It may not have been obvious from the start, but your best friend could just be the man or woman of your dreams. Once you get past the initial awkwardness of transitioning from friends to more than friends, everything should be smooth sailing, right? Not really.
If you have decided that romance might just be on the cards for you and your best friend, it is important to proceed with care. There is a lot to consider. If you play your cards right, you might have yourself a future life partner. If not, you might have to find yourself a whole new group of friends. Take a moment to consider the pros and cons of taking your relationship to the next level. [Read: From friends to lovers – falling in love with your friend]
The pros of dating your best friend
Dating someone you’ve only been best friends with until now may not be an easy task, but the following pros may just make taking the risk worth it.
#1 You’ve already laid the groundwork. A strong emotional bond forms the foundation of any successful relationship. Having been best friends, you will have already laid that foundation, and you’ll have loyalty and respect firmly in place. Therefore, your relationship has a much greater chance of going the distance.
#2 You can be prepared for the road ahead. Maybe they want to get married by the time they are thirty and have three kids. Or maybe they are eager to receive four job promotions before they consider settling down. If you’re hoping to go the distance with your best friend, you’ll already know if your future aspirations align, which will allow you to prepare for the possible path ahead.
#3 No nasty shocks. There’s nothing more awkward – or in some cases, upsetting – than discussing your partner’s dating history. But, you’ve most likely had that discussion with your best friend without the implications of being in a relationship.
In fact, you may have even met some of their exes! Perhaps they’ve cheated in the past or have had various relationship issues. You’re likely to know most of this already, so there won’t be any unpleasant surprises.
#4 You can bypass the awkward stuff. The first few months of any relationship contain equal measures of exciting and, let’s face it, awkwardness. You’ve got to work out their likes and dislikes, and there are the friends and the family to meet, which is always a daunting prospect.
The good news about dating your best friend is that the awkwardness has already been dealt with, and you can simply enjoy the excitement of taking your relationship to the next level.
#5 You’ve been through it all together. Not only will you already have a solid emotional bond, but you most likely have a shared history. Maybe you graduated from university together or have made them endure many family gatherings by your side. Having shared important moments in each other’s lives, your connection will be stronger still, and even more likely to last.
#6 No awkward silences guaranteed! There’s nothing worse than starting a relationship with someone you like, only to find out that you don’t have anything to talk about, as you have next to nothing in common. The plus side of dating your friend is that you will almost definitely have shared interests. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be friends!
#7 You’ll save yourself from pain and jealousy. A crucial advantage of acting on your newly found romantic feelings for your best friend is that it will undoubtedly save you from emotional pain in the future. Keeping your feelings to yourself can allow your best friend to slip away and into the arms of someone else, while you sit there and cry over losing your chance.
[Read: 20 unmistakable signs your friend is crushing on you too]
The cons of dating your best friend
Before you take the plunge and pursue a romantic relationship with your best friend, take a moment to consider the following drawbacks.
#1 Are you willing to make the sacrifice? It’s always the number one concern when anyone considers dating a friend: what if it doesn’t last? If you break up, you might have to accept that your friendship might be lost forever. All you have to decide is whether sacrificing your friendship is a risk that you are willing to take.
#2 The feeling might not be mutual. If you’ve developed feelings for your best friend, there is always a chance that the feeling isn’t mutual, and you may have misinterpreted their behavior towards you. If you decide to disclose your feelings, prepare yourself for the worst, and accept that things might be awkward between you for a while if things don’t go your way.
Decide in advance what your plans might be if your friend does not reciprocate: can you continue being friends with that person? Could you take it if they dated someone else?
#3 It’s going to be a “go hard or go home” situation. When taking your relationship to the next level, it’s important to consider if you want a casual or long-term relationship and whether you both agree. Truth be told, a casual relationship probably isn’t worth risking your friendship for.
#4 Are you attracted by the unknown? Although you’ll bypass the awkward getting-to-know-you stage, missing out on discovering a new person, their personality and their interests could prove to be a little boring for you.
You have to decide how important the excitement of the first stages of a relationship is for you. Is delving into the complete unknown a key part of your enjoyment of a relationship?
#5 Who will fulfil their old role? The issue with turning your best friend into your partner is that it may leave you without a best friend. They may well have been the key person you vented to about relationship issues and the person who gave you advice. Is there someone else who can fill that role, or could you deal without that someone in your life?
#6 Is there more than just your own friendship on the line? It’s also important to consider who else will be affected if the relationship doesn’t go according to plan. Are you part of a larger circle of friends who would feel pressured to take sides if a breakup occurred? You might risk sacrificing not only your own friendship but the comfortable dynamics of a larger group of friends.
[Read: 12 ways to finally become more than just friends]
While there are risks involved with confessing romantic feelings to your best friend and with taking your relationship to the next level, it is worth remembering that the greatest and most successful relationships often grow from great friendships, and it might just be the best decision you’ll ever make.
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