The Friendship Foundation & Why It's So Important

happy couple lying in bed
Family, Love

Hot sex is great, but friendship lasts forever.

Sexual attraction is one of those things that we all want to feel with our partners. There is nothing like that electrical current that draws two people together like magnets. But when it comes to the overall success and failure of long-term relationships, how important is that attraction when compared to deep friendship between partners?

Friendship is an investment of time spent learning to communicate and assessing your compatibility. We don't typically choose to have friends we have nothing in common with. Instead, our friends are chosen based on respect, the fun we have when we're together and whether their values are similar to our own. When we look at just those three criteria, aren't they the essence of what makes any long-term romantic relationship successful?

If you were to speak with a friend about the person you'd like to spend your life with, would you be apt to list qualities like "great-looking," "makes good money," "sexy" and "mysterious?" Or are you looking more for things like honesty, fun and similar interests? Researchers from the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships conducted a study on the longevity of couples as it relates to the key principles of friendship. One of the most important findings the researchers found is that lovers who put the most effort into building a strong friendship with their partner were less likely to break up. When important traits are valued, relationships tend to last.

Couples who start out as friends and whose love deepens enjoy a romantic love versus a passionate love. Romantic love has all the components of passionate love (intensity and sexual attraction) without the obsession that is present in short-term affairs. Relationships that begin solely on a physical level will usually fizzle out over time. Getting to know someone will either assure that you are a good match, or it will send you clear signs that you may be destined only for a sexual, short-term fling.

Psychologist Arthur Aron, who collaborated in a study using FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging), found that couples who enjoy regular doses of that "feel good" hormone, Dopamine, are not only experiencing romantic love but also enjoy "engaging in self-expanding joint activities that are novel and challenging," which make them more likely to last. The amount of pleasure that couples feel when they are around each other is a tie that binds.

If you focus on things that you both enjoy, nurture your sense of adventure and continue to have open communication, your chances of being together for the long haul are pretty good. And if you are single and you find yourself beginning to feel a different kind of chemistry with a close friend, know that you're in the good company of many couples who have loved and lasted.

Relationship Coach Denise LaFrance can help you improve the intimacy and quality of your relationship by working on your ability to communicate what you need and want. Contact her today for a free 30 minute consultation.

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