Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Friendship... and the spouse.

Aw...platonic friendships. After thresholds have been crossed; brooms jumped and all that jazz, where do relationships with friends of the opposite sex fit in?

Though never an easy topic, I am frustrated enough to take it on this afternoon. This came about after my well intentioned husband tried to justify going to his single work buddy's bday bash at a nightclub, without me. This same coworker also has no problem calling and texting him. I have asked him to invite her to our dinner parties and mysteriously, she never showed. I need to add... she is a single woman. Don't misunderstand. I love my free and single ladies. I mention her status only to reiterate a point: the mindset is understandibly different between the single and married person. It may have never occured to her that she was violating ettiquitte by urging my husband to accompany her to a night club while inexblicably leaving me off the guest list. She is likely not after Meathead. She just doesnt' think like a woman who has to set boundaries because she isn't one.

What is the big deal anyway? Shouldn't we all still be able to engage in friendly relationships with the opposite sex after matrimony?

Well, I will anger a few of you, by answering with a resounding... NO!!!

I hear you now: that's jealousy, that's being a "ball and chain"...guys and girls should have the right to friends of the opposite sex...

Yeah. I hear you. Sure.
Without a doubt; there FEW exceptions- and these exceptions ONLY:

*The "friend" is a mutual friend to both husband and wife, or would have no problem being so. (e.i. the co worker that would gladly invite your spouse to the bbq, and come over to yours. This friend understands that marriage is a package deal that way.)

*The "friend" has never been in a relationship with your spouse. (No, I dont mean your sixth grade crush. I mean the ones with which you have vivid memory of their private parts. :-)

*The "friend" is a 'family friend' - which you have known so long, your other half would come across as a absolutely pyscho for interfering with your bond. (However; in these cases- that "family friend"- is usually very open to being around your spouse.) I will give an example of this later.

Before you write me off as a nearly thirty, overprotective, jealous married lady; let me give you the back story to my very sound logic.


A married couple is having some typical problems in their sixth year. Husband begins to feel like he married too young, starts to wonder if he's missed anything....He confides his frustration to a single co-worker of the opposite sex...

A few months pass; and the newly friendly pair go from casual lunches shared in the break room...to grabbing a few drinks after work...to playful texting...to everyday conversations... Very detailed conversations, where hubby reveals all the marital dirty laundry. All with wifey left in the dark about this new girl-friend/girlfriend.
So, months pass...things get better at home for the couple. Then, husband starts to feel a little "uncomfortable" with the amount of time his co worker "friend" spends at his desk; her non stop texting... which eventually his wife takes wind of. Of course, that doesn't go over well.
So what do you think happened to that friendship?
Yep. If you said husband tried to put it all on his "stalking co-worker" and cut off his friendship with the single woman...you guessed right. The poor friend was his shoulder to cry on... until he decided he was finished crying. She was left humiliated and undoubtedly angered that she was used this way.
MORAL: Don't befriend married people behind the spouses back. If your friend values your friendship, it won't be a secret from his/her spouse. Don't allow that married person to drag you into their drama by making secret friendships with them. you can't really help him/her with their issues, unless your a marriage counselor or a pastor-in that case you would still need to see BOTH parties. This married person is using you as their dumping ground. If you beginto feel sorry for this "unhappily married friend," you may find yourself with conflicting feelings about them, as this young lady did. She took all the wife bashing as a sign he was on his way out the door. Even if that person's marriage was in fact, over; keep it friendly until you know for sure, like the ink is dry on the divorce/separation papers. That way, you protect your own feelings, as well as the feelings of that spouse who has no idea that you are even an issue. It will only end in bad karma for you, when you don't respect the boundaries of marriage!


We all love social networking. Catching up with college/high school buddies- male and female- is my favorite part of it all, since we all live in different cities now. My obscure fascination with pro wrestling, hip hop, and the Dallas Cowboys- keeps me engaged in playful banter with my FB male counterparts on a daily basis.

So how do you draw clear lines of distinction; between keeping it real with your buddies, and crossing over into murky water?

Well, for one, it is wise to keep the conversation public. (E.I. The "Wall" or "Status Updates")...For the most part, I am PROUD to say almost ALL of my male friends keep it kosher and respectful; and even when a playful flirtatious joke is thrown in here and there, they always keep it respectful of my vows and I appreciate those of you who do that.

Then comes that proverbial bad apple that spoils the collective bunch...

Last week, I went against my better judgement and accepted a "friend request" from a high school "boyfriend". It seemed harmless enough, like I said, all my C-Town homies keep it clean and professional- so I am not so full of myself- to assume that this guy I haven't seen in over 12 years- had some ulterior motives. After all, my status clearly says MARRIED. So what harm could come, right?

WRONG. First it was the "chat" invites. I am a habitual night owl; and I keep my FB open while I blog or browse the web. Every night, in the wee hours of the morning; there was this red light alerting me that someone was inviting me to chat. Sometimes my deployed friends get on since they have the time delay, so I went to check it out. When I saw it was this "ex", my spidey senses tingled a bit, but I just ignored it and closed out the box. What did he have to talk to me about at 2 am, after 12 years? Strange. Even more weird, when I would close it out, he would start in again. The box read: HI KRISTEN. Ignore. Then two minutes later...HELLO KRISTEN!!! When he didn't get very far on the chat, he sent emails. In one, he casually thanked me for the "add", then said "but I didn't expect you to be married, though." WTH? Why not? Whatever. I kept it pro and didn't say a whole lot, figured he would fade to black into the pile of people collected on my page I never engage with.
Sure, I was annoyed. But its the computer. One has choices. I just closed out FB, and went on about my night.

Then the next afternoon, I went on to update my status. I made some less than subtle hint about wanting to have Meathead (hubby :)) take me on a hot date. This TOOL gets on and comments to my status: "OH, I'm ready to take you on a hot date right now. As I remember, we had LOTS of those!"

WOW!!! Talk about embarrassed! (Now, if you assume his prank was harmless; remember what I said- I actually did unfortunately date this guy for a very short time in high school. So there is no irony in his statement. He meant to be coy and cute; but conversely, was rude and disrespectful.) Had we been truly "friends"; the tone of the post wouldn't have made me so uncomfortable. Like I said, I love my male buddies! Some of the guys I converse with on FB are actually my husbands cousins, brothers and friends. No harm in that. This ex-asshole is not my friend, therefore, he had no business on my page. I ignored my better judgment, and was punished for it. Undoubtedly, he saw no harm in trying to open that door, maybe he was kidding. So really, its not his fault. In his eyes, I accepted his friend request, so if he saw me up at 2am on the chat, he saw no foul in trying to connect. He isn't the one that is married. I am. So I must remember to be mindful of how my intentions are recieved, especially by single men who have nothing to lose. Especially since the guy was so insignificant that I never even mentioned him, nor those subjective "hot dates" to my husband, who was not happy about the bull headed post. Lesson learned, however humiliated I was. :(
So how did it play out? I kept it classy, responded that his comment was inappropriate; and left the comment up, even though I could have deleted it, as a reminder to myself... that everyone cannot be your friend. Period.

So on to the example of the appropriate friendship... #3: The Lifelong Friend.

I promised in the intro, to give an example of the type of friendship that almost trumps the married clause. It is that on longtime friend of the family. I said ALMOST because- with anything; there is that one or two "bad apples"...but my example is one that is positive.
So my husband's parents followed their best friends from the military here, to metro Atlanta, when they retired. That family also had children; one of which is close in age to Meathead; and they all grew up together. When there are family functions and they all get together; I am thrilled to listen to the stories that they share as children. This particular friend-I may add; is a bonafide cutie pie- super pretty- and I am sure as kids, my husband had- at the very least-a mild crush on her. I think its cute, and he would probably kill me for putting it out there! Sorry, babe :).
Nothing about the presence of friends like this upsets me. Not even a little. I am more than secure, and not only that; I actually like all his childhood family. I found her refreshing and funny, and I probably talk to her much more than he does now. She is family- like his sisters and brothers. Because she is actually a family friend, she and her siblings made me feel welcome just like the rest of the Sealsee clan. If she called him right now; and was talking to him, about anything at all; nothing in my being would be dis aligned with that. Family is family. Respect.

I know I am going to hear it from yo guys so just note that my husband and I both have friends of the opposite sex. No jealous tirades over here.

Bottom line: as adults, we all chose our own paths to follow, and if you find a friend is not respecting boundaries that they should; whether single or married, distance yourself. It never ends well. The amount of disrespect for vows these days is deafening. NO JOKE- last week a female co worker of my husband's told him "I know your married... but I would love to go down on you while your driving..." and then walked away! No kidding. He had co-workers cosign it actually happened. This is what is comes down to. With trash like this in the world, the last thing a married couple should have to worry about is friends who say they mean well, but don't. If you are a great friend that provides the opposite sex perspective, I commend you. Everyone needs one of those. Just make sure you are really being a friend. And exit soapbox. :)

The moral is: with all endeavors; use your integrity. I love my singles and my marrieds; I urge both to govern themselves accordingly. Peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment