Saturday, February 27, 2010

Best Friend Plus

I had an interesting relationship conversation with a gay friend recently. She has been with her partner for over twenty years now and a lesson she learned from the ups and downs of their relationship is useful for anyone. B has come to realize the pitfalls of expecting the significant other to also be one's best friend. The two can and likely should be different people, though some people may find one person who can be both.

While that can be a happy coincidence, it is never good idea to enter a relationship with that being the expectation. Sometimes best friendship can actually undermine the chemistry between two people. A little friction between them can on the contrary, help keep the spark alive. According to be B, when we are drawn into a relationship by the strong bonds of friendship or once in it expect that to blossom magically, things can go really wrong.

This is a mistake I know I have made at least once. In R (my ex), I did have a best friend but he was just not the kind of husband I needed. He was never meant to be both but I insisted upon it and the rest is history. I am sure, I was a disappointment to him for the same reasons and like me he wanted for me to be more than what I was able to be to him. Having lost both companionship (as inadequate as that had been) and my closest friend, set the tone for  future relationships as well. I was asking for too much and was naturally disappointed.

In my own way, I have arrived at the same conclusion as B. The realization helped me nurture the close friendships of many years standing, that I had neglected in the tumult of marriage and the aftermath of divorce. With the need for friendship satisfied, I was able to focus on what I really sought in a relationship and was surprised to discover that my needs were very simple.

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