From: One of the Guys
Thank you dear readers for your great feedback and comments on our last post. Although some of you cited examples of pockets of men walking together, the consensus seems to be that men do not in fact walk together much, unless they’re at work. Most of you agreed, it’s not the walking piece that’s uncomfortable, it’s the talking piece that COMES with the walking. Many men just aren’t that comfortable opening up with other men.
But let’s continue this discussion of friendship for a bit and talk about some other types of friendships.
My wife is my best friend. I cherish our relationship. But I also am thankful for my other friendships with men and women. Not having to rely on my wife to provide me with all my emotional support only nurtures our relationship. My friendships actually energize and rejuvenate me, and that positive energy is something I bring to my relationship with my wife and kids. And frankly it’s a lot of pressure to be the “all and everything” for your partner. I think too many women bear that burden.
In previous relationships I would often put friendships on hold for a while. The giddiness of the new relationship was partly to blame, but also my fear that the new person might get jealous if I went out with THE GUYS, or THE GALS. But after a while this just did not sit right with me. I decided that I am who I am, and that includes all my friends.
But having friendships outside our main relationship is a delicate balance for sure. It’s a question of WHY do we have these relationships? And that is often what causes strife in the primary relationship.
Friendships can provide pieces that are missing in a primary relationship, but really they should enhance them or complement them. And since I discussed friendships with GUYS in the last post, I want to focus more on friendships with members of the opposite sex.
For me, my friendships with women provide me with new perspectives. If I have a question about something that’s going on in my life, I love hearing their opinions. I also think that conversations with women are just different. They digress in different ways, and they meander to and fro in more circuitous routes, which I enjoy. But these friendships don’t replace the deep connections I have at home, otherwise that would be a problem. Like I said, this is where people run into trouble.
When I see a man and a woman together, and if they’re relatively the same age, I usually assume they are together in some capacity; I mean romantically. It’s my first gut reaction. So I assume when I’m out with a girlfriend having coffee or lunch that people might think the same thing. And that’s why I rarely have dinner with a girlfriend because I don’t want to give people the wrong impression, especially people I know. Dinner usually connotes romance. That’s why I always tell some of the single GUYS, “Forget coffee, just ask her out to dinner, and that way if she says yes, you both know it’s a date.” So dinner for me is something I avoid if I’m out with a woman friend. I just would never want to represent my family or wife in a potentially embarrassing way. (Well, sometimes it’s not possible. Just ask her about the last party we went to. But I digress.)
Having friendships outside of a primary relationship is important, but we must be sensitive and aware in order to do this. So for me, my wife knows all my friends. I made a point of introducing her, so she could not only know who I’m hanging out with, but also know these people are not a threat to her at all. In fact, she is now friends with some of these people, which is very nice.
Friendships help me see the world from many different viewpoints. And these deep connections have helped me evolve, and will help me continue to evolve through the stages of my life.
What about you?
Do you have friendships outside of your primary relationship?
How do you feel about friends of the opposite sex? Is it possible?
How do you feel about your partner having friends outside of your relationship? And what about with members of the opposite sex?
Any other thoughts about friendship?
Feel free to answer none, one or all of these questions.
We’ll be discussing this more on upcoming podcasts.