Having Greater Complicity With a Friend Than With Your Partner

Sometimes, and for certain reasons, you have a greater complicity with your friends than your partner. What does this imply? Is it negative to only share certain thoughts with your friends and not with your partner?
Having Greater Complicity With a Friend Than With Your Partner
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Sometimes, you develop greater complicity with a friend than with your partner. Almost without realizing it, you may find yourself sharing your thoughts or dreams with your friend that your partner is unaware of. This is something that seems contradictory and might worry you. However, it’s a frequent phenomenon.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing or suggest a decline in your relationship. Not as long as you still have intimacy, love, and trust. After all, what you give and expect to receive from others does change from time to time.

When you have a really significant friendship, it often contains layers of connection, honesty, and complicity that are so deep they surpass those you have with your life partner. Nevertheless, this doesn’t have to cause problems between one relationship and the other. In reality, you can enjoy this richness in your relationships. In fact, it’s can be a great benefit at all levels.

Let’s take a closer look.

Having complicity and trust with your friends doesn’t have to pose a threat to your partner.

Friends talking about when we have more complicity with a friendship than with the couple
In couple relationships there’s more than just complicity: there’s also sexual and emotional intimacy.

Friendships and loves: intense ties, different ties

Often, when you fall in love with someone, you already have a group of friends. It’s clear that these bonds of trust and closeness aren’t going to be broken just because you’ve started a new romantic relationship. You combine the two. Your friends are still there and what’s more, they continue to support you.

You don’t tend to have greater complicity with your friendships than with your partner, it’s just a different kind of complicity. In other words, what you seek and expect from your friends isn’t the same as what you expect from your partner. The key lies in knowing which emotional territories you’re moving in.

For instance, there’ll be certain aspects you feel more comfortable sharing with a friend. This isn’t a punishable offense. It’s all part and parcel of the social bonds you create with others. With some people, you establish a different type of dynamic from others. It’s in this variety that you weave the psychological supports that are both nourishing and essential for you.

In human relationships, each figure provides us with a different type of reinforcement and complicity. Friends, partner, and family make up these psychological supports from which we benefit on a daily basis.

Different complicities, but equally relevant

It’s true. Sometimes, you develop greater complicity with a friend than with your partner. However, it’s likely that the complicity generated with your best friend will also contribute to the relationship you have with your loved one.

Complicity in the couple

It’s enriching to see your partner as your best friend. That said, a best friend and a partner aren’t the same. There’ll always be different nuances, particularities, and emotional tonalities in each relationship.

  • Complicity with your partner is combined with the necessary field of intimacy. Research conducted by the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa) claims that intimacy is at the core of any satisfying emotional relationship. It includes physical and sexual closeness as well as a connection in values, common goals, and emotions.
  • Complicity with your partner involves the commitment of two interdependent people. In other words, the basis of attachment makes you depend on each other.

Complicity in friendship

With your partner, the cornerstone of your relationship is the commitment of you both to each other, but in friendship, this element loses its strength. You value trust, honesty, sincerity, understanding, etc. in a friend. Furthermore, there’s no type of interdependence, you’re both free to have your own lives, and you don’t have to answer to each other.

In fact, the complicity that’s created with a friendship is more spontaneous. This may be what you appreciate the most. It’s a relationship with fewer commitments thus it forms another type of dynamic. There’s less emotional pressure and it’s an altogether freer kind of relationship.

A gap can develop in a couples’ relaltionship when they both suddenly stop sharing their thoughts and needs with each other. This is always an indicator of a crisis that must be solved.

couple talking about having more complicity with a friend than with the partner
Your partner must understand that it’s normal to have friends with whom you also share your thoughts.

When problems arise due to having greater complicity with a friend

At what point can the aspect of complicity with a friendship become a problem? Well, your partner could feel annoyed by the relationship you have with them. They might feel displaced and even angry to think that you’re sharing certain intimate details of your life with your friends.

On the other hand, you never really want to share absolutely everything with your partner. There’ll always be certain details and experiences that you reserve for yourself. Or for your friends and family. This doesn’t have to be damaging to your relationship. On the contrary, it can enrich it because it completes you as a human being.

You can have excellent daily accomplices in your friends, but you should try not to lose intimacy with your partner. This private sphere that belongs only to the two of you shouldn’t be fractured. Nor should your partner be replaced by other figures. Otherwise, you’ll lose your relationship completely.

You need to develop skills in this magical and nutritious dimension of intimacy. Of course, it’s good to have friends and confidants but if you don’t have the precious stone of intimacy in the relationship with your partner, you’ll feel quite alone.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Reis, Harry T. and Phillip Shaver. (1988) “intimacy as an Interpersonal Process.” In S.W. Duck (ed.) Handbook of Personal Relationships. Wiley & Sons.
  • Cateral-Bughao, Athena. (2021) “How Self-disclosure Affects People and Their Relationships: Medium.
  • Timmerman GM. A concept analysis of intimacy. Issues Ment Health Nurs. 1991 Jan-Mar;12(1):19-30. doi: 10.3109/01612849109058207. PMID: 1988378.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.