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Danger vs Platonic August 1, 2008

Posted by L in Bloggers, Family, Friends, Life, Wisdom.
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I have recently added The Last Spartan to my blog reading.
This morning, a question was posed regarding friendships. Rather than writing a book in his comment section (again), I thought I’d do a post here.

I am a married woman. I have “friends” that would probably be better titled as “acquaintances”.
My closest friends are …

… C (female) who live in another state. We speak maybe once a year. We email maybe once every other month, if that. Yet, she is in the “best friends” category.

… M (female) is an “on-line friend that spilled over to into 3D / real life”. We speak often. This is probably because we are both computer addicts, both married, both have two children, first “met” through personal type blogs (so we started off by knowing each other’s real stuff), and spend much time “hanging out” in a virtual world. Not to mention that she is totally awesome with her only worldly flaw to date being that she did not use AquaNet in the 80’s. Yes, I know. Tragic.

… JJ (male, recently married) is a dear friend of mine and an “almost”. As in “we almost got married”. Now before you wander off in your mind about some long romance that went bad and how we became friends afterwards, that is not at all how it went. See, I am much to… shall we say…. spur of the moment non-traditional in that sense. It’s a longish story for another time. None the less, he is an almost. I know JJ better than he knows himself. Just by the “Hello” when he calls I can usually tell what is going on in his life. Shoot, I have even told him how he was sitting or what he was doing while talking on the phone to me. He lives in another state, just recently married, and is the one person who my husband does not really care for. Why? Well, see, I am pretty up front about things. I am at times blunt to a fault. I tell Hubby things that a wife probably should not. JJ once spoke of coming here (we live in different states) and stealing me away from Hubby. JJ has been told, by me, that he did have his chance. Now I am married, and whether I am happy or not, I am still married. Period. I told Hubby that I told JJ this. Hubby still does not like JJ.

… Goober (male, single, also lives in another state) is another of my best friends. He knows me better than just about anyone else, though not as well as he thinks he does, but probably better than I would like to believe. He tends to read things into what I say when there is nothing to read into, but I just tell him off and it’s all good again. He claims to have feelings for me, but respects the whole marriage thing. Hubby met Goob once after we were married. Hubby knows that Goob claims feelings as well, but is not bother by it.
1. Trust
2. Goob does not say he will try to steal me away.
Goob and I talk almost daily – sometimes it is daily – and he makes me laugh so hard I often have to run to the bathroom before I wet myself like a preschooler! Hubby knows, though, that we are really and truly just friends.

I have rarely had good female friends. When I did, the friendships usually did not last long. I just have always gotten along better with men. Hubby knew this too before we were married.

Goober and I talk often. Hubby trust me. I think this is the key point here: trust.
The man can have all the intentions of doing more with a married woman, but the married woman has to (a) say yes (b) allow herself to be put in a situation that allows for pursual (c) be at a place where she either does not care or is will to “risk it”
Even if she thinks the male friend just wants to hang out and is completely blind sided by his sudden attempt to kiss her, the other things come into play. Does she say “Hold up, Mac. I’m quite married, you know this. So back off before you start squealing in pain like a mouse in a trap.” or does she say “Oh, gosh! I had no idea and I just long for attention.”

So, to answer The Last Spartan’s question
Yes, a man from the past can come into a woman’s life and be nothing more than a platonic friend. That must be established up front though, in my opinion.
I also think history plays a big part in this.

For example…
Hubby was in love with a woman who was the wife of one of Hubby’s friends.
When Hubby and I got married, his friend and that wife broke up.
The first weekend we were home as a married couple, Hubby goes to friend’s house to visit. Friend is gone but the Girl is there along with someone he had been semi-intimate with (before we were married) and a girl who, when they were younger, said they should be married when they were older. He didn’t come home that night. I kicked him out the next day (even though he still claims nothing happened that night).
Needless to say, those friendships (with those women) ended. He is still friends with the guy though.

The difference between my male friends and his female friends?
1. I wasn’t always in love with my male friends and seeing them alone after being married.
2. I am not sitting in the middle of a 3 men who want me while my Husband thinks I am with someone else.

So, again, it boils down to trust with a bit of wisdom in there for when the situation has a history that turns platonic into danger.

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Comments»

1. The Last Spartan - August 1, 2008

L,

Thank you so much for such a thought out post. I think that you raise a very important issue of trust. Obviously, it’s not as simple as someone wanting more with a married person and then–BAM–it just happens. Certain things have to occur as you’ve outlined.

The more I think about this, the more I think that there are two thoughts which I always come back to.

First, when men and women are together socially (platonic or otherwise) there usually, but not always, is a certain degree of sexual tension. As long as that tension is understood and not acted upon, things will be okay. The “extracurriculars” will be limited by what the more conservative of the two people will want. Yes, I need to trust the wife if she tells me there is nothing to it.

Second, I think that it is much easier for the uninvolved spouse to deal with this in a healthy way if the other person is known and there are no appearances of improper behavior. To clarify, if your husband disappears all night long and insists nothing happened…it would be a lot easier to deal with this if you know the person he was with and had some friendship with them.

My wife did have a fellow who I know had feelings for her before we were married but I do not find him threatening. Why? Because I know him. We’ve been introduced. We’re friendly. If he was an unknown guy who never came around except when I was sure to not be home…I think that’d be a little suspicious for bad intentions, don’t you?

Bottom line is that I do trust my wife…I just don’t know this guy and it is a bit irritating when he thinks he can have any level of friendship with an attempt to keep me in the dark.

Just a thought. Sorry to leave a book. Thanks for reading me. I too will be back here.

2. sweetiegirlz - August 1, 2008

L~and while women can sorta always place men into platonic category, men are quite (QUITE) impulsive and sex driven.

boundaries like not staying out all night or not having someone call anytime, anyplace and talk for hours without regard for someone’s spouse needing company go without saying.

I have a guy pal who is with someone else (long distance for both of us) He calls or emails me, NOW and THEN. and vice versa. But without his “guy point of view” and listening ear, not to mention the million and one times he’s helped me out in life, and the brotherly type demeanor towards me, I would be, and would’ve been lacking in life.

3. L - August 2, 2008

@The Last Spartan:
Thank you for stopping by and reading.
I agree wholeheartedly that if someone only comes around when you are known to be away it would be very suspicious.
If this guy from the past is intentionally trying to keep you out of the friendship, then I would say there might be something to question. On the other hand, if this is the first few contacts it may not be so much intentionally leaving you as much as not time yet. It would be rather odd to call up a friend after several years and say “Hey Sally. Long time no see. I hear you are married now. When can I call back and talk to Bob, your husband?” See what I am saying?
Now if they go out for coffee more than once, I would think he would say “Invite your husband, I’d love to meet him.”

There is no need to be sorry about leaving a book here.
Besides, I do it all the time. 😉

@Sweetie:
Boundaries. Wow. So many people have such issues with this very thing. It could be a post all of it own. However, sticking to boundaries in friendship and marriage… Both parties must have, recognize and respect the boundaries in order for them to be effective.
I think you’ve mentioned this friend in the past (if it is who I am thinking of). It is a good example of platonic opposite sex friendship.


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