SHOULD MEN & WOMEN HAVE OPPOSITE SEX FRIENDSHIPS WHEN IN RELATIONSHIPS?

7 Mar

DONT’S

1. No secrets! All parties should know each other and know about the friendship. If anything should change in the friendship, your spouse needs to know.

2. Time spent with the friend should never supersede time spent with your husband or wife, unless there is a dire emergency.

3. Never make an agreement that can’t be changed. The agreement should always be negotiable, so that if the friendship isn’t working for your spouse, it can always be modified or cancelled.

4. Never make your spouse feel that he/she isn’t the most important relationship to you. This is basically uncharted territory, so be aware and sensitive of your partner’s feelings.

5. Never put your friend’s needs first. By keeping your spouse as your number one priority, the mystery surrounding the friendship diminishes, and your spouse will more likely view the friend as a real person and not just a fantasy.

DO’S

1. To ensure comfort and trust, there needs to be a high level of maturity and self-esteem with all involved. Evaluate this with your spouse and really talk about everyone’s concerns and fears.

2. Ground rules need to be established from the beginning, i.e., what’s okay and what’s not for all the people involved. For instance, is it okay for the friends to get together when you or your spouse is out of town? How much time is spent with the friend on a monthly basis? What do the friends do together? Is dancing okay? Is dinner okay? Each couple will have their own individual concerns and questions to consider.

3. Everyone needs to be in agreement that it’s okay for the friendship to take place. No one should be left out of the process.

4. The person having the friendship needs to have strong, clear personal boundaries and open communication with their spouse and their friend. They need to be up front at all times with their husband or wife, letting him/her know when they’re seeing their friend, etc.

5. If the primary partner ever feels uncomfortable with the arrangement, he/she can speak up at any time. Their feelings and concerns need to be considered and taken seriously.

MORE SUGGESTIONS

1.Listen to your intuition. If you feel deep down that your friend has romantic feelings for you, do not pursue the platonic friendship.

2. Keep personal space and physical touch in check. Although the relationship may be more relaxed than a business client, keep the same amount of distance and space you would with your boss’s wife. Close proximity and intimate touch is reserved for your spouse alone.

3. Don’t discuss your spouse’s flaws with your friend. Even if you consider yourself very close friends, it’s a form of betrayal to vent to your friend about your spouse’s shortcomings, especially without addressing it with your spouse first.

4. Meet in public places at appropriate times of day. Just like mom used to say, “Nothing good happens after 1:00 a.m.,” the same holds true with your friend. Time and place is a consideration when meeting with your friend of the opposite gender.

5. Include your spouse in your plans. If it’s only platonic, there should be no problem with one more person tagging along.

6. Your spouse always comes first. If your relationship with your friend is causing marital strife, your first consideration should always be your mate.

In theory, most couples want their spouses to be happy and to have friends of the opposite sex. In reality, this can only happen by following ground rules. The main issues surrounding these friendships are usually jealousy and sex. If you can talk about your friend freely and make him/her a real person to your spouse, there is less likelihood of these types of problems occurring. Keep the lines of communication open at all times with everyone involved. Be honest with yourself about your ability to have good boundaries, and clarity about what is appropriate in a friendship and your marriage. There are differences. As long as everything is out in the open and with appropriate ground rules, friendships with the opposite sex are possible.

While there is no clear-cut answer to that age-old question of whether men and women can truly be just friends, for married people, the message is clear: tread carefully and keep your relationship with your spouse above all others. No matter how successfully you think you’re managing your marriage and your opposite-sex friendship, if your spouse thinks it’s a problem, then it is indeed a problem.


TUNE IN WWW.LENNYGREEN.COM @11PM (EST) every THURSDAY NIGHTS after “Kissing After Dark” to see me and Lenny Green on “The Reality Of Love” via LIVE Ustream in-studio at 98.7 Kiss FM

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