Man I Miss My Dog: Why It Sucks Cutting Opposite-Sex Friendships When You’re In A Relationship

September 28, 2012  |  

Source: Shutterstock

When it comes to men and women, the question people never get tired of asking is can they really just be friends. Of course everyone has essentially decided that answer is no, which is why when you actually get into a relationship with someone, you’re pretty much automatically expected to let your friends of the opposite sex go by the wayside. But it’s just not fair.

Not long ago, I finally noticed a trend between my best guy friend and I. We keep having the same repeat issue whenever we begin talking to or get into a relationship with someone: they never trust our friendship. At some point someone we are talking to will always inquire about the other and give our completely platonic companionship major side eyeage to the point that we’re expected to cut back on our relationship almost to the point of not having one. While in some ways I understand the suspicion, I’m always amazed at the fact that him being in the Midwest and me being on the East Coast has never been a sufficient justification for us to maintain our friendship as normal. We both are always asked to limit our interaction, if not cut each other off completely, and sometimes we have. And I hate it.

On his end, I think the problem is he thinks he’s easing his ladies fears by retelling the story of the one night, seven years ago, that he thought I was going to give him some and I didn’t. The thing is, when we first met in college he was interested in me romantically but I realized fairly early on that I valued him more as a friend; hence I thought it was perfectly OK to be at his house past booty call hour once because in my mind we were just friends. Unfortunately he hadn’t gotten that memo yet so I ended up having to turn his advance down. Things have been cool between us ever since but what he thinks he’s presenting as evidence I don’t want him to the ladies he’s dating, I think they see as proof he would get in these drawls if he could. And that’s where the trouble begins.

For my part, I never divulge that story. For one, it doesn’t even cross my mind when I’m asked about our friendship and I don’t think it has any bearing on our current relationship. Therefore when I cut ties with my friend once in the interest of preserving my relationship, I couldn’t help but resent my ex-boyfriend some. Sure, I could understand that my friend should no longer be calling me all times of the night/morning but I didn’t like having to limit the time that I could talk to him, or ignoring his text messages so I wasn’t always on my phone, or putting his calls on the reject list so my boyfriend wouldn’t know he was calling. I know all of that sounds sneaky  – and yes my ex did have some trust issues—but when I talked to other friends, male and female, about the situation they basically told me this is just a part of the dating game. Your partner comes first and it’s your job to control the other relationships that get in the way of what you have.

My ex wasn’t the only person I’d resented over the years. A couple of years ago, my guy friend called me one night for a heart to heart. He told me he was working on getting back with an ex of his and one of the caveats of them starting over was that I basically needed to be nonexistent in their lives. I’d even become a topic of discussion during some of their many therapy sessions, and by suggestion of the doctor and bidding on the part of his woman, my best buddy had to chuck me the deuces—temporarily at least since that relationship is dunzo, much like mine. Given that reality, I can’t help but ask why is it fair to have to cut your opposite sex relationships off when it would never be considered acceptable to cut off your same sex friends for the sake of a relationship?

To be honest, I’m lost without my best bud sometimes. After all, who am I going to get advice from when my man messes up? I’m sort of joking, but we do typically have long chats at least once or twice a week and I think we each should be allowed that. I never thought to ask my ex to cut off the lady friend he claimed was like a sister and that truth made me feel all the more weak for bending to some of his conditions about my guy friend. Perhaps if all this hooplah about men and women not being able to be friends wasn’t so prevalent we wouldn’t have to keep answering the same, “did you sleep with him/her” question with every new person. It’s a given that all relationships shift some with the addition of a new person but choosing between a boy friend and a boyfriend is sometimes just not fair.

Have you ever cut off a boy friend for a boyfriend and resented it? How do you manage your platonic opposite sex friendships when you’re in a relationship?

*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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