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There is something unexplainable that happens when you connect with someone from the opposite sex. It’s a euphoric feeling that exceeds expectations if he happens to feel the same way. Though I’ve experienced this feeling a time or two, it caught me by surprise when I met Chris (of course, I changed the name for the sake of this article). Chris and I immediately clicked. We couldn’t deny that there was an instant chemistry between the two of us, and the months after our initial meeting confirmed that there was a spark. We were like long-lost friends and spent almost every day together. We could talk to each other about anything. He just ‘got’ me, and I ‘got’ him. As far as the connection was concerned, he was everything I wanted in a man. But despite all that, I would soon learn that this didn’t mean we were supposed to be together. In fact, I soon realized that we were better off as just friends. It was disappointing, but it was also the truth.

Friendship. It’s the thing that can keep a romantic relationship from ending in disaster when plagued with tough times. Experts have concluded that being friends is key if you want your relationship to thrive. You should be able to talk to your man about your day, and he should feel comfortable doing the same. The two of you should be able to create memories as both lovers and friends. And while it’s advisable that you and your man become friends, it doesn’t mean that you and your guy friend are meant to be lovers. So how do you know the difference? How do you know when what you have shouldn’t go any further than the friend zone?

According to a Psychology article titled “How Can You Tell When You Should Just Be Friends?” it can be hard to judge because friendship and romance have so much in common. Perhaps that is why I was so baffled about my relationship with Chris. In the article, the psychologist explains that attraction, support, pleasure, and even intimacy are interchangeable in both friendships and romantic relationships. I was certainly attracted to Chris’s 6’2″ frame. He was funny, supportive, and…ahem…pleasurable. I thought I’d found my husband, and he would later tell me that he felt the same. However, after we tried to take our relationship to the next level, our connection began to fade.

According to the psychologist who penned the aforementioned article, there are several reasons this happens.
Certain things determine whether two people are supposed to be lovers or just friends. These can include commitment (duh, cheating will kill a relationship), shared goals, and influence. After Chris and I tried to be more than just friends we realized we had completely different views and goals for the future. He didn’t want kids. I did. This, unfortunately, was a dealbreaker.

While my point of clarity (the fact that he didn’t want to reproduce) was a bit more clear than what other people are faced with, it’s important to dig deep to decipher if a man is meant to be your man or just your friend. Before meeting Chris, I automatically assumed that if you met a man that you liked and enjoyed being around and he felt the same, the natural progression was for you to move forward with a relationship. This clearly isn’t always the case.

You have to weigh the costs, benefits, and expectations when deciding how to move forward in a relationship. And as I previously mentioned, while it’s important to always be friends with your man, it doesn’t mean that your friend should always become your man.

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