Are opposite-sex friends okay if you are in a committed relationship?

Black friends at café
Granger Wootz Photo Credit: Granger Wootz

I came across on Facebook a sister by the name of China La’Amour, who has a BlogTalk Radio program, “Tha Strawberry Lounge,” giving a heads-up to tune in for some interesting subjects for discussion. One is whether, if you’re in a committed romantic relationship, you can have friends of the opposite sex.

To me, it’s a no-brainer. If you can’t have such friends, you are, take it to the bank, committed in the wrong relationship, certainly to the wrong person.

It’s understandable, I suppose, for adolescents to have trouble with that one. They are, by default, prone to feeling insecure, overly territorial. In other words, they are still growing up.

Adults don’t have that excuse. Not justifiably, anyway. A man or woman who, in fact, doesn’t have both male and female buddies, has a seriously arrested social life.

Eddie Murphy once joked about having a gal for a pal: ”Men don’t have female friends. Just women they haven’t [sexed] yet,” which is all well and good for a laugh during a comedy routine.

In real life, though, it doesn’t work as a principle for conducting healthy — even reasonably sane, much less positive — behavior, even if you’re single, let alone in a relationship. Folk of the other sexual persuasion have a sensibility, a way of looking at life, an attitude toward things, you name it — a dynamic that friends of the same gender just do not have. Which, if you have the sense to avail yourself of it, makes you an appreciably well-rounded individual. So, you want in your social sphere some friends who use the other restroom at a restaurant.

That’s one piece. Here’s another. If your significant other doesn’t already have friends of both genders when you meet, that is not a good sign. If you think, that means I don’t have to deal with any threats, you’re missing the money.

What that likely means is he or she attended Eddie Murphy’s school of social interaction and doesn’t know how to have a relationship based on friendship, not sex, and probably is more interested in what’s south of the waist than they actually are in you.

Which means, once the newness wears off, their attention will wander. So, unless that’s all you’re interested in, you made a wrong turn by getting mixed with him or her.

Now for what’s really up. You in the back row, who don’t understand why you can’t keep a steady good thing going, take notes.

“Tha Strawberry Lounge” was posing the premise, “Can unreasonable jealousy be put in check?” Have heart, because, yes, it can. Those of us who habitually mess up are capable of behaving like grownups instead of self-destructing, making both ourselves and that precious other person miserable in the process.

Think. That friend was there before you came along. If you don’t want whoever to still be there after you’ve been asked to leave, value that this individual has a special history with your man or woman that you getting bent out of shape isn’t going to erase. Don’t make the situation be about who’s more important, you or the friend. Quit seeing it as a competition, because, frankly, as soon as you look at it that way, you’ve lost. Maybe not even right away.

If you being so much the love of your partner’s life he or she is blindly smitten enough to distance a friend to make you comfortable, enjoy your petty, spiteful satisfaction while it lasts. Because that beloved friend will be missed, sorely.

That’s the nature of friendship, dummy. Friends give solace, companionship, fun and a lot more. So singularly that your girlfriend or boyfriend will arrive at the quite sensible conclusion, albeit in hindsight, that their friend cared, that their friend wasn’t about control, but you sure are. At that moment, you can hang it up and start packing.

It won’t come as a casual conversation that starts, ”You know what, I realize you’re a terminally insecure idiot….” Innocuously enough, he will let that woman back into his life. Maybe to have lunch. Or she will let that man back into her life. Maybe to have lunch.

You’ll throw a first-class fit, complete with histrionics, melodramatically offering that tired old ultimatum, ”It’s either [him/her] or me.”

Don’t be surprised if your lover saw it coming and already has your bags waiting at the door with their hand out for the key. If they’ve moved in with you, be even less surprised if the whole conversation takes place over the phone and they’re so glad to be rid of you they’re not worried about what they left at your crib. If you came home and his or her cat was missing, that should’ve sent up a flag.

Either way, be sure you totally, absolutely blame yourself. Fact is, everybody needs friends, including the love of your life. Old Chinese Proverb — or it should be, anyway.

2 Comments on “Are opposite-sex friends okay if you are in a committed relationship?”

  1. I totally agree. You have to have friends outside your relationships and they should be a mixology of both male and females. I am comfortable with the women in my man’s life. Every woman before me has given him the hindsight for and with me.

  2. Read the book “Not Just Friends” by Glass a marriage counseler and you may think differently before permitting the male or female to have private opposite sex friendships when in a committed relationship Most men are friends with women because they are sexually attracted to them and would like something more than friendship.” There have been studies done on this to prove that this is true. Of course, some women (not as much as most men) are friends with men because they want more than just friendship. Please don’t be naive and think opposite sex friendships are innocent.

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