Is it “best friend behavior” or something else, like kindness and gratitude? Our expectations of a friend, even a BFF, are very different than what we (generally) expect from a romantic partner, especially if we’re going to have — or already have — children with that partner. We don’t have to work too hard at maintaining friendship; get together as often as we can, talk, text, share. Do you really think that’s enough to sustain a romantic partnership?

From the research I did for my book, here’s what makes for a happy partnership, married or not — matched expectations. When you and your romantic partner have shared expectations, no matter what they are, you’ll basically have a happy, healthy and satisfying partnership. Friends don’t need that.

Written by

Award-winning journalist, coauthor of “The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels,” mom, changing the narrative about older women

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store