Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just friends

The debate on whether opposite sexes can simply be friends with no sexual tension/temptation has raged on for...oh, probably longer than I've been alive, which is why I've been somewhat hesistant to share my feelings. However, the word "emotional affair" has come up in my life so often lately that I think its about time. Forgive me if this isn't my most eloquent post.

I have the utmost respect for a person who can see an emotional affair and end a relationship because they deserve better. Let me say that up front. I'm not justifying these, not in the slightest.


Having a close friend of the opposite sex is not the definition of an emotional affair. Confiding in someone other than your significant other is not an emotional affair. It's just not.

We all have people in our lives that are great at different things. Some people are the person that's incredibly easy to spill your guts and cry to, while someone else is the person who can take you out and cheer you up and not talk about whatever is wrong. This doesn't, and shouldn't, end because of a romantic relationship.

As someone who is lucky enough to have a very, very tight knit group of dude friends, I've been on the receiving end of some serious jealousy, coming from girls that date my friends. It happens often, and I haven't gotten any better at dealing with it, mostly because I don't appreciate the suspicion that I'm going to "steal their man."

Yes, we call/text each other the second major life events happen, or when we need advice, or someone to talk to/bitch at/vent to. Of course we do. And yes, sometimes after talking to a friend, you'll come out of it with a bounce in your step that wasn't there before. Heaven forbid that your significant other's friend cheered them up.

I am the best of friends with a great group of guys. None of us have ever been involved romantically. But if one of my friends calls me and needs a friend, I'm not hanging up on him and telling him to call his girlfriend. Simple as that.

Just because you are in a relationship does not mean you lose everything that was you before. There are still friendships and ties outside of it, and for a relationship to be healthy, there should be. Ever seen someone go into a relationship and sacrifice everyone they cared about for it? Yeah, trainwreck.

For me, it comes down to trust. If I can't trust someone to have a friend of the opposite sex and not constantly fear that he is cheating on me, or wants to...why in the name of all things holy am I with this person? Why am I projecting my insecurities on someone who did nothing to earn them? I'm not saying ignore your gut and pretend like its not happening. What I am saying is don't always expect it. Not every person is that person.

When trust is there, and friends don't have to sneak around behind someone's back, or lie to avoid a fight...then yes, guys and girls CAN just be friends.


bethany actually said...

I agree with you 100%. I've always thought that if a guy was able to be good friends with a girl, it was a GOOD SIGN about his emotional maturity. My husband has always had good friends who are females, and I see nothing wrong with that. And he doesn't seen anything wrong with the fact that a couple of my closest friends are guys, either.

I do think that there have to be some boundaries---like you said, a friendship is a very different thing from an emotional affair---and I definitely don't want to be anyone's reason for breaking up for ANY reason. But I'm not going to ditch a friend just because he's got a girlfriend, and I don't want my friends to ditch me when they start dating or get married either. It's happened to me before and it's sad when it does. It's why I treasure my friends whom I've managed to keep!

The Grown Up Teenager said...

@ Bethany Actually - For sure. I never want to be the cause of someone's break up either. But I have been, because a girl forced my (male) friend to choose between her or his friends, namely me. He chose us. It sucked, because he liked her, but it made our friendship that much stronger.

Marla said...

I'm totally agree. I just don't get why some girls just don't trust their boyfriends. I actually know girls that are engaged, but still demand to have all their boyfriend's facebook/myspace/e-mail passwords because they don't trust them. Ridiculous.