Here's what's also proven, though this time by my own unscientific observations. Most women my age, the single ones at least, are more interested in meeting potential boyfriends than best friends, though I would argue the latter's a lot harder to come by and plenty more emotionally nourishing. A husband is wonderful, and Matt makes me laugh. He makes me feel beautiful, loved, protected, cared for. But the idea that our spouses should be our best friends is one of those romantic notions that has been perpetuated by our mothers and grandmothers and every movie in the Meg Ryan canon. It's a myth, and one that has probably been solely responsible for thousands of unhappy marriages. Imagine the sense of failure a woman feels when she enters into this covenant, expecting to be rewarded with a whole new level of best-friendship, only to realize that her husband will never be her Samantha, Miranda or Charlotte. It's enough to make her feel far lonelier than when she was alone.

So why don't our mothers and grandmothers and Meg Ryan warn us? Why don't they just say, "A husband is a life partner and an intellectual equal and co-parent and the man you will grow old with, but he is not—nor is he supposed to be—your best friend"? I would have appreciated the caveat. 

Maybe they're trying to idealize their own marriages. Or maybe it's like childbirth. I once grilled my mom about giving birth—Do you actually have to get stitches afterward? Down there?—and she didn't want to give me straight answers. "If I tell you," she said, "you'll never want to do it."

Why women need friends


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