Just good friends?

In the classic romance, “When Harry Met Sally…”, Billy Crystal
tells Meg Ryan men and women can never be friends because the sex part always
gets in the way.

But research and personal experience have shown that having close friends of
the opposite sex can be an enriching and positive experience that doesn’t have
to lead to the bedroom.

Men benefit from…

Insider information about ‘what women want’

Dating and relationships advice from an independent, ‘sisterly’ source

Emotional support and understanding from a sympathetic female, when needed

The opportunity to meet — and date — her single friends

The opportunity to discuss shared ‘feminine’ hobbies or interests

Women benefit from…

Getting the scoop on what ‘makes a man tick’

A sense of security and/or protection having a male friend affords

A less emotionally demanding friendship than one with another woman

The opportunity to meet — and date — his single friends

The opportunity to discuss shared ‘masculine’ hobbies or interests

That’s all good in theory but it’s not always easy to cope when your partner’s
best friend shops in the same underwear department as you. It’s sometimes hard
not to imagine that they secretly fancy your partner or to obsess about the
amount of time they spend together.

And while becoming more common, best friends of the opposite sex still raise
an eyebrow, and can be the cause of lots of tension and friction in relationships.

Here are some common cross-sex friendship scenarios.

Brotherly-Sisterly Love

Sometimes friendship between members of the opposite sex is as innocent —
and powerful — as the bond between siblings.

“We’ve never been there, and we never will,” says Phil, 30, referring
to the ‘sex thing.’ “We’re mates through and through — she’s like my little
sister. It probably even upsets her a little bit that I don’t think of her that
way, she can be quite vain. But I love her.”

When to worry: If your partner’s friend is an ever-present element in your
life. Close friendships are great but couples need time and space to develop
and nurture their primary relationship.

The Emotional Substitute

A good friend is hard to find but are they really just friends or are they
in denial about the true nature of their relationship?

“My friendship with Jeff was there before any boyfriends came along,”
says Danielle, 37, who met her male best buddy in high school, “and it’s
been there long after romances have fizzled out. We have something quite special
that in a way is more committed and long-lasting than other relationships have
been, for either of us.”

When to worry: Sometimes a close friendship provides a person with an emotional
connection that’s lacking in their primary romantic relationship. If you feel
this may be the case with your partner, it’s worth raising the issue.

The Unrequited Lover

It’s tough having an ex on the scene, especially one that reinvents him or herself
as your partner’s best friend. But is it friendship they’re after or a second
bite of the cherry?

“If I’d known that Damien had actually shagged my girlfriend, I wouldn’t
have been so keen to have him hanging around,” says Bill, 27. “She
said it was a once-off and that it didn’t mean anything, but I’m not so sure
he sees it like that. It does make me feel uncomfortable having him in the picture,” he says.

When to worry: If the ex still harbors feelings for your partner — or worse,
your partner is still carrying a torch — you could have a tricky situation
on your hands. Discuss your feelings with your partner and make an effort to
spend more time with him or her… alone.

The Creepy Crawly

Sometimes, your partner’s self-esteem and confidence is bound up in their friendship
with a person of the opposite sex.

“My girlfriend Lee has a good male friend — I call him ‘The Guru.’ He’s
into all sorts of New Age stuff, and she’s forever chatting to him about star
signs and crystals and other rubbish,” says Ben, 25. “He’s always
offering to massage her shoulders. I think he’s a sleaze, but she doesn’t see

When to worry: If your partner and their best buddy have a level of intimacy
or affection that makes you uncomfortable, it’s best to speak your mind or jealousy
will kill any hopes your romantic relationship has.

If your partner’s opposite-sex friendship is really bothering you, ask yourself
why? Is it unfounded insecurity or even jealousy… or is there something more
to it?

Article courtesy of Click by Lavalife.

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