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After readin’ SBM’s post yesterday on things that aren’t dates, I got to thinkin’ about the courting process in general. If real dates are somewhat a rarity, then how is it that people are gettin’ to know each other so well and makin’ the decision to start a relationship? Eh, maybe that’s the reason that so many of ’em end. A poorly built foundation will usually lead to travesty down the road anyway.

I know that I haven’t done much in my lifetime in terms of dates. It was always obvious that there was an initial interest on each side, which we both kept in mind as we hung out and prolonged our peachy phase. I think I can count the number of pre-relationship dates I went on with just one hand. None of my relationships began as true friendships. “Getting to know each other” pretty much meant that we were assessing our compatibility.

I wonder if they were friends first?

I wonder if they were friends first?

I thought of the people I know that have been in long term relationships or that are married. I even managed to question a couple. I started thinkin’ that developing a relationship with someone after being friends with them for a while was just some ish you see in one of those romantic movies that get women all googly. Y’all know exactly what I’m talkin’ about. The things that make you say aww. What else could be better for providing for a long standing relationship that a foundation of friendship that has lasted for a long time? From a couple couples I identified, there are some pros and cons. Let’s start with the good:

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The Pros

You most of the time get to see the person in candid form

When you’re great friends with someone, you get to learn their good and bad relationship/courting/dating habits. You know if they’re prone to sliding off. You know what they do when their mad at their significant others. You get to know their resume and body of work more in-depth than you probably ever would if y’all just started seeing each other from the jump.

Trust is established

I’d hope that most of us trust our good friends. If we can’t trust them, then they prolly aren’t that good a friend. Trust alleviates a lot of the potential for insecurities to rare their ugly heads. Trust is also one of the key components of the foundation of a relationship.

Increased optimism about where the relationship is headed

If you’ve been good friends with someone for years and you develop feelings for each other, you don’t need to spend as much time wondering if it’s too good to be true. You’re also goin’ to be more compelled to ensure that the relationship works cuz once you cross that bridge, there’s usually no turning back.

The Cons

You most of the time get to see the person in candid form

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Yep. One of the biggest pros is also one of the biggest cons. Some things are better left unknown. It doesn’t matter how confident or forgiving you are. For most men and a lot of women, knowin’ a significant other’s history and body of work isn’t as funny as it was when y’all were tellin each other about one night stands and who was da bomb in the sack. At least the dude knows if he’s gonna be “that guy” who is potentially dating the neighborhood smeeze.

You’re too comfortable with each other

It’s nice to start a relationship knowin’ you don’t have to impress each other, but if you’re not careful you may fall into the comfort zone. As it was explained to me, there needs to be a transition once the relationship starts. Yes, you’re still friends but you should be treatin’ each other like significant others and not just homies that spoon, use terms of endearment, make hot love, and communicate with other love languages. You can talk about past “encounters” in front of the homies, but not in front of the boo.

There’s no turning back

It’s one thing to start off with someone as a relationship prospect, then break up and remain friends afterward. It’s another to start off as great friends, start dating, then go back to being great friends. If things don’t work out, you risk losing a critical part of your life one way or the other.

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Hopefully I’ve gotten everyone’s wheels churnin’ with this one. So for today, I want to know what folks think of these pros and cons as they were provided to me and as I have witnessed? Is it essential for there to be a serious foundation of friendship to ensure longevity of the relationship? Have folks been able to make the transition back and forth? Anybody else got questions for the SBM readers as it relates to this? I’m really curious what folks have to say.

Interviewing couples while enjoying tea and crumpets since 2009,

slim jackson