Not that long ago, one of my friends mentioned that she was having lunch with one of her male friends. Just the two of them. She mentioned that she felt a bit awkward about it, even though there was nothing between them. There's an obvious chemistry between them, but they are "just friends", and I trust that.
Being one that's always had a lot of male friends, it got me thinking about my own relationships, past & present. One of the most significant romantic relationships I was in ended suddenly, and I've long wondered how much my male friends had to do with it. Not directly, but indirectly. At the time my best friend was a guy, and we would often go out just the two of us. We were very close, but we were "just friends". However, people being, well... people, rumors of impropriety abounded, my then-boyfriend expressed jealousies, etc, etc. Instead of addressing these things, I chose to ignore them as ridiculousness. Why should I care what other people think, as long as I know the truth? My boyfriend's insecurities were his own issues, right?
Looking back on it, I can see where I made mistakes. Things that I confided in with my male friend I should have been discussing with my love interest. That was a big one.
Knowing how things looked, I should have taken more efforts to make my inward commitment to my romantic relationship more outwardly apparent. And on and on.
This isn't to say I don't think you can have friends of the opposite sex. But let's face it, when you have chemistry with a girl friend - you hit it off right off the bat, enjoy each other's company, could talk for hours, etc. - it doesn't have the same implications as when you discover that type of chemistry with a guy friend.
And these implications aren't just those of outward appearances. Maybe you don't care if the world thinks you're cheating when they see out to dinner with a guy that's not your husband, as long as you know. But what does it do to your relationship? What insecurities might it raise within your husband's mind & heart? Where is your heart & mind? Do you really see this guy as just a friend, or do you let your mind wander to what could be?
For this reason I have chosen to not have close friendships with members of the opposite sex. Do I miss these friendships? Yes. Is my marriage worth the sacrifice. Absolutely. I'm not saying I don't have any friends who are men, I just choose to guard how close we get, and I strive to not be alone with them. The only man I'm interested in being alone with is my husband.
As long as those relationships make you feel awkward, as long as you are keeping a check on things and checking yourself, it's good. It means that you care about your marriage. The awkwardness is an acknowledgement of the commitment you have made to another person. And that is a good thing.
When it becomes too comfortable... that's when you need to worry.
What are your thoughts? Do you maintain close relationships with the opposite sex?