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6 Ways To Become Better Friends With Your Significant Other

It seems like every wedding I’ve been to in the last few years (and I go to a lot of weddings) has centered around the theme “today, I marry my best friend.” If being friends with your significant other wasn’t the main theme, it was at least a sub-theme or decoration. Or part of the toast. And every one of the couples was really invested in being best friends or becoming better friends their relationship.

So are you doing something wrong if you don’t think of your partner as your best friend? I mean, your best friend is your best friend, and sure, you love your partner with your whole heart, but he or she hasn’t dethroned your bestie. And that’s OK, according to Aaron Anderson of The Marriage and Family Clinic. That’s because the roles of spouse and best friend are very different. It’s important to get along and enjoy spending time together, but a spouse shouldn’t be the only person you talk to about everything. Especially when it comes to venting about your spouse (who will absolutely get on your nerves at some point).

While you certainly don’t have to replace your current best friend with your partner, there are some things you can do to take your relationship friendship game to the next level. You’re probably already doing some of these, but if not, no worries. It’s never too late.

1. Share Experiences

Shared experiences bring you and your partner closer, more so than buying each other gifts, according to Mridu Parikh in an article for lifestyle site Tiny Buddha. You’ll feel closer even if those shared experiences involve pain, according to the Association for Psychological Science. So take trips together, go on adventures, try new things, and do actual activities on a regular basis.

2. Share Your Feelings

Friends share things. Especially feelings. If you want to relate to each other on a deeper level, you’ll need to open up and let your partner experience your hopes, fears, dreams, and vulnerabilities, according to mental health nonprofit site Help Guide. And remember that part of sharing is also listening.

3. Practice Empathy

One of the most important things friends do for each other is provide empathy and understanding, according to Amanda Robb in an article for Oprah’s O Magazine. Empathy means relating to your partner’s feelings and making him or her feel understood, which helps validate your partner’s feelings and gives comfort, according to Robb. A lack of empathy creates serious distance.

4. Have Fun

Having fun and being playful is something all friendships have in common. Having fun can be as simple as laughing each other’s jokes or leaving each other silly notes, according to Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. of Psych Central. Playfulness is also a quality you and bring into the bedroom.

5. Be A Cheerleader

If you want to be better friends with your partner, you need to be a constant cheerleader, according to life coach and mentor Michael Hyatt. This includes celebrating even the smallest of your partner’s accomplishments and bragging about him or her to your friends and family.

6. Be The Kind Of Friend You Want

To have a friend, you need to be a friend, according to Hyatt. This doesn’t just include the standards, such as being a good listener and being kind, but also more complex behaviors, like encouraging your partner to be their best self, being honest, showing an interest in the things they’re interested in, and reminding them of their best qualities.

Who would have thought that one of the keys to a better relationship was good-old-fashioned play? Sounds like the best kind of work to me.

Images: Giphy (6); Pexels

Should You Be Best Friends with Your Boyfriend?

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Recently Scarlett Johansson said her fiancé, Romain Dauriac, is her best friend. Obviously it’s always a positive to like the guy you’re in love with, but what’s the line between enjoying each other’s company and being the co-dependent couple who can’t swing going solo anywhere?

“Couples who have enduring relationships tend to be the ones who say their partner is their best friend,” says Charles Schmitz, Ph.D., a relationship expert and co-author of Building a Love That Lasts, who, along with his co-author and wife, Elizabeth Schmitz, spent two years interviewing happy couples around the world as research for the book. What the Schmitzs found: Out of the more than 100 successfully married couples they interviewed, many of of whom had been together for 20-plus years, all listed their spouse among the top five closest friends in their social circle. “But that doesn’t mean they’re smothering each other or that they have to do everything together. It means that they support each other, have each others’ backs, and genuinely love spending time together,” Elizabeth Schmitz explains. Here, four ways to keep your BFF-bond-without becoming that creepy couple.

1. Know yourself. The next time a friend invites you to hang out, check your gut before you check if your guy wants to tag along. Does the invite sound fun? Lame? Or do you have no idea until you ask your guy what he thinks? “Not having a clear sense of what you want can be a sign you may be too swept up in the relationship,” warns Barbie Adler, relationship expert and president of Selective Search, a Chicago matchmaking firm. Instead of phrasing the invite so the decision is all on him (“Jen and Mike are going rafting on Saturday. Should we go?”) get in the habit of including your thoughts (“Jen and Mike are going rafting on Saturday, and I think it’d be so fun to go!”) when you present the idea. Is he not that into the plan? While it’s not a red flag if you’d honestly prefer to turn down the invite in favor of spending the day together, if you feel you’re the one always passing up plans, or that he’d be mad or jealous if you went without him, it could be a warning sign that the relationship may not be as close as it seems. “You should never feel pressured to spend time with your partner,” Charles Schmitz says.

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2. Leave some breathing room. Even if you want to spend 24/7 together, a little distance is good for both of you, says Adler. Not only does occasionally doing your own thing keep you both growing as individuals, it also ensures you keep your other friendships from fading. “Friends serve a different purpose than boyfriends,” Adler says. “For one, because they’re not as close to you as your partner, they can help give perspective to situations in your life, including relationship situations that may arise.” Plus your friends are friends for a reason: You have a past together, you share the same interests, or you can spend entire workdays sending emoji-filled texts to each other that only the two of you understand. “No matter how much you and your guy may have in common, no one person can play all those roles in your life,” Adler says. The more you remember this, the more you see your guy as one essential part of your world, and not your entire planet.

3. Keep some secrets. While you should never have secrets from your boyfriend or spouse, there are some things he just doesn’t need to know. For example, say a friend reveals she has doubts about her upcoming wedding and swears you to secrecy. You’re dying to tell your guy, but first ask yourself why. If it’s because he might have good advice-maybe his sister was in a similar situation or he has a broken engagement in his past-ask her if she wants his input before you blab. And if she says no? “Respect that,” Adler says. Even if he’s 100-percent trustworthy, there are plenty of ways he could accidentally spill the beans, leaving both of you in an uncomfortable situation with your friend. “If it doesn’t affect him or your relationship, there’s never any reason to spill secrets,” Adler adds.

RELATED: 8 Secret Tips to Go from Casual to Couple

4. Start new traditions with old friends. It’s normal for your friendships to shift when you get serious about a guy-after all, you probably want to spend Friday night hanging out with him rather than prowling the bar with your single girlfriends. But it’s not healthy-or nice-to totally let them fall off your radar because you’re obsessed with your man. So do the legwork and schedule hangouts with the other people who matter in your life. Maybe it’s making a point to go out with the girls once a month or having a standing pre-work coffee date every Monday with your former roommate. And make sure your guy gets solo time with his boys too. If he’s watching the game with the guys on a Saturday, join him if it’s something you’re genuinely psyched to see, but if you’re not into sports, use the time to hit up a matinee with a friend.

  • By Anna Davies

Become Your Man’s Best Friend

While your man might not notice it when you change your hairstyle or wear a new outfit, there is one thing he will notice for certain…when you treat him as a dear friend–as well as your romantic lover. He will feel important, special, heard and cared for. Men are drawn and highly attracted to women who make them feel this way. By becoming your man’s best friend, your relationship will be even stronger and sexier than before.

  1. Make time for togetherness. With jobs, housework, kids and hectic schedules, fun couple time can become a low priority. Move it up the list several notches. Aim to do something fun together once a week–once a month at the very least. Play a game, eat breakfast at a diner or start a water fight while doing the dishes. Friends have fun together.
  • 2. Be patient with your man. Sometimes he might throw his socks on the floor or drive too fast or do a gazillion other things that make you crazy, angry or frustrated. However, the next time you find nagging words about to exit your mouth, stop and look in the mirror. There is a good chance you have flaws, too, and he is probably good at turning a blind eye toward them. Return the favor.
  • 3. Listen to him. When both or either one of you comes in the door at the end of the day, you likely have venting you want to do. That is perfectly valid and vent you should. Sometimes, though, let him go first. Sit down next to him and genuinely ask about his day. If he says it was fine, dig a little deeper. Ask him specifics, such as how a meeting went or what his crazy coworker talked about at lunch. Soon he’ll be spilling to you and you’ll both be feeling closer than ever.
  • 4. Show an interest in what he loves. You don’t have to attend every game – although if that sounds like fun, go for it. Simply pay attention and ask questions about his hobby or passion. Learn some of the lingo, catch team stats online or hang out with him once in a while in the garage. You might be happily surprised when he offers to take you to that new restaurant that opened or inquires your latest class.
  • 5. Be kind to him. Make yourself aware of the way you treat him in general. Ask yourself if that is how you would treat your best friend. If so, great. If not, think about changes you can make and look forward to a healthier, happier relationship.

Also On 106.7 WTLC:

My boyfriend is my best friend, which means every day gets to be filled with love, laughter and the perfect dose of craziness.

1. He sees you in true form. There’s right before bed, zit cream and all. There’s drunk you with eye liner smeared on your face and nacho cheese in your hair. There are a lot of yous he has endured. It’s actually laughable how bad you have looked around him and how little you care.

2. You’ve become so comfortable with each other that embarrassment is no longer a factor.

3. You have each other’s outfit ensembles nearly memorized. “I’m wearing the maroon shirt.” “With the tan shorts and brown watch?” “Yup.”

4. You have had moments where you both felt like you couldn’t stand anyone else but each other for the moment.

5. Your families are way too comfortable around you both at this point and absolutely nothing gets held back.

6. You become obsessed with certain restaurants and foods for different periods of time.

7. You two have way too many inside jokes that no one else understands.

8. You may even have sayings and phrases that basically create your own dorky little joke language.

9. You start to know instantly if the other will be interested in something. So, you’re constantly sending each other videos and articles.

10. You’re got him down to a science so much so that he knows if he were ever to try anything shady, you’d bust him immediately.

11. You really aren’t worried he is every going to do anything shady anyway.

12. He knows all of the intricacies of your circles at work and with friends. “She did what?! Sorry baby, we all know how she is.”

13. You’ve become so used to all of his gross little habits that they have started to become strangely endearing.

14. You have had many occasions where you have laughed uncontrollably at something and had that amazing moment in between gasps that you look over and realize you’re in love with the way he laughs.

15. You have TV shows that you watch together, and if one of you were to watch it without the other you both know that may result in World War III.

16. Your snack preferences have become quite aligned.

17. You have quirky little traditions like sneaking Dollar Tree candy into the movies that you refuse to let go of.

18. You don’t have to be talking to each other 24/7 to know that you have each other in mind. You actually can go a little while and be completely fine, he’s your best friend not your PO.

19. He ends up knowing way more about your menstrual cycle than any poor guy should ever have to know.

20. You are pros at napping and cuddling.

21. You have so many photos together that have just gotten progressively more ridiculous and goofy looking as time has gone on.

22. You’ve been super embarrassing in public together on more occasions than you’d like to admit.

23. You have gotten obnoxiously drunk just the two of you and had an absolute blast.

24. You think your dance moves together are impeccable.

25. You have become way too competitive and have half about killed each other in the name of a board game. Pretty-Pretty Princess can escalate quickly, trust me.

26. Your actual fights start to trail off into playful fighting by the time they are over.

27. You have done some pretty childlike things together, like build forts or make up ridiculous games.

28. He has started to not even take you seriously when you freak about about things that he knows you really don’t care about.

29. You can be in a room full of people and make eye contact at the exact moment you’re both recognizing how stupid something was that someone just said.

30. You’ve had a few wrestling matches that could have gone from playful to WWE real quick.

31. You know each other’s music way too well, even if you really hate it.

32. You mutually dislike certain people. You agree together if someone is a pretentious ass and you’d like to avoid them like the plague.

33. You get a lot of ideas together for new hobbies and experiences. You have probably even made bucket lists.

34. You have become absolute masters of long car rides together.

35. You have no problem telling him when you think he’s being a giant idiot, and he doesn’t have a problem telling you either.

36. You love each other’s pets like they are your own. And if you have your own pet it becomes like the blessed baby Jesus to the two of you.

37. There is a lot of random singing and dancing that goes on between the two of you. The videos are incriminating.

38.Your gifts for each other range from genuinely special to downright ridiculous.

39. You both know exactly when it’s time to pour another glass, order take-out, and give really big kisses.

40. You both know deep down that through all of the goofiness, what you have is a rare and special find. You have someone you can connect with, love, and trust, and also someone who makes you laugh so much that your stomach hurts. The lasting love is the one that is built on both passion and true friendship. You know you’ve hit the jackpot with this one.

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Tags: being in love, best friends, boyfriend, couple, couples, friendship, girlfriend, humor, love, marriage, my boyfriend is my best friend, relationships, thoughts

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My boyfriend is a lot of things to me.

What I Own: Tristan, 26, who paid a £11,500 deposit for a three-bedroom home in Strood

He’s my companion, my therapist, my support system and my favourite person to spend a Saturday night with. He entertains me, and advises me, and is, not to put to fine a point on it, bloody great in bed.

He shares my passion for food made predominantly from butter and garlic, and knows when I need love and sympathy (as opposed to when I need to be told to stop being a spoiled brat).

No relationship is perfect. But we’ve build something pretty wonderful.

In spite of all of that, my boyfriend (and soon to be husband) is not my best friend.

When I hear people say the phrase ‘my partner is my best friend’, I wince a little bit. I’m not hearing a loving declaration of commitment. I’m hearing ‘I have given up on all life external to my relationship. I cannot see beyond the walls of my romantic attachment.’

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The kind of person who calls their significant other their best friend is probably also the kind of person who’ll pass on your deepest darkest secret to their partner, and then act surprised that you didn’t want their other half to know about your one-night stand/inverted nipple/crippling debt spiral.

I’m not knocking couples. I’m in one. I like the one that I’m in so much that I’m getting married in eight weeks.

But however close you are, you still need friends. You need best friends.

A best friend is something different from a boyfriend. A completely separate entity. It’s not better or worse, it’s just different.

It’s a person who you have an additional loyalty with, who you can confide in and support. Someone who doesn’t have to bite their tongue because you’re hoping to spend the rest of your lives together.

By promoting your boyfriend (or girlfriend) to the role of best friend, you put all your eggs in one basket. There is only one person in your life who you have to make a priority.

We all have a tendency to develop tunnel vision when we get into a relationship, making us and them the only thing that matters. But it’s not healthy.

However great your other half is, they are only one person. They can’t cater to every single need you have.

Unless you have literally identical interests, your partner isn’t always going to want to do exactly what you want.

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By giving the ‘best friend’ role to an internal candidate, you put a heavy burden on their shoulders. Yes, they might trail around Primark with you, or go to a concert for your favourite niche 90’s band. But do they really want to?

There’s also something insular about couples who claim to be each other’s best friends. It’s a statement which says ‘I don’t need anyone else because I have a partner.’

We all know someone who ditches their friends (and sometimes their former life) when they get serious with a romantic partner, and let’s face it, it’s not a nice trait in a person.

Romance is wonderful. It makes Sunday afternoons fun and gives you someone to plan a future with. But platonic friendship is glorious too.

The great news is that no-one is ever going to make you chose between them. So why do some people decide that they want to?

Denial? An inability to maintain more than one relationship at a time? Pure smugness?

I can’t help thinking that people who claim their other half are their best friends are in fact in denial of the fact that through being a nightmare smug-married type couple, they’ve lost their friends.

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Your partner is your partner, and that’s a wonderful thing. But there are no certainties in life, and creating a situation where you’re entirely dependent on one person for all of your emotional needs just isn’t smart.

So the next time you serenely announce, ‘my partner is my best friend’, I suggest that you take a long hard look in the mirror, and then take some time to get in touch with your actual friends.

This article is part of our Friendship Week – a week-long exploration of the ins and outs of modern friendship.

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When we meet the right person for us, there’s no denying that it’s obvious. Sometimes, we’re lucky enough to be blessed with an individual in our lives that makes us a better person and brings out all of the sunshine, rainbows and happiness – even on our darkest days.

These people are special – as cheesy as it sounds. It’s rare that you find the person who completes you in more than one way. Sometimes, our SO is not only there for us romantically, but in the way we always need a friend.

1. They’re the first person you call with news.

Good or bad, your boyfriend is the first person you text or call when something goes down in your life. It’s a no brainer to you – no matter what happens, you immediately want to fill them it. From the big things – like landing your dream job – to the small ones – like getting a free donut with your coffee – you always want to fill them in on what is happening in your world.

2. You can talk to them about anything and everything.

When you’re in a relationship that is not only romantic, but also supportive and healthy, you can talk to them about anything in your life. You’re not embarrassed or ashamed – you have nothing to hide from them. You can call them with gossip when you’re having a bad day, or let them know about an ingrown hair that’s f*cking killing you – it doesn’t matter the subject, it just matters that they are always there.

3. Money isn’t an issue.

Sometimes in relationships, things get real awkward in terms or finances. Some women are convinced that men always have to pay for everything – no matter how long they’re together. But, when you reach that sweet spot in your romance, money means nothing. You don’t mind throwing down your card for the bill when you go out to eat and you don’t care when they need to borrow a $20 at the bar to play their favorite songs on the juke box.

4. You don’t need to always be “on.”

Sweatpants, hair tied, chilling with no makeup on. When you’re with someone who really loves you and values you, you don’t have to always look your best. You also don’t always have to feel your best – because, lets face it, no one is always 100% all of the time. You don’t have to be “on,” and always rocking and rolling to be around them, you can be a little under the weather physically or emotionally from time to time. They get you, they love you, they don’t care.

Have you and your partner reached the elusive “BFFF” level in your relationship?

#1. You trust him to order your food for you.

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Whether it’s at Nando’s, Chipotle, or Pizza Hut, you never need to worry about accidentally eating an olive or those filthy-tasting black beans. He knows exactly what you want, and how you want it.

#2. He can make you laugh like no one else.

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You can never hold a straight face whenever he’s in one of his funny moods. Which is 99% of the time.

#3. Gift-giving is super easy.

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You know exactly what to give each other. So much so that his other friends and siblings always ask you for advice and inspiration.

#4. You’re not afraid to be yourself around him.

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From random dance-a-thons to snorting laugh offs — he loves it all.

#5. He’s the first person you run to for advice.

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There’s no one else you trust more when you’re at your most vulnerable. You’re certain he’ll tell you exactly what you need to hear, because he always has your best interests at heart.

#6. You can talk for hours on end without getting bored.

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It’s funny how the two of you never run out of things to say, whether it’s his weird neighbor, or the crisis in Malaysia, or the fact that real dinosaurs had feathers.

#7. You can also sit in comfortable silence together.

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There’s never a need to fill in every gap in the conversation. You love to spend quiet afternoons doing nothing together, because there’s no one else you could be like that with.

#8. You can talk about things like your period with him and not gross him out.

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Your uterus flushing itself out of you every 28 days is something that he has to live with as well. He’s heard you complain about your period pains so much, he’s already taught himself to anticipate your “visitor” and have the proper provisions ready to ease your discomfort.

#9. He’s seen your actual #NoMakeup face, and loves you anyway.

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You don’t feel pressured to dress up for him all the time. Even on days when you feel like Medusa, he’ll still say you look beautiful… and mean it.

#10. You bicker and argue all the time like a married couple.

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You love him even when you don’t like him. When you fight, you get torn between wanting to murder him and make out with him. But you know that it will only take a minute before you guys are laughing at The Simpsons reruns again.

#11. The more time you spend with each other, the less you fight about major things and more about who’s getting the last Pringle.

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“What do you mean there’s no more pizza left???”

#12. You can be honest with each other without any hurt feelings.

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You’re way past sugarcoating. If you ask him whether you look fat in that dress, expect to be told the truth.

#13. You’re weirdly competitive.

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You have mini races when running on the treadmill in the gym, or hold your own guessing games while watching Jeopardy. Loser buys ice cream.

#14. You have weird rituals and arrangements.

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The weekly burrito date is a thing right? All couples have an evening where they stay at home and cuddle by wrapping themselves in a blanket like a giant human burrito. Eating real burritos is optional.

#15. Your texting game trumps everyone else’s texting game.

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He always has the right emoticons up his sleeve.

#16. You both dislike the same people.

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You can’t help it, hate is very contagious. You don’t even know his weird colleague who steals his lunches but already you want to choke the guy.

#17. You seriously suspect that you can read each other’s minds.

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Her look would seem like a simple glance to some, but to you it could mean, “let’s blow this joint,” or, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse,” or, “look at that guy’s stupid suspenders.” Of course you can tell the difference. It’s all in the eyes.

#18. You have inside jokes that no one else understands.

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Sometimes you feel that you both speak in a different language. You could just point to something random like a small cactus and you’d both burst out laughing. Your friends have given up asking for explanations because it happens all the time, and none of would understand anyway.

#19. Sometimes you forget to be nice.

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This is especially applicable to petty cash. You probably owe each other hundreds of dollars worth of lunches and gas money already. But who’s counting?

#20. You’re comfortable enough with each other to not have to leave the room when you fart.

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It often spirals into a game of who can break wind the loudest.

#21. Sometimes you get too comfortable and forget that you are in public.

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Him: “Hey honey can you look at my chest real quick, I think I have a rash.”

Random six-year-old in the grocery store: “Mommy, why is that man showing his nipple to that woman?”

#22. When you receive any kind of news, he’s the first person you want to tell it to.

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Sometimes you wait until you get home before opening that email from your boss, or before reading those test results. You want him to be right beside you to celebrate, or cry if need be. He’s your always-available, unfaltering support system.

#23. You’re there for each other, through the good times and the bad.

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You sometimes ask yourself how crazy it is to have found another soul as silly as you, someone who just ‘gets’ you, and who ultimately makes your life all the more colorful.

#24. The thought of spending a lifetime with him doesn’t freak you out.

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You’re pretty sure that all the weird shit you do now will never get old. As a matter of fact, the prospect of spending your growing years with your best friend excites you. Can you imagine yourself growing gray and wrinkly with anyone else?

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Does Your Partner Also Need to Be Your Best Friend?

  • “My husband is my best friend. I’d rather spend my time with him than with anyone else.”
  • “My wife is wonderful, and I can talk to her about things I can’t talk to my guy friends about. She’s my best friend.”
  • “I can talk to my women friends about things my husband would never understand.”
  • “My wife is great, but she doesn’t share a lot of my interests. My best buddy and I do ‘guy’ things together.”
  • “One of the advantages of being gay is that my wife is also my best friend. We have great sex, and we can talk about anything and everything.”
  • “I wouldn’t bring sex into my friendships; and friendship would destroy the passion and romance in my marriage.”

These six people have six different points of view about whether your spouse should be your best friend. And that’s only a small sampling of the responses I got when I asked people whether they thought a spouse should also be a best friend.

A gay married man said, “That’s such a hetero question. It depends on what works for a specific couple.”

A woman who is single by choice said, “I don’t think there are any rules about this. I wish people would pay more attention to what they want, and not to what is supposed to be right.”

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There isn’t a lot of research on the topic, but one study reports that there is a significant difference in life satisfaction between individuals who report that their spouse is their best friend and those who separate their friendship from their marriage.

John Helliwell of the University of Vancouver studies happiness around the world. In research on the links between marriage and happiness, he and his colleague Shawn Grover found a positive correlation between marriage and life satisfaction in couples that said that their best friend was also their spouse. Working with the National Bureau of Economic Research in Canada, Helliwell and Grover drew their data from the British Household Panel Survey, the United Kingdom’s Annual Population Survey, and the Gallup World Poll. The researchers hypothesize that having a partner with whom you can talk and share life struggles is an important part of feeling satisfied with your life, even in difficult times.

But among the men and women I interviewed, the question was more complex. A young widow told me:

“My husband and I had a wonderful, passionate relationship before he got sick. We were best friends, too. He was the only person I wanted to spend time with, and until the illness hit he was the person I could talk to about anything and everything. But during the time he was so sick, I didn’t have anyone I could talk to about how I felt. I couldn’t tell him everything anymore. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so alone and lonely in my life.”

A single woman said:

“I love being alone. I also love my friends. And I have a couple of male friends who are also my lovers, but I wouldn’t want to be married to either of them. Well, I don’t want to be married to anyone. I don’t think I could possibly be more satisfied with my life than I am right now.”

Bella DePaulo, a Psychology Today blogger and author of Singled Out, says something similar. As she has written:

“For people like me who are single at heart, getting married may not have the same implications as it does for the kinds of people who want to marry and choose to do so.”

Research shows that close relationships affect our sense of well-being. Psychologist Mathew Lieberman, author of Social, says that our brains are “wired to connect.” Attachment theorists and neuroscientists like Alan Schore and Daniel Siegel agree. But are there, perhaps, different ways of connecting?

For some of us, marriage and friendship go together perfectly. But for others, separation of the two is the better way to go. Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, authors of Connected, say it’s important to understand that connections to others are key to our emotional and physical well-being.

So it may just be that how you connect, and who you connect to, is less important than that you connect. As Sophia Dembling, a Psychology Today blogger and author of The Introvert’s Way, reminds us, how we connect to others is an individual choice.

For just that reason, each of us may have a different way of connecting to lovers, spouses, and friends. And our approach may change over time. That young widow who had been best friends with her husband chose to expand her platonic friendships:

“My friends could never replace my husband, but they offered me other kinds of connections and support. And when I fall in love the next time, which I believe I will do some day, I will work very hard to keep these other relationships in my life.”

What about you? Where do you stand on this question?

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Going from Friend to Boyfriend/Girlfriend

It’s an age-old dilemma: are your friends on or off limits for dating? On the one hand, you don’t want to ruin the friendship. But on the other, some of the best relationships come out of two people who were friends first. If you and a friend have discovered you have feelings for each other, here’s how to make the transition while protecting both your friendship and each other.

Take it slow. Going from friends to boyfriend and girlfriend is a big transition. The slower you take it, the less likely someone is to get hurt if, in the end, one of you decides you’re actually better off as just friends. Instead of jumping into a serious relationship right away, take a few weeks to slowly start hanging out more and get more intimate. During this time, keep analyzing your feelings and making sure that a relationship is really what you both want.

Keep it quiet. New relationships are exciting. And although you may feel like telling everybody, at the beginning it might be best to try to keep this one quiet. That way, if things don’t work out, it won’t be as awkward because less people knew about it in the first place. And the less awkward it is, the easier it will be to resume your original friendship.

Get your information about the relationship from each other. If you’ve just started dating one of your friends, chances are you guys have friends in common. Resist the urge to ask your friends what your new significant other has said about you, and also resist the urge to talk (too much) with your friends about them. Instead of getting information about your feelings through a game of telephone (where you’re never getting the correct info), get you information about the relationship from each other. If you have a question about the relationship, ask it. And make clear that your friend/new bf/gf should do the same. Don’t play games, be overly sensitive to each other’s feelings, and be open and honest with each other. The more fairly you treat one another, the less likely that your friendship will be ruined if things don’t work out.

Keep the peanut gallery out of it. There’s nothing juicier than a friend hook up. And it’s likely that most of your friends will have some sort of opinion about the relationship. That’s all fine and good, but don’t let their opinions influence your own. No one completely knows a relationship except for the two people in it. And any relationship decisions you’re going to make should be coming from you and your new significant other, not the influence of your friends. It’s about what the two of you want as a couple, not what all your friends want as a group.

Don’t let it ruin the friendship. One of the strangest things about making the transition may be suddenly not knowing how to act around someone you used to feel totally comfortable around. If this is the case, don’t over think it. As best you can, keep the friendship and your interactions the same. The only difference is that now when you see your friend you may kiss them instead of hug them, you may hang out more, and be more intimate. But the friendship you guys had in the first place should still be a part of your relationship. In fact, it should be the foundation of it. After all, that’s what drove you two together in the first place.

Can you go from being a girl’s best friend to her boyfriend?

Short version:

It’s possible. But it requires clear communication of intent and shared desire to change the nature of the relationship.

The conversation that’ll require might result in rejection and might change the existing relationship for the worse, or even end it.

Long version:

I hear the word “friendzone” used a lot, and it always seems to be the case that one person (generally a male) became friends with another person (usually a female) with the hope of getting her to see he loves her romantically and getting her to feel the same way about him. Typically, the girl continues to view the guy as a great friend, and the guy wonders how he got “stuck” in this “zone.”

Well, it’s because the guy didn’t make his intentions clear; his actions are consistent with close friendship and he likely never actually says how he feels or what he wants from the relationship.

The girl either doesn’t recognize what the guy wants, or has that wonderful cover: plausible deniability.

My ex and I spent a few months hanging out as friends, but during that time, we talked a couple of times about the status of our relationship. The first of those times we mutually decided to keep things as they were. The second time, we decided to give the whole “couple” thing a try.

The change in status didn’t “just happen,” it took some communication and shared desire.

Losing your partner in a breakup sucks. Like, a lot. We have that part covered. But one just-as-vital detail? If your boyfriend was also your best friend, you not only have to deal with the loss of your guy, but that your entire social and emotional life structure has been uprooted, too.

I have the kind of relationships where my boyfriends are unequivocally my best friends, wherein we attend events together, spend serious casual time together on top of planned out date-night time, are full-disclosure kind of friends–and naturally, frolic in flower fields together like the people in the photo above. (If you haven’t caught the news lately, New York City is currently overcome by a gross invasion of sunflowers; the boroughs are covered in stalks nine-feet high, and we can barely navigate the streets. This is all completely true.)

Last year, when C and I broke off a year-plus relationship that we thought could lead to a marriage, we tried a friendship that worked for a while–at least for me; he was having a really hard time, but for my sake, tried to grin and bear it–until he got a new girlfriend, and I had a hard time accepting it. (And that takes the award for understatement of the century. My mom, J, whom I’d already started seeing, and my therapist were all there to help me through it, and I owe them the world for it.) We stopped talking. And I felt completely empty.

Up to the point where I told C that I couldn’t see him any longer, we were still spending four or five days a week together–unhealthy, and still acting like we were together, I know, I know, Glamour DON’T–and he was still the lynchpin of my social life. I told him everything exciting, and even not so exciting, that was happening in my life. All of a sudden, I had to rejigger my life; of course I had other friends to whom I could tell things, and with whom I could spend time, and I did. But regardless of how much compensating you do, losing a presence that strong is traumatic and distressing.

I suppose one could argue against “putting too many eggs in one basket,” but I’m not even sure that’s it; my best girl friend, Anna, with whom I grew up, lives out in Chicago, and although we don’t spend hours together and only see each other a few times a year, if I lost her in my life, I’d be devastated. And, well, what’s the other alternative? Putting up walls to make sure you don’t get too close and get hurt? That doesn’t sound like a fulfilling relationship to me.

You often hear people describe their S/O as their ‘best friend’. But when it comes to thinking of your partner as your closest pal, there seem to be two, very opposite, schools of thought: 1) it’s awesome and means you’ll have a more intimate relationship with a great connection and 2) it’s weird and really not healthy.

Personally, I admit I’m down with the first and think of my boyfriend as one of my best pals. We laugh… a lot. We goof around 24/7 and our relationship (and sex life) is based on having fun and being honest, meaning we tell each other loads of personal stuff. Maybe this is because our relationship is built on a 10-year friendship (we became friends when I was 16 and got together a decade later). We’re both happy to talk about our past relationships in detail, and don’t feel jealous or insecure when the other talks about past sexual experiences. I put this down to our underlying friendship and really value the chilled, ‘matey’ vibe of our relationship – I wouldn’t change it for anything.

But how healthy is it?

Why it could be a bad thing

While I consider my boyfriend to be my legit bezzer, that doesn’t mean I don’t have other friends. Because when your partner is your only close friend, that’s when you enter dangerous territory, right? We all know our S/O can’t be the one and only person to give us everything we need (unending laughs, support, motivation, orgasms) and so when we expect them to, it can end in us not only becoming overly reliant on them, but frustrated and disappointed when they can’t deliver the high emotional, physical and psychological demands we’re putting on them.

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I spoke to relationships expert Suzie Parkus to find out if considering your partner your best friend is a good thing, or potentially harmful to your relationship.

Suzie explains that when someone’s partner is their ‘best friend’ and tells them absolutely everything, it can have a few possible outcomes depending on the type of person they are.

“Sharing and oversharing becomes a fine art to master.”

While your partner should love you for who you are, in all your complicated glory, there can be a balance to be struck for some couples. “Sharing and oversharing becomes a fine art to master in relationships in order to not tip the balance.”

While this will vary wildly from couple to couple, depending on what they consider acceptable within a relationship, Suzie says there are a few behaviours you may want to avoid, even if you are close pals.

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“Not giving each other space and privacy is important in maintaining a relationship and sexual chemistry,” she says. Y’know, just because you’re close, it doesn’t mean you need to be each other’s shadow.

Why it can be great

In most relationships, regardless of gender, there is often one partner who is more open emotionally and one who is more closed. This can result in couples not feeling able to talk honestly about their feelings with each other. But if they’re dating someone they think of as a BFF, it may mean they’re more likely to open up, Suzie says.

“This brings about a huge sense of closeness, comfort and connection. It’s a massive juncture in the relationship and says a lot about the strength of a relationship, too.”

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Being best mates can also affect the overall energy of a relationship, Suzie explains. “You tend to laugh and let go a lot more. When you’re carefree and joyful with your partner, this then transcends into awesomeness in the bedroom.”

Overall, Suzie reckons achieving BFF status with your partner “brings greater levels of closeness and connection” which results in you both being more relaxed within yourselves and the relationship.

Just be sure to give yourselves the space and independence you both need, whether that’s separate groups of friends, or just binge-watching a TV show whether your S/O is there or not. #SorryNotSorry

Related Story Paisley Gilmour Sex & Relationships Editor Paisley is sex & relationships editor at Cosmopolitan UK, and covers everything from sex toys, how to masturbate and sex positions, to all things LGBTQ. She definitely reveals too much about her personal life on the Internet.

Peter Pearson and Ellyn Bader are founders of the Couples Institute in Menlo Park, Calif., and the authors of “Tell Me No Lies.” They’ve also been married for more than 30 years. Dr. Pearson said there’s a critical difference between a best friend and a spouse. “One of the criteria for a best friend is you feel unconditionally accepted,” he said. “Do I care if my buddy Mark is messy in the kitchen, leaves his bathroom a shambles and doesn’t pay his income taxes?”

But with a spouse, he said, you can’t avoid these topics.

Dr. Bader said that when couples are just getting to know each other, they often say they’re companions, and she’s fine with that. When couples have been together 30, 40 or 50 years, they use similar language, and that can be the mark of a healthy relationship.

“It’s the in-between ones, when they use the language of friendship, my stomach turns,” Dr. Bader said. “It’s a red flag for a lot of conflict avoidance and intensity avoidance. It often means they’ve given up on the complexity of being with somebody. Instead of saying, ‘Oh, well, that’s who they are,’ it’s better if they try to work things out.”

Dr. Bader said that she wished popular magazines would challenge the notion that you shouldn’t get married to change someone. “I think that’s what marriage is about,” she said. “It’s where some of the juices come from, and it’s also how you get the best out of the person you marry.”

A good marriage, she said, is when people “push each other, challenge each other, encourage each other and, yes, change each other.”

Asked if they were best friends, they laughed. “We’re good friends,” Dr. Pearson said.

“Really good friends,” Dr. Bader said. “He’s lots of things that my best friend isn’t, but my best friend is lots of things he’s not.”

And that may be the point: Calling the person you’re married to your best friend may be shorthand for saying that you actually like your spouse and that you have shared history, shared lives and shared dreams. But in the end, the expression doesn’t do justice to the full meaning of marriage or to the full meaning of friendship. After all, if your spouse is your best friend, then whom do you complain to your spouse about?

13 Qualities That Make Him Not Just Your Boyfriend, But Your Best Friend

Just because the two of you hang out together, like, all the time doesn’t make your boyfriend your best friend. Being a boyfriend is a surface-level quality.

You go to meals together, you stay in and watch movies, you caress each other’s face and hump a little bit. It’s all very obvious.

Being a best friend, however, involves a lot more understanding and acceptance. It goes deeper than holding hands or showing up to places together.

It’s knowing who that person is and loving him because he makes you better. It’s palling around because you feel more whole in his presence.

You couldn’t imagine making decisions without his insight. He couldn’t imagine not having you there.

There are some qualities and experiences, beyond the duties of a boyfriend that make him your best friend.

1. He’s the first person you send your goofy selfie to

Whether it’s an interesting article or an “I’m bored” Snapchat, your boyfriend is the first person on the receiving list. Even when you feel like you’re totally harassing him with silly Internet findings, he always wants to be bothered by you.

There’s never not a time he doesn’t want to hear from you — no matter how ridiculous your Look-I’m-Eating-A-Sandwich! selfie is.

2. You can sit around all day in your pajamas, sans makeup and tamed hair, and feel totally comfortable

Even when you’re not looking or feeling your best, you know your boyfriend will never judge you based on your appearance.

You don’t have to dress up for him or feel like you have to always be “on.” He’s happy to see you comfortable, in your natural state and just being yourself.

3. It’s not awkward when you split the bill or eat off each other’s plates

You two are so close that it doesn’t matter who pays for what — what’s his is yours and what’s yours is his. Same goes for the food on each other’s plates or the hat on his head or the t-shirts to sleep in.

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You always put on his clothes and don’t tell him that you’re borrowing them. You don’t keep tabs on each other.

4. He loves hearing the trivial play-by-plays of your day

As long as it’s coming from you, it’s riveting.

“My work friend gave me wine for Christmas and then I walked down 21st Street. I stopped and bought a magnet.”

“Wow, babe. You are inspiring. I don’t know how you manage to do it all.”

5. You have endless amounts of inside jokes

The two of you practically speak your own language. You tease each other with playful nicknames derived from your months of experiences together.

Sometimes it feels like it’s just you and your boyfriend existing in a shared bubble.

6. You two stay up talking for hours

It’s not unlike the fun and silly slumber parties you had as a kid. You keep each other up chatting about everything from conspiracy theories, to gossip, to life advice.

It doesn’t matter if you have work in the morning, being tired is absolutely worth spending time talking between pillows.

7. You have fights and immediately get over them

It’s hard to stay mad over his being 15 minutes late when he arrives with flowers. Whatever you’re arguing over, it doesn’t mean anything compared to how much you love each other.

michela ravasio

When you put it into perspective, the two of you realize it’s not productive to argue anymore.

8. You love each other more during those times when you’re being ridiculous together

Sign-hand-dancing in the car to a cheesy Taylor Swift song, getting drunk off rosé and imitating the “Housewives,” dancing purposely goofy to a commercial jingle, texting a million times in a row just because you can — those silly moments are the ones that bring out the best in you and your boyfriend.

You feel so lucky to have found someone who appreciates your version of The Sprinkler.

9. The gross things you do don’t matter

You’ll wear the same sweatpants all weekend and he won’t even notice. You won’t wash your hair even while showering together.

Having full conversations through the bathroom door is completely normal. He’s your best friend. There’s almost nothing that’s off limits.

10. He’ll commiserate with you on your period

“I am having the worst cramps right now. Sorry for being a bitch, my period has made me a blood-shedding monster.”

“Baby, it’s not your period. It’s our period.”

Not even a flinch.

11. You can tell him anything without fear

You know he won’t judge or jump to conclusions or use it against you in the future.

Mauro Grigollo

The difference between being just a boyfriend and being a best friend in addition means being able to turn to each other with the tough, embarrassing, scary, smelly, unbelievable stuff.

12. Pulling pranks on each other is always playful

You never take it personally when he scares you as you’re holding hot tea because you know you’ll make it up to him by misplacing his computer charger in the litter box.

You share the same sense of humor and are on the same page when it comes to having fun. It definitely makes family dinners more interesting.

13. He’ll calm you down

We all have heated, tense moments when we’re not thinking clearly and mentally spiraling down a mind-hole.

He cares enough not to let you get the best of yourself and he isn’t afraid to intervene when your thoughts can’t be trusted. He has your best interests in mind and therefore knows how to soothe you.

Best friend and boyfriend

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