in mind that it is healthy to have other friends outside of the relationship, and to reserve some conversations for girls’ or guys’ night out. You cannot put the burden of all your needs on only your romantic relationship. However being lovers and friends is possible, and can be beneficial for the relationship.
If you are looking for help with your relationship, schedule a session with one of our counselors.