If Your Husband Is Your Best Friend, You’re Screwed

Maybe it’s the term ‘best friend’ that’s the trouble.

You’re scrolling down your Facebook newsfeed, absentmindedly liking things, when you see it: the kind of post that drives you absolutely bananas. The one that gets under your skin every time and leaves you wishing there were a ‘hate’ option next to ‘like’, ‘love’ and ‘haha’.

That toxic post is different for everyone. We all have our triggers, but for me it’s not the “Hillary is evil” posts, sun-soaked perfect vacation photos or smug posts raving about the latest fad diet that send me into meltdown mode. Those can all be annoying, sure, but the ones that really get to me are the ones in which people gush about their partners – particularly the ones in which they refer to them as their “best friend”.

“Here’s to my best friend, my partner in crime, my one and only, my everything!” or “I don’t know what I’d do without you! #bestfriends #luckiestgirlintheworld”.

Maybe it bothers me so much because I lost my best friend over a guy. Maybe it’s because I used to consider my husband my best friend, until we got divorced. Or maybe it’s because my current boyfriend isn’t my best friend and I wonder if he should be. Whatever the case, I know that, as with most things that upset me, the problem lies with me, not with the people posting these sweet things.

Maybe it’s the term ‘best friend’ that’s the trouble.

Remember in grade school, when ranking your friends was a big deal? In my class, we’d pass notes, checking boxes next to the names of our classmates, determining who our ‘best friend’ was. It was a given that best friends would be partners on class trips, and they’d show up to school in matching outfits. Being best friends with a popular girl was the surest way to become popular yourself – for however long your term as ‘best friend’ lasted.

But guess what? I’m not in grade school anymore. And I have a lot of friends. A lot of really good friends. I call one of them my ‘best friend’, but maybe I shouldn’t. I mean, what makes a ‘best friend’, anyway?

For me, these are some of the qualities I value in my friends:

  • They show up for me when I need them.
  • I can be myself around them, no filter.
  • They forgive me when I’m awful.
  • We can laugh together.
  • We can cry together.
  • They remind me who I am.

Friends like that are best friends – and you really can’t have too many of them.

So if your husband is your only best friend, what happens when he gets sick, or has an affair, or things get rough and you start thinking about divorce? Where’s your support network? We’ve all had that friend who fell off the map when she fell in love. One day you’re hanging out all the time, sharing your lives and secrets, and the next she won’t return your texts.

The truth is, when you partner up, and particularly when you get married, friends become more important, not less. You can’t expect one person to be your soulmate, roommate, lover, father to your children and your best friend. That’s a lot of pressure. Marriage is hard work, and both of you need an outlet so you can step away and let off steam once in a while.

Towards the end of my marriage, I used to tell my husband he was the only person I liked in the world. I tried to make out like it was a joke, but it wasn’t. I didn’t really know what our relationship was anymore; I couldn’t distinguish where I ended and he began. I’d lost touch with who I was, and I think that’s because I’d lost touch with my friends, the people who kept me grounded and sane.

When one thing ends, something new always begins. At the same time as my marriage began to crumble, new friends appeared in my life. It was as if they were sent to me by divine forces.

I’ve learned my lesson. This time I won’t let them go, no matter what my relationship status is.

GIF via wifflegif.com.

Comment: Do you agree? Should your partner be kept far away from ‘best friend’ territory?