Portland Marriage Counseling: Why Friends Are Important in a Relationship

June 11, 2014 by

Quite often when two people are in a long term relationship, a tension exists about the friendships you each have outside of your partnership. Maybe one of you thinks that the other spends too much time with friends and not enough time with them. Or you both wake up one day and realize that you haven’t seen your friends in months because you got lost in each other.

While neither situation is good, it’s very important that both of you strive to maintain your friendships with people outside of the relationship. In fact, doing so can actually improve both your sense of self and how you feel about your partner. How so?

How Both Kinds of Relationships Benefit Each Other

Most people know that your relationship with your partner shapes a large and important part of your identity, but your relationships with your friends play a role in who you are as well. You become friends with someone because elements of their personality draw you towards them, and the same applies to you. Those elements of our personalities are usually nurtured by our interactions with our close friends, making us feel more confident in who we are because of the positive reinforcement we receive from these relationships.

With your friends helping to make your perception of your own personality stronger, while also enabling you feel more comfortable in your own skin, your interactions with your partner will become more fulfilling thanks to your confidence in your own good qualities.

And it works the other way around, as well. The confidence and contentedness you feel as a result of your loving relationship with your partner will make your platonic relationships fuller and more satisfying. In short, all of our relationships help us to have a better sense of self, which in turn draws people closer.

The Importance of Balance

That being said, it is vital that you balance both kinds of relationships. Spend too much time with one and the other will inevitably feel neglected. Beyond this, you’ll be ignoring those facets of your personality that you only get to express in specific company, which will cause you to feel dissatisfied over time and take it out on whoever you’re around. Despite the unfortunate idea that romantic and platonic relationships naturally work against each other, striving for balance in both can result in a great combined effect on your sense of self-confidence and personal fulfillment.

For more information on ways to balance your relationship and your friendships, check out our next Portland marriage counseling blog or contact us to talk about it in person.