“Would you be OK with your man having close female friends?”
A Facebook friend asked this question the other day, and a lot of women said no, they wouldn’t be comfortable with this.
I know many men feel the same about their girlfriends or wives having close male friends. It’s a fairly typical attitude found in heterosexual couples.
I understand the feelings behind this. No one wants to have the worry that their significant other is going to cheat on them. If your boyfriend likes girls, and you’re the only girl he spends any significant time with, then that pretty much means he’s safely yours, right?
Well, no, not really.
I think that not only should we be OK with our partners having close friends who are the same gender as us, it’s something we should want. In other words, I prefer to date men who have close female friends.
See, when a man has close female friends as well as close male friends, it means a few things.
First, how sad must your relationship be if your trust in your significant other is so flimsy that you believe the only way to keep them from not cheating on you is to keep them away from anyone they might potentially find sexually attractive?
Think about it. If the only thing that’s stopping your boyfriend from cheating on you is he hasn’t been given the opportunity, then you’re in a pretty awful relationship that’s guaranteed to end badly.
The fact is, if your boyfriend is going to cheat on you, it’s going to happen sooner or later. I’d rather date a guy who’s trustworthy.
Of course, you might just think no guys at all can be trusted to be left alone with women without having sex with them, or that no single women can be trusted to be left alone with taken men without having sex with them. If that’s really how you see the world then I just kinda feel a little sorry for you.
Second, it means, or should mean if he’s not a hypocrite, that he will be comfortable with you having close male friends, and my friends are far too important for me to abandon or avoid some of them just because they’re male.
I know some people would say “my husband’s my best friend, so I don’t need anyone else!” Frankly I find that a little creepy.
I don’t know how these people function, but even though my fiancé is of course my best friend I still need my non-romantic, close friendships with people who are not family in my life.
Finally, it means he has women in his life who he values for their friendship alone, rather than for the amount of sex he can get out of them.
He views women as humans and equals - people he can talk to, trust, and rely on - rather than mere sex objects. This can only be a good thing. It means he will be able to see you as an equal that he can talk to, trust, and rely on.
If your boyfriend only values women he can have sex with, then how can you expect him to value you for anything other than sex?
And if your boyfriend is unused to having interactions with women that are not strictly romantic or sexual, how can you expect him to be able to understand and relate to you?
The fact is, one of the best ways to learn how to relate to others who are different to us is through friendships. When a person limits their friendships only to people who represent their gender, (or race, or sexual orientation, or anything else for that matter) they risk seeing anyone who doesn’t fit into that group as alien and “other”.
It’s easy to empathise with a friend, but it’s really hard to empathise with someone who is “other”.
That’s how you get these “men are from Mars and women are from Venus” situations, where women tell each other that all men are dogs, while men tell each other that “bitches be crazy”.
So I’m going to go ahead and say it: Not only should you be OK with dating a guy whose best friend is a woman, you should actively look at strong friendships with other women as a major bonus in a guy.
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