My Husband is Not My Best Friend

Friday, October 11, 2013

The other day, Fran (of Franish fame) tweeted, "'I'm so excited to marry my best friend!' DUDE everyone marries their best friend. That's kinda the point. You are not special." and I replied that my husband wasn't actually my best friend.

I'll pause to let that sink in.

Okay, can we move on now? Let's go.

It has come to my attention that "I married my best friend!" is said a lot, and that's what Fran was pointing out. It seems like everyone marries their best friend. And it makes sense, right? Of course you would marry someone that you totally loved and cared for and thought was awesome. You wouldn't marry someone you thought was boring or lame or who didn't jive with your life goals... and if you would, then you should seriously reconsider your priorities here, but that's another post for another time. ANYWAY, I've been doing a lot of thinking about marriage and relationships, and not just because our one year anniversary of our wedding is on Monday (Sidenote: Where did the past year go? Can anyone figure that out for me? Great, thanks.) I think a lot about relationships in general because I'm neurotic, but also because I think it's good to keep your finger on the pulse of these kinds of things. Relationships and people are really important to me (said everyone ever?) and I like to think that they're something I'm good at... so I think about it a lot.

So, quick back story. How did Ken and I meet?

The short version is online blogging, a Canadian, and a cheese steak.

The slightly longer version is that Ken was going to visit Rachelle (the South-African-Arizonian-Canadian, who has been one of my best friends since 2003 thanks to the magic of the internet) in Montreal because they were pseudo-romantically involved and it was decided that I should meet Ken to decide if he was an axe murderer or a creeper before he went to Canada. I was dating some other guy and moving to FL a few months later to start med school, and he was obviously into Rachelle, so this was a totally platonic endeavor. Our first conversation, as I opened the door, was:

Me: You're tall.
Ken: You're short.
Me: Where's your axe?
Ken: I left it in the car.
Me: Oh, cool. Come on in.

As luck would have it, the cheese steak place that I usually go to was closed, so we grabbed pizza and hung out and talked for a few hours. It was really fun and we said we should hang out again. Then he went back to NY and then to Montreal and I moved to FL and life went on.

Cut to 2009. The thing with Rachelle hadn't panned out, so Ken was kind of dating around. I moved to FL with the guy I had been dating, promptly broke up with him (whoops), started dating another guy who turned out to be 97 kinds of wrong for me, suffered through the first semester of med school, had a mental breakdown, and moved home. Ken was employed, but not in his chosen career of finance (hello, recession that imploded the economy, beginning with the financial sector) and I was laying around in bed feeling sorry for myself and hating my life. We decided we needed to get that cheese steak. In March 2009, Ken drove down to my mom's house (where I was living at the time) and we went and got our cheese steak. We watched a bunch of Eddie Izzard stand up and had a glass of wine. We ended up on the same side of the couch with his arm around, and then he kissed me and I was totally surprised and confused, but really happy. As I tell people now, it was the best non-date-date ever. He asked me to come up and see him the following weekend. The rest, as they say, is history.

So, no, Ken and I weren't friends before we started dating. We knew enough about each other to know that we were interested in learning more, but I didn't know everything I knew about my best friend, or even some of my close acquaintances. As we got to know each other more, some startling differences emerged. We listened to totally different kinds of music and didn't really care for each others' tastes. He was a gamer, I was a reader. I hated NYC and public transportation, it gave me hives. I was obsessed with my cats, he (mistakenly) classified himself as a dog person. I found myself thinking, "How can I love someone who doesn't read as much as I do or who doesn't love folky acoustic music?" I was concerned.

When Ken and I moved in together, I was worried that he wouldn't understand my need for my own time and space. Totally the opposite. Even when we're home together, we rarely are doing things together. Sure, we might be in the same part of the house, but he'll be gaming and I'll be knitting, or I'll be in the bedroom watching something on TV and he'll be in the office watching The Colbert Report online. Sometimes, I'm just doing homework and he's lesson planning (there should probably be more of that and less of the TV/internet thing happening, but hey, we're only human).

While we were dating, there were things, way more important things, that we did have in common, though. We were close to our siblings, we loved to cook, we loved to laugh, and we believed in "God and not being an asshole". We both knew that someday, we wanted to get married (although at the time, we weren't discussing whether that would be to each other) and have a family. We had similar life goals and morals. The bedrock of what I believe to be a good relationship was all there; the rest was essentially fluff. It's great to share hobbies with your partner/spouse, but I quickly learned that it totally wasn't necessary. That being said, we have found some things that we both enjoy, like marathoning TV shows on Netflix (we just caught up on Mad Men and recently started Breaking Bad), eating delicious food, seeing improv and stand-up shows, getting dressed up, and snuggling. I would say though, that largely, our interests and hobbies still are quite divergent. We have all of the important things in common though, and that's why it works.

A best friend is someone that you can come to with any problem, question, concern, whatever, and not worry about being judged. They're someone you can share everything with. And sure, Ken fills that role a lot of the time, but he doesn't solve all of my problems or provide me with all the support I need in my life. My brother is still the one I turn to when I have emotional issues or want an "outside guy's opinion" on something that I know won't be full of bro-tastic stupidity. He also calls me out when I'm being ridiculous and helps me figure my shit out. I call Victoria when I need baking advice or fashion help, or general "Am I being insane?" assistance. I text Julie pictures of shoes to help me figure out if what I have on my feet is acceptable and she is my undergarment guru (girl knows her stuff about bras!) Music question? I call or email Mike. I gripe to Constance, Michelle, and Sarah about medicine, and Pam and Kristin are my rocks when it comes to research coordinator bullshit. Emily is the most empathic person I know and if she were closer, I'd be knocking down her door for routine hugs (she gives the best ones).  Poor Jenn, she gets a little bit of everything, because I swear, we share a brain, and Katie and I trade therapy sessions because sometimes, it takes one to know one, haha.

My husband is there to support me and comfort me. He is there to share my life, not be the sole purpose or my life. He shares in my triumphs, consoles me when I fail, and laughs with my every day. We know what we want, and that is a life with each other. Would we be best friends if we weren't married? Probably not. That used to bother me, but our differences is part of what makes my life and relationship with him so rich and fulfilling. I love him more than anything, and he is my husband and my partner and one of the best parts of my life, but he is not my best friend. I have a handful of people who fall into that category, and my husband just isn't one of them. Ken is my husband, a separate category of relationship who fills completely different roles and requirements that my best friends could never fill. That's one of the beautiful things about life; it's so full of people and layers and experiences. I cherish the fact that Ken and I have separate friendships, separate hobbies, and separate lives just as much I love that we share one life together. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

So there you have it. I didn't marry my best friend, and that's okay. What I did do was marry someone who complemented me in every way that mattered, and who makes me want to be a better person every day. I wish for everyone, whether you marry your best friend or not, to have that experience in their relationships. It really is a blessing.

In Calistoga on our honeymoon
Portrait by Allison Andres
So,  I'll be spending it with my non-best-friend-husband, trying to stay dry (the weather looks like it is going to suck for our anniversary weekend), watching our wedding video, eating our year-old cake, and generally relaxing. Have a good one, all!

- A

10 comments:

  1. Yes! I love this! I keep worrying that whoever I eventually find will not be this ideal that's been held up in society like, "He's perfect and is my best friend and yayyyyyyy!"

    I think we can have the "yay!" and the "he's perfect for me!" without the "He's the only one I ever ever need in my life."

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    1. Thanks, Mem! <3 And yes, it's totally possible, and I think perhaps, preferable, to need more than one person in life. Thanks for being one of my people. :)

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  2. I love and completely agree with everything in this post. Brad is definitely not my best friend either, for pretty much all the reasons you listed about Ken. Brad supports me and prioritizes my happiness and makes me laugh and is there for me when I need him, but he is not my best friend. If I need to spend hours in conversation with someone, venting and laughing and being silly, I'm going to call Kristian or Kelly. If I want to go look at pretty pretty yarns, I'm for damn sure not dragging Brad with me. Nor would I expect him to come shoe shopping or whatever. I think this idea that your spouse needs to be your EVERYTHING is honestly pretty harmful. It's unrealistic to expect one person to be able to fulfill ALL of someone else's needs, and it's much better to have a wide support network of friends who can each do a piece of it.

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    1. Right? I'm glad other people are agreeing with this and no one is looking at me like I have three heads. Maybe they are and those people just aren't commenting, haha.

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  3. Thank you. Seriously. This marrying your best friend stuff just sounds far too stressful - and like I would need to consider polygamy. I like the sound of this much better.

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    1. Haha, "like I would need to consider polygamy" made me laugh out loud, for real. This post is about what works for me, so I'd like to think it works for lots of other people, too. :)

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. I'm so glad I found this....thank you! My ex was my best friend, so I've struggled with this new-ish relationship (which seems to be headed toward marriage) and not being best friends. Until I read this I thought maybe it meant something was wrong with us (outside of being weirdos) but I'm ok and we're ok. Thanks for showing me that.

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  6. I'm glad that I could make you feel less weird, and there's nothing wrong with being a weirdo; Ken and I are definitely big weirdos. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Hello! I stumbled upon your site through Jenn's site (hellobrio).
    Anyway, I just want to say how glad I am to read your point of view when it comes to "your husband isn't your bestfriend".


    Just a quick share, I just recently got into a relationship and for me I have always believed in "being together, forever with my bestfriend" thing too - and hopefully that can continue for the rest of our lives... Then one day, out of a random fun conversation, boyfriend told me that he didn't want me to treat him the way I treat my friends. I was confuse with what he was trying to tell me... but only until now I think I understood why he said that to me. :)

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