No, I’m not marrying my best friend (…her husband may take issue!)

Guest post by Sara

Sorry, Cathy's Classic Aisle Runner. I'm marrying my fiance, not my best friend.
Sorry, Cathy's Classic Aisle Runner. I'm marrying my fiance, not my best friend.
Since we've gotten engaged, a couple of people have mentioned things about “marrying your best friend.” As in “Oh, isn't it great that you get to be with your best friend forever?” I don't correct them, because I feel like it isn't worth the argument, but it's something that strikes me as odd.

Let me be clear, if you are a person who feels that they will be marrying/have married their best friend, that's great! You do you, whatever makes you happy. But I'm a little weirded out how this seems to be the assumption now. Even when you look at all merchandise — all the cards and t-shirts and tote bags and aisle runners — the wedding industry seems to think that if you're marrying someone they must be your best friend, and that's just… odd to me. Obviously some people are marrying their best friend, but surely not everyone?

People never assumed this stuff when my fiancé was just a boyfriend. We were living together, running a house together, and everyone assumed that at some point we'd get married, but no one said anything about “living with your best friend.” Admittedly the people saying this aren't people who know me super-well, but I just don't understand that leap.

My fiancé isn't my best friend. He's pretty great, but we weren't really friends before we dated, and my actual best friend has known me for almost twice as long as he has. She's the one who will tell me that sweater makes me look like a crazy cat lady, whereas my fiancé thinks I'm gorgeous in whatever I wear. (Not that that is a bad thing.) It's just sort of, two sides to the same coin. And, for our situation, I feel like for him to try and be both my partner and my best friend would be counterproductive. There's nothing major that my fiancé knows about me that my bestie doesn't, and vice versa. It's not the information that's different, it's the way it's processed…

My bestie can give me insight into problems that my fiancé can't, necessarily, because he's too close to the situation, and she can give me perspective. If he leaves his socks on the living room floor and my knee-jerk reaction is to freak out, I know that twenty years from now we're not going to point to the great sock-on-the-floor incident of 2013 as the low point in our relationship. But does it still tweak my nerves? Sure. In situations like that I can go to my best friend and say “Ugh, he left his socks on the floor again,” and she'll just shake her head and say “Oh I know, my husband does that and it irritates me too.” And then everyone wins. I feel vindicated because I'm not crazy, my fiancé isn't left going “WTF” because I went all She-Hulk over a pair of socks, and maybe later I go to him and mention it in a calm and rational way — or maybe not.

The point is my best friend is an outlet for this little stuff, sort of a staging area, if you will, for some of my feelings. It's not that my fiancé and I don't talk about our problems — he's a marriage therapist, do you really think he'd let me get away with that?! — it's just that sometimes I need to get my thoughts in order before I bring them up to him. And sometimes once I say something out loud it sounds so stupid that I'm able to just let it go, or realize that I may have been misunderstanding something.

The other thing is that he and I are very much our own people. We're not “two peas in a pod” or “two halves of a whole.” We are frequently found no where near each other geographically, we have hobbies that the other is completely not into, and it's not unusual for me to say “no idea” if someone asks me where he is. I know he's alive and will be home tonight, that's all I feel like I need to know.

In general I reject the idea (we both do) that to be in a relationship or to be married means we have to be joined at the hip 110% of the time. Not that I'm like that with my best friend either, but it goes along with the theme that people seem to think that once you get married, suddenly this one person should be absolutely everything to you. I have lots of important people in my life — I consider it a blessing that I have so very many people I love who are important to me, and I, personally, have no interest in having all of those roles condensed into one person.

So yeah, my fiancé and I are a team — we make our house run as a team, we sometimes plan parties as a team, we make sure we have enough cash to pay bills as a team, and eventually, we'll parent as a team. He's my “significant other,” he's “the dude I'm in love with,” and he's a pretty boss roommate and life-mate, but he's not my “best friend” and I doubt he ever will be.

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Comments on No, I’m not marrying my best friend (…her husband may take issue!)

  1. Love this! I do consider my husband my best friend, but that always makes me feel like I’m betraying my actual best friend. The idea that we can have multiple best friends (sort of like multiple spouses, I guess…) is a weird concept for us as a society, I think. But I know if I had to pick one best friend forever and ever, it wouldn’t be my husband. That’s just not his title.

  2. Thank you so much for this! I feel exactly the same, but it definitely feels like we’re in the minority sometimes.

  3. This is a really interesting post. I do feel like my boyfriend (of only about two years) definitely is my best friend. After moving every several years and never staying in good contact with childhood and college friends (because, let’s be honest, facebook isn’t good contact unless everyone is working to make that happen), I honestly don’t feel like there is anyone who knows me as well as he does. Or gets my idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies as well. It helps that, aside from each of us having moved several times in the last several years, we’re both introverted enough to mostly be focused on each other, assisting in our friendship being well developed.

    More than anything, I love that this post acknowledges the reality that your significant other can be you best friend, but that they don’t necessarily have to be your best friend. I read a post recently that basically said that they thought the idea of your significant other being your best friend was practically an oxymoron, which seemed completely off base. This seems much much more well thought out.

    • Totally agree with you. I actually did marry my best friend too. Which is pretty cool, as he’s the only one to really know the real me (with all of my quirky mannerisms, likes, dislikes, etc). Just like, I know everything about him and spend more time with him than any of our online friends. It’s pretty nifty and works great for us.

      But at the same time, it’s completely cool if you didn’t marry your best friend, as I know that what works for me, doesn’t work for everyone. It’s usually encouraged to have friends outside of marriage anyways.

      Oddly enough, I wasn’t ever asked about the hubster being my best friend. It was usually stuff like “How is marriage?” or “How is it like living with him?” Maybe the best friend comments aren’t that typical where I live? :shrugs:

    • I may have read that same article. Certainly it irritates me when people go black and white with it (either it has to be that way or being that way was stupid.) Rereading this I don’t think I put enough emphasis on the fact that I think it’s ok if your SO is also your BFF, but I’m glad the point got across, and glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  4. Dude, I love this post. I didn’t marry my best friend either — he’s currently getting married to an awesome chick in a couple months. And I once dated another best friend of mind — that did NOT go well. We’re back to just being friends and I married an awesome guy who I haven’t known as long as all my closest friends.

    I think of that guy I married as my partner and my closest ally. But my best friends are a totally different beast — they’re the dudes I need to have around when things get wonky with my partner.

    • My last ex-boyfriend was a mutual friend within our circle of friends in high school. I finally had to end the relationship because he became emotionally/sexually/physically abusive. Sometimes, so-called “friends” wind up being the worst people you’ve ever dated.

  5. My husband and I discussed this topic shortly after getting engaged and both agreed we weren’t best friends, and marrying our ‘best friend’ wouldn’t and didn’t apply to us either. We met online and definitely weren’t looking to find a best friend… thanks so much for the article, it definitely articulates how I feel 🙂

  6. Yes!

    I’ve gotten over my knee-jerk eye-roll response to the “marrying my best friend” line that I hear/read on so many wedding blogs, but I still agree that’s not a given. While the fiance and I do seem to overlap that Venn diagram between BFF and life partner, I don’t think it’s fair to expect him to fill the BFF role because, as you so eloquently stated, it’s not the same thing. I know that he considers ME his best friend, and I’m happy to fill that role for him, but he knows that I consider my female friends to be very important and that I don’t expect him to fill their role.

  7. These best friend/not best friend discussions are always fascinating to me. I don’t necessarily consider any one person to be my “best” friend. All of my close friends have a place in my life, and some of them take on larger or smaller roles during different time periods or situations, but I don’t really consider any of them to be my BEST friend. I tend to do and discuss different things with different friends, depending on what they tend to enjoy/be best at. It’s nice. My husband is just one of those friends. So, I guess I would consider him to be ONE of my best friends… but not my ONLY best friend. If that makes sense. I always think it’s funny that our culture fixates on the idea that THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE. Makes me envision a Highlander-esque fight to determine which friend lives forever and which friend winds up a head shorter.

    • haha, i totally agree. i have so many best friends, and some people think thats so weird. but basically i just like them all so much, i cant “rank” them like that. they are all the best! and, i mean in that vein i would probably call my boyfriend (or fiance one day or husband one day or whatever we end up being) my best friend too.

      maybe my overuse of best friend is diluting what a best friend is. oops. haha

    • I agree with this comment 10000%…this is what irritated me about this article….I have several “best friends!!” they are part of my elite close-to-me group. and I actually think it’s quite awful to say “but he’s not my “best friend” and I doubt he ever will be.”…..anyway, I guess we all just have our own different definition of things…..for example, in this article her husband is someone she manages the home and children with while being a roommate…and to me a husband is a my ultimate lifetime companion, period–we could live in different homes, I could adopt a kid and he wouldn’t even have to be the father figure….to me, the details don’t really matter…..a husband is an exclusive lifetime partner…and to me, why would I want someone to be my exclusive lifetime partner if he weren’t my (or ‘one of my’) “best friend(s)??” sooooo…..I think we all just define things differently and that’s why this article was a little frustrating to read. The author assumes that everyone shares the same definition of terms, which is funny, because that’s exactly why she’s upset…because everyone makes assumptions about what “husband” means to her! lol

    • Thanks Cali!

      I have four best friends, and they will all be with me at my wedding, but only one will be holding my hand that day.

  8. This is a pretty interesting read. Honestly, this has never crossed my mind before. I am marrying my best friend. 🙂 He’s been my best friend since we were twelve. He’s the friend I play games with, paint nails with and go to the mall with. I have other friends, but he’s always had the BFF title. We even have friendship bracelets.
    That being said, I can understand why “I’m marrying my best friend” would feel off to some people. Your future spouse should be someone you can confide in like a best friend, but it’s understandable if he/she doesn’t hold the “ultimate BFF” title, and that’s perfectly okay.

    • D’aww I love the friendship bracelets 🙂 I’m glad you thought it was interesting!

    • I love the friendship bracelet too! I made my fiancé one when we were just bf/gf and it turns out 2 or 3 colors in it were supposedly his “lucky colors” (black, white, red), from what someone at a Chinese fair told us. He did think it brought him luck and he wore that thing every day! It stretched out a lot and I think at some point it broke but he still carried it around with him. He is my best friend too, but I can appreciate differences – that not everyone marries their best friend.

  9. aaaaaaah I love you for saying this!!! I’ve always felt like telling your husband “I’m marrying my best friend” on the altar is like friendzoning him in front of his friends and family lol.

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