Why My Female Friends Are the Loves of My Life
Photo Credit: Mac Mullins/Pexels
Movies, TV shows, and novels condition us to think there is only one person out there capable of being "the One." This person is always linked in the romantic sense: a partner in life, love, and in bed. For many of us, finding such a soulmate becomes a mission as soon as we begin dating.
I thought I had found the love of my life in my former husband because he ticked all the boxes. He was tall, dark, and handsome, stylish, smart, hard-working, funny, geeky. What’s more, we had been best friends since high school, brought back together later in life when we were both more established. People still talk about our fairytale wedding, held at a cathedral across the street from Central Park on an unusually warm, sunny day in December.
Friends offer a kind of consoling that the best of romantic relationships can't always offer.
We had a great run, but as the years went on, it became clear that our seemingly perfect match was rather imperfect. I chalked it up to life experience; I was constantly moving through life with curiosity and wonder, always looking for what was next, always striving to build a better future. He didn’t dwell on the past, but also didn't seem to care about the future. He was comfortable, I was restless.
Our friendship remained intact, but our marriage did not. And it confused me to no end. Those boxes ticked were the characteristics of any great movie romance, of any glowing soulmate situation I had read in books. If Tom wasn’t the love of my life, who was?
As I get older, I’ve realized it’s the women in my life who may actually, genuinely, be the loves of my life.
Most times your romantic partner is the person you turn to in times of trouble, but what happens when the trouble involves them? Friends offer a kind of consoling that the best of romantic relationships can't always offer.
Leaning on My Female Friends
Once I realized this, I leaned on my female friends more during my divorce than ever before. I tried not to burden them, but their genuine concern allowed me to feel more comfortable reaching out when I needed their support.
The best kinds of friends are those who create a support system unrecognizable of fault. They are there through your darkest times, and your brightest. They are just there.
Like Dana, who gave me a key to her apartment and an open-door policy to stay whenever I liked, on particularly rough nights. (She even had a set of pajamas for me ready on the bed when I arrived.)
And Erin, who was able to send her love, support, and videos of her adorable twins to cheer me up, despite being miles away in Florida.
Lindsey called me while on shift breaks as a nurse at the hospital, and we’d talk about all of the places we’d get to go when we could travel again.
Anna was always there for a “Guys suck, you don’t” kind of pep talk. Leigh and I would read tarot and perform moon affirmations together. The females-only therapy group I attend never commented if I cried, never judged if I had done something stupid (like wonder why the guy I liked wasn’t texting me back).
These are small examples, but they weren’t solicited, they were things my friends knew I needed to do, see, and hear, in order to heal. For that, I’m eternally grateful, and understand that the idea of love isn’t found within one person, nor should it ever be confined to one person.
So many people have so much love to give, and never fail to let you know it.
Now I feel confident enough to know I don’t need to replace Tom with another guy to feel like I am emotionally fulfilled. I don’t need to look for soulmate 2.0, or feel hopeless when the dates I go on are lackluster. I have the privilege of letting new romantic partners supplement and enhance my female relationships instead of replacing them.
So many people have so much love to give, and never fail to let you know it. That’s how I know my female friends are the loves of my life.
This post is part of a month-long February CircleAround series tied to Galentine's Day. What was once a celebratory day on a fictional TV sitcom has emerged, like Festivus before it, as a very real day, spawning a legion of loyal followers. That's because it celebrates the platonic friendships among women. We asked writers — and readers — to tell us how their gal pals are helping them navigate one of the most challenging periods in our history, as well as to share stories about their meaningful female friendships. To see all the posts in the series — including relevant news stories — visit here. And if you'd like to contribute to the series, send us your thoughts to email@example.com or post on our "2021 Inspiration Wall."