Love. The burning sensation you feel whenever you see that person. The sense of deep and tender attachment. The mortal yet physically beautiful feeling (It's Shakespeare oo, not me). The most stubborn yet persistent illusion. Oops, sorry, I got carried away. That was...
What You Should Do When Your Partner Is Close to Someone of the Opposite Sex
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Maintaining the intimacy of marriage and other important relationships in our lives can prove to be a challenge, especially when it comes to friends of the opposite sex. Maintaining a same-sex friendship outside marriage might seem relatively easier when compared to the challenge it could be nurturing a close opposite-sex friendship. When your partner is close to someone of the opposite sex, here’s what to know. But first, let’s take a scenario:
“Every case is different, however, I do believe there must always be boundaries if you are in a committed relationship. For example, my wife dated this guy once and they knew it wasn’t going anywhere yet they remained friends before we met. After we started dating, she would want to go hang out with him at an event he invited her to b/c his buddy or another gal pal couldn’t make it. I had no problem with her going to an event with him it was a group thing, but her going by herself with him didn’t sit well with me at all. I believe this is a boundary line you shouldn’t cross. Am I insecure? Yes because my ex-wife cheated on me with someone who was a friend of ours. Affairs can start with seemingly innocent relationships. It always starts emotional before it gets physical. So in my opinion, your relationships with the opposite sex should be very guarded and you should value your husband’s opinion and respect his desires. Otherwise, you are creating tension and struggles for him”
If you are married, there’s a good chance that you’ve had a discussion with your spouse about a relationship between someone outside your marriage and one of you. You have to decide how you should approach other relationships because obviously, your marriage is the most important relationship to be protected.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to end your relationships with other people outside your marriage. Such friendships with someone of the opposite sex are not generally a problem until when it becomes more intimate either emotionally or physically. This could make your spouse feel uncomfortable and find it difficult to trust you thereby developing into a problem in your marriage. This article will help you with changes you can make to prioritize your marriage.
When Your Partner Is Close to another Person of the Other Sex
There are conceivable circumstances under which your partner could be friends with someone of the opposite sex without any physical attraction or sexual compatibility. In such situations, having a friendship with someone of the opposite sex might not be an issue at all. An example is being friends with old women or men around where you live. Your partner can go to their house for chats, share their personal stuff and listen to their experiences as well, help them with certain tasks and you can be sure nothing is ever going to happen.
It is also important that you realize that many opposite-sex relationships involve people who in different circumstances would be potentially emotionally and sexually engaged. While married people need to stop considering alternatives, it is common for men to befriend women they have a certain degree of attraction. When you regard someone as a potential alternative, then that friendship has a great risk attached to it.
The major difference between these two aforementioned kinds of opposite-sex relationships Is fantasy. This is when your spouse starts wondering, “I wonder what it would be like to have sex with that person or married to”. Such thoughts degrade your spouse’s intimacy, commitment, and loyalty to your marriage, and it is called considering potential alternatives.
Look Out For Warning Signs
When you have any reason to think that your partner is close to someone of the opposite sex, here are signs to look out for so you can be sure before acting on what doesn’t exist.
- When you find your spouse consistently calling or texting with someone of the opposite sex, especially when their communication is not limited to work or other necessary responsibilities.
- If you observe their relationship is becoming more intimate either emotionally or physically. Like they share personal things they wouldn’t share with someone of the opposite sex normally, holding hands or always wanting to sit together, there’s a good chance they’re becoming too close.
- If your spouse tries to arrange more meetings or reasons to be together with their opposite-sex friend more time than usual. For example, if a friendship started at work but they now want to meet more often.
- If your spouse is hiding from you the details of their communication and time together with the other person, their relationship is too close.
- When you realize they think about the other person a lot. An example is when your spouse sees or hears something, they say it reminds them of the other person.
What You Should Do
1. Reflect On Your Feelings About Your Discovery
After discovering your partner is close to someone of the opposite sex, the first thing you should do is understand how the situation makes you feel. Do you feel bothered, threatened, ignored, insecure, disrespected, or even jealous?
Knowing where your feelings lie, will help you determine how you should handle the situation.
2. Reflect On Your Relationship With Your Partner
Understanding your relationship with your spouse can give you an idea about why your spouse enjoys the friend’s company, this can also give you directions towards handling the situation permanently with much ruckus.
Try to understand the state of your marriage, how well do you communicate? How is your intimacy? How much time do you spend together? Answers to such questions can clarify what you need to do.
3. Talk to Your Partner
The important thing you can do when your partner is close to another person of the opposite sex is to first talk to them, and let them know how it makes you feel and how they are hurting you. You need to let them understand that you can’t stand them being too close to another person of the opposite sex.
Listen to your spouse as they try to explain their behaviors toward the other person and be sure to let them know that you want to make your marriage work.
4. Encourage Your Partner to Set Boundaries
Setting up boundaries can help a lot to manage other opposite-sex relationships outside your marriage by prioritizing the relationship between you and your spouse. It also protects the trust between you and your spouse. When you and your spouse set boundaries on opposite-sex friendships, it will help keep the balance between your marriage and other relationships with the opposite sex. Some boundaries your spouse and you can look like:
a. Any friendship with someone of the opposite sex must be in the open.
b. Do not share details of your spouse with a friend of the opposite sex.
c. Don’t be alone with a friend of the opposite sex outside of work, unless when agreed by your spouse.
d. Don’t be friends with anyone your spouse does not feel comfortable with.
e. Build a shared social network with your spouse.
Related: Why Setting Boundaries in Relationships Is Important
When your partner is too close to someone of the opposite sex, it could lead to you feeling threatened, abandoned, and even lose trust in your them. Talk to your them, they might even know they were making you uncomfortable.
You could also prevent such “closeness” between your partner and someone outside your relationship by strengthening your union and cultivating a deep friendship with your partner.
When married, can opposite-sex friendships work?
Yes, it can, as long as your marriage is always prioritized above opposite-sex relationships. A relationship with someone of the opposite sex can work when it is not allowed to affect the trust, commitment, and intimacy you share with your spouse. A working relationship should be kept as such, there should be a limit which your relationship with someone of the opposite sex shouldn’t cross.
Should opposite-sex relationships be completely avoided?
Relationships with someone of the opposite sex can be harmless when there’s no fantasy, physical attraction, and sexual compatibility as explained earlier. In such a case, there’s no need to be alarmed.
However, some opposite-sex relationships can nurture sexual tension between a spouse and someone outside the marriage. This should be outrightly avoided.
Can opposite-sex relationships ruin a marriage?
When an opposite-sex relationship threatens your relationship with your spouse, such that you hide things from your spouse, you share intimate and personal details with your opposite-sex friend, you regard your friendship outside your marriage to the extent that you ignore the realities of your marriage, Yes!
Can men and women be just friends?
Men and women can be just friends when the friendship is practiced with self-awareness and boundaries. Without these boundaries, a man and a woman can’t just be friends. This is because it is common for men to befriend women they have a certain degree of attraction.
How do I balance my relationship with someone of the opposite sex and my marriage?
The first and most important thing to understand is that your marriage always comes first. Never allow your friendships to affect your marriage negatively. Listen to your spouse when they tell you how they feel about your relationship with someone of the opposite sex and together establish boundaries that will help protect the trust and commitment in your marriage.
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