My Bestie And I Have A 'Romantic Friendship' — Here's What That Means

by Diana Park
Originally Published: 
Tom Werner/Getty

I met my best friend in college. It was 1993 and we were assigned roommates. She was from New York, and her accent reminded me of my aunt and uncles on my mother’s side who came from the same area.

She liked to sleep in, and I told her I got up early to exercise before school. She mentioned she wore flannels and hats. I said how I liked to dress up and wore skirts and dresses.

She was nervous about us living together, but I wasn’t. Not because I thought we would become best friends. I just knew she felt like home, I was comfortable around her, and I was so ready to get out of the town I grew up in I thought I was going to burst.

We met almost thirty years ago and we’ve seen each other through a lot: breakups, bad decisions, buying homes, pets, kids, family arguments, letting their friendships go, and those times when you just need someone to listen before you breakdown completely.

She always knows the right things to say to me. She listens without judgement and has never, ever shown jealousy or held a grudge. She views me as her equal: someone who makes mistakes and deserves grace. She knows when to speak up and when to simply let me verbally vomit, often reminding me that while I do that, I’m answering my own questions.

During our thirty years of friendship, there has never been a time when I thought I would feel worse after talking to her. It’s the opposite. She always makes me feel better and somehow shows me the best version of myself.

Her father died a few years ago and she spiraled into a depression. My best friend was different. We didn’t talk as much. I reached out to her and understood she wasn’t able to be the person she was before he died. I never gave up and obviously knew she was fighting something I knew nothing about.

I wanted to be the friend that she needed me to be, and there were times that meant giving her the space she needed to work through her grief.

She doesn’t know this, but during that time I felt like a piece of me had been chipped away. Her heart was broken and so was mine. I knew this wasn’t about me, but that time apart allowed me to see exactly what she meant to me. Part of her was gone and that meant part of our friendship was gone, and I felt it.

She is now, and always will be, a constant in my life. I love her. That love is different from what I have for my kids, and my partner. It’s a special kind of admiration I only have for her.

I have other friends that I love, but our friendship doesn’t compare to the one I have with my best friend.

I believe a friendship like this is rare and that’s not lost on me. She is my soulmate and nurtures a part of my soul no one else will be able to.

While our feelings are non-sexual, she is my person. Some call it a romantic friendship and if you’ve had one, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

New Statesman explains it well, stating, “Part of what is appealing about romantic friendships is being able to have the love and closeness associated with romantic relationships without the corresponding practical arrangements of sharing one’s day-to-day life with another person – something typically associated with traditional romantic partnerships.”

I think this is what makes romantic friendships hard to explain: It’s not the same relationship you have with your husband, wife, or partner. And yet, it’s more meaningful than the friendships you have with your other friends; even your close ones.

There have been many times in our lives when we’ve needed to talk to each other about something even before we’ve talked to our spouses, parents, or siblings.

Our partners have joked with us about how we are in love, and we fully admit it. We are in love with each other and our friendship has a way of standing the test of time even when life is hard and we don’t talk for months.

It’s fine no one else in our lives understands our connection — they don’t have to. I am lucky to have a romantic friendship in my life and she will always be my person.

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