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Platonic Friendships

(45 Posts)
Whataloadofshite Fri 29-May-20 06:51:41


People of opposing genders are capable of platonic friendships without any funny business, it's not unusual, and it doesn't mean anyone is cheating.



okay yes I'm poking the wasps nest a bit, but people are allowed to have friends without being accused of cheating.

People who are cheating whilst claiming they're just friends, are NOT the same as people who are genuinely just friends who care about one another. It's incredibly controlling to deny partners friendships just because they're a different gender.

Romantic partners are not your personal property, and checking up on someone just because they're talking to someone of an opposing gender is toxic as fuck.

If someone has form for cheating, that is different. You wouldn't be unreasonable for worrying. But, the sheer amount of OMG I AM NOT COMFORTABLE WITH THIS!??1!1!!! scenerios here, and other places online, is eyeroll inducing. Please stop trying to force people into archaic stereotypes where marriage and partnerships mean ownership.

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FortunesFave Fri 29-May-20 07:24:07

The reason many women get extremely jealous is because of how they've been kept in a box by the patriarchy. If you've got kids, you're at an economic disadvantage....if you're woman.

So a partner often means the difference between poverty and comfort.

Unfortunately that's still a fact. Women do most of the childcare and as a result, lose out on earning potential.

BadgersAreReal Fri 29-May-20 08:19:53

If you've got kids, you're at an economic disadvantage....if you're woman.

Not true. Both partners can work full time and raise children, if they choose to.

Ohnoherewego62 Fri 29-May-20 10:54:27

It doesnt necessarily mean ownership but I think if one partner is neglecting their partner emotionally or texting said friend most evenings and keen to pursue contact from these "platonic" relationships then it's not great is it.

People need to set boundaries in relationships of things they are or aren't comfortable with so they are treated well and feel secure. I think it's ridiculous you feel people should be on your level of comfortability. Would I be happy if my partner went bra shopping with his female friends? Absolutely not. Would I be happy if he made more plans with female friends than giving some attention at home? Absolutely not.

We ALL have limits. I know mine.

What's brought this all on?

FortunesFave Sun 31-May-20 23:37:10

Badgers of course it's true. Most women STILL suffer economically when having a family.

Not all women have a degree and a good career. Many work in poorly paid insecure jobs and these women often don't return to work.

Even women in good careers suffer because they're the ones doing most of the work re. raising the children.

Of course there are exceptions but the way things are, women are still taking it on the chin in the main.

Crystalspider Sun 31-May-20 23:52:23

Some people are ok with platonic friendships other are not, I think if your upfront with this before starting a relationship it saves alot of grief, if your not comfortable with it then it's ok too, it's finding someone of the same values as yourself.

Aerial2020 Sun 31-May-20 23:55:49

Not really. Not if your child has an additional need, it is virtually impossible for both parents to work full time.

FortunesFave Mon 01-Jun-20 00:28:15

And if both parents earn a low wage, how do you think the nursery bill gets paid?

Whataloadofshite Mon 01-Jun-20 05:32:01

Policing potential friendships based on opposing gender is absolutely ridiculous. It's controlling as fuck. I certainly wouldn't be with someone who told me who I could and couldn't be friends with. Just because someone is of an opposing gender, doesn't mean people want to make things sexual.

My oldest male friend whom I've known for over a decade, is like my older brother. We have always just been friends and much like jovially bickering siblings. We text nonsense at one another every day. I have several other male friends who I'm the same with, with mutual male, female, trans and non binary friends. Not everything is about sex. Controlling people's friends circles based on gender is like something out of the 1950s and further back.

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FortunesFave Mon 01-Jun-20 08:58:03

Well OP, looks like your life is sorted! Congratulations. Not everyone's the same you know so your comments about things being "ridiculous" and "Controlling as fuck" are dimwitted.

People's circumstances differ. A person whose partner had been unfaithful for example might be justified in having suspicions. But you crack on in your perfect life. hmm

thepeopleversuswork Mon 01-Jun-20 09:07:40

Platonic friendships between people of opposite gender are absolutely possible and very routine, you’re right. And anyone who attempts to prevent their SO having friends of the opposite sex is storing up trouble. You will eventually stifle your relationship out of existence if you try to impose this.

That said, there are platonic friendships and “platonic friendships”. It’s not uncommon for emotional affairs or even full blown affairs to fly under the radar of being platonic and this being used to close down legitimate discomfort and gaslight a partner who has smelt a rat.

As with everything, it’s down to trust and individual boundaries, the quality of the relationship and the level of honesty. You are not obliged to tolerate your partner having a relationship with someone of the opposite sex if it makes you uncomfortable.

Sadiesnakes Mon 01-Jun-20 09:10:35

@Whataloadofshite.. Sure, if you say so.🙄

sammylady37 Mon 01-Jun-20 09:17:22

I agree fully op. I never understand the mentality that a partner must drop all his female friends and only have male friends. Of course, those who are in favour of it would be the very ones criticising the man if a woman came on here and posted that her partner didn’t want her having male friends. She’d (rightly) be told that he was trying to control her, trying to isolate her from her support network etc.

I often wonder at what stage these women think it’s appropriate to ‘set the boundary’? Do they do it in the early days or wait til the relationship is established? For context, I have male friends. Some of them I met on the first day of uni and we have been firm friends since. So quite literally all my adult life. I’m now 40. Should I be expected to drop them for a man ive met who doesn’t like me having male friends? A man who may only be in my life a few weeks or months? (To be clear, I would never drop my friends for anyone, but I’m thinking of it from the perspective of those who think they should get their bf/gf to end friendships... I mean, they don’t know how long their relationship will last, yet they expect someone to cut off friends of a lifetime for someone who may only be a flash in the pan??)

And of course we’ve had the “trust issues” excuse, as if that makes it ok. Almost everyone can wheel out that excuse, we’ve all been hurt one way or another. But it’s not acceptable to make a new partner pay for the actions of a previous partner. If you can’t be in a relationship without doing that then maybe you shouldn’t be in one and should be in counselling instead.

Itstartedinbarcelona Mon 01-Jun-20 16:49:51

Helpful post op. Very valuable thank you hmm

Whataloadofshite Mon 01-Jun-20 17:11:41

@fortunesfave nowhere did I say I have a perfect life.

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Whataloadofshite Mon 01-Jun-20 17:18:13

@sammylady37 hooray finally a voice of reason.

In me younger days I allowed boyfriends to pull me away from my male friends because I thought it was what you were supposed to do, I was naive and thought I wasn't supposed to have close male friends. I wouldn't tolerate that nonsense now, the moment someone I'm romantically involved with takes issue with friends I've had for years who are the absolute best, is the day they get their marching orders. If that happens early on then it's great to get rid of someone before their possessive and controlling mindset takes hold elsewhere.

My friends are diamonds. I wouldn't trade them. I also won't let it stop me making new ones. If someone is uncomfortable with it, then yeah they need to examine why. It's okay to be upset by past trust issues because God knows there's a ton of people out there who behave like shit, but you don't get to control partners friend choices, just because someone is an opposing gender. It's backwards as fuck.

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PositiveVibez Mon 01-Jun-20 17:20:22

OP, you sound very angry. What's pushed your buttons? I mean, it's fine to not be able to get your head round the issue, but it's not a very helpful post.

Shouting and swearing at people that they should all be like you isn't a good way to get your point across. It makes you sound a bit unhinged.

Whataloadofshite Mon 01-Jun-20 17:20:24


If someone can't tolerate their partner being friends with someone of an opposing gender, then the problem is not with their partner, and they likely shouldn't be in a relationship, full stop. If they can't tolerate it then okay, but it's not okay to impose restrictions on others.

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thepeopleversuswork Mon 01-Jun-20 22:14:30

whataloadofshite yes I agree with you, and its definitely not okay to impose restrictions. Nor is it productive to do so.

But it is also the case that some people use platonic friendships as a cover story for affairs.

Casmama Mon 01-Jun-20 22:22:28

I agree with you in many ways OP - no one should control who their partner is friends with. However, I can understand people feeling threatened by their new partner having an emotionally intimate relationship with one or more people of the opposite sex and choosing not to pursue a relationship on that basis.
Friendships are great but I think sometimes very close friendships with people of either sex can make it difficult for a person to get into a new relationship and develop it.

cheesyrats Mon 01-Jun-20 22:43:34

The majority of threads I read on MN about this sort of thing are by people who are finding that their DP is spending way too much time (often secretly) texting, messaging, and having cosy chats. They are often also pursuing their 'hobbies' and disappearing off to visit their 'friend' rather too often.

In fact they seem to be far more invested in the relationship with their 'friend' than they are with their wife/partner.

Call me old-fashioned if you like, but in those circumstances, I wouldn't be all that keen on my DH having that sort of friendship with another woman, and I can't imagine all that many other people would be thrilled with it either.

Whataloadofshite Tue 02-Jun-20 01:48:48


There's a difference between dodgy secretive behaviour, and a genuine friendship. They're nothing alike.

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Whataloadofshite Tue 02-Jun-20 01:53:14

@Casmama the other thing is, that people will insist that you can supposedly tell your partner or spouse anything, but in the real world, we know that you can't. Close friends sometimes know more about us than partners do, especially if they're long time friends. That's not an indiscretion, it's exactly what a friendship is. Intimacy in friendships isn't always the sexual stuff people who are suspicious, assume it is. Intimacy in friendships is being able to text someone at 3am when you need to talk about something, or if you're scared, or even stupidly happy. It's letting someone in.

If that's a betrayal to a partner, then it makes no sense to me.

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Casmama Tue 02-Jun-20 08:58:02

@Whataloadofshite I'm not suggesting that would be a betrayal but I know that I am my husbands go to person in the situations you mention and he is mine. I'm not sure I would want to be in a relation ship where my partners go to person is someone else. However, my choice would be to leave such a relationship rather than try to dictate who my partner can be friends with.

Yes there are things from my past that my husband doesn't know about but if there were things happening now that a friend knew about but he didn't then I don't think that's great.

In a new relationship it is perfectly healthy not to tell someone everything but in an established long term relationship I think having greater intimacy with a friend indicates your relationship is not great.

Wondersense Tue 02-Jun-20 09:19:03

How old are you, OP? You sound quite young in the style that you write in.

I used to believe in friendships like that too, but I think that a genuine platonic relationship is quite rare between hetero people of the opposite sex. I think women are more capable of keeping things platonic, but men seem to invest in female friendships more in order to have an option b), be that sex or a relationship. I'm very open to changing my mind on this, but I think that many men have a utilitarian view of women - men are for friendships and women are for the possibility of relationships or sex. If they find out that these things are not, or never will be happening, they lose interest and drift away. Some men aren't like that, and others are capable of having more platonic relationships if they don't find the woman attractive.

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