It’s an age-old question and we as individuals do not have a definitive answer. Should our partners have friends of the opposite sex? That answer depends on several factors- the length of their friendship, the nature of their friendship, the respect the friend and partner hold for your relationship amongst other things like trust and the characters at play. 

We Do Not Own People

It’s quite common for people to refer to their partners with possessive pronouns. “This is my boyfriend” or “I’m his girlfriend”. “Is that your wife?”. It’s done for association purposes, but at no time should we internalize a right or possession. We do not own anyone; we simply experience them. Having a sense of possession creates the need for us to control our partners and their associations. Once we understand this facet, other things can be assessed.

The Length of The Relationship

I would be lying if I said I won’t  look at my guy with a side eye if he introduces me to a newly minted friend. If a friend existed prior to our relationship then I accept their friendship so long as it stays within the bounds of “friends” and respects the boundaries of my partner and I’s relationship. I have a few male friends that are family. My male friends and I have been been rocking out 20 plus years, some since we were in middle school together. I expect my partner to have friends the same way. However, random females under the guise of friendship is not flying with me.

What Purpose Does These Friends Serve?

This is a question that your partner should be able to answer truthfully. I once had a boyfriend that attempted to insult my intelligence with his female friends. He deemed past sexual trysts as “friends”. And while it’s possible to form friendships with sexual partners, the initial purpose of their “friendship” crossed the boundaries set in my then- partner and I’s  relationship. Furthermore, there wasn’t a purpose served by their friendship. And because he couldn’t articulate a purpose, the “friendship” felt incredibly inappropriate. I communicated my uneasiness and when he continued the friendship, I left the relationship.

No one and I mean no one should be in a relationship where a third party’s existence is causing hardships in their relationship.

Whether we admit it or not, every person in our lives serve a purpose or end goal whether it’s for business, spiritual growth, guidance, sex or so forth. If a purpose cannot be articulated or is unknown, then the existence of said relationship or “friendship” should be evaluated.

Does The Friendship Honor The Relationship?

Many people will answer yes to this simply because their friend and partner are aware of each other. However, respect isn’t simply being aware of the relationship, but understanding where the friendship falls within the parameters of the relationship. Access is a huge contributor to friendships blurring the respect line. Friendships without boundaries on access will more than likely have an issue with respect. I’m very traditional in how I deal with my friends and their partners. Out of respect, when I was single, prior to any thing occurring, I always asked their partners if whatever I needed would be okay with them. And the only time I turned to one of my friends is if my brother or father was absolutely not able to attend to my problem and a resolution was needed in a timely manner. I always felt as though if I could call my friends up at any time and  they would do whatever whenever for me, then what separated me from their partners and that’s how I drew the line in how I dealt with my male friends. Everything has to be right and in order.

Is There A Reason To Not Trust The Friendship?

Trust is probably the most crucial aspect in understanding the dynamics of being friends with the opposite sex. Does your partner give you a reason where having friends of the opposite sex is uneasy for you? Before you dive out of the deep end and try to end all friendships with the opposite sex, ask yourself if there is a reason to not trust your partner or the friend? If you are still uneasy, communicate that to your partner and work towards a solution that will suit you .

relationships