Someone once said to me,
“If people don’t mistake you and your best friend for dating, at least once, you’re doing best friendship wrong.”
You know how it is: your best friend is the one who you share all your deepest confidences with. They were there for you through all your best times, and all your worst ones. They know where the bodies are buried because they helped do the digging.
When it comes to a new romantic relationship, sometimes these close friendships initially fall by the wayside as you settle into your dating life. Eventually though, you call them up and things slide back into their usual pattern. And one thing about a best friend is that they were there before your long-term gay partner. They’ve seen your relationships wax and wane. They’ve been there for the first excited moments of the honeymoon phase and they are your shoulder to cry on when you have your first fight.
There is nothing wrong with this relationship. Having close friendships, with men or women, is important. For members of the LGBT community, friends can be the family we have chosen; and in some cases the only family we have. Like a close sibling, your best friend can be your sounding board for all of life’s upsets.
Save some of that for your life partner!
It’s understandable that you don’t want to drop all your stress and frustration on your gay partner. We like to show our best selves to romantic interests, but as time progresses, you need to open more of yourself up to the person you are considering spending the rest of your life with. No, you don’t have to share every little gripe and moan the way you might with your best friend, but for the big stuff, for the heart-to-hearts of life, you need to share that with your girlfriend or boyfriend.
If you would want your partner to come to you with a funny anecdote, or a bad day at work, so you can share in the laughter, or in their frustration, then consider that they want to do the same for you. You can tell a story more than once! Just be sure that if you’re telling your friends all the juicy details, you don’t forget to share with your partner.
It can be especially tempting if you’re having difficulties in your long-term gay relationship to work those out with your friends standing in for your partner. You can work out all the angles without having a deep and meaningful with the person who you’re really upset or angry at (or who might be upset and angry at you), but you can’t actually resolve anything until you sit down with your partner. Having a test run with your close friend is fair cop. Sometimes it helps to figure things out, out loud, before taking it to the source, but don’t forget to actually talk to your partner.
We always say that communication is key, and sometimes it’s easy to forget that a long-term gay partnership is signing yourself up for not just a lover, but a roommate, and another best friend. If you’d want to hear it from them, do the same in return.