A small study by psychologists at Purdue University in Indiana has linked a close friendship to better relationship satisfaction, both emotionally and sexually.
One of the researchers, Laura VanderDrift, said finding a partner who is “first and foremost a friend” is key to having a successful relationship in the long term.
"We found that valuing the friendship component of one's romantic relationship is important,” VanderDrift told The Independent.
"It leads to better relationship outcomes over time, including a more satisfying relationship, a better friendship with one's partner, and even greater sexual satisfaction.”
Researchers surveyed 184 people who had been in relationships for more than 16 months and asked what they valued most about their relationship.
Couples who thought friendship and companionship were the most valuable factors in their relationships also reported the highest satisfaction rates when it came to their sex lives.
VanderDrift recommends couples struggling in their relationships could become more satisfied by focusing on “friendship-type experiences”.
She said couples who focus on their friendship would “benefit other areas of the relationship”.
"For seeking a relationship, this suggests that finding a partner who is first and foremost a friend could confer myriad benefits."