Platonic Relationships Revisited
About a year and a half ago, I wrote a post about whether platonic relationships can exist. There were a lot of interesting comments to the post, but unfortunately, they are lost somewhere in cyberspace between my old commenting system and blogger. Basically though, I am of the opinion that, despite the famous Harry and Sally, men and women CAN be friends. I don't think that every man and every woman can be friends, but I think, with open communication and understanding between male and female, it absolutely can be done and can add a lot to life. I really enjoy my friendships with males, I think it enhances my quality of life and sometimes it's nice to get away from my female friends. The dynamic and perspective is just different than between two people of the same gender, and I think it can be extremely beneficial.
What I'm currently having problems with is jealousy and/or discomfort issues. Here's the scenario. I have a male friend with whom I am JUST friends, nothing doing of it going anywhere else. I enjoy his company, but there are very big reasons that it will never be anything beyond friendship. This is very clear to both of us.
The problem is that significant others sometimes aren't so comfortable with our relationships. Specifically, the women that my friend dates are not always so enthusiastic about the fact that we are friends. (The guys I date don't seem to get as bothered by it.) These issues are despite the fact that, when he is dating someone, I specifically make efforts to stay out of the way and to not be in touch with him as regularly, because I have no desire to be an issue or a problem in his relationships. When I have met women he has dated, I have gone out of my way to be friendly and nice to them, and to make it clear that I am no threat to their relationship.
But despite these lengths I go to, there have been occasions where the women he has dated haven't been comfortable with the fact that we are friends. Why is this such an issue? Why does it seem to be more of a problem for the women he dates then the men I date?
I have dated guys in the past who have had female friends. I have to admit to certain moments of slight jealousy or discomfort, despite the fact that I knew they were unfounded and unreasonable, but I don't think I have ever let it get to the point where I would really make a big deal about it. The only time I could see myself doing so would be if these female relationships took precedence over me with a guy that I was dating, which just hasn't been the case. I could understand having a hard time with it if the guy I was dating was spending large amounts of time with a female friend, or if the time he spent with her was at the expense of the time he spent with me. But this has never been the case, so it's never been a real issue. And I have made sure that it's not the case with my male friend - I have always made sure that the woman he is dating comes way before me.
I would think these women would be happy that he has female friends - it means he knows how to relate to and interact with women. It means he has a female to turn to in order to understand the female perspective. But it doesn't seem to work that way.
Why are platonic relationships so threatening?