In most relationships, it’s pretty normal to be good friends with your SO. From having similar interests to never having a dull moment, most times it’s even expected and it would be weird if you weren’t friends with your love. But do you have to go farther than that? From farting in front of each other to having no other super close friends, is it a must to be best friends with your significant other? We spoke with some experts and collegiettes to figure out the pros and cons of having bae be your BFF.
According to Lesli Doares, marriage and relationship coach, it is important to be friends with your significant other because romantic love ebbs and flows. There won’t always be super romantic moments and you want to be able to stay connected on multiple levels and being friends allows for this. How you define “best friend” also matters. You should be able to count on your significant other to have your back and be your support in whatever you are facing, so if that is your definition of a best friend, then yes, your SO should be.
Abby Burns, a senior at The College of New Jersey, also agrees with this. “My boyfriend is definitely one of my best friends, and I think it’s great!” She explains that whether it’s making each other laugh or sharing similar interests, she knows that she can be comfortable around him no matter what. When you are in a relationship, you want to be with someone who you get along with and enjoy.
That’s why for Alaina Leary, a second year graduate student at Emerson College, she put her friendship with her girlfriend above all. She said because she and her girlfriend “developed a strong foundation of friendship first,” it helped them together through difficult times. Whenever they are fighting, she puts their friendship first, “which may seem like a weird thing to say,” Alaina says, “but when I divorce romance from the equation, it makes it easier for me to see when I'm being silly or inconsiderate and realize that being together is more important than whatever dumb thing we're fighting about.”
Laura L. Ryan, family and relationship therapist, agrees that it’s important to be able to separate the two sides: friendship and love. She believes that we as a society have all of these myths about relationships and we expect our partners to be able to predict our every need, be our soulmate, have all of the same preferences, have an identical sense of humor, have the same sexual desires and understand us in a way that no one else can. In short, we as a society believe that our lover needs to be our best friend all the time. But in reality, while it is important to be best friends in one sense, it is extremely important to have a more sensual relationship as well, otherwise it could be disastrous for your relationship.
Like Ryan says, being able to have a life outside of your relationship is important. That is why one of the major cons of being best friends with your SO is that you have no one else to turn to if something goes sour. Alaina also agrees with this. She believes that there's a lot of stigma around having your SO be your best friend and you should maintain other relationships outside your dating life. “This is super important to me, as an independent feminist,” she said. Although she loves her girlfriend very much, she never wants her to become her entire life. Being able to maintain other relationships outside of her along with all of the other things she does is crucial to her and her girlfriend’s wellbeing.
Chloe Adams, a senior at the University of Texas at San Antonio, believes there is also a downside to your SO being your BFF, if not done right. “I've definitely noticed that couples who spend 100 percent of their free time together either don't have very healthy relationships, or they burn out really fast,” she says. Ryan also agrees. “I think it's important to get many of our needs met through our partner, but also to spread our needs around appropriately,” she says. “So whether that is asking a classmate to help with a problem or talking to your sister instead of your SO, you should be looking at the strengths and weaknesses of your partner and your relationship and adjust your expectations about the level of friendship accordingly.” So although your SO may be your “person,” it’s crucial to maintain other close relationships in order to keep that relationship healthy.
As most people would say, it’s expected that you are best friends with your SO to some extent. You have to trust them, talk to them about your problems, and overall, just enjoy your time with them. But you must never forget that the most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself. And you are not alone in that belief. According to Lindsey Cummins, CEO of Winq — a social app for millennials, 27 percent of users tell their SOs everything, BUT 89 percent say that “me time” is a must, and seeing your SO all the time is unhealthy. So as long as you maintain a healthy balance, there is absolutely nothing wrong with knowing that your SO is your person.