Author Topic: friends of opposite sex  (Read 5669 times)

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Amava

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #60 on: January 28, 2013, 06:49:04 PM »
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.
True enough, but like I was trying to say earlier: sometimes you and your significant other need to thumb through the book together for a while and read a few chapters in order to be able to eventually get on that same page.
And that is what a budding relationship is all about: finding your common page.

I wish the OP the best of luck in finding that page. Don't give up too soon, keep reading through that book together.
I can't guarantee that in your specific case you will find that page, but some couples do, if they try hard enough, and sometimes it is totally worth the effort.  :)


katycoo

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #61 on: January 28, 2013, 06:56:16 PM »
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.
True enough, but like I was trying to say earlier: sometimes you and your significant other need to thumb through the book together for a while and read a few chapters in order to be able to eventually get on that same page.
And that is what a budding relationship is all about: finding your common page.

I wish the OP the best of luck in finding that page. Don't give up too soon, keep reading through that book together.
I can't guarantee that in your specific case you will find that page, but some couples do, if they try hard enough, and sometimes it is totally worth the effort.  :)

Absolutely - there is scope for GETTING to the same page.  But usually that involves a discussion about what page you're aiming for, and both being happy with the choice.  Its no good the OP saying "Fine.  The internet says I have to be OK with it so GF can do what she's likes" and actually resenting the GF when she goes out with her male friends.  Because OP truly doesn't feel ok with it.
Same as if GF says "OP, I love you so much I'll stop going out with these people" when in reality she thinks the request is ridiculous and misses her friends, or sneaks contact with them anyway.  It will breed resentment.

The key is communication with each other while travelling to the agreed page.  but don't agree to a compromise you're not happy with.

SiotehCat

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #62 on: January 28, 2013, 07:05:12 PM »
My DH would have no problem with me spending that kind of alone time with friends of the opposite sex. I don't because I would rather spend that time with him. I, on the other hand, could never be comfortable with DH spending time with other women. If he is going to be giving time to any woman, its going to be me. Fortunately, this was never a problem.

OP, I think you should be talking to your girlfriend about this. Maybe there is a compromise that the two of you could reach that would make you more comfortable?

Also, I am 27. I don't know if it matters, but I saw others posting their ages so thought it might be important.

katycoo

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #63 on: January 28, 2013, 07:50:33 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?

Someone else upthrad already addressed seeing friends separately.  But the other thing I wanted to point out is that you're taking her general desire to see a friend 3-4 times per year (reasonable) and times-ing it by how many friends she has (6) = 1 psuedo-date every 2 weeks.

Put like that it does seem like a lot.  But remember, this is only an expressed desire.  She hasn't actually booked these people in.  In actuality, she probably won't see each friend 3-4 times a year.  i have many many friends who i'd love to see MORE often than 3-4 times a year which seems pitifully infrequent.  But I don't because of life.  I'm busy, they're busy, and it just doesn't happen that often.

What about adding in her female friends.  If she's seeing them regularly too that's going out with other people weekly if not more often.  Is that fine, or does that also make you feel uncomfortable if she's going out without you so frequently?

WillyNilly

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #64 on: January 28, 2013, 09:17:41 PM »
I'm going to go on a bit of a tangent here, but please OP, bear with me.

This is a wonderful opportunity for you. Please be excited about this and at the same recognise and address the reality: change is scary.  Change causes anxiety in our lives and is difficult to understand and deal with.  And thats actually what i think is going on here.

Your life has recently taken a huge turn, yes?  You find yourself single and dating again, a situation you didn't think you'd be in and didn't plan for it and now you are caught a bit unawares, yes?

Its ok to be a bit anxious about. And to constantly wonder "is this normal? Am I normal?" because honestly dating is a constantly changing environment and everything needs to be taken and judged on a case by case basis. But just grit your teeth, put on a smile and go forward, because really, isn't that the only direction to go?

So now lets talk about this woman.  You seem to think she is keeper, and presumably other then your anxiousness are very happy with her. Well what makes her so great?  Is it because she's out going, and vibrant, and moral, and a great conversationalist, and genuinely concerned about stuff, etc? Her social life is probably a big contributing factor to her overall self. She is a whole person and all the positive things you see in her are part of her, and all her relationships and how she spends her free time is part of her.

And now, you are a part of that too.  She has a very active social life and yet it sounds like she's really tried to include you in it.  You've had enough time together to grow very close in 4 months.  That says to me she is making time for you - she is cutting back on seeing her friends. And she's inviting you to join in with her friends - she wants you to be more involved with her life.

And you know what?  I bet if you just go with it, open yourself to change, to being more social, to maybe becoming a fan of her sport's team or her musical tastes, you'll be happier and more confident, and maybe make some really good new friends and have some fun.  And I bet by being a positive, welcoming, trusting beau, you'll also be building your relationship with new things you and she do one-on-one, things she excludes her friends from.

Rusty

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #65 on: January 28, 2013, 09:31:50 PM »
I think the issues you have raised contain some red flags.    Your girlfriend is obviously a very social person and from the way you have described yourself, I would say you are less so.  Nothing wrong with either.  Now you have come along, fallen hard for each other (by your description) and are now concerned because, "she is a very social person, namely with other men friends".

You led a different life with your previous wife, the life you would lead with this woman would not be in any way, shape or form the same.   Are you prepared for that?   

There is absolutely nothing wrong with what your girlfriend wants to do, BUT,  its obviously not right for you, now or in the future.   I think before you take this relationship any further you might want to consider what life might be like in reality, not in theory.  Her going out frequently meeting her men friends, you sitting at home brooding about it and finally starting arguments about it.  It might start out all fine and hunky dorey, but I see trouble ahead.  Unless you both can come up with a compromise, she agreeing to less "dates" and maybe you finding something to do those times she does go.

Good luck with everything, but my opinion is that you would be happier with someone else.


Allyson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #66 on: January 28, 2013, 11:07:00 PM »
I think that you're focusing on gender too much here. If what worries you is that she's way more social than you, that she doesn't seem to have enough time for you, that's very reasonable. But, that would be the same whether or not her friends were opposite or same-sex. What if she was spending time with a gay man, would that still be an issue? Is it the fear that 'something will happen' that's a problem, or the fact you don't feel she's invested enough in you? I wouldn't like if my boyfriend prioritized his friends over me all the time, but it wouldn't be a gender issue, nor would it be because I was afraid he'd cheat on me with them. Just that I like to feel important and not an afterthought.

awilson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #67 on: January 29, 2013, 07:48:59 AM »
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.
Great point and actually the fact that I do not have that many friends is why I am unsure of my opinion and why I posted in the first place. thanks

awilson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #68 on: January 29, 2013, 07:51:04 AM »
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.
This is very practical advice but I reeeeealy like this woman. I want to try.

awilson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #69 on: January 29, 2013, 07:54:04 AM »
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.
Great advice, thanks!

awilson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #70 on: January 29, 2013, 07:57:09 AM »
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.
Absolutely correct, thanks for the support and the understanding. If I'm wrong I want to grow. If i'm right and a compromise cant be made then I guess we part.

awilson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #71 on: January 29, 2013, 08:06:27 AM »
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?
I agree i guess. It's just that I had the luxury of a wife who for 20 years did not ever socialize with men. So I at a minimum don't trust my view.

awilson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #72 on: January 29, 2013, 08:09:17 AM »
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.
your probably right. But I'm just looking for advice.

awilson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #73 on: January 29, 2013, 08:18:25 AM »
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.
Thank you so much. everyone is jumping on me. I am just trying to understand if it is me who needs to change. I like this woman a lot,,,, a lot. I don't trust my opinion because I am honest with myself. I'm looking for wisdom and guidance. Not to get everyone on my side. I know I can't ask her to dump her friends. If I am more correct about this then I want her and I to reach a compromise that's all.  If I'm wrong or if there is no wrong and right and I just have a tough time with it then I want to grow and get over it as much as possible so I can continue my relationship with this most wonderful woman in my life.

Giggity

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #74 on: January 29, 2013, 08:19:04 AM »
We can't tell you if you need to change. That is WAAAAY beyond the purview of a manners forum.
Words mean things.