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How close is too close for a male/female friendship?

(29 Posts)
simplelife Wed 13-Aug-08 15:53:27

I have a male friend, I've known for a long time, we get on well, but I have never seen him as anything but a friend. We have some interests in common, that I don't share with Dh, so we spend some time together on those, with our partners' full knowledge and agreement.

Recently, we've been having a lot of putting the world to rights conversations and talking about our earliest memories/ teenage love lives etc. Things that you would talk about with a close girlfriend, but not an acquaintance iyswim.

I can't really put a finger on it, but I'm not sure if some mark has been overstepped. I don't find him attractive and am completely happy and confident in my relationship with DH, but wonder if I need to pull back a bit. It would be a shame, as we do have fun together, but I wonder if that's part of the problem?

purlease Wed 13-Aug-08 15:56:05

but he isn't an aquaintance - he is a close friend. It shouldn't matter that he is male once, as you say, you don't feel anything towards him beyond friendship.

mankyscotslass Wed 13-Aug-08 15:57:24

I think that as soon as you start to think about it being too close, you probably are.
Something has changed, and you feel instictively it's not right. You probably do need to pull back a bit.

loopylou6 Wed 13-Aug-08 16:13:12

do u think hes looking at u in thatw ay? if so pull back, if not carry on, u would speak to a female friend like that and not worry

beanieb Wed 13-Aug-08 16:16:15

No friendship is wrong unless you start thinking of it as more than a freindship. If you're not then it isn't anything to worry about... but...

are you?

Overmydeadbody Wed 13-Aug-08 16:17:12

I think mankyscot makes a good point. It is too close if you think it is too close.

The thing is, if you are both good friends, there is no reason why you can't have exactly the same conversations you would have with a close female friend, the friend's gender should make no difference if you both just view it as a plutonic but close friendship.

Overmydeadbody Wed 13-Aug-08 16:19:26

and it is perfectly reasonable to have strong feelings for people who you don't actually want a sexual relationship with, and I recon you're panicking over nothing.

You two are close, there's no denying that, but there is nothing wrong with that and it is probably a healthy thing to have.

Upwind Wed 13-Aug-08 16:21:11

In principle - it is only too close when you start playing hide the sausage. But in practise, if your instincts tell you that some mark has been overstepped, you probably should pull back a bit.

My closest friend is male. We have been more or less best friends since we were teenagers and have known one another much longer than we have known our respective spouses. I never felt as though any marks were overstepped, but a couple of years ago my friend's wife (who I also count as a close friend) had a few glasses of wine and told me she always thought that her DH and I would and should end up together. I had no idea what to say but reported the conversation to my DH and asked if he felt threatened by the friendship, he said: of course not, and that he knew I loved him. But it got me thinking about how subjective this kind of thing is. And it did make me pull back a bit.

bubblagirl Wed 13-Aug-08 16:21:49

i can talk about anything with my male friends from relationships in past and present as they do with me

have had to stop some friendships in past as they were tending to be wanting more and made it obvious

i have one best friend who is male we've slept in same bed talk all the time and not once has either one of us felt uncomfortable as we were just best friends

havent slept in same bed since we all had partners as would feel strange to partner but when we were single we did no cuddling etc just talk and sleep

Romy7 Wed 13-Aug-08 16:34:34

i was going to say 'penetration' but only being flippant.

pull back a little - if you are feeling slightly awkward there is a reason for it that you do not need to explore further.

always go with your instinct - it's a personal thing - the warning light doesn't come on because of societal expectation.

motherinferior Wed 13-Aug-08 16:35:25

But what does it matter if there is a bit of a frisson? Presumably you're both adults and can keep your pants on.

simplelife Wed 13-Aug-08 17:13:52

You're right MI, even if I did fancy him, there's no way I'd do anything that could jeopardise what I have with DH and DC's.

I'm not sure if it matters if there's frisson (and not sure if there is) How would you feel if your DH was spending time with a friend where there was "frisson" but no action?

One of he things that's made me think about this is that recently he's been commenting on my appearance a lot. He does it in a way that it seems it's intended to boost my confidence. I might do it for a friend, say well I love your new haircut, even if you don't, or I think you're figure's great, even if you think your bum's too big. I recently said something about me being ordinary to look at and he said "well I think you're pretty" which apart from anything else, seemed a strange word to use about a woman in her 40's.

He's been married 18 years BTW and I have always considered him a truly good faithful man (have known him most of that time)

stirlingmum Wed 13-Aug-08 17:22:32

In a book I recently read about affairs - If you would feel uncomfortable with your oh overhearing a conversation between you and your male friend, then you have crossed the line.

If you are happy that it is all above board, then no problems!

simplelife Wed 13-Aug-08 17:28:47

Hmm Stirling. I wouldn't have any probs with Dh overhearing, I tell him everything that happens to me anyway and repeat most conversations, even those about the weather blush Not sure about my friend though, I doubt he tells his wife much about our chats, but then men don't do they?

motherinferior Wed 13-Aug-08 17:40:47

God help me, I have masses of conversations I wouldn't want my partner overhearing. Mostly with women.

AllFallDown Wed 13-Aug-08 17:44:21

Isn't one reason people start to worry about whether m/f friendships are too close the fact that so many people go on about close m/f friendships being a precursor to an affair? Especially round these parts? If you're confident there's nothing to threaten your relationship, then you're fine.

CountessDracula Wed 13-Aug-08 17:48:23

REally MI??
Do tell...

Kally Wed 13-Aug-08 17:49:32

A dear friend of mine who I was so close with suddenly went gooey on me. I'd known him for years and we were like two peas in a pod, we had such fun together and he was my 'male buddy'. One of the best friends I could ever have. But he DID get soppy on me and then later said he's fallen inlove with me. I felt so disturbed by it, almost as if he had ruined everything by letting himself get to that stage. But its bound to happen unfortunately, one or the other will develope something. If you make it clear by pulling back, he may just reshuffle himself and get things back into proportion rather than risk ruining the balance. Isn't it just so sad, but invariably this is what happens. Just try to chill with it a bit.

motherinferior Wed 13-Aug-08 17:50:32

Oh, you know, grumbly ones. Do you know what he's done AGAIN ones.

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Wed 13-Aug-08 17:51:03

i share everything with my best friend, and i do mean everything. he even sat and listened to me moan about all pregnancy pains bless him.

but i know he is a friend and nothing more. anything else would just feel weired.

CountessDracula Wed 13-Aug-08 17:51:45

oh yes
those ones


Kally Wed 13-Aug-08 17:54:58

Having said that my daughter has a male buddy, but he is gay. Thats the best combo! She adores him and he her, and she goes out with him and has fun with him etc. Her hubby is highly amused by it all. He likes him too (in a friendly way). But he's my daughter's friend. No worries about border crossing there!.

motherinferior Wed 13-Aug-08 17:56:37

I once copied DP in on an email he should not have seen. Suffice it to say the fallout and attendant grovelling would have been a lot easier if I'd sent it to a hot young loveurrr.

(It was about Ocado.)

DarrellRivers Wed 13-Aug-08 18:04:43

Does your DP object to ocado or internet shopping?

simplelife Wed 13-Aug-08 18:51:38

The mond boggles MI.

Kally, I am certain this man could never actually have an affair, so even if he does have some sort of feelings for me, as long as he has no intention of doing anything about it is that OK? I have no real reason to suspect there is anything there, other than a strange feeling that we have become closer friends recently.

At what point would you start to be concern if you were his DW?

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