Can Married People Have Platonic Friends of the Opposite Sex?

Some people think married people can’t have friends who are of the opposite gender. However, by establishing proper boundaries and communicating openly with their spouses, married people can have successful relationships with coworkers or friends that aren’t inappropriate. The key is for a married person to keep a relationship platonic from start to finish by following a few simple guidelines.

Remaining an Open Book

A married person should never try to hide emails and phone conversations they are having with friends of the opposite sex. If a married person feels like he or she has to leave the room to talk on the phone or delete email messages, it’s a red flag. Married people should never say or do anything that they wouldn’t want their spouse to hear or see. Sometimes people have friends of the same gender who want to talk privately. While, it’s fine to have that kind of intimacy with same-sex friends, it’s crossing a line when married people are that emotionally intimate with a person of the opposite sex other than their spouses.

Keeping it Professional

One scenario in which platonic relationships tend to thrive is when two people work or attend school together. Collaboration is an important component of successful work and school projects. While it’s appropriate to ask general questions about a married colleague or classmate’s spouse or children, it’s important not to get too personal. Some taboo topics include sex, in-laws, arguments with spouses and private or embarrassing information such as a bankruptcy or illness.

Avoiding Alone Time

While it’s fine to have conversations that no one else overhears, it’s not acceptable to spend time alone with a person of the opposite sex unless it’s in a professional setting and can’t be avoided. When friends of the opposite gender get together, it should be in a public setting. In most social situations, the friends’ spouses should be included. Spending too much alone time together in person can lead to physical temptations. One of the benefits of having platonic friends through social networking sites is that it takes the pheromones and physical attraction out of the equation.

Knowing What’s Off Limits

For most couples, there are some relationships that are off-limits. For example, most husbands don’t want their wives being friends with ex-husbands or ex-boyfriends, even if the relationship is now platonic. Also, it’s best to avoid becoming too close with a spouse’s relatives of the opposite sex, especially ones who are physically attractive. Even if a husband’s intentions with his sister-in-law are benign, too much attention given to the sister-in-law can lead to jealousy.

Overall, it’s best to use common sense when establishing a platonic friendship with a person of the opposite sex. Some spouses may become jealous when their mate spends time with any other person, not just heterosexual friends of the opposite gender. It’s critical for married people to communicate that their spouses are the most important relationships in their lives. Never undermine a husband or wife’s role by pitting their opinion or idea against that of a platonic friend. Finally, if a platonic friend says he or she wants to have a sexual affair, break off the friendship.

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