Author Topic: friends of opposite sex  (Read 5684 times)

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awilson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2013, 10:20:45 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).
This great advice. Everyone around my age is going to have about 50 years of "life" established. I've never experienced that since I haven't dated since my 20's. thanks

jaxsue

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2013, 10:21:03 AM »
OP, I am 51 yrs old, so I don't think age has much to do with conservative POV. It's based on the individual, not a number. Just wanted to get that out of the way.

Also, you may want to break up your OP so it doesn't read like a wall of text.

You certainly have the right to your opinion, but so does your girlfriend. You are walking into a situation that has existed for years. Asking her to change all of this is a bit much. The issue really is, can you live with things the way are? If you can't, then this is not for you.

I do believe that men and women can be friends. I've always had a good number of male friends. And, yes, they've only been friends. I have zero interest in anything more. I don't do anything with said friends that seems hinky, but an occasional dinner, movie, or concert - no problem.


LadyL

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2013, 10:22:34 AM »
Some of my relationship rules are to accept your partner as they are and expect compromise, not change. You might ask your girlfriend to not see the second Bruce Springsteen show with her male friend if it falls on a night you're having an anniversary dinner. But I do not think asking her to change her socializing style at this point is a good idea. You should probably deal with your discomfort because it belays a lack of trust, or confidence that she has truly picked you and only you as her relationship partner.

Winterlight

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2013, 10:27:05 AM »
I think you need to A) accept that this is who she is and B) decide whether you can live with it.

I disagree heartily on your belief that women don't have longstanding male friends. I have a number which are totally platonic and which would never become romantic.

The ex is an ex for a reason. If they can be civil and get together once a year and talk, more power to them.

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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. 

And what if she goes out with her girlfriends after a fight with you and meets someone? Creating disaster scenarios is a bad habit of mine, so I know this one. Don't do it. You will poison your relationship- she will rightfully resent this lack of trust when she hasn't done anything to be distrusted for.
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awilson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2013, 10:29:53 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.
Great Great advice. Very quickly you folks are showing me that with the information given at face value anyway I am the one who should try to grow and change.  If I can't well then ok I won't feel bad. it's just the way it is. Your advice to just give myself time to adjust is fantastic.  And it is overwhelming now.  So this is not a decision that has to be made now. It's only been 4 months.  I should just go along and see if I can think through it and adjust.

VltGrantham

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2013, 10:34:37 AM »
I'm in the minority here because I would be uncomfortable in some of these situations.

I do not have many male friends and those that I do have, I do not "hang out with" without my husband and/or their partner/spouse being present (if DH is out of town or traveling).  We also have certain "rules" about hanging out.  We do not drive in cars with a partner of the opposite sex, alone, to whom we are not related.  I would never meet a male friend at a hotel restaurant or in any intimate type setting.  I do not have repair personnel at my home alone or have male friends over without my husband being there or other people.  I'm 40, so I don't think I necessarily fall into the "old school" category, but maybe I do.

It has very little to do with trust, but more that I do not want to become emotionally close to anyone not my spouse or give anyone any reason to be suspicious/talk.  Obviously there are people who will believe anything, but we try not to give them anything to work with either.  And these rules work both ways so DH follows them too.

awilson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2013, 10:35:32 AM »
I think you need to A) accept that this is who she is and B) decide whether you can live with it.

I disagree heartily on your belief that women don't have longstanding male friends. I have a number which are totally platonic and which would never become romantic.

The ex is an ex for a reason. If they can be civil and get together once a year and talk, more power to them.

Quote
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. 

And what if she goes out with her girlfriends after a fight with you and meets someone? Creating disaster scenarios is a bad habit of mine, so I know this one. Don't do it. You will poison your relationship- she will rightfully resent this lack of trust when she hasn't done anything to be distrusted for.
oh man I'm getting tore up here. It's great, I appreciate it. Your A and B is probably right and it is as simple as that.

Twirly

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2013, 10:43:17 AM »
I donít think feelings are wrong, so I donít think she is wrong to want to hang out with her friends the way she always has but I also don't think it's wrong for you to feel uncomfortable about it. Everyone has personal barometers for how they feel about opposite sex friendships and if one of you "wins" this issue right out the other one is going to feel resentful about it so you really have to find a compromise that works for both of you.

My husband and I have had similar issues, I have girl friends but honestly have many more male friends. This is not uncommon especially for those of us girls interested in traditionally male pursuits! At first this was a problem for DH because the only female friends he'd ever had were ones he carried a torch for so it took him a while to understand that friendships could exist without the attraction component. It came to a head once when I wanted to go visit a good (male) friend and while arguing about it I said "he may as well be my brother thatís exactly how I feel about him!" DH paused and admitted he was actually jealous of my relationship with brother but didnít feel like he could ever mention it. That it wasn't a sexual jealousy but rather jealousy of the emotional closeness I shared with him, and in his words "the lizard part of his brain" wanted to be the only male in my life. This realization led us to a very open and helpful discussion where I also realized that I could be friends with anyone I liked but it is so important that my husband feel like he comes first in my life.

What has worked well for us is to both be totally upfront about our feelings and have a few small rules in place. I don't have any friends or any activities that DH is not allowed to tag along to, he is always more than welcome but is expected not to be pouty if the activity isnít something he wants to do since he is also welcome to stay home (this rule works the other way too!) Conversely we have many shared interests that we enjoy together which I think is helpful. I make sure to call him every night before bed if I am traveling without him, I also tend to text him throughout the day funny pictures or anecdotes about my day so we feel connected. One on one time with friends is very important to me, but I try to recognize if I'm maybe scheduling too many of those and make a point to plan a group activity next time. To me it is all about both people in the relationship taking the other's feelings into account and working together to make sure both are happy.

Also my parent's divorced when I was very young and kept it very cordial and friendly  my whole life, sometimes including dinners together to catch up and discuss us kids. It made me feel safe, like my parents were still able to put aside whatever their differences were for my sake, just food for thought.

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Hmmmmm

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2013, 10:48:30 AM »
Welcome to the boards.  As others have said, your question isn't so much an eitquette one so don't be suprised if it gets moved.

What strikes me most about your post is that you do not seem at all interested in getting to know her male friends.  You said she has welecomed your participation in any of these events, but you'd feel like a third wheel and would only be there as a chaperone.  Do you have no interested in learning about your girlfriend's history before you or interests outside of your relationship? Do you feel the same way about her female friends? I have always loved meeting my DH's long ago friends.  You get to hear so much that normally doesn't come up in conversation and it is a wonderful way to gain greater understanding about why your signficant other might respond to certain situations in specific ways.

On specific topics, I think dinner after a concert is very reasonable. Just because it is a man and woman doesn't make it a date. It sounds like these two have been long term friends so think of him as a cousin. Would you dislike her going out to dinner with her cousin?

On the going out with her male friends a few times a year. I think you are right that 4 times a year with 6 separate friends is a lot of going out.  I doubt she could schedule that many with each of them. But on a one by one basis, 4 dinners a year with a specific friend doesn't seem out of the question.  But it is not up to you to budget her time. It is her perogative. Many couples have a night a week where they each go do separate things. If you decide you want to go bowling on your night out and she wants to have dinner with a friend, that is her call.  And if the friend is male, you are either goin to need to trust her or not.

A once a year game with her alumni friend seems very reasonable.  Honestly, you seem a little controlling about being upset that she might spend 12 hours away from you. The overnight at a hotel might not appear to be the most appropriate and a few years ago I personally wouldn't do it. But only because of appearances.  A few years ago I was on a work assignment for about 2 months. A male co-worker who I had developed a friendship with and I both wanted to visit a town that would have required an overnight stay. We started making plans, our spouses were aware and supportive of us getting the chance to go. However, I mentioned the plan to another co-worker and they were so shocked we were considering a "weekend" away and the perception it would make that I decided to cancel. A few weeks later, this same male co-worker and I were traveling together along for over a week on business and no one batted an eye. We both laughed at the irony. I'm still dissapointed I didn't visit the place I wanted to go to and I won't allow suspicous minds to stop me again like I did that time.

On dinner and drinks with co-workers. I've dined alone so many times with male co-workers while I was traveling or they were in town visiting, I wouldn't think twice about a male co-worker suggesting after work drinks.

I think her plan to have dinner out once a year with the ex is very healthy. Most of their conversations are probably topic focused around planning holidays and kid's activities.  Have a 2 hour time when they can discuss things like "do you think little Johnny is getting too invested in his relationship with Tina" or "Johnny's SAT scores are looking like he might get some opportunities for out of state colleges, how do you feel about that" seems ideal. My DH and I have the chance to discuss those longer term kid issues al the time. I often wonder when divorced parents are able to have those conversations or if they even do. 

awilson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2013, 10:48:41 AM »
I'm in the minority here because I would be uncomfortable in some of these situations.

I do not have many male friends and those that I do have, I do not "hang out with" without my husband and/or their partner/spouse being present (if DH is out of town or traveling).  We also have certain "rules" about hanging out.  We do not drive in cars with a partner of the opposite sex, alone, to whom we are not related.  I would never meet a male friend at a hotel restaurant or in any intimate type setting.  I do not have repair personnel at my home alone or have male friends over without my husband being there or other people.  I'm 40, so I don't think I necessarily fall into the "old school" category, but maybe I do.

It has very little to do with trust, but more that I do not want to become emotionally close to anyone not my spouse or give anyone any reason to be suspicious/talk.  Obviously there are people who will believe anything, but we try not to give them anything to work with either.  And these rules work both ways so DH follows them too.
Ok, now, so here we go. I don't agree with all this, especially the alone with the repair person thing or the alone driving in a car thing,  but alot of it I do have tendencies towards. I like that you used the term intimate type setting. I agree. Isn't a bar/restaurant a intimate setting? It just would look weird wouldn't it? If another person who knew her saw her with someone other than her husband (assuming she was married again) at a bar wouldn't that immediate be a "who's that shes with, it's not her husband" kind of thought immediately by just about anyone?

Yvaine

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2013, 10:51:47 AM »
Isn't a bar/restaurant a intimate setting? It just would look weird wouldn't it? If another person who knew her saw her with someone other than her husband (assuming she was married again) at a bar wouldn't that immediate be a "who's that shes with, it's not her husband" kind of thought immediately by just about anyone?

As for the bar/restaurant, I think it would depend on the type of atmosphere of the place and on the body language of the two people. Some places feel "datey." Some don't. Sometimes you see people out together and they look "datey." Sometimes they don't.

awilson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2013, 10:56:40 AM »
Welcome to the boards.  As others have said, your question isn't so much an eitquette one so don't be suprised if it gets moved.

What strikes me most about your post is that you do not seem at all interested in getting to know her male friends.  You said she has welecomed your participation in any of these events, but you'd feel like a third wheel and would only be there as a chaperone.  Do you have no interested in learning about your girlfriend's history before you or interests outside of your relationship? Do you feel the same way about her female friends? I have always loved meeting my DH's long ago friends.  You get to hear so much that normally doesn't come up in conversation and it is a wonderful way to gain greater understanding about why your signficant other might respond to certain situations in specific ways.

On specific topics, I think dinner after a concert is very reasonable. Just because it is a man and woman doesn't make it a date. It sounds like these two have been long term friends so think of him as a cousin. Would you dislike her going out to dinner with her cousin?

On the going out with her male friends a few times a year. I think you are right that 4 times a year with 6 separate friends is a lot of going out.  I doubt she could schedule that many with each of them. But on a one by one basis, 4 dinners a year with a specific friend doesn't seem out of the question.  But it is not up to you to budget her time. It is her perogative. Many couples have a night a week where they each go do separate things. If you decide you want to go bowling on your night out and she wants to have dinner with a friend, that is her call.  And if the friend is male, you are either goin to need to trust her or not.

A once a year game with her alumni friend seems very reasonable.  Honestly, you seem a little controlling about being upset that she might spend 12 hours away from you. The overnight at a hotel might not appear to be the most appropriate and a few years ago I personally wouldn't do it. But only because of appearances.  A few years ago I was on a work assignment for about 2 months. A male co-worker who I had developed a friendship with and I both wanted to visit a town that would have required an overnight stay. We started making plans, our spouses were aware and supportive of us getting the chance to go. However, I mentioned the plan to another co-worker and they were so shocked we were considering a "weekend" away and the perception it would make that I decided to cancel. A few weeks later, this same male co-worker and I were traveling together along for over a week on business and no one batted an eye. We both laughed at the irony. I'm still dissapointed I didn't visit the place I wanted to go to and I won't allow suspicous minds to stop me again like I did that time.

On dinner and drinks with co-workers. I've dined alone so many times with male co-workers while I was traveling or they were in town visiting, I wouldn't think twice about a male co-worker suggesting after work drinks.

I think her plan to have dinner out once a year with the ex is very healthy. Most of their conversations are probably topic focused around planning holidays and kid's activities.  Have a 2 hour time when they can discuss things like "do you think little Johnny is getting too invested in his relationship with Tina" or "Johnny's SAT scores are looking like he might get some opportunities for out of state colleges, how do you feel about that" seems ideal. My DH and I have the chance to discuss those longer term kid issues al the time. I often wonder when divorced parents are able to have those conversations or if they even do.
I appreciate you taking the time to write all that, thanks.  Something about what your saying just seems right. But it's hard for me. How do I change?

awilson

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2013, 11:14:19 AM »
Ok but where does it end. If I follow her and how most replies thus far have been thinking, then the following scenarios would be ok? 

Instead of: "Honey I know you can't get time off but I was thinking of taking a weeks vacation to go with my good same sex friend to the Bahamas" you substitute "good long term, grade school opposite sex friend".

Instead of: " I just found out that same sex friend from work-x and I both love that Whole foods store that I shop at every week.  We decided we would shop together there every week.  it will be fun"  Now substitute in opposite sex friend.

Are not both scenarios an issue?  Wouldn't any spouse legitimately not like even the mere fact that their spouse would even consider such a thing and maybe even begin to resent that they have to be the person causing trouble because they feel a need to say "I don't like that"?




Hmmmmm

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2013, 11:15:58 AM »
Welcome to the boards.  As others have said, your question isn't so much an eitquette one so don't be suprised if it gets moved.

What strikes me most about your post is that you do not seem at all interested in getting to know her male friends.  You said she has welecomed your participation in any of these events, but you'd feel like a third wheel and would only be there as a chaperone.  Do you have no interested in learning about your girlfriend's history before you or interests outside of your relationship? Do you feel the same way about her female friends? I have always loved meeting my DH's long ago friends.  You get to hear so much that normally doesn't come up in conversation and it is a wonderful way to gain greater understanding about why your signficant other might respond to certain situations in specific ways.

On specific topics, I think dinner after a concert is very reasonable. Just because it is a man and woman doesn't make it a date. It sounds like these two have been long term friends so think of him as a cousin. Would you dislike her going out to dinner with her cousin?

On the going out with her male friends a few times a year. I think you are right that 4 times a year with 6 separate friends is a lot of going out.  I doubt she could schedule that many with each of them. But on a one by one basis, 4 dinners a year with a specific friend doesn't seem out of the question.  But it is not up to you to budget her time. It is her perogative. Many couples have a night a week where they each go do separate things. If you decide you want to go bowling on your night out and she wants to have dinner with a friend, that is her call.  And if the friend is male, you are either goin to need to trust her or not.

A once a year game with her alumni friend seems very reasonable.  Honestly, you seem a little controlling about being upset that she might spend 12 hours away from you. The overnight at a hotel might not appear to be the most appropriate and a few years ago I personally wouldn't do it. But only because of appearances.  A few years ago I was on a work assignment for about 2 months. A male co-worker who I had developed a friendship with and I both wanted to visit a town that would have required an overnight stay. We started making plans, our spouses were aware and supportive of us getting the chance to go. However, I mentioned the plan to another co-worker and they were so shocked we were considering a "weekend" away and the perception it would make that I decided to cancel. A few weeks later, this same male co-worker and I were traveling together along for over a week on business and no one batted an eye. We both laughed at the irony. I'm still dissapointed I didn't visit the place I wanted to go to and I won't allow suspicous minds to stop me again like I did that time.

On dinner and drinks with co-workers. I've dined alone so many times with male co-workers while I was traveling or they were in town visiting, I wouldn't think twice about a male co-worker suggesting after work drinks.

I think her plan to have dinner out once a year with the ex is very healthy. Most of their conversations are probably topic focused around planning holidays and kid's activities.  Have a 2 hour time when they can discuss things like "do you think little Johnny is getting too invested in his relationship with Tina" or "Johnny's SAT scores are looking like he might get some opportunities for out of state colleges, how do you feel about that" seems ideal. My DH and I have the chance to discuss those longer term kid issues al the time. I often wonder when divorced parents are able to have those conversations or if they even do.
I appreciate you taking the time to write all that, thanks.  Something about what your saying just seems right. But it's hard for me. How do I change?
Your welcome.

I'd start by getting more comfortable with her male friends.  How about taking her up on the offer  and you guys plan to have one of them (and his significant other if he is married or seeing someone) over for drinks or dinner.  And if you are the host you'll feel less like the outsider.

Good luck.

Winterlight

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Re: friends of opposite sex
« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2013, 11:32:10 AM »
Ok but where does it end. If I follow her and how most replies thus far have been thinking, then the following scenarios would be ok? 

Instead of: "Honey I know you can't get time off but I was thinking of taking a weeks vacation to go with my good same sex friend to the Bahamas" you substitute "good long term, grade school opposite sex friend".

Instead of: " I just found out that same sex friend from work-x and I both love that Whole foods store that I shop at every week.  We decided we would shop together there every week.  it will be fun"  Now substitute in opposite sex friend.

Are not both scenarios an issue?  Wouldn't any spouse legitimately not like even the mere fact that their spouse would even consider such a thing and maybe even begin to resent that they have to be the person causing trouble because they feel a need to say "I don't like that"?

I might be uncomfortable with my spouse going to the Bahamas with another woman- but then, it depends. "Honey, Hertha and I are going on this scuba trip to the Bahamas with five other people," is different than "Honey, Hertha and I are going to the Bahamas to drink and party for a week."

Grocery shopping wouldn't faze me. I don't think they're going to get up to something in the produce aisle. *g*

I think this is something you and GF should take to counseling. We can give our opinions, but in the end it's up to you two to negotiate your boundaries.
If wisdomís ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls