Love and Friendship

Why you should be friends with your lover

Relaxed couple lying on the grass

Truth be told, I have had several nights of sex in my twenty-something years on this Earth. But you know what’s better than a steamy night of sex? Many, many nights of steamy companionship. The kind of companionship that I now share with my lover and future best friend.

However, it wasn’t always like this.

Before being enlightened about the personal benefits of having your lover be your best friend, I too chased the mystique of a complicated man. I looked for an onion, in a bowl full of vegetables, that I could peel away but never fully understand. There was something exciting and otherworldly about the unknown, and that’s exactly what I wanted from a relationship: a bulb of mystery, (even if it meant occasional tears).

But is mystery what keeps a relationship sustainable? Can you keep chasing the thrill of complication and land yourself a partner for life on the way?

No. No, you can’t.

Mystery is sexy but being friends with your lover first is what makes long-term commitment a positive possibility for you. And isn’t that what we all want?

We want someone whom we can be ourselves around and not be judged for it. I mean, before friendship (with an ex of mine), I’d be worried about things like consistently being non-hairy, non-saggy and non-goofy. But after friendship, my partner knows that’s just who I am: averse to the pitfalls of traditional beauty standards, averse to bras and totally pro geeking out over Game of Thrones.

Related reading: They are the spice in my life

According to science and according to me, lovers who are also close friends enjoy better sex, more love and greater commitment because we are completely open about our likes and dislikes. This makes the ride to be the real juicy fruit you are smooth af.

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It’s not easy becoming friends

However, being friends with your partner isn’t always the easiest path. As damaged humans, it’s easier to shut someone out, not show your true self and just be a crankily closed-off potato haunted by your past. I have done that plenty of times and kicked people out of my bed and out of my life because I was too afraid of the vulnerability of really getting to know someone.

It’s true. Once you put more effort into building a strong friendship with you partner you are also less likely break up, because no one wants to hurt a friend. Investing in the friendship aspect of the relationship means more romantic commitment, love and sexual satisfaction, because the tables have turned from satisfying ‘me’ to satisfying ‘we’.

When my lover email blasts articles written by me or when I listen to his tirade about a hard day, it’s because we want to put more effort into building a strong friendship and not just strong budgeted Swiss holidays.

Not just a band

Ultimately, friendship and ‘Friendship Day’ is not just about tying a knot on your chaddi-buddy’s wrist. It’s about reminding yourself to make an extra effort in your relationship so that your partner knows the good, the bad and all the flavours of you.

And it’s this friendship — not just romantic love or mysterious lust — that allows people to reap the rewards of long-term commitment.

Related reading: The trick to a happy, joyful marriage

When you are friends with your lover first, you having the freedom to be your truly organic selves around each other. Yes, you can finally admit that you secretly enjoy CID and your favourite character is Daya.

You can both be aware of each other’s histories, because like friends, you spoke about it early and openly. There are no nasty ex-lover surprises in your future.

No secrets between friends

If you are just about to get married (like me) then you will have a smoother transition when adjusting to your partner’s lifestyle and tastes, because you already talked about how much he loves budgets and you love shopping.

You will also have epic inside jokes because you both enjoy friendly rounds of imitating your family members and co-workers.

And finally the most important thing: you can be totally honest with each other and reveal the branches of your personality that make you uniquely you and the amount of care you need to bloom as a person and as a partner.

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