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Posted May 18, Reviewed by Lybi Ma. Having a romantic partner who is also your best friend potentially sounds perfect. With your BFF as your romantic partner, you get the best of both worlds, someone with whom you can laugh, share your life, and cuddle. When you look at seemingly happy celebrity couples like Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, or Leslie Mann and Judd Apatow, not only do they appear to be in love but they also seem to genuinely enjoy hanging out together. How many people feel as though they have attained that type of ideal?
And do psychologists confirm this new paradigm is a good one to strive for? I enlisted the help of the Monmouth University Polling Institute to investigate. Among adults currently in a romantic relationshipthe vast majority 83 percent considered their current partner to be their best friend. For those who are currently married, the rate was even higher. Men and women had similar rates, while younger respondents were slightly less likely than older respondents to view their partner as their best friend.
The overall s from this recent poll dwarf the earlier reported rate of best-friend romantic partners. In a study, only 44 percent of college students indicated their romantic partner was also their best bud. But expectations for modern relationships have evolved in the intervening years. We hold our relationships to higher standards than we have in decades. In particular, couples now expect their relationships to promote personal growth and help individuals fulfill their own goals. For example, your partner should help you become a better person by teaching you new things like how to make the perfect creme brulee, taking you places like the cool new trampoline park, and opening your eyes to new perspectives such as the benefits of eating a more vegetarian-based diet.
Although this expectation for growth could conceivably place an unwieldy burden on your relationship, researchers believe that modern relationships are up to the task. In fact, the idea that a relationship can help an individual become a better person, a phenomenon that researchers call self-expansionis a useful one; relationships that provide more expansion are also of higher quality. To hit all these self-improvement targets, you may need more from a spouse or romantic partner than was expected in years past, and a partner who is also your best friend may be a step in the right direction.
We wanted to see if these best-friend romances were really better. This finding is consistent with research showing that relationships with more companionate love — based on friendshipfeelings of affection, comfort and shared interests — last longer Seeking a couple bestfriends are more satisfying. Other research shows that those in friendship-based love relationships feel they have a highly likable partner, and that shared Seeking a couple bestfriends is an important part of the love.
A study of married individuals revealed that those with higher scores on the friendship-based love scale also reported more relationship satisfaction, greater perceived importance of the relationship, greater respect for their spouse, and felt closer to their spouse. More recently, across two studies with nearly participants in relationships, those who place more value on the friendship aspect of their relationship also report more commitment, more love, and greater sexual gratification.
In addition, valuing friendship also decreased the chances of the couple breaking up. Best-friend love is starting to sound better and better. When researchers asked over of these couples about their secret to relationship success and longevity, what was the one reason? Simple: Their partner was their best friend. The second most common response was liking their spouse as a person, another key facet of friendship-based love.
These findings demonstrating the benefits of dating or marrying your best friend make perfect sense when you consider the type of relationship best friends share.
Friends enjoy spending time together, share similar interests, take care of each other, trust each other, and feel a lasting bond between them. By recognizing the parallels between best friends and romantic partners, you can benefit from holding both types of relationships to the same standards.
Take the time to find a romantic partner who truly is your best friend.
You may not want to run the risk of compromising that friendship, anyway. Rather, the data here point out the importance of your romantic partner also being one of your best friends. A version of this article appeared on The Conversation. Want to learn more about the science of relationships? You can also follow me on Twitter: LewandowskiPhD. Gary W. Lewandowski Jr. The Psychology of Relationships. Science-based benefits of being best friends in your relationship.
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7 s your best friend is in love with you