Marry Your Best Friend?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the concept of “marrying your best friend.” There has been a recent upsurge in the number of posts on Facebook and Instagram about people marrying their best friends. I definitely make snarky comments and gag a little in my head anytime someone mentions marrying their best friend.

“What if my best friend is a cat?”

“I love my best friend and everything, but I really don’t want to have sex with her.”

(Really mature Janney). Perhaps there is some element of bragging in the frequent “marrying of my best friend” posts that I see on Facebook, similar to the non-ironic use of the hashtag “blessed.” Part of it could be that most people only post really happy stuff on social media. But after spending the weekend with a group of awesome folks who are in (from my limited outside perspective) some of the happiest and healthiest relationships I’ve ever seen, and hearing the advice to “marry my best friend,” it seems like there may be some wisdom in the stuff. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, befriending and living with some of the most kick-ass couples this year, and I think it would be safe to say that all of them would say without hesitation that their partner is their best friend. My rule of thumb is to never assume that you know anything about another person’s relationship, but the palpable joy I can feel when I am around these couples does not occur when I spend time with couples on the verge of breaking up. So these folks are a reliable source.

Once I get over my initial reaction to the cheesiness of the concept of marrying your best friend, it sounds pretty awesome. I don’t exactly have the best track record for dating, partly because I’m 24 and partly because I’ve totally been attacking this the wrong way. Healthy relationships are like writing cover letters or using semi-colons; it’s something I didn’t learn how to do at Oberlin. As I child I was always hesitant to declare that someone was my “best friend,” because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I think that some of that reluctance has carried into my adult relationships. It’s difficult for me to date someone and not be wondering if there’s actually someone better. In our society, you can’t really marry multiple best friends. I think at this point it’s probably worth my while to stop dating people because they are there and interesting to me, and start dating them because we’re good at supporting each other.

So how does one start? Pick a best friend that you would also like to have sex with and shoot? Is this how this stuff works? Trial and error? Or not worry about it in your 20s and have a series of really good friends and hope that your best friend doesn’t marry someone else? Become your own best friend, marry yourself and register at Manolo Blahniks a la Carrie Bradshaw? I don’t know, but I think I’m starting to care.

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