Your marriage is great until you find yourself in a conundrum. You love your partner, and you would never do anything to hurt them, but it feels oddly wrong to keep talking to that single, attractive man in your office or club. Should you be polite, or should you let it go?
As a married woman, you can be friends with a single man as long as your spouse is aware of it and you are honest about where you stand with this friend. You should not hide your conversations and activities from your partner or make them feel ignored or unloved due to this man.
While the lines between what is okay and what isn’t can get blurry and are unique to each relationship, here are some tell-tale signs to judge your friendship with a single man:
When a single man holds no special place in your life, having him in your life is no big deal.
Here are 10 signs that speak loads about whether your friendship is an honest and acceptable one:
Friendships turn to romance – and romancing outside of your monogamous marriage isn’t the right thing to do. You may be confident in your marriage, but we still may make mistakes in delicate social situations.
These boundaries will look different for each couple and can be defined well through conversations.
While one couple may find it inappropriate to have their partner hang out late at night with another, others might be okay with going out but prefer avoiding drunk situations with another.
One scenario can end up having a wide variety of possibilities. Mutually define the boundaries by discussing them with your spouse.
It does not necessarily have to be about your male friend, but rather a general set of boundaries that you do not cross with the said friend as well.
You can also take into consideration your partner’s area of insecurity or hesitation.
If you and your friend throw in sneaky jokes that you’d avoid in front of your husband, it is an indication that, well, those jokes are inappropriate in nature.
In a healthy marriage and an honest friendship, you can openly express and share stories – both with your friend and your spouse.
You don’t have to hide how you feel about that friend; after all, he’s just a friend.
Your concerns, your joys, or your frustration – all come from an honest and authentic side of you, regardless of who you are speaking with.
Your marriage and your family come first. Would you ever let your husband stay at home sick and go out?
Or would you catch a coffee with your friend on a Sunday, when that’s the only day your husband can stay home from work?
If you answered no, you’re in the right! You can have as many single male friends as you want – only as long as your husband remains the most important and special person for you.
Your husband cannot be jealous of your friends when he gets all the love and attention you could shower him with.
It’s important that you treat your spouse as your first priority and don’t ditch him for sudden plans you made with a friend you only recently met.
Or even that guy you’ve known forever since childhood and meet every other week!
If you have had a history of cheating, or if you find yourself being withdrawn from your partner, spending too much time with another man or treating it as an escape may not be the best bet.
If you and your partner have trust issues, being friends with a single man may trigger them and result in fallout or worsen existing issues.
While it may still not be unethical to be friends with a single male in this scenario, it can destabilize your marriage.
The best way is to always talk it out with your partner and foster mutual trust. Your friendship with another man should come from a safe space.
However close you may be with your male friend, you should never be jealous of the idea of other girls around him.
You do not seek his attention or are afraid of losing him. Neither would you be concerned about his whereabouts constantly or why he’s not texting you back suddenly.
You might even encourage his growth and help him find a suitable partner. Signs of jealousy indicate growing feelings or expecting a special place in another man’s heart.
Showing jealousy is also a way of signaling feelings of intimacy to your supposed friend.
At the end of the day, all you truly need is your own partner’s acceptance. You feel secure and complete in your own relationship.
With marriage comes respect. You should never let someone disrespect or shame your husband, even if he is your friend.
As long as you effectively communicate what your husband means to you, that he will always have your heart, and that you truly respect him, it is perfectly fine to have a male friend.
Taking a stand for your spouse is one way to get this message out.
You should never allow your friend to put your husband down, speak lowly of him, or show off “how he’s better.” It is wrong to allow it to happen in front of or behind your partner’s back.
Offering special treatment to one man for no apparent reason is a huge red flag. Note that you have no bias and act the same way as you would around a married man or any other friend.
You would usually not share intimate details, talk during uncommon hours, or be out and about with them all the time.
You wouldn’t necessarily choose them over any other friend, treating them with equal respect and attention, depending on your closeness.
Trust and honesty are the most important facets of your marriage. Chances are, if you can exist as you are with your friend around your husband, you’re moving in the right direction.
You are well aware of where you stand with this man and have comforted your spouse by communicating this status.
Even when you do not flirt or indulge on your end, you should also be comfortable with your friend being as he is around your spouse.
If the guy is comfortable sharing remarks, comments, or jokes, when you’re alone but is hesitant throwing them around your spouse, especially when they are suggestive or degrading – the friendship is a huge red flag.
There is only a set of fixed activities and the amount of time you spend together with a single man. The reason is: we’re all humans filled with emotions who make mistakes, and you might too.
As a married person, you would avoid circumstances that put you in an uncomfortable position or allow feelings to develop within you or another person for you. You simply wouldn’t want to lead on a friend.
This could mean often drinking out alone, spending the night, or being on the call with him every day. You may enjoy your time together, but you know when to stop.
Most importantly, a friendship with a single man is okay if you do not think anything more of it. You do not fantasize or wonder what it would be like to spend more time with him, or to be with him.
You aren’t looking for implications or signs and don’t have to question his motives or his attraction to you. Single or not, for you, he’s just another friend that you cherish.
Losing respect for your marriage and acting in ways you know would end up hurting your partner is never the right thing to do. Being disloyal to your spouse, even on an emotional level isn’t okay.
You may want to take heed if you often put down your husband or treat another man as special. Here are 10 signs that tell that you should back away from a friendship with a single man:
If you find comfort in a man outside of your marriage, it can end up a disaster. While it is acceptable to know, meet, or talk to other guys.
However, it calls for speculation if you find yourself always running to him for support. You should be able to confide in your partner, particularly regarding sensitive topics.
This becomes further ethically wrong or in question when you put out and constantly discuss the problems in your marriage with your single male friend.
Bias is easier to seep in with a single man, and it may also open doors to take things forward between you and your friend while making your marriage worse.
If you are vague about what you expect and think of this friendship, you should probably sit down to think about it. It is common for people to get interested but feel guilty about it.
As a result, they prefer to take the middle ground and leave both ends open.
Sending subtle hints or not making it clear that you have no interest in your friend leads them on. Leaving loose ends is just as bad, if not worse, than admitting to your feelings for someone else.
Sometimes, you may not be interested but still seek attention from single men. However, giving in to this desire isn’t right. Rather, you should try and address it on a deeper level and discuss it with your partner.
Similar to sharing inside information about your marriage, bad-mouthing your spouse and putting him down is not the way to go.
It communicates that you are unhappy in your marriage and invites advice to jump out of it the first opportunity you get.
If you often find yourself cribbing about your husband, insulting him, or belittling him in front of your male friend, or allowing him to do the same, it is time you stop. It is unfair to your partner who trusts you.
Being friends with a single male guy through a common group – whether it’s your book club or yoga class is fine. But if you guys keep your friendship strictly private, it isn’t a good sign.
It’s a precarious position to always hang out in secluded, intimate places with your single male friend, avoid group meets or hangouts, or not get along with your spouse or common friends.
If your other friends (or husband!) are wary of him, you should be too. Indulging in certain activities such as clubbing, drinking, or fine dining with your friend, alone more often than not, may imply unfaithfulness.
If jokes with your single male friend are more flirtatious or explicit, you should avoid being friends with him or around him as a married woman.
It’s not okay to allow another man to make certain remarks about your body, how you would be in bed, or when you kiss or share details of their intimate moments.
Do not sweep them under the rug in the garb of “he’s just joking,” and take your stand instead.
It’s normal to exchange praise among friends, but compliments can also be a more subtle way of showing your interest in another person and drawing their attention.
The kind of compliments or their frequency become indicators of how acceptable your friendship with this person is.
Constantly complimenting his body and looks or trying to get him flustered does get a little odd. The same goes when you’re on the receiving end of it.
If you find your friend complimenting you often on inconspicuous things, especially if it’s in a flirty tone, it is time to try and maintain some distance.
Chemistry between two people can be hard to define and often out of our control. We just end up being compatible with certain people.
However, if you and your friend have great chemistry and are aware of your compatibility, keeping your boundaries and distance should be the right thing to do.
It is not okay to take forward a friendship when you know it will grow into something more.
If you find yourself naturally and strongly drawn to your friend, your efforts to limit it will probably fail at some point.
Missing a friend is common – especially if you haven’t caught up in a long time. It’s okay to think about them if they’re always at that yoga class with you and suddenly don’t show up.
But thinking about them all day or every time you spend quality time with your husband may be a red flag.
Thinking about your single male friend often could mean that maybe you’re just spending a little too much time together. If not that, maybe you fantasize about him too much.
Either way, despite tagging it as friendship, it is not acceptable for you to be constantly thinking or fantasizing about someone other than your husband.
So much so that it might even be considered a form of “emotional cheating.”
Whatever your relationship with a single male friend, it is never okay to constantly cancel on your husband or children for another man.
You may think it’s not that big of a deal if you’re just friends – it’s not cheating, right?
But if you find yourself choosing this man over being there through important moments with your husband, it may become a downward spiral.
Marriage comes with more responsibility than just carnal exclusivity.
To cancel plans, not find time for your partner, or to spend more time with a single male friend can be a sign of disinterest in your marriage partner.
Being dishonest with your spouse is never okay.
If you are friends with another man, and you think certain conversations between you two might make your husband uncomfortable, your best bet would be to avoid it.
Hiding or deleting conversations with another man from your husband is never okay. Eventually, he will find something fishy and would not be happy with such behavior.
If you still feel uncertain about your friendship and status with another man, try flipping the tables. Shift your perspective to whether you would accept certain behaviors if your husband was in your shoes.
Another way to define what is not okay is to just talk with your partner.
Each relationship is different – people from different backgrounds and cultures have different ideas of what is acceptable and what is not.
Talking to your spouse and defining those norms will ease you early on, and you can take on your friendship and its boundaries accordingly after that.
As part of a monogamous marriage, you or your spouse do not lose your individual identities or personal life. However, getting along and finding a middle ground is also necessary.
Ask yourself: Can you and your husband trust this man to not break your marriage apart? Marriage is a deep companionship, and your actions will affect your partner’s life too.
Jealousy, or embarrassment, can easily shake up the foundations. At the end of the day, the answer lies in the understanding that you and your partner share.