I believe that the taboo of consorting with the opposite sex while married or single without the intent of a romantic relationship, is starting to die out with the older generations. Equal workplaces have been establishing a new level of cross-sex relationships that are causing many to ask the question seriously, “Can men and women be friends?” My answer is yes, but with hard work. There are three types of relationships between men and women and I believe that all of the following scenarios have the potential for friendship, but it doesn’t always come naturally or easily.
1. When one person has stronger, more romantic feeling than the other. This one has the potential to cause a lot of pain. I’ve been on both sides of this. Most would say that it’s easier to be on the receiving end of unrequited love, and I guess it depends on what type of person you are. But I never had an easy time with being on either side of this very difficult situation. I did however make every effort to keep all of those men in my life as friends. Some have worked, some haven’t, but it is possible even after hurt feelings, because I always realize that it’s more important to have these people in my life as friends, than not at all.
2. The easiest of the three categories would be, of course, when a man and woman develop a friendship without romantic entanglements. Whether they are both married, in relationships or single, these friendships are very important. But stay on your toes because as time goes by, feelings do change and one or both of you may decide later down the road that you would like more. So keep the lines of communication open at all times.
3. Mutual romantic feelings could appear to be the most desired and easiest of the three scenarios to deal with. You meet, you date, you marry, you have kids, you grow old together, and hopefully all the while you are friends. Fits nicely into a neat little package huh? Well what are the circumstances around the meeting of these two people? Are you both single at the time? What if you’re married and you find a relationship with the opposite sex to be more than friendship? That may be the most difficult of all.
So although it’s very possible for men and women to be just friends, there can be very dangerous ground. Communication is the key, make sure all of the involved parties know, being dishonest and going behind anyone’s back may put you in a position where you end up having no friends at all.
Being honest and talking about the intent of a relationship is really going to be the only savior here, when it comes to men and women being friends. Hard work aside, most people are optimistic. A poll on Match.com stated that 83% thought it was possible. The other 17% must have had bad experiences and written it off completely, but they don’t have to, they just need to want it enough to work hard at it. It’s worth it. Men and women have a one-on-one relationship that is meaningful and so unlike their same-sex friendships. Close male-female friends provide support and offer the opportunity to share feelings and opinions more freely. It’s rewarding all around.
By Stephanie Melanson
Would you like to read more on this subject? Click here www.psychologytoday.com I found it to be very insightful.