19 February, 2009

"Just Friends!"

Is it common belief that if the man is in a relationship and he maintains female friends that one of those “friends” will end up stealing him away from the relationship?  Or maybe it is the guy friend who will crowd the new man from her life?

Seriously? 

This kind of reminds me of the idea that a single woman in the room is a shark in a room full of guppies – oh I mean married men. 

I cringe at the thought of having to block out or leave my friendships with men (which I cherish greatly) in order to maintain and build a love relationship.  The idea that a man would ask me to do that wrinkles my sensibilities.  The notion that I might feel the need to do that… well, that is something that I just can’t imagine. 

Perhaps it is up bringing?  Having been raised in a family where the marriage was the focal point and the communication seemed/was solid and honest I am not accustomed to the idea of men and women being jealous of the relationships that their trusted and loved “love” might have with another. 

A friend cringes every time her husband looks at another woman.  I mean, a store clerk, business associate, or anyone who is not a friend of hers.  I have to wonder why?  He has not cheated to her knowledge.  Why does she dislike him associating with other women or even flirting in a friendly (not serious) manner?  And what is he not telling her as a result of her reaction?  I have a hard time believing that he only associates with men every minute of every day – but that is what she would have one believe, or that is what she wants to believe.

A man enters a new relationship and breaks off all relationships with his former female friends… why?  Is this the desire of the woman involved?  Does he not trust himself to maintain a platonic relationship with his friends?  Does he end the friendships with the “guys” too?  Does he not trust his female friends to keep it platonic and adhere to the boundaries?

There isn’t a lot of trust out there it seems.  I don’t know how many times I have wanted to tell married women that simply because I am conversing with their husbands about politics or international affairs or their interests and smiling, I am not trying to hook them and draw them into my lair where I will ravish them and have my way!  Um ladies, it just isn’t happening! 

People are interesting.  People are drawn to one another as we are social beings.  A relationship or marriage does not end the desire for human beings to communicate, learn from another, associate with others, or anything of the sort.  We intellectually find one another interesting… and we can learn a lot from one another and our differing and varying perspectives.  In the business world this is called networking.  In the real world, it is about building friendships and, really, being social. 

So why is being social or having friends so threatening?  Why is it that we have to try and stop being who we are and enjoying the people we enjoy in order to…

What? 

Maintain a relationship with a person we love, or think we love, or want to love, or want to try and see if we can build love?

I am at my wits end here folks.  This is one of those issues that I find amazingly frustrating.  We are all, after all, just people – bodies with minds.  It is the minds and the creativity and the person that draws us in and it is the desire to be friends that keeps us wanting to be around that person.  The casual flirtation, the business lunch, even the friendship offers only fun or growth or enrichment.  Why do we think that it is more than that?

7 comments:

T said...

Because, as you stated, there isn't much "trust" out there. We're all afraid that we aren't good enough to hold on to someone...lest someone else steals them away. Insecurity reigns in far too many relationships.

I maintained many relationships with other men in my life during my marriage. As a matter of fact, my ex still communicates with a few of them as he made friends with them too.

Communication. Honest. Trust. If we could all have that, there would be much less fear.

And as a fellow single woman amongst married men, I SO know what you mean about the wives making assumptions about us. Its terribly exhausting...

I have some catching up to do here, TE. Sorry I haven't been around much.

MindyMom said...

I see this all the time at my kids schools. At every "social" gathering involving parents, the married women exclude the single moms.

There are often social gatherings outside of school meant to bond with your kids classmate's parents, but these are all couples oriented. I've shown up to a few of these where I'm the only single mom in the group and if I talk to a dad for a second the wife immediatley makes a b-line for us from accross the room.

It's plain old insecurity and kinda sad. I'm the LAST person that would consider someone's husband a romantic interest but that fact that I'm single among marrieds means I can't be an acceptable social being.

Mike said...

It says a lot about the person who does or doesn't say something about this. For me it's an indicator of how healthy the relationship is. Am I giving up my activities, friends, etc? I see it a lot in the singles group. Someone gets a SO and you never see them again until they break up. I don't think it's a healthy thing to give up what helps you stay healthy.

cathouse teri said...

I don't think a relationship should be a matter of giving up people. True, when you are in an intimate relationship, you naturally stop having a lot of time to spend with your friend circle, but I don't think we have to give them up... whether they are men or women.

mama llama said...

As long as the relationship is known and open to both parties, I don't see why men and women in a marital partership can't have opposite-sex friends. When unknown, that breeds distrust--but I can talk to you a lot about that at lunch tomorrow (rather, later today!).

I have to say, I can understand T's point here very much, which has been very motivating in me keeping my status under hat in the school scene. Don't need the judgment, don't need the looks, don't need the exclusion nor the isolation. I have enough of that in the rest of my life.

See you soon! Be well, TE.

Single Mom Seeking said...

You really struck a chord here. Especially as single parents, we often seem like a threat to some married folk. Insecurities?

I've made a few close male friends in the past few years -- and now that I"m started to date again, I'm figuring this out, too.

If I see a thread of jealousy, I raise my eyebrows.

Anonymous said...

I really appreaciate this blog. I have been married 20+ years. My husband has always had a lot of women friends and it is mostly just that, but occasionally he starts to find one very interesting. He swears that it is just like making good friends with a guy. He finds they have a lot in common, they talk on the phone all the time, and it's just a friendship. (She susally isn't even gorgeous) He will miss dinner chatting with his friends. He'll refuse to go on family outings so he can visit with his friends. He'll go out drinking after work, and tell me it would be wierd if I came because I would be the only spouse. Ironically, it is incredible to me that I have been married 20 years. I never thought I was the long-term type. Surprisingly, I am very faithful, but my spouse has had one affiar and carried on secret phone conversations with another woman for months. He's a great, friendly guy, and I really don't think he goes out looking to be unfaithful. He just gets along really well with women -- and not in a smooth macho way, her is literally like a friend. In counseling he says he dosen't understand what I mean by setting boundaires and can't imagine not having woman friends. So ladies, I have proably been guilty of giving some woman the stink eye when she has enthralled my socialable husband. One night we were at dinner and he paid so much attention to a friend that the waitress put her on his bill, and handed me my own. I'm not a pushover, but I am also not calling it quits -- not unless the waitress thing happens again!