You are about to marry the man of your dreams but what about all those female friends your fiancé has been hanging out with for years? He swears he does not fancy them but how do you really feel about them?
If you took a lie detector test about how you really feel about your man’s female friends, or if you were to put your hand on your heart, look at yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself, chances are you wouldn’t be able to say the sweet things without the sirens going off!
Even if you claim to be an open-minded and liberal woman of the twenty-first century, one’s fiancé having opposite sex friends can prove to be a real problem for many women. For Susan Ruto, 26, who married Raymond, 34, two years ago, the problem is still very real even after tying the knot. “My husband has always liked female company. He comes from a large family of seven sisters and he is the youngest child and only son, so he has always had a lot of female attention. Before we got married Raymond used to go out with his female friends and it did not bother me much. We did not live together then, so I did not really know how much he would see of them or how lengthy the phone calls were. But now that we do I cannot stand it. It is in my face all the time,” says Susan. “I assumed that after our marriage he would not be in touch with them so much. To be truthful, I’d hoped I’d be the only woman in his life; I’m not and I can not help feeling hurt that nothing has changed.”
FIRST THINGS FIRST
One thing I know for sure is that it is very difficult to know all your fiancé’s friends We make friends everyday – sometimes we start a conversation with a complete stranger because of being part of an incident or accident. Some friendships’ are based on a common link and nothing else (business acquaintances). Since you do not talk about them you assume that there is no need to introduce them to your fiancée, these friendships maybe very shallow and or of a specific nature and purpose and may have no consequence they may grow or die. Regardless of the association, there is always a comment like “I didn’t realize you know so-and-so or “where did you meet?” and thereafter its up to you on how the story continues to unfold.
It is important to always be open and honest with your partner about opposite sex friendships. Put it the other way, how would you feel if you found out that your Partner has ‘secret male/female friends’ or ‘Private friends’? Fishy?
Would you not be suspicious? You would ask many questions like “why are you hiding them from me and for how long have you been hiding them and why are many of these private friends opposite sex”?
It is important to always be open and honest with your partner about opposite sex friendships
There are no secrets in marriage. It is therefore important that married people keep some of the same friends that they had before the relationship but there is no reason for those friends to be ‘secret’ or ‘private’.
The only reason why anybody would want to keep a ‘friend’ of any sort away from a spouse is that we know that the relationship with that person is not quite what it should be and we do not want to get caught. If you have opposite-sex friendships from work places, it is up to both of you to make sure that it is understood that these friends are just that – friends – this is of course assuming that these friends are strictly platonic.
I believe that friendships should be discussed before you and your fiancée come together as one in marriage. A marriage is about two people and one or both of you thinking that you could run those alternative ‘private’ relationships along side is a break-up waiting to happen. I also feel that you would be sending out a strange message to these friends that your friendship is your little secret and your fiancée is not allowed to be part of it.
Take it from me; there should be nothing private in marriage. If you still want your privacy, please stay single. If you have friends that you see and chat with regularly that your fiancée does not know about but you are certain that she can join in anytime that you are meeting these friends or she can read any correspondence between you and them (emails, voice and text messages and so on) and not feel offended, this is a good start, keep it up!
1. FRIENDS FOR LIFE
Then, there are those life-long platonic friendships, which you have had for a good part of your life, good friends who not only know all your strengths and weaknesses so well but also know how to maneuver and take advantage of you anytime! Friends who believe that they were there first and will always be. It is important that for your fiancé’s sake you be completely honest at all times and always try to include her/him in the plans you make with these friends.
Yes, you may say they are a part of your life and nothing or nobody should break that bond, not even your fiancée BUT when most of these friends are of the opposite sex, watch out, they could threaten your marriage. Now, guys, I know there are many of you thinking, “Look, I’ve had an opposite-sex friendship at work with Angela for years. Nothing has ever happened, and nothing ever will. It’ll never become inappropriate.” – Well let me remind you, you are now crossing from the land of the ‘single and loving it’, to the land of the (want to be) ‘Married and Settled’!
According to Julia Cole, author of “Loving Yourself, Loving Another,” being territorial about your man is a primitive instinct and one which women succumb to subconsciously. Julia says, “In prehistoric times women formed bonds with men so they’d provide for her and her child. The fear that your man is enjoying another woman’s company is all it takes to bring out that competitive streak and cause jealousy.” Even though millions of years later we have evolved into sophisticated creatures, our green-eyed monster is as primitive as ever.
BE FAIR – GET A GRIP OF YOUR INSECURITIES.
For some men, it is not hard to have lady friends, especially if you are dealing with ladies or issues linked to them in your profession and you are social, attractive and popular among them. Since you may not be able to know all these friends, he may not find it necessary to tell you whom he met or will be meeting for lunch or for a drink. I believe that an unaccountable man is an accident waiting to happen.
So ladies, if the guy has been honest with you, try to accept that his female friends are here to stay, no matter how hard you try and plant seeds of doubt about their characters into your partner’s head. If you try to manipulate how he feels by making up stories about what they had supposedly done and how he shouldn’t trust them to try and stop him from having anything to do with them. He’ll see straight through you and think you’re being bitchy and possessive. If these are genuine friendships it will not be long before he confronts and all your lies will come flooding into the open and you end up looking really bad, childish and selfish and not to be trusted. Remember that it’s you that he’s chosen to be with for the rest of his life.
DON’T SLAG THEN OFF – THEY HAVE THEIR POSITIVES
Friendships enrich our lives, be they of the same sex, age, race or religion. Feeling insecure about an opposite sex friendship in a relationship is usually a sign that you are afraid that the person is going to lure your partner away, maybe it has happened in the past and you now have an issue of trust. However, your relationship should be strong enough for you not to have to live in retreat for it to survive! If you were blind you wouldn’t have an issue with your partner socialising with other blind people to get a better understanding of your situation. The same should be true of gender.
But if you have given him the benefit of doubt but you still feel uncomfortable, well, my advice to you is that you should defiantly keep a close eye on this situation. For what it is worth, at least be sure of the nature of these friendships before you make the big commitment. If possible, have him introduce you to them (have a small drinks party and ask him to invite them over). If your fiancé is ok with this – that’s a good start but if he is openly heated – try to find out while talking to him (don’t hide your feelings though) why he is heated up about your meeting them.
• Do you have friends that you sometimes meet without telling your fiancée because you have a hunch she/he would be unhappy or your friends would feel awkward?
• Are you always deceiving or misleading your fiancée on matters concerning these friendships?
• Do you confide in them with things you have not told your spouse?
• Do you have friends of the opposite-sex you have a sexual chemistry with – you don’t even have to touch the warmth is there?
• Do you behave differently with (flirt) and say things to them that you would ordinarily not say if your fiancée were present?
• Do you sometimes share important news with these friends before your spouse?
If yes, what should you do?
• Either break those friendships or tell your fiancée the whole truth about these relationships before you get married. When you do not tell them, more often than not, it is for a reason – You do not want to upset your partner (thus you know, in fact, that there is something to get upset about).
• Try and understand how your fiancée sees it. How would you feel about your fiancé having the same quality of opposite-sex friendships?
• Have proper boundaries laid out to disable these platonic friendships from developing into romantic love.
Proper boundaries should always exist outside the marriage relationship and never inside. One-way to be accountable to your life-long partner is to always be open with them from the very beginning. Talk about work friendships, these pose no danger. If possible begin to take your fiancée to outings with these friends. When you observe proper boundaries, your marriage will be secure. Marriage works best when both of you can enter into every corner of each other’s lives. By maintaining openness on the inside and boundaries on the outside you will not only be protecting your marriage from harm on the outside but nurturing a healthy and happy marriage on the inside.
Boundaries should include:
Not sharing anything personal or private about yourself or your fiancé with these friends some topics should be kept exclusively for your fiancé. These days we go for lunch or other functions with friends of the opposite sex or we spend a lot of our work time with them that by the time you meet your fiancée, you have already shared your heart with everybody else. You have noting that you need to share with your fiancé anymore. Save those kinds of intimacies and those things that are exciting in your life to be able to share them with that one special partner.
Married couple friendships:
These can actually provide great encouragement and accountability in your marriage. A marriage is strengthened when you have other strong, supportive married couples in your lives. The most important friendships should be friends of your marriage too.
Protecting your marriage through discretion in your clothing and conduct:
Should you continue meeting these friends prior to or after that firm commitment to your life-long partner, what you wear during these occasions is very important. Ladies remember that men become easily aroused sexually by the stimulation of sight. Never assume that having a good marriage shelters anybody from temptation. We are all vulnerable to temptation if we do not stay on the alert.
Protecting your marriage by spending time together:
Have your emotional needs met within your marriage. That means sticking to the plan of spending time alone together as often as possible. Unless we purposefully protect that time, all of life’s urgent needs or confiding in your other friends will slowly eat away the foundation of your marriage.
Protecting your marriage through accountability:
Accountability may be the key issue that makes or breaks our faithfulness to a partner – take up the challenge. Once you have honestly opened up to each other about your friendships, do not be jealous, work at building trust. Anytime you feel
Not sharing anything personal or private about yourself or your fiancé with these friends some topics should be kept exclusively for your fiancé.
there is something you need to know do not accuse of criticize, just ask and give your partner the opportunity to answer, just listen, do not interrupt or finish their sentences. Share things that are important for your partner to know, so that it is clearly seen that nothing is being hidden. If you are still not happy about certain friendships even after opening up to each other then think twice about them. Your marriage is your 1st priority; remember your marriage vows ‘forsaking all others, keeping you only unto me for as long as we both shall live’ Before signing any contract, one is given time to go through the contents for approval – maybe you should ask whoever will be presiding over your marriage ceremony to give you an advance copy of the vows for your approval.
Finally, no matter what kind of friendships you have, they should always help strengthen your marriage. When a married couple observes openness and proper boundaries, their other friendships pose no danger to their marriage, in fact their marriage become secure and comforting.
The wise woman will purposefully build walls around her marriage ahead of time to help close the door on opportunities for temptation. (That also goes for the wise man)
– Judy Starr ‘The Enticement of the Forbidden’ –
IF IT ALL GETS TOO UP CLOSE & PERSONAL FOR YOUR LIKING…
Being totally open about friendships with the opposite sex is the only way to completely allay any fears either of you may have about the friendships.
If it all gets too much for one of you, if you feel maybe that one of his friends has crossed the boundaries of acceptability with her flirting, discuss it calmly and openly with your partner to clear the air. Whilst a degree of flirting is healthy fun, it isn’t any fun for you if you worry yourself sick over imaginary consequences. Your fiancé loves you and when he realises you’ve been quietly putting up with something that really upsets you, he’ll want to put things right. Just remember, be calm, be cool and that the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with is you!