Yes, of course you can have friends of the opposite sex when you have a partner.
But here’s a few things to remember when it comes to boundaries and making it all work together…..
When it comes to having friends of the opposite sex, it’s healthy and a great asset to have in life. Many people believe you can’t just be ‘friends’ with people of the opposite sex, but this is often because they might find friends they’re attracted to or for a whole variety of underlying beliefs.
But this isn’t true at all!
Opposite sex friends can bring fresh perspectives and can be a real value in life.
There are, however, a few occasions when lines can be blurred when it comes to having opposite gender friends, and boundaries can be crossed. And that can be whether you’re in a relationhip or not.
So, to make sure that those lines don’t become blurred, here are a few things to remember when it comes to having a beautiful loving relationship and maintaining healthy opposite sex relationships…
Meeting them one-to-one
Of course, you’re going to meet your opposite gender friends now and again and spend time with them. When you’re in a relationship, this doesn’t need to change as long as you’re open and honest with your partner. Be aware of where you’re meeting and the context. What’s normal for you? Long-term friends from a young age, it may be more acceptable to meet for food or a drink on a Friday night? A woman you met at a friendship group one night about a year ago? The friendship is not really established enough to know that this is purely just a platonic friendship for both of you, so meeting them at a pub on the weekend could be seen by the other person as a possibly more-than-friends meet. Meeting them for drinks on a Friday night, just the two of you? Steer clear and keep it to a coffee in the day.
They may secretly want to be more
Maybe you tried dating someone and you weren’t feeling it, but you both agreed to remain ‘friends’.
Well, believe it or not, that other person may still secretly fancy you. They might have agreed to be friends with you in the hope that you would one day want to be more. Or that, at least if they get to see you in a friends capacity, this might make you realise how wonderful they are and want to be more!
I hate to break it to you, but they may be holding onto a friendship with you, with the idea that one day you might want something more (especially if you told them you weren’t ‘ready’ for a relationship, rather than said the truth that you didn’t see them as more than friends).
This is something to be aware of and, if they reveal this later on, be prepared to be clear about the boundaries of your friendship.
Involve your partner — be open
Be open about who your friends are with your partner. Having a friendship that is open and where you might one day meet their friends, is important to building and maintaining trust with your partner. Meeting them or having phone chats but not telling your partner can only lead them to believe you have something to hide. Invite your friend round to your home where your partner can be there as well, keep it open and transparent.
Have a healthy mix of friendships
Having different types of friends of both genders is equally important and spending time in a variety of friendship groups is important. Meet your platonic friend in groups as well as on your own and meet up involving your partner, as well as without. Keep the balance healthy.
Be aware of flirtacious behaviour
What you perceive as being friendly may be seen by your ‘friend’ as a sign that you’re flirting with them, especially if they’re a fairly new friend. Again, when it’s somebody that has liked you in the past or who you get talking to on a night out, they could get the wrong idea. Dropping your partner’s name into the conversation or being very clear that you’re not interested will be very much needed to get the message across.
Be aware of what you share
The person you shareyour innermost thoughts, worries and fears should be with your partner, the one you’re spending your life with. They are the one you should be most comfortable being emotionally vulnerable with. Opening up more to your opposite sex friend could give off the wrong message and…imagine how hurt your partner might be if they found out you had shared something with your friend before them…they could start to feel they are not as important to you.