Is It Okay To Have Friends Of The Opposite Sex While In A Relationship?
After reading this question, I would like to think that most of you would say, “Of course it is. Why wouldn’t it be okay?” Though I must admit, sometimes even I can be one of the most naïve people in the world.
Whenever I’ve raised this question with friends over the years, some of the answers I’ve received have had me in stitches, others have had me unsure of how stable they are and some have left me with more questions than answers. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected too much of a serious answer though, considering that a lot of the people I asked believe that men and women can’t be friends, making this question simply laughable in their eyes.
In a recent conversation I had with one of my boys, he told me that he only becomes friends with girls he is interested in sexually. He explained that there was no other feasible reason to be friends with a person of the opposite sex, and that any man that did must have questionable motives. In hindsight, I believe he was probably trying to paint me as a promiscuous villain due to the amount of female friends I have, so I did not take him too seriously. This changed, however, when I thought about how many female friends he actually has: zero.
Well, I think it all depends on the type of person you, your friends and your partner are. Some of us are more secure than others, meaning that it may simply make your partner uncomfortable, or that they may not be able to be ‘friends’ with another person of the opposite sex. Some of us have ‘friends’ with unclear intentions, and that will affect whether it is a wise decision to maintain certain friendships. I do also like to acknowledge that no two people are the same, and so making decisions based on assumptions may not be something you’d want to consider.
So, how, where and when did you meet this ‘friend’ of yours? Obviously, it would be rather wise to identify who is actually a ‘friend’, and who is hanging around on the off chance that they can take advantage of an ‘opportunity’ that may arise. As I think about the question again, I do see why it would pose a problem in some instances, especially when it comes to new friends. I can see it being a real recipe for bringing out a certain green-eyed monster in your partner.
I spoke to one of my female friends about this issue recently and asked whether she thought it was okay to have friends of the opposite sex while in a relationship. Considering that she was in a relationship, I had an idea of what she thought. She said that it works for her, though her boyfriend doesn’t have any – which didn’t surprise me. My friend then explained that her partner had said something along the lines of “You can’t have friends of the opposite sex. They aren’t your friends; they must want to have sex with you, unless they’re gay.”
Sadly, some of us actually believe the above statement to be true. When this is the case, what can you do? Well, when she said this to me, I laughed hysterically. Though, it wasn’t because I thought it was a silly thing to say. I thought about it and came to this conclusion: if you enter into a relationship with another individual it is more than likely that you find them attractive, right? Well, if you find your partner attractive I don’t think it would be pushing the boat out too far to assume that other people might find them attractive too, and would befriend your partner if they thought they had a chance with them. This is where the problem with having friends of the opposite sex who aren’t in monogamous relationships of their own will come in – and warning: death stares and stern handshakes are likely to be exchanged.
Is it fair to have friends of the opposite sex when your partner doesn’t then? I assume you would like your relationship to last. So, where do you draw the line when it comes to being submissive and trying to make your partner feel comfortable? It is fair as long as you aren’t being a hypocrite in telling your partner that you aren’t comfortable with their friendships, but also adding that he or she needs to accept your own friendships. With some partners it isn’t a choice, which is why they may have a problem accepting your ‘friends’ to begin with. However, I feel that it shouldn’t be an issue so long as your ‘friends’ aren’t exes.
Personally, I have many ‘friends’ of the opposite sex – both with and without boyfriends – and I have no issues, though this is probably because I haven’t subscribed to a monogamous relationship of my own. Does this make me unqualified to offer my two pence, then? Nah, I’m an open-minded and objective person. I feel that I have no problems because I know and respect my boundaries – if there are any.
Contrary to popular belief, and looking at this type of issue objectively, I think that it is okay to have friends of the opposite sex while in a relationship as long as there are agreed boundaries that protect everyone. You can’t be up at two in the morning instant messaging, calling or spending time with individual ‘friends’ of the opposite sex, for example. Going out for dinner as friends is cool if there are other friends there too – unless your partner is comfortable with you and your friend being alone. It’s all common sense really. Though I know common sense isn’t common, and a few of us do act naively. Thus, I feel that we must all know and agree what feels right or wrong, and what we can tolerate ourselves.