Ever since I was a little girl I was always told to date your best friend for the best relationship possible. For years, fling after fling, I always found myself calling my significant other at the time, my “best friend”. I never really understood the concept because while growing up, although my mom was married to my dad at one point, and had dated a couple of people throughout my childhood, the only person that I had heard her actually call her best friend was in and out of her life, so how was she supposed to date her best friend? They would date for months or years at a time, break up, and always end up back together. Finally, while in high school, that best friend of my moms came back into her life, again. This time seemed different. We all moved in together. It was a little more serious this time around. How could a grown man move into a house with four girls, three who were teenagers at that! Bless his soul, because years later I can call that best friend of my moms, my amazing stepdad.
When I look at my mom’s relationship, I have got to laugh. She met her husband in high school. At first, she couldn’t stand him, then he was her high school sweetheart. Years of on and off dating of other people, but they always ended up back together. It was like it was meant to be. It did not matter how long they stayed apart, whenever they ran into each other, it was like they never skipped a beat (exactly how it is with best friends). I remember my mom going to her high school reunion and saying that Jeff was going to be there so she didn’t know if she wanted to go. My sisters and I literally forced her to go, we said we would go to grandmas for the night if she would just go (hoping she would run into Jeff again and hit it off – clearly the whole family adored him). Sure enough, she ran into him and the rest is history. I remember talking to my mom the day after and there was just a sparkle in her eye. For months, she was so stubborn. Ignoring his calls from time to time, saying that she was too busy with three kids to drive down to him for the weekend…but that didn’t stop him. Soon enough he was driving up to see us every weekend, and before you know it, he left his big beautiful home to move into our small, but homey tri-level. We loved that tri-level. It was our house that our mom made our home, and Jeff knew how important it was for all of us girls to finish school in our school district that year so sure enough, we all squeezed into that small house. Four girls in a two bathroom house were already hard enough…
Once I graduated high school I thought we were for sure going to move to a big fancy house. I was so excited. After my parents got divorced we went from a little hole in the wall house to the tri-level so now that she was in a great job, and didn’t have to support us three on her own, I wanted her to have the best of everything. But, all of that was put off for a year…my little sisters were entering into their 8th-grade year and also wanted to finish school, in their school district before we moved away. So, we found a bigger home, rented it for a year, and I drove my sisters to school every single day so that we could all get what we wanted. I look back at our lives now and think how did we all get so lucky with this amazing man? A man who has no children of his own, but is willing to do anything for us three girls? He truly loves us like his own. Right before I went away to college after some time at community college, Jeff finally proposed to that high school sweetheart of his and his best friend. Although their fairytale isn’t usual, it is perfect for them.
It wasn’t until nearly five years ago that I truly BEGAN to understand what dating your best friend truly meant. When I met Len, he instantly became my best friend…it was one of those friendships where I could sit on a couch for 12 hours doing absolutely nothing and go home feeling like I had the best day in the world. It was the friendship that we could drive around in the car listening to new music and singing all the words of our favorite songs. Never did he once turn down the option of getting food, no matter if we just ate two hours ago or not. Whether I needed a shoulder to cry on, or someone to just keep me company while I shuffled through hundreds of resumes to find good employees to hire, he was easily the best friend I had ever had. In the beginning, Len was my best friend, and my best friend only. We could sit for hours and talk…about life, football, relationships, family, or friends. It was like a friend I had never had before. Life without him just didn’t seem complete. Although we had never dated in the beginning, when we went five months not talking, I would find myself reminiscing about the days when we would talk about our future goals or the time we went to Great America and realized at almost 6’4 300+ pounds, that maybe, just maybe, if I apply all my weight on top of the harness, that we can get it to buckle before the attendant comes. When we came back into each other’s lives again (kind of like my mom and Jeff), I knew I wasn’t going to make the same mistake that my mom and Jeff did all those years, letting one of us walk out of each others lives again.
The thing about my relationship that I love more than anything is that Len is my friend before anyth
ing. We established a friendship before any relationship began. NO matter what the situation is, how mad he may get at me for washing my sweatshirts with my jeans, or the fact that I “forgot” to pick up Kobe’s poop before I leave for work, we begin and end each day as best friends. When I have a good day, and a bad day too, he’s the first person I want to talk to. I cannot tell you how many times I get so upset that he’s on the practice field because I feel like I need to talk to him RIGHT NOW…Every day I come home with the same excitement as the day that we moved in together (believe me, the honeymoon stage has been long well over). I cannot wait to hear about his day, how practice was, what he thought of the new food I cooked, or to share how long I was able to last on the stair master in the morning before giving up… There is nothing like looking at your best friend on a Friday night while they are sitting on the couch with popcorn falling out of their mouth.
Although dating my best friend is pretty cool and all, it is scary too. Len is my other half, I couldn’t imagine life without him. When I do even try to imagine what I would do without him, I get emotional. Offseason when he leaves Illinois (s/o to him for staying here this year with me), I feel like my weeks drag, my excitement isn’t as high, and that something is missing. With every relationship, whether you have been together 2 years or 50 years, there is always a possibility that it is not going to work out. I could not imagine losing my best friend because my relationship failed so that is why I know that there is no doubt in my mind that we will try everything in our power before this relationship fails because that is what best friends do. In all honesty, that is the ONLY con of dating your best friend in my opinion. But, if you haven’t been able to tell yet, the pros have clearly outweighed the cons.
That little girl that strived to date her best friend finally is and she could not be happier. A lot of people say that they don’t want to grow up and be like their mom/dad. I am pretty glad I turned out like my mom in this concept, I’m happy that I get to start and end my day with my best friend each and every day.