Africa News Bulletin

Friends to lovers trope: How do you make the transition?

Barbadian singer Rihanna is expecting her first baby with her long-time friend-cum lover, ASAP Rocky, an American rapper and record producer.

The two are said to have been friends for years before they started dating. It was last year that their relationship officially blossomed from friendship to romance.

They say the most amazing relationships are those that have transitioned from friends to lovers. Dating a friend comes with a bond that is unlike any other.

This is true for Dennis Kabera and his girlfriend. Though the couple isn’t officially married, they have a child together and have been together for over 10 years now. They met at university and have been inseparable since then.

“We met at campus and were friends for quite some time. We were so close that we both swapped stories of the people we were dating then. Our friendship was so exceptional that we never thought of dating each other at any point whatsoever,” he narrates.

As time went by, however, the two became so close and eventually fell for each other.

“We were lucky that our feelings were mutual. I realised how compatible we were and decided to make a move. I can’t say we regret the decision,” he shares.

It’s not impossible to transition from just friends to dating; however, Christie Calucchia quotes Dr Darcy Sterling, a therapist who recommends doing your due diligence before professing any feelings and risking the special friendship you already have.

It’s important to realise that the minute you put your feelings out there, you cross the Rubicon. First, there are the basic, logistical questions to consider: Are you both single? Are you both looking for the same kind of relationship?

According to Sterling, if the answer to either of these questions is ‘no,’ it’s probably not worth the risk. “Relationships are hard enough to maintain when people are compatible. You’re likely going to harm the friendship you already have by attempting to change the game under these circumstances.”

Monica Umurerwa, a teller, says becoming lovers with someone you have known as a friend for some time can be a bit awkward. Making that transition doesn’t come easy, especially if you have known each other for a very long time, she says.

She, nonetheless, believes that relationships and marriages that last are those where the couple have friendship before anything else.

“You know each other very well, given the fact that you have been close as friends for that long. It’s an advantage for a couple compared to those who meet and immediately start dating,” she says.

“Happy marriages are mostly where couples have that deep friendship. When you are friends with your partner, it makes everything easy. You are open and free with each other, which makes important aspects such as communication easy for the both of you,” Umurerwa adds.

Calucchia notes that when making the transition from friends to dating, being open and honest is paramount.

The best way to navigate this uncharted territory is to be direct from the start. That means clarifying what type of relationship you’re going to have. Is this a friends-with-benefits situation, or are you looking for a long-term relationship? It’s important to answer these questions from the beginning so you can both move forward mindfully, she adds.

Kabera, however, says to take things easy and not complicate them by creating so many rules.

Let things flow and see where it goes, he says. “You have known each other for some time and the fact that you have chosen to take things to the next level is a sign that you both want this and are ready for a relationship,” he says.

Many successful long-term relationships often start off as friendships. If you want to, you can try checking out of that ‘friend-zone’.

Original story on The New Times

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