The Pros And Cons Of Falling In Love With Your Best Friend
By: Michael Arangua
Updated February 04, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Audrey Kelly, LMFT
When you spend a lot of time with someone with common interests or complementary personalities, it's easy to fall in love. Even if you start out as friends and don't initially have any romantic feelings, over time, those feelings can change. Basically, falling in love with your best friend can be a natural progression. Yet, when you become intimate with your best friend, you take the risk of ending that the friendship if the romantic relationship dies. It doesn't mean that you should always decide not to date your friend if you feel there is a genuine romantic connection. There's just a lot to think about when deciding whether to move forward into a new kind of relationship with your friend. It's important to remember: you can be great friends with someone but not be a good romantic match. If you have an important friendship with someone, you can be putting a lot on the line by trying to take things to the next level. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider.
Con: You may lose a best friend
If you date someone that you've formed a close friendship with, they may no longer be able to fill the role of best friend. The dynamic will inevitably shift to some degree. If you are on the fence about dating your best friend, you should think about whether it's worth the risk of having that void where your best friend would be in case things don't work out.
Pro: You already know what they like and dislike.
If you were to date your best friend, they would already know almost everything about you. There would be no awkward period of trying to get to know each other and figuring out how much you should share and when. You know the other person already accepts you for who you are. It's easier to please your boyfriend or girlfriend when you've been best friends. You know what makes them happy and what frustrates them most. You're also probably aware of their past relationships. On the other end, they probably know about yours as well. Because of these things, you can have more control over the outcome of the relationship because you choose whether to cater to their needs and desires or not.
Con: You won't get the fun of learning all about your new love's interests.
Learning about a new person can be fun. One of the things that couples often talk about is wanting to go back to that getting-to-know-you phase when things were exciting. If you date your best friend, you might skip that phase. You can start to assume that you know them so well as a person, that you forget that you may know them as a friend. But you haven't yet gotten to know them as a partner. You might not get the unexpected joy of seeing their face light up when you do something kind for them or give them something they like. This exploration of their interests and personality may be a crucial factor in forming a bond with someone who is new to you.
Pro: It's less risky to fall in love with someone you know well.
When you fall in love with someone you don't know well, you might be surprised to find out that they aren't the person you thought they were. It's easy to romanticize what could be. If you go down this road, it can lead to unrealistic expectations. You may find out that they're deeply in debt, in trouble with the law, or already in a romantic relationship with someone else. You don't take the same kind of risks with a best friend you've known for years. If they're your best friend, it's a pretty safe bet that you know them in a way that might take you months to know a stranger.
Con: It can also be less exciting.
For many people, the risk is the reward. They like a little danger in their lives. Some people want their relationship to start with intense passion. Furthermore, they might simply enjoy the mystery of being surrounded by a person they don't yet know. Getting to know someone can be appealing. Chances are your best friend's life holds less mystery for you than that of a stranger. With best friends, you might know each other too well. Not everyone wants to share every detail of their life with someone that they're dating. If any of these possibilities makes your best friend less exciting for you, you might want to consider dating someone else.
Pro: You probably have mutual friends.
You probably already know your best friend's family and friends, which can often be a stressor when dating a stranger. It's also likely that you have a group of friends that you hang out with together. Therefore, the dynamic won't change much. This is particularly helpful if you socialize with these people often, giving both of you an outlet through which you can find comfort. You are also more aware of how you could fit into their social and family circle. Think of how terrifying it can be to wonder if you are going to be accepted into your partner’s life and the ramifications that may have on your relationship. At a minimum, this can lead to uncomfortable situations where one of you feels out-of-place while the other spends time with their friends. In a worst-case scenario, you don't mesh well with their family and you or your partner feel like you can't continue a relationship because this stressor is too much to handle.
There is No Right or Wrong Answer
A romantic relationship with a best friend can be a beautiful thing. It's a good idea to take time to think about the benefits and drawbacks that are involved with dating a friend. Are they into you in the way you're into them? Are they giving you signals that they're interested? What happens if the spark dies? Can you go back to just being best friends? Typically, the end of the romantic relationship means the friendship will no longer work. Once you've been physically intimate with them, it can be hard to regain your friendly distance. Basically, you want to consider whether you're willing to potentially risk losing the friendship to pursue a romantic relationship. You don't have the ability to know what will happen in the future, so you just have to make the decision based on what you feel is right in that moment.
Consider Relationship Counseling
If you are feeling like you’re at a crossroads with your best friend, you might want to think about consulting with a relationship counselor. Many people think marriage or relationship counseling is only for couples who have been together for years. That’s not entirely true. Relationship psychology can help anyone be a better partner—whether they’re in a relationship, living the single life, or just starting something new.
Alternatively, you might want to approach your friend with the prospect of going to couples therapy before you begin seeing each other. Going to couple’s therapy early in your relationship can be a great move—especially if you discover that you have certain life plans that might not match up.
If you make the decision to seek out relationship therapy, keep the option of online counseling in mind. Platforms like BetterHelp connect licensed mental health professionals with individuals like you. Online counseling, furthermore, has been shown to be as good, if not better, than in-person treatment. Relationship therapists are available to deliver actionable advice to you wherever you have internet access. Read what others have to say about their experience with relationship counseling from BetterHelp below.
“Lauren is awesome. She quickly gains a grasp of specific things that give me anxiety and helps me understand aspects of my thought processes that contribute to those anxious spirals. She’s given me a lot of tools to help me work through specific triggers for anxious thoughts and coping mechanisms for when things begin to feel overwhelming. She asks the right questions to help me realize things I wouldn’t otherwise think about, which has helped me understand how I react to external and internal aspects of my anxiety and depression. All of this has been invaluable for my approach to internal conflict and improving how I communicate with friends and partners. She is very responsive and always has time available for video or phone sessions, which I appreciate as someone who will often put off working through something until it becomes a jumbled mess in my head, and I know I can rely on her having time to jump in and help me break it down into more approachable pieces. Thanks, Lauren!”
“Having Krysten as an active sounding board has improved my relationships with my partner and friends. The messaging is also a very helpful way for communicating. It is like having a journal that answers back with new ways to look at things. The messaging also allows the sessions to be more impactful, because we have already moved the dial before going into them.”
What to Do If Falling in Love with Your Best Friend Worries You
The first thing to realize is that your feelings are natural. Don't beat yourself up for being attracted to your best friend. We can't help who we're attracted to, and it's effortless to think that a relationship could be a good idea when you see how great it feels being friends. If you've thought it over and decided a romantic relationship isn't what you want, you might need help dealing with the powerful emotions behind your new interest in them. Talking to an online therapist through BetterHelp can help you gain perspective, work through your feelings, and decide what you want from the friendship moving forward.
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