As you experience the gravity and commitment of engagement and new marriage–the weight of love, in the best way–have you wondered how your friendships with the opposite sex could, or should, change? Throughout our relationship, my husband and I have learned the value of clear boundaries in friendships only through our error and blindness. There was the time his female study partner began sharing deep emotional scars with him, appreciating his sympathetic ear, only to develop romantic feelings for him. It made me wish they spent less time together. There was the period where I felt out of place at my first corporate job, as one of the youngest employees and as someone just beginning to navigate the social politics of office life. When I met a male technical writer who was also a recent hire, one who shared my sense of humor and had similar tastes in music and literature, we became fast friends. My husband was hurt when he learned my friend spent significant time chatting one-on-one at my desk and that we shared inside jokes and instant-messaged throughout the workday, sometimes more frequently than I communicated with my husband himself. There have been the times of hesitancy when we have made plans with another couple and struggled with the awkwardness at being alone with the opposite-sex partner while waiting for the other to come home or meet up, not wanting the other person to feel uncomfortable. My husband and I have been blessed with the grace to be honest and forthright with one another and have never wrestled with distrust or jealousy.
Is It Okay To Want Opposite Sex Friendships?
Everyday Friendships pp Cite as. This chapter discusses the symptoms and consequences of the normative assumptions I condensed in the love—friendship paradox Chapter 5 with specific reference to cross-sex friendship. While we might assume that today intimate relationships are free from social convention, that turns out to be true for cross-sex friendship only to a limited extent.
The social construction of different types of intimacy for men and women, and the norm of sexual attraction, impede these friendships. Platonic heterosocial friendships challenge these norms but may also reproduce them.
As their dating relationship became more serious, the friendship morphed and the two women became the closer friends. Then, when the female friend began a.
They are, by default, prone to feeling insecure, overly territorial. In other words, they are still growing up. Not justifiably, anyway. Folk of the other sexual persuasion have a sensibility, a way of looking at life, an attitude toward things, you name it — a dynamic that friends of the same gender just do not have. Which, if you have the sense to avail yourself of it, makes you an appreciably well-rounded individual.
So, you want in your social sphere some friends who use the other restroom at a restaurant. Which means, once the newness wears off, their attention will wander. Those of us who habitually mess up are capable of behaving like grownups instead of self-destructing, making both ourselves and that precious other person miserable in the process. That friend was there before you came along. Maybe not even right away.
Because that beloved friend will be missed, sorely. Friends give solace, companionship, fun and a lot more. At that moment, you can hang it up and start packing.
Why Opposite Sex Friendships Will Destroy Your Marriage
I always maintained friendships with the opposite sex while I was in a relationship, but for some people, their partner’s friendships can turn into relationships, and then there are other people who insist their partner shouldn’t have any friendships with the opposite sex at all. Figuring out what is healthy and what’s risky can help couples come to terms with their own insecurities and discover new strengths.
An old adage says when you meet someone who is your best friend, marry him or her. And why not?
In , When Harry Met Sally posed a question that other pop-cultural entities have been trying to answer ever since: Can straight men and women really be close friends without their partnership turning into something else? According to The Office , no. According to Lost in Translation , yes. According to Friends … well, sometimes no and sometimes yes. Screenwriters have been preoccupied with this question for a long time, and according to a new study published in the Journal of Relationships Research , the question is also likely to be on the minds of people whose romantic partners have best friends of the opposite sex.
For the study, Eletra Gilchrist-Petty, an associate professor of communication arts at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and Lance Kyle Bennett, a doctoral-degree student at the University of Iowa, recruited people, ranging in age from 18 to 64, who were or had been in a heterosexual relationship with someone who had a different-sex best friend.
The possibility of romance between friends of the opposite sex has not just fascinated writers and directors for decades; it has also been a frequent topic of study for psychologists and sociologists. According to prior studies, sexual attraction between cross-sex friends tends to decrease the overall quality of the friendship —and is also extremely common. True platonic friendships between men and women of compatible sexualities have, of course, been common for what researchers believe to be a few generations now.
Pop-culture narratives like these tend to reinforce the idea that the boyfriends or girlfriends of people with a different-sex best friend should always be on their guard, too—which is perhaps why, as Gilchrist-Petty wrote to me in an email, she and Bennett found most of the participants in the study to be surprisingly lukewarm on cross-sex best friendship as a concept. This assumption appears to be pretty widespread. Gilchrist-Petty wrote to me in an email that of all their findings, she was most surprised that engaged couples were the most skeptical.
Read: Why women so rarely propose to men. Stress can certainly be a risk factor for feelings of jealousy, Solomon noted.
Can I Still Have Opposite Sex Friendships?
Exercising selfless behavior—that behavior which runs in conflict to selfishness, often unnatural, and even undesired to what you may prefer to do—in a marriage relationship is a key component to a long-lasting, satisfying, successful relationship. Thus, it should come as no surprise that giving up particular freedoms, requiring complete selflessness, is a contributing variable to such ever-lasting marriages. Those freedoms which may be the most challenging for you to part with individually may actually strengthen your bond with one another collectively and, even help guard against an extramarital affair.
Before findings and lessons learned from research on this topic are extracted, a brief note must be stipulated in order to dispel what you may think is going to be discussed: This article debates potential marital relationship repercussions that one-on-one opposite sex friendships outside of a marriage may produce, and is not an article condemning opposite sex group friendships, professional rapports at work, peer assemblies at school, couple double-date night, dating courtships, etc.
Though these connections still should be stewarded appropriately, guarding against relational connections which may harm a marriage, or, a dating relationship, developing connections with the opposite sex in group settings—double date-night with other couples and co-ed game-nights, for instance—may encourage positive personal and relational growth when steered strategically.
In fact, there’s an entirely different set of considerations when it comes to having opposite-sex friends. It is important to first of all recognize the challenges and.
Last Updated: December 6, References Approved. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed , times. Learn more It can be just as fun to have a wide variety of people as your friends! When you make a new friend , just make it clear that you are looking for friendship and nothing more.
Communication is key when having an opposite-sex friend. As long as you both know where the boundaries are, you can create a lasting friendship. Behave as you would with any other friend by being kind, honest, and committed to the friendship. You can be friends with anyone that you get along with.
Just Friends? Here’s Why Having Opposite Sex Friends Could Be More Trouble Than Its Worth
Do you have a question for Nina? Use our anonymous form. I have many wonderful friendships with women right now, friendships that are deep and intense and born from commonalities such as motherhood and life as a writer. These friendships provide essential sustenance for me, they fuel me through my days, my weeks. They are a constant presence; they shape much of who I am at the moment.
We both approve of one another’s close opposite-sex friends who were in our lives before we came together, but I’m not able to accept his new.
Friendships can add good and positive influences to our lives and to our marriages. But be informed: opposite sex friendships will destroy your marriage if it goes to far, too close and unchecked. However, it can be a challenge to balance the intimacy of our marriages with the other important friendships in our lives. This is especially true if we have close friends of the opposite gender.
It is important to first of all recognize the challenges and potential pitfalls of such friendships. Estimates are that over sixty percent of all couples will suffer through an affair at some point in their marriage. As damaging as an affair is, you are likely to experience it in your marriage unless you take extraordinary precautions to avoid it. The first place to look for the highest risks for an affair is to consider who is most likely to be an affair partner. More people have affairs with that person than with anyone else.
And the closer the friendship, the more likely the affair. So, a reasonable precaution to avoid an affair is to avoid opposite-sex friendship but does that mean that all of these friendships are equally risky? Yes, opposite sex friendships can be healthy for you and encouraging of your marriage if you and your spouse will take some steps to ensure that they meet the standards that you have established.
The first question to ask ourselves is, where are we going to invest our energy and focus? Obviously, our marriage is the most precious relationship to protect.
The Rules of Opposite Gender Friendships
Few other questions have provoked debates as intense, family dinners as awkward, literature as lurid , or movies as memorable. Still, the question remains unanswered. Daily experience suggests that non-romantic friendships between males and females are not only possible, but common—men and women live, work, and play side-by-side, and generally seem to be able to avoid spontaneously sleeping together.
While same-sex friendships tend to be easy to nurture after we’re Maintaining friendships with the opposite sex when your spouse is uneasy that I had told him for us to go on a double date with my friend and his girlfriend I.
More importantly, does it mean that your relationship is somehow weak? Marriage and family counselor Sharon Rivkin believes that opposite-sex friendships are healthy. According to Rivkin, openness between all three parties is key to maintaining boundaries and upholding trust. Is forming an opposite-sex friendship playing with fire? Or, is it simply a matter open lines of communication?
The friends-who-fall-in-love trope is a regular on the silver screen. No Strings Attached, Friends With Benefits, and Just Friends are a just a few recent films to feature clueless friends who wind up head over heels for each other. He claimed that male and female friendships don’t work, because ” sex always gets in the way. And in a staggeringly high number of cases, men and women are actually successful in avoiding hopping into the sack with one another. Under the surface of the friendship, conscious or unconscious romantic and sexual urges lie in the wait.
The research involved 88 pairs of heterosexual, opposite-sex friends. The pairs were separated, and under guarantees of confidentiality and anonymity, both parties were asked whether they had romantic feelings toward their friend. The results showed significant differences in how men and women perceive opposite-sex friendships.