Love can suck. Love can suck hard. But it can also be beautiful, honest, raw, emotional, and fulfilling in a way you’ve never known before, if you let it in.
I come before you as someone who doesn’t have much dating experience. You’re probably wondering why the hell I should be giving dating advice. But hold on, give me a sec. Let me tell you a bit about myself.
I may not have much experience with dating (I can literally count my exes on one hand), but the relationships I’ve had were significant in shaping the person I’ve become and how I (used to) view relationships.
I’ve been rejected and ignored in my first “relationship” in high school (I use quotes because I’m not really sure if it was one). He was funny, charming and one time made me laugh so hard milk came out of my nose.
I had a crush on him all throughout high school, and we only started casually talking (back then, it was through MSN Messenger) around prom of senior year. That summer after graduation we hung out a lot, but I found that the same chemistry wasn’t there anymore. In many instances I felt true loneliness when I was right beside him, but I thought that was normal. I realized later that he never felt the same during our school years together, and I was merely filling a quota of how many girls he could get with in a summer. It hurt like hell, but it was an important life lesson – listen to your instincts.
Side note: I got my revenge a year later, when he tried to get back together during my first year of university. I rejected him in the best way one could – radio silence.
I was assaulted in my next relationship. I met him during my first year of university. I was impressionable and found his awkwardness, innocent charm and laid-back attitude attractive. Unbeknownst to me, he had a mental illness and I spent the majority of our relationship trying to be his ear. When I couldn’t help him, he turned on me. I was afraid and hurt, and many of my close friends who I trusted downplayed the situation. Another life lesson was learned: the only person who will really have your back is yourself.
Needless to say I was a long-time, proud member of the #singlegirlclub after that. I focused on myself. I finished my undergrad, went to graduate school, got a full time career, and started to take my writing more seriously. I never felt like I was missing anything.
But once love hits you man, the genuine, honest and real kind, it hits you like you’ve never felt.
We were friends for a long time. We used to be close friends growing up, but we lost touch when our families moved to different parts of the city. We reconnected again in university and stayed friends, and kept in contact when I moved to pursue grad school. He was a great friend and was a diary to my secrets.
I remember when I first realized it: we were eating greasy Chinese food at a back end restaurant in downtown Toronto. He came down to visit a friend and we made plans to catch up. As he laughed, carefree and energetic, bringing me up to speed on the details of his life, I realized I liked him.
It was the most surreal, existential, and scary realization of my entire life (thus far).
It felt like the kind of stuff you read about in cheesy young adult novels, but here’s what the books don’t tell you: I didn’t feel fireworks in the sky, or butterflies in my stomach. I didn’t feel like jumping over the table, grabbing him by his collar and proclaiming how I felt with pride and adoration.
I felt juvenile and ridiculous.
Thankfully though, for both me and my ego, he felt the same way I did. But it took a very long time for us to discuss it with each other. For me, my apprehension stemmed from a place of past insecurities, inhibitions and a fear of the unknown. What if we ruined our friendship? How would I be able to cope with heartbreak, should it happen? For him it was a lack of experience – he was never in a committed relationship before, and he was unfamiliar with how he was feeling.
One night we were on the phone, talking about our life plans. I remember I was telling him I would love to live abroad someday. And suddenly, in a huff, he asked me: “Yo, what the hell are we doing?”
Saying I was taken aback is an understatement. He sounded frustrated and annoyed. I became frustrated and annoyed in return, and I took that as an opportunity to express what I was feeling. How I really felt, how I always felt, and that I was nervous to leap into anything because of my past experiences. How I didn’t want to ruin our friendship.
He echoed all of my concerns, but by the end of that phone call, we decided to take the chance. And it’s been the most fantastic experience. It’s like 4-in-1 deal: a boyfriend, a best friend, a lover, and a confidante. We’ve been together for about a year now, and it still feels brand new. Here are the five reasons why you should date your best friend:
You know it’s not just about sex
There is a common misconception that women are the only victims of having partners that are only interested in the physical. Both women and men are masters at being in a relationship to get what they want, namely sex. And after they get it, they ghost.
But with your best friend, you know that this person wants to be with you for all of you. They wouldn’t have risked losing a friendship for a casual hookup. When they say they’re all in, they mean it.
You can be honest
Trust is the foundation of any relationship, whether it’s plutonic or romantic. Trust takes time. When you date your best friend, the foundation from your friendship transfers over when you start a relationship with them. You have already established the trust needed to maintain a healthy relationship. It’s like you never missed a beat.
You also know that you can be brutally honest with them. When there is an issue, you feel comfortable voicing it. You are also confident that your concerns will be heard and appreciated – your bestie will always want you to speak your mind.
You feel comfortable with them
This is a biggie. I don’t need to be wearing layers of makeup in lingerie to feel like I am noticed. I am comfortable in a pair of sweats and a face masque around my SO because I know he wants me for what’s deeper than my outer self.
You know they want the best for you
Any good friend wants what’s best for you. They cheer for you and celebrate your wins with you. They are one of your biggest supporters in your endeavours. They also tell you when something isn’t right for you. This ties in with honesty – they have no problem letting you know when something is not good for you and are incredibly protective of you if something is hurting you.
You can be yourself
There’s no feeling quite like letting down your guard with someone. This person makes it so easy to be your most genuine self. If they are truly your friend, then they already know the good, bad and ugly about you. You can come as you are and they love you for it.
Do you believe you should date your best friend?