Friends Or Lovers? How To Tell the
Difference in a Budding Romance
by Janet Jacobsen
Its a fact. Some couples make better friends than lovers. The
trick is to learn to recognize the difference before your relationship
heads in the wrong direc-tion, inevitably leading to painful conflict,
broken hearts or - worst of all - an unhappy marriage.
Everyone wants to find the love of their life and live happily ever
after, says Paul A. Falzone, CEO of The Right One and Together Dating,
the worlds largest dating service. Unfortunately, the excitement
of a new relationship often obscures important signs that, while the two
of you may have good reason to feel destined to be in each others
lives, the relationship will be more successful as a friendship than a
According to Falzone, a close and enduring friendship is of far greater
value than a conten-tious love affair. And although friendship is a key
component to any happy marriage, many dating part-ners would be wise to
recognize when its best to just stay as friends, and look for romance
A perfect example is Jerry and Elaine on Seinfeld, says Falzone.
Although they had dated briefly, they had the sense to let their
relationship evolve into what it really was - just a great friendship.
Falzone suggests that couples consider the following when assessing whether
they might make better friends than lovers:
Sharing common values is the foundation of a successful marriage. Couples
should consider whether their core beliefs are in sync before letting
a relationship get too serious. For example, if one partner is a born-again
Christian, while the other is skeptical of organized religion, inevitable
conflict looms. Does one of you hold a definitive code of ethics, while
the other leans toward moral relativism? Watch out!
While it is possible for a dedicated couple to overcome almost any obstacle,
significant differences in your personal backgrounds make long-term success
an uphill battle. A couple in which both partners come from similar socio-economic
backgrounds will probably enjoy much smoother sailing than a couple with
very different backgrounds. Over the long haul, the invisible gulf that
separates someone with a blue-collar background from someone with a privileged
background can create significant conflict. What you have is a couple
that sees the world very differently. Thats something that can present
a serious barrier to happiness.
This should be obvious, but when couples are overwhelmed with the intensity
of new romance, the obvious is often over-looked. Is one of you ambitious
and the other laid back? A woman whose goal is to hit the upper echelons
of Fortune 500 management by the age of 40 probably will not succeed with
a partner whose focus is to settle down and raise a family. Similarly,
a man whose work involves long hours and lots of travel is a poor choice
for a woman whose emphasis is family life.
Lifestyle preferences can be a source of endless conflict. Consider: his
idea of entertainment is going to professional sports events, while hers
is attending the theatre and ballet; she wants to live in the city, but
he yearns for a home in the suburbs; hes addicted to golf and skiing,
while her idea of exercise is marathon shopping. Are these couples likely
to find long-term happiness together?
This can be a real minefield. Most couples enjoy a special sort of passion
in the early months of their relationship. But after a few months, ones
inherent sex drive emerges. If one member of a couple is considerably
more ardent than the other, long-term compatibility is seriously threatened.
Ironically, the reverse may also be a warning sign: beware the rela-tionship
in which sex is the outstanding element. Burning passion can obscure the
fact that it takes more than a great sex life to make a great marriage.
Inevitably, if one partner is more committed to the relationship than
the other, someone is going to be hurt. Often, timing is everything. Almost
everyone reaches that point in life when theyre ready for a serious
relationship. Its just that it takes some longer than others to
get there. If one of you is more ready than the other to make a commitment,
proceed with caution. Like Jerry and Elaine, you might find a great friendship
is a better choice than an unsuccessful romance.