It’s been said that men and women can’t be friends because boundaries may be crossed. Feelings may come into play and the, “They are just my buddy” line is blurred. Despite this fair warning, men and women still manage to develop close friendships and bonds with one another. But, what happens when your man’s best friend is actually a female? What happens when you get into a committed relationship and your twosome turns into a very awkward love triangle? They were there before you. Should you accept their friendship or is it non-negotiable?
Alicia, 31, of Brooklyn sounded off saying that she doesn’t believe men and women can be friends without some level of attraction eventually building. “Thankfully my husband thinks the same way,” she added, “we agreed that if we were going to be together that the friends of the opposite sex had to go.”
Not all women feel this adamant about cutting ties with the opposite sex. Desiree, 30, of Manhattan is married and some of her closest friends are men. “My husband has met them all and is really cool with them,” she exclaimed, “if one called and said ‘Hey let’s do lunch,’ my husband wouldn’t mind. He would say, ‘Have fun! Tell him I said hi!’”
So, how does it work exactly? If you want to keep your friends of the opposite sex, Ariana, 25, of Staten Island suggested that couples compromise.
“We have an agreement that we can still have our own friends of the opposite sex so long as we have met them and feel comfortable with them,” Ariana explained. “If we don’t, then we either stop talking to them or hanging out with them altogether.”
However, some women feel that no one should tell you who to be friends with. “Your partner has no right to control who you are friends with,” Elizabeth, 27, of the Bronx rebutted. “That is very unhealthy. Your relationship should be based on trust and communication.”
Yes, setting boundaries, like not having private phone conversations and hang outs, and trusting your significant other is the key to maintaining friendships with the opposite sex while in a relationship. But what about your friends? Some cross the line even when you don’t want them to. Take Brittania, 26, of Manhattan’s case. Despite following all the rules, she learned some things about her male friends the hard way.
“I had a bunch of guy friends that I was really really close with, and there was never any sexual or romantic attraction to them at all (at least for me),” she shared. “Once I got engaged though, a lot of them stopped talking to me and I found out that it was because I was engaged and that they wanted the opportunity to get with me.” Out of respect for her fiancé, Brittania cut off her male friends.
“My advice is to just make sure that your friends don’t have an ulterior motive.”
Regardless of whether you and your honey decide to cut ‘em off, keep ‘em around or compromise, being friends with the opposite sex can be a tricky situation to maneuver. Yes, it is important and necessary to have healthy friendships outside of your relationship, but if one relationship is pulling you in the wrong direction – or if it doesn’t feel right – it is a clear sign to cut ties.