In a relationship or life jam? Send your questions to: [email protected] or reach me on Facebook.com/AskMindaHoney.
I wanted to ask your advice about navigating a situation in which my close friendship unexpectedly turned romantic/sexual. He is one of my best friends and someone in my close inner circle of confidants. We care about each very much and have over the course of our friendship shared deeply intimate aspects of our interior lives. Once the friendship turns romantic, I worry about not just losing a close friend but also entering into an intimate relationship with someone who already has deep insights into who I am. In essence, we will have jumped several steps in a “normal” emotionally deepening relationship where you usually divulge intimate details of yourself as time goes by and intimacy increases. We are starting from an already established emotional intimacy, which is daunting. How do I balance a new romance from a point of deep familiarity and become not just a trusted friend but also a woman, in every aspect of the word, sexually, romantically?
— More Than Friends
Hey there, More Than Friends!
This isn’t anywhere in your letter, so can we just pause for a sec? I want us to celebrate that you and your friend have found love in an unexpected place. That the two of you got all up in each other’s emotional shit and that that was a turn on. That’s some thrilling shit happening in your lives right now.
These concerns you have, are they really your concerns or have you just been brainwashed from decades of weak TV show plots about friends hemming and hawing over falling in love because they don’t want to “risk losing their friendship.” But how do two people stay friends and stifle the romantic and sexual feelings happening? That works only if one of you is feeling it, and the other one isn’t, and you’re on some unrequited love shit — but that’s a different question. But if you’re both feeling it, it’s damn near unavoidable to act on it, which is what generally happens once these shows hit season four, and they’ve got enough episodes for syndication. But your life isn’t a TV show. You don’t have to imbue this relationship with fears and anxieties. You can simply see this as what happens next. You didn’t let fear keep you from opening up to each other when that felt right, and what happened? You reaped the rewards of an emotionally deep friendship. So, why would you let fear stand in your way of what’s about to happen next and the joy that awaits you?
My mentee Austen is poly (I know, I know I gripe about the poly community a lot, but #someofmybestfriendsarepoly) and in a platonic-romantic relationship. They and their partner just went to a wedding, and these two are glowing in all their photos together. Glowing like two people happy and secure in their bond, even though their relationship doesn’t fall into what our society tells us is “normal.” But the glow doesn’t lie. So, don’t worry about what is or isn’t normal. Instead, talk to your bestie. Be honest about what you want your relationship to be like (even talk about what you want to happen if the romance fizzles). As Austen says, “If people realized that they have the autonomy to customize their relationships to their liking, they would not only be happier, but they wouldn’t exploit the integrity of the relationship for some made up relationship trajectory. Most of us didn’t have exposure to healthy relationships anyways, so where are we getting these bullshit expectations?”
When you and your friend talk about what you both want and need out of this next chapter of your relationship, you can share your fantasies of the type of woman you want to be within this partnership. And you might even be surprised to learn your friend already sees you that way. Before we act on, or even articulate, our romantic desires to someone else, we’ve generally been dealing with making them known to ourselves and understanding what that means. You’ve both likely been sitting on these feelings for a while and are incredibly close, so your visions for the future might be more aligned than you’ve realized.
I know the stakes feel higher for this relationship because you rely on this person for emotional support, but all good relationships mean risking losing someone you care deeply about if things don’t work out — there are no safety nets in love. All you can do is love deeply and honestly and hope the friendship always works out in the end, no matter what that may look like.