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Science-based Benefits of Being Best Friends With Your Partner

Science-based Benefits of Being Best Friends With Your Partner

Those who considered their partner their best friend were indeed much more satisfied in their relationship than those who didn’t. This finding is consistent with research showing that relationships with more companionate love – based on friendship, feelings of affection, comfort, and shared interests – last longer and are more satisfying.

In fact, companionate love is more closely associated with relationship satisfaction than is passionate love – the type of romantic love based on intense feelings of attraction and preoccupation with one’s partner.

Related: 43 Pieces of Best Marriage Advice by Top Relationship Experts

Other research shows that those in friendship-based love relationships feel they have a highly likable partner, and that shared companionship is an important part of love. A study of 622 married individuals revealed that those with higher scores on the friendship-based love scale also reported more relationship satisfaction, greater perceived importance of the relationship, greater respect for their spouse, and felt closer to their spouse.

More recently, across two studies with nearly 400 participants in relationships, those who place more value on the friendship aspect of their relationship also report more commitment, more love, and greater sexual gratification. In addition, valuing friendship also decreased the chances of the couple breaking up. Best-friend love is starting to sound better and better.

All of these benefits are backed up by accounts from a special type of relationship expert: couples who’ve been happily married for over 15 years. When researchers asked over 350 of these couples about their secret to relationship success and longevity, what was the number one reason?

Simple: Their partner was their best friend. The second most common response was liking their spouse as a person, another key facet of friendship-based love.

Why are best friend partners so beneficial?

These findings demonstrating the benefits of dating or marrying your best friend make perfect sense when you consider the type of relationship best friends share. Friends enjoy spending time together, share similar interests, take care of each other, trust each other, and feel a lasting bond between them. It isn’t a coincidence that these all happen to be qualities that also define successful intimate relationships.

By recognizing the parallels between best friends and romantic partners, you can benefit from holding both types of relationships to the same standards. All too often it seems individuals are overly forgiving of a relationship partner’s bad behavior when they would never accept similar behaviors from a friend.

For example, if your friend was mean, rude, perpetually grumpy, nagging, dishonest, argumentative, emotionally unstable, ignored your texts, called you names, or didn’t want to have meaningful conversations with you, would you still want to be friends? If not, it’s fair to hold similar expectations for your romantic partner. Take the time to find a romantic partner who truly is your best friend. 

Related: 6 Signs Your Partner Is Also Your Best Friend

To be clear, the argument here isn’t that you should try to convert an existing best friend into a romantic partner. You may not want to run the risk of compromising that friendship, anyway. Rather, the data here point out the importance of your romantic partner also being one of your best friends. 

Ultimately, the best way to have true love forever may be to be best friends forever first.

A version of this article appeared on The Conversation

Love relationships? To learn more, see my book Stronger Than You Think: The 10 Blind Spots That Undermine Your Relationship… and How to See Past Them 

You can also follow me on Twitter: @LewandowskiPhD


Written By Gary W. Lewandowski Jr.  
Originally Appeared In Psychology Today

When your partner is your best friend, the understanding and trust between you two will always be high up there. When you treat each other as equal partners, there is very little scope for misunderstandings and toxicity. Loving each other and also sharing a strong friendship will only help you make your relationship stronger.

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Science-based Benefits of Being Best Friends With Your Partner
Benefits Having Your Partner Best Friend Pin
Science-based Benefits of Being Best Friends With Your Partner
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Science-based Benefits of Being Best Friends With Your Partner
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Science-based Benefits of Being Best Friends With Your Partner
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Gary W. Lewandowski Jr.

Dr. Gary W. Lewandowski Jr. is the author of STRONGER THAN YOU THINK: The 10 Blind Spots That Undermine Your Relationship…and How to See Past Them. He is also an award-winning teacher, researcher, relationship expert, and professor at Monmouth University. His work has been featured in outlets such as The Washington Post, IFLScience.com, Daily Mail, Business Insider, The New Republic, Time, the New York Times, The Atlantic, VICE, CNN, and NPR. His articles about relationships have been enjoyed by over 3.5 million readers and his TED talk, Break-Ups Don't Have to Leave You Broken, has been viewed by 2 million people. He currently writes the Psychology of Relationships blog on Psychology Today.View Author posts