Do you think your partner can be your best friend?

So you want to call your partner your best friend? Why not? As the great philosopher Sheryl Crow once said, 'If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad.' When you really think about it what are you saying? You're dating someone you can be yourself with; someone who makes you laugh; someone you like hanging out with more than anyone else. Congrats, you're in a healthy relationship! 

Apart from being a bit too high on the cutesy scale for my liking, I don't think there's anything wrong with proclaiming your lover as your bestie unless... Is there any chance you're giving yourself an easy out from engaging in the world beyond your Netflix account? Socialising is hard work, especially after you enter your thirties and kids and commitments and an ever decreasing stamina get in the way. How much easier is it to declare your partner your best friend when, conveniently, you don't have to leave the house to see them? Adult friendships take a lot of effort but I seriously think they're worth it. When navigating life it's a gift to have access to as many perspectives as possible and to gain that it helps to have a wide circle of friends. A partner will offer endless support but when seeking advice, I find a person who doesn't want to sleep with me can be more objective. And of course if your partner is your best friend, who are you going to turn to when you need to have a good old moan about them?

How can you trust a man when you've had previous horrible relationships?

One of my first bosses was a horrible, horrible man. He was 'playfully' misongynistic, casually racist and what I found worse at the time, almost never did any work. He was a walking embodiment of the patriachy, having secured his senior role on the golf course, he distracted from his lack of ability by belittling his subordinates, always younger, most often female. It was a common occurrence to find a woman crying in the loos before lunch; we all accepted him as something to endure rather than overcome. I didn't think I had a choice but to accept him because there were bills to pay and happy hours to frequent and although he made me miserable, I thought I could do little but work hard until I had enough experience to move on to another job. And that's what I did, even though my first experience of being an employee was tortuous, I found another job because the benefits of working (being able to pay rent) outweighed the risks of working under another monster. The same is true for relationships, after a brush with evil it can be tempting to stay away from the dating game entirely but then you may miss out on all of the delicious perks of being in a couple (less bin emptying, night time foot warmer). The key is not in trusting men but trusting yourself, know that with your updated romance CV you will find better partners and opt out of relationships that don't meet your criteria. Remind yourself...

More experience means better positions. With all your life and love experience you will have more to offer a partner and that means you will attract similarly equipped men. Make clear to anyone you what you value in life, a good match will be excited to meet you where you are; don't accept a contract with anyone who dismisses your needs or doesn't understand your goals.  

Ask questions at the interview. We all know a first date is an interview. I refer to my first meeting with a guy as a pre-date. Usually I opt for coffee or a drink, something lasting less than an hour. This is my time to assess their presentation skills, get a quick overview of their relationship history and ensure there is no ick factor. Should a potential partner succeed at this stage they can progress to the cinema or maybe even dinner. Don't wait to be chosen, you get to be the picker. 

There's always a probation period. Films and fairy tales have made us think that the only way to find love is to throw caution to the wind but real life doesn't always have a happy ending and it really irritates me that some people give more thought to their electricity supplier than the people they let into their life. Use the first few weeks of a courtship to assess your dates potential for the position and if they don't meet the criteria don't be afraid to cut them loose - you're amazing, there will be plenty of new applicants. 

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