•   03/30/2020 01:56:54 pm

Your partner doesn't need to be your best friend too

Your partner doesn't need to be your best friend too

Lately, I’ve come to notice a certain shared impulse by coupled-up friends, acquaintances, and post-Bachelor influencers in the way they talk about their beloved. It shows up all year, but really crops up like kudzu around Valentine’s Day. You’ve no doubt witnessed it in countless Instagram captions, and maybe you’ve even experienced it IRL. It goes something like this:

“Happy Valentine's Day to my partner and BEST FRIEND of 3.5 years.”

“My BEST FRIEND asked me to marry them and I said YES.” “Can’t wait to marry my BEST FRIEND in 932 days!!”

The trope’s become so ubiquitous that it wouldn’t be out of place on bumper stickers, T-shirts, and novelty mugs at TK Maxx. And perhaps you even shared the same confusion as I have, wondering, (extremely Jerry Seinfeld voice) since when is everyone dating their “best friend?”

On one hand, I get it; it’s sweet. It sounds like a pretty nice package deal—companionship, pure affection, unconditional loving support, plus you get to bone on the regular. Behind it, however, therein lies a humble-braggy undertone

The goal of partnership is not to conquer monogamy wholesale, ruling all romantic as well as platonic territories under one flag. It’s lonely at the top, made lonelier when you liquidate those two significant roles into one person. Balance is important, as are boundaries, which is where this whole thing seems the most precarious to me—it's a relationship ideal that seems to valorise this exact lack of boundaries

For the first time, we are turning to our romantic partners to help us transcend that existential aloneness. We still want all the same things that traditional marriage was about—[family life, companionship, economic support, and social status]—but now [we] also want [our partners] to be a best friend, a trusted confidant, and a passionate lover to boot, and all for the long haul, and the long haul keeps getting longer. What we have created in a romantic ambition is one person to give us what once an entire village used to provide.”

The crux of the matter is this: No one person can give you everything you’re ever going to need or want, nor can you do that for someone else—not that we’re likely to stop trying. But don't get me wrong, I love when people find fulfillment and true authentic partnership in others

Look, I’m on your side: the side of love. I want that kind of partnership too—the kind that’s fun and funny, supportive, egalitarian, stingy with judgment and generous with patience, one that allows us to both confidently grow together while simultaneously holding space for each other in times of insecurity. I’m getting better at choosing partners with those kinds of qualities, which is all we can hope for, really—that the people who we reserve a place for in our hearts will deserve it. If it all works out, maybe one of them will want to marry me and I’ll want to marry them back. But make no mistake, when I get up to that altar, I’ll make it crystal clear to every witness in attendance that I did not come here to make friends.

Have a blessed weekend 


Excerpt from @gqmagazine

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