Author Topic: friends of opposite sex  (Read 5480 times)

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awilson

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friends of opposite sex
« on: January 28, 2013, 09:03:43 AM »
Hello folks I am so new to the forum that this is my first post. I really need help with this one. It is a long post so those that read the whole thing are greatly appreciated.
I am a 50 year man.  I was married for 20 years.  Now I am dating again unfortunately. But fortunately I have met an amazing woman who is 46. We have been together for 4 months now.  The relationship is accelerated to something way more than where you might be in a typical 4 month old fledgling relationship.  In her words we are so close that it seems like we have been together forever.  We feel like it is a once in a lifetime relationship. She says itís like there is a reason we are together.  So great! We both would categorize ourselves as conservative.  Maybe itís our age, maybe itís the way we were raised. Whatever, because in general that wonít change. But my hope is that I gain insight here that will help one or both of us move towards a working position on this issue.  Please understand that I am not trying to be right. Iím trying to get to a resolution that works for both and maybe someone can grow in the process. Ok here goes:
My girlfriend has many many friends, both male and female.  Many of them for decades, since grade school!!  I have tendencies to not be comfortable with the idea of her ďreally, really, really good guy friendsĒ.  I would never ask her to disassociate with these friends.  But Iím uncomfortable. Itís should be known that I have few friends, none female.  Again I am trying to be honest.  I will give you some of her real scenarios when we have talked about it. Under the assumption that we would be married when these scenarios take place again in the future:

1)   Friend #1 and my GF are both Bruce Springsteen fans.  What they have been doing for years is when Bruce comes in town they get tickets for both concerts.  At the time my GF was married so here is how it went. First night 4 tickets. My GF and her then husband and her friend #1 and wife. Second night just my GF and her friend. I assume thatís because the spouses are not such big fans. Ok I am sort of basically barely ok with this.  It is a longtime friend and they share this big interest and get together when Bruce is in town.  But then she wants to go out after the concert and have dinner and drinks with him to catch up. I say I am a little uncomfortable with the whole thing but understand but donít like the dinner part. I think you go to the concert together and come home.  She says whatís wrong with going to dinner. I say it sounds like a date. She says they are just spending time together and catching up. I say donít you have plenty of time to catch up certainly before and after the concert? OK please advise.

2)   She says she would like to be able to spend time catching up and or just hanging out with these male friends mostly one on one situations. As her child grows up she looks forward to be at a point where she has more time to do so like she did before the kid.  She has female friends too but that is not the topic of discussion. There are about 6 of these. She says that she wouldnít mind seeing them 3-4 times a year.  Now it is maybe once. So to me that means 6 friends x 4times a year = 24 of these meetings a year. Thatís every 2 weeks out with a different male friend.  She realizes that in our busy lives this is highly improbable but if she couldÖ.. Scenario would be to go to a bar or restaurant for food and drinks. Or maybe a sports bar to watch a game with her alumni male friend.  She said I could go too which I guess is important to know. Ok here is my position.   I trust her. She sees this as her longtime friends, period.  But I have been around the block. I understand how things get weird.  She says my opinions are ďso cavemanĒ  I say that it is legitimate for me to be able to say I donít know these people at all and It is legitimate to say it makes me a little uncomfortable and it is certainly legitimate to say that I would have simply preferred that this situation didnít exist. Not to stop but that if it simply didnít exist it would be better. And that it is extremely unusual.  She does not see it as extremely unusual. She thinks it is more common and not having these longtime friends is uncommon regardless of male or female.  I know I will be uncomfortable forever every time she goes out with one of these people. I know no matter how hard I try to not show it I will probably give off a bad vibe if say one of these guys comes over to pick her up. I also know that probably me going out with them probably is not a solution. I would be the 3rd wheel because I donít have the history. I probably am not there because I want to make friends with this guy, I would just be there to make sure everything is cool which is stupid. That dynamic doesnít work so again I probably would not go.  I think that good people can make mistakes.  And if you put yourself in positions where it is WAY easier to make that mistake then thatís an error.  What if for years thereís no issue then one time they are catching up and the guy says, Well me and my wife are having issues. Or that they are now divorced.  And what if at that time my wife is also in a low period or having trouble with me. Then they talk about it and bend each otherís ear and the circumstances are right because they regularly put themselves in that situation and then something happens.  They are temporarily weak or confused and vulnerable and they make an error in judgment in the moment.  Thatís my issue.  Also she would be taking an awful lot of time away from us being together.  Every time I turn around she would be catching up with one of these people. When you ad in the girlfriends Iíll have to make an appointment to go out with my wife on the weekend. I guess it also bothers me that she has such great male friends for so long. Most women just donít,  donít you think? She also sees no problem with her male friends spending time with her at home alone. I would be uncomfortable knowing theyíre together in our house even if theyíre just doing what they do. I guess I just donít like the closeness.  People shouldnít be in situations or places where if all of a sudden strange thoughts get in someoneís head that they have an immediate opportunity to act. Why have to have a lot of strength to resist?? Donít be in that scenario. There Is much to be said for a cool off period.  In other words if you donít create those circumstances you would have to plan or meet again in different more accommodating circumstances. Thatís why traditionally there are things or scenarios that are just not right even if nothingís going on. But if then they do plan on a one night stand or affair then there is not much I can do about it. But I never worry about that. She would never do a planned thing.  It is the spur of the moment, caught up in the moment stuff that bothers me. Please advise

3)   Her and her alumni guy friend may want to go to a game lets say once a year.  I donít think she would exclude me but if I didnít want to go (3rd wheel again) she still would want to go alone with him.  It would be a long day together 12 hours due to driving and all?, and CRUD MONKEYS! maybe a sleep over in a hotel would make more sense.   That whole scenario bothers me.  Please advise
Shouldnít some things not be done anymore when you are in a committed relationship or marriage?  I mean be sympathetic to the other persons feelings? Iím not saying get rid of your friends. Friends are precious. But Iím looking for guidelines or activities which would leave me less anxious maybe. I THINK, not sure, but THINK she would not go in some cases if I voiced my concerns but there would be resentment. And every time that happened the next time there would be more resistance till maybe she just did it and told me ďtoo bad.Ē So that doesnít work. But again whats the middle ground?  How can they meet where it seems safe to me?  I know that if these people came to our home when I am there I would certainly be happy with that.  Is it ok for me to ask for that? That would be ideal because then me being there is no problem because I live there!  I can interact or not and its OK.  What if she says they want to go out? Whats the benefit of being out together?  Why would that be important?  I love this woman but I donít want to spend the rest of my life trying to deal with this when it happens. But I love her and what if Iím just wrong with my views? What if she is? HOW DO WE GET PAST THIS?  Or should I? HELP!!!

4)   I used male work friends as an example. Would she go out alone for drinks and dinner with a male friend from work? Someone she was good friends with at work? She said no that would not be appropriate.  I need to ask if a work friend became a really good friend would it then be appropriate and something she would want to do. Is there going to be more mountains for me to climb with that? Please advise

5)   Ex husband. She  thinks there would be nothing wrong with once a year going out to a restaurant or bar and catching up with the ex alone.  To me that would happen all the time during the course of communication due to their connection with the kid. Whats the point of that one?  Please advise.

Whatís with all these guys!!!  Yea I guess there are a lot of girls too,,,but still.  I guess itís just a lot of friends.  In advance I appreciate all your advice.

fountainsoflettuce

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 09:14:03 AM »
It's great to see a new poster but unfortunately, I think you might have the wrong forum.  This is an etiquette forum, not a venue for relationship advice. 

kckgirl

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2013, 09:17:52 AM »
This should really be in the off-topic folder, but it sounds like the two of you have such different values that you should think of dating someone else. I would feel so stifled by your beliefs that it wouldn't bode well for a relationship.
Maryland

scansons

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2013, 09:22:05 AM »
I'm 40 and I had mostly male friends until I got married.  Women can be really competitive, even with their girlfriends over men.  I found it to be more trouble than it was worth to maintain female friends when I was single, in most cases.  There are a couple women out there that I've been friends with forever, but most of  my female friends are from after my marriage, and most of  my male friends are from before.  So I don't think that's odd at all.   

guihong

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2013, 09:32:12 AM »
I think you have to ask yourself whether you trust her or not.  All of those scenarios sound on the up and up to me.

Simply going out with other women doesn't necessarily mean freedom from all temptation.  There are, of course, women who prefer partners with the same gender.

As for the ex-husband, not every divorce is an acrimonious battle.  I'd be glad she was still civil with him and that they seem to communicate well for their child's sake.

I wanted to give my take, but this sounds much more like a relationship issue than an etiquette one.




jmarvellous

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2013, 09:38:47 AM »
None of these things sound suspicious or even odd to me. I'm even a little jealous that she has managed to foster so many good friendships for so long!

You do not sound like the right partner for her (insofar as you do not like a huge part of her, and insofar as this represents a wide gap in values, priorities and lifestyles -- expecting love to bridge the gap is expecting too much, I bet), and I agree with others that this is not the right forum for this question.

Amava

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2013, 09:45:09 AM »
Let's not jump to the conclusion that the relationship is doomed because there are differences.

This is just a whole new thing, a new way and outlook on life than yours, and you're only 4 months in. It's all a bit overwhelming for you now, so I would say, give yourself some time to adjust.

Don't be too suspicious or afraid to lose her to one of her maie friends. Remember, the ex is an ex for a reason, and the male friends who have been friends for so long with her would probably have made a move on her (or she on one of them) if anything was meant to be between them.

Talk a lot, communicate. Don't try to be controlling or forbid her anything, but do communicate your worries and also if she spends really a lot of time with her friends to the extend that it makes you lonely, talk about it.

I would say the same thing if the genders were reversed. I don't think partners should try to control each other's social life but communication is important and helpful.

Twik

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2013, 09:52:18 AM »
Women can find opportunities to cheat even without "catching up" occasionally with male friends they rarely see. Your issue is, do you trust her, or don't you? If you don't, the relationship is not going to work, so you may as well end it now. If you do, you need to let her use her own judgment about who to see, and when.

I think part of the problem is that you feel awkward inserting yourself into the life she has already established (your "third wheel" comment). However, for people dating in the adult years, this is always going to be an issue. Any woman you meet will have her own life, and expecting her to drop everyone she knows  for your sake is unrealistic (plus, I'd run far, far away from any woman who would do so for someone she'd only been seeing for a short 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."

Cosmasia

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2013, 09:57:36 AM »
While expressing your feelings to her is fine, it's really not your place to tell her to limit her time with certain friends just because they are male.

I guess it also bothers me that she has such great male friends for so long. Most women just donít,  donít you think?

Uh no, I don't agree. People have friends of various gender identities and that's not wrong or something "most women don't".

Honestly it seems like you two just have very different ideas about this and it seems like, when all comes to all, that you simply don't trust her. If I were her I would not be accepting of my partner being uncomfortable with any of these scenarios. None of them sound weird or hinky, they sound like normal friend situations and I'd expect my partner to work on those feelings, especially when the friendships are very longterm and established a while ago.

I also find it kind of strange that she has a child with her ex husband (I assume) yet you don't want her to meet him one on one just once a year..? That seems like a pretty smart thing to do when you share parenting responsibilities.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 10:00:35 AM by Cosmasia »
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awilson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2013, 10:02:36 AM »
Let's not jump to the conclusion that the relationship is doomed because there are differences.

This is just a whole new thing, a new way and outlook on life than yours, and you're only 4 months in. It's all a bit overwhelming for you now, so I would say, give yourself some time to adjust.

Don't be too suspicious or afraid to lose her to one of her maie friends. Remember, the ex is an ex for a reason, and the male friends who have been friends for so long with her would probably have made a move on her (or she on one of them) if anything was meant to be between them.

Talk a lot, communicate. Don't try to be controlling or forbid her anything, but do communicate your worries and also if she spends really a lot of time with her friends to the extend that it makes you lonely, talk about it.

I would say the same thing if the genders were reversed. I don't think partners should try to control each other's social life but communication is important and helpful.

I love this advice. I appreciate it. Like you said it's just so different to me. I just need to see how it goes.  I'm not sure everyone who has read this understands even though I tried to epress it in the post that I trully am not sure I think right about this whole thing and am willing to learn, grow and change if it's me that should be changing.  I appreciate everyones input.  I guess If this is not where this belongs I will then also post it somewhere else.

bopper

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2013, 10:07:29 AM »
I would say that you have the right to not feel comfortable with all these opposite gender friends...in a general sense.
However, since she has been operating this way for a long time, you need to decide "I can live with this", "I can participate in this (attend events with her and friend)" or "This is not the person for me."    Note that "I can get her to change" is not an option in this case. She has been living independently like this for a long time and it would seem insurmountable to get her to change.
I would also caution that the "short time frame but feeling like we are soulmates" plus the "but I want to hang out with all these guys" sounds a little red flaggy to me.

awilson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2013, 10:09:34 AM »
While expressing your feelings to her is fine, it's really not your place to tell her to limit her time with certain friends just because they are male.

I guess it also bothers me that she has such great male friends for so long. Most women just donít,  donít you think?

Uh no, I don't agree. People have friends of various gender identities and that's not wrong or something "most women don't".

Honestly it seems like you two just have very different ideas about this and it seems like, when all comes to all, that you simply don't trust her. If I were her I would not be accepting of my partner being uncomfortable with any of these scenarios. None of them sound weird or hinky, they sound like normal friend situations and I'd expect my partner to work on those feelings, especially when the friendships are very longterm and established a while ago.

I also find it kind of strange that she has a child with her ex husband (I assume) yet you don't want her to meet him one on one just once a year..? That seems like a pretty smart thing to do when you share parenting responsibilities.
I greatly appreciate your advice. Please understand I would never tell he she can't do these things. That simply won't work. I'm just trying to learn if it's me who needs to deal with it. The thing about the ex is that I just figured why hang out with the ex for a few hours if all year they are communicating about the kid and the normal coordination that goes on. I am sure that during that there are side discussions about whats going on in their lives all the time.  Why need an additional yearly meeting. I came from divorced parents and that never happened. So now everyone tell me i'm wrong. :)

Yvaine

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2013, 10:14:13 AM »
I guess it also bothers me that she has such great male friends for so long. Most women just donít,  donít you think?

Overall, this is an issue that only the two of you can figure out for yourselves. There are varying schools of thought and varying opinions on platonic male/female friendships and each of you needs to be with someone who is compatible in that regard or can work out a compromise with. But I've picked out the bolded above in order to ask you not to generalize. I have a number of male friends whom I've been friends with for my entire adult life, and in some cases even since high school. Your "most women just don't" is a little presumptuous to me.

awilson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2013, 10:15:38 AM »
This should really be in the off-topic folder, but it sounds like the two of you have such different values that you should think of dating someone else. I would feel so stifled by your beliefs that it wouldn't bode well for a relationship.

I appreciate your last strong comment. Maybe it's me. Maybe anyone would feel stiffled and controlled. thanks.

cicero

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2013, 10:18:08 AM »
While expressing your feelings to her is fine, it's really not your place to tell her to limit her time with certain friends just because they are male.

I guess it also bothers me that she has such great male friends for so long. Most women just donít,  donít you think?

Uh no, I don't agree. People have friends of various gender identities and that's not wrong or something "most women don't".

Honestly it seems like you two just have very different ideas about this and it seems like, when all comes to all, that you simply don't trust her. If I were her I would not be accepting of my partner being uncomfortable with any of these scenarios. None of them sound weird or hinky, they sound like normal friend situations and I'd expect my partner to work on those feelings, especially when the friendships are very longterm and established a while ago.

I also find it kind of strange that she has a child with her ex husband (I assume) yet you don't want her to meet him one on one just once a year..? That seems like a pretty smart thing to do when you share parenting responsibilities.
I greatly appreciate your advice. Please understand I would never tell he she can't do these things. That simply won't work. I'm just trying to learn if it's me who needs to deal with it. The thing about the ex is that I just figured why hang out with the ex for a few hours if all year they are communicating about the kid and the normal coordination that goes on. I am sure that during that there are side discussions about whats going on in their lives all the time.  Why need an additional yearly meeting. I came from divorced parents and that never happened. So now everyone tell me i'm wrong. :)

welcome to the boards.

and yes - i think this is something that *you* have to work out for you. it's possible that this is a gap you will never be able to bridge, and it's possible that you will learn to compromise. I can't say that it's "right" or "wrong" for her to have friends of opposite sex - there is nothing inherently wrong with it but it's not the right dynamic for every relationship. you may find that you can learn to live with it and you may find that you can't.

as for the ex - this would never work for me. my ex (ds's father) is an ex for good reason and i nver see him. but i think it is in the best interest of the children if the parents could get along - i am sorry that my ex and I cannot. I know divorced couples who spend holidays together - and while that may be strange for some, it works for others. again - there is nothing inherently wrong with this.


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