Can a Long-Term Relationship or Marriage Result From a Friendship?

Many happy marriages result from friendships.
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You may have a friend you are beginning to look at in a different light and wondering if this feeling of deep affection can translate into a long-term romantic relationship. Be heartened. An intimate and fulfilling friendship forms an excellent foundation for a long-term romantic relationship or marriage.

1 Basis Points

Long-lasting marriages often begin with a deep friendship. In fact, a 1994 study in “Personal Relationships” tested a measure called the Friendship-Based Love Scale that measured friendship in romantic relationships. The study's authors found that partners who scored high on this measure were more likely to have stable marriages.

2 Likes Attract

Marriages and long-term romantic relationships share many of the same qualities as close friendships. Friends and lovers trust one another, depend on each other for companionship and often have many shared interests. These relationship qualities can help couples and friends confide in one another and continue to find interesting things to do together over the years. Additionally, both kinds of relationships require that the individuals genuinely like one another.

3 Passion Without the Drawbacks

You may be concerned about the fact that a relationship like this didn’t begin passionately. After all, friendships generally lack the kind of physical intensity that characterize romantic relationships. There is no need to worry about this because relationships built solely on physical attraction and passion tend to be short-lived. It is difficult, possibly even impossible, to sustain that kind of intensity over the long haul. The idea of a happily-ever-after love affair makes for a great plot in a movie, but falls short in real life.

This is of course not to say that friendship-based romantic partnerships don’t experience passion - they do. However, since the foundation of these types of relationships have friendship at the core, they are better able to withstand the inevitable decline of passion that happens in nearly every romantic relationship over time.

4 Shifting Expectations

Part of the difficulty with turning a friendship into a marriage or long-term relationship is shifting your expectations about what a romantic partnership should look like. When you open yourself up to the idea that your best friend could also become your spouse, a new world of possibilities can appear.

Nina Edwards holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and has been writing about families and relationships since 2000. She has numerous publications in scholarly journals and often writes for relationship websites as well. Edwards is a university lecturer and practicing psychologist in New York City.