I’m friends with my lover

I’ve always taken a straightforward approach to dating. You meet, you like each other, and next thing you know, you’re official.

Seems fair, right?

I could never figure out why it just never felt right, whether it lasted for a few months, or a few years.

Something was missing. I felt like it was all a puzzle with a piece missing right in the middle. And I looked everywhere for that piece and just didn’t know what it was, much less where to find it.

Then it dawned on me.

I don’t remember what I was doing that day, but I remember the conversation I had in my head.

“Kim,” I asked myself. “Are you and _________ actually friends?”

Friends? What? No! That’s my boyfriend….

Then, I paused.

Wait just a damn minute.

There it was, clear as day.  I wasn’t friends with the people I was trying to build a relationship with. We skipped the whole part where you get to know each other deeply on a platonic level and build up a solid foundation for liking each other. Getting official with someone after a matter of weeks clearly isn’t enough time.

Sure, you can get lucky. There are exceptions. Things can work out and you stay together for the next 50 years.

But…

How much time in your new relationship are you spending simply trying to figure each other out and get to know what they’re really like?

If you were friends already, then you already know a lot of these things…and you probably know more than you would for a long time if you started out as a full-blown couple! Think about it. When you have close friends, or even a best friend, you are usually yourself with them. Impressing them 24/7 isn’t your top priority–if at all, and they see you at your best and at your frumpiest.

When my current partner and I got together, we had already been friends for several years. There was no need for the ‘discovery’ phase where all the horrors about one’s brand new partner come to light because …well, he already knew what I was like on a day to day basis, and so did I. We had plenty of time to enjoy the new couple status because it wasn’t being interrupted by panic attacks over someone’s bad habits or surprising opinions.

As friends, I already knew that he was a picky eater and had a bad habit of falling asleep on the phone. He already knew that I don’t really like to cook, and that I could say whole paragraphs without appearing to take a single breath. None of that was a surprise. We went a good few months before our first fight, because there wasn’t a lot to actually fight about. We also didn’t need to get each other up to speed on much. As friends, we were used to sharing everything in vivid detail, and also had already spent time around each others families and friends.  “Meeting the parents” was less of a terrifying moment, as it basically …well, it was kinda obvious to them that we had crossed the line from friends to “your lil’ friend” as black parents love to put it.

I won’t say that everyone should have their relationships start as friendships. You never know, you could meet Mr. or Mrs. Right on a boat and get married 6 months later and live a happy life. But what are the odds of that really happening? Just based on my experience (my limited experience) with the world, it’s probably cool to focus on making meaningful connections and nurturing them into friendships with whomever you like.

Whichever ones were meant to be more than that, will definitely blossom. I know this is cliche, but really…you will know when it’s right.  Your gut has a way of telling you things. It’s up to you to acknowledge it or not.

 

Image source: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/07/04/6-things-both-partners-should-be-able-to-do-if-their-relationship-is-a-healthy-one/

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