One of the most common questions I receive from married women is, “Can I be ‘friends’ with a married man?” Talk about a loaded question! First, it all depends on who the married man is. If he’s the extremely flirtatious type… or someone you dated or slept with in the past… or someone who tries to cry on your shoulder about how unhappy he is in his marriage… then the answer is “NO!” I don’t recommend being friends with him. The best situation is for you (and your husband) to be friends with an appropriate man AND his wife. And both spouses need to know about and feel comfortable with every nuance of the friendship. Where there are no secrets, there are no lies, and no grounds for suspicion or jealousy.
Another thing to consider is, “What’s your definition of ‘friendship’?” I have several men in my life whom I consider friends, but they’re not like my girlfriends. I don’t call them up on the phone (unless it’s family business, and then I stick to business!). I don’t go out to dinner or hang out with them (unless our spouses go with us). I don’t go out of my way to run into them. When I see them, there’s always smiles and warm greetings and questions about how our families are doing and stuff like that, but nothing deep or intimate. My husband is the only man I need to have deep, intimate conversations with.
Rabbi Shmuley recommends the following boundaries, which I agree with for the most part, but keep reading for my personal warning below:
- You can’t go out to late night dinners together. You can have lunch together in a public place, but you should not order alcoholic beverages.
- You can’t take long drives or long flights with the other person, even if it’s for work. You cannot place yourself in any situation where romance can grow. Romance grows when people are alone; romance grows when people tell secrets.
- You can’t share secrets with a platonic male or female friend that you don’t share with your spouse. Because then you’re sharing an exclusivity with a member of the opposite sex that you’re not with your partner, and that can lead to a big no-no.
- You should not be friends with ex-lovers.
I’d also add that if sex, love, and romance has been a big stumbling block for you (or for him) in the past, or if your own marriage feels a little shaky these days, you might want to forego the aforementioned lunches together as an added protective measure. Why pray, “Lord, save me from the lions!!?” while sticking your head directly into the lions mouth? Any personal time alone out of eyesight and earshot of others creates a “lion’s den” atmosphere in any relationship.
Also be aware that being in one another’s presence isn’t even a prerequisite for having an affair. Emotional affairs are easily had via cell phones and internet connections, so also pay close attention not just to what you do, but also to what you say in your telephone conversations, text messages, and emails. A good rule of thumb for all women is, “If you wouldn’t say it in front of your husband or pastor, don’t say it at all!”
What about you? If you’ve ever stumbled into an inappropriate relational entanglement through a seemingly “innocent friendship,” we want to hear from you! What were the warning signs you should have heeded? How can we guard ourselves against falling into the lion’s den of extramarital temptation?
Oh, and if personal boundaries is an issue for you, be sure to read Chapter 6, “Harnessing Your Sexual Power,” in The Sexually Confident Wife — which RELEASES TOMORROW!!! HALLELUJAH!!!
Wishing you the BEST sex,