Should you risk it all for something that could be even better?
Dating someone with whom you have a strong friendship is a path many people consider walking down. And so, they seek out answers. But, depending where you go, advice on love and friendship can drastically vary.
Some people swear that dating a friend is akin to pooping where you eat: everything just sort of ends up shitty.
Other people dole out advice on love that isn’t quite as gloomy. They not only believe that friends and love do mix, but they also believe that at the root of every great romantic relationship is the friendship that keeps it afloat.
So, how do you know what advice on love to follow? How do you know if dating your best friend is a good idea or one that will only end in heartache? The true answer really depends on how the two of you feel about one another — some friends imagine that sleeping with each other is like acting out Flowers in the Attic.
Others feel differently.
Still, there are ways to tell if this path is one that leads to a dead end. Answering three simple questions, for instance, will tell you if dating your best friend is doable, or something that ain’t broke, giving you no reason to fix it.
Do you feel like you have to?
There’s a scene from My Best Friend’s Wedding that shows Julia Roberts confessing to her editor that she and her best friend have a pact to marry each other if both find themselves single when they reach a certain age. Though this scene is fictional, the concept behind it is not: girls and guys all over the world shake hands, pinky swear, or otherwise vow to be each other’s Plan B.
Telling someone to date their best friend because time has marched on without the slightest sound of wedding bells is advice on love that is like going on a camping trip while slathered in honey: it’s just asking for trouble.
Instead, you and your best friend should be together because you want to, not because you feel as though you have to.
Do you want the same future?
Another point to consider before crossing the line between noogies and hugs to kisses and sex is your future ideals: do you and your best friend want the same things? You may make the mistake of assuming you do; after all, you’ve been best friends for five years and get along marvelously. Yet, you need to be sure — wanting different things can kill a relationship when it doesn’t even mar a friendship.
For example, if you want children and your best friend never wants to be a parent, you’re not going to be largely affected (heck, you’ll probably even save money by not having to engage in the obligatory spoiling). But, if you want children and you’re significant other does not, you’ll be singing a different tune…and this one is nowhere near as cheery.
Can your friendship survive?
The final thing you should consider is in regards to the resilience of your friendship: to put it blankly, can your friendship survive a relationship? In some friendships, two people can, in fact, date, break up, and then carry on in the same manner they did before becoming romantically linked. Other friendships aren’t as lucky.
Some people date their best friend only to find that — because they failed as lovers — their platonic union is now collateral damage. This may be because they see each other in a different light, because they find it too hurtful to be around each other, or because they had a breakup more dramatic than an episode of reality television. All friendships are at risk of ruin when sex and love are involved. Yes, even those with the shiniest of best friend necklaces.
Only you and your best friend know whether your friendship is strong enough to bounce back in the event your dating experiment blows up in your face. And, only you and your best friend know whether or not you’re willing to take such a risk.
The answers to the three above questions may not provide you concrete advice on love, telling you affirmatively that you should date your BFF or you should approach the thought with an OMG. But, they do give you things to consider before relocating from the friend zone to the erogenous ones.