More on Male-Female Relationships


I had hoped that that last post would stir up all kinds of passionate responses and debate, so I’m kind of surprised and kind of disappointed that only a few responses trickled in.  Ahhh, to be a major blogger . . . one can only dream.

Anyway, I guess what it all boils down to is the initial point made in When Harry Met Sally . . .

. . . and later amended and then reaffirmed –

I love this movie, by the way.  Adore.  One of my favorite movies of all time.  But really, I always thought this was a joke!  I mean, in the real world, men and women can be strictly friends, right?

Well, can’t they?

My husband seems to think not.  And let me just say that he’s not some young, emotionally immature, jealous type.  He’s really not.  He’s pretty much the coolest, most laid back guy I’ve ever known.  But as I’m figuring out, it’s one thing to be friends (or at least friendly) with people of the opposite sex in the real world, where  one’s significant other is at least to some degree privy to the whole thing, and likely even a part of it.  It’s another thing entirely, however, to develop a strictly electronic friendship with someone of the opposite sex, to which one’s significant other is not privy or a part of, not out of any sense of secrecy or deceit, but just because the very nature of electronic communications tends to be private and one-on-one.

So, my husband’s assertion is basically that a male would likely not pursue an electronic relationship with a female he didn’t have some attraction to, and that chances are, that male will take opportunities to take the communication, and therefore the relationship, to “the next level.”  I do not want to believe this!  It sounds silly and ridiculous and sophomoric.  We’re all mature adults, aren’t we?

And yet . . . I guess I have to trust my husband as a better authority on this type of thing than I am, being that he’s one of them and all.

I find this disturbing on many fronts.  First of all, is it true?  Are men generally really so driven by . . . that . . . that this is just the way it is?  Have I really been that naive, that I’ve believed it possible to engage in purely platonic relationships with members of the opposite sex? If it’s true that this is the general state of things, then where does it leave us females?  Are we supposed to just steer clear of any online male-female relationships because there will always be the potential, the risk, of it crossing some line of propriety?  Is engaging in these relationships just encouraging impropriety because we’re supposed to be looking at it through this lens of distrust?  And, really, just for the sake of argument, what if he did like you in that hypothetical way (that online guy, whomever he might be)?  If you don’t like him back, then so what?  In theory, I guess I’d like to believe that as long as the real-life relationship (marriage, or whatever) is strong and secure, then no third party could disrupt anything because the relationship just wouldn’t be open to disruption by any third party.

And yet . . . if I want to be honest, I guess I have to acknowledge the fact that as much as I trust my husband (completely), I wouldn’t be crazy about him engaging in an electronic friendship with someone of the opposite sex that I had no part in.

Sigh.

It all makes me feel very tired and headachey.  My case for going to live in a cave somewhere is becoming stronger and stronger, people.

**Disclaimer: No, my marriage isn’t in trouble!  Not that you think so, but just in case this post has you wondering.  This is just a topic that’s come up recently that has been fodder for much discussion.  And really, it kind of goes to the heart of male-female differences – our perspectives on the subject tend to be different enough that it’s stoked quite a bit of conversation, and the conversation itself is about male-female differences.  Hmm, did I even say anything there that made sense?

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13 Comments on “More on Male-Female Relationships”

  1. Mumofone
    February 28, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    What you said makes sense….I think some of the difference is that whole Men are from Mars/Women are from Venus thing – not that I’ve actually read that book by the way – but just that we often have completely different perspectives on things. Before I went on Maternity Leave at work I had a close friendship with one of my colleagues and we chatted like girls would – but he was gay – and I think that made a bit of a difference for me because there was never going to be any risk of crossing a relationship line. It has taken a bit of time for us to get back to what we were – and we’re not quite as close now – I think from his perspective I have a new (??traditional) role as wife/mother and he doesn’t quite get that in me. To be honest – maybe some of the guys I like at work and have a bit of a laugh with – are ones I suppose I might have a bit of attraction for – not that I want to have sex with them or anything – but aspects of their personality attract me. I think I therefore ensure that I don’t actually get too chummy with them because of that fact. Not that I don’t trust myself but something about it seems that I should just not let it go further than something strictly in the corridoors!
    I do know people who have really good best friends who are opposite sex and their partners are okay with it. I think it is probably a feature of their personalities that they can manage that. I don’t think I have that type of ability. I don’t think my husband would either. And I imagine this sort of person is rather in the minority as I know many more situations when the on-line relationship led to cheating/mistrust. I guess if a person respects their husband more than anyone else then the two of you work to ensure that relationship is always paramount and seek to avoid anything that might compromise it -whether its a relationship with another person (male or female), a relationship with an object (eg a car), or even a vice (alcohol, drugs, smoking) or whatever.
    Just my 2 cents worth 🙂

  2. diane
    February 28, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    as far as attraction goes, I could say that is totally natural in all relationships. I am attracted to girlfriends for their personality and certain character traits, and I even find some of my girlfriends to be very beautiful, so why wouldn’t friendships with men follow the same idea?
    am I physically attracted to my male friends? I find them attractive, yes. I am not sexually attracted to them and I don’t fantasize about them the way one might fantasize what it would have been like if they’d stayed with that “one boyfriend that got away”.

    given your husband’s take on the male side of the male-female electronic relationship, I have to ask this question … could we safely assume that men are willing to pursue this because they generally look at all women with a “bangable factor” in mind? I know a few guys that have admitted they subconsciously look at every relationship with women and score it as a, “would I do her? or would I need beer goggles?”
    I guess maybe the question to ask would be, would the relationship be different if both parties were not involved with others? when it comes to by BF from junior high – I told him I would NEVER date him because I loved him too much to risk losing him. but we did make a deal in the 9th grade … if we both found ourselves alone and uninvolved later in life (like after children and grandchildren), then we would live together and take care of each other. that’s as far as I could go with that 🙂

  3. Stephanie
    March 1, 2011 at 3:56 am #

    I think male/female friendships are fine. Having an attraction to another human being is wholly different than jumping in bed with them. I’m fairly certain in my own maturity and self control that I’d never ever jeopardize my marriage by commiting an act of infedility.

  4. christina
    March 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    I think more people than you could even imagine read your blog, some just don’t have the guts to comment. I have been following Finnian’s journey since almost it’s inception but have not commented until recently. Those “major” bloggers’ blogs are so watered down. The comments get repetitive and usually have some sort of ass kissing statement to make. I love reading your blog and I enjoy reading the comments on your blog. Your followers take the time to respond with meaningful insight. Please don’t ever become one of those kelle hampton type of blogs! That’s NOT REAL life. And whoever thinks it is….is delusional.

    *I know it has nothing to do with your post but that statement struck something in me.

    • Lisa
      March 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

      Thanks for this Christina!

  5. Taryl
    March 1, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    I have to agree with your husband, men and women can’t generally be ‘just friends’. I am friends with plenty of men, but that is because I am friends with their wives. I wouldn’t be spending excess time just with them or contacting them and not their spouse, it invites trouble.

    And even at Kevin’s age, I’d say most contact I had with boys, even boys I was friends with, was flirting. It somehow always ended up that way. I think for all but a few kid that is the case.

    Sorry mama, your baby is growin’ up!

    • Lisa
      March 1, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

      Thanks for your input, Taryl. Actually, though, I wasn’t talking about teens, I was talking about grownups.

  6. mom of 2
    March 2, 2011 at 2:17 am #

    Hi Lisa- I read your blog all the time but have never commented. I enjoy your take on things- keep it up- we are reading but like somebody else said don’t feel the need to make repetitive comments. I am friendly with some men- neighbors, people I encounter daily and was good friends with some men when I worked. I think online relationships with men cross the line too easily – you share too much of yourself online since you cannot see body language. So there you go- we do read your blog!!! A Canadian reader

  7. Asha
    March 2, 2011 at 2:49 am #

    You know I read it and I sometimes comment. I don’t feel like I express myself well enough to comment all the time.
    I also went on some “popular blogs” just to check them out and I couldn’t believe the amount of ads flickering at me. The post sounded fake and trivial and short-not thought provoking at all!
    As for male female relationships, I agree with Michael completely. It just ends up being too flirty, people share too much, get close, end up cheating… I have seen it happen too often.

  8. midnightmama
    March 5, 2011 at 6:16 am #

    Having been single in my lates 20s and early thirties, I did develop electronic friendships with men and women. It made for a nice network of people that understood me and had similar interests. Indonhink here is too much room to develop deeper feelings. Now that I am married I don’t thinks appropriate. I think my husband would be hurt if I sought friendship; if I filled that ‘need’ with a man. I know I would be hurt. Just because it’s electronic doesn’t mean that it won’t or can’t turn into a situation where one of the parties develop stronger feelings. I’ve recently witnessed the destruction of a marriage because of an electronic relationship that escalated into something much more serious. Both parties were married with children. Very sad. Electronic relationships are a personal choice, and I choose to avoid them with members of the opposite sex. I’m not saying it’s not possible to have platonic relationships- I just don’t think it’s worth the risk.

  9. midnightmama
    March 5, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    PS:

    1. Indonhink= I do think (damn you iPhone!)
    2. Awesome post 🙂

  10. starrlife
    March 6, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    Well, post my prior comment. I do think that men and women can be friends but that often attraction is part of it (same as with women actually just extra zing). Often being the operative word. Yes, I do agree with your husband that men pretty much are opportunistic and are interested in more pretty much all of the time but some do have ethics and values that can’t be overridden by lust (as long as there is not opportunity :). Women have a lot of power here and I feel need to mind their boundaries well in order to have male female friendships. Marriage can be a funny thing – even the best marriages falter and are vulnerable and if a woman turns to a male friend (or vice versa) that can be tricky and risky. Proceed with eyes wide open. That being said (do I ever stop talking?) I think that having male blogging associations is a far cry from friendship and it eventually becomes clear when the other wants a bit more from us than we care to give. Blahh…. sorry about the length :0

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