The Problem of Opposite Sex Friends

One of my best friends right now is a guy.  And what I get from that friendship is something that I couldn’t get from a friendship with a woman.

I think anyone who has had close non-sexual relationships with members of the opposite sex can understand what I’m talking about.  There’s just a difference in perspective and approach that my guy friends have that I find very valuable.

I almost always have at least one close guy friend.  Have since I was probably fifteen.

Not someone I was dating, but someone I trusted implicitly and could talk to about almost anything.  Those friendships eventually end.  The last three because the guy in question found a wife and we slowly drifted apart as he devoted himself to his marriage.  (As a man should.)

And that right there highlights the issue with these kinds of friendships.  They take up a lot of emotional space and demand a certain amount of time and energy.  Time and energy that should be spent of finding someone more permanent or on your current relationship.

Its convenient and safe to let this type of deep friendship fill in for a romantic relationship or fill the holes in a less-than-adequate relationship.  It meets those emotional needs that a romantic relationship should meet.  It’s not actually a substitute for a full-blown romantic relationship, but it can consume enough time and energy that you fail to pursue a real relationship or fail to extract yourself from a failed relationship.

And that’s where the problem lies.  When that friendship prevents you from finding the right relationship for you.

I whole-heartedly believe in being friends with members of the opposite sex.  I’d lose half my friends if I weren’t friends with men.  But when a friendship moves into that deep, sharing place, alarm bells should be ringing in my head.

The other problem with a friendship like that is that it makes dating that much harder.  You have this mental bar set based upon that close friend of yours and you hold every potential match up to that standard.  Problem is, that standard is based upon someone you know really, really well and no one can meet that standard in a first impression.

(Or maybe they can.  But you end up eliminating a lot more potential matches right away when you set that kind of bar for new people.)

So, I’m not saying walk away from a friendship that provides you a vital source of support.  I’m just suggesting you try to be aware of how that relationship is affecting the rest of your life and where it might in fact be holding you back.


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