Friendships are a very important to people. Some people have had life-long friendships with those of the opposite gender without causing any problems in their relationship. Moreover, some people have had friendships with the opposite gender that have placed tremendous strain on their relationships. They struggle with how to handle those friendships, what the rules and boundaries are for maintaining a friendship that can coexist with the relationship. Couples should discuss how they truly feel about having opposite-sex friendships before misunderstandings and insecure emotions fracture levels of trust within the relationship.
If you have a friendship with someone of the opposite gender, whether the friendship started before or during your current relationship, there has to clear limitations on what behavior is appropriate. Each person in the relationship should feel comfortable with the dynamics of the friendship to avoid trust being damaged. Friendships can definitely affect a relationship if it is suspected that boundaries have been crossed so it is necessary to develop a balance between the two. In these situations, it can be very easy for people to become jealous of their partner spending time with someone of the opposite sex, which is why a strong foundation of trust is required. Furthermore, it is also quite possible for your partner to feel threatened by your friendship, in which case, they are allowing their insecurities to dictate and control the relationship. Having friends of any gender is an essential part of personal growth as well as a way to support self-sufficiency and independence, however, it is also vital to maintain a level of stability with your partner by making sure that the friendship does not negatively affect or intercede with the relationship.
One of the primary issues with having friends of an opposite gender are any unresolved feelings of sexual tension that can arise between a man and a woman. If there are any tendencies or behaviors that suggest sexual undertones, you may have a situation in your friendship that could potentially be detrimental to your relationship. If you in any way feel pressure, anxiety or uncertainly about where the limitations lie with your friendship, feelings of temptation can surface and complicate matters even further. Lack of honesty with your friend about the unspoken sexual attraction could place both of you in an uncompromising circumstance that will surely test your fidelity.
Some people have life-long friendships with the opposite sex that are purely platonic in nature, yet a partner may still feel uncomfortable or jealous of that bond. In those instances, your partner may project their views onto you, expecting that you should listen to their perspective and follow the example they propose. Expectations can sometimes be a result of an attempt to control a person in the form of an ultimatum. Trying to control another’s behavior is a losing battle, therefore it would be beneficial to investigate the root cause of the jealousy and what makes you feel so uncomfortable about your partner’s friendship. Taking an open, honest and communicative approach can prove to be a better alternative to finding common ground towards a compromise with your partner.
Communication with your partner is needed to clarify the parameters of your friendship. If necessary, it could be helpful to establish certain guidelines that you both can agree to that will stipulate what is appropriate interaction when it comes to friends of the opposite sex. As time progresses and each of you become more secure and content with the relationship, you may both want to revisit the rules and see if there are any changes that could be made. Having true friends of any gender is a significant part of life and maintaining those bonds are of great value to people. If you have a partner that has a friend of the opposite sex, try to understand the role that the friendship plays in your partner’s life. Recognize the importance of the friendship and if there are feelings of discomfort, express those feelings in an open and loving manner. Keeping the lines of communication open is foremost to making sure each person is on the same page and moving in the same direction in the relationship.