Should You Date Your Best Friend? Exploring The Benefits And Drawbacks
For some couples, progressing from friendship to romance is natural and leads to a healthy relationship where both partners feel loved and secure. However, it could also be a costly mistake that ruins the connection you already have. Read on to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of dating your best friend and how couples therapy can offer support as you navigate the changes in your relationship.
When Does Platonic Friendship Become Something More?
Platonic friendship generally refers to a non-romantic connection between two people who could conceivably share an attraction. According to the teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, people may transform their erotic tendencies in favor of desexualized aims that serve a higher purpose, which can explain the non-romantic love you likely feel for your friends.
When does that platonic love shift to something more—and should you follow those impulses? People grow and change with time. While you may not have had romantic feelings for your best friend initially, you may notice that you find yourself drawn to different aspects of their personality or discover that you feel attraction where you previously only felt friendship.
“There is more than one pathway to romance, but relationship science does not reflect this reality. In a meta-analysis of seven samples of university students and crowdsourced adults, two-thirds reported friends-first initiation and friends-first initiation was the preferred method of initiation among university students.” — The Friends-to-Lovers Pathway to Romance
Benefits Of Dating Your Best Friend
While the scientific data can vary depending on the study goal, researchers from the friends-to-lovers study mentioned above estimate that approximately 68% of people in romantic relationships started as friends. Delve deeper into some beneficial relationship effects many people have reported after dating their best friend.
If they're your best friend, you already share a history. You have memories created alongside one another and likely know each other well. You should know many of your best friend's likes and dislikes and how they have behaved in previous relationships. When someone progresses from friend to lover, you can use all the knowledge you already have about them to approach the relationship informed and motivated to continue the ease and happiness you’ve established together. Use the trust and familiarity between you to build a solid foundation for your relationship but avoid getting too serious too quickly because of it.
Established Lines Of Communication
One of the most significant benefits of elevating a friendship into a romantic relationship is that you and your best friend already know each other and have effective, practical channels of communication established. Learning how and when to communicate with a partner is often a struggle in the early stages of a relationship, and you can avoid most of that by dating your best friend.
You Already Know You Get Along And Like Each Other
If you're friends, it makes sense that you'd get along well and enjoy spending time together. You likely have similar interests and individual lives, making it easier for you to seamlessly slip into your new routine as a couple.
There’s a good chance you and your best friend share mutual friends already, which can make the transition to a new relationship easier. However, you must consider that if things don’t go well and the relationship ends on bad terms, it could cause friction among your friend group.
Things To Consider Before Changing The Friendship
- Are you both looking for the same things in a relationship? Are you dating to marry or for fun? If you aren’t seeking a long-term, serious commitment, it may not be worth risking your friendship.
- Do you have a plan to salvage the friendship if the romance goes poorly?
- Are you interested in your best friend because they are a convenient or safe choice?
- Do you understand how the nature of your relationship will change? Are you prepared to discuss expectations and other related issues? The conversation to figure things out is best held before making that leap.
Drawbacks Of Dating Your Best Friend
Fitting into your life perfectly as your best friend doesn't necessarily mean the relationship will translate well to romance.
While you already know all the wonderful things about your best friend, you likely know the terrible things too. You may be intimately aware of their negative traits, past mistakes, and previous romantic partners. Ensure you recognize any lingering feelings related to those issues and focus on not letting them affect your new relationship.
Risking The Friendship
While the idea of falling in love with your best friend is nice, it can have disastrous fallout if things don’t go well. Consider whether the benefits and the strength of your romantic feelings for one another outweigh the potential costs of the friend you could lose if the courtship ends badly.
Relationship Moves Too Fast
The familiarity and trust you have for each other can make it easy to skip past the early stages of a romantic relationship, where partners typically learn about each other and how their lives fit together. Moving from friends to lovers can feel like a natural progression at first. Still, it may soon feel like the relationship is moving too quickly or getting more serious than you're comfortable with because you began with a much higher mental and emotional intimacy than new partners usually have.
You’ll Need A New Best Friend
Loving your best friend sounds excellent in theory, but then who do you talk about your partner to? Platonic friends may help you analyze your partner’s words and behavior to help you plan your next course of action. Your best friend likely filled this role previously—and you should continue communicating your needs and emotions to your partner—but romance changes the relationship dynamic. You'll probably need to designate a different friend to discuss emotional issues with, whether things work out or not. It's unproductive to talk to your partner about your partner, and if things go badly, they may not want to resume that role in your life.
Signs You May Have Feelings For Your Best Friend
- You constantly want to spend time with them and include them in your plans.
- Constant communication is a natural reaction because you genuinely want to know what they have to say.
- You feel more nervous around them than you used to. You may also notice that you experience jealousy when they mention their love life or recent partners.
- The desire to make them laugh or smile doesn’t go away. You want to be the reason they’re happy.
- You frequently compliment or find reasons to touch them that aren’t strictly necessary in the circumstances.
- Their preferences matter to you, and you pay attention, often going out of your way to give them what they want.
- You're more curious about what's happening in their life and want them to know about yours.
Reach Out For Help
While you’re weighing the pros and cons of dating your best friend, it may be helpful to discuss the matter with a qualified therapist who can help you identify and express your concerns, evaluate why your feelings may have changed, and offer the support and guidance of a mental health professional as you navigate the consequences of your choices.
How Couples Therapy Can Strengthen Your Relationship
If you’re developing romantic feelings for your best friend, consider discussing the matter with a licensed therapist online through a virtual therapy platform centered around relationships, such as Regain. Therapy can help you examine what you may seek from your partner and help you decide whether the chemistry, potential happiness, and attraction between you and your best friend are strong enough to be worth what you risk losing. Parents or guardians seeking online therapy for kids 12 to 19 can contact TeenCounseling for assistance.
Recent studies show no substantial difference in online and in-person therapy outcomes, though virtual treatment is often more cost-effective and has shorter wait times. Digital treatment platforms provide access to a wide variety of mental health professionals, making it more likely that you’ll find someone who meshes well with your personality and circumstances. If you’re in a relationship with your best friend and things aren’t as blissful as you’d hoped, the data shows that online and face-to-face couples therapy are equally effective.
“Sessions with Natalie are very insightful and give practical advice on implementing new habits and changes. Be prepared to engage and be challenged to think in a different way. I know that my partner and I can already see improvements in our relationship and feel more positive about working through our issues together.”
"My experience with Priscilla has been immensely helpful in better understanding myself and providing me with the tools to see my life and relationships with more clarity and compassion."
There are numerous pros and cons to dating your best friend, and while you stand to lose a lot by changing the nature of your relationship, you both stand to gain quite a bit if things work. The information in this article may offer insight into the benefits and disadvantages of dating your best friend and how couples therapy can provide support as you shift your relationship dynamics.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it better to date your best friend?
If you decide that you might want to date your best friend, you should first consider the pros and cons of dating somebody close to you.
Sometimes, dating a best friend turns out to be a wonderful, fulfilling experience that could last a lifetime. Other times, conflict may arise and complicate your existing friendship or relationship.
Each relationship is different, so sometimes it may be better to date your best friend, and sometimes it may worsen. Let's examine some of the pros and cons of dating best friends.
- You already know them well and have a good, established a bond.
- You're attracted and attached to them based on months or years of spending time together.
- You may risk losing a good friend and confidant if things go south.
- The downside risk of hurting both your romantic relationship and your relationships with your best friends.
Each situation is different, so you have to consider your situation before deciding whether to date your best friend. If you have a fantastic connection with your best friend, both have mutual feelings, and want to flesh out a romantic relationship; it can be a gratifying experience.
Why shouldn't you date your best friend?
Sometimes, dating your best friend can lead to consequences.
The first and most obvious reason is that if you end up breaking up, you risk losing not only a lover but a best friend. This can be really tough to deal with.
Going out with friends could feel like an awkward date with extra people, and going out alone might feel disappointing, scary, or overwhelming. The risk that a breakup could lead to you losing the rest of your best friends can be terrifying.
Of course, all of this is not to say that you absolutely shouldn't date your best friend. Instead, it is essential to recognize the risk of these things before you engage in a serious relationship with your best friend.
Be cognizant of the risks you are taking, and be open and honest in your communication about it.
What happens when you date your best friend?
When you start to date your best friend, many different things simultaneously occur.
First of all, relationships between you two and the rest of your friends could change significantly. In the worst case, other friends get jealous and may try to alienate you.
To avoid this, it can be beneficial to have open and honest conversations with your other friends individually before really jumping into the relationship. On the flip side, some other best friends might love that you two are dating, and your relationships with your other friends may actually strengthen.
Another thing that can happen when you date your best friend is your relationship drastically changing. Luckily, you'll know each other very well and understand what makes each other happy. But, certain dynamics and aspects of the relationship are inevitably going to be different now.
Most strikingly, sex can really change how you think about one another. It's important to stay honest, open, and communicative throughout the beginning process of the relationship and throughout to address and avoid these sorts of conflicts.
Do best friends make good couples?
Best friends can make really good couples, but they can also make for really poor couples. Each relationship, each set of best friends, is different, so it's tough to know precisely which best friends will make good couples and which won't.
One insightful thing to consider before you date your best friend is to think about what kind of a relationship you're looking for. If you want a casual, fun, short-term relationship, for instance, it may not be a good idea to date your best friend.
If you're interested in a long-term life partner or just looking for a partner who knows you well, you might enjoy dating your best friend or having your partner be your best friend.
Your best friend is committed to you and your happiness, which can make them a perfect candidate to be a life partner.
Ultimately, each relationship is so unique that there is no blanket rule for whether best friends make good couples. But, if you are both on the same page about what you want in a relationship, constantly show respect, trust, and communicate openly, then best friends can make a really good couple.
Can best friends fall in love?
Of course! Best friends can undoubtedly fall in love - it happens pretty regularly. Not every pair of best friends is fit to fall in love, though, and there can be serious complications that come from falling in love with your best friend.
It can be easy to fall in love with a best friend since you two know each other so well. You know each other's past, you know what makes them happy, and both of you are seriously committed to the long-term happiness of one other.
On the flip side, falling in love with your best friend can lead to awkwardness with other friends. It may also hold many downside risks because you may lose your partner and your best friend if you end up breaking up. It's essential to consider these risks before engaging in a committed relationship with your best friend.
Do Best Friends cuddle?
Best friends can definitely cuddle, whether it is in a romantic way or simply a supportive, platonic way.
Best friends know each other best, and it's not up to anybody else to decide what is right or wrong for best friends.
Sometimes, physical contact can lead to a romantic attraction. Dating your best friend has lots of pros and cons and isn't suitable for everybody. But, dating a best friend can be the most rewarding and fulfilling experience of a lifetime if it is right for you.
Of course, there is a lot of downside risk to this, as you could lose your partner and best friend to a breakup. But if both you and your best friend are on the same page in terms of what you want in a relationship, then it may be a positive experience for both of you.
How do you decide if you should date your friend?
What is it like dating your best friend?
How long does a best-friend relationship last?
How do I know if I love my best friend?
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