I’ve always wondered about platonic friendships between a single person and the opposite sex who is either married or in a serious relationship, where does the boundary begin or end? At what point does the friendship become more? Are these kinds of friendships always completely innocent? At what point does the person who is married or in a relationship begin to rely too much on the emotional needs the single person fulfils and vice versa? How much is too much when it comes to the emotional consumption between the two?

I used to be friends with this guy I met in my office building, he’s so easy-going, nice, easy to talk to, very funny – most times he made me laugh so much my tummy hurt, an extrovert, and he knew just how to draw me out of my shell, but he was in a relationship. I didn’t know that initially but he came clean a month later when he found out that I wasn’t going to play around with him and we remained friends. Ours was the kind of friendship where everyone thought that we were dating, we were so close and we knew each other so well, but I knew in my heart that there could never be anything between us because even though he adored his girlfriend, he was a serial cheat and he flirted a lot , the kind of guy that preserves his girlfriend’s virginity for the wedding night while other unsuspecting women were fair game and we often quarrelled about that and the way he sees women, so I drew the line and made sure he stayed within the boundary even though it was hard for him to.

But as months turned into a year and some months, the friendship became increasingly uncomfortable; I became a sounding board for his relationship troubles which I didn’t really mind initially until I discovered that my voice had become louder than his girlfriend’s, my presence was craved and appreciated more, I had become a yardstick for measuring and comparisons, and he started becoming a little handsy (probably to test the waters), I felt really guilty even though I did nothing to encourage him, but I knew that as emotionally invested in me as he was, he was barely giving anything to his girlfriend, plus the way I see life is if you’re being unkind or mean to my neighbour, it’s just a matter of time and you’ll do the same to me. So I took the chance immediately I saw one, ended the friendship and cut him off.

I also have a friend who is married, I was so attracted to him the first time I met him which taught me that because someone is married and in love with his or her spouse doesn’t mean that they won’t be attracted to someone of the opposite sex at some point in their lives, to say that he’s brainy is an understatement, he accomplished a lot at a very young age and is still doing big things, he’s so very mature and intellectual, and adding the fact that he’s such a hawty, in fact he’s one person I know who is living my life. But because of my principles and the fact that he’s a stand-up guy, it never went past that initial euphoria of meeting someone new who is totally awesome in every way. We’re still good friends and I chat him up once in a while if I have anything serious to talk about or just want to pick his brain.

Technically, all friendships make emotional deposits in our lives and we can’t be everything to one person. But is it possible for the affection, intimate conversations, recreational companionship, honesty and openness, physical attractiveness of our “person” to be enough? Is it even possible to place high value on our marriages and relationships over friendships outside of it in our present generation? At what point does it go from an honest intention of having a good friend to a selfish one of having an affair or cheating? Even sometimes the two may not realize they’re having nor doing it. Where does friendship end and more begin? Please use the comment box to express you.

Responses

  1. jade
    There’s no unilateral yardstick to measure when it goes from good old friendship to steamy affair, but when those dynamics change in your heart you would know and while its not compulsory to end the friendship, drawing a hard line and taking a time out are to very important steps. And our generation is not soo bad that we wouldnt place premium values on marriages over friendships outside of them, i mean…. plus that line about the two of them sometimes not knowing they are crossing over? I call Bull, once things start becoming more than platonic, you will know, once you find yourself lingering in the hug, constantly looking at his dick to measure it from his pants, craving her smell, etc etc you will know
    2+
    1. Priscilla Joy
      You’re right Jade there’s no common way to measure when friendships become more, it depends on the individuals involved. But sometimes it’s not always obvious from the start that the dynamics of the friendship had changed because even with platonic friendships between two single people sometimes, you’ll hear one or both parties wondering when they started loving themselves, when they started doing the extra stuff, caring too much, or when their guard disappeared.

      our generation is not bad but we tend to get carried away sometimes.

      1+
  2. Dharmmie
    I totally agree with Jade. We do know when harmless friendship starts becoming harmful. What we do with the knowledge is the real deal… While some will quickly pick the notice and draw a line or restate the boundary, some will overlook and consciously pretend nothing has changed.

    Bhet hey, I am a hound for good smell. I might keep a hug 2, 3 picos longer just to get a ‘noseful’ of a good cologne. I do it with my friends both Babez and dudes, it ain’t a tip that I wanna Cross to the dark side. It’s just an habit. Bad, maybe.

    0
    1. Cavey
      “Its what we do with the knowledge that counts”.
      Spot on, Dharmmie.

      Also be careful with that nose of yours. You might be stretching the hug just to please your nose but the receipient doesn’t know this. If it’s a guy, he’s probably thinking of all the curves pressed against him amd the fact that you’re reluctant to let go might make him think you’re sending a message (You know we guys don’t need much to decide that a woman is into us).

      4+
      1. Dharmmie
        I know right! You guys are just guys like that.

        Anyway, I do it with my friends and specific ones with good sense of cologne. I am sure they know it’s just a habit. Or don’t they? *pensive*

        0
    2. Priscilla Joy
      it’s really what we do with the knowledge that counts. but do we truly always know but sometimes overlook and choose to consciously pretend nothing has changed?
      Please listen to Cavey, to avoid future heartbreaks.
      0
      1. Dharmmie
        Well, in my opinion, yes. It is possible to sometimes ignore. Imagine this scenario…

        Girl is single to stupor, boy (in relationship, maybe married sef) has begun to nurse some p setting agenda, boy is commiting ‘touchry’, girl noticed but girl is single to stupor and really needs some ‘scratching’, boy and girl finished the do and girl asked, “Cavey, what just happened?”

        Toriolorun, *in God’s name* were you sleeping all these weeks?

        4+
        1. Cavey
          Lol! Why did you haver to use Cavey?

          Okay, in the scenario, the girl CHOOSES to be ignorant because she is ‘single to stupor’ and really needs the scratching. “Dharmmie, what just happened?” is a question lots of people ask afterwards because “passion rules reason”. She wasn’t sleeping all those weeks, she was just so focused on sorting out her itch, it took priority…nothing else mattered till afterwards.

          3+
  3. Nayummie
    The signs of crossing the line and over stepping boundries are ever evident but most people choose to ignore it and pretend. See, one cannot depend on a clean heart and self control alone. Physically, lay some rules down like side hugs (especially I’d the friend in question is married) and less touching/physical contact. No discussion of your partner’s flaws. That way, you can avoid tresspassing and cheating on your partner emotionally. My two cents.
    2+
  4. Larz
    It is never a good idea to share your relationship problem with your friends anyways. Talk to your partner but if you must communicate with someone else then choose a counsellor (spiritual or professional)
    0
    1. oskar
      i totally agree with you on this,the conscience is a beautiful thing,i think its what tells you when you’re beginning to drift away.
      1+
  5. Cavey
    Let me say this first. The seemingly ‘complex’ things in life aren’t really complex; they are so simple that we either don’t believe they are so simple OR the simplicity scares us so we bury our fears by telling ourselves how complex the situation is.
    That said, i think the moment you start to rely on a friend more than your partner is the point where the friendship has turned to an affair. Its not an affair only when *clears throat* “itches are being scratched* but also when the partner plays second fiddle to a friend in the “lesser things”. The bad day at the office, the chinese food you’ve been craving, even the crap you stepped on. These ‘unimportant’ things are what fuel a relationship, not the sex or the important occasions. So if a friend is the one who gets to know the little things first, before bae, if the friend is the default go-to person whenever something exciting (or unsavoury) happens, then it’s becoming a wee bit more than ‘friendship’.
    Just my thoughts.
    As always, great piece Ms. Joy
    15+
    1. Priscilla Joy
      I agree with you Cavey, it’s not only an affair when sex is involved, a certain level of emotional connection and dependency on another over a partner is a breeding room for trouble especially when the person becomes a form of escape for the one that is married or in a relationship. all you listed above are good reference points too.

      Thanks.

      0
  6. Raymond
    This whole thing is very complex in my head and this is not the forum so;

    1. Love is not an absolute emotion. It exist in varying degrees and character.

    2. Everybody can love more than one person, even at the same time. No, you don’t need the heart of a (Yoruba)demon to accomplish this.

    3. You are supposed to love your friends (everybody actually but lets stay on topic…) your head would tell you when your heart strays behind enemy lines..

    2+
    1. Priscilla Joy
      “love is not an absolute emotion…” that’s a good one, but I still don’t believe that it’s possible to love more than one person at the same time, and maybe I should add equally.
      0
  7. SeryxMe
    I think Cavey is on to something here.

    Many times we conveniently forget that when we spend so much time with someone, the heart endears. That’s why we normally need to check our pulse every now and then to be conscious of who we want to talk to more about certain things, the spouse or the ‘friend’.

    I’ve generally preferred to be free with my exes about who they relate with but it is normally helpful (and I think, respectful) to let your partner know your friends, especially those you relate with on the constant. When you can’t introduce a ‘friend’ to your spouse, bells should be ringing. It’s not assured to prevent an ‘affair’ but it’s a step in the right direction.

    The truth of the matter is, it all starts and stops with each individual. Normally when things drift that far ashore, it’s because both ‘friends’ are lacking something somewhere. Like one is very single and available while the other is having relationship issues. Recipe for disaster! We know these things, yet we go ahead and be ‘friends’. It’s often because we wanted it, the surprise we show after notwithstanding.

    Sometimes we just need to know our relationship/marriage is more important and ensure we keep the priorities that way. At other times, it just isn’t that straightforward, especially when the partner keeps proving difficult. Then solace is sought.

    Life takes us in twists and turns. Navigating it can be quite the crazy journey.

    7+
  8. Priscilla Joy
    Thank you Seryxme for your comment, it all comes down to priority and not just self awareness but also being sensitive to the people in our lives and the way they affect us, evaluating our relationship and marriage whenever we notice any serious vacuum that someone else is feeling.

    These friendships are usually private, personal, and bilateral. They’re private in the sense that conversation is generally one-on-one, and sometimes kept secret because the spouse would be threatened in some way by it if it were done with the spouse present. It’s personal in the sense that personal information is revealed, especially problems faced in life or a mistake that the partner may not take too lightly, then when there’s a willingness to help if needed. And it’s bilateral in the sense that both people share information with each other and prove that they have what it takes to help each other.

    Evaluating opposite-sex friendships will go a long well in stopping any future troubles especially if it’s a relationship one wants to keep or a marriage.

    3+
    1. SeryxMe
      “…evaluating our relationship and marriage whenever we notice any serious vacuum that someone else is feeling.”

      I like this. This is where it often starts – that vacuum.

      0
    2. Cavey
      Seryxme & Priscilla nicely said.

      For me, i try my best to avoid any affairs by the simplest solution. My girlfirend was my bestfriend. No, let me rephrase that. My bestfriend was my girlfriend. It wasn’t the usual P setting that transpired. Yes, it started out that way but it didn’t taper out the usal way Ps go. We got to be friends, to depend on and be there for each other the only way friends can. So when she became my girlfriend, i was eating my cake and having it. Depending on the situation, we’d toggle our roles. When she needs to tell me something that might not be ‘appropriate’ to tell her boyfriend (like how hot a particular guy is or how some guy tried to kiss her), she’d say “i need my bestfriend right now, not my boyfriend”. The point of this really long comment is, if you can, make your partner your bestfriend. That seriously reduces the probability of having an affair.

      12+
      1. SeryxMe
        Not everyone eventually has this, or maybe we just don’t take the time to develop this but this is the truth right there. If your bf/gf = your BFF, I think problem is (half?) solved!
        3+
      2. Priscilla Joy
        wow, I admire that, and wish everyone can have that too. you’re also right, making one’s partner the bestfriend is one good way to seal up the territory.
        0
        1. thetoolsman
          You see the problem here? You used the word “making” your partner your best friend. What Mr. Sweet Cavey said is all well and good – the ideal maybe. But how practical is it? Perhaps it is rather naive to assume one’s partner (maybe not bf/gf but spouse) will automatically become one’s best friend – afterall, what are the requirements for best-friend-ship? not like there are serious emotions involved right? once you spend enough time with one person, it should be easy for them to become your best friend right? WRONG!

          Very few people end up marrying their bestfriends. And alot of people end up disappointed when they think their spouse will become their best friends (sorry to burst bubbles here but Im sure other married folks can confirm this). For relationships outside marriage, it is different – not much at stake but when you’re married, no matter how close and tight you are to your spouse, having that one person (who might even be your brother/sister) who you trust enough that they’ll give you their unbaised opinion on things, can be a plus.

          So instead of trying to “make” your partner into your best friend or hoping by some miracle they become your best friend, why dont we stop being hypocritical about this and address the major issue here which is CONTROL!

          5+
          1. BABZO

            Well said THETOOLSMAN, I have been trying for 10 years now to be “best friends” with my wife but I have never been privileged to be her go to person when she needs to talk about “deep” issues. It has always been her mother and her sibs!
            1+
          2. Priscilla Joy
            I’m glad that the other person you pointed out who can be a confidant outside of marriage is a sibling, and I used the word confidant because friendship with a sibling is actually different from friendship with someone who isn’t a blood relative . with a sibling there’s already that trust and history which makes him/her a better option than a stranger (even though I don’t quite agree with sharing marriage issues with family members), but life and all the other stuffs that comes with it is fine. Having self-control is very important to curb bad behavior and is especially important for whatever social interactions with the opposite sex that could bring temptation whether it’s with a stranger one met in passing or a friend that is in the person’s life and may be in his/her life for a long time to come probably because they’re colleagues or they’re involved in a project or whatever.

            But I still think that having a partner as the bestfriend is ideal, The first place to look for the highest risks for an affair is to consider who is most likely to be an affair partner. It’s a friend of the opposite sex. More people have affairs with that person than with anyone else. And the closer the friendship, the more likely the affair. If i’m correct, when affairs are most damaging to an existing marriage or relationship is when it’s not a one off thing and when emotions are involved, it all depends on how much emotional deposits that person is making in your life and the level of dependency between the two.

            whenever someone of the opposite sex makes enough deposits and begins to fill a significant vacuum in a person’s life to breach the romantic love threshold in their heart, romantic love for that person will be triggered. That person of the opposite sex becomes irresistible and that irresistibility, in turn, makes you somewhat irrational regarding the wisdom of the relationship — you want that person to be in your life at all costs.

            Opposite-sex friends have an unusual opportunity to become more important than is wise to retain when they’re a big part of your life somehow.They can meet so many emotional needs that it’s likely that they will breach the romantic love threshold — unless you do something to prevent that from happening. Now does self-control come into play by not allowing that kind of very close and deep friendships at all? what’s the guarantee that all sense won’t be lost when emotions are involved?

            2+
          3. thetoolsman
            There are no guarantees in life. I hope we all agree on that.
            That being said, by saying “doing something to prevent them from happening” what I hear you saying is taking a drastic approach to self control. Like cutting off your fingers because you know you have the tendency to steal. It’s very drastic and unrealistic as far as I’m concerned – how many friendships do you really want to discontinue. The issue isn’t with the friendships or even the friends but with you the person. Crushing on you or hoping to take advantage of your emotional reliance on them is one bad aspect of a friendship. However, this same friend could hook you up with a nice job, be the person to introduce you to your future spouse or even be the person who’ll lead you to Christ. Do you now deny yourself all the positive aspect of a prospective friendship because you are scared of one negative which may or may not materialize?

            I’ve had friends of the opposite sex crush on me heavily in the past. My approach if I’m not interested is to face it head-on and tell the person, Oh, Im flattered but Im not interested. If they persist and I become uncomfortable then I stay away so it becomes obvious. If the person realizes their mistakes and comes back, we can go back to being friends. Now if the tables are turned and Im the one with the feelings, if I’m also in a relationship then the first person I go to is my partner and say, look, I’m developing feelings for this other person and I dont how or why but I need your help. No one can help straighten you out when you’re in such positions more than your partner – especially for us guys. If she really cares for you and if she trusts you, she will protect you and help you through the feelings till them either die or become recessive.

            Extremely religious people will tell you to pray the feelings away. Yes, maybe it’s possible but maybe I’m not at that level yet but whatever you do, if the problem is with you, it’s very unfair for you to take it out on your friend by destroying the friendship hence my insistence that the long term and most effective solution is working on your self control as opposed to running away.

            4+
          4. Priscilla Joy
            I like the approach you stated above, talking to the partner and enlisting his/her help is actually the best and also working on whatever wasn’t there in your relationship or marriage that gave room for the feelings to come into play in the first place.

            I agree with you absolutely now, running away isn’t the best way to go after all.

            0
          5. Cavey
            “if I’m also in a relationship then the first person I go to is my partner”
            “No one can help straighten you out when you’re in such positions more than your partner”

            those two statements, dearest Toolsman, would hold no meaning if said partners aren’t at least friends.
            Yes, i agree that self control is key, but also key is the existence of a camaraderie with your partner. Without that, self control would only help for a little while.

            *chuckle*
            I don’t know about everyone else but i particularly enjoyed this mini-debate with Toolsman & Priscilla.

            1+
          6. Ojuolape
            Twale!!
            I hail. salute. All join!!

            This comment right here.
            So instead of trying to “make” your partner into your best friend or hoping by some miracle they become your best friend, why dont we stop being hypocritical about this and address the major issue here which is CONTROL!

            This is the real issh!!
            Thank you very much Toolsman for this. At the end of the day….. Control. No matter how we want to dice it, your spouse/partner probably will not be your best friend and honestly we all need people outside of our significant others.

            0
  9. yettie
    There is a reason why I’m not close friends with guys I’m attracted to….before stories that touch will enter
    human beings are emotional beings…my own watchword is don’t even start the friendship sef
    8+
  10. Afuye
    I stand with Cavey though the ‘make your girlfriend your best friend’ and vice versa may not always be possible, it helps if your partner is the one to whom you talk the most, the deepest.
    I have been bitten by the ‘what are we? I thought you really liked me’ bug a couple of times and my advice is Let there be clear boundaries. Once you start comparing your boyfriend to the supposed friend, it’s time to end that friendship baby
    0
    1. Priscilla Joy
      yes bf/gf = bestfriend isn’t always the case, and why i think it’s this way is because most times people start with sexual intimacy which sometimes brings with it anxiety and uncertainty instead of the bond we’re made to believe that sex helps build in a relationship. But taking the time to be friends and sincerely curious about getting to know a prospect to me builds trust, and makes the other romantic things that will happen progress naturally and even if it doesn’t work out, both parties would go their separate ways without much baggage and regrets.
      3+
      1. jade
        But isnt it too much baggage on one person to be your boyfriend and your bestfriend? i mean there are things i may freely or easily tell my female bestie i may not even be able to tell my boyfriend even we are akin to besties, like instance when she says ” i need my best friend now not my boyfriend” and you remove your boyfriend cloak and put on your best friend hat, does your heart do the same? are your feelings for her as her boyfriend paused? if she says i kissed hot tunde from accounting, do you laugh and say you bad bad gal as a bestie not boify is wont to do or do you react as a boyfriend would? I mean i understand that its important to not just be lover but friends as well, great friends infact but i would think being everything to one person is spreading yourself thin and thus a recipe for disaster.
        4+
        1. thetoolsman
          Oh thank you so much Jade. Very very few people can effectively wear these two hats at the same time and they are becoming fewer with every passing day because the way our world is today, most of us are really selfish. Like I said in my comment above, this is all about masking the truth. The solution here is not for you to make your partner your best friend but for you to learn to control yourself. We are here talking about friendships, what if the person you cheat with isn’t even your friend? You’d be surprised what the human mind can make you do in the heat of anger.

          I’ve met chic’s who run into the arms of the first guy they see just because their partner hurt them. This has nothing to do with the fact that they were friends with this person or not. It just came down to a decision and how well they are good at controlling their emotions.

          3+
    2. Cavey
      Maybe my comment earlier was misconstrued and for that, i apologise.
      Toolsman has a good point, so does Jade and so does Priscilla.
      Priscilla is on to something when she says the reason why establishing the basic trust is a tad bit difficult because of the general approach to relationships these days and where we can, we could try to be better friends to our partners.
      Toolsman & Jade, i am not ignorant of the difficulty that lies in “wearing the two hats” of friend and partner but my previous comment was based on me. Answering Jade directly, for me, it wasn’t ‘baggage’ or if it was, it was necessary baggage. She would tell me she needed her bestfriend because if she told her boyfriend, i might have let my emotions cloud my judgement. So when she tells me she kissed the hot accounting guy (for me, it was a mutual friend she’d crushed on before we got together), no i won’t tell her she’s a bad girl. I’d play the role of the bestfriend and we’d talk about the kiss, how it was and whatnot. Not because it pleased me that she kissed someone else, but because she trusted me enough to tell me. If she had to hide it from me, I’d know she’s hiding something and that would bring a strain into the relationship and when i eventually find out, my trust in her would drop. It’s not always easy, playing both roles but its what she needs so I’d gladly do it.
      Toolsman, yes i know what i speak about is an ideal situation and might not always exist but it is very important that you are good friends with your spouse. No matter the unbiased opinion of other friends on a matter, whatever final decision you take affects you and your partner so her opinion, either biased or not, is very important (although, your partner should be able to give you unbiased opinion on anything).
      2+
      1. thetoolsman
        No doubt you should be very good friends with your spouse – so good she’ll be able to trust you with something as crazy as cheating. However, with respect to this topic, all I’m saying is that it’s not the solution. Reserving that title of “best friend” or really close friend for your significant other does not mean you wont stray. It’s just too much of a simplistic way of seeing things.
        2+
        1. Cavey
          Remember my first comment? “The seemingly ‘complex’ things in life aren’t really complex…”
          You say its too simplistic a view but is it really? Plus, just because something is ‘simple’ that doesn’t make it easy.
          1+
          1. TheWeird1
            Because this….”I’d play the role of the bestfriend and we’d talk about the kiss, how it was and whatnot.”…..is just too good to be true
            0
  11. SeryxMe
    This is a multifaceted problem and not one thing clears the whole issue. There is the solution of defining boundaries in friendship with the opposite sex helps with an issue which I doubt all the control in the world can stop if it’s not done. We’re emotional beings and once you start to allow that kind of space (being too close to someone else of the opposite sex than your partner) errors are bound to happen. The issue here is having an opposite sex friend who you’re too close to. How do you watch it? Having same sex or sibling besties is a very different thing and the main reason why many are probably able to cope without having spouses handle the dual function. Having a best friend spouse is actually ideal and I still think many people don’t try to create that sef before getting married and that’s why you won’t find that many in marriages today. Not everybody can have it, that’s for sure, but if we had a general mindset of getting to be BFFs before marriage, we’d have more bestfriend-spouse marriages than we currently do. I don’t believe in trying to ‘convert’ the spouse to best friend as it most likely would not work.

    As much as I agree that controlling your emotions helps a lot, you still have to watch who you associate with and how you associate with them.

    As for not burdening your spouse with being your BFF at the same time, I think we’re the ones not wanting to burden ourselves with trying to check ourselves. When your spouse is your BFF, there are certain limits you wouldn’t cross (probably helps with controlling your emotions and all) because you know you’d have to talk to him about it. I mean, why would you go ahead and kiss hot accountant Tunde? The idea of having a BFF spouse is mostly about relieving your emotional tensions that will otherwise make you vulnerable to someone else and possibly lead to an affair, not to have someone to dump your cheating escapades on. And we forget that it eventually will be a two-way street because the spouse is expected to do the same.

    My point is, these things all go hand in hand – controlling emotions, checking associations with the opposite sex and keeping your marriage as top priority (whether you have a BFF spouse or not) – in curbing friendship-to-affair situations.

    2+
    1. thetoolsman
      Of course, it’s a cocktail of solutions but even with that it is important to note that there are no absolutes when it comes to emotions. You try your best, cover as many bases as possible and hope that a demon does not catch you on a wrong day.
      2+
    2. Priscilla Joy
      nicely said Seryxme, “controlling emotions, checking associations with the opposite sex and keeping your marriage as top priority (whether you have a BFF spouse or not) – in curbing friendship-to-affair situations”. lol , I guess praying against demons in charge of temptation is one of them too, hehehehe
      0
  12. yettie
    It is for this same demon I avoid been best buddies with the opposite sex….that’s what works for me.
    ..let sleeping dogs lie…female friends and male cousins abound
    Hian!!
    0
  13. Fikayomi
    We can always read the hand writing on the wall and do the right thing(break off the friendship), before platonic turns to lovetonic. strichardsblogblog.wordpress.com
    0
  14. kachmi
    I’ve noticed almost everyone here is as righteous as can be! So, when I scroll to the last comment and notice no one agrees to have ever done any “scratching” or otherwise, I just smile, shake my head and keep my beautiful and sincere tales to myself!
    2+

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