Can men and women just be “friends”?

Unlike Mary J. Blige I am FINE with my husband having women friends, to be perfectly honest I’d settle for him having ANY FRIENDS! But in all seriousness I have this conversation with my husband at least once a month. And it always goes something like this:

can men and women just be friends?
Me: “Honey I know I can be friends with a man.”

My husband: “No you can’t, ultimately every man that is friends with a woman is only doing it because what he really wants is to sleep with her and he’s just waiting for that moment when they finally have sex.”

Of course I don’t agree- and yet my husbands feelings are what have kept me from maintaining close relationships with men who were really good friends, before I got married. And no we weren’t the kind of friends who kissed on the lips- or enjoyed any extracurricular physical benefits. We were confidantes and each other’s wing men. We were the kind of friends who could talk endlessly with no judgment, no competitive streak just with the best of intentions. And these friends, well they just so happened to be males.

One of these friends, who emails me every so often, with just a few words can summon up my feelings of love and loss over the friendship we once shared; his indelible imprint on my person was so impactful, that even after years of not seeing him just a note can evoke a floodgate of memories.

I guess I miss his friendship but my husband’s feelings of jealousy (which I think are kinda cute) trump any friendships which in hindsight is bathed in a gauzy, untouchable light. Still when I get the occasional email from him and I experience this surge of feeling well up in me- I wonder if what my husband says is true– is it really impossible for men and women to be friends without the whole SEX thing getting in the way?

Comments

  1. says

    I am in complete agreement with Shana here. The idea that men and women cannot be friends is bathed in insecurity and jealousy, and regardless of whether you find it to be cute or an endearing quality, the fact of the matter is that somewhere in that person’s mind, they just don’t trust you to remain loyal to them. I know that everyone wants to be appreciated and feel wanted by their significant other, which may be why you think your husband’s jealousy is cute, but the fact that those feelings of his have stopped you from having a fulfilling and enjoyable friendship that just so happens to be with a male is actually kind of depressing. I’m not saying that you should do something that you know your husband is genuinely uncomfortable with and cause issues where there doesn’t need to be within your marriage, but a real conversation about the fact that maybe not ALL people can be friends with someone of the opposite gender but SOME people can and you’re one of them needs to happen. I operate very much within the sentiment that someone should be trusted until they give you a reason why you shouldn’t trust them.

  2. Tim says

    Gonna have to agree with your husband that unless one participant of the relationship is terribly unattractive and the friendship is based on work or some other boring premise men and women cannot be the kind of friends that go out for meals together or talk on the phone for hours without one of them wanting to have sex with the other one. Just my opinion but I don't know a guy who feels differently.

  3. says

    While I think in rare VERY rare relationships a man and a woman can just be friends. I really just do not believe it is always possible. I personally have been friends with many guys and usually our friendships ended because they wanted sex. My ex-husband also proved to me that men can’t just be friends with women when he tried to tell me when we first got together that most of his friends were female. He cheated on me with several of them after we got married. So no I don’t believe it.

  4. Shana says

    The idea that men and women can’t be friends is an insecure person’s nightmare only. If you trust your partner, then you ought to know that should a situation come up, they’d be able to decline an offer of sex outside the relationship and not give into temptation. Otherwise, any discomfort being felt is just an expression of their own insecurity and their concern over the other person’s capacity to remain faithful. Instead of putting limits and fences on their partner, maybe they should address why they’re so sure the other person can’t be trusted not to cheat.

  5. ellen says

    I have to actually agree with your husband on this one. But actually it isnt a matter of friends or sex, but more of a matter of an emotional bond that can be very damaging to a marriage.

    Friends tend to share things… or most do. When a marriage partner starts sharing too much with a friend of the opposite sex I have seen it blow up and into a situation that could have been avoided. The things you share are likely something you and your husband would have worked out but the other person is emotionally invested and feels they either need to say something or do something.It isnt like a same sex person (usually a female friend of the wife) saying something, it is a totally different thing.

    Its the whole emotional bonding that is dangerous. To see your partner have thaat emotional bond can be hurtful. The very telling thing about your post is when you say ” his indelible imprint on my person was so impactful, that even after years of not seeing him just a note can evoke a floodgate of memories.” If you think about those words, and then reverse the situation would you really want your husband to have those same feelings for another female? Would you want him to take time and feelings from you and invest them in another woman?