Social Question

nikipedia's avatar

What are your boundaries for opposite-sex friends?

Asked by nikipedia (27335 points ) February 23rd, 2012

Or same-sex, if you go that way.

A friend recently commented, “I can’t believe [some guy’s] wife lets him have female friends.”

I also read this in an advice column question today: “I’ve tried to explain my belief that a man should not be ‘buddies’ with another man’s wife, but my wife doesn’t see it and says they’re just pals.”

These seem like pretty extreme positions. My partner and I are freaks with boundaries at the opposite extreme.

So I am wondering: How do you navigate this kind of friendship in your relationship? What would constitue emotional infidelity to you? What are your boundaries, and how do you resolve conflicts about this kind of issue?

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18 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Of course it is OK to have friends of the opposite sex.

That said, I think drinks after work frequently (say once a week or more) and daily lunches, and phone calls at home are too much. The spouse who is doing that has too much invested in another relationship.

As for the conference, it would depend on how the two are in regular life.

tedd's avatar

It varies dramatically based on whether or not someone is in a relationship. I know when I’ve been single in the past I’ve gone all the way up to cuddling in a non-romantic sense with female friends. Also while single I’ve made out with, and had pretty sexy flirtatious conversations with female friends (not serious in either situation). While with someone it becomes much more limited what I’d be willing to do or would allow. I still flirt pretty heavily, and would be fine with my g/f doing the same (although I’ve had recent jealousy issues with her past, so I would probably find myself upset if she were flirting with a past partner). Obviously making out is out of the question. Cuddling I would almost 100% rule out. The sole exceptions would be super extreme circumstances, such as someone had a death in their family or something and needed some kind of consoling. In effect the cuddling would be platonic, almost sibling-like… and I would be alright with that.

As far as just friends with the opposite sex… I have no issues with it, and would never date someone who did.

Coloma's avatar

The part I notice is the ” I can’t believe {some guys} wife lets him…”

Hah..that always cracks me up, implying that relationship somehow equals ownership of another. There’s the rub right there, really unhealthy and controlling. I have male friends, some are ex lovers and I would never take issue with a man having the same. Anyone that does and is over the age of 16 has issues.

My daughter who is 24 was devastated a few years ago when her best male platonic friends new girlfriend freaked out over his friendship with her, unfortunetly he married this girl and obviously he was too immature to stand up to the girlfriend and keep his friendship with my daughter.

Blackberry's avatar

Relationships are fluid, so my best answer is to “go with the flow” or just let things happen naturally. I think if both parties are honest and open, they’ll come to a mutual agreement they’re both happy with, whether it’s strict monogamy or polygamy. Anything other than that seems like coercion.

I don’t even think I’m qualified to answer this question because it’s difficult to find a possessive trait about myself regarding relationships. I will never understand how someone can treat someone they supposedly love like a piece of property. Expecting someone to be physically and mentally bound to you just seems ridiculous in my opinion, because it’s not an actual biological or physical “law”, it’s just something convenient and useful for two people to do, so I understand why people do it for that reason (like it being cheaper to cohabitate, for example).

When I try to think of someone cheating on me, my initial reaction is that I hope they don’t get or give me a disease. Other than that, I feel I don’t have the right or privilege to physically or mentally control another person. What if we weren’t “meant to be” and they developed a relationship with someone they’re more compatible with long term? Who am I make them stay with me?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Blackberry I was trying to find where to draw the line, but you nailed it. When they give me a disease. LMAO

YoBob's avatar

What the heck is wrong with having friends of the opposite sex?????

Seems pretty darned insecure to me. After all, around half of all human beings on the planet are of the opposite sex as you (and/or your spouse) are. There’s a pretty darned good chance that he/she will wind up interacting with one of them during the course of their lives, and (gasp) might even enjoy their company.

King_Pariah's avatar

Almost all my best friends have been with the opposite sex. If my SO at the time were to have an issue well… she can go roto root herself.

CaptainHarley's avatar

All of my female “best friends” live pretty far away from Texas ( Except my wife, of course ), and I seldom get to talk with them other than online. I keep my wife informed about my female friends, and ask her what she thinks. If she doesn’t like one of them for whatever reason, that female is history. Fortunately she seldom does this.

Joker94's avatar

Boundaries?

cookieman's avatar

Any female friends I have are also friends with my wife. Simple.

The only exception would be women I work with, but we’re not “friends” per se.

Ponderer983's avatar

@Blackberry “I hope they don’t get or give me a disease.” Shouldn’t YOU think about when and if you fluidly cheat in a “relationship?”

augustlan's avatar

Hmm. I don’t think we have any strict boundaries for friends of the opposite sex. We’d probably draw the line at nudity, any sexual activity, or possibly spending more time with the friend than with the spouse (on a regular basis, over a long time. Not in a crisis of some kind.)

I just asked my husband, and he said, “Well… oral sex is probably out!” Haha.

Blackberry's avatar

@Ponderer983 Well yeah, we all should. That sounded kind of creepy, do we know each other or something lol?

Judi's avatar

My husband and I have an agreement. Neither of us will have friends of the opposite sex that are better friends with one than they are with the other.

janbb's avatar

I don’t not what the proper boundaries are. I believe in giving a wide latitude but I think my husband and I lost each other because of outside friendships and activities (as well as fundamental differences in temperament.)

janbb's avatar

Edit: “know”

mattbrowne's avatar

A touch that lasts longer than 2 seconds.

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