hand, united, together

Friendships are the most important part of any aging relationship

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships since I shared this story on my Medium feed a while ago.
It touches on many topics including aging, romantic relationships, and the importance of having a connection with your own friends when you feel lonely. I was struck by how much I’ve been focusing on friendships as the most important part of any relationship but really it’s just one facet of friendships being the most important part of any relationship.
As I was writing this pieces both my husband and my brother commented how much they love my take on this but how curious I am about relationships that span generations. I was amused by this because for so long I thought friendships were the part of any relationship that mattered.

I’ve spent so much of my adult life thinking about this I decided to narrow it down to three basic types of friendships:
I realize friendships are a very broad category and that there are many different types but these are the ones that come to mind. You can focus on one or all of these if you desire but really it comes down to friendships and how much you prioritize them.
Your friendships are the most important part of your relationship
I’ve been obsessed with this idea for a while and it makes a lot of sense.
When you spend most of your days with someone you are spending a lot of time with them being the final decision maker in the relationship. This is not to say you are not spending time with your spouse or friends but you are the one who is making the final call on the relationship.
Your friends are the ones that can challenge you to try new things, hold you back when you stumble, and encourage you when you are facing difficulties.
Your partner is the one who is always asking questions and exploring new things. You might spend a lot of time sitting and talking with your partner about your feelings, ideas, and hopes. They are the ones who will grab a glass of wine and test the waters with you. They are the ones who will ask you what you would like for dinner, movie, or anything else that will add to your life.
It is a lot to take in and I think if you are single and looking at a relationship it can feel like you are losing some of the significance and depth that friendship can have.
But really your partner is friends with your friends. You can’t have a real relationship with someone without having some sort of friendships, and the more long-lasting the better.
“The best friendships have the power to heal you and the people you love.” -Esther Perel
Real relationship status means that you can have meaningful friendships at any time.
You can be dating, married, or in a casual relationship.

You can be in love or even just dating.
You can be single and still have meaningful relationships.
If you are single and dating you can be in love, in a relationship, or you can just be single.
You can be single for the entirety of the relationship or just a portion.
You can date and still have a relationship, it’s all okay.
You don’t have to date to have a relationship.
You don’t have to date to have a relationship that has no chance of lasting more than a few months.
Your friends are not your enemy.
Your friends are not your competition.
Your friends are not your enemies.
What happens between you and your friends could very well be the most important part of your relationship.

What I want you to take away from this is that any man or woman can have friends and still have a relationship that has potential.
If you have male friends that you love and respect, have some that you won’t have to worry about.
If you have female friends that you admire, have some that you won’t have to worry about.
You can be honest about who you would be and what you want from your life regardless of what your relationship status is.
I know it’s hard not to worry about what my future partner thinks of my friendships when I don’t have any. Especially when I have a long list of male friends that I don’t have to worry about.
But I am confident that you will be okay. Your friendship status will not hold you back from being the best version of yourself that you can be.
You will be okay because you have some essential qualities that you should be aware of.
You will be okay because you are a good person.
You will make your friendships meaningful.
You will be okay because you will have some qualities that will make your friendships better than what you have now.
You will make your friendships significant.
You will make your friendships a priority.
You will make your friendships a priority because you love your friends and you want to see them continue to grow and develop.

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