How my relationship with my best friend has taught me everything about romantic relationships

Photo by Tori Wise on Unsplash

I am very lucky to be living with someone I get along with so well. Our friendship has grown stronger these past 3 years that we’ve lived together. As our initial intention of living together was built on the structure of simply enjoying each others company, I didn’t expect that someday I would consider her my best friend.

It’s strange to even compare a romantic relationship with a platonic one because the expectations seem to differ massively. Just as I haven’t been able to remain in a relationship longer than a year, every best friendship I’ve had prior to this has fallen into it’s eventual end. These experiences were always so extreme. My first best friend from my childhood dropped me out of nowhere, even after confiding in me that the 3rd part of our trio talked about boys too much. (We were probably in the 6th grade and now that ex best friend has 2 kids). Instead of constructively telling me what was wrong, she ghosted me. But looking back, I can’t blame her for her actions since I’ve found myself repeating that habit. It’s easier to ignore the problem than to face it head on.

It always felt as though there should never be any problems within my relationships. Any possible problem was always swept under the rug, passively ignored and gossiped about to the nearest friend with a set of eager ears. I never learned how to create healthy dialogue between people, because I had always assumed that bringing up a problem would result in the death of that relationship.

I cut off my last best friend once I graduated from high school because she was a very pessimistic and toxic person. She judged people like it was her day job and I despised how much it entertained me. I was at a point in my life where I was really striving to become a better person, and that started with my surroundings. (We’re on good terms now).

Now, with this best friend/room mate, I’ve never experienced such hilarity and connection with someone else before. It feels as though she can enter my thoughts without passing any judgement, and allow any criticism to be constructive because I know she cares about me. Something I didn’t even know was possible. Something I waited for until I reached my 20s.

When we compare this platonic relationship to romantic ones, the dynamic instantly shifts when it’s observed through the lens of someone that is anxiously attached to their partner. Where their romantic partner becomes their main focus in life and they aspire to please their partner in order to feed their own security. That’s why it’s so easy to overthink a simple text or yearn for their love and affection. Because any moment that could be misconstrued for rejection is detrimental, given how many paths their mind can take.

With my best friend, if she sends me a single worded text or wants to spend time alone with herself, I am not phased. I allow her to do her own thing, acknowledging that she needs her solidarity to recharge and reflect, understanding that she may be too busy at the moment to talk. What good is it for me to stick around when she’s busy (or not in the mood) anyways? I would end up feeling like a leech. Yet, if we replaced her with a romantic interest, suddenly I am the problem.

I attest to my behaviour within relationships as being over the top and needy. I would want to spend as much time together as possible, constantly wanting to touch and kiss them, wanting to feed and take care of them, telling them everything I would want to hear myself, feeling like a romance novelist with every text message. It was too much because I so desperately wanted them to stay.

Obviously, it shattered me when these men would take their sweet time to respond or tell me that they didn’t want to be in a relationship. It felt like a direct attack at me and my advances. I didn’t have any real way of feeling secure. So, as much as I pulled on the elastic band, the more tension I created and the farther away they became. I didn’t leave room for tension.

As the pandemic forces me to spend most of my days at home with my room mate, I find that it’s easy to step away from her and take time to do my own things.

You don’t have to be dating someone to use them as your escape. More so than ever, I treasure spending moments alone, because I give myself the chance to feel and think things I wouldn’t be able to reflect deeper on if I weren’t alone.

Every person comes into your life for a reason, no matter how small or large it may be, it can affect you in a positive way if you allow it to.

Take every chance to think deeper. To rewrite the narratives in your head. Remember that you are always changing and growing. So, every decision you make isn’t innately wrong. Fail often, so that you may learn more.

twenty-something year old living in Toronto ☯ Aimless in her pursuit of happiness.☻ twentyandthree.ca

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