Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Me with four of my favourite people in the universe*
This is the question I’ve been chewing on most recently: is a spouse the most valuable relationship one can have? Is this an idea I’ve explicitly heard, or is it something merely insinuated by weddings, along with Hollywood, fairy tales, love songs, advertising, and pretty much all the things apart from experience? I’m pretty sure the answer to my original question is no, but it feels odd to say it.

I find it fascinating that I never kept track of the dates on which I met my oldest, dearest friends. Why are there no cultural traditions for us to celebrate our commitment to each other? One friend, for example, has stuck by me through the many transitions from self-centred-teenager me to serious-relationship me to super-Christian me to the generally confused person I am today. During our university days, she endured squillions of back-to-back 19-minute phone conversations with me (we had to hang up before 20 minutes so we wouldn’t have to pay for the call – THANKS, OPTUS!), and there’ve been countless hours of uninterrupted talking since then. Throughout all of it she’s listened and made me cry-laugh and been (sometimes brutally) honest with me, and I’ve never dreamed of a future without her, which is more than I can say for my husband. Where’s our celebration? She and I had been close for seven years by the time I was married, and we’d known each other for even longer than that, but my two-and-a-half year relationship with Alan was the thing I threw a party for instead. 

I love Alan with all my heart, but he’s not my only best friend (I love at least a couple of the others with all my heart, too, as well as my kids). There are things about me Alan understands that no one else ever will, and there are things my girlfriends understand about me that Alan never could. My relationship with him is different to others I enjoy, for sure, but, after mulling over this for the past week or so, I can’t say it’s measurably better than them. Nor can I see why it should be.

I wish there were more ceremonies or rituals that celebrated platonic relationships. I have a terrible feeling we’ve all been duped into thinking it’s only the romantic ones worth paying any attention to. 


* Thanks to Sonia Byrnes, another of my oldest and dearest friends, for this photo. I love it.


  1. I'm SO SO envious of your friendships. I suspect friendships like those cross the line into family - especially if you can't imagine a future without them.

    Over the years I've had a number of very close and intense friendships, which have then faded away into a more distant friendship, or an acquaintanceship (?). It used to really upset me, and I still really would like to have some close, life-long friendships with people other than my husband and brother. But I also wonder if some 'best-friends' can end up like exes, rather than needing to be life-long friends.

    For me it seems as though when the friendship starts becoming difficult, there is a period of trying to make the friendship work, then mourning and bitterness after the friendship ends, and no desire to see the person again. And then some time later - an appreciation and gratitude for what that person brought to my life, during those years. There are a few past-friends whom I am very grateful to, and have very fond memories of our friendship, but I have no real desire to make the effort to be friends with them in the present. (I think the feeling is mutual). It's nice to catch up occassionally or run into them, but that's about it.

    For me the difficulty lies in knowing when to just let go of a friendship vs sticking it out in the hope that this person could become the life-long-bestie I've always wanted. Anyway - maybe someone should invent couples therapy for platonic-friends!!

    1. i agree!!! friendships are hard to navigate, especially because there aren't the parameters set up like with dating. you don't get a breakup, or to talk about where the relationship is heading or what you want out of it!!

    2. The difficulty with knowing when to let go or not is the same one that comes with dating, and with marriage - is this relationship repairable with work, or are we incompatible? Should it take this much work to enjoy each other? Etc., etc. Surely the same benefits of working through tough times with a partner apply to friendships, too- couples therapy for friends is a BRILLIANT idea! (Can I steal it?!)

  2. charlotte on SATC says it best - 'maybe we could be each other's soul mates. and then we could just let men be these nice guys to have fun with.'