Should Your Lover Be Your Best Friend?
We’re looking at women from coast to coast to coast to tell us whether or not your significant other, partner and/or lover should be your best friend. Is the friendship-romance combo the best there is — or can relationships flourish without the foundation of camaraderie?
As it turns out, it depends on who you ask. Here's what these Canadian women have to say.
Friendship saw us through a miscarriage“Graham is definitely my best friend. With the fertility challenges and miscarriage we have faced in the last few months, being best friends really saw us through a lot of the harder stuff. Also knowing each other to the point of knowing what each other are thinking, anticipating what the other needs alleviated a lot of the need to communicate when we honestly couldn't speak to each other about what was happening without complete breakdowns on either end or both.”
—Sophie Clodge, 31, Ottawa, ON
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From friends to lovers“One year into my romantic relationship with my best friend and I can’t understand why we didn’t start dating sooner. At the same time, I’m thankful that our friendship was able to mature to the point that it did. Because our foundation was laid over a period of 10 years, we had all that time to collect intel on each other. It’s like everything you’d typically learn about your partner in your first few weeks of dating, I already knew about him thanks to our friendship. That was our biggest strength going into our relationship. We had gone on so many adventures together and had such a deep understanding of one another, it’s like we got to skip all the hard parts and now we just get to enjoy our time together.”
—Madison Lee, 23, Niagara Falls ON
Different perspectives“Right before the Covid-19 stay-at-home orders started, I went to Vancouver for a girls trip with my friends and we actually talked about this! I personally think it is really important for your significant other/partner to be your best friend (Adam is definitely my best friend), but my friends didn't think it was that important. One friend did say that she would consider her husband her best friend, but that she has female friends that she talks to about things she wouldn't discuss with her husband.”
—Caylla Harvey, 33, Kamploops, BC
Innate social needs cannot be filled by just one person“A romantic relationship cannot and should not replace best-friendship. A healthy and happy intimate relationship should include many important aspects of friendship — for example, you should be able to share your most intimate and personal thoughts, experiences and fears — you should, of course, have fun and enjoy time and company with that person and all of the quirks that make them who they are. But people are social beings and have innate social needs that cannot be filled by just one person. When one person becomes our ‘everything’ we risk becoming isolated and feeling disconnected from society — which can lead to poor mental health.”
—Cate Sandilands, 34, Squamish, BC
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The term ‘best friend’ is odd“I have always felt like the term ‘best friend’ is a bit odd. Maybe because the way best friends are portrayed in media can feel so exclusionary to the way I’ve lived my life and experienced friendship. I’ve never had the type of friend who I go to above anyone else, who I share everything with and who I want to see non stop. Instead I have many groups and individuals I love dearly and who I share different experiences with. Due to a lack of better terms, I refer to many of them as my ‘best friend’. So, with that in mind I guess I do want my partner to be my best friend, but only in the way that I have developed that term in my mind. Do I think my partner should be everything to me, and the person I rely on more than anyone? No — I think that’s too much pressure to put on someone, and it’s so important to have space and interests separate from your partner. But I do want my partner to be my best friend in my sense of the word, someone I share interests and values with, and someone I’m not likely to get sick of anytime soon! I also think it’s unavoidable that we lean on our partners for more support than we might ask of anyone else, so it’s natural that we might assign them the ‘best friend’ title, but I think the word partner better describes that relationship and what it should stand for: your equal, someone who values and respects you and who is in this with you no matter what.”
—Linnea Currie-Roberts, 31, Toronto, ON
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A partner I’m proud to call my best friend“I think many of us have different ways of connecting with others, but for me having a partner/lover who I can proudly call my best friend is one of the most important foundations of a deep meaningful relationship. It brings a great level of closeness and connection when you are able to share every aspect of your life — emotionally and physically. Being married to my best friend is a lifelong commitment, so it’s very important to have a partner I can depend on, share life struggles with and just be there for me even in the most difficult moments of our lives.”
—Charisse Aznar, 33, Toronto, ON
Take away the romantic layers“Kyle is definitely my best friend. There really isn't anything I wouldn't feel comfortable sharing with him (outside of stuff that someone has asked me to keep confidential obviously). We're not afraid to be honest with each other. We are always there for each other, and we know what the other needs. We were friends for about a year which I think helped build that — I honestly don't know what it's like to date someone you don't know already! Plus we are how many weeks into this social distancing world of everything being closed so spending a lot of time together and we're only getting stronger from it. Even if you take away the romantic layers of our relationship, we have a strong connection at that friend level that I think is really special and honestly I don't have that with anyone else!”
—Kelsey Miller, 31, Victoria BC
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Sleeping with your best friend is amazing“I 100% think your life partner should be your best friend. You go through so much with each other — and on your own — and you need more than the traditional romantic sense of a partner. You need a friend, an adversary, motivational speaker, lover, hype man, PR/HR specialist, comedian, nurse, therapist, copy writer...and I think a best friend is someone that can nail the succession of hat wearing. In reality, you don’t always feel deeply and passionately engulfed in the whimsy of ‘love’, so it really helps to like the person you’re with.
It’s great sleeping with your best friend.”
—Nicole Garnette, 33, Scarborough, ON
Relationships serve different purposes“I think you should be — or try to be good friends with your partner. But — I think it’s important to know that all relationships look different. You’re not going to have the same relationship with your partner that you’re going to have with your best friend. I think these relationships serve you in a different way. I think these relationships provide different things for you.”
—Lindsey Rabbie, 34, Ottawa, ON
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‘Should’ sounds forced“I think the ‘should’ sounds forced. I would want my lover to be my best friend. You discover things you love to do together, get excited to spend time with that person and do those things. You learn to love the things they share and do with you and wouldn’t want to do it without them. I would want to be able to tell my lover anything, good and bad and would hope for the same in return.”
—Steffi Pratt, 33, Toronto, ON
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A bond like no other“Ryan and I were friends first (though there definitely was some sexual tension) and I've known forever that I wanted to have that with the person I spend my life with. I can be unequivocally myself with him and vice versa, and that is so incredibly special and freeing and creates a bond like no other, I think! I have best friends who satisfy other aspects of a best friendship, but ultimately my BEST best friend is Ryan.”
—Sarah Blair, 32, Victoria, BC
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Not for the faint of heart“Straightforward friendship is less complicated, but also less intimate. Sexy times without the pressure of any kind of relationship is also less complicated, but tends to be primarily physical and surface-level. Finding a lover/best friend is a tall order, but I think it’s worth shooting for. The two types of relationships kept separate can be fulfilling, but the collision of the two is something else — more passionate, more intense and more intimate. And the sex is better. A prerequisite for a true friendship is openness and honesty, but there is such a thing as oversharing. For this reason, lovers/friends can end up hurting one another. If they can find a way to maturely face issues and overcome them, their relationship will be stronger and they will grow together as human beings. Complications can also include waning desire — sometimes a partner is no longer as fiery about the other. This is something that should also be addressed head on. Perhaps the couple needs to get creative in bed, or a change of scenery, or time apart. Or maybe they need to open the relationship up to other sexual partners. Another potential issue can stem from spending too much time together. You need to give each other space and autonomy to avoid becoming the same person — difference and independence is what attracts people together, and space apart helps with sexual chemistry and ensures you are both bringing new and different things to the relationship. Through any difficulty that arises from this higher caliber relationship, communication is the only way for it to have any chance of survival. It isn’t for the faint of heart.”
—Alexa Keeler, 31, Toronto, ON
Your partner may incidentally become your best friend“I think your best friend is your best friend and in some cases, that naturally becomes your partner depending on how much effort you put into fostering your relationships outside of your romantic relationship. Me, personally, not so consciously but rather organically, the longer my relationship with my partner is, I tend to turn towards them for most types of fulfillment, intellectually and spiritually — and so I become much more close to them. My partner is certainly my best friend. But I don’t think that is necessary or a best practice.”
—Sandy De Almeida, 40, Toronto, ON
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Maybe not best friends“I don’t know about best friends, but I think you and your partner really do need to have an underlying friendship beyond attraction. That’s where you find a genuine liking for the other and I believe the respect and trust you have for each other grows from there. A real friendship is important so you can really be candid with each other without judgement. I have found an amazing friend in my life partner!”
—Heather Kulikowsky, 45, London ON
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True friendship is tough to come by“My husband is one of my best friends — we’re partners and I consider my close friends partners in life too. This is why true friendship is tough to come by — you have to lose the romantic notion of friendship (and marriage) for them to become great partnerships. Also no one person can fulfill all emotional needs — it takes a network.”
—Susie Rieder, Vancouver, BC
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Your lover should not replace your friend circle“I don’t like the label best friend — but I think you should have a very intimate relationship with your lover. You should be able to be vulnerable — be free to speak your mind and share all parts of yourself. Of course, this person should never replace your actual social circle — or network of friends. Your partner should always be close to the top of your list.”
—Sarah McBride, 27, Edmonton, AB
If your husband is your bestie, who are you going to talk about him to?"Should your lover be your best friend? Not necessarily. A friendship and a romance serve two different needs. Though I do feel like you and your spouse should be ‘friends’ and be on the same page about many things, what I look for/expect from my husband is something totally different from my best friend. Also, if your husband is your bestie, who are you going to talk about him to?”
—Stav Alexiou, London, ON
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I can’t wait to marry my best friend“I don’t think there’s any ‘should’ in the matter but personally, I can’t wait to marry my best friend (even if the wedding ends up hosted on Zoom because of this dang virus). My fiancé is the one person I can 100% be myself with. I can speak every single thought, fear, or idea without worrying about judgement. I can have my most enlightened moments, and I can spew utter nonsense, and I know that I’ll never be judged.”
—Sam Kohn, 40, London ON
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