Married & having friends of the opposite sex


#1

How appropriate is it to have friends of the opposite sex when you are married? My father was a very jealous man, so growing up it seemed as if this wasn’t appropriate at all. When I got married my very confident husband encouraged me to interact (conversations & hugs to greet) with family friends. At first it was awkard but then I became comfortable with this. Recently, however, he became very angry with my conversing with one very good family friend who I see only when I’m around other people. I’m very confused because of my background and never having seen what would be considered a “normal” friendship w/ someone of the opposite sex. Because of his reaction I’m wanting to revert back to having very limited interactions w/ men other than my husband - smiling & giving brief answers to questions mainly.

Any comments would be appreciated.


#2

I personally choose not to have single male friends, because I have been told by many of my old guy friends that I was very attractive to them, and really easy to talk to. Bad combo, IMO. :smiley:

We have married-couple friends we hang out with, and my husband’s guy friends are really cool people. My husband, for whatever reason, doesn’t have any single female friends. Perhaps he stays away from the girls for the same reason I stay away from the guys.

Growing up, my parents only had same-sex friendships, so I guess it’s just something I think is normal. Before getting married, I had more guy friends (and my husband had more friends who were girls), so we’ve essentially started from scratch. And that’s okay with us.


#3

I have a good relationship with a male friend who is much younger than me. We worked on some committee’s together and even drove together to a summer class in another state (involving a night in a motel - different rooms of course). We often have lunch and chat on the computer or phone. Last summer he got married and my husband and I were invited to his wedding. Wonderful girl he married. Now I don’t see him that often but not because he got married but becuase our jobs don’t afford us the time to be in contact as much. I even have a picture of him and his wife on my desk. It never seemed to bother my husband. In fact he liked the fact that my friend was driving the 900 miles with me to the class because if something happened I would have someone with me.


#4

My DH never had a problem with my guy friends. I have known them since middle and high school and they’re more like brothers to me than anything else. We even shared a house in college. One thing I did was I got the guy friends and DH to interact with each other and now they are all friends. We all hang out with my guy friends and their wives/sig. others now. Even if I were given the opportunity to hang out with them alone, it wouldn’t be a big deal at all.


#5

normal adults have normal friendships with other normal adults of both sexes. Normal friendships are not exclusive relationships which shut out other people, which betray the confidence and intimacy of the marriage, or give to the friend that which belongs to the spouse, on an emotional as well as physical and material level.


#6

Agree with annie–I think there’s nothing wrong with it, as long as the spouse is not excluded and made to feel like an outsider. Good advice.:slight_smile:


#7

AMEN!

The CCC speaks of this:

**2347 **The virtue of chastity blossoms in friendship. It shows the disciple how to follow and imitate him who has chosen us as his friends, who has given himself totally to us and allows us to participate in his divine estate. Chastity is a promise of immortality.
Chastity is expressed notably in friendship with one’s neighbor. Whether it develops between persons of the same or opposite sex, friendship represents a great good for all. It leads to spiritual communion.


#8

I agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY. Most of the people in this thread understand why.


#9

In my opinion…

There’s nothing wrong in theory with having friends of the opposite sex when married, but it can get difficult in practice. My wife doesn’t hang out with her guy friends from college anymore, but if she did, I’d need to know about the intentions of these guys. I trust her, but I would need to know that these guys are not trying anything and it was strictly brother-sister. Gay is preferable. :stuck_out_tongue:

The big problem is when women have friends who’d jump on them if she let them. I would not allow my wife to hang out with a male friend who not only liked her in that way (I can’t blame a man for just finding my wife attractive, because she is) but actually said so and tried to throw that into the mix. Attraction is one thing, but when you say so, you’re willfully adding a whole new element into the relationship.

I think it’s still better for each sex to keep to themselves. Personally, I find women uninteresting to hang out with as friends. I think women naturally would want to associate with other women to talk about things that interest women.


#10

My husband’s other best friend is a woman he has been friends with since junior high. Who am I to tell him he cannot have this friendship which predates our friendship by about ten years? :slight_smile:

Peace


#11

Would you expand on this puzzleannie? Except for the obvious (adultry, sneaking around to meet the person, keeping secrets & excluding the spouse, etc.) it seems as if betrayal of confidence and giving to the friend that which belongs to the spouse may depend on the view of the spouse. In which case, one spouse may become extremely offended by something another finds harmless.


#12

I believe it depends on the friend as others have alluded to…

My best friend from HS, the Godfather for my kids, hangs out and helps my wife when I’m out of town. I’m sure he thinks she is attractive but I also believe he wouldn’t go there… and I also trust my wife.

I have a number of female friends, none though that are my “best” friend anymore.

The same goes for my wife, she has some friends, probably more male than female but that is because she isn’t into the whole gossip thing that often goes on at the office.

We are makeing more couple friends, especially at Church, as our kids all play together at the Parish School.

We did have one friend that defintiely tried to take it too far, over time he would drop statements trying to turn her against me years ago before we had kids… this was just about the time he was talking to me about divorcing his wife… Praise the Lord we saw through all of this BS before things got bad.

So again I state… it depends on the friend.

The bottom line though is, especially if you have kids, do you really have time for a lot of friends? of either sex?

NO, I’m not saying once you are married or have kids you totally neglect your friends. I am saying though that once you are married, your spouse should be your best friend. That is who you must confide in, who you must be completely honest with etc…

You can still have friends, but your spouse should always come second, right after God.

Joe


#13

Do what you feel comfortable with. If you can be satisfied having friendships with only women, that is probably safest. Also, find out what your husband is comfortable with. If he has any reservations about any of your male family friends, he may be seeing or reading something from them that he considers un-welcome, and as a woman, you may not see it. So trust your instincts. There are plenty of cultures where women socialize almost exclusively with other women, and I believe they miss out on very little.


#14

Sometimes this subject gets a little fuzzy when it’s debated.

Is the topic about friendships…maintaining a friendship with someone of the opposite sex, outside of naturally occurring situations and for no other reason than the enjoyment of their companionship?

Is it about the incidents of contact with the opposite sex, such as how much time is spent with said friend, how deep the conversation is, how trustworthy the spouse and friend are?

Is it about the priority of the marriage, such as who is most important, who receives the benefits from the spouse (such as emotional closeness, conversation, time spent together, recreational companionship, etc)?

I had a lot of guy friends, in fact more than girl friends, in highschool. I would say my work place is 80% single, young male. I engage in frequent interactions with the opposite sex.
But, I choose not to have any extended interactions or relationships outside of naturally occurring incidents because:

  1. My time is very restricted. Why would I spend time with anyone, male or female who is not my spouse or my close family? After work, school and sleeping, the time to spend with other people equals scant hours, if not less than an hour a day. Who is such an important friend that I would spend time with him over my spouse?

  2. My relationships with coworkers, students and clients are very public. Perhaps in other fields, this is not true, but it holds true for me. Scandal, gossip and images are extremes at my workplace. So maybe a highschool environment is stupid (I’m certainly not agreeing with it) but that’s the reality and I choose not to feed the flames of rumours or get mistakenly put in the category of “she has casual sex with everyone just like all those people.”

  3. So maybe I feel secure about myself, my commitment and my chastity. Maybe my spouse does, too. I think the operative word on this thread has been “trustworthy.” Shouldn’t we be more concerned about “compassionate”? How compassionate is it to be an attractive, outgoing woman who has a deep friendship with a single guy?

Is that compassionate to the wife, the husband or the single guy? What about his prospects for a future wife? If he’s going out to lunch with me and talking to me on a phone, he’s certainly not working towards finding a wife. Talk about stringing someone along, teasing him, putting everyone in an occasion of sin, etc!

I know I’ll have people disagreeing with me, but this has to be the weirdest topic I’ve seen in married life. How come two people completely in love with each other take a vow to be with each other forever, and then start adding a few more people to the list? :confused:

Maybe it’s just my lifestyle. I guess if you have nothing to do in life after sleeping for 8 hours a day, then you have about 110 hours a week to spend time with people. I suppose after 40 hours or so of spending time with your spouse, it must get boring. :confused:


#15

In fact he liked the fact that my friend was driving the 900 miles with me to the class because if something happened I would have someone with me.

I think You have a very loving husband who trusts you very much. I wish I could trust like that. I am of the opinion that it is generally not a good idea to have close friendships with the opposite sex. I guess it probably depends upon the weaker spouse and what they are comfortable with.


#16

I’m not married yet, but I used to figure that I’d be able to keep my single male friends after marriage. Now I’m not so sure. I have a lot of single male friends - that’s just the nature of my life, where I work, and the kind of women I meet really aren’t the type that I’d like to be friends with. A few of them have admitted attraction to me, and I turned them down, and I figured that I could go on being close friends with them. Now I’m in a relationship that is leading to marriage, I’m getting the feeling that my boyfriend isn’t comfortable when I’m with those friends.

I’m not saying that he has the right to choose my friends for me, but I feel that it would be really unfair to him to knowingly go into situations that he considers dangerous - being alone with a man who has admitted attraction to me. I trust my friends will respect me enough not to do anything, but I also respect my boyfriend enough that I’m not going to make him worry. Now that I’m preparing for marriage, I don’t go out with those friends unless I’m in a large group, and I check that my boyfriend is comfortable with the idea first.

Another issue is gossip - I don’t want people going up to my boyfriend/husband and saying, “I saw your girl out with another man.” He’s proud, and I know it would hurt him to feel that other people think I’m cheating, even if he knows I’m not.

I will continue to have male friends after marriage, but I think I’m going to tone the friendships down. After all, who do I want to risk hurting - the man I love, or the man I used to go out for a beer after work with? I know my answer.


#17

#18

It is not about boring.

As the CCC tells us, friendship is a good thing.

Both my husband and I treasure our friends. Scripture speaks of friends over and over. We are designed to live in community, that community extends beyond our spouse and children.

I work long hours, between 50 and 60 per week. I could choose to spend the remaining waking hours locked in the house with my husband and child, but, is that really loving my neighbor?

Friends are precious. They add to my relationship with my family.

When we begin to view others as God’s children, it changes the perception.


#19

maria29 and kage_ar, I’m glad you guys have found personal reasons for including people other than spouse and family members in your busy schedule.

I understand this is an important element of living for many people and that it is their choice. For the reasons I already posted, I won’t be doing the same, outside of naturally occurring situations.

Thank you for sharing your perspectives on this issue with me.

And, surely, kage_ar, my post did not imply that I hide in my house with my husband and unborn child. I probably spend all of 5 hours in my house…asleep. :smiley:


#20

It has a lot to do with the situation. My wife and kids are in Australia for awhile, I found out the other day that on two consecutive weekends that her and the kids had gone on weekend trips with a single man and his daughter. This really fell on me like a ton of bricks, I don’t think that it was appropriate at all. I completely trust my wife but I think that when you spend time with someone of the opposite sex, even though you don’t intend for anything to happen, sometimes things happen that you can’t control. I think that it is slightly possible for someones heart to change and by the time it does it is too late to do anything about it. Think about all of the broken relationships you have heard about that the woman or man starts out saying

“I never meant for anything to happen, we were just friends, my wife/husband didn’t like doing whatever and they did. I feel so terrible but it just happened etc…”

When she is home we have many couples that we are friends with and I have no problem if she needs to go somewhere with one of our friends husbands or needs to work on a school project with them.

I guess my situation is a lot different from most everyone elses on here but I do believe that if you have opposite sex friends, if you spend your leisure time with them then you run the risk of something happening that you have no control over (emotionally)
and if you love your spouse you should not take the risk, no matter how slight it may be.

wesiii


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