Friends Before Lovers?

by

The Conversation, pg 18, 20, 21, 29

“I’ve put friendship and romance in two different categories.  When I know that I’m friends with a woman, I feel more at ease because I can trust those boundaries.”

“I started to wonder whether men and women even talk to each other.  I mean really talk – easily and freely – without reservations – like we do with our friends.”

“We’re either lovers or we’re platonic friends, but not both”

“I don’t think a lot of people find themselves in relationships with people they like and are friends with” 

Confessional:  over 90% of my romantic relationships have started as friendships.  I have trust issues, but they’re not the “I wanna check your phone log trust issues” though I have been there in my younger years.  My trust issues are more like “do I trust that if we sleep together, that I know you well enough that you’ll be back tomorrow and didn’t tell the entire neighborhood?” or “do I know how you will react if heaven forbid I end up pregnant because the contraceptives didn’t work properly?”  In other words, I don’t trust people I don’t know…especially not with my heart.  I’d probably give someone my bank account information and a key to my house before I let them inside my heart, and often my bed.  Granted I’ve made a few unwise choices here (like any person), but since most of the men I’ve dated began as friends; most of the men I’ve dated respect and care for me long after the relationship is over. 

In thinking about why friendship with men is so important to me, I immediately think of my best friend.  Although I grew up as an only child, my best friend (who was two years older than me) practically lived at my house and around my family; we were closer than peanut butter and jelly.  He protected me like a little sister and also encouraged me like a partner-in-crime.  We talked; I mean we really talked.  Unlike many females, this means he was the guy I could turn to for the male perspective.  He always gave it to me straight!  He was absolutely amazing at helping me navigate men and relationships.  Most importantly, he set the bar for me on what I expect from the men I date and the man I will later marry.  I expect my future husband to be my best friend.  I expect unconditional love and acceptance.  I expect to share things with him without feeling inferior or judged even if there are times that I may disappoint. I expect that he will trust and love me enough to do the same. I expect that our bond will be so strong that there isn’t anyone that can shake it.

Having said that, it’s actually quite ironic that I think many of the guys I’ve been attracted to (not necessarily the ones I’ve dated) over the years put me in the “friend box” or in their “back pocket/burner for later.”  Although I’m fine with the platonic friend box, I’m not fine with those guys who put me there solely because I know too much about them? WTF?!  Granted, I’m thankful to know that these are some of the guys that will be dating someone else and not me (lol), but it’s disheartening to discover that these boxes and boundaries exist.  The back pocket/burner guys are even worse.  When allowed to do so, they simply use the friendship as a safety net…they notoriously keep the lines of communication open and occasionally make the “habitual line-stepper” comments that imply an interest beyond friendship.  The worst of these guys capitalize on chance encounters to hit on their female friends when they’re hanging out, especially if there’s alcohol involved.  To the women out there with those “friends”…I have one word: RUN! (lol)

Seriously, I feel like there are so many men out there who don’t truly value friendship BEFORE intimacy.  Many of the guys who share their real thoughts with me seem to go after a woman they’re attracted to (& often know nothing about other than she looks good or looks good on paper) and THEN they become friends (or not) as a byproduct of the relationship.  Sometimes, these guys are living double lives.  They have the image of a  “perfect” woman/relationship at home, but have to block some facets of their personalities (or worse, live those outside the relationship).  Often, these are the same guys that wonder why their relationships don’t work when things start getting difficult?!  Despite this, they CONTINUE to put women in these boxes.  So, here are my questions to the ladies and gents reading this post:  Can you be friends before you are lovers?  Are you able to share things you’d share with a friend with someone you’re dating?  Do you want it to work that way?

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