Christians and platonic relationships

Bible Love Notes features 1-minute devotions each weekday. This is a special feature post.

Can men and women be "just friends"?

According to Scientific American, two careful studies of opposite-sex-friendships "suggest that men and women have vastly different views of what it means to be ‘just friends’—and that these differing views have the potential to lead to trouble."

"Although women seem to be genuine in their belief that opposite-sex friendships are platonic, men seem unable to turn off their desire for something more.”(1)

platonic relationships, opposite-sex relationships, friendshipObviously, these studies do not take into consideration a person's faith, but they do warn us of something we already know: God designed men and women with different thought-processes and tendencies. We shouldn't assume we understand what the opposite sex is thinking.

This study doesn’t necessarily give us all the answers in the age-old debate about the health of platonic relationships, but it encourages us to use caution and make our intentions clear. 

Should husbands and wives have platonic opposite-sex relationships? Or are they likely to lead to extramarital affairs?

My personal opinion: It's better to be cautious and limit opposite-sex platonic relationships to groups that include our spouse. But I can't confirm that with Bible passages. What do you think? And what about single women?

Here's some Biblical principles that impact our answers but the specific ways we handle platonic relationships is something each of us must determine:

Proverbs 4:23: "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."

2 Corinthians 6:3: "We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry."

1 Corinthians 8:9: "But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble."

Matthew 5:27-28: “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’
28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Ephesians 5:3: "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people."




I'd love to have your feedback on this subject. And while you're here, please check out my home page where I feature 1-minute devotions each weekday. And sign up for a free subscription, if you'd like.

103 comments:

  1. I completely agree! I don't even have "boy" friends on facebook. I just don't think it's appropriate and the enemy is going to look for any crack in the door to get his foot in there. It may seem innocent, but the enemy is looking for any chance to destroy.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. Sounds like you've already thought this question through and created some boundaries. I hope this discussion will help other women think about these things as well.

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    2. I am 59. I have a male friend who is 63 and we have been friends for over 43 years.we have never flirted, kissed, or anything else intimate. This friend has supported me through the deaths of several family member, a divorce and financial set backs. I trust him completely but have never had any type of physical desire or attraction all these years. Recently I have been dating and it has become more serious. My boyfriend feels that having this friendship is disrespectful to our new relationship and ask me to take care of it as if my friend is a problem. He has not met him and doesn't see why I seem hesitant regarding putting my friendship in the past and starting a new beginning with him as my new best friend.
      I would feel terrible and totally disloyal to my friend who has been through so much with me in the past and I know it would crush our friendship foreve. I appreciate his friendship and don't want to give up such a precious friend. My boyfriend thinks I should tell him we can no longer hang out as friends and encourage my friend to to on. I am heart broken by this situation because I love both of them and feel I can be loyal as a girlfriend and friend.

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    3. I can see the difficulty of your situation, Carol. These are not easy questions. I pray that God will give you guidance.

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    4. I am definitely praying and trusting in God to see me through. Hopefully I will be able to help someone else in similar situations.

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  2. I agree. As someone who used to think I could be friends with the opposite sex, it just doesn't work. Even if you want a platonic friendship the male may desire more, just as you said. It can be dangerous. Satan can also use it against your marriage and confuse you.

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  3. I agree, Gail. By nature friends become emotionally connected--dangerous for those married individuals if the opposite sex.

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  4. WOW -- maybe I am just OLD but I have male friends who are just that -- friends and nothing more. I would hate to eliminate them from my life just because they are male. I have the best husband in the world and fortunately he doesn't feel threatened by my friends -- the male or the female ones.

    Just stopping by from the GRAND Social Linky Party. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your views.

      I'd love to hear some follow-up. Are your male friends close to your age? Do you do things with these friends alone? I'd love to hear how you handle these relationships. I don't think there is one simple answer for everyone.

      In fact, I think single women need some good platonic friendships from males. But I still wonder if how these relationships are handled is key.

      And I think it's a good thing for us to think through these things beforehand.

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    2. I'd have to say that if your personality is such that you require many many friends and they are all just friends and you do not hang out one on one or give hours of attention to just one intimate close friend, then you are not just old fashioned. I think we are talking about one in particular close friend that is the opposite sex here while you are married. I think that is, in general, a big NO Especially if it is a female who is unmarried and wanting and waiting for that Boaz.

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  5. Some of this question rests for me on the particular situation. Do I have male friends that I "hang out with" away from my husband and family? No. If I were teamed with a man for a research project, would I go to the library (or coffee house, etc) as part of the study time. I sure would. If a 2nd destination were necessary on a single study session, I would let DH know where we were going and approximately how long it would take...to make sure he did not have other plans and that he had no reservations. Would extra sessions become the norm? Not for me.

    Has this even happened in the 18 years DH and I have been a couple? No.

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    1. I especially agree with your point about the nature of the situation. That's why I don't think there's a single, simple answer to this question. And I agree with the additional thoughts you've added. Thanks.

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  6. Great consideration!! I had male friends when I was a single female but all of the friendships were based upon mutual flirtation. After marriage it would seem to me that your husband is the only male friend and confidant you need. The Bible says to avoid all appearances of evil and being alone with a man other than your husband leaves you open to temptation and wrong perceptions. I have male friends but only as they come in relationships with other couples.

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    1. Thanks, Cara, for adding to the discussion. Good insights.

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  7. I agree that this is like walking on thin ice. You might be able to "cross the entire lake" without a problem or you might not. It all depends on how vulnerable you are in your marriage and life. The problem is that we don't always know when we are vulnerable or when someone else is vulnerable. I think it's always best to err on the side of caution, Gail. Thanks for getting this conversation going! Great topic!

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    1. Thanks, Beth. I always appreciate your thoughts and insights.

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    2. And thank you, Gail, for linking up with Wedded Wednesday! I appreciate it!

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  8. Just from my experience I have never been able to have males who were just friends. They always end up expecting something more from the relationship. When I was single and even when I was married, it really didn't seem to matter to them. I have chosen to not have male friends because of my previous experiences. I also feel like this can really open the door to temptation for both parties. I think it is wiser for women to have friendships with women and men to have friendships with men.

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    1. This is a good point, Amanda--learning from our experiences.

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  9. That's a great question! I have male friends but they aren't apart from my husband, does that make sense?

    I don't talk with them on the phone just to chat or text them or facebook chat with them or stuff like that. But I do consider them like brothers. They are my husband's best friends too.

    I am also really great friends with two ex-boyfriends of mine and their wives, even our children are great friends and we have socialized many, many times over the years and even now. I love them both like crazy as well as love their wives too (even more than them, lol!) and they are good friends with my hubby too. My hubby is pretty good friends with his old girlfriend too.

    But, as I tell my kids, we were pure and honorable in our relationships with each other when we were dating, so we can have a friendship now. Plus, the friendship includes the spouse.

    I think we just have to be very careful to safeguard those male-female relationships and have boundaries.

    One of my husband's best friends was a single father raising two girls. We had them over a couple of times a week for dinner during those first several weeks when his wife left him and he was devastated.

    But he never came over if my husband wasn't there. Once he came early by himself (girls were with his soon-to-be-ex) and it was just me and my kids, so he waited outside in his car until hubby came home.

    Another time, he asked me if I would go shopping with him to help him buy some clothes for his girls. I told him that I couldn't do it alone but would be happy to take his girls or we'd have to invite hubby to join us. He didn't really want to do the clothes shopping himself either, lol!

    My husband is a pastor and he has to safeguard his relationships with women as well.

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    1. Sounds like you've taken some wise precautions in your relationships. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. This is a great write up to share with my teenage daughter! Thanks for the wisdom in this! So hard those "just friend" relationships for people sometimes! UNITED in Him, Jen

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    1. Thanks,Jen. I've enjoyed the comment "discussion." I think this is a complex but important issue for us to consider/discuss.

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  11. I do have male friends. They fall into two categories --- close, longtime family friends that fall into the realm of "family" and friends through work. Accountability in communications is key! Any personal (non-work related) e-mails are exchanged through a shared account with my husband, phone calls with the door open, and any contact outside of working hours is conducted with presence of my family and/or his! I never discuss personal problems --- it's too easy to fall into the trap of "he understands me better than my husband". Some people think my "rules" are restrictive, but it's the only way I'd be comfortable if the "shoe was on the other foot" so I have to be willing to practice myself!

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    1. Thanks for sharing. You've taken some wise precautions. And I've never heard anyone who was sorry for being too careful in these type of situations, but many who wish they'd set better limits.

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  12. Hi Gail, first, I love your blog and have found lots of great stuff here :)

    Second, I've enjoyed reading these comments on this post because as you can see, even Christian women have differing opinions on this hot topic. Personally, I had many male friends before marriage but most of them identified themselves as homosexuals. Now that I'm married, I don't spend time alone with any male friends, whatever they identify themselves as. Some of the friendships have fallen apart but it was probably for the best, my husband is my best guy friend and I don't see a need for any others. The only guy "friends" I have are couple friends we hang out with together. We don't have exes as friends. A previous poster mentioned being friends with exes and even their wives and I think that is fine, if you had a pure relationship and clean break and there is really nothing there. However, my hubby and I have the kinds of pasts where being friends with exes is not a wise option and attempts have only led to problems and pain.

    I do think the nature of the situation should be taken into account (work relationships and such). I think some women shared some wise "rules" that we all would be wise to follow. I haven't heard of anyone being sorry they were taking such precautions. I have however heard of people, even Christians, who didn't want to look uptight and were not careful, had little boundaries, no accountability and handled their opposite sex friendships like the rest of the world and then deeply regretted it.

    Thanks for writing on this topic and opening up discussion without judgement, I will share this post!

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    1. Thanks, Del, for the kind encouragement.
      And thanks for joining the discussion.
      I think you're right about what kind of relationship a person had with their exe. That would definitely impact how they relate.
      Thanks for your insights.

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  13. I have a good male friend, a former editor and now an editor for one of the Focus on the Family publications. We're good buds—with no chance of there being anything other than a platonic relationship. Our spouses understand our friendship and have no problem with it.

    That said, such friendships are more often than not a minefield and dangerous for a marriage.

    Good post. Thank you for adding it to the GRAND Social.

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    1. I'd love to hear if you have any "boundaries" in that relationship or not. Always good to hear how folks work through these things. Thanks for joining the discussion.

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  14. Hi Gail, I agree with you. Keeping the spouses in the mix is the best and wisest way to go. When in doubt leave out. The devil is always looking for ways to turn something "not there" into something that is isn't/shouldn't be! I think boundaries are there for a purpose - our protection! Thanks for linking up and thank you for your encouraging comment. I appreciate it and you
    God bless
    Tracy

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    1. Yes, Tracy, Satan is definitely interested in destroying marriages whatever way he can. Thanks for sharing your insights.

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  15. So interesting reading this today Gail! (visiting through Messy marriage link-up). My last two marriage posts have been on Protecting marriage through keeping boundaries with the opposite sex. We seem to be thinking along the same lines! Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. I will need to check out your posts, Ngina. I'm sure they contain some good insights. Thanks for stopping by.

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  16. I have definitely benefited by my male friendships, and hopefully they have benefited by hearing my viewpoint on things. However, I do have to keep boundaries in place--ones I've set with my husband--to keep things pure.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa, for your comment. I definitely think there are good things about having the friendship and perspective of the opposite sex.

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  17. I agree with the other commenters that it is an area to exercise caution, and it is beneficial to 1) understand that men think differently than we do, and 2) realize the enemy is always lurking to find an opportunity to wreak havoc in your heart and in your life.

    I was an engineer before choosing to stay home with our kids, and so I have always felt more comfortable around men than women (there were very few women in my degree program and in my workplace). I would occasionally go to lunch with a male coworker, or a group of male coworkers, but only after speaking to my husband about it first. He knew most of them, had met them, and most of them were married or were my boss/mentor/etc. I would have been incredibly alone and isolated if I shut myself off from being friends with men. I also have male friends from college who I still share emails with on occasion.

    Can it be dangerous? Absolutely. Can it be healthy and beneficial? Absolutely. While we should be cautious, I don't recall anywhere in scripture where God tells wives to only interact with women. We just need to be aware and vigilant.

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    1. Thanks, April, for sharing your insights.I appreciate hearing your perspective from the workplace.

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  18. I have to osay I agree.
    I have many male friends, but they are my husbands friends too. And we just wouldn't meet privately. Not because we couldn't or because we think it might be awkward. We just don't because we are married to other people and it feels inapropriate to us.
    As a single person, I never once had a male friend who didn't identify as homosexual that didn't have some kind of sexual tension.
    Our Pastor had a similar theory - it just takes one (even false) allegation to ruin a career. So he neve rput himself in a position that one could be made.
    I don't have any male friendships that wouldn't be totally ok with continuing our friendship based on those boundries. If they weren't ok with it, I'd wonder why it was such a big deal. Why do we need to be alone?
    I don't see any reason why a married person would need to push a friendship to involve a lot of alone one-on-one time in private with someone of the opposite gender, I guess.
    Just my thoughts.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate the insights everyone has contributed to this discussion.

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  19. This may intersting to some -- I am a woman in the military and was deployed for a year away from my husband. My only friendships were with males (because they were all there was to befriend.) HOWEVER, I never went anywhere with just one, even the gym, or spent time alone with just one, or even knew where any of them lived, exactly, on the base we were on. They never came to my room, never stopped by my office "just to chat", and if we ate together at meal times, it was more often than not in groups, but always in full view of the entire dining facility. I kept in daily contact with my husband by phone, email and Skype, and could NOT wait to get home to HIM. So, I think its possible to have friendships -- but there has to be definite and specific boundaries - even if you are the only one enforcing them. :)

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    1. I meant...this may BE interesting to some... (typing too fast!) :)

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    2. Thanks for sharing your insights. My husband was in the military 22 years, and it does bring with it challenges in regard to gender at times. I appreciate hearing your experiences and how you've handled them.

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  20. I absolutely agree with you. When I was single I thought men and women could be friends but sure enough all my male friends disappeared once I got married. Maybe I'm wrong, men and women can be friends but I think being cautious is better than ending up in a situation you wouldn't want to be in. I no longer have male friends and it would make me uncomfortable if my husband had female friends.

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    1. Thanks, Jane. I appreciate you sharing your insights.

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  21. This was a good post that stimulated so much thought!! I don't have male friends other than the husbands to the families that attend our church, if you know what I mean.

    Thanks Gail for linking up with me over at WholeHearted Home.

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  22. This is something my husband and I have talked about a great deal. When we started dating, our friendships with the opposite sex began to diminish. We both agreed that there was no need for me to have male friends or for my husband to have female friends. We are friends with couples at our church, but neither of us seeks/nurtures relationships with friends of the opposite sex. It just happened naturally as we fell deeper in love!

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  23. Very interesting topic...I have been married for 16 years this spring. We have two kids and I worked an off shift for more then ten years, seeing my husband one day a week. I lost sixty pounds after a back injury and little by little became closer with a work collegue. I have a very close relationship with this collegue and have even tried to cut that relationship off. Kissing has taken place. We text and meet up for drinks occassionally....my heart can not let this friend go for good. I've tried.

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    1. Dear friend,
      I thank you for taking the time to leave this comment, and I pray you will take action to cut these ties with this friend.

      I have several very close friends and relatives who kept moving forward in a relationship like this and now they are divorced. They would give anything to go back and cut the ties that gradually grew into an affair.

      It takes incredible forgiveness and healing for a spouse to forgive an affair, and many are unable to give it. In the Bible, unfaithfulness is the one reason Jesus gives for divorce because it devastates trust and love like nothing else. And it usually deeply affects the lives of children.

      Whatever excitement or fulfillment this relationship brings is not worth the devastation it can cause. And whether you realize it or not, you are definitely moving toward an affair.

      I pray as I write this that you will cut the ties.
      Bless you,
      Gail

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  24. My problem is very different from what other people have posted here. I have a pattern - going back to my early twenties - of having male friends who I like romantically, but don't seem to want to more than friendship. I'm not sure what to do about it. I was taught by my church and family that relationships should start as friendship before progressing to dating. But I'm 36, and that advice isn't helping me move closer to finding a mate.

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    1. Hi Ana,
      I think your church and family are right--healthy romantic relationships do begin as friendships and move into something deeper. But there are many other factors involved as well.

      I have some lovely older single friends who have very fulfilling lives. I think they would say that contentment is the key. God may have marriage planned in their future, or He may not, but either way they have determined to live their lives fully and enjoy other people and be involved in meaningful work and ministry. I would encourage you to pray about contentment and to ask God for meaningful work and ministry during this time of singleness.

      I think it is natural for a woman to want to marry, and I will pray for you. Thanks for sharing these thoughts. I'm sure there are other women struggling with these same issues.
      God bless you,
      Gail

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  25. Interesting that all these points of view are from the female perspective. What concerns me as a Christian man reading these comments are two things. Firstly, the implication that friendships are expendable, disposable and based solely on the risk/benefits that they pose to you. So the line of thought seems to be: having a deep friendship with a man could lead to trouble, so its best to avoid the possibility of trouble by treating men as dangers to be avoided, rather than brothers in Christ to be loved. Secondly, there seems too be an assumption that the only angle the enemy could find to cause destruction is to try and get male/female friends to cheat on their spouse, either physically or emotionally. What about the damage that can be done to a Christian man who has a female friend who withdraws away and cuts all ties based solely on the fact he is a man, and the logic described above. What if that in itself causes a great deal of hurt to the man? What if the man is left lonely and dejected as a result? Is that really how God wants us to show love for each other?

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    1. I appreciate your input...glad to have a man's point of view.

      From my perspective, it's not about rejecting an opposite-sex friend; it's about being wise and careful in that friendship. And the problem arises when one or more people in the friendship are already married or engaged. It isn't a problem when both parties are single.

      I enjoy platonic fellowship of other men, but I enjoy it with my husband present or in a group setting.

      Have you had married women friends completely cut off relationship with you because of a fear of becoming involved romantically?

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    2. My husband is forcing me into this situation now. He has demanded I cut ties with a Good Christian male friend - I never even got to explain to my friend that I would be withdrawing from our friendship out of respect for my husband. To make matters worse, my husband promised me that he would communicate the "break-off" with my friend so that there could be understanding and minimize the hurt, but now my husband says he won't do it and he doesn't have to because HE is the "victim" in the situation. Mind you, although my friend and I considered a relationship in the past, we decided against it and remained friends - having never dated or engaged in any physical relationship. I wish my husband would see people as people -- before we married, he viewed everyone as a means to an end, whether male or female (and he never considered women trustworthy enough to be friends with). I believe this is the root of his harshness and lack of caring.

      It is hurtful to me that I must cut ties with this person who has prayed with me, had conversations with me, etc. just because I am a woman.

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  26. Honestly, I have never had a same-sex friend. I have nothing in common with other women so no friendship has ever developed, even within my church family. So if I cut ties with my male friends, I would then be friendless. Which would be more pleasing to God biblically? Opposite-sex friendships, or no friendships at all? I truly wonder. If I am to have no other friends besides my husband, so be it. Please point me to bible verses I can look up. Thanks, Gail.

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    1. Hi Kristina,
      I don't think there is one definitive answer on this question, nor is there a specific verse on the gender of friends. I think the question is whether we can obey the Biblical passages on faithfulness in marriage, pure thoughts and correct attitudes toward the opposite sex while maintaining close friends of the opposite sex. And there is the added element of how our relationship is perceived by the other person--how they view it. It's complex for sure.

      But, regardless of that aspect of your life, I pray that you will find some same-sex friends as well. I do believe that God designed women to help each other along our life journey. Titus 2 talks about older women teaching the younger women, and we are all older women and younger women at the same time. I believe women need each other.

      Just some thoughts.
      Hope they help.
      Gail

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  27. I'm 22 years old. I'm engaged currently, and even though we're not married yet, I take my commitment to him very seriously. but with saying that, I couldn't imagine not having other guy friends! I love my guy friends. I have a special admiration for several of them... BUT I have found though that I need to be careful in putting boundaries on these friendship depend on who they are.

    (1) I need to know their character-- How well do I know this person? What are they in this friendship for? Do they truly have respect for me, my Fiance, and for our relationship? If they developed a "desire" for me, how might they react? (2) with those answers in mind I figure out how much personal information I feel I should share with them. I figure out how much time I feel comfortable spending with them. There will always be a level of information and closeness that I will ONLY share with my Fiance.. not even my closest girl-friends. (with the exclusion of maybe a female counselor.)

    Typically I wouldn't spend much if any time alone with another guy. I like having one-on-one conversations but usually in a more public place. we both feel less awkward that way lol ... and I know if I start to develop additional feelings for a person, I need to distance myself from them. Another thing is, I tell my Fiance about these "closer friendships" with guys and I make sure that those relationships are okay with him. What's wonderful is I know he trusts me in how I handle my friendships and that I will always stay loyal to him. but if he 'does' seem uncomfortable with one of my guy-friends, it's probably valid, and I can respect that in how I relate to that person in the future.

    Ultimately, my best guy friends, are those that also know my Fiance. I am good friends with my Fiance's past roommate, who will also be the Best Man in our wedding. I value this friendship so much because of the respectable guy he is, and because I know he would never do anything to hurt my Fiance... and that's part of the reason he wouldn't do anything to hurt me either. the other part is he has become a friend I can really trust. What's great about this friendship, is we have an equal understanding of and are comfortable with our "friendship boundaries".

    so I have to be very intentional and careful in my relationships with the opposite sex. but its definitely worth it. This is another type of friendship that shapes me.... but above all, I take my relationships to God. and after God, I will make sure that my future husband is ALWAYS at the top of my list.

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    1. ha. My name is actually April. I don't know why my username is so funky.

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    2. Hi April,
      Sounds like you have put a lot of thought and intentional care into your relationships with other men, and that's the key. There's no specific answer that fits everyone, but it's very important that we approach these relationships with wisdom and caution. And it sounds like you are doing that! Thanks for sharing your insights.
      Gail

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  28. Hi Gail,
    I met someone 4 months ago who is very kind, considerate and caring. We connect on so many levels. I would like to take the relationship further. However, we have one huge difference of opinion. I have male friends. There are two in particular that he has a problem with.
    Number one is someone I dated 24 years ago for about a year. We were not a good 'couple' and drifted apart after our breakup. He moved several states away. We reconnected after my divorce, and for the past 15 years our friendship has taken place over the phone. We usually talk a couple times a week about work, school (he is earning a master's degree), my kids, politics, our mutual friends, and our relationships that we have with other people. I've been through a divorce, raising three kids by myself. My family has not been there for me, and I've had to overcome some overwhelming adversity in my life. That person was there to encourage me, to let me vent, to help me financially at times, and he has said that if anything ever happened to me, he would take my kids in a heartbeat. I am also there for him in terms of encouragement and friendship. We do not see each other, and I would not see him alone if the situation presented itself and we were both in committed relationships.
    The person I'm dating has basically asked me to choose: My friends or him. I can't just severe that relationship. My friend is the one person who has been there for me through thick and thin, even when my own family was not. It would hurt me deeply to lose that friendship. I've known him since I was 19. I'm now 44. He's more like a brother. A family member. We do not talk about anything inappropriate. We do not talk about our own relationship that took place 24 years ago ... except to joke around about how awful it was. And it was. Honestly, if we wanted to be together, we would be together. We both know that we make better friends. And we value that friendship the way it is. He has said that I am truly the one person he can count on and trust in his life. He has a daughter from a previous relationship, and I have promised him that I would see to it that she has what she needs if anything ever happened to him.

    My second friend is my neighbor who lives with his mom. He is developmentally challenged. He doesn't have any true friends. He is like a 12 year old boy mentally. I enjoy his company. We go to the movies together. He comes to my family cookouts, birthdays etc. He's a sweetheart. He's never had a girlfriend, and he's in his 50's. I'm sure he may have a crush on me, but he would never act upon it. I feel like we would both lose something if I were to sever that relationship too. Again, I've had to struggle most of my life, and I have fun when I'm with him. When we are together, we play board games, play catch with a baseball, we play basketball, golf etc. It's strictly platonic.

    I have a couple female friends from work, but I seem to relate better to my male friends.

    In my opinion, the person I've been seeing for 4 months is being a little controlling and insecure.
    I've explained that my friends would become his friends and I would not spend time alone with my male friends. That doesn't seem to be good enough. He said to me that if his mom were to have male friends, it would make him puke. He says it is completely wrong, especially to be friends with an ex boyfriend.
    I typically agree that opposite sex relationships are dangerous. But I've had these friends for a very long time, and nothing inappropriate has happened.
    I feel like the only option I have right now is to end the four month relationship because I'm worried that his view of me is unhealthy, perhaps a little controlling and insecure.
    I look forward to your thoughts on this. Thank you...

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  29. Hi Morticia,
    Your situation is complex. The main caution I would give is to make sure that your developmentally challenged friend is not getting the wrong idea. Perhaps doing things with him with another person might keep him from putting false hope in a romantic relationship with you. It sounds like you genuinely care about him, and having someone join you might prevent him from being hurt in the future.

    It sounds like you are setting appropriate boundaries with the other relationship, but if you were to get remarried, I think your friendship with this man should diminish because your main male friend to trust, share with, and ask advice would be your husband. And sharing deeply with another man 1-2 times a week could interfere with your relationship with your husband.

    I'm not a counselor, and I don't have any Scripture verses to back up what I'm saying...this is just what seems like common sense to me.

    But perhaps the most important thing I am sensing in what you've written is your dissatisfaction with this 4 month relationship with your boyfriend.

    I hope my thoughts will be helpful, but I've also asked God to give you wisdom, and that's the most important aspect for all of us.
    God bless you,
    Gail

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  30. I have been friends with my male best friend since high school. He was sort-of adopted into my family as a sibling and brother. We have been friends now for 21 years. I met my husband in college 14 years ago and believe me, he was shocked to find out that ALL of my closest friends were guys. However, after spending time in my social group he quickly realized I was not interested in these men sexually. I have had many female friendships over the years that were absolute failures. It amazes me how dishonest, catty, competitive and dramatic women can be. I opted for male friends because I like blunt honesty, the drama-free conversations and laid-back nature of our relationship(s). My husband completely respects that and understands where I am coming from. I do not feel I am my husband's property or that he needs to beat his chest or leave his scent around me... this is largely because we have built a strong trust bond in our marriage and he is not insecure. Just thought I would share : )

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    1. I appreciate you sharing your experiences in this area. It's been interesting to hear the feedback from a number of different women with different views.

      Delete
  31. Just one question. where is the sin in having opposite sex friends. I live in a trailor park in Empire Colorado, my neighbor is a "Jehovah's witness" and it's in need of constant aid. because of her devout faith she fears her church. yesterday she needed a ride to the local food bank, rightly named " loaves and fishes" when we got ready to leave she told me that my 70 year old father needed to go with is because her church informed her that she would be committing a sin which could result in her excommunication from the church. because me being in the car or at her house helping her with maintenance around the house is suspect of a questionable relationship outside of wedlock. she is over 60, I'm 35, and i have no intrest other than "friend". whatever happened to love thy neighbor? (a commandment I believe) its stuff like this that drove me away from the church a decade ago. my question,is this really dogmatic law? or is it hokum?

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    1. Hi Chris,
      I'm not sure why your neighbor would respond to this situation in this manner. It doesn't sound like your relationship is unhealthy.

      I don't know what the Jehovah Witnesses teach about men and women friends since they are a sect (they don't believe Jesus was God like mainstream Christianity does and they have numerous rules about holidays and such).

      But there is no Bible teaching that says men and women can't be friends.

      I think if you read my post again you'll see I'm asking the question about when male/female relationships are unhealthy and can lead to affairs. The Bible does caution us to avoid immorality.

      I commend you for being a kind and helpful neighbor.

      I hope that clarifies what I was trying to say.
      God bless you,
      Gail

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  32. I got a comment from a woman and I am including part of her comments here but omitting portions that are too personal. I'm doing this because she asked a question and I want to answer it in case she checks back. Here are her partial comments:

    "Hello! I am a single God-fearing woman, 40 years of age. This past April of 2013, I had met a man (through a high school classmate of mine) on Facebook...Things started heating up this past June when we started flirting with each other. I told him that I was available, and he told me that if he wasn't married, he'd take me out in a minute! ...we started back texting and he revealed once again about his feelings for me...but he's married...but still insists that we are to remain as friends...How must I go about breaking off our friendship?"

    Dear Anonymous, you have already crossed a line that is unhealthy with this man. You say that you both asked forgiveness, but genuine repentance involves turning from your sin and avoiding temptations to sin. There is no reason that you and this man should have any relationship. If you don't un-friend him on FB, quit texting him and delete his texts to you without reading them, you will end up doing yourself great harm. I pray you will do these things. Gail

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Dear Anonymous, Thank you for your reply. You have made godly decisions, and I will be praying for you.
      Gail

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    3. Dear Gail: Thank you for your warm comments! Yes, this man and I were both committing a sin. I just unfriended him on the following websites: Twitter, LinkedIn, and google+. However, my Facebook account will be permanently deleted on January 1, 2014. YAY!!! Our friendship was forbidden and unhealthy. And, I also have deleted his contact info from my cell phone. Probably need to get another cell number. Please keep me in your prayers!! I will be talking about this in confidentiality with my Pastor's wife soon. I apologized to Father GOD, myself and this man. He also did the same. It's best that this friendship is deleted before things get out of control!!!!

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  33. I am an unmarried woman in my mid-twenties who is dating and I do think that you can have friendships with the opposite gender but as other individuals have stated, with boundaries. There are three married male friends that I meet with on occasion (two Christian and one not); two of them I work with and the other one is one of my pastors. It can be somewhat awkward at times if I go and have lunch with one of them and bump into someone from work who is looking at us with raised eyebrows. I can't help but feel guilty but I suppress it because there's nothing to be guilty of. However, these aren't regular occurrences and we are not sneaking around to be in one anothers company. I do however find it ironic that I am not really friends with the wives of my Christian male friends. It's a little difficult for me to get close to them even though I have tried. However I am being more intentional about reaching out to my married friend who is not a Christian's, wife. They have even both visited with me at my place before and I plan on having them over for dinner soon.

    My boyfriend has found it somewhat strange but I think he is starting to accept it more. We are intentional about communicating with one another in terms of when we spend alone time in the company of the opposite gender. To be honest, his female friends seem to be of more concern than my male friends. They'll often text him "I love you" or demand for his attention. He has told me that they're like sisters and have been a part of his life for years so I don't object unless they start calling him late at night about things that are not urgent.

    I do know that if intentionality isn't put into place, unhealthy attachments can develop. On the same hand, opposite gender friendships can be just as beautiful as same gender ones. There's just something wonderful about having someone genuinely care for and look out for you with no strings attached or motives to be had. Thanks for this post!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate hearing the experiences and thoughts of others.
      God bless,
      Gail

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  34. I have never had a CLOSE male friendship outside of my marriage but not because I had didn't want to I just always preferred my female friends. Recently a friend from high school and connected and he is male and he is becoming a good friend. He loves Jesus so much and is teaching more and more about the word. I don't see this being bad. Although I do understand satan wanting in. My husband has female friends that he worked with many years before I came along and they have lunch sometimes and catch up. No biggie. I think it depends on the person and the situation and the amount of trust.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for joining the conversation.
      God bless you,
      Gail

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  35. My husband is facebook friends with one of his exes. This is causing me a lot of hurt right now. I don't think it is fair on the spouse to have close friendships with the opposite sex because, at least for girls, emotions get involved way to quickly. My husband doesn't understand why it is such a big issue for me. I believe we are both to abstain from anything that could lead to sin. Remaining friends with a former girlfriend opens the door to the possibility of former desires and feelings reappearing. This is wrong. Sense getting married, I have removed male friends from my facebook page (except for relatives and mutual friends). I respect and love him more than any other guy and care more about my husband than the feelings of other guys.

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    1. You raise some good points, Alesa.
      Thanks for joining the conversation.
      God bless you,
      Gail

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  36. I think this is an interesting debate. I think ultimately the decision whether or not too have friends of the opposite sex is a decision that should be made openly with your husband/wife and prayerfully with God.

    I have a lor of make friends, I always have, and my husband had a lot of girl friends, he always has. We both tend to get along better with the opposite sex. That being said, we are always very open with our activities and our friendships. If either of us felt uncomfortable with the situation, or felt like one of our friends started acting in a way that was not platonic, we would withdraw from our friendship. We believe that Good friends, regardless of their sex, will support our relationship 100%, and if they don't or they make a pass (or something) then they aren't being a friend and have no business in our lives.

    I am completely comfortable with my husband's female friends and he is comfortable with my male friends, but that is a conversation we are very open about and discuss whenever we feel it should be addressed. This doesn't work for every relationship, but it works for ours.

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    1. I appreciate hearing your thoughts, Danie. I like your advice about the decision being made openly with your spouse and prayerfully with God.
      God bless you,
      Gail

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  37. Hi, I'm a teenage girl about to start a part time job and college, and I really appreciate all the 'rules' and boundaries that ya'll have shared, it's definitely something I will think over more and talk over with my mom. I will say this, the only 'guy' friends my mom has are these three men that my dad has known for ages, and my brothers and I call them all 'uncle.' However, thinking back, she is never alone with one of them, usually I or one of my brothers is with her, and the guy usually has his girlfriend or wife with him. The only guy friends I have are friends of my brothers, they are younger than me, and I've known them a looong time. I realize it's different, since we aren't adults, but I couldn't imagine not talking to them if I saw them somewhere just because my brothers weren't with me. Thanks everyone, once again, for sharing all the advice. :)

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    1. I think it's great that you're thinking it through ahead of time--an important step.
      May God guide your steps.
      God bless you,
      Gail

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  38. hmm, i may be very young (13), but i have 5 very good "boy" friends. they're my best friends, and they stand up for me as if we were siblings. i have been picked on before, and they all helped me out instead of just being a bystander. in my opinion, they treat me better and understand me more than my girl friends. my mother doesn't always approve of i spending so much time with them. she supports me but would like me to spend less time with them. i guess its just that my mother has never been in this sort of situation and there is a generation gap. but i really hope we can make friendship happen.

    thats my story, and thanks for sharing everyone!

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    1. Hi Anonymous,
      This post applies mostly to adult relationships, and there are some differences at your age. But I would suggest you talk this through with your mom and listen to her wisdom. Part of the reason for a generation gap is her age and experience, something which can give her wisdom that helps you to make wise decisions.
      Thanks for taking time to share.
      Gail : )

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  39. It is totally possible, as long as you both understand and are on the same page. I had a situation where someone thought I liked him more than I did, and so thought we should not be friends when that was not what was going on there. It hurt me deeply. I have a situation where someone does not want to just be a friend, and so I have to continually draw the line. It totally depends on the people and how well they understand, express what they think, and listen to each other.

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  40. Hi Gail,
    I had a close friendship with a guy at my college. I was a junior when he started as a freshman. We were on paired floors (guy and girl dorm floor paired) so we sat at the same meal table a lot. He was really easy to talk to and I didn't feel like I had many other friends or especially people who were good listeners and related to things I liked or wanted to spend a lot of time together (my love language is quality time). We hung out a lot mostly in groups but I never liked him more than a friend although I was physically attracted to him and thought he had a neat personality. It was usually him, his best guy friend, and me if we hung out, or him and another friend or two. We did a lot together, and eventually it was just him because his other friends were busy. I never wanted this, though, and would have rather done stuff in groups, but liked hanging out with him and no one seemed to think this was a big deal so we hung out alone, and eventually talked on the phone a bit. I later said I didn't want to date because he mentioned going out to a meal but said it wasn't a date so I said okay. He came to my house for several weekends; my parents were always there and it didn't seem like a big deal as we didn't hang out a ton and he mostly talked with my dad, but I felt uncomfortable although I liked having the company and someone with me. At the end of my senior year we hung out almost every day and then skyped a lot, even thinking about what we would call dating. I regret that we held hands, and I said I didn't want to date but I am confused about our relationship. I was shocked when he said most of the guys on the floor thought we were dating, and when he went to church with me several people asked us this as well and it always made me uncomfortable because some of his standards and values were very different from mine. In all this, though, I feel like I learned a lot from him and it was really helpful, so it is confusing why I felt so uncomfortable if it seemed to be an encouraging, fun, exciting, and healing relationship.

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  41. I was best friends with a guy at college for two years; how do I understand this friendship when I felt uncomfortable but it was really encouraging and healing in lots of ways, and he totally thought it was fine but didn't think we were dating, and neither did I? He later admitted that he really liked me, though, and thought I was attractive. He thought it was fine to talk or skype every night and while we did for awhile I cut it off because I continued to feel uncomfortable. I am sad that it had to end because it was encouraging but do not understand why I felt so uncomfortable.

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    1. I appreciate you sharing your experiences.

      While it sounds like you are still unsure of all the thoughts and feelings you experienced, I would just add this: perhaps God was protecting you from something. Sometimes an uncomfortable feeling is God's way of redirecting us.

      Either way, I think your experience shows how difficult it can sometimes be to separate friendship from romantic interest.

      Thanks again for sharing your insights.
      Gail

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  42. I have been in to many relationships where I heard we are just friends from both my partner and the female friend and it turned out there was something more even if it was a one time thing. Personally I don't want my man to have female friends and I explain to him why I feel so strongly on this matter so I expect him to be understanding and respectful. Also as far as I'm concerned when it comes right down to it, who is more important your female friends or your relationship. Are you willing to loose her in order to keep your female friends or are you willing to loose your female friends in order to prove who is more important to you. Outside a relationship I honestly don't believe men and women should want or need to be friends with anyone of the opposite sex. I also strongly believe in respecting the person your with and their wishes and desires.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for adding your thoughts and insights to this discussion.
      Gail

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    2. My fiance is my best (male) friend. I dont have any male friends outside of work whom are people I barely talk to anyway. My fiance does have a female friend that calls him here and there. She is married but separated and he says she always calls him to talk about her issues with her husband. My thought is..."Where are your female friends?" Why are you not calling your spouse and trying to work it out with him...or seeking real counseling? My fiance is not a counselor, but he says she and her husband use to always talk to him. Eventually it dwindled down to just her...She knows about me but she still calls him. I'm not sure that I should be upset with this relationship, and when I do show or try to express that I am uncomfortable with this relationship, he reminds me of how he dropped everything and everyone else for us. I ask myself if Im just being insecure or jealous. If I should just brush it off? Don't think this is the type of forum I need, but I liked what I've read so far and Im seeking advise and I need prayer! lol... But all jokes aside, Im not sure he would willingly sacrifice this relationship for the stability of our relationship. Should I even be desiring him to do that? Your Thoughts....

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    3. Hi Renee,
      I think you have reasons to be concerned. Even if your fiance has no intentions of getting involved with this woman, "counseling" another person after a break-up puts them both in a sensitive position. It is very easy for this type of relationship to unintentionally move beyond friendship to romance.

      I would encourage you to take lots of time to talk things through with your fiance until you both feel comfortable. And if you feel that he would put this other relationship above his relationship with you, that is certainly something you would want to know before getting married.

      I am not a professional counselor, and there are lots of variables that can influence your situation, but I will pray that God gives you wisdom in handling it. And if you know an older couple with a good marriage, I'd encourage you to meet with them to get their feedback on your situation.

      I'm praying that God gives you wisdom, and praying that you will take this situation to Him in prayer yourself. He has plans and purposes for your life, and those are the ones you want to follow (Ephesians 2:10). Since I don't know you, I also want to tell you that if you don't know Jesus as a Lord, I encourage you to start reading the Bible and ask Him to reveal Himself to you.
      Gail

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  43. Don't fall victim to temptations.

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  44. Resist temptation and have strong faith.

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  45. Don't fall victim to temptations.

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  46. Hey Gail.

    I had some questions, growing up I always believed that yes you can have friends of the opposite gender when dating or in a marrage. But keeping them at "arm's length" so to speak, and involving your spouse as well as drawing the line, not been alone together etc. I thought it would work fine and it does for my boyfriend, I dont mind him having girls that are friends, though it makes me uneasy on occasion due to most of them been single. But he cannot seem to tolerate me even mentioning my guy friends, even though I rarely talk to them and always let my boyfriend know what's going on and keep him informed. As well as the few guy friends I have are more acquaintances that where once close friends but which I backed off that friend ship when I got in a relationship due to my boyfriends issues with me having guy friends at all, and yet he defends his right to have girls that are close friends or saying their "old friends" and refused to acknowledge its the same thing. I realize he seems to have trust issues with me though we have never ever given each other a reason to doubt each others loyalty. Which bugs me becuase I have tried to be nothing but unsterstanding with his frienships. And tolerant in the cases where he hid close friendships from me, which has only happened twice. But now he will refer to his friends as nether males or females, instead saying he's going to hang out with friends and when I ask which friends he says, "old friends" or "a close friend" and I wonder if he's hiding something. But he hasn't really given me a reason to doubt, and every time I try to approach the sujbect he turns it back on me. I've prayed about this a lot and I feel like I should seek council with oned older and more expirenced then I. So please. If you have council I am listening.

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    1. Dear Violet,
      I can understand your concerns. They seem valid.
      Even if your boyfriend is being faithful to your relationship, I would be concerned with his unwillingness to be open and honest about his relationships and activities. This openness is very important in a marriage.

      I strongly encourage you to seek the counsel of an older married woman in your church who seems to have a loving marriage and knows God's Word. And if your boyfriend is willing, it would be good to meet with a godly couple.

      And I would also encourage you to pray about whether this relationship with your boyfriend is in God's will. Is your boyfriend committed to the same Christian values that you hold?

      I am praying that you will let God lead you and give you peace and joy in whatever plans He has for you (Ephesians 2:10).
      God bless you,
      Gail

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  47. Opposites genders do attract and fire spark and feelings grow and connections lock to pull each other in. Jezebel did it and she is still roaming the earth. Be careful when a male or female marriaged or single say it is nothing but friendship like my husband and an female co worker. They were so friendly he asked her to send a bikini pic of herself and she did. But with God on my side he sent me a sign to end their friendship. I gave the woman a call and i spoke nice to her and she said she did not know he was married with children. The friendship is suppose to be over but God is watching. And i will let him direct my path on this marriage. If he say stay i will stay but. If God remove me from the marriage then so be it.

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  48. Opposite gender relationships can work fine for some people. A Christian man following the Bible should be totally trustworthy around woman as just friends. Also, a faithful Christian of either gender can prevent a friend from going to far, by not allowing it. There's too much distrust of some men reflected in the comments, and not enough distrust of some woman who also could threaten a marriage, like some stereotyping. It really depends on the particular person.

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    1. While the research I quote in this article does claim that men tend to have more problems with viewing a relationship as platonic, I totally agree that inappropriate attitudes and actions can come from both genders and both must make decisions beforehand about how to avoid anything inappropriate.
      thanks for adding to the conversation.
      Gail

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  49. I have lots of friends that are girls, no big deal, my best friend is a girl, has been for years, im not going to ROB MYSELF of a friend just because they are the opposite sex "that's just stupid" that person could be the best friend in the whole world, one that truly cares and offers you the best and your going to pass that up because their the opposite sex, "that's insane people"

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  50. I was taught that if you have a relationship with someone, being seen alone with someone who is not that person can be questionable especially if someone knows that that person is not your significant other. Unless you are with at least one or more other adults it can be looked as inappropriate. It doesn't mean you can't have friends of the opposite gender, you just have to be appropriate as to where and how you interact with them. I even was told by a pastor that you are to only look at a member of the opposite gender who is not you significant other from the neck up and from the knees down and no where in between.

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