Is It True Men And Women Being Friends Is A Myth?

The best relationships are the ones that are treated like a friendship, but could you lose your partner to a friend? It’s no secret that men and women being friends can lead to more.

The question is, can men and women be just friends?

After years of watching When Harry Met Sally, I’ve always been curious about this question. It’s one that’s caused issues in past relationships and friendships as well.

There’s nothing off about a person who has people in their circle of the opposite sex. In fact, it’s often encouraged to have male-female friendships.

The best relationships are the ones that are treated like a friendship, but could you lose your partner to a friend? It's no secret that men and women being friends can lead to more. The question is, can men and women be just friends?
Friends without benefits can be possible.

Why People Believe Men And Women Can’t Be Friends

It’s easy to think a friendship with the opposite sex might cause issues. Understanding why people think this way can help break down possible misunderstandings in relationships.

Giselle, a married nurse of two, says it’s tough for men and women to be friends once you’re in a relationship with someone. She explains why: “(It’s) not something I would feel comfortable in my own marriage, and I think my hubby would agree.”

My own husband agrees that men and women being friends can get messy. He says, “Sooner or later the tension is going to build up and change the friendship.”

Health and wellness enthusiast, Amanda Schuh says she finds it hard to believe that men and women can be friends without one having some sort of attraction to the other.

Personally, I think that as long as you can respect boundaries, friendships among the opposite sex can be successful. I grew up with male friends most of my life, and I believe it helped me understand guys as well as relationships.

The best relationships are the ones that are treated like a friendship, but could you lose your partner to a friend? It's no secret that men and women being friends can lead to more. The question is, can men and women be just friends?

Can Married Men And Women Be Just Friends?

Growing up, you find yourself getting to know people at different stages in your life. Some come into your life for a moment, others for a lifetime.

I struggled with understanding why certain people didn’t stay in my life after I met my husband. People I swore would continue to be part of my journey.

It wasn’t until I had an open conversation with my husband that I began to realize the issue. While some people may seem to genuinely care about you, others have other motives.

When you’re single, people will want to be around you in hopes of possibly getting closer to you. Another thing to take note of is the lifestyle you had as a single person vs a person in a relationship.

The best relationships are the ones that are treated like a friendship, but could you lose your partner to a friend? It's no secret that men and women being friends can lead to more. The question is, can men and women be just friends?
There’s a sense of joy when you witness men and women being friends.

Writer and friend, Andi Franklin breaks down why men and women can be friends and how society sees these kinds of friendships.

“I don’t like how society declares that in a male/female friendship, one will undoubtedly be attracted to the other,” she explains. “It’s sexist toward men to assume they can’t control themselves around any woman that they talk to and sexist toward women to assume they have a hidden agenda if they have a male friendship.”

I love how she adds this: “(w)e essentially shut down an entire gender, we really limit the quality and diversity of friendships we could be experiencing.”

Andi is no stranger to having male friends develop feelings for her, but it’s how she has approached the situation that makes you realize these friendships are possible.

“I have had male friends show signs of being attracted to me,” Andi elaborates. “It definitely changes the friendship and relationship when that happens for me, because I’m married and I honor and respect my marriage.”

She adds: “So in the event that my husband or I realize a friend may have an attraction to us, we do discuss it with each other and reevaluate how we approach the friendship.”

Today, Andi has more male friends as a married woman than she did when she was single. “…When I met my husband I also became friends with his friends, so I gained a large group of male friends through him that I am very close to.”

The best relationships are the ones that are treated like a friendship, but could you lose your partner to a friend? It's no secret that men and women being friends can lead to more. The question is, can men and women be just friends?

How Men And Women Being Friends Can Remain That Way

Understanding there are different paths for everyone is a big eye-opener. Although it was tough at first to admit that some friendships were only temporary, it’s nice to have the memories of those times.

Many of the things I admired in my friendships with the opposite sex, I’ve come to find them with my spouse. The open conversations, the honesty about life, and willingness to just listen.

Those friendships prepared me for a life-long partner in the opposite sex. I’m forever grateful for the people in my youth who’ve taught me about selfless love and understanding.

For Allie, a long-time friend, being friends with the opposite sex is easier when they’re not attracted to you.

“Men have a one-track mind: Sex,” she explains. “If he finds a woman attractive I think he gets distracted…Now if he doesn’t find (her) attractive, then he can solely focus on just being a friend… It’s simple and men are simple-minded in the best way possible.”

She adds: “Being married is way more fun than being single but what I enjoyed about single is the friendships.”

Allie explains the difference in creating friendships when you’re married vs when you’re single. “You tend to be able to extend yourself to more people,” she says.

“There’s no real commitment, just everyone having a good time. I think I had a balanced amount of male to female ratio friends. I always liked hanging out with guys as it was easier and always fun to be their wingman, and I still do that now with my husband’s friends.”

The best relationships are the ones that are treated like a friendship, but could you lose your partner to a friend? It's no secret that men and women being friends can lead to more. The question is, can men and women be just friends?

Below are 5 things to consider that can help married couples deal with the idea of men and women being friends.

Make time for your significant other.

When you place your spouse before any friendship, you’re likely to keep things leveled in your relationship. Oftentimes people will want to get a breather or walk away when things get tough.

Skipping important dates or forgetting to make your significant other feel wanted isn’t a good look. Invest in your relationship, and be supportive of one another.

Address issues with your spouse.

It’s easy to push things off, but eventually they will come to light. Your significant other needs to know what’s going on and what you’re feeling to be able to help you.

Being able to include your friends in situations is one thing, but to tell them intimate things you should be telling your spouse can be problematic.

Ask questions and make sure you’re being honest with each other.

It’s not a surprise to hear about friends falling in love. Understanding the boundaries is important and asking questions can help.

If you feel a friend has developed feelings for you, then it’s best to discuss this and draw the line.

Don’t make it awkward for anyone.

If you start to make it an issue, then it will become one. Sometimes you don’t realize it but the more you think about something or mention it, the more you bring it to life.

However, if you notice something is doesn’t feel right, you should always address it.

Always respect decisions.

When someone walks away from a friendship, it often means they can’t continue to be in someone’s life. Although it may be painful at first, you should respect their decision to end a friendship.

56 Comments

  1. I truly don’t have any guy friends my husband isn’t also friends with. Weird.

  2. I think it’s possible to be friends. I had a best friend who was a guy when I was growing up. When I met my husband, it was in a large circle of people, both male and female, and we were all very close friends. I definitely think some people have other motives, but it’s also possible to have friends of the opposite sex without it being sexual. As long as you and your spouse are comfortable, then I think it’s fine. I trust my husband completely, so don’t have any worries when we are not together and I know there are females around him OR when we are with mutual friends.

  3. I agree with both sides to a degree, actually. I think that men and women can be strictly friends, but you have to be careful. It’s easy for things to change without either person even realizing it at first.

  4. I think men and women can be friends. I have some very good guy friends, and it’s never been weird.

  5. I’m having this issue right now, actually. Although I have plenty of friends of the opposite sex, sometimes it’s hard to control how you feel about someone that you’re physically attracted to.

  6. There are definitely boundaries that need to be set. My husband has friends that are girls and I have friends that are guys but they’ve all become like mutual friends for us now.

    1. Isn’t that wonderful? Yes! Most of the male friendships I had as a child that remained have either met or know of my husband. We no longer live in the are I grew up in, but I always tell my husband about so-and-so when we do talk.

  7. I feel like age might be a factor also. Growing up in school I had lots of guy friends, not boyfriends. But now, I think if I had any male friends I would want my husband to be involved and friends too.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. My closest male friendships are my husband’s friends. The ones I grew up with are still friendly — not all have remained in my life.

  8. I think as long as there are no feelings on either side, it’s totally possible. I have a couple of male friends that I’ve known since I was a kid.

    1. Same here. I believe opposite sex friendships are helpful when your single, a bit problematic when you’re married, but overall a good one to have. Honestly, my best friend is my husband. I rely on him for so much, as he does me.

  9. What an interesting discussion to have. I do believe men and women can be friends. I do think that it takes confidence to know where the friendship boundary is and when you find someone, even if the opposite sex, who can match that boundary and friendship level, then hold onto that.

    1. Yes! Those are the friendships you want to keep for sure.

  10. My brother and I grew up hanging out with the same group of friends since we are twins. But we have all moved to different parts of the country so we don’t really keep in touch anymore. I don’t really have any guys that I’m friends with that aren’t also friends with my husband. I can see where it can get tricky.

    1. It’s always a good idea to get to know your spouse’s friend. I grew up with guys (three brothers and little ole me!) So this isn’t strange for me to have guy friends. Although most are from my youth, I have been cautious with the people I get close to these days. You never want anyone to get the wrong idea.

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