Social Question

janbb's avatar

If you had to choose - would you rather have a number of wonderful friends or a great romantic partner?

Asked by janbb (43480 points ) December 1st, 2012

I’m not faced with this dilemma at the moment but was pondering the question. One person who loves you and has your back, or many giving and sharing friends? What is your reasoning?

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34 Answers

chyna's avatar

It would be great to have that one person that is your person (Greys Anatomy reference). But, what if that romance is short lived for whatever reason? Death, just drifted away from you, had to move, a multitude of reasons.
I would rather have the many giving and sharing friends. There would be multiple insights, multiple personalities, different people to do different things with. One may love theater, one may love trips, one may love books. Not just one person can be all things.

janbb's avatar

@chyna I wished you lived closer, Sweetie. You are one of mine.

chyna's avatar

^me too

cookieman's avatar

Life sort of chose for me. From high school through college, my wife (then girlfriend) and I had many giving and sharing friends. Some hers. Some mine. Some mutual. So we had the best of worlds.

However, once we got into our thirties and folks started becoming parents, the friendships dissolved or lessened considerably. Now we’re lucky if we a handful of them once or twice a year.

But we still have each other.

janbb's avatar

@cookieman That can shift back again as your kids leave home and people have more time again.

marinelife's avatar

A great romantic partner. Friends, however good, are not committed to life with one. They don’t have shared goals.

jonsblond's avatar

I’ve never had a number of wonderful friends. Just two, and one happens to be my great romantic partner. I like small numbers.

SuperMouse's avatar

Ironically enough, during my first marriage I didn’t have a romantic partner. I did have a wonderful group of friends. Mostly I felt apart from my SO, and my group of mommy buddies filled the gap, helped make my life fulfilling and happy, and helped me improve as a person. As @chyna mentioned, each had a different role to play, but we also came together as a group and those are some of the happiest memories of my adult life.

Now I have a wonderful romantic partner with whom I want to share every minute and every detail of life. I adore him and I can’t imagine how I made my way through this life without him. My husband helps make my life fulfilling and happy and he helps me be a better person.

All in all I think a balance of both strong, enduring, and edifying friendships and a strong, enduring, edifying relationship is the best. When it was all about my friendships – that was my preference. Now that it is all about my marriage, my preference has changed.

Oh dear, did I just take three full paragraphs to say I like to try to find happiness and contentment whatever the circumstances?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

In an intense relationship the rest of the world just goes away. So just one romantic partner. It sucks soulmates are few and far between.

hearkat's avatar

As an introvert, I’ve never made friends easily, so I have a few close lifelong friends that are the equivalent of my siblings (especially since my biological family is not close at all). My fiancé is my closest confidante ever and dearest friend and a great romantic partner – so that suits me perfectly. But nothing is forever, so if I am without him for any reason, I’ll be fine with myself and my “family” of friends. Just as prior to meeting him, I was OK being single and alone. For someone who is more gregarious, it would be more difficult, I’m sure.

bob_'s avatar

How about a compromise, a group of okay friends with benefits?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@hearkat you summed up what I was thinking perfectly.

wundayatta's avatar

Friendship is nice, but it has never been all that fulfilling for me. I need much more intense, deeply connected relationships. And basically, I need sex to be a component of that relationship, so that kind of leaves out friends. I want romance and love and intensity. I want to feel truly, deeply known and accepted.

cookieman's avatar

@janbb: I suspect you are right, but for some reason my daughter refuses to move out. Is ten too early to be on your own?

Coloma's avatar

Yes, friends.
Romantic relationship is highly over rated IMO.
Friends are a lot less work, just the way I like it. :-)
I have consciously chosen to not pursue romantic involvements the last handful of years.

I am at a station in life where I am enjoying being free of relationship obligations.
I like being single, doing what I want, living alone, aaah, freedom and peace. :-)

gondwanalon's avatar

My only true friend in this world is my wife and she is all I need after 22 years of true mature romantic love. I have several superficial friends but I don’t spend any time with them. My world is spinning in greased grooves living life at its highest level.

hearkat's avatar

@Coloma – You’re not that much older than I am. I am fortunate enough to have found a romantic relationship without any sense of obligations or compromise. I have found a partner who allows me to be me, and it is reciprocal. We have occasional tense moments, in that I’m a bit more high-strung than he is. But every other prior relationship did feel like ‘work’, so I get what you mean, and I would not have pursued a relationship if this one hadn’t fallen into my lap.

But this again brings the point that there is such a range of personality types that what is better suited to one may be a disastrous option for another. What about people in polyamorous relationships? To the people that pursue that option, I would think that it’s like the best of both worlds relative to the original question. But I know for a certainty that it would be a nightmare for me personally.

hearkat's avatar

@cookieman – My son refuses to move out, too—he’s 21. But that’s something he and I joke about. Once he was in High School, he was busy with his own activities, so I did pursue my own interests again. Therefore, it’s not determined by when the kids move out, so much as when the parents and the children choose to create separate lives. I know people who seem to never fully cut the cord. I met my fiancé after my son had finished H.S., and he was agreeable to finding a place where we had enough room to have privacy – so my son is like a friendly roommate now, more than a dependent.

Coloma's avatar

@hearkat My sentiments exactly.
I was married and in a relationship for 26 years total, a decade of freedom behind me now, some dating,but I am very content at this time with my own company and that of friends. :-)

Dsg's avatar

I would choose having that special someone that knows everything about me and is my best friend as well as my lover. We would also have shared goals together that you don’t always have with friends.

I do think having friends is important though, because I think giving each other space at times is needed.

Symbeline's avatar

My situation, as is, having a few very good friends and no relationship. So I’m fine with that, although frankly why not have both haha

augustlan's avatar

I’m a serious introvert, so the great romantic partner works better for me. I’d be fine without him, but life sure is nicer being married to my husband.

Unbroken's avatar

Friends. Intensity should not be confused intimacy. I have had great partners where they were an aspect of almost every part of my life including shared friends.
Picking up the pieces was not fun.
Now I have a few really good friends who laugh at with during my hardships. Who let me vent, who I explore different interests with. Who I can take a break from when they just become too constant. Who give me rides when my car is in the shop. They laugh at my Bad Modern Day Jane Eyre style string of new interests.
Sure it would be nice to have a partner to be intimate with, I think, it’s been too long.
But so far I am content to be single rather then settle. And maybe my expectations are a little unrealistic, but so far I haven’t really felt compelled to lower them.

hearkat's avatar

@rosehipsNever settle, but never give up hope, either. Several years back, I realized that the grass isn’t actually greener on the other side of the fence… it just looks that way because the lighting is different. So I decided to enjoy the good parts of being single when I was single, and the good parts of being partnered while I was partnered. It sounds like you’re at that point and enjoying life. I have been fortunate enough to find the holy grail of relationships where I still have all the benefits of being single… I do whatever I want when I want to. He does whatever he wants to when he wants to. But since we enjoy many of the same things, we often want to do the same stuff, and so we enjoy it together. When our interests diverge, we do our own thing and it’s all cool. No pressure and no expectations – hooray!

Unbroken's avatar

@hearkat Glad you found the holy grail. That is what Im half heartedly looking for. If I don’t find it I can live with out it. But it is encouraging to know it exists.

Sunny2's avatar

Fortunately, you don’t have to choose. You can have both. You just have to be very discreet.

Paradox25's avatar

Great romantic partner without even hesitating here. I’ve had friends in the past, and still do, but I only prefer to be around them on occasion. I’ve had dates and temporary girlfriends, but nothing that lasted, and nothing good came from those. A great romantic partner and a serious relationship is something that I’ve never experienced, and I’m in my late thirties. This was an easy question to answer in my case.

augustlan's avatar

@hearkat Your relationship sounds just like mine. I’d have been happy to never have a partner again, if I hadn’t happened upon this man. Congrats! :D

hearkat's avatar

@Paradox25: Are you also introverted? It seems so difficult for introverts to meet one-another, since the typical places to meet singles, like bars, are not good places for introverts, and honestly aren’t such good places to get to know someone… that’s more for hooking-up. I met my sweetie online – but not on a dating site – it’s a social network that started when the iPhone came out, so that’s everyone’s common bond over there. We interacted on the site and enjoyed each other’s posts and comments, them started texting and talking privately. We lived about 90 miles apart, so we met in the city as friends a few times, and it was clear how easily we fell into step with each other, so we decided to become more than friends and spent weekends together. After about 6 months we decided to move in together and found a great place that’s almost halfway between our jobs – which are >100 miles in opposite directions. Keep doing what you enjoy, and eventually you’ll meet someone who shares your interests.

@augustlan: Isn’t it wonderful! I never knew life could be so easy… not that we don’t have challenges in life, but not having sturm und drang at home changes everything, and knowing that your partner loves and supports you unconditionally makes it seem like anything can be dealt with. I’m happy you’ve found it, too; and especially that your girls get to witness a healthy relationship so they know what to expect from any potential beaus that pursue them. How did you meet your beloved?

augustlan's avatar

@hearkat When my first marriage was dissolving, I had to go back to work after years of being a stay-at-home mom. I called an employer I’d had almost 15 years earlier, asking for a reference, and instead of giving me one…he re-hired me on the spot. As it turned out, my now-partner worked there at that point, so we got to know each other as co-workers, then friends. After a while, we planned a casual fling (he felt the same way as I did about a serious relationship: not interested), and oops, we fell in love. We were married a year and a half later. :)

AshLeigh's avatar

I am very lucky to have both. It’s a hard decision to make, because I love my boyfriend with all my heart, and no one in the world gets me like my best friend does.
Thinking about never again kissing Josh, or never going over to write songs with Austin.
I don’t think I could choose between them.

FutureMemory's avatar

Definitely the great romantic partner. Too many itches go unscratched with people that are ‘just’ friends.

linguaphile's avatar

I love my friends, but I’d pick a great romantic partner.

I have lost friends in the worst way possible over the years. Looking back… I realized that I had changed so much and that the friendships no longer worked with the person I had become. When I was in my early 20’s, I was really needy and profoundly insecure—when I no longer was that way, my friends changed. I find that to be true—when we change perspectives, lifestyles, careers or even marital or parental statuses, we change friends. Very, very few friends stay with you over time.

Even at the risk of losing that one person, a great romantic partner, ideally, would grow and evolve alongside me.

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