5 Ways to Manage Opposite Sex Friendships in your Relationship

5 Ways to Manage Opposite Sex Friendships in your Relationship

Opposite sex friendships are a cognizance part of our lives as humans. Like the popular saying, ‘No man is an island’, we have all had to have friends for different reasons. Friendship is an integral part of the human life, no matter how much anyone think they can do anything on their own, there has still been a reason to relate with others.

I am unmarried, hence I will restrict the content of this post in managing your relationships with opposite sex friends. The first truth is that we all have opposite sex friends and that is very okay. People keep such friends for different reasons and one of this reason is to understand how the opposite sex thinks, behaves and relates.

A lot of relationships has hit the rock because of how we have handled this situation. A lot of tend to be conflicted between pleasing our friends at at the same time pleasing our partners. At the end of the day we end up messing it up and losing both parties.

Related: The Culture of Entitlement in Relationships

opposite sex frienships

The most important thing about dealing with this situation and creating an healthy balance between your partner and opposite sex friendships is to set boundaries. To establish this, it is first important to ask yourself some salient questions:

  • Is your mate unaware of your opposite-sex friendships?
  • Would you behave differently around your friend if your partner were present?
  • Would you feel uncomfortable if your fiancé or spouse had the same quality of friendship with someone of the opposite sex?
  • Do you have a physical and/or emotional attraction to your friend?
  • Do you ever compare your mate to your friend?
  • Have you ever entertained romantic fantasies about your friend?
  • Do you and your friend ever exchange highly personal details about your lives or complain about your relationships to each other?

If you answer yes to most of these questions, then there is a problem and your relationship is certainly going to hit the rock real soon.

How To Manage Opposite Sex Friendships in Your Relationships

#1: Be sure that your partner knows and accept this friend

This may be very tricky. A lot of times, your partner may be a narcissist who does not want to share you with anyone else but themselves. Relationships like this are quite toxic and you need to be wary of them. However, if your partner genuinely has your best interest at heart and does not approve of such friends, then you should respect such concern.

While this may be hard for you to do and may tend to pose some difficulties, you should try to discuss this with your partner. He may come around on it if he get to know the person and understand what you both share is very healthy. Or he may be able to convince you more on why it is unhealthy for your relationship survival.

opposite sex frienships

#2: Your opposite sex friendships is nothing more than just friendships

Very often, when our relationship is in jeopardy, we are always quick to relay all these issues with our opposite sex. Having third parties opinion in your relationships is really unhealthy and may threaten the longevity of such relationship. Hence, it is important to keep your relationship troubles away from your opposite sex friends. And most times, when we continue to entertain this habit, it draws us closer to these friends and more away from our partners. And before you know it, you have started engaging in emotional infidelity.

Instead, always iron out issues with your partner and confide in them more rather than a third party.

#3: See your opposite sex friends as someone else’s future spouse

Until both of you are willing to pursue the relationship, restrict them to just being friends. Feelings and desire can be quite tricky and the more time you spend with one another, the more intimate you become. With the advent of social media, it becomes very easy to keep a tab on yourselves and stay in touch ’25 hours’ a day. At first, both of you may not have such ideas but the closer you get, knowing almost every single detail about the other person, the more intimate you would become.

Making it even more harder to make a life decision without the other person’s opinion. If you are in a relationship, this is a red flag and would definitely harm your relationship. Rather, shift this focus to your partner and avoid spending too much time either on phone or in person with such friends.

opposite sex frienships

#4: Do not keep secret from your partner especially about your opposite sex friends

A lot of times, we tend to have this notion that what one doesn’t know does not kill them. But we forget that keeping a secret hurts us more as individuals and make us disloyal. We are quick to think if we keep certain things from our partner about our opposite sex friendship, we are saving them from not trusting us. But that’s always the beginning of an emotional betrayal.

The more we keep at it, the more the chances of us betraying our partners and maybe running off into a relationship with our friends or even loosing them both in the end.

Dr. Glass recommends reading letters from a friend aloud to your spouse, for example, and letting the friend you’re corresponding with know that your spouse enjoyed their anecdote about one thing or another to make it clear that you’re sharing it with them. It’s good practice in all your friendships (whether with men or women) to make it known that you don’t keep secrets from your spouse, as secrets of any kind can put a strain on your relationship.

#5: Set physical boundaries

All of the above earlier points are more about setting healthy boundaries between yourself and your opposite sex. It is important however, to not just set emotional boundaries but also physical boundaries. You can state a few things you are not comfortable with which they do. this may include late night calls, very long calls even while you are with your partner or unnecessary public display of affection.

Even while all this may come with good intentions, your partner may get the wrong message and this may ruin your relationship before you even get a chance to explain. Before you expect your partner to understand, ask yourself if you’d understand in such a case too.

opposite sex friendships

Related: Cracking The Long Distance Relationships Code

On a final note, it is important to know that it takes two to make a relationship works and both parties need to be emotionally, psychologically and physically ready. In addition, what works for couple A may never work for couple B. Hence, never try to compare your relationship with others. Work on yours based on the parties involved and how well you both can deal with your excesses.

What’s your take on having opposite sex friendships in a relationship? Would you encourage your partner to keep them? How far would you go to ask them not to? Don’t be a stranger, join the conversation.

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12 Comments

  1. Marpe
    October 29, 2018 / 4:45 pm

    Awesome!
    Awesome!!
    Awesome!!!

    Aptly written. A lot learned from the five points stated. Truth is, I didn’t really know all of these are needed until just recently. And this blog just did justice to the subject matter.

    However, like Debby said, what works for Mr. “A” may not work for Mr. “B”, it’s not rocket science.

    • October 29, 2018 / 4:48 pm

      I’m glad you found the points useful. Relationships are not rocket science and there’s never a general rule for it.

      Thanks for stopping by, Marpe 🖤

  2. October 29, 2018 / 4:46 pm

    this right here is the truth!!! THE TRUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • October 29, 2018 / 4:48 pm

      Thank you, Inkheart 🖤 I hope you stop by again

  3. Chika
    October 29, 2018 / 5:45 pm

    This post is totally relatable. Going against your suggestions ruined my first relationship. I learnt the hard way.

    • October 29, 2018 / 6:08 pm

      I can imagine, Chika. I’ve been there as well and I can tell what could go wrong when one doesn’t draw a line.

  4. October 30, 2018 / 9:18 am

    Love this topic Debs and it is important for both single and married individuals.

    There are cases where people get married and gradually stay away from opposite sex friends and I totally understand this. However, if you have always discussed boundaries with your male friends, they know exactly how to behave around you and it makes the whole friendship thing easier on both you and your partner.

    As for hiding your opposite sex friends, that is so much hard work. If these are friends that have contributed to your growth one way or the other, it is important you introduce them to your partner seeing that they are always going to be in your circle anyway. They could even turn out to be great friends too.

    Not everyone understands boundaries but hopefully we find a way to handle those that cannot be civil.

    For me, it is always going to be about discussing boundaries with both close and not so close male friends. I cannot be having anyone think my smiling a lot automatically means I am flirting.

    • October 30, 2018 / 9:51 am

      Amazing addition. I love the part where you say not everyone will understand boundaries. So true, some will come off as jerk when you try to make them understand.

      It is very important to maintain civility through it all and drawing the line where necessary.

      Thanks Faith for always coming through ❤️

  5. October 30, 2018 / 11:42 am

    I love Dr. Glass’ recommendation. Having friends of the opposite sex are beautiful but can easily get dicey, especially when one or both are in romantic relationships. So Dr. Glass’ advice is great to try to make things less awkward for all parties.

    Great post, Debs. 🙂

    xx

    • October 30, 2018 / 11:46 am

      Absolutely. Having a romantic relationship make it all the more complicated.

  6. Henry Heavens
    November 2, 2018 / 9:17 am

    Really Insightful! Thanks B.

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