Couple therapist reveals why friendship is so important for the relationship

Couple therapist reveals
This is the most important ingredient for a happy relationship

© bondart / Shutterstock

Sex? Love? Passion? It certainly can’t hurt, but according to couple therapist Eric Hegmann, there’s something that shouldn’t be missing in any partnership…

In order for a relationship to work, a lot of things have to be right. The communication, the chemistry, the timing – all of this at least determines our happiness or unhappiness as a couple. But according to the Hamburg couple therapist Eric Hegman Nothing can keep a relationship together in the long term and stable if one very important ingredient is missing: Friendship!

Friendship + love = not a good idea?!

Admittedly, friendship doesn’t exactly sound sexy. With a friend, you talk about your partner, throw up about your relationship problems, and when you accidentally endear yourself to him or her – from drinking too much or under the influence of chaotic emotions – things quickly get complicated. In other words: In our minds, friendship and relationship are two pairs of shoes that are as different as sneakers and pumps.

And of course Hegmann knows that too. “When friendship turns into love, it’s often viewed with skepticism. The immediately described horror scenario: ‘Then our friendship will be ruined!’ It is not uncommon for couples to decide against a romantic relationship because they ‘don’t want to risk their friendship’,” says the therapist. Many people may not realize that they might forego being with their perfect match…

Friendship is the first step in ANY stable relationship

According to experts, the path to a promising, long-term relationship always starts with friendship. Hegmann explains: “Getting to know a partner can be done – somewhat simplified – in two ways. There is the destiny way, that is, sexual attraction that leads suddenly and very strongly to bonding, also known as ‘love at first sight’. and the growth path, which starts with sympathy, then can grow into affection, friendship and love. The latter path happens more often and leads to stable partnerships. The first is often over-romanticized, although it tends to result in short-lived relationships that end when initial attraction wears off and everyday life returns.”

Hardly any harmony without friendship

What, in the expert’s experience, contributes above all to couples who are not “only” connected by romantic feelings and sex, but also by friendship, staying together longer: In their everyday relationship, they tend to be more relaxed and harmonious. “Many people argue with their friends in a much more respectful, circumspect and less heated manner than with their partnernamely where fear of loss can lead to strong and extreme behaviors. In couple therapy, couples therefore often learn to argue with each other like friends and not like enemies, because they are a team that works together and not against each other,” says Hegmann.

Couple therapist Eric Hegmann

Couple therapist and relationship coach Eric Hegmann

© Eric Hegmann / PR

Also, according to the relationship coach: “Friends are there for each other, they act loyal, they support each other, they give each other gratitude and attention. They don’t count – which couples often do when they check their inner relationship account. When in disputes ‘always do you…’ versus ‘you never do…’. When fear resonates with every wish and every disappointed expectation: ‘If you really loved me, then you would…'”

True love includes friendship feelings

Hegmann’s verdict is therefore clear: true love, which connects people over decades, always includes platonic love. First and foremost, according to the expert, it is “friendship that gets couples through times of crisis and allows them to really enjoy happy moments.” And let’s be honest: Isn’t the idea that our partner is also our best friend pretty ideal and dreamlike? Way better than being in love with your best friend, at least…

Questions for the couples therapist? On the Eric Hegman’s website You will find contact options as well as lots of coaching offers, online courses and further information. And if you would like to exchange ideas with others about friendship, love and relationships: Take a look at our community past!

Video tip: 7 signs of true love

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Of course, friendship alone is not enough. We tell you what little things happy couples do for each other without thinking about it, what rituals are good for a relationship and what typical apparent reasons for separation you should never give up a partnership for.


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