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Can women really be friends with a man and it mean nothing?

(129 Posts)
ALovelyBunch0fCoconuts Mon 21-Apr-14 15:58:37

I'm not really a regular on the relationship board but I have posted a few times with the occasional problems dh and I have had.

Now we have an issue regarding a male friend I have. he is the dp of one of my very good female friends and our kids play together most weekends and go to school together. I have become good friends with her dp over the past few months and regard both her amd him as my friends.

dh isn't happy with it. he thinks he has ulterior motives. he says he trusts me but doesn't trust him (!) - I dont think he can say this. if he trusts me implicitly then it should make no odds imo.

me and the male friend occasionally sent each other the odd text but my dh made me stop texting him as he thought it was weird.

I think he is being totally unreasonable.

am I wrong? nothing remotely flirtatious with the friend no feelings whatsoever on either side but dh just won't hear me. angry

CogitoEggySometimes Mon 21-Apr-14 16:07:07

IME - and I will get shot down for this, I usually do - one-on-one adult male/female platonic relationships (as opposed to friendships from childhood) are frequently problematic. Absence of flirting is no test of feelings. Texting is so much the communication of choice for people having an affair that I can see why your DH is twitchy about it. If you think he's being unreasonable, then it's him you have to persuade rather than anyone else. Is he normally the jealous type? I'd suggest you be friends with each other as couples rather than singling this DP out for special attention.

cantbelievethisishppening Mon 21-Apr-14 16:07:57

Yes I do believe you can be friends with a man without an ulterior motive on either side. Your DH is the one with the issue. Might be worth trying to find out if there is a historical reason for his feelings. Has he had a partner do the dirty on him with a male friend in the past? This may be clouding his judgement.

catkind Mon 21-Apr-14 16:09:38

Well I wouldn't say friendship means nothing, it's valuable in its own right. But ridiculous to say you can't have a friend of the opposite gender without sex being involved. If DH had a problem with me associating with male friends in his absence I'd have a major problem with his sexist attitude.
In practical terms could you get together with partners present next time so your DH can see for himself that there's no flirtation going on?

Arkina Mon 21-Apr-14 16:12:06

I work in a male dominated environment and have several platonic male friends who I text and who text me. I have 2 I regularly meet for coffee. Theyll never be anything but platonic. Their wives have no problems with us chatting/texting nor did my ex

ALovelyBunch0fCoconuts Mon 21-Apr-14 16:14:13

I have never given him reason to be insecure or jealous and this is the first time in our 8 years together that this has posed a problem but then again ive never really had a male friend in the last 8 years.

he says he's never been cheated on.

ALovelyBunch0fCoconuts Mon 21-Apr-14 16:15:08

I suggested getting together as couples so he can see that we just get on well as friends but he really doesnt like him and wants nothing to do with him

Minion100 Mon 21-Apr-14 16:17:52

I have a number of very close male friends, some of them very close indeed. A few years ago one of them said to me "all your male friends fancy you a bit". At the time I thought he was talking complete rubbish, but when my marriage recently broke up he was proved right when some of the men I considered to be completely platonic friends made advances on me in one way or another once I was single.

I do think that men often have at least a percentage of attraction to their female friends. Maybe the personality traits that draw them to you are something that they find attractive. Maybe they like spending time with you and admire you. I chatted with a close male friend about this a few months ago and he openly told me he fantasised about me and had done since we met. I was oblivious.

I know from my point of view I don't fancy any of my friends but maybe your DH is thinking of it from a male perspective. Not meaning to tarnish all men with the same brush, but I do think there's an element of truth in the possibility that maybe this friends thinks more of you than you do of him.

I know that sounds awfully sexist but I do sometimes feel men work a bit differently to how we do.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Mon 21-Apr-14 16:18:54

I have a small number of platonic female friendships, but examined closely they all have serious barriers to being taken further. In one, it's sexuality, in another age gap, in a third a business relationship.

I think, but I can't be certain that platonic relationships only develop when the village idiots in our underwear don't wake up. I've distanced myself from women I'm attracted to; it might be the other way round but I resemble a binbag of custard these days.

CogitoEggySometimes Mon 21-Apr-14 16:23:28

I think you should respect your DH's feelings here. There are principles at stake, certainly and ideally he should trust you. However, if he's not normally the jealous or unreasonable type there may be something in the way this man is relating to you that you're not picking up but which is ringing alarm bells for him. I think it's the bloke he doesn't trust rather than you

claraschu Mon 21-Apr-14 16:24:25

Of course you can have friends who are men. My husband has friends who are women, and I know he is not attracted to them at all; I do think the idea that men are all constantly thinking of sex is a sexist stereotype, true of some men, but by no means all.

BertieBotts Mon 21-Apr-14 16:26:12

He's being sexist. And it's pretty telling about what he actually thinks of you.

"I trust you, I just don't trust him" tends to mean "I don't like other men sniffing around my property".

Because actually, if he literally trusted you but not the other man, then he's calling the other guy a rapist. Because if he trusts you then he knows you would turn down any advances and MOST people would then say "Oh crap, sorry, totally misread the signals there, let's forget this ever happened!" If he doesn't trust the other man then he's saying that he thinks he wouldn't do that, and would continue/insist anyway.

Either that or he's saying "You wouldn't do anything on purpose, but you're pretty weak and stupid, so you might not notice if he was manipulating you into sex".

The first is a red herring - if he genuinely felt worried that this man was predatory and/or potentially a rapist he would be worried FOR you, not worried about any attraction developing.

The second means that a, he doesn't REALLY trust you, and b, he has a pretty low opinion of you/of women in general. And also possibly implies that he believes all men tend to be a bit manipulative and use coercion to get women to sleep with them/go out with them, which would mean that's what he does.

The third scenario of course is that he has a problem with other people fancying you, which makes him out to be pretty controlling, since he can't control everybody else's thoughts in the world, and there's nothing wrong with somebody else fancying you, as long of course as you don't act on it. This is the scenario, IME, which is "My woman = my property, nobody else is allowed her". Controlling.

OvertiredandConfused Mon 21-Apr-14 16:28:55

It's definitely possible to have entirely platonic (straight) male friends. My closest male friend died very suddenly three years ago. I still miss him every day. DH knows and understands. I'd known him for 15 years and never even a hint of flirting.

BertieBotts Mon 21-Apr-14 16:31:19

If he's generally reasonable, then I might be tempted to work through these in turn. It might be that he's got his hackles raised a bit by it but doesn't really know why.

In the end, well, maybe men do see female friends as potential future girlfriends/shag partners (and I've definitely seen the sniffing around after a break up both first and second hand, tells you pretty quickly which are true friends and which to dump) but that shouldn't matter as long as neither of you are looking to take it further.

If he was always hitting on you then that would be creepy and you would probably feel uncomfortable yourself.

ALovelyBunch0fCoconuts Mon 21-Apr-14 16:31:58

bertie youve hit the nail on the head in terms of how I am seeing this. im not his property and as long as there is nothing on my part them surely it doesnt make any difference. im 100% sure my friend doesnt fancy me. itd be like fancying your brother iykwim.

wishinwaitinhopin Mon 21-Apr-14 16:35:04

I'm not sure. The only two male friends I have are incredibly camp. And I'm pretty sure I snogged one of them at one point. (I drink a lot).

I would say colleagues fine but 'friends'? Nope. I'm of the when Harry Met Sally philosophy.

EasterEasterBunny Mon 21-Apr-14 16:37:34

It's a REALLY tough one, this topic. I must admit I do go back and forth on this issue: I've had different answers depending on my personal experiences!

I even searched MN for threads on this too much time blush

- I think that the safest friendships are those where they're actually starting from the "loads in common" point. Someone on MN remarked about how often one had a workplace/university culture of big mixed groups. So a friendship from this era is cool, as what you have then is then mainly based on shared interests/history. Whereas "new" friends are a bit more problematic, in general, as its more based on "I like this person/find them compelling".

- On the other hand, I agree with the sexism/controlling thing.

When I've dated guys who've had this "he's after something" vibe with any male friend/acquaintance its really insulting and frustrating. I can't help getting the feeling that THEY objectify women as "the sex class" so assume everyone else has the same unpleasant motives?

So one guy, we'd have conversations like this:

Me: I was with my running group, only one other guy was signed up so I cancelled.
Him: OH HE WAS AFTER A DATE WAS HE? (actually seriously meaning this)

Me: I'd like to travel to X country next year.
Him: OH THE NATIONALS OF X COUNTRY LIKE WOMEN WHO LOOK LIKE YOU, YOU'LL BE TRYING TO PICK UP BOYFRIENDS, WON'T YOU?

The sleaze was all in his mind, IYSWIM? Its not actually a compliment (as in "I'm protective, because you're so attractive and desirable") its more indicative of a sleazy underlying attitude towards women, and then projecting it onto other men (that's just me commenting on this man I knew, obviously I don't know your man OP smile).

Interestingly, I think this particular guy made fuck-all effort to actually be someone I was interested in seriously dating, or OUR possible relationship, he just wanted to "socially slut shame" me into being steady with him, or constantly reassure him, or put other men down in front of him. It was a control thing.

EasterEasterBunny Mon 21-Apr-14 16:40:18

what Bertie said, basically! smile

HermioneWeasley Mon 21-Apr-14 16:45:12

I have lots of male friends and there's no sexual tension!

ALovelyBunch0fCoconuts Mon 21-Apr-14 16:48:36

I dont have any male colleagues so I cant compare it to that. I work in a very female dominated area.

ALovelyBunch0fCoconuts Mon 21-Apr-14 16:49:37

this male friend is engaged to one of my best friends so it's pretty clear he has no ideation of me being a future shag or whatever.

claraschu Mon 21-Apr-14 16:54:30

Well said, Bertie.

BackforGood Mon 21-Apr-14 16:54:54

Of course two adults can be platonic friends.
You must have a very weird sex drive if you see all other adults you are friendly with as potential mates, IMVHO.

nooka Mon 21-Apr-14 16:58:41

Yes of course women can be friends with men and there be no romantic or sexual issues. Personally I've always found it easier to become friendly with guys and I've never really had an issue with anyone hitting on me. If they have fancied me it's not something I've noticed.

Whilst the OP's dh might be a possessive bastard, it's also quite possible that he just doesn't like her friend. He might feel the same if the friend was female, that there was something off about them and that the dynamics are all wrong and it makes him uncomfortable.

ALovelyBunch0fCoconuts Mon 21-Apr-14 17:18:13

he isnt usually a possessive bastard! grin

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