I have always had friendships with the opposite sex when I was in a relationship.
For some people, their partner’s friends can create beautiful new relationships.
Then there are the others, who insist that their partner should not befriend the opposite sex at all.
Figuring out what’s healthy and what’s risky can help couples come to terms with their own insecurities and discover new strengths for themselves.
An old saying goes that when you meet someone who is your best friend, marry them
And why not ? Spending ten, twenty or fifty years of our life with someone is more of a challenge than being friends with someone for the same time.
You share a house together, have more opportunities to disagree, and have additional responsibilities towards each other.
So when you are dating someone whose best friend happens to be a potential competitor, the risk factor can skyrocket immediately.
The first thing to consider is why your partner isn’t dating this person. Then, to know why he will settle for someone he does not consider to be his “best” friend, which is you.
Some reasons put forward to justify a platonic opposite-sex friendship
I was able to collect a few reasons, which work for both men and women:
– do not want to ruin a friendship;
– are not attracted to their friend in this way;
– have been friends for a long time.
Whatever the reason, you may feel insecure or even a little – a lot – jealous of insanity.
After all, you want to be the person your partner confides in! You want to be her best friend and you might be wondering why you’re not up to it.
Difference between legitimate jealousy and pathological jealousy
It’s okay to feel a little possessive and territorial about your relationship.
But pathological jealousy is quite another thing.
Before issuing ultimatums or trying to interfere with your partner’s female friendships, familiarize yourself with the difference between normal jealousy and harmful pathological jealousy, which can ruin relationships.
Once you recognize the difference, don’t indulge in unhealthy behaviors that destroy trust and security in a relationship.
Read also: Top 10 Killers that destroy your romantic relationship
Healthy jealousy versus pathological jealousy
“Feeling anxious” versus “Feeling worthless or unimportant”;
“Negotiates appropriate restrictions” versus “Imposes restrictive and demanding measures that one person deems appropriate”;
“Reminds his partner how great he is” versus “Makes his partner think he’s trying to hurt us;
“Help couples cope with relationship threats” vs. “Creates relationship threats”;
“Shows commitment in the relationship” versus “Shows control in the relationship”;
“Fosters openness, trust and bonding” versus “Fosters anger and resentment”;
“Increase privacy” vs. “Injury privacy”.
Finding the right balance
To be a great companion, it’s important to show that you support your partner’s efforts. That you meet his own emotional needs, namely letting him have friends if he wants to.
However, it is also important to be treated well yourself, which could be risky when these friendships are with girlfriends of the opposite sex.
Find the point of balance that shows your partner that you care about them, but that you won’t accept anything and everything.
You will have to avoid trying to control it, you control yourself and finally, you will have to look for solutions that will satisfy both parties.
Set limits you can live with
It’s unreasonable to expect your partner to cut himself off from half the world’s population just because you’re uncomfortable.
Asking her to give up her opposite-sex friendships altogether is unfair to everyone involved.
You need to take a different point of view, less focused on yourself.
A better solution is to find out what benefits he gets from his friendship (s) and negotiate the boundaries accordingly.
If he says he’s a fun person to be around
You can ask him to spend time together as a threesome because you know he would like you to have fun too.
By agreeing to spend time in a group, you won’t feel left out and you can develop more confidence in your relationship.
You will probably also gain a precious friend because there is a good chance that she and you will be similar.
After all, he has developed a bond with both of you.
If he says it’s important for his career
Trust his perception, but ask him to take care of your relationship by limiting work-related friendships to a work environment.
This means there are no after-hours text messages, no personal phone calls or chat about relationship issues.
If meetings outside of regular working hours are part of the general work atmosphere, make a point of meeting her (with her friends) every now and then.
It gives you the opportunity to defuse your fears, talk about his career and the people who affect him, and provide him with the kind of support he will deeply appreciate.
If he says he’s not attracted that way
There is a gray area.
While this may be the truth, there can be (and probably is) an attraction on its side.
Opposite-sex friendships often have an underlying sexual tension even if to a small extent, and over time there may be opportunities to come together and re-evaluate that level of attraction.
Appropriate limits may require the above solution: limits that ensure you are included in their social circle.
If he says he doesn’t want to ruin their friendship and therefore they never dated
This reason is one of the most to keep in mind.
It heralds an emotional story and an awareness of sexual tension.
It may or may not turn into a physical frolic but it is something that should not be ignored anyway.
Express your fears and find common ground together.
The gifts, the jokes and then you
When your partner and their friend have known each other for a long time, you may witness things that will annoy you but are healthy for them.
For example, a gift can be a way to say “I appreciate you” and can be given to anyone: a friend, child, parent, or lover.
Jokes between two people strengthen the bonds of friendship (and love) but it might make you feel left out.
This is why you should not lose sight of the fact that your goal is to promote the well-being of your partner.
If you feel uncomfortable, consider whether or not the gift in question is suitable for a friendship.
A piece of lingerie will obviously not be an appropriate birthday present, but a spa gift card is a common sign of affection among friends.
Regarding “secret” jokes, ask for an explanation if you are interested.
If they accept, it will be proof that they integrate you, but if they reject you, pay attention to the message it sends… Even if you are present, they do not fully include you.
When these discomforts occur, in any case do not hesitate to talk about it to your partner, in a non-confrontational way.
If he’s really honest, he’ll work with you to find a solution that works for both of you.
If not, you may have to decide whether to accept his point of view, fight for control, or abandon the relationship.
The benefits of opposite-sex friendship and the risks
Being friends with a guy is really different than being friends with a girl.
You can hear a different point of view and it’s refreshing to have conversations that you probably wouldn’t have with your girlfriends.
Ultimately, to me, a friend is a friend, regardless of gender, and every friendship is unique .
But if you find that you have deeper feelings for your “friend,” you should examine your own relationship and understand why this is happening.
In other words, before the “friend” turns into “what ifs”, take a step back and take a good look at your partner and your relationship.
Also, if you have a friend of the opposite sex who doesn’t really include your partner, you are probably hurting that partner and you could be on the verge of cheating, having what is called an emotional affair.
Even if your spouse doesn’t say it, trust me, having a friend like that is a problem.
If your partner is the one who has this friend and you’re the one feeling insecure or hurt, the best thing you can do is talk to them.
Be honest. Be vulnerable. Talk to him about your feelings.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain because you will immediately know by her answer what the truth is really about this friend.
And if he chooses “the friend,” then at least you’ll be fixed.
Or, maybe he’ll say, “I’m glad you told me,” and you could build something even more stable and healthy from there.
Respect and trust must be mutual
Finding appropriate limits can be difficult, if not impossible.
At the very least, make sure you both agree to avoid dating in situations that might be seen as dating by others.
As noted above, your presence should never be a problem.
But if your partner resists the idea, you’ll need to make it clear to them that you don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t put their relationship first.
If you fail to include yourself in his social life, or if you find that he is sneaking around to maintain that friendship, you may be forced to end the relationship.
Of course, you can also get into all the sterile discussions and acts of control that come with pathological jealousy but the result will be the same: a destruction of trust and love, which will then eventually destroy the relationship within it- even.