We all come into contact with people of the opposite sex. It’s impossible not to. We work with others, mingle with others at get-togethers, and go to church with others. It’s natural that some of those occurrences will slowly evolve into having friends with the opposite sex. However, there are opposite-sex friendships and inappropriate friendships.
- 1 What Are Inappropriate Friendships When Married?
- 2 Rules Of Same Sex Friendships
- 2.1 1. Avoid sexual conversations with the opposite sex
- 2.2 2. Don’t be friends if you’re sexually attracted to them
- 2.3 3. Excessively texting can cross a line
- 2.4 4. Set boundaries with close friends
- 2.5 5. Introduce your friends to your spouse
- 2.6 6. Avoid emotional affairs
- 2.7 7. Don’t lie or hide friendships
- 2.8 8. Imagine how you would want him to act
- 2.9 9. Talk to him about your friends
- 2.10 10. Subtle flirtations are a warning sign
- 2.11 11. Make sure you have mutual friends
- 2.12 12. Avoid giving them personal gifts
- 2.13 13. Don’t constantly seek support outside of your marriage
- 2.14 14. Spend time with your spouse
- 2.15 15. Pay attention to what other people say
- 2.16 16. Address relationship problems
- 2.17 17. Reflect on time spent with friends
- 3 FAQs
- 4 In Conclusion
What Are Inappropriate Friendships When Married?
When you’re married, you can still be friends with the opposite gender. However, there are situations where you can go from just friends to having an inappropriate friendship. This is so common that most people don’t realize it’s inappropriate until they begin to have problems in their marriage.
To prevent this, it’s important to determine what qualifies as an inappropriate friendship. This is any friendship that involves the two of you become so close that it causes significant conflict in your marriage. Obviously, a sexual relationship or emotional affair would also be considered inappropriate.
Because more and more people have opposite-sex friends than in previous years, it’s important to have an honest conversation with your partner about this. What you view as inappropriate friendships might be a healthy relationship with him and vice versa. The two of you need to be on the same page.
Ask your partner what they consider appropriate, and make sure that you let him know as well. As your relationship progresses, the two of you might need to have this conversation again.
Rules Of Same Sex Friendships
Once you become friends with a person of the opposite sex, and you have a conversation with your partner, your work is not done. You may start out with opposite-sex friends that are strictly platonic, but it doesn’t take long for some of those friendships to slowly cross a line that leads into inappropriate territory.
When you follow these rules, you won’t have to worry about that happening.
1. Avoid sexual conversations with the opposite sex
This crosses over into inappropriate conversations, which can easily lead to inappropriate friendships. Your spouse more than likely doesn’t want you sharing intimate details, or problems, with your opposite-sex friends.
This can also open the door for men to hit on you if they have a secret crush on you. Some men don’t want to be your friend, they’re just waiting for an opportunity.
2. Don’t be friends if you’re sexually attracted to them
Having a male friend that you are attracted to can quickly turn into having a physical affair. Because of this, it’s best to avoid being a close friend with someone that you think is hot. All it takes is a few drinks to lose self-control. Instead, don’t put yourself in that situation.
3. Excessively texting can cross a line
If you find that you’re texting a friend of the opposite sex all day, that needs to stop. You should not spend the majority of your time texting a person of the opposite sex. This can easily be misunderstood by both your partner and your friend. Instead, text them as much as you do your other friends.
4. Set boundaries with close friends
Close friends are more likely to be involved in your personal life. Unfortunately, they are also more likely to have some fun flirtatious behavior when your partner isn’t around. If you notice this happening, it’s important to put a stop to it. Let your friend know that your spouse would not appreciate that behavior. If the behavior continues, the friendship should end.
5. Introduce your friends to your spouse
You would introduce friends of the same sex to your partner, so it only makes sense that you also introduce friends of the opposite sex. This works well for a few different reasons.
First, it can put your partner’s mind at ease. If they are uncomfortable with you having friends of the opposite gender, it can make them feel better once they get to know your male friends. There’s no reason that you guy’s all can’t hang out together.
Second, if your opposite-sex friends have intentions that move beyond friendship, you’ll notice them acting differently once your man is around. This can give you a heads up if they are interested in becoming more than platonic friends.
6. Avoid emotional affairs
While it’s normal to have close friendships and to share an emotional bond, you can wind up having an emotional affair. Most of the time a person that is cheating on an emotional basis will start out as being just friends with the person.
As time goes on, you’ll find that you start to talk to this friend more and more. This is why it’s important to recognize when you’re texting someone else all day. Other signs that you’re having an affair on an emotional level include:
- Sharing things with them before your partner, such as a promotion at work
- You’re always thinking about them
- You feel a deeper connection with them than you do with your partner
- Discussing personal topics with them
- Sharing fewer things with your spouse
- Finding that you have more of an emotional connection with them instead of your spouse
- Constantly thinking about them
As time goes on, you’ll find that you’re giving this friend more of yourself than you are your spouse.
7. Don’t lie or hide friendships
Your partner should be comfortable with your friends, including those of the opposite gender. If they aren’t, the two of you need to have an open conversation about this.
It can be tempting to lie or hide the friendship from your spouse to avoid conflict, but this can cause more problems in the long run. Not only does it look suspicious from another point of view, but it can also lead to you having an actual affair with someone that was just a friend.
8. Imagine how you would want him to act
While it’s normal for you to have male friends, you also need to remember that it’s normal for your husband to have female friends. Think about how you would want him to act. Would you be comfortable with him talking to his opposite-sex friends about your sex life? What about your marital problems? If you don’t want him to do it, you shouldn’t be doing it either.
9. Talk to him about your friends
When you have lunch with someone, let him know as you tell him about your day. When you don’t, it seems like you’re intentionally leaving things out. This can cause significant problems in your marriage.
10. Subtle flirtations are a warning sign
If you cut off friends that don’t respect your marriage and your boundaries first, it benefits your marriage. This shows your husband that he can trust you. He might have a hard time with this if he’s been cheated on in the past. It’ll also guarantee that a friend of the opposite sex stays just a friend.
11. Make sure you have mutual friends
When you’re married, you don’t simply want your friends and his. Instead, you also need to have your mutual friends. These are other married people that you can go on dates with, etc. Doing this helps you form a life together. You’ll find that there’s less conflict and confusion when you are both friends with the couple.
12. Avoid giving them personal gifts
If you have a female friend, you might pick them up something if you see it and think of them. However, when you have a friend of the opposite sex, don’t do it. People will think that you have a romantic interest. This also might offend your husband or be viewed as inappropriate.
13. Don’t constantly seek support outside of your marriage
In a healthy marriage, you are both able to fulfill each other’s needs for the most part. This doesn’t mean that healthy relationships involve being codependent on each other. Instead, it means that you don’t seek emotional or sexual fulfillment outside of your relationship.
Instead, it involves communication when your needs aren’t being met. The two of you should strive to meet each other’s needs. When this happens, you’ll find that you don’t need closer relationships with others of the opposite sex. Instead, such friendships will be at the bottom of the priority list.
Keep in mind that it’s okay to have other relationships. It’s okay to receive emotional support from other people. However, there’s a limit. If you find that you’re getting more support from other people than your spouse, that’s a sign that your platonic relationship is crossing a line.
14. Spend time with your spouse
Sometimes, life gets busy and our spouse gets put on the back burner. Unfortunately, this can be because you’re spending a lot of time with a person that you’re close friends with as well.
In same-sex friendships, this can still cause a problem. Your husband may feel that he’s simply not on the priority list anymore. He could also feel a bit left out.
In opposite-sex friendships, this can breed distrust. He may think that you have romantic feelings for someone else. Whether you’re having an intimate relationship on the side will pop into his head. This is surprisingly common. Eliminate the possibility of this happening by making sure that you spend plenty of quality time together.
15. Pay attention to what other people say
While you shouldn’t base your relationship or opposite-sex friendships on what other people say, you should listen when they start to ask questions.
While you might think that your friend’s behavior is normal, someone looking at things from outside the box might notice that it’s flirtatious. They are also more likely to notice when a person only acts like this with you.
Personally, I have a hard time noticing when guys like me. This also applies to opposite-sex friendships. Because of that, I always take what other people say into consideration.
16. Address relationship problems
Most of the time, a person that is looking to fulfill their needs outside of their marriage will turn to their friend of the opposite sex. This isn’t necessarily because they are attracted to them. It’s them trying to have their needs met. Over time, it turns into one person having inappropriate friendships with the opposite gender.
You can avoid this situation by preventing it before it becomes a problem. To not let opposite-gender friends turn into inappropriate friendships is to solve problems in your relationship as soon as you notice them. Once you start doing this, you’ll notice that you’re less likely to use an opposite-sex friendship as a crutch.
17. Reflect on time spent with friends
When you take the time to look back on the time that you spent with friends of the opposite gender, consider how your partner would feel. Would they be comfortable? Or offended? Do you think they would feel disrespected? This can help you determine whether friendships will have a negative impact on your marriage in the long run.
Inappropriate friendships are ones that go beyond the boundaries of a standard friendship. These could involve a deeper emotional connection than what you have with your spouse. Sexual things might be discussed. It’s disrespectful to your own marriage.
It’s common for a married person to be friends with someone of the opposite gender. A married man might be friends with a married woman. As long as the two people are just good friends, and it doesn’t cause problems in their marriages, it’s acceptable.
Yes, they can. Friends can do this intentionally. They might like you and try to sabotage your relationship. Unintentionally, they might depend on you too much. This pulls you away from your spouse.
Yes, they can. Both people need to set boundaries and stick to them. That means that they should not depend on their friend for something their spouse should be doing. This doesn’t just mean sex, either. Emotionally based affairs can also be a problem.
Husbands do this for various reasons. They aren’t happily married. Sometimes men simply want attention. They like to know that they are still wanted. Perhaps they use the attention they get as validation that they are still attractive to other people. Most view it as harmless, though.
It can be easy to accidentally overstep boundaries, turning a platonic friendship with someone of the opposite gender into a sexual one. How do you think married men and women should avoid this?
As hopeless romantic I struggled tremendously in my love life. After many years of searching, trial & error, and countless failed relationships, I finally found my Mr. Right. It wasn't an easy road, but one that has taught me an incredible amount about the workings of relationships between men and women, and this is what I hope to share through my writing on this blog.