While I do enjoy a few close friendships with female friends, I find that male friends tend to bring less drama and often respond better to direct communication. A solid guy friend is also key to translating ‘guy language’ and responses, making the platonic male friend your number one ally when you’re dating or attempting to figure out a relationship issue. However, some people find it odd that a married woman such as myself maintains friendships with more males than females. Having been in a variety of relationships in my 20s, I learned that some boyfriends had an issue with my friends being male and the more secure and trusting did not.
My husband does not have a problem with my friendships with males. Through clear communication, work and respect, I maintain a loving marriage and many platonic friendships simultaneously.
Trust your instincts
If a male friend makes you feel creepy or uncomfortable, confront the issue or end the friendship. Issues sometimes occur between a woman’s boyfriend and male friends because the woman did not walk away or point out when the friend crossed a line.
If you feel like there’s a need or if you feel more comfortable, set boundaries with your male friends as your friendships develop. As a general rule and a matter of respect, I don’t usually invite new friends (of either gender) over unless my husband is home to meet them or unless he has met them before.
Boundaries differ for every individual, relationship and friendship. While it might be odd with me to go to a movie with some of my male friends alone, it wouldn’t be strange or awkward for me to do that with others.
Communication and introductions
Communication is one way to limit tension and insecurity. When I make new male friends, I’m clear about the fact that I’m married and usually introduce new friends to my husband pretty quickly. I always wear my wedding ring and my relationship status is public on my Facebook profile. This prevents misunderstandings. Introducing a male friend to my husband also makes him “our friend.” Since my husband and I share many common interests, we get along with each other’s friends.
If you find yourself wanting to hide your relationship status in person and online, it’s time to examine yourself and your relationship.
Respect your significant other
Everyone is different. Some men are borderline possessive and try to block their girlfriends and wives from having male friends. Other men are open and trusting. Being on the receiving end of this type of trust only encourages me to respect my husband more. He doesn’t second-guess my decisions and it feels wonderful to have earned the trust and confidence of my partner.
If he’s gay, say so
Let’s face it-it’s easy for a straight chick to spend an enormous amount of time with a gay male friend. While your friends’ sexualities may be none of your boyfriend’s business, sometimes it can help your relationship if you let him know that your male BFF is gay.
It might seem weird hanging out with a male friend every weekend at a bar-but it’s a different story if your boyfriend knows that your friend is gay and it’s a gay bar.
With accurate communication and your own honest behavior, you can avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.
More from Tara M. Clapper
Dealing with your ex at a social event
Getting along with your boyfriend’s friends
Holiday meal at his family’s house: A survival guide