You might not be taking vows or raising children with them, but that doesn't mean your relationship with your ride-or-die BFF is any less special than the one you share with your significant other. In fact, a recent survey from the U.K. shows that for many women, the bond they have with their best friend actually trumps the one they share with their partner. And with good reason, too: Research shows there are some very sold reasons why mom friends are more important than romantic partners (as if you even need any more motivation to be obsessively grateful for your closest mom friend).
As the U.K. version of Good Housekeeping reported, a survey conducted by Champneys health spa asked 1,517 women a simple question: Are you closer to your best friend or your husband? Of the women polled, over 50 percent answered "best friend." Whether you're shocked by these findings or completely unsurprised, you can't argue with numbers. So, why do so many women seem to prefer their platonic companions over their significant others?
There were a few different reasons that the polled women cited for siding with their besties: 57 percent reported that they can talk about anything with their best friend, while 44 percent confessed that they can share things with their best friend that they can't tell their partner. 29 percent revealed that they can truly be themselves in the company of their friends, and that they have much more in common with them.
For scientists studying the concept of friendship, these survey results probably won't be too jaw-dropping. In fact, the benefits of friendship have been studied and documented extensively. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Developmental Psychology found that "having a best friend present during an experience significantly buffered the effect of the negativity of the experience on cortisol and global self-worth." In other words, stressful experiences don't seem quite so stressful if you've got a friend by your side (which might explain why venting about a spouse to a close friend can feel so dang good).
Additionally, in a 2014 study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers found that friendships of all types (from best friends to casual acquaintances) contribute to a person's overall well-being. Sure, having one loving spouse feels good, but having an entire network of other mom friends can feel even better... especially considering that fellow moms understand the unique experience of being a woman, mother, and wife in a way men cannot. This finding makes sense of the fact that according to the Champneys study, 60 percent of women said they have a better time at a social gathering if no men are in attendance (as reported by MSN). Sorry, guys!
Even if you fall into the group that prioritizes your spouse over all else, there is strong evidence that female friendship is vital to your mental and emotional health. The bonds among women are completely unique, unlike those between men or between women and men.
Personally, I cannot imagine my life without my husband or without my best friend, and I find that there is a time and a place for both. There are those moments when my hand has dialed my best friend's number before I've consciously realized what I'm doing, and other times when I don't want to speak to anyone except my spouse. In my opinion, they offer something totally different, yet both relationships are invaluable. No matter which way you'd answer the question, "Are you closer to your best friend or your husband?" one thing is certain: Our lives would be less without the love and support of our girlfriends.
This first-time mom wants to have a home birth, but is she ready? Watch how a doula supports a military mom who's determined to have a home birth in Episode One of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below. Visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for the next three episodes, launching Mondays in December.