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.

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

  1. I really loved the “two halves of a whole” part of your post. I consider my husband to be my husband, and that looks a lot like best friend, but also it looks a lot different. But what I have taken issue with is that people thought I was 1/2 a person before I got married. Half of a whole? No way Jose! We are two, very whole, people who make up a partnership. But I would not crumble and die and turn into some crazy recluse if he were to die or leave.

  2. This post is spot on. I also feel the same way about ‘soul mates’. I love my husband to bits in a way that no other love could match but I feel that my best girlfriends are actually my soul mates…for want of a better term. All I know is without each of my loved ones in my life I’d be lost.

  3. Really interesting read. I’m not sure I agree with all of it, but I understand the sentiment. For me the idea of one’s SO also being one’s best friend is somewhat a matter of nomenclature where the term may not mean exactly the same thing to every person. There’s also the question of whether or not one can have more than one “best” friend. Well, if you’re being literal then yes, but I personally believe you can have more than one, and I’m sure that is part of why I consider my boyfriend my best friend.

    For me, I have three or four best friends: my boyfriend, my mother, and two girls I’m really close with. My boyfriend and I do share a lot of general interests, but not always specifically the same (example: he sings opera, I do stage theater–both live performing, but not exactly the same thing) and he is the person I most often want to spend my time with. My mother is probably the person who knows me best, even when I don’t tell her everything going on in my head she still reads me better than anyone else can (after three years the boyfriend is getting close though!). Finally my two best girlfriends are people I can not talk to for months at a time, and the second we get back in touch its like we never missed a moment. Also, there’s some things that due to multifaceted aspects of other relationships I can’t go to my boyfriend or mom to talk about as easily. At the end of the day all these people get me on a level nobody else does, they make me a better person by being in my life, and I just generally enjoy their company. Hence, best friend(s).

    That’s not to say one has to marry one’s best friend. But I think there are some relationships where people call themselves best friends that are very similar to people who decidedly don’t, and it’s just a matter of the label being used or not to define this general type of person/relationship.

    • I think that’s definitely true- oh labels, how you be so weird? Honestly (and this is so strange) when I picture the different people in my life and how they fit in, it’s very much like role-based security to a database or computer system (work…seeping in… such a nerd.) They may all have similar “access,” or the same “privileges” but the naming convention is just different…

      …I should probably not try to describe how things in my head work outside of it anymore. It makes me sound a little crazy. Anyway, thanks for the comment! 🙂

  4. Yay! I am so glad that someone put this out there. I was starting to feel like- if he wasn’t my best friend–then Maybe… YIKES, I don’t even want to finish that sentence.
    I love OBB for all the perspectives the tribe brings to the table to share.

  5. I have lots of best friends! My best friend from primary school, my best friends from high school, my best friends from Uni… I don’t like the concept of JUST ONE best friend! My man is one of my closest friends, he was in my sister’s class at school and I’ve known him for years, in the time we’ve been together he’s been my main go-to-guy, but that wouldn’t exclude any of my other Best Friends from being my Best Friends…

  6. In my opinion, friendship is the absolute best foundation for a good marriage. You don’t have to consider your husband/wife your best friend, but if you don’t at least have a friendship with him/her, you’re in for trouble down the road.

    I happen to be of the mindset that a person can have more than one best friend. I’m lucky enough to have two. I’m marrying one, and the other is going to be my maid of honour. My fiancé and I weren’t really friends before we started dating, but we became friends over the course of our relationship. To me, there’s something so beautiful and special about that.

    Long story short, I can see where this article is coming from, but I don’t really agree with it.

  7. I’m so glad you vocalised these thoughts! My fiancé recently said I’m his best friend and I felt guilty because I don’t think he’s mine. I love him and we have a natural click I’ve never had with anyone else, but he’s not the person I see next to me when I want to dance by the seafront oggling naked men while drinking a cocktail. He is the man I want to build a home and family with. My best friends couldn’t do that either. There’s too many sides that will never be satisfied by one single person. And I’m grateful I have wonderful people to fulfill each side. Ah, feels good getting that out 🙂

  8. My best friend and I have it all planned: We are going to live on two deserted islands next to each other (because the perfect witch coven size is one), and my guy gets to cook for both of us and row his boat from one island to the next to feed the crazies.

    And THAT is the difference between your guy and your best friend. ^^

  9. I’ve known my best friend since I was 10 years old. However, I am marrying someone else who has also become my best friend. Each person plays a different role in my life but my best friend of 20 years is no less important because I’m marrying someone else, and vice versa. My marryin’ best friend – he also has another best friend. So there ya go, two people, getting married, best friends, who also happen to have another person they consider a best friend.

    I know “best” sort of indicates that “there can be only one” but I think that’s sort of a grade-school mindset, like “Suzy’s my best friend!” “Nu-uh, I thought I was your best friend!” There’s room for more than one best friend if you make room for it. However, I do think the expectation that your partner will fill/is the only person who can fill that role is a little ridiculous. Great if that’s how it is, and friendship is important in a relationship, but if you have other people who fill that role, that’s awesome too.

  10. My man and I are on the other side of the spectrum. Every once in a while, I’ll hear the old saying: “Boys may come and go, but friends are forever” or something similar to those words. The thing of it is, though, my man IS my best friend, and he has been there for me more often than most of the girlfriends I’ve ever had in my entire lifetime. In fact, I have very few girlfriends I would consider my “best friend,” and I actually try to avoid using those exact words to describe any of them. When I come to girlfriends, I either say “one of my closest friends” or “my good friend” to describe a girl I’m close to and “acquaintance” to describe anyone I’m not as close to but still civil with.

    Anyways, if I were to lose my future hubby, then I would also be losing a really good friend. But I can see why some people would not describe the people they’re marrying as their “best friends.”

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