What do you think of this situation between a man and woman who say they are friends

Can a guy and gal really be friends?

Here’s the situation, a guy I know is 25 Catholic (and maybe not the most devout Catholic, but okay, has faith in his heart and goes to Mass every Sunday). But he has never had a girlfriend.
He met a woman in class last year who has been married maybe 5 years. She got married in the Catholic church. She is 30, but looks younger. Her husband is in the military and often away.
Anyway, they go out to eat sometimes, just as friends. Maybe study together sometimes too (even though they don’t have the same classes).

I don’t know, I just don’t like this situation, the guy I know says they are just friends and maybe that is truly the case. But I keep telling him to be careful and you never know when you may get blind-sighted and the feelings change to something more.

I guess it bothers me because I have seen this situation so many times with family, friends, and co-workers, where something starts out as just a friendship, but then ends up as something more.

They don’t see each other often nowadays, maybe twice a month from what I know. But I think they do talk a lot more thru Facebook.

I told him to be honest with himself and his heart and if he even thinks there is a possibility of an attraction, then he should not see her anymore. I also told him, that no matters what happens, she will always be married to her husband because they were married thru the Catholic church.

Has your friend met the husband? If the husband has never met your friend, it doesn’t sound like a very good situation to be in. It sounds very much like a slippery slope, especially given that your friend is inexperienced in relationships. How many other people are included when they go out to dinner or study? If it was me, I’d advise my friend that he needs to be careful about being alone with this woman and I would certainly try to invite other people along so I wouldn’t be alone with her. My husband does have female friends, and does occasionally have meals with them, but I’ve met them, there are no plans that I am not made aware of and the invite is always there for me to be included if I’m available. Any invite or situation that involves your friend and the husband is away and may not know about the meetings, is trouble. If your friend would be worried about the husband finding out about their dinners and study plans, or there has been anything said he would be afraid of the husband finding out about or he couldn’t even say to the husband directly, there is trouble and he needs to end the relationship ASAP.

It is probably pretty innocent at this point, but they could be heading into dangerous territory, particularly if her husband is away for months at a time. All it would take to spark something adulturous is for the woman to go through a rough spot with her husband and realize that, at least for that moment, her relationship with the other man is stronger/more fun/more fulfilling/etc.
That being said, I’m sure you’re friend doesn’t appreciate your prying into his friendship and accusing him of adultery. If he sees this as an innocent friendship, he probably thinks you are jumping to conclusions too quickly and making mountains out of molehills.

Yes, a guy and a gal can really be “just friends.” You and I both know that the world is full of disappointed guys and gals who wish it were otherwise. Some of them would say “alas”, but it is the guys who have never had a girlfriend and the girls who have never had a boyfriend who are always being chosen as the “just friend” by the opposite sex. Offering opposite-sex friendship with no possibility of romance or entanglement is actually very prized by those who like to be friends with both sexes but only want attention from the one special person.

If the relationship is being carried on as if one of them were a priest or religious–that is, with that kind of boundaries in the interest of avoiding both tempation and giving scandal–and if her husband is OK with it, there is nothing necessarily wrong with it. For instance, if all of their Facebook correspondence is visible to the husband when he logs on, that is very above board, and a good sign. If they meet in public places or only meet in private homes when there are other people present, that is a good sign. If the husband always knows when they have been or will be meeting, that is a good sign.

The “she will always be married to her husband because they were married thru the Catholic church” comment is practically an accusation that you think he will inevitably entertain inappropriate designs on her. He didn’t ask you if you thought they had a future together. He told you they didn’t have any such intention. It is rash judgement to assume that it is otherwise.

If he starts meeting her in private or she meets him against her husband’s wishes or without his knowledge, that is a red flag. If common-sense boundaries are unfailingly observed, it is probably just fine.

No he has never met the husband.

I agree Charlotte and yes he has accused me of jumping to conclusions.
Unfortunately I have seen too many molehills become mountains lately, one recently in my family that will be very hard once everyone in my family knows.
That’s why I’m jumping to conclusions I suppose.

There are quite a few women my husband knows well through work whom I have not met. The main thing is that his meetings with them are not hidden and not likely to pose a temptation.

Does the husband know he exists? Does the wife have good boundaries on their meetings? Is your friend open to being friends with the couple as a couple? That situation can work just fine, if the husband is fine with it. It is not in the husband’s best interest that his wife get too lonely while he is deployed. While it would not be good if this man were the wife’s only adult friend, allowing his wife a number of safe acquaintances would be in his best interest, and in the best interest of his marriage. That need not be restricted to female friends.

And as a military spouse with a husband gone on many training missions, it can be a area of trouble and I’ve seen many innocent friendships quickly esculate into scandaleous situations.

If you’re not willing to concede that such a thing as a “just friends” relationship is possible between a man and a woman, then he might well be defensive.

It isn’t out of place to ask if he is taking care to keep the relationship within appropriate boundaries and conducted very openly, and is willing to respect the husband’s wishes, if the husband wants him to stop the friendship.

Having said all that, while a huge age difference or physical frailty poses a certain barrier n and of itself, no relationship between members of the opposite sex should be assumed to be indefinitely and definitively platonic. No matter how old a man or woman is or how long they’ve been happy in their marriage or celibate life, you ought not assume that they’re dead with respect to having sexual feelings. It is respectful of the other person to realize that they are capable of the entire range of emotions, and to place boundaries accordingly. If they don’t ever have those emotions, it is still no insult to imagine that they could have.

Catholics who are not priests or religious still need to avoid giving scandal. That is a reason for boundaries, too.

This is my own opinion, formed from my experiences and no one else’s.

The woman who is married should avoid seeing a single man in private (and that includes going out to dinner as a couple). Ever. It is improper and unwise. It presents the wrong appearance. She might be in the company of a single man if she was in a group, say, a bowling league or something. But you say your friend has never met her husband, and he may not even know about your friend, which speaks of dishonesty at least.

I agree with you that this relationship may be playing with fire, and may well end in disaster. Never a good idea to see a married person of the opposite sex in private company. It just isn’t.


Amen to that!

Having grown up as a “tom boy” I have a LOT of guy friends … long established, brother-types. No attraction either way; but still, I would never go out with one of them alone, without my husband.

It sends a bad message and establishes a bad precedent. It’s cruel to the husband who is away also, no matter how much he trusts his wife.

I delete the irrelevancies. What is your interest in this matter? and what does the opinion of anyone here, who knows nothing of these people, matter in the least? What is your relationship to the young man that entitles you to comment on his friendships?

has the culture so perverted the meaning of the word “friendship” that the question in thread title is even necessary?

I agree. I was wondering why this was so important and why it was OK to judge these people by the actions of others. OK so a lot of “friendships” become more. How does that relate to the specific situation in question? Especially since they are apparently studying together.

That, too.

As a Catholic wife, I don’t let strangers in my house when my husband is not home. I would not have dinner out with a man without my husband. I also avoid riding in a car alone with a man who is not my husband. These precautions are to avoid scandal and to avoid a potential occasion of sin. There are so many temptations everywhere, why would a married woman put herself in a position of potential sin?

This being said, even if you are worried about your friend, don’t “bear false witness against your brother” (8th Commandment) and give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t sin by judging and telling their “potential sin” to others. You have tried to talk to your friend, he didn’t listen now you can’t save people against their will. Yes this situation might be sinful but I would let go if I were you. Go speak to a Priest and seek his counsel and pray for them.

For what it’s worth:

I have several very close female friends, I’m a 24 year old man. I could never think of them in a romantic way. I suspect that some of them may have had feelings for me when we first became friends; however, I was in a relationship at the time. Now that we have been friends for several years I just don’t see how we could possibly have feelings for each other. The situation you described is a bit different though since the woman is married. I think I am a bit of an anomaly in the world of men though- I don’t really have a difficult time separating romance and friendship with women. Actually, women make wonderful friends, I am really blessed.

These are sensible boundaries, and many priests have similar boundaries for themselves: they won’t have dinner out or ride in cars with a woman alone and they have groups into their homes when they entertain. They choose to socialize with family, other clergy or members of their orders, couples, or groups. Occasionally, they meet someone one-on-one at a restaurant for lunch, but arrive and leave alone. After all, these days a priest can be made the subject of scandal if he is “too close” to someone of either gender. They just have to be very careful.

While it may seem innocent, the truth of the matter is that they are putting themselves in a delicate situation. Folks, the devil loves these kind of situations, and he will do everything he can to destroy the marriage. These two “friends” are creating a bond that could eventually grow into something else, especially with the husband being away at times in the military. People think they can just be friends and nothing will happen, and I think these people understimate the power the devil has. Then there’s the issue of scandal. This type of thing has red flags all over the place, and it would be wise of the wife to break it off soon before is too late.

Why would she hide him from her husband if there wasn’t an issue? There’s nothing innocent or friendly about it.

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