1) Age old question: Can heterosexual men and women be just friends?
2) Another question: Should people in committed partnerships have friends of the opposite gender?
3) Interesting one: Can two people who’ve been sexually active with one another be just platonic friends?
I’ll answer Yes to all three questions with a disclaimer: it depends.
Depends on how we define “friend” and “friendship,” conditions within those relationships, and how our partners feel about them.
4) Can a man who is still hoping for a romantic relationship with a certain woman be “just friends” once she becomes seriously involved with someone else?
Maybe. If he can compartmentalize, or get over his feelings. It takes time.
From a woman’s perspective, I wouldn’t want my significant other to be “friends” with someone who was pining over him – and still hoping for a chance to get in his drawers.
So how do you tow the line in these situations? How do you respond to the “friend” who responds with negative comments when they find you’re now in a relationship, and their chances with you are slim to none?
To me, it’s pretty simple. One of the traits I look for in friends – well before I would even consider someone a friend – is supportiveness. I need people who can be genuinely happy for me regardless of their own ego or circumstances, because even on my worst day I can inspire others and cheer for their victories.
If you’re entertaining me simply because you’re hoping to get something from me, or use me as a resource, you’re not a friend.
If you’re disgruntled about my happiness, It’s time for you to go.
If you tell me I’m crazy for taking a risk on love and that you have no interest in ever meeting my partner, I question your sincerity. (Yes, this is a real response I received from someone I’ve known over two decades.)
I have no male friends who I’ve been sexually active with. They’ve fallen off the radar for one reason or another. I see no reason to hold on to toxic, unhealthy, or unfulfilling relationships.
And as much as they might irk the hell out of me, I wouldn’t attempt to influence or dismantle friendships that were in place before me — unless my intuition alerted me to a potential problem! After all, the entire world doesn’t revolve around me – and having a healthy partnership requires managing insecurities.
What do you think? How would you respond to the questions presented above? Do you have any stories about past or current partners having close friends of the opposite gender? What about new friends? Are they really a friend if you can’t meet their significant other?
What if your partner was jealous of your already-established friendship and wanted you to end it?