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Friends and Lovers: How to Make Relationships Co-Exist with Both

Updated on February 2, 2009
How do you know when you should kiss your male friend or let him go?
How do you know when you should kiss your male friend or let him go?
Is this love or just a friendship ending fling?
Is this love or just a friendship ending fling?

According to the movie Love Story, being in love was something you'd never apologize for. Expanding upon that concept, friendship was just as important for the human connection. The only thing never explained or explored successfully was whether the two should intersect without disaster. Can a friendship cross into a romantic relationship without the friendship being sacrificed? Is physical intimacy the final nail in your friendship's coffin?

Before exploring the highs and lows of romance with your friend, think about it carefully instead of jumping in head first. If you still feel the same, proceed at your own risk and understand the consequences of a possible failed relationship. Here are five steps to follow to prevent your evolving relationship from crumbling and still maintain the friendship in the process.

  • All relationships are a gamble, even with someone you know. Avoid the misconception that dates with strangers can lead to heartache or an epic love story. Your greatest relationship could literally be with your best friend because they know everything about you. Knowledge is power in making a relationship work. Friends becoming lovers have the added advantage of knowing their partners right off the bat. The first date awkwardness is immediately removed from the equation. All that is left is whether you make the leap into each other's arms or run in the other direction. Roll the dice with caution and take your fate.
  • Try keeping an open mind, especially when you're aware of your partner's flaws. Years of friendship could be a hinderance in making the relationship with your newfound partner progress. You might be fully aware that your partner has commitment issues, but give them the breathing room to trust you. Don't suffocate your partner with relationship pressure. Be yourself and not some relationship bully you never thought you'd become. Love doesn't mean falling into relationship cliches. Break the rules of relationship traditions and you'll be okay.
  • Balance your relationship with enough work and play to keep it interesting. Your friendship may have been effortless, but relationship could be a different story. Work on keeping the same type of spontaneous fun in your relationship because all work and no play makes you one dull couple. Take an impulsive camping trip or go to the Bahamas for some sunny fun. Find new interests and explore old ones. Love allows room for experimentation and loosely defined boundaries.
  • No relationship should be a contest. Your relationship shouldn't be about who says "I love you" first or who made the first move. Just let things progress naturally at a mutually selected pace. Take things slow if things start to get too intense and only take the next step when both of you are ready. Love isn't a bloodsport, unless you both designed it to be. If so, then happy trails to you.
  • Keep the lines of communication open no matter what. Are you running into a relationship brick wall? Is there a battle royale in the works with neither of you budging? Call for a stalemate and talk things out with your partner on neutral ground. Make sure to remain calm and let cooler heads prevail. Don't forget to show passionate interest in your relationship, or kiss it goodbye along with your friendship.

In the end, it remains uncertain whether friends shouldn't become lovers. Sex and romantic intimacy complicate everything. Friendships can fall apart, or grow into something much deeper. Talk to your partner about how you feel and see if they want the same thing. Preserve your friendship by any means necessary, and be happy with your choice as friends or as lovers.

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