Q&A: Having friends of the opposite sex

Q: Is it okay for married persons to have friends of the opposite sex? While my spouse was away on a week-long trip, I had a male friend from work come over to help me care for our eighteen-month-old daughter. After she fell asleep we hung out watching movies together. I told my husband about it, and now he’s upset and feels that I’ve betrayed him. Do you think he’s overreacting?

A: While your motives may have been innocent, inviting a male co-worker over while your husband is out of town oversteps appropriate boundaries. Obviously, many married people enjoy healthy, non-romantic friendships with individuals of the opposite sex. But it’s important to handle these relationships wisely and to be on guard against hidden pitfalls. If you want to preserve the health of your marriage, it’s critical to place protective “boundaries” on these relationships.

The truth is that it’s far easier than you may think to cross the line from a platonic friendship into a seemingly “harmless” romance. The danger is especially high when you and the other person have a lot in common. If these shared interests and compatibility of temperament lead you to entertain “innocuous” thoughts such as, “This person understands me far better than my spouse,” you’re already treading on treacherous turf.         

We imagine your marriage is very important to you. If so, we’d encourage you to talk things through with your husband. Acknowledge you made a mistake and reassure him of your love. If he’s unable to “let it go,” it may be because there are some deeper trust issues that the two of you need to work through. Please give our Family Support Services a call at 03-7954 7920 or write to support@family.org.my.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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