love and friendship: do they go together?

I confess.  I spent a good chunk of my evening sprawled on the couch watching ABC’s “The Bachelor” with my mother.  At one point, my brother tuned in for the first hour and left us to go watch “Heroes” in another room.  All three of us were hoping that Jason, this season’s single father hottie, would choose fun, smart, and down to earth Jillian.

Alas, that was not the case this evening.  Despite the two of them getting along exceptionally well, him taking a liking to her warm and welcoming family, and her admirable strong-will and upbeat perspective – Jillian was sent home.  What was it that ultimately led to her final dismissal?  On their date in New Zealand, where they sat on a picnic spread overlooking the gorgeous mountaintops and sky, (okay, hold the exasperation for a second here), Jillian revealed to Jason her true philosophy on love and marriage.

Jillian [paraphrased]: I want to be with someone who’s also my best friend.  You know, at the end of the day, it’s having that friendship that makes it all work.  Someone to share things with, have fun with, and to also love.  I want to be with my best friend.

Jason: [awkward smile]  Okay.

To make a long 2 hour episode short, Jason was not looking for a best friend in his future wife.  Ouch.  It makes me wonder if most guys consider “friendship” an important aspect of a relationship.

I absolutely agree with Jillian’s perspective and I couldn’t help but think of J as I watched this episode.  We started off as friends and eventually became something more, like an upgrade of a basic model.  Is it a bonus?  Yes!  Two functions in one person!  But, sometimes not the easiest thing to accomplish…

I noticed that early on in our relationship, he struggled constantly between “friendship” mode and “boyfriend” mode.  During our first year together in Davis, I remember venting to him on how much I wanted to study abroad before I graduated.  A friend of mine had gone to Spain and I was already envisioning myself taking a quarter hiatus to Europe, learning the language, exploring the cities. J wasn’t happy.  “I’m not sure what to tell you, ” he says cautiously.  “As your friend, I probably would be just as excited and encourage you to go for it.  BUT, as your boyfriend, all I can think about is you being far away and me worrying about you in some strange country.”

Thus, the very first seeds of a dichotomous dilemma began.  Does a friendship enhance a relationship?  Or hinder it?  Are you always comparing the person you fell in love with “as friends” versus the person your friend has become as “the significant other?”  Which persona wins out in the end?  And which do you prefer?  Or does it depend?

to be continued



Filed under relationships

9 responses to “love and friendship: do they go together?

  1. H

    Very intriguing question. We’ve probably all latently pondered that at one time or another–but you really solidified the question. Will ponder this further… (Interested in your continuation!)

  2. dahye

    chicks before dicks…is that crude?
    i love my best friends and trust their judgment first.
    if they thought my boyfriend was an asshole – they’re prob. seeing something i dont. if my boyfriend thought my friends were bitches…id prob think my boyfriend is crazy and would soon become an ex.


  3. I’m hoping the person I fall in love with will be my best friend =)

    I’m not sure if I’m out of touch with reality for thinking that though.


  4. Scott, it’s reassuring to hear that coming from a male perspective. I don’t think it’s out of touch, though it might be rare…

  5. you can’t have your cake and eat it too. it’s a misperception. just as an adult can never really be a kid again, a boyfriend can’t be your best friend again. and as there are adults who are still imature there are boyfriends/girlfriends who are still very good friends. but make no mistake, an adult is an adult and a boyfriend is a boyfriend. of course there is always the rare exception to the rule.

  6. Tan

    I think to fall in love with our best friend would mean our dating options are really, really, really limited. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it just sounds really rare. I think what happens more often is we date around, we fall in love/find “the one”, and eventually they end up being our best friend as well as our lover. So lover first, then best friend.

    Either way, friendship enhances the relationship in my book. They’re not the same, but they shouldn’t mutually exclusive.

  7. Alright, I second what Tan wrote. lover/friend first, then best friend.

  8. Tri

    why can’t I have a best friend in my significant other? with 3 relationship experiences under my belt (lol), 1 was as a friend revolving into a SO, the other 2 were from girlfriends revolving into bestfriends.

    i want my cake and eat it too.

  9. Dieselbird

    I say friendship and then transform into your boyfriend. Partly because I feel when you and “the one” is meant to be, things should feel natural and you should feel you can achieve your full potential with him around. He needs to inspire and encourage you to do things that are good for you.

    Selflessness is a virtue in a relationship, and it’s perfectly fine for the bf to express his concern at the same time. My “J”expressed some concern when I told him I wanted to go to B-School, stating that B-school is known to have some of the highest relationship breakup rates. But we both know, if we are meant to be, we will work it out.

    A true friendship should be like that too… a true friend inspires and encourage and pulls you back from stepping into potholes. If a friend cannot do that simple thing first, can he be an effective boyfriend/husband?

    A boyfriend for the time being would be fine, but as a husband, look closely first!

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