Friends or Lovers?

By: Guy Templeton
July 11, 2013

loversIf you’re like me, you’ve probably read a gushy line like this on Facebook:

  • Lately I’ve been thinking about how incredibly awesome my husband is. I’m so grateful for my best friend and all that he does for our family, he’s gonna make the best dad ever! Love you husband!!

“Best Friend”?  Really?  Isn’t that what you tell someone when you want to break up with them?  I mean I get the idea that a spouse could be a best friend, but I’d rather my wife was my lover than my best friend.  What say you?

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22 Responses to Friends or Lovers?

  1. Mormon Heretic on July 11, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Wasn’t there a “Friends” episode dealing with “Friends with benefits.” Or was it Seinfeld? Didn’t Elaine admit friends can’t be lovers?

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  2. jks on July 11, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    I think perhaps there is a different quality to female best friendships that maybe male bestfriendships don’t have so you don’t know what qualities these people are waxing poetic about.
    Best friend-like qualities that make a really great husband:
    Listens to you, understands you, always rooting for you to succeed, always looking out for you, happy to be with you, looks for opportunities to be with you, wanting to help you, fun to be with, laugh together, have inside jokes, shared interests, honesty, never critical, shared history, loyal, makes you feel better about yourself, supportive & encouraging……All this makes a great husband especially if you add shared future goals & great sex.
    However, a lover can be your lover but still have no idea what makes you tick, doesn’t want to understand you outside of sex and romance, incapable of being emotionally supportive all the time, hates your family or is irritated by your habits, the list is endless.
    “Lover” seems way too compartmentalized to indicate a great life together in my opinion. However, my husband probably would choose to categorize me as a lover more that as a best friend, even though over the years he remarks that I am his best friend too. So he probably gets what you are getting at. Me? My husband is a good lover (I feel very loved), but he was a crappy best friend the other day……

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  3. Eva on July 11, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    I certainly don’t think “best friend” and “lover” need be mutually exclusive of one another. I would definitely consider the guy I’m dating to be my best friend. I understand him and he understands me. We play off of one another. We convince each other to do fun, stupid, silly, and adventurous things we might not otherwise do. We make jokes about many of the same things because we’ve experienced those things together. We have very introspective and intellectual conversations. I can’t think of anything I’d want in a best friend that he doesn’t do or have. And I’d obviously consider him my lover as well (in as much as we determine that to be possible prior to marriage). I find the entire premise of this post to be rather…odd.

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  4. alice on July 11, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    45 years of wedded bliss here saying that the heat didn’t last. Being best friends did.

    Maybe best friend isn’t the way to put it that makes the best case but so many of the things that go into being a true friend like trust and admiration and respect and abiding love take a lot longer to say than “best friend”. Whatever you call it, that stuff still manages to keep going the distance when the hormones wear out.

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  5. NewlyHousewife on July 11, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    Depending on the age of whoever wrote the status, “lover” is considered a creepy way of saying you have sex with someone. I’m in my twenties, no one my age says the word ‘lover’ with a straight face on–usually its in reference to someone you only have sex with, or used in some raunchy joke (which it usually is).

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  6. hawkgrrrl on July 11, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    I agree that best friend implies one’s life partner, the person you most want to spend time with. Lover implies your sexy Latin dance partner or something. I assume if they are married they are also lovers. But not all married couples are best friends. To me, it’s the higher compliment.

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  7. BrianT on July 11, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    I’ve never been able to use the word “lover” with a straight face.

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  8. Lorian on July 11, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    I’m glad my spouse is my best friend. That’s the kind of relationship which lasts and which one never grows tired of.

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  9. SilverRain on July 12, 2013 at 5:47 AM

    Sadly, most single men seem to agree with the OP. I, for one, am not marrying again unless I can find a best friend: someone I can trust. Most men seem only interested in a housekeeper with benefits.

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  10. Will on July 12, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    Lover. For sure.

    Golf buddies are best friends.

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  11. Jeff Spector on July 12, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    I find this concept of “Best Friends” to be a kind of schoolyard type thing. We grow up with multiple “best friends” as they move away, grow apart, change schools, etc. We have good friends that come in and out of our life. If we choose an eternal partner, it would be my hope that that person is truly our “Best Friend.” My wife is my one and only best friend.

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  12. Frustrated on July 12, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Alice is right. Since, after 25 years of marriage my wife went through menopause, her hormones and libido are at zero. Mine, however, are not. It’s tough just being friends with your wife, loving her like a sister instead of a lover. Tough enough that I’ve looked into chemical castration. Hint to female readers: if husbands just wanted another fishing buddy they wouldn’t have bothered getting married in the first place.

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  13. Guy T on July 12, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    When I was single, there were lots of women that I hung out with. They were best friends in the true sense of the word, but I had no interest in becoming romantic with them. Conversely, there were many women that I dated that told me that they just wanted to be friends–they didn’t view me with any sort of romantic feelings. Yes, from my point of view, it sucked, but I’ve been on both sides of the fence, so what can I really say?

    A spouse should be more than a friend. My wife is out with a bunch of college friends right now, and I was NEVER invited. At one time, this bugged me–because after all, aren’t she and I supposed to be best friends? One time I “forced” my way to go to one of these outings, and I couldn’t have been more bored. Lesson learned. I don’t like girl chat.

    Conversely, I don’t take my wife to baseball games, or basketball games. She gets bored, and wants to talk about things other than the game. I enjoy the game, so I want to talk about the game.

    Maybe lover isn’t the precise term I’m looking for. Perhaps soulmate, or some other term. But “best friend” is not a lover, or a soulmate. I love my wife, but there are lots of things that I don’t like to do with her, that I’d rather do with my guy friends (I don’t fish, but I guess fishing buddies calls the concept just fine.) My wife and I love to travel, we enjoy music, but the last thing this best friend wants to do is hang out at a bridal shower. As such, I just don’t find the term “best friend” and “wife” compatible. And I’m not simply talking romance here, though that certainly plays a part. Like I said, there are lots of women that I could call a best friend, but I had no romantic inclinations for.

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  14. Karen on July 12, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Frustrated, is it a possibility that you’re wife would be a candidate for bio-identical hormone therapy? It is not dangerous in the way that synthetic hormones can be, and it provides additional benefits besides restoring libido. My husband and I are 60+ and we are best friends and lovers. :)

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  15. jks on July 13, 2013 at 12:56 AM

    Guy T – Like you I can’t describe my spouse as a best friend. However, unlike you I would like to. I can imagine it and it sounds pretty good. However, we have a good marriage and a good relationship even if the best friends thing isn’t our strong point. I am his best friend, but I would not describe him as mine.
    I guess I don’t understand why your imagination can’t figure out that there are people who have sex, are married, love each other romantically and are also best friends.

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  16. jks on July 13, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    Here’s the other problem, Guy T. You said there are lots of women that you could call a best friend. I don’t think you understand the term “best friend” and how other people might use it. Sure there are the flaky people who seem to use the term loosely with revolving door best friends or insincere statements elevating many regular friendships into something that really isn’t there.
    I have only ever had one best friend in my life (well, plus my husband qualifies on a really good year too I guess). The rest of the friends in my life have been good friends or close friends. A best friend isn’t a fishing buddy or someone you hang around for a while or only in certain circumstances.

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  17. alice on July 13, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    Exactly right, jks!

    A best friend is the one that, once you’ve had them in your life, you can’t imagine your life without them again. That’s not a fishing buddy or the same thing as a run of the mill friend (not to disregard the importance of anyone important enough to be called a friend). Your best friend isn’t someone who diverts you for a few hours at a time. He’s/she’s the person that has your back on your way through life and helps you want to and need to accept the challenges that will make you the best self you can be so you continue to deserve them and contribute to their life.

    I think there’s some difference about the nature of female and male friendship that may be causing some of us to talk past one another in this thread.

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  18. KT on July 13, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    I just get super annoyed by people who do that on FB! I feel it’s attention seeking and manipulative toward the spouse. Say it to them, not about them. And yea, ‘lover’.

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  19. Hedgehog on July 14, 2013 at 2:42 AM

    I married my best friend.
    Though I think alice is right, that we aren’t all using the same definitions here.

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  20. Heber13 on July 15, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    Neither friends nor lovers endure forever. At one moment, feelings may be intense, and a person can want to express it in ways that make it intimate and exclusive and special. Not just friends, but “best friends”, I’ve even heard “Forever Friends” used. Lovers too is intimate in a specific way. I would think most intimate relationships are friends as well as lovers (who’d want to be lovers with a non-friend??).

    But things change over time. Its why marriages take work and effort because those intense feelings at one time fade and require both people who change themselves over time, keep the fire alive and keep friendships going by being connected, and keep the love-life special.

    It just goes through phases and fades over time. Best friends come and go. Lovers, I will say a different way, change too.

    The FB entries that gush on how intense the friendship and lovers are are up there with nicknames and mush-monsters. Good for you if you are gushing in your relationship…but my opinion is to give it a few years…it’ll calm down to more mature and real relationship stages.

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  21. MFFTL on November 18, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    From friends to lovers or nothing? :)

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  22. Kullervo on November 18, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    There’s different kinds of best friends.

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