Securing the Borders

Dear Aimee,

Do you think a married person should have friends of the opposite sex? I think if a relationship is strong then it will survive friends outside the marriage.

This reminds me of the movie When Harry Met Sally. Harry is convinced that it’s impossible for a man to have a female friend and not be attracted to her. Sally disagrees. Alas, in the end they…well I won’t spoil it for you. Watch and see.

I’ve been married for sixteen years. That’s just getting started in our neck of the plains, but in Hollywood, it’s like 114 years. Or maybe that’s my marriage in dog years, I’m not sure. I think they use the same factor. Anyhow, let me answer you with a couple questions of my own. Do you send a person who has sworn off carbs to the local donut shop? Do you ask a recovering alcoholic to tour a winery? Do you hire a former jewel thief to work security at Tiffany’s? I’m certain the answer to all of these questions is a resounding, “NO!” If you assume that because you are married and on a one-man or one-woman diet that you are above temptation, than you are setting yourself up for an epic failure. It has nothing to do with the strength of the marriage, but everything to do with knowing you are not infinitely strong. Even if your husband has the body of Channing Tatum and can turn a phrase like Shakespeare, there will be moments when he forgets his world revolves around you, leaving you feeling disappointed and unfulfilled. Enter the perfect opportunity for your ‘just a friend’ to start looking like a better option. It happens everyday. Marriages fall into the ditch, and many times there was an extra marital relationship in the works long before the vows were broken. That man or woman was eating their low carb bun-less burger outside the local Krispy Kreme. Reader, I don’t believe even Superman has the strength to turn down a maple Long John after eating nothing but protein for six days!

Marriage is beautiful, fulfilling, rewarding, and my best chance at a happily ever after, but it takes work and sometimes sacrifice. If doing without outside friendships is what it takes to make my marriage borders more secure, then it’s one offering I’m willing to burn. My spouse is definitely worth it, and I hope yours is too.

11 thoughts on “Securing the Borders

  1. Hey Aimee, I totally agree. I think you can be friends with the opposite if you are “couple friends,” but I would be suspicious if the opposite sex partners in each couple were better friends than the same sex. Did that make sense? I think women are fooling themselves if they think they can have a male best friend, particularly when they are both in a relationship. Hollywood likes us to think that works, but it doesn’t. I’ve seen “couple” friends who have left their spouses for the “friend.” When you’re single, your male friends are potential mates.

    I’ve been married 21 years (lets say I was a child bride). My male friend is my husband.

  2. I might actually have to disagree with you on this one, Aimee! Lol. While I do believe you are right in some, if not most, cases. It’s not fair to generalize. My best friend is my husband and his best friend is me. We have been together since I was 14 and I couldn’t ever imagine being with anyone else or being without him. And, I am confident his feelings are mutual. However, one of his best friends is a girl. She is also one of my best friends and I consider her to be a sister. His relationship with her is very open and nothing is private. I know everything and anything I want and he doesn’t care because he has nothing to hide. Now me… I don’t really have any close girl friends. I have never gotten along with girls very well. All my friends were guys and still are. All my closet friends are males. I am also very open with my husband. I also have nothing to hide. My husband and I made a deal when we got together. If we ever have feelings for someone else, the first person we tell is the other. This way we can work through it together. This has never occurred but it keeps us both confident that there will never be a secret between us. We also know that there are certain conversations that we just can’t have with those friends of the opposite sex. You don’t complain or gripe about things that happen in your marriage. Those times are saved for pedicures with the girls, or for him, stogies with the guys. So, I guess I agree with you somewhat. Having a friend of the opposite sex can be dangerous if there are not rules set in place. But, I know from experience that it is possible to have a friend or friends of the opposite sex without temptation.

  3. I think this plays right in with a post I read recently at To Love, Honor and Vacuum (http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2012/09/emotional-affairs/) on emotional affairs. I think, given a certain amount of time spent one-on-one with someone of the opposite sex, things can happen. But if you just chill together as married couples, probably no problem. It’s honestly the one-on-one that’ll kill ya! GREAT post, glad I found your blog. I like dealing with these kinds of topics in my writing, too.

  4. Great post Aimee! I agree 100%. My husband and I have been married for 16 years as well. We had a rough start and set boundaries for ourselves pretty early on. We have never regretted setting boundaries and have possibly prevented situations we’d might otherwise consider harmless. If you haven’t read it, a great book on the subject is Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud. It proves case and point. Great post!

  5. It starts as something so subtle. An invitation to study on a Sociology project. It’s harmless, right? I didn’t see it coming, and it may have not been her initial intention. I was a little over 1 year into my marriage and beginning the first semester of my RN degree. School was going great! My college experience was nothing less than exciting! Just four weeks into Sociology, and we were given an assignment which the professor announced we could work on in groups. Cool! But, I just wanted to stay solo, as I knew I could take care of this assignment. Then, as class was dismissed, this pretty 18 year old Latina approached me with the invitation to tackle this project together. I saw nothing wrong with cooperating with a pretty girl that I didn’t even know. I knew I loved my wife enough to keep my vows, at least I thought I was strong enough. I studied with this girl in Sociology and then it escalated to History, Literature, Math and so on. The longer you hang out with someone, the more you learn about them and them about you. We got to be really close. It was no longer friendship. We had “care” for each other and the feeling was new and refreshing. Well, years later I realized how I destroyed my wife’s heart. I am truly sorry. Now I have set boundaries on how close I will allow a friendship with the opposite sex. We can have a wholesome relationship with anyone as long as God is in the middle. Great post Aimee!

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