When it comes to dating, the general rule of thumb is to date your best friend. I get that. Your best friend is supposed to understand and support you better than anyone else. They go above and beyond for you and you alone because that's what love is, right? Believe me, I want that unconditional romance just as much as the next person, but I carry far too many doubts about this type of relationship to even think about pursuing one. In all honesty, at this point in my life, dating my best friend is the last thing I'd do.
Don't get me wrong — I am not against the idea of marrying my best friend but rather skeptical of how well it would truly work out at my age. I am a college student who only just started to scratch the surface of adulthood. I learn more about who I am and what I want to be each day. I am indefinitely dynamic. I have so much growing to do, and right now I need to focus on that.
I would not be surprised if I walk into a relationship as one person and come out a brand new version of myself. These next few years are full of constant change and self-discovery, for both me and whoever this best friend is. Sure, we may grow closer together, but we may also grow apart. Our goals, our plans, our values — they all change as we get older. I am the type of person to lean on others, and I could not bear to lose the person most important to me.
True, you could say the exact same about friendships that ended in general, but if I dated my best friend only to break up, I would be losing both a lover and a friend. Two birds, one stone. That is a much heavier heartbreak that I am not ready to face at my age.
I know myself, and I am painfully aware of how fiercely I would throw my heart into any relationship, especially if it is with my best friend. I once read that love made you blind. A fool. A pitifully naive shell of a person. I know without a doubt that I would subconsciously hold my best-friend-turned-lover on some unrealistic pedestal and be disappointed when he failed my expectations.
Serious relationships are not a walk in the park as much as we all want them to be. That blissful honeymoon phase will end, and real-life problems will arise. Maybe we will stop having time for date nights. Maybe our hours-long conversations will dwindle to minutes or none at all. Maybe we will stop putting each other first. After all, no matter how much I adore the concept of "intertwined lives," we are still traveling on our own paths in life and not every step will include each other.
All relationships will face these kinds of trials. I understand how real life works, but a small part of me still holds on to that fairytale romance I grew up reading about. Dating my best friend would fail simply because I have yet to master the art of separating fantasy from reality, and there is no one I would hold to higher standards than him. I am not looking to spend my nights obsessing over every little detail and driving myself crazy.
I am not saying that people should avoid dating their best friends. In fact, I believe the exact opposite — if you can find that one special person who knows you better than anybody else, keep them close. Two of my good friends have been dating since eighth grade, and almost six years later, they are as close and beautiful of a couple as ever. I just try to be honest with myself, and I know I have not reached the emotional maturity and self-confidence necessary to be in a relationship.
The time will come when I am ready to date, and I will want nothing more than to fall in love with my best friend. My time will be spent enjoying each moment with him rather than questioning everything, and we both will be happy. For now, though, I have some growing and thriving to do.