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What Is a Bromance?

Close friendships between men can be referred to as a "bromance."
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 March 2014
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A bromance is a very close friendship between two heterosexual men, classically two single heterosexual men. Men in a bromance are sometimes said to be “bromosexual,” and they may be accused of having “man crushes,” even though their relationship is not, in fact, sexual in nature. Close friendships between men have been a fact of life for centuries, but the bromance appears to be especially common today, thanks to the large numbers of people who may remain single for an extended period of time, rather than marrying or becoming involved in relationships.

Men in a bromance have typically known each other for a very long time, and they share immense love, respect, and affection for each other. It is common for a bromance to express itself in the form of physical affection such as play wrestling, hugging, and other activities, but the relationship also goes much deeper than surface physical expressions of friendship. Often, the men become close with each other's families, spending time with them and considering themselves to be almost like members of the family. It is also not uncommon to see men in a bromance living together, taking advantage of their close friendship to save money on the rent.

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All sorts of activities can take place under the umbrella of a bromance, although typically there is a heavy focus on excluding women. Men in a bromance may drink together, go to sporting events, participate in sports, and share other life experiences with each other, sometimes in the company of other men and sometimes as a couple. Many bromances start in college, a period of increased socialization, and they endure well into late life, even after the men find long-term heterosexual partners.

Many cultures have a tradition of homosociality, or friendships between people of the same sex. Classically, homosocial relationships fill the social gap left by not engaging in sexual relationships, and as a result they tend to peter out at the time of marriage. However, the strong bonds formed in homosocial relationships do endure, with the partners in a homosocial relationship spending time with each other's new families, helping each other out when needed, and sometimes entering into business partnerships with each other.

The concept of a bromance is derided in some communities, especially those where such relationships are viewed as unmanly. In regions where the stigma against homosexuality is strong, men in a bromance may find themselves the subjects of mockery and derision, and they may be told to prove their manhood if they want to stay in their social circles. In other areas of the world, bromances are widely accepted and sometimes actively cultivated, as a loyal companion can be a valuable thing to have.

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Discuss this Article

anon345766
Post 20

I've read all the previous comments and it's really satisfying to know that a lot of people have their bromances and are enjoying them in the best way. I'm a teenager and I've had two bromances so far. The first lasted four years and it was amazing. We were just kids, but we really felt attracted by each other. The other one, some time later than the first one, lasted three years and it ended the worst way possible. He started to get other "friends" who were clearly a very bad influence on him and he started to make some stupid mistakes. We then became enemies and started hating each other, forgetting all the good moments we had been through, all the secrets we shared, all the hugs we gave. It all ended when we moved to college and when we see each other we pretend nothing happened.

I'm going to university now and I don't have any bromance or any girlfriend. Maybe I'm just too young to start these relationships in a serious and stable way. I have very few friends because I'm not a very sociable person and I really want to have good grades so I spend all my time studying instead of going out sometimes. I hope in the future I can have more friends, live a nice bromance and have my own happy family.

anon276986
Post 17

Every time I stumble upon this topic, it amazes me that people are still talking about it as some sort of novel thing. I'm married with kids and have a best friend who is divorced.

We're like brothers and 100 percent there for each other, no matter what. It's made me a better husband and father because I have someone to vent to other than my wife and allows me to do activities she doesn't enjoy. Recent research about fathers modeling male friendship to their sons even makes these relationships more important, even with a dumb name like "bromance".

anon274109
Post 16

Sorry, I'm all for friendships but my husband and his single guy friends ticks me off. They have no respect for the fact that he is married. They expect him to be in a bar every weekend with them chasing girls. He's a married man now.

My husband takes me nowhere. It feels like we only live together, but his relationship is with these guys. He has to hang out with them every week, from Thursday to Sunday. And when I finally get some time with him, they are calling him to have breakfast, or go out to eat or they want him to go out somewhere. And when he goes it's always all day, and if it's at night he's not back until the morning. I'm sick of them. I'm honestly thinking of divorcing him over this. I didn't get married to be alone.

anon266049
Post 14

@anon39566: It's always been bros before ho's (excuse the terminology). You can't tell me that you don't have someone that you consider to be your sister. Besides it's women who came up with the whole best friends forever thing ever since sewing circles. There are just certain things that you can only talk about with members of the same sex.

Look at it as more of his non-biological brother and less as a borderline boyfriend. It's just like "Clerks."

anon257308
Post 13

So I found this article because a facebook buddy of mine posted "so I think I'm in a bromance" and I said "huh?" Well, after reading this article and a few others I'm convinced I'm in a bromance too.

I met my best friend in October 2007 and we moved in together in august 2008. At work, all of our coworkers called us a "perfect 10" mostly because I was fat and he was skinny as a rail. Our friendship grew within three months to what we considered each other to be brothers. We wrestled a lot. I mean, our friends thought we were serious half the time and we did draw blood every now and then. We lit each other with lighters and "rawred" at each other often. He even mentioned that if I was a girl, I'd be the perfect girlfriend.

We are not gay and have never, ever been involved in anything sexual with each other, but I notice we too became part of each other's family, lived together, rode together and even looked for jobs together. Even his girlfriend at one point felt like it was a triple play because we cooked together, cleaned together, played call of duty together (24/7).

We are inseparable according to our best friends and family. Our family questioned our status and even thought we were lying until we could genuinely prove our hetero ways. Anyway, it is 2012 and he is still my best friend. We lived together for three years "saving rent" and the amount of drama we've gone through feels like we got married, but hey, any relationship be it mother, father, wife, friend or coworker is bound to have drama at one point.

Anyway, I'm just spilling my guts because I actually found a definition of what my relationship with my best friend is most like.

anon253668
Post 12

My brother in law and I are in a bromance (Our wives are sisters). He and I always hug intimately when we meet or depart. Sometimes we'll even kiss each other on the lips. And we always end a phone conversation with an exchanged "I love you". We feel completely comfortable about our feelings and our wives are very accepting of those feelings.

anon165980
Post 10

Really, after all close relationships between women have had since like ever. Bromance is just sharing of minds - ideas, hopes, inspirations, interests, so forth. It is fundamentally humane to feel really related to another person sharing same ideals. It does not take sex or strong physical affection to achieve that. Go bromance, go ww-bromance, go x-sex-bromance!

anon145634
Post 9

My bromance is possibly the best thing that has ever happened to me: no drama, no lies, no jealousy. One nice feeling for another and we like it. Yes, we do recognition our basic latent attraction and accept it as a good part about our relationship. We have become a couple of very happy guys with each other.

anon95449
Post 8

I just discovered that the guy I really like (been seeing him since February, but have known him casually for the past two years) had a bromance blossom over the last two months.

I couldn't figure out why he starting calling/texting less, and now dramatically so. I thought I'd done something. He wouldn't explain. Now I know. They eat/cook together often, shop together, watch tv/movies together, drink together, etc. And he spends a good deal of time as an "adopted" family member to the bromance and his woman and her kids.

Basically, the two see each other at least once a day, if not more (now that they live in the same apt. complex), and if he comes over when I am on the phone then I get let go of. If he calls, I get put on hold. I was told this last week that the highlight of my guy's day (M-F) is watching the Colbert Report and the Daily Show with his new BFF.

I would not have a problem with this except for the fact that I have been relegated to second-class citizen, and get contacted only when time is available (after or before quality time with BFF). Most of his attention for me has turned to his bromance.

Unfortunately, this won't be sustainable. It's looking a lot like I will have to move on and date someone who actually likes me as much as he likes his bromance. Too sad. Thought we had something special.

anon91449
Post 7

I am a happily married hetrosexual man who has two "romantic" relationships. One is my college roommate whom I have known for 35 years. We were best men at each others weddings and his son is my godson.

The other is with a single younger man I have known since he was three. His father and I have been friends for many years. We golf, bowl and fish together. We have a business together and have become very close. I have sort of adopted him and am mentoring him. We have become like father and son since he is sort of estranged from his own family. It is a relationship I cherish as my wife and I were never able to have kids.

anon55627
Post 5

This is in response to anon39566 from anon48170: My wife doesn't feel threatened by my bromantic relationships. One is actually with my brother-in-law, her sister's husband. So usually the four of us are together, although my brother-in-law will occasionally have lunch together or go to a game together.

The other bromance, as I mentioned, is on the opposite coast, so our only contact is by e-mail or phone and does not constitute a threat.

anon48170
Post 4

As with #2 (anon38964) I am a married heterosexual man, also involved in two bromantic relationships with two married heterosexual men. Unfortunately one of these men lives on the opposite coast, but one does live within driving distance. We are not ashamed to show affection for each other, intimate hugs and kisses on the lips are the norm when we are together. We are totally "straight" and have never considered sex with each other. What's great is that our two wives are very supportive of our relationship.

anon39566
Post 3

So, does your wife feel that you are closer to your bro than her? My husband has a bromance with a single friend who will probably never get married. Even time I try to share with my husband, he is interrupted by texts and calls from his bro. They will text back and forth -- it's just like telling secrets when I am sitting there clearly left out of their inside jokes.

anon38964
Post 2

Actually I'm a married heterosexual man and I am involved in two bromances. Both of the other men are also heterosexual and married. So it's not always single men involved.

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