Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Open Mic

There's been different topics on my mind .. things I have wanted to write about but didn't. Like the fact that autumn is here once more and I am waiting for the colors to change and the world to enter into shades of wonderful yellow, deep red, brown, green and purple. I am excited about the amazing images which will be presented to me soon when I step outside my home.. There are certain memories from my childhood, moments, in which I felt so much awe for the beauty of nature, I did my best to imprint them in my brain. I remember seeing a star filled sky during a summer night when I was four or five and thinking I *have* to remember this forever. Or sunsets while coming back from school..incredible sunsets, filling the sky with colors in such a miraculous fashion, made me want to die on the spot.

But also I wanted to write and ask you about what it means be friends to someone? And whether men and women can be friends? Isn’t there some form attraction lurking in the corner always? And if you allow yourself to really love a male-friend, will that transform into love that’s different, not meant for friends?
Mr.Hubby says that's the case. He says that keeping a distance is necessary between men and women. Before I start sribbling down my own thoughts and ideas on this, I just wanted to ask what do you guys think?

27 comments:

runningleap said...

I happen to think there is always some level of attraction and love between friends of the opposite sex, assumeing both are hetero- lol. But I don't think that means that anything untoward will ever happen. I think some distance should be kept, boundaries if you will, but that just means you have to avoid emotional closeness... Emotionaly intimacy *can* easily turn into romantic affection. But if you are careful and monitor your feelings and maintain bounmdaries, I think you can have a sucessful "just friends" realtionship.

3rd... said...

emotional closeness.. u said something very deep here

thank you so much for commenting

Donald said...

A couple of years ago I picked up a Reader's Digest while sitting in a doctor's waiting room, and turned with curiosity to an article that promised to answer the biggest questions of all time! One of those questions was the exact one you just asked 3rd… You want to know what conclusion the article came to? Of course you do… Their answer was no! :O A heterosexual man and woman cannot just be friends — really close friends that is. Interesting I thought. But I have close female friends and no desire for anything more with them! Well, the article was probably trying to be a little bit provocative… and then it went on to say that for a man and woman to be JUST friends, they need to find something repulsive in each other! LOL. And I thought… okay, maybe they're on to something! Not that I find my closest female friends 'repulsive', but there's definitely a little thing called sexual attraction that's missing there.

I think Mr Hubby and Runningleap are onto something — men and women need to keep an emotional distance. Perhaps it's easiest just to avoid being alone with someone of the opposite sex? Sometimes it's hard to avoid though. I work in an office alone with an attractive young woman and sometimes, of course, we talk. I wouldn't call it emotional intimacy — just interesting chat — and while I enjoy her company and enjoy chatting, I do not have 'feelings' for her.

I could say more about my personal experiences, but I might leave it there. I'm keen to hear other people's thoughts too.

CM said...

I think you definitely have to be careful with friendships of the opposite s.ex when you are in a serious relationship or married. Whether you have an attraction to an opposite s.ex friend can depend a great deal on the satisfaction level of your current relationship. If something is missing in your love life and a "friend" is fulfilling that something then there is trouble.

A couple of weeks ago, I read an article about emotional intimacy affairs which was quite interesting. It basically said that typically most people don't think they have done anything wrong cause there has been no s.ex involved. On the other hand, when their spouses find out about the relationship, they usually feel as if they have been cheated on just as much as if there was s.ex involved. Some even more so, because of the high level of emotional intimacy which causes a deep bond to form. The article also said that these affairs can be harder to end because of the emotional closeness that has been allowed to develop.

I agree that it is important to have boundaries set up so that that emotional closeness and emotional intimacy in these friendships are discouraged. To respect your partner, I also think you have to be careful of any appearance of improper behavior. For example going to lunch alone with the opposite s.ex is not something I would do. Some of the other boundaries I have set up over the years are: only participating with male friends in group activities, avoiding flirty behavior with the opposite s.ex, keeping the conversations with male friends on friendly terms, avoiding intimate s.exual topics and deep intimate emotional conversations. I have male friends but not male best friends. My husband is my only male best friend!

As far as loving a male friend, I think there are differnt types of love. I have friends that I have a brotherly love for which is quite different than my love for my husband. So I guess I am not sure what you mean by "really" love.

Hidden Sage said...

Good Q 3rd!
I'm in agreement with everyone that commented, I think there should always be boundaries in man-woman friendships.

I also think this is one of the very few posts where everyone is in agreement.

So, by unanimous decision, we here have decided that there must be limits/boundaries in any man-woman friendship.

Hidden Sage said...

It doesn't look like this question was answered: "what it means be friends to someone?"

1- Being there for that person when he/she needs it.
2- Looking out for their best interests.
3- Going out of your way for that person.
4- Genuine care, empathy, grok, and understanding.

Hidden Sage said...

It's common that I'd feel I really miss a female friend, even if I don't find myself attracted to her.

I sometimes do actually say it, saying 'I miss you' actually feels good. I like to be able to express my emotions freely. But sometimes it's best not to say it too much because of that emotional overflow that may occur.

new#3 said...

hmm well I used to believe whole heartedly that men and women could have platonic love relationships..Now I think if the woman is strong and insistent about it from the beginning, perhaps. When it really happens it can be a thing of beauty but as I get older I become more cynical.

Donald said...

Everyone has made some good points. I only have one word more to add… Antidisestablishmentarianism.

Anonymous said...

If this question is too personal, or disgusting, intimate, etc just say so and I will understand. Does the hubby take a shower after/before each wife? This is a concern of mine and I am wondering if anyone else has this same concern. I have read many pliggy blogs and I have not seen any mention of this.

Sorry for being so….rude?

A #1

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments, so far, so let's flip it. Is it all right for a committed guy to go out for drinks with a group of just girls from work? Will something happen, will he go home with one of them at the end of the night? This answer again depends on the strength of the relationship, and that person's individual convictions on what constitutes cheating.
Is it ok for a committed guy to go out for lunch with a women co-worker? Again, what stops a person from taking advantage of the situation. According to our current laws, the person could go against the other person and claim sexual harassment. So, what looks like something innocent can have major consequences. A friendship depends on the other person respecting your boundaries.
I am a girl and the one friend that I have had since my divorce 10 years ago is a guy, who has always respected the boundaries of our relationship. My ex-husband on the other hand did not respect our relationship and chose to pursue other women until I took a stand and ended the relationship. So, nothing is perfect but staying true to your convictions is important in any marriage.

Safiyyah said...

Greetings Dear Third:

I agree with your husband; Allah (swt) made opposite genders for a reason/Ameen.

Anyhow - I was driving through the mountains in the Somerset/Johnstown, PA, area yesterday. The hills are breathless with color! It was an awesome show. It was like distracted driving. Instead of a cellphone or texting, I was glued to the scenery :)

3rd... said...

Saffiyah, nice to see you here again.. gosh, no picture of those mountains?

3rd... said...

@anonymous #1 - you grossed me out there.. I never thought of this before. But yes, he does shower, always, absolutely.. Who wouldn't shower? Would people leave their home all dirty and stuff? Yuck man..

But it made me think of something else as well, and that's Megan's blog. She mentioned they do 3some's and first I just thought it was unacceptable from a religious perspective, but now you made me think of the body-fluid exchange and I am all horrified

Anyway, your question wasn't rude, especially since you didn't ask it in a rude way.. so I hope my answer made you feel a bit better. How come you've been thinking about this so much?

3rd... said...

@anonymous - good last point, staying true to yourself is really important indeed. And something which I really careful with in this relationship
Sometimes when religious motives are involved its quie easy to do something just because you think it can't be otherwise or it would be wrong of you to do otherwise, but that will just come back and bite you in the ass eventually.. So I am sometimes reluctant to do anything which seems very good and holy if I sense its not something I can carry

3rd... said...

About the subject of our original discussion..

I have always found it easier to make friendships with boys - during school/college - , I used to have a few very close girlfriends, but most of the girls there I never hung out with. The girls I did hang out with were usually the ones that had a lot of friends that were boys as well. The other girls irritated me with their gossip and pettyness and fights.. :) makes me think of my life now
So I have grown up mostly with brothers, and my sis hangs out with boys a lot as well. So I guess I just found this really normal.

So this statement that men and women can't really be close friends since attraction is always part of the game, I didn't really think it was true. I guess whatever friendships I had during high-school and college were still of a different kind than they would be now. I am different, the emotions and topics are different, and the boys have grown into men by now, and making a move on a lady is not so scary anymore as it used to be probably.. I guess its not something you can compare with each other - the friendships then and now.

I do feel its a shame though. Especially since I still have just a handful of very close girlfriends. I still find most women - at work for example- quite annoying. And then I get home and HAVE to deal with all of the whining anyway sine my sisterwives are always there.

Now, could this be another lesson I am supposed to learn from polygyny?

Helene said...

3rd, you asked of anonymous #1:

"How come you've been thinking about this so much?" My question for you is, how come you are puzzled? Seems to me to be a straigtforward concern.

You may as you say, dislike "threesomes", but if you living a polygynous life, you are experiencing them all the time, whether he showers or not.

3rd... said...

Hi Helene.. thanks for the comment.. Well, I don't know, maybe its odd of me to assume that people shower after having s.ex, I just never thought of it being otherwise (it's just nasty..why wouldn't you?) well, anyway, it was never a concern of mine and maybe my family is different in that they think of this the same way I do.

And the second part of your comment - I didn't get it.. what do you mean?

SortOfAnonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't it been the case in Islam to keep individuals from getting into potential trouble in the first place? In this case, the focus would be on avoiding physical contact. Period! As for friendships and/or emotional attachments, even romantic ones, they are only as harmful as the acts they lead to. That men and women during the Prophet's era were not reprimanded or even led to feel guilty for having strong emotions (ie, love) for an unattainable person (on two occasions at least that I know of) is telling of how Islam does not force people to deny their emotions but to make sure that those emotions never lead to any regretful actions.

The comparison of an emotional versus a physical affair is even more interesting. For women, the former equals or exceeds the latter in shock value. For men, it's the reverse. My hypothetical question for 3rd would be if you caught your hubby having an emotional affair with a woman, would you (all four of you) be devastated? If you were only three, would he argue that, "hey, I can add a fourth anytime and she is available so what's the big deal?" (Of course there's the uglier argument of "hey, I can replace any of you four anytime so what's the big deal?"). The married woman cannot have such an argument for getting into an affair. The available one.. hmm.. I get carried away with hypothetical questions, don't I?

I just found this blog and am enjoying going back through the previous posts. Keep up the good work.

Judith said...

I have been following your blog for a while, but but have not previously left a comment.

I think that sexual attraction between people depends a lot on the individual. I have friends of both sexes, and I am simply not attracted to them in that way. Attraction is based on a lot more than just being of different sexes, otherwise all heterosexual women would be attracted to all men and vice versa, which is demonstrably not the case.

I can see that there might be a risk that a very close, emotionally and mentally compatible friendship could develop into one which is sexually intimate as well, but that is not the same as a purely sexual attraction. I think it is also possible to have emotional intimacy which never becomes anything more.

It seems to me a shame that western culture discourages the development of the strong interpersonal relationships that can be a lifeline in times of trouble.

3rd... said...

@SortOfAnonymous - welcome! and thanks for commenting.. your hypothetical question on whether we'd be devastated if we found out he had an emotional affair with someone, made me smile..
With each new wife these emotions are there. I have discovered they have to do with fear, fear of becoming obsolete, of not being interesting anymore. Its strange to realize that..you realize it comes from yourself not so much from the other person who is inflicting something upon you.
I tend to think that if I would go through it again that I wouldn't feel that fear anymore.. but the reality is you never know. Maybe in ten years I would fear a ten year younger wife...

@Judith - thanks for commenting. I like what you said '..the strong interpersonal relationships that can be a lifeline in times of trouble.' I guess modern society deprives us of family ties and social support systems which we once used to have, and we try to build this up to some extent with friends. And its true, its sad if you do not have them..

Helene said...

3rd,
Thank you for responding to my comment, and asking for clarification.

In a previous entry, you had said:
"But it made me think of something else as well, and that's Megan's blog. She mentioned they do 3some's and first I just thought it was unacceptable from a religious perspective, but now you made me think of the body-fluid exchange and I am all horrified"

Unless I misunderstand, you expressed your dislike of 3somes. (I then responded as someone who finds polygyny distasteful.) That is to say, if you are polygynous, then you are sleeping with your co-wives, via your husband's body. Your dislike of the idea does not change the reality.

3rd... said...

Helene.. I don't know what you mean by this "if you are polygynous, then you are sleeping with your co-wives, via your husband's body"

How is that?

And would that mean that my husband is sleeping with my past boyfriends through my body?

Judith said...

Helene,
I can't help but wonder why, as 'someone who finds polygyny distasteful' you chose to read this blog, then all the comments, then leave a comment of your own, and then *return* to read the answer and comment again. I would have thought there might be other literature on the net which would be more to your taste, and other, more important battles to fight. Child poverty, for example, or supporting victims of atrocities.

Helene said...

3rd, your question:
"And would that mean that my husband is sleeping with my past boyfriends through my body?"

Yes.

Hidden Sage said...

@Helene
It would do you good to study some logic.

Enlitener said...

My wife is friends with many men and I encourage that. I cannot be all that she needs in a man and am not insecure about my relationship with her. The same goes for me and women. What is there to fear but fear itself?