Someone once told me that friends were worth more than lovers. In context, she was completely wrong because she was trying to talk me into maintaining a friendship that really wasn’t useful without sex attached. Out of context, however, I think she may have been right. Certainly, I would sooner come to the rescue of my friends before helping out some random guy I slept with.
All this is, of course, diametrically oposed to media concepts of romance which include love at first sight, and less than subtle messages that a lover should somehow mean more than any other person in your life just because you are attracted to each other. The easy answer is that a long term romantic relationship should include elements of friendship and sex; that adding sex to a solid friendship is what makes the connection deeper and somehow more important than a regular friendship. But people are more complicated than that, and relationships are more complicated too. Trust me, adding sex to a friendship does not a deeper connection make.
So what is that illusive difference that makes some people click for romance, and others for friendship, while still others are only good for sex?
More importantly, if something is good, why must I question, poke and prod it? Why must I buy into the media message and become fretful for want of romantic interludes with candelight and ballgowns?
A friend of mine recently announced her engagement, and rather than being happy for her, my first response was, “oh god, no!” My next response was to kneel at her feet and ask why. Why now? Why this this one? How do you know that you really love? Are you settling because once, when I was in my cups and turned to prophet, I told you that you would only ever be happy enough?
The thing is, she’s more settled and content than I have ever seen her before. If staying with this man keeps her this happy, then I am completely and wholeheartedly glad that they are getting married. What’s more, this isn’t any honeymoon happiness. They’ve been through rough times together, and they’ve lived together long enough to have worked out how to have their fights and get through them. In other words, she’s this happy, and she’s living a real life.
And you know what? I’m happy too. Love doesn’t have to hurt to be real, and romance doesn’t have to be grand and all consuming. I have been shown a mirror, and looking into it, I saw my own contentment. I know, there will still be plenty of tomorrows when I rant and rail and want what is beyond this gate or that wall. For now though, let me remember that I am happy.
So here’s to lovers, who play and go away. Here’s to friends who I may or may not call, but love all the same. And here’s to those wonderfully insidious few that we take as partners in our life. Whatever form the romance takes, it makes us better, and informs all the other relationships we live.