“Within any marriage, there are invisible boundaries that define what can and cannot be discussed.”
Hotelier Megha Ajgaonkar, 31, and her husband Samit have been best friends for over a decade. “Since we started off as friends, our friendship still stands stronger than our marital status,” says Megha. “He, however, converts to being a great husband when required.” Megha and Samit’s equation is idyllic. To have a husband who doubles as a best friend can be a dream come true. Psychologist Chaula Patel talks about the place of friendship in a romantic relationship. “If you can share with and be accepted by your partner, love blooms.”
You can’t tell him everything
However, there are many who argue that while it’s a given that your partner should be a friend, someone you love and trust, it is perfectly okay (or maybe even healthier) if your best friend and partner are two separate individuals. Homemaker Vyoma Upadhyaya, 33, says that it’s challenging to be best friends with your husband simply because it is not possible to share every thing with him. “In a marriage, there are invisible boundaries that define what can and cannot be discussed, what actions are and aren’t acceptable. This prevents you from perceiving your spouse as your best friend.”
Women tend to idealise the concept of a best friend and if the man does not match up, disillusionment sets in. At that time, it’s important to go back and recollect the real reason why you got married. Counsellor Niloufer Ebrahim reminds us that people don’t get married just because they’re best friends. There are other factors at play like respect, trust and love which are just as important. Husbands or boyfriends may find it difficult to fit into the best friend mould because of their intrinsic nature.
“Men are more solution-oriented, whereas often what a woman needs is just someone to lend her an ear,” says Chaula. Women tend to bring their emotions into the bedroom, so having the distinction helps maintain balance in the marriage.
Different needs, different people
A lot of women echo Chaula’s thoughts. Sonali Gujarati, a 32-year-old senior manager at a financial firm, says, “You can get two separate opinions to any problem. If you have issues on the home front, you have someone to talk to.” It would be convenient to have the same person take care of all your needs, but it’s not a good idea. “It is healthy to have different friendships, as this brings diverse elements into your life,” says Niloufer.
Niloufer goes on to point out how we are more forgiving of our friends than of our partners because there is no legal, sexual or social bond that binds you. “These things don’t matter as much because you’re not going home with that person,” says Niloufer. But in a marriage, differences matter, as they shape your life together; we seek commonalities. “So compartmentalising things makes life easier for you, and your partner.”
BDST: 1349 HRS, Sep-01, 2013