Love Living, Quit Hating, Everyone Relating

Friends of the Opposite Sex – pt.1

In Attraction, Relationships on July 26, 2010 at 12:53 am

The fact is that people need other people and they always will. It’s a result of humans taking nine months to be born, two years to learn basic communication, and five years to have real control over their motor skills. We grow up needing other people to teach, feed, and support us. It can be debated whether we need anyone for emotional support but the point that we don’t need anybody else, ever is a hard sell.

In the same token, I think people have friends in order to fill needs that no one person can fill. Living up to your potential is achieved through growth. Meeting, befriending, and empathizing with new people is a route to that end.

I have been discussing the idea of friendships with others. More exclusively though, I have been talking about having friends of the opposite sex while being in a relationship. Is this ok? Is it a recipe for failure? Below are some of the issues that pertain to opposite sex (or the sex you are attracted to) friendships while being in a relationship.

How long have you known the individual?
Did you know your friend before your current relationship? If so, then you are probably still friends for a reason. Whether they are a confidant or casual friend, your friend plays some role in your life. As long as you maintain healthy boundaries then you should continue the friendship. If your current partner has a problem with this situation then this may have more to do with his or her insecurities than your wrongdoing.

How well do you know each other?
The longer you have known someone, the more likely it is that you two are fairly close. Your partner may not like the idea of someone else being privy to as much knowledge about you as he or she is. Remember, while there is a such thing as feeding your partner’s insecurities (bad thing) there is also the need to value your his or her beliefs (good thing).
Making sure your partner is comfortable with the situation is a step towards valuing them as….well….as your partner. If you are really good friends with someone before entering into a relationship, make sure to communicate this as a nonissue. When healthy friends become close enough, they are essentially family and no one would or should tell you that you can no longer talk to your family in order to be with them. 

Is any level of attraction involved?
Attraction is a natural part of life. When having friends, attraction is very possible but not necessarily a game changer. You must be weary of the ‘grass is greener’ effect. Being mature in a relationship means knowing what to do when you experience this newfound attraction. It can seem very exciting and worthwhile but don’t let this cloud your judgment. It must also be noted that if your friend is attracted to you as well, they always have less invested in your current relationship than you do and may not have your best interests in mind.

Are you using your attraction as an excuse?
There are times when we are with someone for so long that it’s more of a hassle to break up with them than it is to stay together. At this point in a relationship that people are prone to justifying their actions. Attraction then becomes an escape or excuse to escape. Take an honest look at your relationship. Are you satisfied and happy with your investment and the corresponding rewards? Are you doing what it takes to keep the relationship aflame? If not, then attraction may very well become an excuse to leave. In fact, you have a higher risk of becoming attracted to someone else period, let alone a friend.

Our complex nature as human beings requires us to have a variety of relationships. We grow through our experiences with others and it would be unfair to only rely on one person for consistent stimulation and inspiration. Having strong, healthy relationships outside of your intimate relationship requires setting strong, healthy boundaries. So be aware of your personal motivations and communicate to your partner the value of your friendships. This transparency will show your partner that you value his or her opinions and feelings.

Swag

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  1. […] wanted a relationship with her. Admittedly, I feel into the grass is greener trap and used my attraction to another friend as an excuse to finally break up with her. I went about it in an immature manner, but the fact […]

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