Friday, October 23, 2009

I’m struggling with this one… A question.

I’ve been trying to write a particular JoeGirl post for quite some time now, but am struggling to find the right voice. It is something I am quite passionate about, yet I appreciate it is a concept much of society is not ready to embrace just yet—or at least, that is my experience.

I have several male friends. In fact, of the people I talk to on a regular basis, go to for advice, relate my life’s experiences with, most are men. Some of these men are single. Some of these men are married. Some of these men are younger. Some of these men are older. All of these men bring value to my life, and I would be very sad to lose their presence in my life, as they are each a very special, cherished friend.

The issue is… society does not seem to “get it”. Why would a married woman—happy with, passionate about, and grateful for, her husband and family—want or need outside male friendships?

I am not going to raise the differences about men and women here. We all know the basics. For me personally, I have always been somewhat of a tomboy. Preferring jeans to dresses, function over fashion, and for the most part, the company of guys over gals. I have enjoyed countless friendships with boys and men throughout school and adulthood, and will continue to do so.

The problem is, many of these guys feel they have to keep these friendships under wraps—hidden from their families, buddies, society—so people don’t get “the wrong idea”. So we can’t go shopping (some of these guys have wicked fashion sense), can’t do lunch, can’t go to a movie or concert… Simply because one or both of us is married, but not to each other. It is ridiculous!

We are friends. I help them. They help me. We laugh. We talk about kids, work, media, whatever anybody else talks about! And yah, we might even talk about our relationships. Do you know how valuable it has been for me, as a wife, to have a great guy friend to discuss this stuff with? To have another man’s opinion? Another husband’s opinion? Another father’s opinion? Oh, it is priceless information, Ladies! Better than any article Cosmopolitan has to offer on relationships, let me tell you.

I can hear you now “You talk about your marriage with other men???” Listen, I’d rather talk about personal matters with a best male friend than read about them in a trashy magazine or Dr. Phil book. These guys know me, and know how real life, real relationships, real families work—in our culture, our society, our hectic schedules.

Yes, these friendships can be “intimate”, but they only qualify as such because we insist there be an incredible amount of trust present. I trust these guys to not cross the proverbial line, and the trust is mutual. We insist on respecting one another unconditionally, or the friendship is doomed for failure.

So, my question:
Why does society struggle to accept male-female friendships?

Oh, I know I will be judged on this, and THAT is what makes me so annoyed. We do not choose who comes into our lives, or when, or for what purpose. We do however, choose whether or not to embrace these connections, to learn and grow from them. I would have been a fool to toss away any of these friends, simply because they are male.

As with every post, I am especially grateful for your comments on this one.

2 comments:

  1. Hmmmm... I have male friends and female friends and it's really never been an issue that we are friends. (for either The Man or their spouses/girlfriends.) My best work buddies are men, and honestly there is a total lack of bullshit and game playing with men that I very much appreciate. (My girl friends tend to be like this too.) No time for drama.

    I love The Man to bits and our relationship is sacred, as is our family unit. It comes first. All my friends know this. But I can't of anyone ever saying "I can't do this because of what my partner would think." Male or female. I expect it says more about them as people than it does about society.

    Honestly, I would seriously re-evaluate a friendship where someone were to say that they couldn't hang out because their spouse might object...

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  2. I have both male and female friends. I think true platonic relationships can be difficult for many male/female friends because... we're only human. It sounds like you and friends are mature and your partners are comfortable with the friendships... Who cares what other people think? If my husband wasn't comfortable with a male friend or I wasn't comfortable with one of his female friends, we would both trust that instinct and honor each other. The marriage comes first for us. I've had a male friend or two in the past develop a palpable crush. It can happen.

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