Are Your Friendships Jeopardizing Your Relationship?
Several years ago, I discovered that a boyfriend of mine had forwarded a private email that I sent to him to a female co-worker. This was the very same co-worker whom he admitted openly flirted with him at work. His reason for sharing the email? He wanted her “input” on the issue he and I were having. Not only was it ridiculous for him to involve someone that he worked with in our personal affairs, but it stung knowing that this strange woman was interested in him, and now was privy to MY relationship problems. He claimed that he made it clear to her that he was not interested, but it’s pretty hard to recover from such a bad judgment call. Not only was I shocked and hurt by the discovery, but I never trusted him again. You can probably guess that the relationship ended soon after that.
Image: Emily Rachel Hildebrand via Flickr
Sometimes our intentions may very well be innocent but that person we consider “just a friend” may have questionable motives in mind. On the extreme end, the issue of emotional infidelity can come into play. With that in mind, we must be very diligent and selective with opposite sex friendships or you may quickly find yourself caught up.
It seems that these things should go without saying, however this conversation, or lack thereof, is often at the center of many disagreements in relationships, including some of my own as I have shared. What we must realize is that not only is it reasonable to safeguard our relationships, but it really is just the smart thing to do for any couple who desires a relationship that will stand the test of time. Safeguarding, or establishing boundaries, does not mean you or your partner are insecure; it simply means that the two of you are aware that no one in the relationship is above temptation.
At this point, you may be wondering how do you know if your friendship has crossed the forbidden line (or is headed in that direction). You can start by asking yourself these questions to evaluate the relationship:
1. Are you sharing intimate details of your relationship?
If you’re discussing intimate details of your relationship with the other person, and not your partner – there’s a problem. No one outside of your relationship needs a play by play of everything going on in your relationship. Relationships last longer when outsiders don’t know your business.
2. Does your friend respect your partner and your relationship?
It is true that we often seek out our friends for validation, but a true friend will respect our choices whether they agree with them or not. They will also try to help give us a balanced perspective. If this person is comfortable bashing or disrespecting your partner on the sly or even worse – openly – you need to cut that person loose.
3. Do you find yourself hiding aspects of the friendship?
Has this person been in your life for months, maybe even years and your partner has never met them? Perhaps, you’ve bumped into him or her in public but don’t call attention to avoid introducing your partner to him or her. You may have begun to hide text messages, social media interactions, emails, etc from this person so you partner won’t discover them. If you can’t disclose ALL aspects of the friendship that’s a huge red flag.
4. Is your partner uneasy about the friendship?
I read a tweet a while back that read, “If my girl doesn’t like you, you gotta go” and while it was funny, it was some very real advice that goes for both men and women. Often times our partners can sense ill intentions in others where we, on the other hand, may be completely naive to the situation. Needless to say, at the end of the day we owe it to our partner to provide peace of mind and should be placing their needs first.
5. Are you and/or your friend unhappy?
People are often most vulnerable during weak moments. If you and/or the other person are already experiencing relationship issues – tread lightly.
6. Are you attracted to your friend or vice versa?
Sure we can have attractive friends, as long as there isn’t the possibility that we’ll end up in bed with them. Have you caught yourself admiring this person while in their presence or even via social media (liking or saving their photos)? Perhaps, you may have said to yourself, “If so and so and I weren’t friends, I’d date him/her”. This, along with any sexual thoughts of this person, are definitely grounds for ceasing all communication immediately.
7. Has your partner become an afterthought?
If you jump onto Facebook to see what your friend has posted before you even say good morning to you partner, or if you find yourself overly excited when this person calls or sends a text message, you have already put your partner on the back burner.
8. Is your friend an Ex?
It’s probably best to leave your exes in the past where they belong, yet there is always the exception. Generally, if many years have passed, no feelings remain, and they have the utmost respect for your current relationship, then in rare cases it’s possible. But then again, why would you want to have an open window to your ex’s life if you’ve truly moved on? Remember that things ended for a reason.
9. Would you say or do that in front of your partner?
If the answer is no, then don’t say or do it. Period. Your partner should be the only person that you share secrets with.
If you can relate to any of the above, you seriously need to consider cutting all ties with the opposite sex for the sake of your relationship, or risk losing your partner. Relationships require full transparency and if you're not willing to give that, you probably shouldn't be in a committed relationship. We should view our relationship as an investment, and taking a wholehearted approach to protect yours will be one of the best things you can ever do. If you have someone willing to go above and beyond for you, consider yourself blessed!
Do you agree with this list? What are red flags for you? How comfortable are you with your partner's friendships?
Originally published HERE