Wednesday, October 04, 2006

How close is too close? Discussion

My husband and I were having a conversation last nite about how appropriate or inappropriate it is for married people to have close friends of the opposite sex. He has had a few male co-workers that became really close with women working at the jail. One went as far as to give the woman a key to his home so if she got off work late and didn't want to make the 30 min. drive home, she could crash on his couch. (She never did and told others it made her uncomfortable that he even offered.) Inappropriate? Another invited the female friend over for dinner (a dinner his wife cooked) on a regular basis and often argued with his wife saying he could "Be friends with whoever" he wants to! Too close? I think if you are arguing with your spouse because she/he feels uncomfortable or threatened by your friendship, it has gone WAY past inappropriate. I think if you're inviting someone of the opposite sex over for a family dinner- married or not- it's inappropriate. And for the record- when the relationships between my husband's co-workers began to make HIM feel uncomfortable he told them. He told them straight out that it was wrong and that if it was he who was so close to another female his wife (That would be me.) would be crushed. (That would be true.) So, I'm leaving this open for discussion. Is it ok to be close to the opposite sex if it's like on "Friends" with Ross and Rachel? Rachel was there before Emily. I, personally, say if you're getting married your wife is your new best friend. Ross shouldn't have been whining about hangin' out with Rachel. He chose Emily. (Even though I thought Emily was a bio-tch...) You're suppose to cleave unto your spouse. Not your mom. Not your siblings. Not your old best friend. Your spouse.
Ok- I said my part. Now do yours- discuss.


Nettie said...

I totally agree that those incidents are inappropriate. My husband does have a good friend of the opposite sex. However, he has been friends with her since before we were dating and she lives in another state so we rarely see her. We occassionally are all out in Utah at the same time and will go out to dinner together. He never would go do something with her without my being along. So, I'm okay with it. I have to say, though, she's not married and even though my husband thinks the idea is crazy, I'm SURE she's had "romantic" feelings towards him. A woman knows these things!

Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

I think all those examples are inappropriate. Yowza - especially the "key to his apartment" one. It's better to err on the side of caution and not let gossip start, if nothing else.

I had a bishop basically tell me that I shouldn't be too nice or jokey with men I'm not related to. I shouldn't accept rides from other men, befriend other men, be alone in a room with other men, etc. No Cool Story and I were joking about wearing "emotional burkas" because let's face it, lonely men can get attached to women who are nice to them and joke around, however innocently.

Married spouses can NOT be friends with whomever they want, if they're interested in keeping their marriage intact.

Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

P.S. It goes both ways - lonely women can get attached to men who show them kindness, etc., too.

Katie said...

Absolutely inappropriate. Friends as a couple with another couple? Fine, as long as we're all there together, or it's just the wives. Nobody means to have feelings towards other people, but given enough exposure to a person of the opposite sex who is not your spouse, feelings can come up. It's easy to get bogged down in the rut of your life---especially when you are in a low in your relationship. It happens to every marriage (the lows, I mean). Why people set themselves up for heart-ache is beyond me.

Gina said...

I agree with all that has been said in this post and your comments. Here is my experience...

Ian has two female friends at work that I am friends with too. So we've had one of them over for dinner a couple times and I am glad he has a good relationship with at least 2 people at his job. People that I happen to like and enjoy too.

I have a male friend at work that I liked so much, that I was sure Ian would hit it off with him too. So I introduced them and they are good buddies now and we go out with him and his wife here and there.

It is certainly inappropriate for unmarried opposite parties to be alone together (as innocent as it may seem). I am so glad that we have come across good folk that we as a married couple can enjoy together.

Anonymous said...

Friends of the opposite sex are never just friends. One will always end up having stronger feelings than the other. It never fails.

Mel said...

Inappropriate! And relationships like that destroy families. Don't get me started!

Amy said...


It's just not right. Basically all of my good friends before marriage were guys. My husband had a really good female friend. Yah it's a bit of a bummer at first to drop the friends or dramatically change your "good relationship". But it's WAYYYY more awesome to have an excellent relationship with your spouse.

AzĂșcar said...

It's my personal opinion that you have no friends of the opposite sex even while you are single, there is always some motivation, on one side or the other.

As for friends of the opposite sex while married, this is an interesting subject. I think there are levels to friendships.

For instance, I work outside the home and at a predominantly male company. If I wasn't friends with these people I wouldn't have been working here for more than four years. But friends is different than friends.

I would never consider going to lunch with just me and a male co-worker alone on purpose--unless if was my boss and it is a specific business purpose, but that has never happened. There is always a third person (or more) there, which is the appropriate thing to do. We will go to movies or events together, but again, it's always more than two people.

It also helps that we all know each other's spouses and kids. We have spent time after work together, but it is a social situation with spouses or even kids. I guess it comes down to there is no pairing off.

There are certainly deep conversations about life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness (haha) but in my experience those draw you closer together as colleagues rather than advancing intimacy. Not to mention that these conversations take place in an office during the day, in full view of your other co-workers.

It comes down to: can you talk about everything that you did or said with your spouse at the end of the day with a clear conscience and without omission? Is any activity that you engaged in going to make your spouse uncomfortable? Are you confiding things in your opposite gender co-workers that you wouldn't tell your spouse? There are clear do's and don'ts in these situations that leave little for interpretation.

Anonymous said...

Funny you should ask. I know it's probably been a while since you actually posed this question, but for me, especially more recently I find it valid.

I've had several married men talk to me, ask me to dance, etc. I usually don't know they're married until they say so. When they ask my opinion on their being married and socializing with single people of the opposite sex, I put it back on them. I ask them if it would change whether or not their spouse trusts them.

Personally I feel ick about situations like this that arise as it is a demonstration...of sorts of infidelity. At least the way I see it.