We have heard that people should be good friends prior to getting into a relationship. Although there is validity to this statement, there are also risks associated with embarking on a journey of love with a previous platonic friend. In my experience, I have seen many friendships take a turn for the worse once the friendship/relationship line was crossed. I believe that it is possible for a friendship to grow into a successful relationship, but there are a few things that should be considered before crossing that line.
Anytime a person chooses to open their heart and pursue a relationship, they are taking a risk by trusting that their mate will take care of their heart. The same is true when friends decide to elevate their status to relationship. In this situation, both individuals agree that their friendship has indicated that they are compatible for each other and as a result they take a risk in believing that a relationship will work. The reality of this situation is that once the line is crossed and a relationship is established, the way in which each person sees one another will change because the platonic lenses are taken off and the companion lenses are put on.
When the companion lenses are put on, different types of emotions are generated and the nature of the friendship changes. In addition, there are added levels of responsibilities that come with being in a relationship. For instance, prior to being in a relationship, most people do not have to answer the questions:
1.) Where are you going?
2.) What are you doing?
3.) Who are you with?
4.) How do you feel about me?
While at the friendship stage, answering these questions are optional and many times they are answered on a completely voluntary basis. Once a relationship is established, there is typically an expectation that these questions are answered and sometimes people are not prepared to deal with this new level of responsibility and accountability (especially from a person to whom they did not have to answer in the past).
Relationships also bring a certain level of possession that is not as prevalent during friendship. For example, most people are not as concerned about their friends having other friends of the opposite sex but when that friend becomes a significant other, having friends of the opposite sex may become a problem. Situations like these can cause each person to see a side of their significant other they did not see while at the friendship level and it could cause them to feel differently towards them. I have seen many instances where a person became a lot more aggressive and combative once they got into a relationship because that is the way they function in relationships. Seeing these types of significant changes in a person could be shocking to someone, resulting in a rift in their relationship.
In conclusion, I want you to understand that some people treat friendships completely different than they treat relationships. Just because a person is a wonderful friend to you, does not mean they will be a good significant other for you. One of the ways to determine if a friend would make a good companion is to look at their dating history and evaluate how they treated their last significant other. Use their history as an indicator of how they may treat you in a relationship.
This topic is very important and is a major concern, because if the relationship does not work out, what happens to the friendship that was in place prior to the relationship? In part II, I will discuss the challenges that come with breaking up with a person who was once a good friend because there are tons of people dealing with this situation.
What is your opinion on this topic? Let’s have a dialogue in the comments box!
© 2012, Dr. Corey Guyton. All rights reserved.