Dear Readers: Many of you responded to the question of whether a partner having opposite-sex friends is worrisome in a relationship.
That was the issue in my column of March 23, raised by a man dating, with hopes to marry, a woman 10 years younger. He had a problem with her keeping in touch with guys whom she's dated or befriended, and especially with a new older colleague who's married. He also acknowledged that he had trust issues because his ex-wife had cheated.
Here are some of your thoughts on this topic, ranging from totally in favour of opposite-sex friendships, to absolutely against them, including some personal experiences:
* Five years ago, a neighbour and casual friend, was the one who was there when my wife and I split up. She's now my best friend. The closeness is such that there's no new partner either of us could find who's likely to be able to handle our friendship.
So this friendship will undergo some severe changes, and I know I'll hurt badly.
If I do get married again, I'm not sure whom I'll ask to stand at my right side, my son or my best friend. She may even ask me to walk her down the aisle if she gets married again.
- The Guy Friend
* I will actually be travelling with a male friend next month for 10 days and my boyfriend fully supports it and is genuinely excited for me.
If any of this did bother him, I would respect his feelings and act accordingly.
- Loyal Reader
*I believe the rules should be adjusted on a case by case basis.
It's also important to be open, and not have double standards.
My boyfriend doesn't think it's "safe" for me to have a drink with any of my male friends without him present, although it's not "unsafe" for him to do this with his female friends, not even to share a hotel room on business travel with a colleague who has a massive crush on him!
I trust him not to cheat, but I think it's disrespectful to me for him to do this.
- I'm Uncomfortable
ELLIE: His sharing of a room is also downright foolhardy and bound to create gossip. It's a "double standard" that's asking for trouble.
* When I met my husband, he maintained close ties with a number of ex-girlfriends, two of whom he'd supported financially and emotionally and considered family.
These two women acted out outrageously, including threatening to leave the country if he got married, propositioning him sexually, and gossiping viciously about me.
My husband convinced me that we could endure this behaviour, and we did... Over time, they grudgingly gave up, pursued other relationships, and now consider our marriage their model of a healthy relationship.
- Been there
* I'm "the partner" who insists on keeping in touch with my exes, or at least staying on good terms.
My partner had no problems with my guy-friends, whom I've known for years and whom he's met.
However, he had issues when exes call me up once in a blue moon, and reacted badly when I told him about them. It became a source of tension for us.
I ultimately broke off the relationship, because I felt he didn't or couldn't trust me on a fundamental level, and it hurt to try and be in a relationship like that.
- Hurt but Wiser
* It shouldn't matter what the sex of the friend is. A friend is a friend.
My boyfriend and I have friends of the opposite sex whom we hang out with, without each other being there.
People who worry about this are people who suffer from A) no trust in the relationship and B) their own insecurities.
If you don't have trust in the person you're with and aren't confident in yourself then you shouldn't be in that relationship.
- Trust and Be Merry
* The experiences that I've had with this subject have all been negative.
Most recently, my son's mother and I split for this same reason. Her allowing male friends to refer to her as "baby," "sweetie," "gorgeous" and other affectionate names didn't work for me. Her flirting back didn't work for me either.
I don't talk to my female friends like that. When you do that, you're doing it as a feeler to see if there's any interest.
*My husband maintained a "friendship" with a friend whom I felt was "too close" and now I've just realized that they're having an affair.
- There Now