If you’re looking for the perfect partner online, you may be disappointed to find that most relationships don’t come from apps. In fact, the biggest predictor of finding romance is developing a friendship. New research suggests that more than two-thirds of all romantic relationships begin as friendships.
The findings published in the Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science showed that when a relationship begins with someone you meet online or at a bar, the focus is your attraction to their appearance. Meanwhile, a friendship meets emotional needs and involves similar interests and values. Online dating cannot compete with getting to know someone as a friend and falling in love over a shared friendship.
If you’re still not convinced that friends make the best romantic partners, here are 5 researched-based reasons.
1. Friendship is based on values not superficial preferences. The deepest relationships share values. With dating online, we often get overwhelmed with appearances and are blinded to character flaws.
2. Friendships reveal the real person. When you’re friends with someone, you get to know who they really are. Dating online allows both partners to lie about their present and past.
3. Friendships reveal the faithfulness and commitment of the person. True friendships endure the ups and downs of each other’s lives. One of the cornerstones of a good friend is loyalty and trust. You know you can count on your friend’s commitment and faithfulness to you. This is not true with other forms of dating. In fact, one of the most important reasons relationships don’t last is when partners are unfaithful.
4. In a friendship your partner’s family and friends are well known and cared about. In relationships one of the main causes of conflict are between partner’s families. In a friendship the relationship with each partner’s family is well established and respected.
5. You share common interests and concerns. Friends often share or at least respect similar interests. Finding out what each partner is passionate about and learning to respect and balance each other’s interests with the needs of the relationship requires negotiation and communication. Often this process does not come naturally as it does with friendships.
The importance of establishing a friendship between partners is a well-known aspect of healthy relationships. What hasn’t been as well established is the power of friendship in creating romance. Taking time to develop a close friendship with your partner will enhance your intimacy and marriage satisfaction. Instead of treating your spouse like your teammate focus on treating them the way you treat your best friend.