How Friendship Enhances Intimacy



Researchers wrote in a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, "romantic relationships are, at their core, friendships."

"As such, it may be the case that valuing that aspect of the relationship fortifies the romantic relationship against negative outcomes and serves as a buffer against dissolution," they added.

Apparently, having a strong friendship bond with your partner is the secret to having a long-lasting romantic relationship.

According to other studies, lovers who are also close friends enjoy better sex, more love, and greater commitment. On the other hand, researchers found that people who are more interested in satisfying their personal needs and desires through their relationship are less likely to stay in a long-term relationship.

While reading about the above-mentioned study, I was reminded of a young woman in my counseling practice. Perched on the couch beside her fiancé and across from me, she turned to look at him and said, "I want you to be my person." It was the first time I had heard anyone say that. Beautiful, strong, self-assured, and mad, she shouted “I want you to be my person," and burst into tears.

She went on to talk about how awful it was for her to still have to depend upon her mother when she needed support; her secondary backup plan at best. “You’re never available when I call you and sometimes I’m calling you because something bad has happened and I need you.” “Why is it that my mother is always available whenever I call and she picks up the phone and comforts me. I don’t want comfort from my mother, anymore. I’m not a little girl. I want comfort from you, my fiancé." Dumbstruck, her fiancé’s eyes grew wide -- as if to say, is that all? I can do that, I can step up; I want to be that person for you.

I am often intrigued by the abilities of the couple in front of me and have thought about creating a stuffed likeness of myself, prop it on my chair and head for a local movie theater. Seriously though, there is something purposeful in having a nonjudgmental third party to help open couples up to one another. I was most fortunate to have had mentors show me how to guide people back within themselves toward their inner wisdom and innate health.

We spoke about establishing the feeling that best friends have:

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  • I can tell you anything and you won’t abandon me.
  • There’s nothing we can’t work out together.
  • I’ll accept your view of things even if I don’t agree.
  • We have daily contact even if there’s only time for a quick text: “Thinking of you”
  • I’m open to whatever you have to say. Even if I don’t personally understand the importance of it, I know it’s important to you.

And if you want to be GREAT best friends: