True story: I spent a week at a writing workshop in Belize where I made friends with a guy who was about fifteen years older than me. There was never anything romantic there, but we stayed in touch over the years and occasionally had a flirty banter to the tone of our emails. In one email, I inquired about his current relationship and asked him if he was planning to pop the question yet. He wrote back and jokingly said that he wasn't, because he was still holding out on marrying me someday. It was not at all meant to be taken seriously, and I was in a committed relationship at the time, but it did give me that tiny little ego boost you get when someone flirts with you. Other than that, I thought it was no big deal.
Sadly, his girlfriend came across the emails and didn't feel the same way. Apparently, marriage was a very hot button issue for them and she had been pushing him for awhile to shit or get off the pot. So, when she saw his email saying that he was holding out for me, she was understandably hurt. I, however, was completely blind sided when he called me on the phone and explained the situation to me, then said he was going to put his girlfriend on the phone so that I could reassure her that there was nothing going on between us. I didn't even have a minute to process before she began to voice her upset and her feeling that the emails between us were completely inappropriate. It was the most awkward conversation of my life, and while I knew there was absolutely nothing for her to be worried about, I felt awful that I made another woman feel anxious or insecure. Even though our friendship was completely platonic and I thought the emails were totally innocent, she was right-- it was inappropriate.
Some might chalk it off to her being too insecure, but I didn't feel that way. Our relationships can be extremely delicate and important to us and anything that threatens it, no matter how secure we are, can be scary and upsetting. They've since gotten married and have an adorable little boy and he and I still catch up over email, but there is not even an inkling of flirting involved.
At the end of the day, no one wants to tell their significant other to blow off their friends, but I'm willing to bet even the most self assured people would still feel a little odd about their bf/gf going out to solo drinks with a member of the opposite sex. According to my mom, when you've been with someone for awhile, it's not appropriate to spend alone time with single people of the opposite sex (who share your sexual orientation). She claims at a certain point, couples should have couple friends. It sounds old fashioned, but it sort of makes sense. My BF has it easier than I do when it comes to this dilemma, because 90% of my guy friends are all gay. The last time I went out for drinks with a single guy of the opposite sex was the day before yesterday...and that guy was my brother.
So, readers--- what are the boundaries when you're in a serious relationship and have close friends of the opposite sex? Is it appropriate to hang out with them on your own? If your platonic friendship included a healthy flirtatious banter, does that have to end if one or both of you starts dating someone? And at what point are your fear/insecurities valid VS possessive and unhealthy?
Tell us what you think and comment below...