Unpacking the Phrase: ‘I’m Dating My Best Friend’

Unpacking the Phrase I_m Dating My Best Friend

By Jillian Leslie

New age romance means being in love with your “best friend” …or does it? It seems like every month, this same narrative is being glorified and plastered somewhere between E! News and/or in a slew of celebrity magazines. All of which are cleverly titled, “I’m dating my best friend!” Admittedly, my initial thought upon seeing this is usually, “how sweet!” or “what a cool/idyllic romance!” But, in giving more thought to this phenomenon, it got me thinking, what exactly IS so appealing about calling your romantic partner your best friend?

While I have a lot of questions surrounding this topic, I know one thing is for sure: all opinions on this topic have to do with how one personally defines “best” friendship.

For example, I consider my boyfriend to be a supportive, caring and grounding person in my life,  but I would not go so far as to say that he’s my “best friend”.  In part, because I think saying that would cheapen the special relationship we share. I think, calling each other “best friends” would bring with it the attitude of, “Well, you never know what will happen, so let’s say this just in case!” It’s a sort of romantic cop out, if you will. While our relationship embodies all of the qualities that I look for in a friendship, we are together, romantically after all. Not to mention, it’s those very friendship-like qualities that make our romantic relationship what it is; without needing to sub in the “best friends” title.

To gain more perspective beyond my own personal experience, I asked others what they thought about romantic best friendship. Some highlighted that it’s pretty much necessary for a romantic partner to be a “best friend first”. For others, this meant that they sought to achieve “best friend” status with one another, in order to strengthen their relationship. A few even suggested that if someone didn’t consider their better half their “best friend,” than something was perhaps wrong with the relationship.

We can all agree that you rely on your partner to be your support system, sounding board and reliable go-to for all of life’s crazy happenings; all of which are qualities we seek out in a “best friend.” But, what if a relationship provides all of these best friend-like characteristics, yet you don’t call each other “best friends?” Does that mean there is an issue in the relationship? Shouldn’t it be okay to draw a line somewhere between support system and romantically invested? Because after all, the two are not mutually exclusive.

Perhaps, this new wave of romantic “best friend” relationship expectations actually redefines the meaning of “best friendship.” I believe that it’s definitely possible to have more than one best friend. In fact, there are lots of different people in my life whom I consider to be my best friends. And undoubtedly, it is possible for a romantic partner to fall into one of the “best friend” positions as well. But, just because we like to spend time with someone and be around them 24/7, much like a best friend, does not constitute them being awarded with a best friend badge.

Of course, it can be nice and for some, even vital for a partner to also be a “best friend”. But, if you have a perfectly healthy and prosperous romantic relationship, but don’t consider each other “best friends,” does that somehow signify that the relationship is on the rocks? I surmise it doesn’t. It is perfectly fine and healthy to have and seek out best friendship beyond your partner. In fact, it could potentially strengthen your relationship to have a go-to “best friend” that doesn’t double as your romantic partner.

Jillian is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.

{featured image via pexels}