I will not marry my best friend

… and I’m sure #2 is pretty happy about that.

(#2 says:  Awwwww!  I’m blushing! … Or maybe that’s sunburn…)

I know #2 probably disagrees with me here, but I don’t think your spouse or life-partner should be your best friend.  If they are, I feel like maybe you’re not getting out enough (and I say this as one of nature’s most introverted people, ever).  The cultural myth that you must marry your best friend both devalues friendships with anyone else, and also puts way too much pressure on your romantic relationship. People who believe in perfect soulmates tend to get divorced more often than those of us who know that real relationships take work.*

*This sentence is backed up by data but I am too lazy to dig out the citations from the class I took in college a million years ago.  Either look it up yourself or just take my word for it.  It’s a blog.

Friendships are in a different category for me, and I think it’s really important to have intimate emotional connections with people outside your primary romantic partnership.  I wouldn’t say that what I have with my partner is a friendship, though it shares many aspects: we hang out together, enjoy each other’s company, make each other laugh, have in-jokes, share our feelings, are there for each other through thick and thin, are authentic around each other, etc.  But it’s so qualitatively different for me from a friendship, and not just because of the sex.  We have a piece of each other’s souls.  My friends are great, don’t get me wrong (hugs to #2!), and I do love them, but they don’t complete me the way my lover does.  They don’t make me want to be a better person the way he does.

By the way, to all those people who say things like “This chocolate mousse is better than sex!”, I have something to say to you:

There is nothing better than sex.  Nothing.  If there is something in your life better than sex, I sincerely feel that’s really too bad, and I sincerely and deeply hope that you can find peace and healing in your sex life.  You might want to check out Emily Nagoski, Sex Nerd.  Unless you identify as asexual, in which case, rock on with whatever it is you do to recharge your spirit!

#2 offers a different perspective:  I’m totally a hopeless romantic and my partner, if not my only best friend, is definitely my best male friend.  And it is true that we may be a little codependent, but we’re ok with that.  We have been a couple for almost 17 years now and he still makes my heart pitta-pat and I still want to hear what happened in his life during the time we were apart each day.  (And no, our relationship really doesn’t take work, but that’s only because he’s perfect and I recognize that he’s perfect.)

Do we think this post is controversial enough?  Readers, is your romantic partner your best friend?

39 Responses to “I will not marry my best friend”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    I agree with both of you. I really like my husband and we were good friends before we got married, but we have our own “best” same sex friends. In fact, we both think it’s a little strange and a red flag if a person doesn’t have any good friends outside of their own relationship. You know the people who have acquaintances, but no one really close.

    Plus, the venting I periodically need to do is best saved for girlfriends. They are a better shoulder in most cases and I don’t want to be a whiny needy person. Girlfriends do that for each other much better in my opinion.

  2. eemusings Says:

    My best female friend from school still is, but we aren’t that close (I don’t know if she would call me her bff today). We see each other every few months. My best friends are male, but yea, my partner probably has grown to be my best friend. I’m okay with that.

    But I’m sorry, sex will never be better than food.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      You are doing the sex wrong.

      This is coming from someone who loves and appreciates food, who enjoys cooking, who loves to eat and savors flavors. But sex is better. If yours isn’t, try to improve it! :)

      • Frugal Forties Says:

        Ditto this. :) I love food and I’ve eaten some things that I will admit are practically orgasmic, but there is nothing better than sex. If there is, you’re definitely doing it wrong!

  3. Molly On Money Says:

    My husband and I are hopelessly co-dependent (it’s a carry over from our 90’s lifestyle). I’m an extrovert with different groups of friends. He’s the introvert who depends on me for many of his social connections. The exception is typically his one friend is a woman (that is not me). I’d say he’s fine with me being his best friend and I’m good with someone that’s not him being my best friend. It works for us.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      This seems to be a pretty typical male-female relationship pattern in the literature. It’s fine for them both, unless the wife dies. In that case the husband typically follows soon after, undone by lack of social support and therefore quickly-failing health. If it doesn’t bother you to be his social facilitator, then enjoy whatever works for you! Whatever you’re doing seems to have worked for years now, so, awesome.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        #2 sniffles at this picture. Good thing you have kids!

      • Molly On Money Says:

        He’s now standing in the kitchen yelling over to me, ‘You make it sound like I don’t have ANY friends!’.
        Nicole and Maggie, You hit the bulls eye. I tend to be many of my friends social facilitator and match maker. The weird thing is when he got divorced from his first wife he went out and started connecting with all sorts of different groups (we met on match.com) and his girlfriends invited him to all sorts of parties that he actually went too!
        I think he’ll be one of those old men where the moment I’m gone the other ladies will be right there ready to take him out on the town. And now he’s yelling, ‘I’ll have an entire internet of ladies to choose from!’
        Anyways, what do I care- I’ll be dead!

  4. Everyday Tips Says:

    I don’t know that I believe in the concept of a ‘best’ friend. I have different friends that I turn to based on circumstance. For instance, my female ‘best’ friend is someone I have been friends with since I was 6 years old. However, there are many topics I could never discuss with her.

    I can tell my husband anything, but the male mind does not always ‘get’ things like a female does.

    In essence, I don’t know that any one person can be the ultimate friend in all situations. (At least not for me.)

  5. Crystal Says:

    I’m with #2, Mr. BFS is my closest friend and we have a semi-codependent relationship, which we are okay with. We’ve been together for 10 years, have been married for about 6, and were friends before we dated. He’s just a great guy – lover and friend.

    We both also have close friends other than eachother, and like Everyday Tips, I seem to have friends for different circumstances. In fact, Kris is my closest blogging buddy and I need her. Mr. BFS just doesn’t get the intricacies of blogging…

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      There, see? I’m not at all saying I’m not friends with my lover. Of course I am, and I am closer to him than to anyone else. But other people are good too. It’s nice to have someone to talk to about blogging or whatever.

  6. MutantSupermodel Says:

    For the record, I’ve never believed in soulmates.

    I’ll pass on the marriage and he’s so my best friend or piece of my soul talk…

    HOWEVER, sex is most definitely the absolute best thing in the world IF you’re doing it with someone who’s interested in how you work. Otherwise, I’m eating chocolate mousse. So, yes. I agree with your creepy rodent thing.

  7. Frugal Forties Says:

    I married my best friend and it was a disaster. We kept the marriage going for 10 years before we realized that it wasn’t working. We love each other and care about each other but we are a disaster as a married couple (and yeah, no sex … we just didn’t have that spark and are totally incompatible – if only we’d seen that sooner!). We’re now divorced and still sharing a house. :) That poses it’s own set of issues sometimes, but we’re much happier. We’re still great friends, we still enjoy doing things together, but it’s so much better now that we’re not married to each other.

    (And yes, we are both dating other people – and both fine with that.)

  8. Dr. O Says:

    Like ET, I have no one best friend. My Mom knows me better than anyone else, and we talk on an almost daily basis. Hubby is also one of my closest friends, but I talk to my Mom or other girlfriends about things I can’t talk to him about. Then I have 5 really good friends from different phases of my life, who I keep up with less frequently. We’re there for each other’s big moments in life (weddings, kids, etc…), but we’re spread out all over the country. Because of the distance, I depend on Hubby, and several new friends (who don’t know me nearly as well) for my day-to-day interactions. These new friends know much more about the person I’ve become, while my older friends know more about where I come from. Every friendship I have serves a different purpose, and no ONE friendship completes me.

    Hubby has fewer close friends, and interacts more with me than anyone else. Just his personality (more of an introvert). I think he would say I was his best friend, but he talks quite a bit to his brother and best guy friend about certain things that he can’t talk to me about.

    And good chocolate > good sex > cheap chocolate > regular sex > food

  9. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    #2 here commenting on sex and food.

    I eat a lot more than I have sex. One can only have so much sex before food looks a bit more attractive. Plus you need food to keep up energy for sex. I can spend more time eating food than engaged in sexual acts. The marginal utility of sex goes down a lot faster than that of food. Otherwise we’d stay in bed all the time and never eat.

    HOWEVER… if we’re talking about instantaneous highs… absolute awesomeness… I gotta agree with #1… if sex doesn’t beat out food, then something’s wrong. And I love food a LOT.

    Also… in this hh, food (not prepared by me) can lead to sex, which is a GOOD thing. The way to my heart, or at least the way to get me in bed, is often through my stomach. ||:)

    also: http://xkcd.com/714/

  10. Revanche Says:

    But … food literally keeps you alive.

    Then again too much food is bad. Then again, too much sex, ow. Eh. I don’t feel like overanalyzing this. Good is good, man.

    As for besties? PiC is my favorite. He is a best friend. But he is not my exclusive, only best friend forever-and-ever amen. He’s not the end-all-be-all. We are not attached at the hip. And he’s not perfect because if he was, either hopeless inadequacy or sheer psycho competitiveness might have to swamp love for him and make our relationship rather difficult. I think he’s perfect in his imperfections and he feels the same about me for mine and that’s awesome.

    We’ve got best friends outside of each other. Mine are those who see my issues and aren’t afraid to call me out on them; that’s a good kind of relationship, too. (’cause how can you genuinely support someone if you can’t be honest?) PiC fulfills many needs but how on earth can a single person be the one and only everything?

    That’d be scary, I think. And I don’t think I’d survive without him if he was.

  11. bogart Says:

    Urgh. I like my husband and consider him a friend … a good friend. Like others, I’m not so sure I don’t believe in “best friends.”

    Here is my problem beyond that: I am an introvert. Becoming a mom to an energetic preschooler has made me understand just how much I value and need quiet, and time away from other human beings. By the time I do my work (which I mostly enjoy) and spend a bit of time with my husband and my son (which I also enjoy), there’s not much time left. A bit of what there is, I spend talking to or visiting my dad, who is declining into dementia (and living in a nursing home). My husband’s a delightful person and a decent, but not excellent, conversationalist. Throw in running a household and a lot of our talk is more work (logistics) than fun. The conversational skills of a preschooler and those of an octogenarian with dementia aren’t wildly different, and neither involves, “But enough about my day! How was yours?” or “What’s your take on the recovery effort in Japan?” So, I could use friends to talk with! But there are also several activities (hikes in the woods, that sort of thing) that I really enjoy doing by myself and value more than I value spending time with other people. And many people I might be better friends with appear to be busy themselves (go figure). So the long and short of this is, not great on day-to-day (or even week-to-week) friendships, though I do have considerable extended family whom I like, several local. So they play some of the roles of friends and I consider them among my friends, though they get classified (in my taxonomy) as family. And when I need to vent I, er, come visit your blog.

  12. Holly Says:

    Great sex>>very good sex>>good sex>>sex. After sex options, call me for drinks, lol

  13. retirebyforty Says:

    right now 8 hours of sleep sounds way way way better than sex.
    -new daddy

  14. Meg Says:

    If not for best friends, who can you vent ABOUT your husband to? C’mon. I’m not the only one who complains about her hubby to friends, am I?

    Needless to say, hubby and I arent “best friends.” He calls me his best friend, but to be honest, the only friends he’s got are his mom and dad (by choice.)
    Me, I’m more the social butterfly.

  15. It Isn’t Just Women, Either « Clarissa's Blog Says:

    […] read the following great quote on a blog I follow today: There is nothing better than sex.  Nothing.  If there is something in your […]

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