For most relationships to maintain passion it is very essential for couples to maintain and continue to cultivate their own social identity. It is healthy to have a variety of people in your social network. Here are 4 benefits to maintaining a separate social identity in a marriage:
1. Avoid codependency. Depending on someone else to fulfill all your needs or making them solely responsible for your happiness will set you both up to fail. This is an example of an unrealistic expectation and belief that is often portrayed on television and then internalized in our reality. If you are in a long-term relationship there will be times in which reciprocity will not be even. One spouse may become ill and in order to get through the ordeal you may need the emotional support of someone else. I see this often when a spouse is suffering from depression. If you have no one else, your spouse’s failure to be there for you, may cause resentment to form. Make sure you evaluate yourself, your spouse and your relationship based on achievable beliefs. No one person can fulfill all your needs.
2. Maintain attraction to one another. When you look at perspective people to date you usually evaluate their lifestyle. We want to be around people who are fun and enjoyable to talk to. We must continue to be interesting even after walking down the aisle. After all no one wants to sit in silence on date night, after 15 years of marriage.
3. Prevents an unhealthy balance of power and control. One huge red flag for a toxic or even abusive relationship is being in social isolation as a couple. Your significant other should not request that you end relationships with people who love and support you. Doing this may be an attempt to manipulate and control you. An abuser gains power over an individual by removing and limiting that person’s resources. It then becomes harder to leave and abuser because you then feel helpless without them. All relationships should have limits and boundaries, even a marriage!
4. Having long term friendships can help to avoid infidelity. Some very good people make the mistake of cheating on their spouse. And these individuals make the mistake of cheating when they experience a void in their life and/or marriage. They may start to confide in people who are close in proximity to them, such as a coworker. This coworker has no vested interest in that person’s marriage. Trusting this superficial relationship can easily allow lines to be crossed while attempting to search for “emotional support”. Having more options available of people, we can talk to and go hang out with can prevent one from seeking out inappropriate attention. Instead we should have a variety of friends that support our relationship and respect our spouse. The type of friends you chose to maintain and acquire does matter. You want to ensure that friends and family support and respect your relationship even during difficult times in your marriage.
So yes your spouse can be your best friend, but they should not be your only friend.