4 Signs Your Partner Isn't Really Your Best Friend, Even Though You Love Them
Down the occasional (read: weekly) rabbit hole of YouTube, there are a bunch of videos entitled, "Best Friend Versus Partner Challenge." YouTubers create trivia about themselves, then test their best friend and their partner — two separate people. Their best friend often wins, gleefully reminding their Vlogger pal that perhaps, your partner isn’t really your best friend.
From knowing Real Housewives of Beverly Hills gossip, to having thrift shop skills, I'm pretty clear on the lines between best friend and partner. However, my own parents, like every rom-com ever, and plenty of my friends in long-term relationships stand by the idea that your partner is in fact, your best friend. When looking for the distinction, my mind usually follows on: preparing for a date vs. going on a date. In the first scenario, I'm throwing shoes around my bedroom, blasting angry feminist 90s music, (over)thinking what I'm going to order, with my best friend on FaceTime. In the second, I'm in an effortlessly cool outfit (the one that took an hour to plan), charmingly talking about women in punk music, eating a kale salad that I before pre-Googled the price of.
While I'll eventually feel more comfortable as my relationship progresses, my partner will never know about the nine different shops I went to looking for their birthday present, or that I cried in my shower when I thought they ghosted me that one time their phone broke. What can I say? For me, some things are just best friend territory.
I spoke with Relationship and Wellbeing Coach, Shula Melamed MA MPH, about the nuances between best friends and partners — and the signs that while you love your partner, they're just not your BFF.
1. You want them to want you.
Being romantically or sexually involved with someone means there is a romantic or sexual attraction within the relationship. "Romantic love usually (but not always) involves sex," Melamed tells Elite Daily. "There is an extra attention to appealing to that person's sexuality and elements of physical intimacy that doesn't usually appear in platonic love."
When you're having a sleepover with a pal, you might be doing face masks together. The first time you sleep over at your boo's, you're probably not breaking out the acne cream. If you're focused on keeping things hot and heavy, your partner may have struggle to hold down the title of best friend.
2. You sleep with them.
If you're having sex with the same person over a long period of time, you will most likely need to put in the effort to spice things up.
"Some people are really into the idea of marrying or being with their best friend but for some others this orientation can dampen some of the erotic frisson necessary to keep things sexy," Melamed says. "To be your partner, your lover and your slumber party buddy, is going to effect the erotic connection."
When your person becomes your only person, it can be grown difficult to have serious, sexy conversations amongst conversations of co-workers stealing your lewk, the new Sweetgreen opening on your street, or your roommate breaking your French press. Therefore, it may be beneficial to your relationship to confide in someone else about the little things — and that someone may indeed be your best friend.
3. They may not get it (and they don't have to!)
Your partner may not know where you buy your sunglasses, and may have no interest in rummaging through a Goodwill Outlet with you. But alas, they don't necessarily need to.
"You have to love and like each other but you don't have to be aligned in some of the ways we like to be with our 'best friends,' Melamed says. "Maybe you and your best friend love to go dancing but your partner doesn't — its great to have someone to do those things with and a loving partner to come home to."
Rather than taking your partner to something they don't really want to go to and potentially dealing with a crabby boo, go to events with someone who shares these interests. Just because you love someone, doesn't mean you have to love all the things they love. Being willing to listen and support them is key — their best friend can handle the rest.
4. They're dependable not codependent.
Building support systems outside of sexual or romantic relationships is healthy. "If your partner is not your best friend, it probably means you are able to create stable support systems for yourself and that is not a bad thing," Melamed says.
Having a variety of people to turn to, vent to, and shop with, makes life spicy and fun. Remember, you're more than just someone's partner. Perhaps, separating your partner from your best friend is just what you need to flourish and grow.
Whether you're a Sex And The City-style pal with a group of besties, more of the Rory-and-Lane-type, or if your partner is truly your BFF, best friendships are empowering special relationships. Everyone is different and needs different things. Finding a balance between partners and BFFs can take some trial and error, but with open communication, and lots of validation, (Cue "Superbad" — "I love my best friend!") all the ones we love can live in harmony.