Is Dating Your Best Friend A Good Idea?
As your friendship deepens with someone, it’s not unheard of that romantic feelings may start to pop up. When you start to feel romantically attracted to a good friend, you may wonder if you should act on those feelings. It can be helpful to ask yourself some introspective questions to better establish what your course of action can be. Firstly, how big are these feelings? Do you think they’ll last? How does your relationship with this person currently work? Do you think you’d be compatible with them romantically? Balancing your feelings and theirs will help you make a sustainable, fair decision when deciding on whether to take the friendship further. There might be a big decision in store. While love can feel enigmatic and confusing, there are ways to make deciding if you should date your best friend less daunting.
The Advantages of Dating Your Best Friend
You Already Know A Lot About the Person You Are Dating
One advantage of dating your best friend is that you are already close. You don’t have to start from the beginning with a new person. There’s likely already a deep sense of trust and comfort around them. You likely have shared interests and many shared experiences. It might feel less risky than dating an acquaintance or a stranger because you already know you connect with them on a deeper level. It can feel tempting to bypass the awkward first couple of dates stage where you’re trying to guess if you would work as a couple.
Your Friends and Family Already Know Them
If your best friend has been around for a while or is an important part of your life, your friends and family likely already know them. Maybe your friends and family already consider them part of the family. Introducing a new romantic interest to your loved ones can be a tenuous or nerve-racking experience. If your friends and family are already familiar with your best friend, you not only get to skip that step, but you might feel like your support network is harmonious. You may already know your best friend fits right into the larger picture of your life. Fitting into your existing social circle may be an important part of your romantic relationship.
They Know and Understand You
Dating can be nerve-racking. First dates can be daunting enough to deter you from ever trying something new. You may feel pressure to be on top of your game, to look and act your best when you are around someone that you are trying to impress. When you start dating your best friend, this pressure can be reduced or altogether avoided. Your best friend knows you and already loves you. They’ve also likely seen you in your comfy sweats or your emotionally turbulent moments. This can make dating them feel very comfortable and easy.
- You Already Feel Secure with Your Best Friend
Trust and security are central to strong, healthy relationships. It can take a while to build between you and someone new. With your best friend, you likely feel secure already. This security can provide a good foundation for a romantic relationship. You know how they think and act and they know the same for you. Scientists have found the biggest predictor of a long-lasting relationship is a similarity in meta-emotions, or how you feel about feelings. If you and your best friend feel the same way about anger and expressing it, about sadness, about joy, you already have a lot going for you. You have a shared emotional language and understanding of each other’s needs, even if a romantic context puts things through a new lens.
- You Have a Higher Investment in the Longevity of the Relationship
You never know how someone is going to act when you enter into a new relationship. Things could change quickly for better or worse, just like a relationship with someone other than your best friend. How long a relationship lasts and how well it ends if it doesn't work out is always going to be up in the air based on the situation. A best friend, however, truly cares about you, and dramatic twists and turns may be less likely. You also may have invested more emotional weight in the relationship, inspiring you to problem-solve and work through issues.
The Disadvantages of Dating Your Best Friend
- There is a Risk of Losing the Friendship
Entering an intimate, romantic relationship with a friend is not without risks. Not all romantic relationships are long-term. If the romantic element of your relationship ends, it is a possibility that the friendship will be altered or halted. By evaluating the way your friendship works before you start the relationship, you may be able to assess if you’ll be able to stay friends if you end things romantically. Sometimes a friendship ending can hurt worse than a relationship breakup. If your relationship ends quickly but the friendship fizzles out, you may lose both.
- The Relationship Dynamic Changes When You Begin Dating Each Other
You hope that your best friend will always be your best friend. After all, you speak with and see each other whenever you like, but you also have the freedom to go off and do your own thing without any obligations. When you begin dating, that dynamic could change. It is no longer only a friendship, but also a relationship that may have more responsibilities than you had in the friendship. Expectations, boundaries, and other aspects will need to be clearly defined during the transition to dating.
- You May End Up Losing More Than A Best Friend If the Relationship Ends
When you have a best friend, you may have also built a circle of friends with that best friend. When you get into a relationship, this circle will likely be affected as they are brought into your relationship dynamic. There might be a possibility that people will pick sides if things end between you two. You might decide this is a risk you’re willing to take.
- Your Relationship Will Require the Support of Other Friends
Having a best friend means always having someone to lean on when you are going through challenging or frustrating times. But what happens when your best friend becomes your significant other? Although you will still be able to vent to them about some things, all the frustrating moments that you have with them will probably have to be discussed with someone else. If you feel you have no one else you’re close to turning to, this can be a challenge. Other friendships might become more important than before as a means of support and guidance.
- You May Find You Don't Like Them As Much As Before
In every friendship, there is often a healthy space between you. For example, you only see each other as often as you both want to, and it’s not a huge deal when someone needs some time off. With a romantic relationship, there can be a lot more work that goes into spending quality time spent together. This quality time may even alter the way that you see your best friend, causing you to see them differently than before. Experiencing decreased attraction may be temporary, or it may point to a larger issue.
So, is dating your best friend a good idea? The truth is that it all depends on your situation. If you both feel the same way towards each other, and you think that the bond is strong enough to move forward, then the relationship might be worth a try. Partnering with someone romantically is an exciting move that can add to your overall happiness and satisfaction.
You may also find that while you want to take this step forward, you’d like outside guidance. Many people have been through this situation and can offer helpful advice and support.
Find Relationship Advice
recently ended, and could you use some help coping? BetterHelp is an online counseling platform dedicated to providing affordable and convenient online counseling for those who need it. If you think you could benefit from this, you can sign up to connect with the right online counselor that works best for you.
A study from 2009 found that couples who received relationship education through therapy were able to feel positive effects for up to four years. The couples received tools to express themselves and see each other honestly. Even if you’re still deciding if you and your best friend should become a couple, a therapist’s advice and more knowledge about dating will help you feel prepared and open to this relationship. You and your therapist can work together to define your values, your desires, and how to navigate transitioning this relationship.
Online therapy might even be better as you consider starting this new relationship. As your best friend adds on a new role in your life, you may find another friendly, trustworthy voice that helps you feel supported and keep your head clear. You can chat in real-time with messages or send journal entries to your counselor so they can keep tabs on how things are going. It may help you feel someone is actively always on your side. Online therapy also provides scheduling flexibility, letting you spend more time with your best friend to get the ball rolling.
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Dating is a wonderful way to connect with another person very meaningfully. While there are many important factors to consider, honoring the capacity you have for love by sharing it with someone is a beautiful way to express yourself. When you find that a friend with whom you are close becomes romantically attractive, it may be a positive step to change the nature of your relationship. The guidance you need for a healthy relationship with your best friend is right around the corner. Take the first step today.