Author Topic: friends of opposite sex  (Read 5609 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21604
Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #45 on: January 28, 2013, 01:40:42 PM »
You mentioned that you don't have many friends in general, let alone friends of the opposite sex, so I think there is a general difference in how you socialize.  It just isn't about the opposite sex. Because of that difference it is going to be hard for you to understand each other's perspectives.  Not impossible, but hard.


Moray

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1869
  • My hovercraft is full of eels!
Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #46 on: January 28, 2013, 01:41:37 PM »
For me, it reads differently.  That's an awful lot of dates she is talking about going out on over the course of a year.  It seems that she is more interested in maintaining these other relationships than developing a relationship with you.  It sounds like way more than "friendships" to me. 
 
I would run, but I would be the one running from this. I think the angst you are feeling are the red flags that are trying to wave and it is coming out sounding like jealousy/possessiveness.
Yea it is coming out the wrong way. My previous marriage of 20 years had none of these issues and it never had to even be discussed. And yes tome it soundslike very other week she would be meeting up with a guy friend. It is a lot to me. And why can't they all get together a couple few times a year. After all they all know each other from grade school. Why separately?

Why do you feel that it's any of your business? I'm not asking that to be harsh, it's just that you really don't get to dictate what she does. Your only decision is "Am I comfortable with this?".
Utah

VltGrantham

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 488
Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #47 on: January 28, 2013, 01:47:39 PM »
Quote
I'm just trying to figure out if what she is doing should be ok with me or if I have a legitimate beef.

I don't think how you feel about this situation is a popular one--but that saying, if you have an issue with it, then it's an issue.  Personally, we'd have huge issues with it.  That said, our views are extremely conservative.  We recognize that a great many people don't see it the same way, feel it's controlling, etc.--and that's fine for them.  Personally I don't see it as being chaperoned, but rather, protected.  Again, it's not popular, most people would not feel that way, but I don't think it's completely out of left field either. 

If you have an issue with it now, I'd find someone who has views very similar to your own and pursue a relationship with them instead.  I think it would be far easier than to try and explain why you see some of this as "wrong" or get someone else to change a life-long habit now.

This is simplifying it a bit, but it's rather like dating a smoker and expecting them to stop just for you.

snowdragon

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2200
Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #48 on: January 28, 2013, 01:57:20 PM »
For me, it reads differently.  That's an awful lot of dates she is talking about going out on over the course of a year.  It seems that she is more interested in maintaining these other relationships than developing a relationship with you.  It sounds like way more than "friendships" to me. 
 
I would run, but I would be the one running from this. I think the angst you are feeling are the red flags that are trying to wave and it is coming out sounding like jealousy/possessiveness.
Yea it is coming out the wrong way. My previous marriage of 20 years had none of these issues and it never had to even be discussed. And yes tome it soundslike very other week she would be meeting up with a guy friend. It is a lot to me. And why can't they all get together a couple few times a year. After all they all know each other from grade school. Why separately?

Why do you feel that it's any of your business? I'm not asking that to be harsh, it's just that you really don't get to dictate what she does. Your only decision is "Am I comfortable with this?".

Agreed.  Just because you are in a relationship with someone does not mean you have exclusive claim to their time. Why do so many people have to acquiesce to your way of socializing?  You seem to want an awful lot of control over your GF, her friends and her relationships. We don't have the answers to your "why can't they do XYZPDQ" questions except to say that is not how they or she wants live.  And if going out in a group a couple times a year is your idea of an acceptable "compromise" I'd say that is not a compromise that's dictating her life. 
  I have to agree with PP's and say you need to find someone who shares your views and not someone you have to change.

Firecat

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2591
Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #49 on: January 28, 2013, 02:02:10 PM »
For me, it reads differently.  That's an awful lot of dates she is talking about going out on over the course of a year.  It seems that she is more interested in maintaining these other relationships than developing a relationship with you.  It sounds like way more than "friendships" to me. 
 
I would run, but I would be the one running from this. I think the angst you are feeling are the red flags that are trying to wave and it is coming out sounding like jealousy/possessiveness.
Yea it is coming out the wrong way. My previous marriage of 20 years had none of these issues and it never had to even be discussed. And yes tome it soundslike very other week she would be meeting up with a guy friend. It is a lot to me. And why can't they all get together a couple few times a year. After all they all know each other from grade school. Why separately?

I can think of several reasons she might want to see them separately vs. all together. For one thing, for adults with busy lives, it can be difficult to find time to get together. And the more people you add to the mix, the more difficult it can be when you consider everyone's different responsibilities and schedules.

Another reason might be that not all of her friends get along with each other well, although they all like her.

Or maybe she prefers different activities with different friends. She goes to Springsteen concerts with Bob, but Bob doesn't like seafood and Jim does, so she and Jim get together to have seafood and talk about books. And Dave likes obscure theater, which bores Jim and Bob to tears. And Larry likes modern art, which Dave hates.

I think you should take her up on the offer to meet her friends. They've been a part of her life for a long time (which, to me, is actually a good indicator of her ability to maintain longterm, caring relationships) (note I did NOT say "romantic".) I think you should also talk with her about her divorce and her relationship with her ex. There can be lots of reasons people decide that being married doesn't work for them, but they still like each other. If she wanted to be with her ex, she still could be. Clearly, she doesn't want that.

Every couple needs to negotiate these things, and figure out what works for both of them. If you ultimately decide that this is a deal-breaker for you, that's a legitimate choice. But I think you should take some time, meet the friends when you can, and go from there. At least give them a chance before you decide that you're not comfortable.

dawbs

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4456
Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #50 on: January 28, 2013, 02:03:12 PM »
For me, it reads differently.  That's an awful lot of dates she is talking about going out on over the course of a year.  It seems that she is more interested in maintaining these other relationships than developing a relationship with you.  It sounds like way more than "friendships" to me. 
 
I would run, but I would be the one running from this. I think the angst you are feeling are the red flags that are trying to wave and it is coming out sounding like jealousy/possessiveness.
Yea it is coming out the wrong way. My previous marriage of 20 years had none of these issues and it never had to even be discussed. And yes tome it soundslike very other week she would be meeting up with a guy friend. It is a lot to me. And why can't they all get together a couple few times a year. After all they all know each other from grade school. Why separately?

I have 2 sisters.  They're wonderful people and we all 3 hang out together whenever we can.
They are polarly opposite people.
While I enjoy hanging out w/ them together, what we do and how we interact when there are only 2 of us is drastically different--and those are our friendship-builders.  Not the 3 of us together, the 2 of us, talking.

But really, the why doesn't matter, does it?  It's how her friendships work and you're saying you're not interested in these friendships and this part of her life.
She's saying, quite clearly, what she expects and who she is.
You're saying, quite clearly, that that's unacceptable.

I'd see this as 'cut your losses or start changing your view'.  But I'll add one more disclaimer on that--if you changing your mind is going to cause seething resentment and/or this issue to come up 47 more times?  then it really is cut your losses

Amava

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4751
Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #51 on: January 28, 2013, 02:11:46 PM »
But really, the why doesn't matter, does it?  It's how her friendships work and you're saying you're not interested in these friendships and this part of her life.
She's saying, quite clearly, what she expects and who she is.
You're saying, quite clearly, that that's unacceptable.


Re the bolded: no, he isn't.
As far as I can see, he is looking to educate himself on the matter (hence why he asked for outsiders' opinions) and to work out whether he can come to terms with it if it is, indeed, much more normal than he thought.


Onyx_TKD

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1404
Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #52 on: January 28, 2013, 02:18:12 PM »
OP, you keep talking about what "most women" do or what "any spouse" would be uncomfortable with. IMO, you are never, ever going to find any answers to this situation from that angle.

1) You are not dating "most women," nor will you be "any spouse" if you get married. You are dating one, specific, individual woman who has apparently been quite up-front with you about how she socializes and what you can expect in terms of her seeing her friends, male and female. You are one, specific, individual man with your own opinions and comfort level about various scenarios. At this point, it doesn't matter what "most" people or "most" spouses do or are comfortable with. Whether your individual girlfriend likes daily mixed-gender skinnydipping expeditions or whether she refuses to ever be alone with another man or whether her social interactions are completely average in every respect--what matters is if you can be comfortable with her lifestyle, which she has openly revealed to you.

2) Generalizing about what "most women" do or what "any spouse" would be uncomfortable with is also unproductive because there is no such thing. I would be highly surprised if there was any issue whatsoever where you could find complete agreement among all women (or all men) or all spouses. I suspect there are pretty few where you could even get an overwhelming majority in complete agreement.

In your OP you said:
People shouldn’t be in situations or places where if all of a sudden strange thoughts get in someone’s head that they have an immediate opportunity to act. Why have to have a lot of strength to resist?? Don’t be in that scenario.

First, I don't need "a lot of strength to resist." I have a lot of male friends. I have been attracted to a few male friends (we were both single, incidentally). I have never found there to be much need for "strength" to keep things from going beyond friendship. In fact, it took a lot more courage to actually ask out a guy I was already friends with than to just be friends.

Second, why do people do anything at all that carries a risk? Why do I go horseback riding knowing that there is a real risk of injury or even death? Why do I do martial arts, after having seen friends break bones doing the same sport? Why do people get in their cars or even step out of their front doors knowing that people are frequently injured or killed doing just that? Why do you date when you know you could have your heart broken?

The answer is the same to all of them: because we personally have decided that they are worth the risk. I love horseback riding and martial arts and my enjoyment in life would be reduced if I avoided them because of the risk. I leave my house and ride in vehicles because my life would be miserable if I tried to reduce risk to that extent. I hang out with my friends, male and female, because they are people who enrich my life in myriad different ways. Ways that no one person, however amazing, will ever be able replace. Yes, my friendships and my hobbies both have the potential to hurt me, and I try to be safe, but at some point avoiding risk isn't worth the cost.

You presumably date because you find being in a romantic relationship with someone else to be enjoyable and rewarding. And it should be; otherwise why do it? Can you be in a relationship with this individual woman and have it be enjoyable and rewarding for both of you? Enough that it's worth the risks inherent in being in a relationship? If yes, that's great. If no, then go your separate ways. But trying to fit yourselves into the mold of some hypothetical normal, average relationship isn't likely to make either of you happy, so why try to?

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28731
Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #53 on: January 28, 2013, 02:24:20 PM »
Yea it is coming out the wrong way. My previous marriage of 20 years had none of these issues and it never had to even be discussed.

OK, here's the problem - this woman is not your previous wife, and your relationship with her is not your previous marriage.

Whoever you date, you will find something that they do differently, and it sounds like your response to this is to say "that's not what normal people do/a normal relationship is".

I'm sure your relationship had many good things about it, but there are an infinite number of variations on how people relate. If you insist on finding exactly the same thing, you'll likely be looking a long time.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6284
Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #54 on: January 28, 2013, 02:27:02 PM »
OP, did your wife pass away or are you divorced?  It shouldn't really make a difference since that relationship is over either way, but I wonder whether you are judging any subsequent relationship through the lens of that past one. 

I think you've gotten some solid advice, but to recap, no, what your GF is doing is not bizarre.  That said, if you are uncomfortable with it, she is not the woman for you.

Yvaine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9015
Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #55 on: January 28, 2013, 02:33:13 PM »
In your OP you said:
People shouldn’t be in situations or places where if all of a sudden strange thoughts get in someone’s head that they have an immediate opportunity to act. Why have to have a lot of strength to resist?? Don’t be in that scenario.

First, I don't need "a lot of strength to resist." I have a lot of male friends. I have been attracted to a few male friends (we were both single, incidentally). I have never found there to be much need for "strength" to keep things from going beyond friendship. In fact, it took a lot more courage to actually ask out a guy I was already friends with than to just be friends.

This, so much.

When I hang out with my male friends, I am not constantly fighting the temptation to have affairs with them. In each and every case, there's a reason I'm not with that person instead of my SO. Maybe we're just not each other's type. Maybe he's gay. Maybe we tried dating ten years ago and it flopped and we realized we were better as friends.

The only times I've ever found my life to be a powder keg of temptation were when there was already a major problem in my romantic relationship. Often, when that romantic partner was possessive and controlling, which is a huge trigger of negative emotions in me. When I'm happy with my partner I can admire other people's beauty without wanting to actually do anything about it, and I can hang out with my male friends without feeling temptation or needing any special strength to resist.

People are not alley cats. We aren't always feeling lust anyway, and even when we are, we can resist it with our emotions and our higher reasoning. I want to remain happy with my SO, more than I could want any random guy who happens across my path. Really, this suspicion feels like it says more about you, OP, than it says about her.

Dragonflymom

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2745
Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #56 on: January 28, 2013, 02:49:54 PM »
I am puzzled by why you are here asking our opinions, instead of talking to her about this?

This isn't any sort of etiquette issue, not by any means.

Why are you seeking to isolate her from her long time friends?  You've only been dating 4 months, barely in the getting to know each other stage, but you're already posting about her as if she's your wife and thinking up absolute worst case scenarios with her friends.  How did we get from she goes out every couple months with each friend to spending a week in the Bahamas?   This seems like a lot of catastrophizing on your part.

Has she ever actually given you any real reason to distrust you, or is this your own control issues?

Have her friends ever done anything to deserve your distrust?  It sounds like you barely know them and aren't interested in getting to know them further.

You have a lot of hard questions to ask yourself, that would likely be best addressed in counseling.  Good luck to you both.
"By swallowing evil goats unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach"  Winston Churchill

Dragonflymom

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2745
Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #57 on: January 28, 2013, 02:55:25 PM »
Oh and for what it's worth, I'm 40 years old, very happily married, have never cheated and will never cheat, and over half of my friends are male.  And I've gone to concerts, restaurants, medieval events etc with them - sometimes with my husband, sometimes not depending on our schedules.   Because I'm a grownup, and completely trust my own moral integrity, and fortunately so does my husband.
"By swallowing evil goats unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach"  Winston Churchill

Mikayla

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4070
Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #58 on: January 28, 2013, 03:00:41 PM »
But really, the why doesn't matter, does it?  It's how her friendships work and you're saying you're not interested in these friendships and this part of her life.
She's saying, quite clearly, what she expects and who she is.
You're saying, quite clearly, that that's unacceptable.


Re the bolded: no, he isn't.
As far as I can see, he is looking to educate himself on the matter (hence why he asked for outsiders' opinions) and to work out whether he can come to terms with it if it is, indeed, much more normal than he thought.

I agree.  He's clearly stated several times he's not interested in dictating to her, but rather just taking the pulse of current dating norms.  Heck, he's been out of the dating scene longer than many of us have been alive!

OP,  I have strong feelings on trust and how it drives everything in a relationship.  And it takes time to build up trust, especially if the 2 of you are spending most of your time alone and not in a group.  You're trying to reach a comfort zone in the absence of full trust, and this won't work.

Keep an open mind and give it time.  Like others, I would find it very stifling if this type of thing bothered my husband, but that wouldn't make either of us right or wrong.  It has the potential to make us incompatible, though.

katycoo

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3833
Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #59 on: January 28, 2013, 06:41:07 PM »
According to your post, you are not comfortable with the idea of a woman in a relationship socialising with a male (single or otherwise) in a one on one situation, particularly if the event is something that is commonly characterised as a date scenario (ie. theatre, concert, dinner).  Your reasoning is that you believe such socialising is more likely to trigger an affair in the unlikely event that they are attracted to each other, as humans are only human and without the presence of a third party (preferably yourself), their defences could be weakened and before you know if they're having accidental relations.

Read that over.  It sounds ridiculous because it is.

I'm sure your GF is a lovely faithful woman, who would never dream of cheating on you.  But if she was not, and she wished to have an affair with a male friend of hers, she would find a way to do so regardless of being allowed to socialise one on one.

My male friends are awesome people, who I have no sexual attraction to at all.  If I were to have an attraction to someone other than my DH I would avoid that person.  It wouldn't be good for my relationship to socialise with themw hile such feelings existed.  And if I did not make that decision of my own accord, I'd say the relationship has other problems.

OP, I think you need to be flexible on this.  Trust her, but also take her up when she invites you along.  Get to know her friends.  When you click with people, you don't need history to have a fun time together.  Just Friday night my DH came to dinner with an old friend of mine and her FH.  I've know friend for 15 years.  DH's has met her maybe 5 times where he's socialised directly with her.  He'll never have that history and neither with her FH with me.  But we had a great night, and very little conversation was reminiscing about the old days.

One thing is for sure - if you both are not on the same page about this issue, your relationship won't last.  This would be a dealbreaker for me.