“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”

The title of this entry comes from Friedrich Nietzsche, and it is a quote that really resonates with me.

I have decided to take a break from talking about my health and I talk about the one thing in my life that makes the days bearable. That is Love, and more importantly the love that I have found with Harry.

I have touched briefly on our love and everything that he has done for me, but I feel he deserves more than that. So I will write a post on how we met and got together, but it’s too long and not what I want this post to be about.

I would be lying if I said that our relationship is perfect or that either one of us is perfect, trust me it has been anything but and we are nowhere near – we’ve nearly split up on a couple of occasions but we both came to the conclusion separately as well as together, that we are meant to be together or are at least meant to give it a bloody good go, rather than just giving up because of a stupid argument.

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This I feel is important. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one for flogging a dead horse and in the past I have always been the one to end relationships. In the past I have always had a good sense that the relationship wasn’t meant to last and so I got out as soon as I just couldn’t be bothered anymore. (Well, apart from one, but we all have a first love right? I’ll touch upon that in the blog about H and I getting together) But with Harry it always felt right both in heart and in mind that we couldn’t give up – That we didn’t want to give up. Even when there were times I didn’t like him very much because of something that he had done, I knew I still loved him and actually knew, I couldn’t be without him and vice versa. I believe that for a healthy relationship you need to both agree on things, and not just the simple things but the hard things. You’ve both got to want it or not want it, because if you are at odds when it comes to the fundamentals than your relationship isn’t going to last, and ultimately won’t be happy.

Friends of ours always joke and refer to our relationship as “#goals” and they often ask us how we seem to happy. The only answer we ever have for them is “because we are happy” or “because it works”
One of the things that Harry and I have come to realise is that we have the same view on practically everything, from how children should be raised to how you should react in certain situations, to everything. We also have each others back against others, even if we know they are wrong.
Harry told me that when we went round to tell his parents that we had gotten engaged, him and his father had an aside, and even though his father was really happy for us, he wanted to take a moment to ask his son “Are you sure?” (Granted Harry was the one who proposed and he hadn’t been forced in to it, but I completely understand and respect his dad for making sure) and Harry told me his response.
He told his dad that he was completely sure, and his dad asked him how he knew, and he told him “Because she has my back. She is 100% on my side and we have the same views on things and I love her.” Now this might not seem like a giant declaration of love, but actually I think it’s better than the Hallmark romance bullshit. This isn’t romance or fantasy, this is real. Because once the lust and ‘Honeymoon stage’ is over what are the things keeping you together?

Obviously finding each other attractive should never die, I am quite open about the fact that I am a strong believer in “If the sex goes the relationship is over.”
People who claim that looks aren’t important and bare-faced liars and shouldn’t be trusted! – That is a fact and you can quote me on it.
You are programmed, all the way back to the Cave Man era to find a mate that you find attractive and keep smashing each other until you physically can’t anymore. Again not romantic but true.
However I also believe that you need more than attraction to have a long and succesful, even stable relation. You need common interests, similarities and basic values and morals which align… ultimately you need friendship.

Before I found love (we are counting first love in this too by the way) I used to find it such a cliché and I would cringe when people would say that their respective partner at the time was their best friend. Honestly. It would make all the hairs on my neck stand on end – I used to think “Well, you clearly don’t have many friends”. But then when I met the first love I ever had, it all became clear, and now that I am with Harry it is even more apparent.
I no longer wince when someone says their partner is their best friend. I actually get it now. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my best friends, and other friends, but Harry also falls in to the category of best friend. I have never had a friendship like the one I have with him let alone a relationship.
It is through discovering what it is like to fall in love with someone who is also your best friend. Really, say we hadn’t found each other attractive and we weren’t a couple we would be close friends, but the animals in us saw something that we liked and we started smashing each other and haven’t stopped since and that is something I am very grateful for.
Finding this basic yet powerful friendship which underpins our relationship has helped me better understand why I dumped all the other men I have had the honour – and dishonour in some cases – of calling my boyfriends. We didn’t last because they weren’t my friend… (all but 1, maybe 2. But that is another story for another blog – Trust me) They were just people who for a period of time I found attractive and attempted to form some sort of life with. Although I never succeeded with them, I suppose I should thank them all for teaching me a little about what I didn’t want from a mate. So to each of you, Thank you.

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It has also allowed me to help out friends too. OK, I’ve always been ridiculously good at sorting other people’s problems and relationships or setting people up, but when it came to myself I was crap. But since being with Harry I have taken on a whole new level of “Guru”.

I can now tell people if a couple are going to last from the beginning. I can prove it too… Just this minute a friend of mine has announced her engagement to her boyfriend. They have been together a little less time than Harry and I, and I even said to her in the comment of congratulations that “I remember having a conversation with her outside her house about this happening”
When they first got together we worked together and we got on well, she would talk to me all the time about Chris (the now fiance). I even met him briefly at the start too. The issue that she had at the time was that she as due to go and spend a year in New Zealand as part of her uni course. She didn’t know what to do. I remember in my wisdom, as we chain smoked together, telling her that “If you like him, as much as he clearly likes you, make New Zealand work” I told her that there was something there, that I could actually see them ending up together forever, and to just be honest. Let him and her be free for the time that she as away and just see how it goes. I told her that the pressure of trying to keep a long distance relationship going was madness considering at the time they’d only been seeing each other a few months, to enjoy the time they had together now and see where they were when she got back. Well here we are, she’s been back 3 years or so, and they’ve just gotten engaged. Whilst she was in NZ he even had flowers delivered to her, and as soon as she got home they picked up like they hadn’t been apart for even a day.

Want another example? I can even do it with people I’ve never met face to face. I have an internet friend, and we are quite close. She and I started talking like we usually do, and she got on to the fact that she had started to talk to a guy she quite liked, but that she didn’t know what to do etc.
Long story short, they have been together since I said, told her they would likely end up together blah blah and all of that, and they are currently house hunting for their first house together.

This gift works the other way round too you know, I can tell if they are going to break up and just a couple of weeks ago a friend of mine got in to a relationship and whilst I was supportive towards him I did mention to Harry I didn’t see it lasting til the end of the month. And here we are, the beginning of June and they have been finished for over a week.

Want to know what all these success stories had in common and what the failures lack? Friendship. At the very core of their relationships the ones who are happy and surviving are friends – best friends – whereas the others, aren’t. It seems overly simplified or clichéd, but it’s true.

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I even know of someone (I did a blog on her here)  who is on their second marriage and is the same age as me, and if mutual friends are to be believed, this marriage isn’t going very well either. I do feel sorry for her, because she deserves to be loved, but when we were friends I used to say to her that she needed to find the guy who was her best friend. She used to laugh and say “I don’t need a best friend I have you, I need a husband”
I was still part of her life when she met her now husband and it was always evident to me that other than sex they didn’t share any interests. She was making the same mistake that I made with one of my exes and that was trying to change what I liked and what interested me, and basically tried to change the core of my being to fit with what he was interested in. She started to give up things that she liked because he didn’t like them, she even gave up her pets (who she loved more than anything, they were her fut babies) she started to change the way she acted, and who she was as a person. She went from being this loving, caring, would do anything for anyone kind of person to spending all of her time doing and going to things that he liked. And if I listen to the chatter about their marriage now, she doesn’t have a life or isn’t very happy with the life she does have. I wish I could reach out to her but as the previous blog on the subject says; I think too much water has gone under the bridge, but it still doesn’t stop me from feeling sorry for her. It can’t be nice when the only thing you have in common with your husband is the baby you had together.

Anyway lets not go back to that, lets keep going with what I was very poorly trying to say.
Where was I… Oh right, remember you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be perfect for the other person. If you want true love that lasts, and happiness even when things happen that should reduce you to tears, then find the person who you cannot wait to see naked but also the person who is your best friend. They don’t have to be your only friend but they have to be the first and last person you would pick day in and day out.

Friendship can and often does grow into love, but love never subsides in to friendship.

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