Just Friends


    My husband and I always have really good conversations.  Through the years, there has been one topic that we repeatedly disagree upon.  The subject was brought up again by me last night as we were discussing some relationship problems that a close relative of mine is currently having.  I mentioned that I still don’t think that men and women can be friends at this age.  My husband has always disagreed with me on this because he has always had many female friends throughout his life. 

    My point of view on this topic is that women in their thirties are not looking to be friends with men.  If they are still single at this age, most women are either looking for someone to have a child with, get married to, or a man to be a father to children that they already have.  I don’t really know any single women who are my age that enjoy being single and plan on being single indefinitely.  Maybe I’m wrong and there are some women my age who enjoy being single but I still don’t think that they have long-term plans on staying single for the rest of their lives.  Hence, my theory about men and women our age not being able to be friends.  As a married woman, I would consider a woman who suddenly befriended my husband as a threat.

    Today at work, I actually brought this topic up to my close friends who also happen to be my co-workers.  They totally agreed with me and they are both in different relationship situations.  One of them is recently married and the other one is recently single and raising a child on her own.  Although they both have a different status, currently, they both felt that it is not possible for men and women who are our age to have platonic friendships.  They both maintained that men or women who try to cultivate friendships with married people, or people who are in committed relationships, have ulterior motives.

    I always try to be open minded about most things so I quickly realized that the only fair thing to do was to bring this subject up here.  I figured what better place to spark a discussion about the validity of male/female platonic friendships when one or both of the parties involved are married or committed to someone else.  Unfortunately, my experiences with this are based mostly on what I have observed from friends and family.  In most cases, the friendship turned out to not be entirely platonic and it strained the relationship that one or both of the people were in.  I’m not sure if this happened because their relationships were in trouble to begin with and that is why they sought out the company of others or if it occurred because they were driven to infidelity by the jealousy and accusations of their partners.  All I know is that all of the stories that I have heard around this have ended disastrously.

    So I would like to know from all of you, can men and women be friends if they are married or in a relationship with others?  We all know that men and women can be friends if they are both single but, add a jealous spouse or partner and it alters the equation.  I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with this issue.  You guys just might succeed in changing my mind or, at the very least, giving me some food for thought.

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  1. It’s a unique situation, for sure – the key is that BOTH do not harbor any attraction towards the other – which is the tricky part. If both of these stars align, which is entirely possible, then I totally agree that they can be good friends! The odds are stacked against it, but I try not to be a pessimist 😉

  2. Oh Maria! I know exactly what you are saying. I have told my boyfriend many times that “I trust you, but I do NOT trust other women” – he thinks I’m crazy for saying that! I think a lot of it has to do with men being dense and women being perceptive. I am sure that there ARE some women out there who are genuinely interested in being just friends, but I’d bet that it’s nowhere near the majority.

    Great food for thought!

    • Erin, you read my mind! This is exactly the reason why I can’t get on board with my husband having these kinds of friendships. Since I am a woman, I know what other women are thinking. Men have no clue to what extent we work rings around them. They are totally oblivious to all of the signs. I agree with you that the vast majority of women and even men are not interested in being just friends.

  3. oh I just love topics like this….no, I don’t think they can be friends. I think the only way it’s possible is to be friends as a “couple”….doing things in groups. otherwise, whether someone admits or not. ….there’s always the question of if.

    • I completely agree with you, Jill. I don’t think they can be friends either. There is just too much doubt that is raised in these kinds of situations. I would always feel like something was going on…

  4. I think it depends on how deep the friendship supposedly is. I have lots of male “friends”, co-workers, ex-co-workers that I will grab lunch or coffee with, chat on the phone with from time to time about business, work or family life. But I never talk on the phone to them after business hours, or see them alone at night or discuss our relationships. I am outgoing and have always been in sales so I’ve had to cultivate relationships with men in a business sense. So its hard for me to draw a clear line and say I can’t be friends with a man. Am I crazy? Wives have never had an issue with me, as a matter of fact we’ve gotten our spouses and kids together too. I do see your point of view though.

    • Lanae, I’m okay with the situation that you are describing because it doesn’t cross any boundaries. Unfortunately, most of the situations that I hear about like this end up crossing some kind of boundary and becoming inappropriate at some point.

  5. my hubby has MANY girl friends and I have no issues with it, i get along with all of them. I have also always naturally been able to have good relationships with men and i seem to gravitate more to them for fun.

    • Eschelle, it makes me hopeful that everyone does not have ulterior motives and that married people can have platonic friendships when I hear positive stories and experiences like the ones that you are having…

  6. My aunt is one of those rare women who never felt like getting married or having kids. She got burned at one point and decided she was happier without. Because of her, I know there are women out there who aren’t looking for a relationship, but at the same time if a woman starting trying to become friends with my husband and didn’t want to know me, I’d be VERY upset.

    My husband has a platonic friendships with women, but all of them are either married, friends with me, or both. They all have also known him a lot longer than I have and have made it clear they have no interest in him beyond friendship.

    Is it possible? Sure, I see it in my own life. At the same time, I still believe that generally, men and women can’t be friends, especially if one of them is single.

    • I wanted to add the few female friends he have also all live over an hour away from us and we see them every 2-3 months.

    • I’m interested in hearing more about why you don’t think that men and women can be friends despite the positive experiences you observed in your aunt’s life and within your own relationship…

      • Sorry, I just got back (It’s been crazy here!)

        Yes, having them farther away helps a lot. And why I don’t is because I’ve seen many cases where being “just friends” didn’t work out. I have friends (a couple) who were friends with each other for years, but they loved each other and wouldn’t deal with it. They finally got their act together after 10 years and are now married with kids. Another man I know made friends with a woman and ended up leaving his wife of 10 years for her (they also had 2 boys, one a newborn at the time he left).

        I am of the belief that it’s possible if everything is truly open but for the most part, men and women can’t be friends. There is too many other issues going on. Especially not close friends. Even my aunt doesn’t have any close male friends. The close men in her life are all family and the male friends all have significant others she’s also friends with.

        • That is interesting that even your aunt is guarded with the males that she gets close to as friends. You are right, the whole issue is tricky and complicated and, no matter how much you trust your spouse or significant other, you have no control over the motives of those who might befriend them. When you are invested in a relationship, it is difficult to think that someone could come and destroy what you have built with bad intentions…

  7. well, it looks like i am the spouse with the male friend. LOL. i have a homeschooling (married) dad friend i have playdates with, and it couldn’t be anymore platonic (cheating is the number one thing i absolutely HATE). in my twenties i also had a boyfriend who had mostly female friends, which i was always jealous of! until we broke up and remained friends, and i could realize he just liked women friends. but honestly i think these are just the exceptions that prove the rule- overall it isn’t a good idea. it’s just some people who are that way. and they need to be trustworthy, honest people or it doesn’t work!

  8. I know exactly what you mean Maria! I think it’s a very thin line.

    I don’t think a married man/woman should be making new friends of the opposite sex. Friends of the opposite sex are fine if it’s a family friend or has been a friend for a VERY long time. I would assume making new friends of the opposite sex would totally be a red flag.

    On the other hand, I believe jealous to be a weak emotion. I’d like to say I am not a jealous person.

  9. That is a tough one. I think there are so many variables that it is a situation by situation kind of thing. How long have they been friends, do they go out alone often, etc. It is possible but not common.

    • Kat, I agree with you. I’m okay with friends you have had for a long time and since before we met. What I am not okay with is you coming home and telling me you just made a friend and she turns out to be female…

  10. Most of my friends are men that I already slept w/ years ago and my husband doesn’t always know it. I think that’s the key.. and also it helps if they’re unattractive. But yeah my husband says the same thing.” men only want one thing”.. that is such crap.. not all men only care about sex. There are some good guys out there and women too. I’m glad I don’t have to worry about this sort of stuff.. I just have to worry about all the hookers that approach my husbands truck when he’s on the road every week.

    • Monica, you made me literally laugh out loud by saying that “it also helps if they’re unattratctive.” So it’s okay for Hubby to have an ugly friend but not one who looks like a Playboy Bunny?

  11. I do think that men and women can just be friends if they are couple friends. In other words, I would consider myself friends with my best friend’s husband, but not outside of that “couple” relationship. I may call him to ask him a question related to something he knows well, but I wouldn’t meet him for lunch or anything like that. I also have former male students who are friends, but they first had another role – student. It’s more like a parent-child relationship. I guess I think it has more to do with the way the relationship generated than gender.

    • Kenna, a lot of my readers here and on Facebook, seem to support the idea of having friends of the opposite sex as long as all interaction takes place with their spouse too. I agree with you that it makes everyone more comfortable when two couples do things together. It takes the doubt away from wondering what is taking place when two people are out somewhere together by themselves.

  12. I think that you can absolutely have opposite gender friends without any ulterior motives. I have a GREAT guy friend from college (M) that I just absolutely love and he and I have NEVER been attracted to one another. He dated a lot of my friends in college, but he and I were always and continue to be just friends.

    My husband however, has a huge problem with my friendship with M and has done the macho posturing thing – beating chest with fists – Woman=mine thing. I was absolutely embarrassed that my friend had to put up with it. I would caution you ladies that are doing the female version of this “you are pissing on my territory” dance. In my experience, you are not doing anything to their friendship, you are just embarrassing your spouse.

    This is such a great topic! I think I will continue with a post… Thank you for the inspiration Maria!


  13. It’s funny, I was the one insisting that those friendships could exist. My husband said no way, not a chance. Well, of course, I am in a happy marriage and not looking for anything else. Turns out my husband was right. The “other” person, despite my marital status, was looking for more. Shit. Lucky for me, I realized my husband was right, and firmly put the kabosh on that before it got any more uncomfortable. But I think you’re right. That single person, male or female, is looking for something besides just a “friend”.

    • Ally, that is really interesting that your mind was changed by going through an awkward experience. This supports exactly what I have been saying, that most of the time, this is not a good idea…

  14. I think men and women CAN be friends, but inside of marriage, it isn’t a very good idea to to befriend females.

  15. Nope. I don’t think men and women can have a close friendship and maintain a platonic relationship. I think it is possible to be friendly with coworkers of the opposite sex but as far as doing things together outside of work – not a good idea.

  16. As much as I love you, I’m with your husband on this one. 🙂 I do think that men an women can be platonic friends at any age. I’ve been with my husband for almost 19 years and I have several platonic male friends, both single and married. Luckily, I’ve never had any problems with any of their wives or girlfriends, so I guess they think as I do.

    I recognize that your concerns are valid, however; there ARE a lot of women out there with ulterior motives. However, there are many without. Not every woman is looking for a man or if they are, not every woman is willing to take someone else’s man. I believe in taking it on a case-by-case basis. Unless a woman gives me reason to suspect her motives for friendship, I have no problem with her being friends with my husband.

    • Chela, you certainly make a good point by sharing your positive experiences. I think you hit the nail on the head when you say that one should evaluate the situation on a case by case basis. It definitely depends on the individual…

  17. I have to agree with @Chela on this one. Not all women (married, committed or single) are looking to “steal a man” from another woman within a platonic friendship. Does it happen? Sure! Sometimes. But it doesn’t go to say ALL women are that cut-throat or catty.

    I’ve been a tom-boy since I can remember. I am a happily married woman who, while having female friends, also has a decent amount of male friends. And yes, my husband knows. Seeing as he has women on his FaceBook he “converses” with between pages from back in the day (high school, old girlfriends). I’m okay with this because they are a part of his PAST. And that’s exactly how they stay. In the past-tense.

    Like Chela said, you have to go case-by-case. Not lump all females in to the one category. And I see it as just because he is married to me, and me to him, it does NOT mean that either of us have to “cut ties” (friendships) just because we said “I Do.” to one another. We are not only one, but are at the same time, still individuals who still sometimes needs our friends. Male or female.

    • Missy, this is probably the best argument that I have heard, thus far, in support of these kinds of friendships. I agree with you that we are still individuals after we get married and that we need to have our own friends outside of the marriage. My husband has a ton of female friends and he has had them for years and years before he met me. I am perfectly fine with him having these women in his life. However, I still don’t think that I would be okay with a random new female friend suddenly popping out of the woodwork that he just met yesterday. Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems that you support this as long as the friends are from the past? Are you equally as comfortable with female friends that your husband just made recently?

  18. There’s a ton of friends that are female at his job. Most I know (from previously working there) and a few I don’t know on a personal level.

    But I also know my husband well enough, that our marriage is solid and he is not the type to stray from our marriage.

    Is this new friend someone that is willing to meet you and even quite possibly befriend you? That is really the big question. Also, are they conversing off the clock, as well as on? Is it through the internet, or through texting (where it is easily hidden away)?

    There’s really so many questions that MUST be factored in and answered before giving a valid NO, it’s wrong, or YES, it’s an okay friends-only relationship.

    If this “new friend” at work was trying to get my husband “away” or “alone” and only want to have lunch or breaks alone with him, then I would be worried. With both of them. More so the woman, unless my husband gave me enough self-doubt to also “wonder” about him as well.

    It all just simply and plainly boils down to… Trust. Between yourself, your husband, and the two of you together as a couple.

  19. We got married in our early twenties. Most of my guy friends didn’t skip a beat and hand no problems befriending my husband. But his female friends just didn’t want to be friends with both of us, they only wanted him which was a NO GO. Everyone knows a good man when they see one, regardless of them tagging the name friend to the relationship.

    • Eleana, how right you are! Isn’t it ironic that they only wanted to be friends with him and not you. Obviously that was a clear sign that they were up to no good. This is exactly what I am referring to in this post, those people who play these “friendship” games but are really covering a hidden agenda which is to have this person for themselves.

  20. I feel confident about my husband having female friends, as long as they are just friends. Most of them are old friends from before I met my husband and they are very friendly with me too. I think the whole problem has to do with how close you are to your husband and how much you trust each other. I might not trust the women- because I don’t know them that well. But I have to trust my husband and can’t keep an eye on him at all times. I am too busy!
    Great post Maria!

    • Irene, I agree with you, you have to trust your partner because you cannot be watching him all of the time. It’s true, it’s the other women that we don’t trust because we are women and we understand how other women’s minds work…

  21. Ahhh.. Always a great topic! I agree with you: Men & women cannot be just friends. Someone is going to have motive that isn’t just friendship… .whether they are consciously aware of this or not.

  22. What a touchy subject. This is my opinion: If the male has had a female friend for years, then yes, it’s ok for males and females to be friends with no other attachment. However, if the man has become friends with another female recently then that might be suspicious only because I’ve heard many stories in the past.

    • Lisa, that seems to be how everyone who has commented here feels. Most of us feel that old female or male friends that have always been there are okay but new friends of the opposite gender that suddenly pop up can be a cause for alarm or suspicion.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lady Estrogen, Maria. Maria said: NEW POST Just Friends – http://bit.ly/i7f1nQ VIA @toughcookiemom #blogchat #latinabloggers #hispz #b2sb2b #sm85 #latism […]

  2. […] WordPress PluginMaria at Tough Cookie Mommy inspired me to write about this because of her post Just Friends.  Go read her post and then come back and finish reading this one. Have you ever heard yourself […]

  3. […] post was inspired here, then discussed by me here and here and continues today…. “…hubs has to feel […]

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