Is Your Partner Your Best Friend?

This may sound like an ideal situation but it very often isn't.

Posted Oct 16, 2020

 I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the phrase “My partner is my best friend,” said proudly, mostly by younger people newly in love. As people get older they usually have made other friends and this idea doesn’t come up as often. Older men have their guy friends if they’re lucky, and women have a special girlfriend or several.

Many men have their childhood friends if they still live near home, or they are still in touch with their college friends, but men in general (not all!) don’t have the drive or the skills to make a new intimate male friend, and a new close female friend is often frowned upon.

There is much to be said about feeling so close to your partner that you can tell him/her anything. However, that “we have no secrets from each other” closeness often fades a bit when one begins to have thoughts and feelings it would be impolitic to share: “I’m often bored with the TV you like watching”, “I have had better lovers,” “You’re getting a gut or your behind is getting broad.” As these or similar thoughts cross your mind you might want to vent with a close friend who is not your mate. This is where having another best friend of the same sex comes in very handy.

When I was a young married woman I gave up my only close woman friend because my husband didn’t like her. That left me with his friends and their women partners, none of whom I felt close to. Soon after marriage I had some sexual concerns with no close women friend to talk to and unable to talk to any of the women in our social circle for fear that whatever I said would get back to my husband and injure his pride. Husband as a best friend is useless when what you want to talk about is him!

I do believe that for a person of any age or sex, it is rewarding to have a same-sex bestie. There are things and situations that another man is likely to understand without too much explanation. He is even likely to have been in the same situation. That is if a man is open to intimate sharing. Some men just aren’t. Those are the men who, when widowed, are the loneliest and most helpless.

Women, on the other hand, are often used to sharing secrets with their girlfriends since school days. Again, coupled or single, another woman is likely to understand and have experienced what is being shared, whereas even the most empathetic man can only surmise.

Is your partner your best friend? Does that work for you? Remember back in school, at any level from grade school to college, did you have a best buddy or even a small group that always hung out together? That is often what a grownup misses when s/he reminisces.

If you are partnered, by all means love him or her. Share your thoughts with them. Feel closer to this person than to any other person. But hang on to a same-sex friend or two. They serve an entirely different purpose—an important one.