Should Your Partner Also be Your Best Friend?

Marriages struggle and collapse all the time because, in many cases, the spouses are lovers and business partners, but not best friends. So, why don’t more women marry men who are their best friends? That’s what we’re talking about on today’s Love U Podcast.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Jeremy

    What is a “best friend?”  Is it the person with whom we most look forward to sharing our thoughts and feelings?  If so, I believe that most men are married to their best friend, and most women aren’t.  Because most women are more comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with other women (sister, friend, mother), and most men are also most comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with women (wife).

     

    Is a “best friend” the person with whom you like to do your favorite (non-sexual) activities?  In that case, neither most men nor most women are married to their best friend, since men’s favorite activities tend to be different from women’s.  Golf vs shopping, for example.  Watching an action movie vs a rom-com.  If being married to your best friend means having your favorite activities in common, most men would only marry female sports fans and most women would marry men who love to shop.  Better yet, men would marry men and women would marry women.

     

    Is a best friend the person you’d choose to spend your one hour of free time with, if one hour is all you had?  That depends, I guess, on what it is you’d like to be DOING in that free hour.  Do you want to be talking?  Relaxing?  Having sex?  Playing a sport?  And doesn’t the person you’d like to be doing those things with depend on who likes to be doing them?

     

    Am I married to my best friend?  Depends on the definition. I am married to the person I share the most with, the person I most want to talk to and be with at the end of the day.  But not the person who most shares my taste for movies, books, or activities.  If I turn on an action movie at the end of the day, my wife will zip right to her phone.  Is my wife married to her best friend? Not sure.  When she is upset, she definitely shares her feelings with me, but also with her mother, sister, and female friends who give her validation in female ways I can’t mimic.

     

    At the end of these musings, my conclusion is this – I worry less about my wife being my BEST friend and concern myself more with simply being certain that we share a deep friendship as well as romance.  The superlatives breed needless anxiety.

    1. 1.1
      Emily, the original

      Hi Jeremy,

      Because most women are more comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with other women (sister, friend, mother), and most men are also most comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with women (wife).

      Is there such a thing as a woman sharing too much with friends or female relatives she is close to? Women can get very detailed with each other. Or what if she is closer emotionally to her friends than to the husband?

      1. 1.1.1
        Jeremy

        Hi Emily.  I guess it depends on the wishes of the couple.  I know that my wife shares many things with her closest friend, but certain things are off-limits.  Details about our sex life, for example, or private medical issues.  Years ago I got a vasectomy and asked my wife not to share that info.  To my knowledge, she hasn’t.  I think it is important to set some limits on confidences, because while each person is welcome to share their own secrets, they aren’t always entitled to share the secrets they know about their spouse.  Common sense figures in heavily here too.

        1. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          I was thinking of an “Everybody Loves Raymond” episode where Raymond discovers his wife is telling explicit details about their sex life to her best friend. Some women tell their best friends everything. Some don’t. In most of my close friendships (with men and women), explicit details have been shared about each others’ sex lives, current and past. I’ve had work friends (some men) tell me very explicit stuff.  I don’t share with them because I don’t want that information all over the work place, but a lot of people like to talk.

    2. 1.2
      Michelle

      This feels sad to read….although it may be true for many.

      Personally I think many women are afraid to open up to their partner and share for a few reasons:

      – Women are frequently dismissed as being dramatic. Not just by men, but society in general (which includes other women). In an effort to be taken seriously and justify our feelings as rational, we can end up communicating our feelings in a way that makes it worse. We may avoid being verr vulnerable because we don’t want to get invalidated, but the our deep feelings are given this veneer that doesn’t make them seem soft anymore or induce empathy, but instead they are seen as complaining, nagging, demanding, etc.

      – Women get accused of talking too much. Some studies out there show that while men typically speak more in mixed gender situations than women, they will still perceive the women as having spoken more! Then women get labeled unfairly as being mindless chatterers; there are tons of jokes about men not listening and tuning women out because we supposedly blather on too much. This hurts to hear. It makes a lot of us clam up and feel like no one cares to hear our opinions or feelings or ideas, etc.

      – A lot of very vocal men (#notallmen, and certainly most men are “good guys”) will say that men don’t care much about a woman as a person so long as he finds her attractive, fun and nice (aka easy to get along with). Some even go so far as to say that a woman having talents and smarts is a turn off because it feels competitive or they just don’t want to hear about her life outside of what she does for him. Hearing this as a woman makes you feel like men don’t want you to be a whole person or they don’t care about you beyond being an accessory to their life and meeting their needs . A best friend doesn’t have that attitude. A best friend likes you because you’re smart, funny and interesting, in addition to being kind and pretty. A best friend wants to know about your thoughts and opinions. A best friend wants to be there for you when you have a bad day and they will celebrate with you when you have an awesome day. You don’t have to be a one dimensional stepford wife for a best friend. Those very vocal men often describe a woman who is mainly ornamental and only has emotions or expresses thoughts which are pleasant to him, not a whole human being with a full range of emotion and qualities and talents which don’t directly benefit him but are admirable.

      In short, I think women are a lot more scared to be open about how they really feel and what is going on with their lives than people realize.  We get the message we are supposed to be fun all the time and only express emotions which create a pleasant atmosphere for others. It doesn’t feel like people, including our partners, want to know and experience a genuine woman as a whole human being.

      1. 1.2.2
        Persephone

        Michelle, yes, well written. That “women talk too much” stereotype is horrible. It’s meant to keep society patriarchal. If you don’t believe me look at the grade schools textbook written by Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, where he teaches that women should be quiet, shouldn’t vote, and should not hold political office. It was James Dobson focus on the family who put out a book, saying that women have XYZ number of words each day while men only have ABC number words each day. It’s been proven wrong yet people still believe this garbage.

      2. 1.2.3
        Persephone

        Here in the patriarchal South that just the way it is, as described by Michelle’s post.
        “Some even go so far as to say that a woman having talents and smarts is a turn off because it feels competitive or they just don’t want to hear about her life outside of what she does for him. Hearing this as a woman makes you feel like men don’t want you to be a whole person or they don’t care about you beyond being an accessory to their life and meeting their needs.”
        And then the men want to complain, because the wife is looking for her superficial and materialistic needs to be met reciprocally. They want the wife to be an accessory to their life, and to meet the husband’s superficial needs, yet when a wife demands material things such as a fancy expensive car, and an overblown mortgage on their expensive home, a guys complains. They want one-sided marriages. I say that if a guy wants such superficial qualities in his wife (rather than letting her be his best thereby necessitating seeing her as a complete person), then he needs to go along with this silly game and also meet her superficial desires.

        I’m having a hard time reconciling it. I’d love to have a husband who is also my best friend, but the men have to be willing partners in this. They must quit seeing their potential wife material as only two dimensional cardboard cutouts, where one 36-24-34 woman with acrylic nails will do as good as the other, as long as she’s fertile. Is that all there is to marriage?

  2. 2
    Marika

    Jeremy

    I’m quite surprised by the simplistic nature of some of these comments. I’m a woman and I HATE shopping in groups and malls and rom-coms. A close friend of mine is far more sporty than most men. And have you heard of women’s golf?

    Is this really how you see women? Ditzes with credit cards.

    Also, best friends don’t necessarily share all the same interests (after the age of, say 10). In fact, mostly I’d say they don’t. Very unsure of the points you’re making here.

    Friendship is about connection, love, support, enjoying each other’s company, helping each other through the bad times and celebrating the good times. It’s a feeling, it’s an expression. It’s not about grabbing your golf clubs or seeing a movie.

    1. 2.1
      Emily, the original

      Marika,

      I’m a woman and I HATE shopping in groups and malls and rom-coms. 

      Me, too, but I think the point Jeremy was trying to make was that couples often have different interests. I would say that, with most of my friends, I share at least some interests and we have some things in common or have similar world views about sone issues.

      1. 2.1.1
        Marika

        Sure, but the way he expressed it, ironically, sounded like something out of a rom-com!! 😀

        I haven’t used the term ‘best friend’ in years, but I know people who do. And it has much less to do with shared interests and much more to do with their bond, connection and just ‘getting’ each other. They can fully be themselves around that person. They get support, love and laughter, no matter what. My exes best friend lived in another state and they were very different people. But you could see when they were together they picked up like it was yesterday that they saw each other. When in reality it may have been months. He rubbished pretty much everyone, but never had a bad word to say about this guy as he valued and respected him so much.

        That’s what made them best friends.

        1. Emily, the original

          Marika,

           And it has much less to do with shared interests and much more to do with their bond, connection and just ‘getting’ each other. They can fully be themselves around that person. They get support, love and laughter, no matter what.

          Yes, that’s a good definition of a best friend, but usually there are at least a few commonalities, i.e. you understand each other because you both had crappy parents.

          So your ex felt that way about his best friend. Did you two share that same kind of bond? Sometimes I think that the very introduction of sex adds an almost .. performative element, for lack of a better description.

    2. 2.2
      Jeremy

      Marika, you asked, “Is this really how you see women? Ditzes with credit cards?”  In all our various conversations on this blog, have I given you reason to believe that is how I see women?  No deeper context than that?  There are women who hate shopping and men who hate watching sports.  I hate watching sports.  But on the whole, the things men prefer to do in their spare time often differs from the things women prefer to do, save for a few activities in common.

       

      Your definition of friendship is interesting.  Have you read any of Deborah Tannen’s books on inter-sexual communication?  She writes extensively about the different ways that men and women view friendship (in general).  Your definition fits very nicely with her description of “female-style” friendships.  Whereas your negative definition (“it’s not about grabbing your golf clubs or seeing a movie”) very much fits her male-style definition.  To most men, a friend is indeed someone to “do” things with, and to most women a friend is someone to “share” things with.

       

      Evan asked the question whether a partner should also be one’s best friend.  Depends on what one means by best friend.  I bet the main reason the guys at Evan’s dinner did not say their wives were their best friends was because their wives are not terribly interested in their favorite leisure activities.  And I bet the reason the women at the dinner did not claim their husbands were their best friends had nothing whatsoever to do with leisure activities and everything to do with feelings and confidences.  A woman who expects her husband to be her female-style best friend is likely going to be disappointed due to the different ways men and women typically process emotion.  And a man who expects his wife to be his male-style best friend will have to find a woman who likes the same activities as him….and that leads to the question of how important that really is.

      1. 2.2.1
        Marika

        No, Jeremy which is why I was very surprised by your comments, particularly this line: most men would only marry female sports fans and most women would marry men who love to shop.

        Really? There’s enough sexism on this blog as it is!..

        What about the example I gave of my exes male friendship with another man. Some men know how to have deep friendships with other men (and women) that don’t just revolve around activities. This is being acknowledged in modern culture with the term ‘bromance’.

        I know there are men who feel the way you say, but I’m just really surprised you’re one of them. IME, men can have just as deep feelings, relationships and interactions as women.

        1. Jeremy

          I’m a bit baffled by the accusations of sexism.  I think we need to separate ideology from observation.  I agree with you that men can have just as deep feelings, relationships and interactions as women.  Especially the feelings part.  Yet look around.  All of my friends are married couples.  Most have good marriages.  Hardly any of those couples share favourite activities.  The guys go and play basketball or poker or fantasy football with their male friends in their rare free evenings.  The women get together with their female friends over coffee or a meal.  It wasn’t that way before marriage and kids, but it became that way after.  It is textbook.

           

          I do know men with deep male friendships such as you describe re your ex, but even in those cases, those men rarely speak with their friends on a daily or even weekly basis.  Weeks or months can go by between contacts.  Whereas the married women I know text or phone their close female friends several times per day.  They didn’t when they were single, but once married with kids they establish a support system, and it is almost always female.

           

          So what is a best friend?  How important is it that your spouse be your BEST friend.  How many authors have written about our unrealistic expectations in modern marriage – expecting our spouses to be our lovers, best friends, confidantes, etc.  It is too much to put on one person IMHO, and leads to anxiety.  What if my spouse isn’t my BEST friend?  What does that mean about my marriage?  Nothing!  As long as we have a deep friendship, our friendship does not need to be better-than or all-serving.

      2. 2.2.2
        Persephone

        Dear Jeremy, we should be careful of pop psychology books, especially ones written by Deborah Tannen in the 90s. Her books have been extremely criticized, and her theories have not been supported in the professional communities. Criticism about her theories is justified in my opinion, as she wrote as a reaction to the backlash against feminism. She gained a following among those who were whimpering in corners looking for a comfort zone  because they were confused about the gender discussions that were currently that were current at the time of her books’ publishing.

        Unfortunately, a lot of people still believe this stuff.

    3. 2.3
      Stacy

      @Marika

      This! Malls? Shopping in groups? Yuck.

      My man is my best friend and most of our interests happen to align. I can talk to him like I would my girlfriend or sister and he isn’t macho in the traditional sense. We talk very often and about any and every thing.  He is also a talker/communicator (probably like how I picture Evan).

      However, be careful what you ask for. I find that because we are so close and because we share all the time, it is easy to lose the sexual attraction because of that familiarity believe it or not.  I think mystery is part of what makes sexual desire desirous but you won’t have that mystery with your ‘best friend’.  The men I felt the most physical chemistry for were not as readily available as my current boyfriend – not sure what that says about me.  Also, I am more of a loner so he can spend probably 4 days a week with me if I wanted him to…I, on the other hand, tend to be fully satisfied emotionally after a couple of days (as long as we communicate everyday). I also prefer to do 80% of my activities either with myself or with my kids.

       

      1. 2.3.1
        Emily, the original

        Stacy,

        However, be careful what you ask for. I find that because we are so close and because we share all the time, it is easy to lose the sexual attraction because of that familiarity believe it or not.  I think mystery is part of what makes sexual desire desirous but you won’t have that mystery with your ‘best friend’.  The men I felt the most physical chemistry for were not as readily available as my current boyfriend – not sure what that says about me.

        According to Esther Perel, intimacy and love are about knowledge, while desire is about distance, about trying to get at something. They run parallel but don’t necessarily interact.

        1. Stacy

          OMG, Emily, it’s because of people like you that keeps me coming back to this blog. Ms. Perel is absolutely correct.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Emily, the original

          According to Esther Perel, intimacy and love are about knowledge, while desire is about distance, about trying to get at something. They run parallel but don’t necessarily interact.

          You chastised me for being some kind of maniacal manipulator with a dark heart by ensuring that I keep a certain amount of emotional distance between myself and the women I date.  I would rather be a sexually desired distant dude than be a woman’s kind providing BFF. A man learns to keep emotional distance in a relationship via experience.  It is part of what I like to refer to as the alpha/beta paradox.  Women want it both ways, but it is impossible to be both distant and close.  Guys who fall into the closeness trap usually end up being less sexually desired by their partners.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          You get sex. You don’t get love. I get both. How are your choices maximizing your happiness? Is happiness just sex for you? And if so, what is the point of contributing here?

        4. Yet Another Guy

          @Evan

          Is happiness just sex for you? And if so, what is the point of contributing here?

          No, happiness is more than just sex, but I have found that being a woman’s BFF more often than not leads to a level of familiarity that reduces sexual desire.  It is why I refer to the problem as the alpha/beta paradox. I would rather be sexually desired by a woman than be her friend. Like most men, sex is what drives me to couple.  I can get friendship and companionship from my male friends. Would I like to find a woman with whom can have both sex and close friendship? Absolutely! However, it takes an enlightened woman to appreciate that a man can be close, but still highly sexually desirable.  Women still prefer brooding, distant, and dark when it comes to selecting a sexual partner.  Sadly, I have run this experiment way too many times in my life to believe otherwise. You have to fix women to fix this problem.  Men do not come out of the womb brooding, distant, and dark.  It is rewarded behavior.  Those who display it become more than friends.  Those who do not usually end up in the friend zone, and if they do manage to avoid being “just friends,” desire from their partners is lukewarm at best (i.e., a man becomes a sexual placeholder until a more sexually desirable man comes along).

        5. Evan Marc Katz

          Honestly, man, you’re overthinking this one – to your own detriment, I believe. You’re setting limitations on what’s possible with the belief that it’s either sexual desire or friendship. Who cares if “women still prefer brooding, distant and dark?” A: That’s a shitty way to live. B. You don’t have to “fix” women; you have to choose different women. Same as women complaining about men. You’re Exhibit A of a guy who would like to have sex, friendship and love, but feels he has to play a certain game for women to be attracted to him. That really must suck. I am living proof that you can be a nice, sensitive, thoughtful, emotionally generous guy – date like crazy, get laid like crazy, and still end up with a happy marriage. Why you – or anyone – would choose to split the world in two (friends with men, sex with women) is beyond me. It’s like having pastrami in one hand and bread in the other and not thinking of turning it into a sandwich.

        6. Yet Another Guy

          @Evan

          You cannot tell me that many of your clients are not willing participants in the alpha/beta paradox when they first come to you for help.  The behavior is quite irrational, so men learn to adapt after being bitten by it a number of times. No man comes out of the womb being emotionally distant or unavailable. Once again, maintaining emotional distance or being outright emotionally unavailable is learned behavior that is acquired through socialization.  It is rewarded behavior.  A man learns that if he can manage to keep just the right amount of emotional distance between himself and the woman with whom he shares his life, she will knock herself out attempting to close the distance (he also learns that it protects him from being hurt by a woman who no longer finds him to be sexually desirable). Why? Because a lot of women only want men who are difficult to obtain, as if in gaining his love and affection, they have validated their own self-worth.   It takes an enlightened woman to recognize that a man can be her best friend and highly-desired lover; however, it requires reprogramming what she finds to be sexy.

        7. Evan Marc Katz

          You’re defending yourself, which is normal, but produces no progress. You’re telling me what you’re thinking and what you’re doing and why your’e doing it. I get it. But as the resident relationship expert here, I can only say that you are a victim of your own limiting beliefs – and are therefore no different than the women commenters who think so little of men – as if they’re describing ALL men.

          There are millions of women who are best friends with their husbands (and have sex with them). Instead of keeping women as sex objects or trying to reprogram a entire gender, how about you date, let down your guard, and choose one of the enlightened ones. My way is objectively superior to your way – if, in fact, you value love, not just sex, from women.

        8. Yet Another Guy

          @Evan

          That is a fair enough assessment.  I originally came to this blog seeking answers, but all I have now is more questions.

        9. Emily, the original

          YAG,

          I was responding to Stacy’s comment:

          However, be careful what you ask for. I find that because we are so close and because we share all the time, it is easy to lose the sexual attraction because of that familiarity believe it or not.  I think mystery is part of what makes sexual desire desirous but you won’t have that mystery with your ‘best friend’.  The men I felt the most physical chemistry for were not as readily available as my current boyfriend

          Esther Perel has written about it why desire can die in a longterm relationship. I was simply stating her theory. Some people don’t agree with her at all. Maybe it’s a subconscious thing and I am picking men I know I’m not attracted to, but I have never had sexual interest in the men I’ve become friends with.  There’s not anything they are personally doing to put themselves in the friend zone. There’s also nothing they can do to get out of it. Attraction is there or it’s not.  It’s not the alpha/beta paradox you are writing about or determined by what a man does. At least for me.

        10. Persephone

          Who are you people and what planet did you come from? Just kidding. We think so differently. It’s apparent that some of the men and some of the women here both think so differently from me. My best friend is a guy, and our sex is still that desperate dying for thirst intense experience. Him being my friend makes me hunger for him even more. I think it’s something way down deep in our subconscious about what makes us like brown eyes over blue eyes, maybe because when we were small children someone with brown eyes acted nicer to us. I would never find this kind of sexual attraction to a guy who is distant from me. Maybe desire is just too unsettling for me if it’s what I consider the word desire to mean. I prefer intimacy and love to get my sexual attraction heightened.

    4. 2.4
      Michelle

      YES!

    5. 2.5
      claire

      I agree wholeheartedly. I for one (female) would rather be on a squash court than in a shopping mall and a Rom-Com…. not a chance, give me a Thriller or Horror every time.

      My best friend doesn’t play any sport and loves a Rom-Com but we are still best friends but my partner has joined me wakeboarding and the odd game of squash. There is no way I would date my best friend as we would never see each other and she is always late which is my pet hate that I only tolerate with her. ( we walk together with the dogs which is our only common activity).

      So yes please stop stereotyping women.

       

       

      1. 2.5.1
        Jeremy

        For the life of me I don’t understand why people choose to focus on the example rather than the concept, and the concept is applied in your comment.  What is a best friend, and how important is that in a spouse?

         

        Your description of your best friend reminds me of my sister and her best friend.  They aren’t much alike.  They have very different tastes in just about everything.  They are best friends mostly because of their shared history and historical closeness, which led to their current closeness.  They would never want to live with each other – they would drive each other crazy.  But was that what Evan meant when he wrote about our partner being our best friend?  Was that the sort of friendship he recommended?

         

        We define best friends differently!  We have as different taste in friends as we do in romantic partners.  You said you and your ex were best friends, yet you divorced.  Marika said she shared all sorts of common interests with her ex, yet he cheated.  So how important are shared interests in the scheme of a marriage, then?  Will best friendship save a relationship when desire disappears?  Whether or not you and Marika like the examples I gave of differing interests, the point was the concept.  Attraction must be present in a marriage.  Compatibility must be present.  Friendship must be present.  But shared interests and BEST friendship are auxiliary to those things in a spouse.  That’s what best friends are for.

        1. Jeremy

          Oh, just realized I might have confused you with another commenter with a similar name, and if so my point about exes did not refer to you, but the concept still stands.

  3. 3
    Anon

    Jeremy
    “At the end of these musings, my conclusion is this – I worry less about my wife being my BEST friend and concern myself more with simply being certain that we share a deep friendship as well as romance.  The superlatives breed needless anxiety.”
    This!

  4. 4
    Elly Klein

    I’m in 100% agreement with you, Evan, and I’m proud to say my partner is my best friend and I’m his. We’re currently living together. Sounds like we’re on the path to a happy marriage!

    You spend SO much time and make SO many decisions with your husband/wife/partner I don’t know how anyone can do it successfully WITHOUT being best friends. But each to their own.

  5. 5
    Sharon

    Jeremy, I love how you laid it all out in your initial post, and agree with this, especially: I am married to the person I share the most with, the person I most want to talk to and be with at the end of the day. But not (necessarily) the person who most shares my taste for movies, books, or activities. 

  6. 6
    Frances Englander

    I think the expectations of role are quite different with an intimate partner than with a best friend. Consider the theory that what attracts us to our intimate partners is that we recognize, at both a conscious and unconscious level, the best and worst of our primary caregivers, as well as recognizing under-developed aspects of self. We look, in an intimate partner, for someone who will love and  take care of us, either like our primary caregivers if there was a good relationship there, or as we wish our primary caregivers had, if the relationship was poor. I don’t know that this is as true for best friends though there could be overlap. Often, however, more personal triggers are activated with an intimate partner than with a best friend. Things one might overlook in a best friend often become greatly magnified with an intimate partner.

  7. 7
    Gale Scaramuzza

    I ABSOLUTELY want to marry my best friend.

  8. 8
    Marika

    Jeremy

    I honestly understand your overall point. I just think it’s insulting to say women just want to shop & watch rom-coms (similarly that men can only handle shallow interactions over sport). That may describe everyone you know, but it definitely doesn’t describe me or any of the people in my world. You could’ve made your point without going there.

    For all his flaws, my ex had very deep friendships and we did many, many things together. We even went to watch live sport together! We’d read at night & swap books and talk about them. We’d watch movies & plays we both enjoyed etc etc. It is possible.

    1. 8.1
      KK

      Marika,

      I think you’re reading way too much into his comment. A lot of women do enjoy shopping. He didn’t say they were all ditzes with credit cards. You did. Lol.

      Lots of men enjoy sports. It doesn’t mean they’re all shallow and unable to bond.

      Again, that’s your interpretation of common activities enjoyed by both sexes.

      1. 8.1.1
        Marika

        Perhaps KK. But the idea that women and men are so completely diverse in their interests that to marry a best friend would best mean a man marrying a man and a woman a woman is like something out of the dark ages to me. And doesn’t fit with my experience.

        The ditzes with credit cards thing was actually a line out of a movie…clearly no one picked up on that..and in fact a rom-com, but in my defense, one I saw as teenage (and which is actually the plot of a Jane Austen novel) 😀

        1. KK

          “But the idea that women and men are so completely diverse in their interests that to marry a best friend would best mean a man marrying a man and a woman a woman is like something out of the dark ages to me. And doesn’t fit with my experience”.

          Agreed, Marika. But if you look at the context in which that was written, I believe Jeremy was giving his opinion on different definitions of what it means to be “best friends”.

  9. 9
    Pia

    yes, sure a good man – what for me is a good one – is also a good/best friend

  10. 10
    Marika

    KK said

    Agreed, Marika. But if you look at the context in which that was written, I believe Jeremy was giving his opinion on different definitions of what it means to be “best friends”.

    I understand that. But I strongly disagree with the idea that if you define best friends as having shared interests then most couples aren’t likely to be best friends because men & women enjoy different things.

    I’m by no means a tomboy, but have always had multiple shared interests with my partners. It was never difficult to find things we both thoroughly enjoyed doing together.

    If you look at this blog alone, Evan and his wife enjoy plays, movies, dinners together, both as a couple and a family. Karl R and his wife go dancing together and have a shared social circle, Stacy shares many interests with her partner etc etc. Even my sister, who has a very traditional marriage, shares most of her leisure time at dinners and movies with her husband, rarely out with friends.

    I think the idea of the woman knitting & gossiping in the corner with a bunch of gal pals while the man watches the fight with his buddies, is an outdated one. Certainly IME.

    1. 10.1
      Jeremy

      I did not write that couples could not share interests, Marika, or even that most don’t share any.  Most do.  But most young boys make friends with boys, and most young girls make friends with girls because of shared interests.  Most women have more in common with other women and likewise for men.  Listen to Evan’s story about the dinner he attended – the couples were there together, and the men talked about politics and the women talked about their kids.  This fits my experience.  It’s not that men and women never talk together, but the gendered self-segregation often occurs due to shared interests.  A man might enjoy dancing with his wife, but he plays fantasy football with the guys.  This is not ideology, it is observation. Exceptions always exist.

      1. 10.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        It’s tiring to have to mention that exceptions always exist, when that should be pretty obvious, huh?

        1. Jeremy

          Yes. But I think the problem most of us have, myself included, is knowing whether we are the exception or the rule.

      2. 10.1.2
        Marika

        Perhaps it’s a cultural difference, Jeremy. I have to say that from reading this blog I note that the gender divide appears to be particularly pronounced in North America. It’s not that way everywhere.

        It’s also not so pronounced in the younger generation.

        I think it’s important not to be closed minded about how things can be.

      3. 10.1.3
        Persephone

        Jeremy 10.1, naaaah, left to their own devices kids play together regardless of gender. I grew up in the country without adult-directed structure. We were “just kids” rather than boy vs. girl. Later on we might’ve  sorted ourselves, but it was based on other factors besides gender. The city kids were taught to keep boys with boys, and girls with girls. One time when we moved, they tried to make my sister and me join the girl scouts where they baked and sewed, when we were more at home in boy scouts where they canoed and shot guns. Phhhhffft. We did 4-H instead, where gender did not matter.

  11. 11
    Persephone

    Absolutely, yes, I would want my husband to be my best friend. Since I can’t find anyone that’s a clone of me, I don’t think that a married couple has to have exactly the same interest. All they must have to be good friends with me are similar values.

    My ex was not friends with me at all. I felt more like a possession of his. Or like a little child who he had to make sure was dressed properly with no wrinkles  on my clothing, and who put the proper things into my mouth, and who sat correctly  at the booth in the restaurant. My first ex-husband was the same way. So I decided to try to be friends with guys first, and it’s not working, either.

    I would like to express my frustration about my friendships with several man, and how it never seems to go into a romantic type relationship. But first, let me explain who I am. I’m friendly, try to be kind to others, have long luscious dark hair almost to my waist, fit, and buy my clothes at the same boutiques the college girls go to.  Even though I’m middle-aged I’m often mistaken for being many years younger. People often tell me they’re surprised to find out I’m a lawyer, because in my off time I don’t seem stuffy at all.

    I have about five or six people who I consider my best friends. All of them except one are single and available men a decade or more younger than me.

    As for the female friend, she and I are so opposite ends of the spectrum politically, that you think we would be at each other’s throats. But there’s other things that make us friends. It is a total acceptance. It’s also similar values. We like to help people. We’re both dyed-in-the-wool country girls. She can be pretty rough around the edges, while I’m the fashionista diva who still doesn’t mind getting muddy. She’s plain ol’ country gal po’ folk, and somebody asked me to help her pro bono with a divorce. It let her see my kind heart and see me as something else besides a “Libtard” stuffed suit lawyer.  Our friendship blossomed from there, but in so many ways we’re best friends who are like night and day.

    Now about the men. My very bestest of all friend is a guy, more than a decade younger than me. We’ve relied on each other so much in this past year, and became fast friends. We both do enormous amounts of things for each other and trust each other to the ends of the Earth. ( I wish that could have described my ex-husband.)  We talk on the phone or have long text message conversations  almost every single day, and on other days the least he does is to tell me to have a good night. He’s done huge Fix-It projects at my house (him offering). He’s very careful to not ever give the appearance of using me improperly for anything. He has tons of guy friends, and is incredibly kind to the children of some of his closest couple friends. (Don’t worry he’s not a perv or a pedophile. He’s just amazingly kind to children and animals.) We’re both mostly bilingual but Spanish is my second language, and English is his second, and so that makes it clear we have different cultural backgrounds. Personally, the age thing doesn’t bother me at all, and he’s never told me about that being a concern with him. But he made it clear that he’s not looking to be a marriage partner with me, even though he said I’m the kindest most beautiful woman he’s ever met in his life. It’s certainly not from lack of sexual attraction, because we do have a sexual relationship. Our attraction to each other is through the roof.  While it broke my heart into a million pieces, we were too good with our friendship to let that part go. He’s moving far far away, and states that he’s going to eventually try to find a wife and have children in his new location. He even wants me to meet his new family one day.

    Then there’s a handful of other men who are also some of my best friends, although not my bestest like the guy mentioned above. They will  do almost anything for me, and I would do the same for them. We swig an occasional beer together. Maybe I’ll call him over for some steak on the grill, or we will watch football on TV. Or we will go to some novelty thing such as a vape bar. I’m sure if I threw it at them, they probably do the wild thing with me, but they don’t try real hard to initiate things sexually with me. We just stay good friends. Sometimes we do activities together one-on-one, and they look so much like dates that I often wonder if they are. But then the guys make it clear that we’re just friends. I’ll admit, there has been a little bit of sexual tension between myself and each one of them, but it never goes anywhere. I just can’t get them to go beyond the friendship. They won’t explain what it is about me, either. They are just as much the initiators of the friendship as I am. But sometimes I’m wondering if underneath my thick hair I really have this third eye that I don’t know about, and they only discover because they’re good friends of mine.

    Then there’s strangers who find me interesting and attractive and want to date me.  I hate going out with strangers. But it seems like strangers are the only ones that want to look at me romantically. This brings me to the conclusion that I’m probably not going to get to be friends first with a guy. It’s almost as if they have to have this romantic excitement from the get-go, or else it fades just into regular friendship with them not being interested romantically, ever.

    After two failed marriages with husbands who clearly were not my friends, I just will not get serious with someone who can’t be a really good friend first. I feel like I’m in a catch-22 situation. Sorry it took so many words to explain all this.

     

     

    1. 11.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @Persephone

      After two failed marriages with husbands who clearly were not my friends, I just will not get serious with someone who can’t be a really good friend first.

      I wish you the best of luck with that approach because a man cannot be friends first with a woman with whom he desires to be more than a friend.  There are very few phrases that are more toxic to men than “friends first.”  You just need to get better at picking men.  A man who will truly be your friend first has written you off as a romantic partner.   There will be no changing his mind later because he does not see you as sexually attractive.

      1. 11.1.1
        Persephone

        YAG, there’s not a lot that you and I would agree on, ever, but I think we found one thing. That I was terrible at picking men at an earlier time in my life. I’m on several of my good friends, I may end up having a good relationship out of that. I probably would have a marriage with my very bestest guy friend, except that we are different nationalities, and he wants a marriage that is devoid of complications of international governments and boundaries. I simply will not compromise on being friends first with a man. I’d rather be alone than do it your way. I tried your way and it resulted in a lot of physical and emotional harm, by incredibly selfish individuals who wanted to see me is nothing more then a breeding cow, a showpiece to put on his arm, and a possession he could control with every win. Ain’t going to happen again. I’m going to be accepted as a complete person, rather than a two-dimensional china doll. My husband is going to be my best friend, or he’s not going to be in my life at all.

        1. Yet Another Guy

          @Persephone

          Well, as I mentioned, you need to get better at picking men because I seriously doubt that you will find a man who will be your platonic friend first and then morph into your boyfriend.  I am not saying that it is impossible.  I am saying that it is highly improbable.  Most men have difficulty being friends with women with whom there is sexual tension, and without it, you will never be more than a platonic friend.  Men are women are very different in this regard.  With most men, attractiveness is 100% physical.  A woman cannot build attractiveness through her actions in a man’s eyes.  There is a difference between a true friend and an orbiter.   The later is pretending to be your friend with the hope of being more than friends.

      2. 11.1.2
        Persephone

        YAG, I did state above in my 11.0 comment that the sexual attraction on both sides is thru the roof, with my best guy friend. Level of sexual attraction has nothing to do with it. What is more at play is that he has specific goals. For some men, a consideration that overrides sexual desire and friendship is a list of cultural expectations, complications of international borders, logistics, ect.

        My suggestion you would be to quit being such a hard ass. Learn to see women as real live people instead of 2-D cut-out dolls who are only good for sex.  Get therapy if you have emotional barriers to this, b.c. you are missing out the most beautiful type friendship life has to offer.

        1. Yet Another Guy

          @Persephone

          Let’s see, a woman who has had two failed marriages is lecturing me on relationships.  I think I will pass on your advice.  You still have not learned and accepted how the male mind works.   You want to change it.

        2. Persephone

          I would say that a person who has failed in marriage has far more opportunity to learn what it takes to be successful than someone with one successful marriage who got lucky in meeting a partner who would honor commitment. I do not see you, YAG, as a model of success. I see you as an angry single man who comes to the E.M.K. blog to troll women. This blog is meant for women looking for what it is that E.M.K. promotes. You are promoting the exact opposite, and trying to sell us all on a horrible view of humanity. No thanks.

          You are borderline abusive, with calling my friends “orbiters” when you do not enough information to make that judgement. That is what potentially emotionally abusive men say to make women feel less of themselves. That is what men with N.P.D. do when challenged. I am an attorney. I see this often in my clients’ divorce cases.

        3. Yet Another Guy

          @Persephone

          The “abuse” card is what women play when their arguments are straw men.  You do not want to hear the truth.  I have been a man my entire life; therefore, I know more about men than you will ever know.  Most of the men who you think are your platonic friends fall into the orbiter classification.  As Chris Rock stated, men do not have platonic friends. They just have women in their lives with whom they have yet to have sex. If you doubt what I say, offer to strip down to bare flesh and see what occurs.  Your true male friends will talk you out of it.  Your orbiters will take you up on the offer.  Most men cannot be true platonic friends with women when there is sexual tension, and if sexual tension does not exist from the start, it will never exist.   I am not making this stuff up.   The truth is not abuse.   It may not be what you want to hear, but it is not abuse.

  12. 12
    Persephone

    The following is from another dating coach, Brian Reeves. He is a dating coach geared towards men, unlike Evan who is geared towards women. Every dating coach that I’ve researched, and read their things, says the opposite of you, YAG.
    “Mature Men can experience sexual attraction and still honor healthy boundaries with women.”
    “On the other hand … Adolescent boys – and men perpetually stuck in adolescence – will have difficulty being honest friends with the women they’re attracted to. ”
    As long as a man is owned by his sexual energy, he remains stuck in sexual adolescence.”

    Most men do not fully respect the boundaries set by women, because they do not fully respect women.
    Most men don’t know how to be authenticaly vulnerable.
    If a man cannot be playing on friends with a woman, without also being sexually attracted to her, it’s because he’s still a little boy or and Adolescent, instead of acting like a grown man. What you described as the way men think is the way adolescent-acting men think, not adult men.

    1. 12.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @Persephone

      The opinions of dating coaches are just that, opinions, and everyone has an opinion.  What I said is almost a universal truth with men, and the men who do not behave this way are considered to be sexually unattractive by most women because they are too feminine.  A man cannot be true platonic friends with a woman to whom he is sexually attracted unless there is a moderating factor such as being attached to another woman or disapproval by family.  I am willing to bet that every female commenter has had at least one quote-unquote platonic male friend who to her astonishment was in hot pursuit almost immediately after he became single.  Guys generally do no seek friendship from women.  Men prefer the company of other men when it comes to friendship because men bond side by side through actions, not face to face through emotions.  This difference in bonding styles is something that most women seem to be unable to comprehend.  They wonder why first dates where a man has to sit across the table and engage in eye contact are never as fun as first dates where they are doing something side by side with a him.  Heterosexual men generally seek women for emotional support and sex.  I seem to recall Evan mentioning that he covers this aspect of male behavior in “Why He Disappeared.”

      1. 12.1.1
        Jeremy

        YAG, I’d suggest caution when making generalizations like this.  Some men can be friends with women easily, others can’t.  Some men prefer the companionship of “the guys” and others prefer women as their friends – or both.  This, IME, depends more on a man’s personality than his maleness.

         

        Where I agree with you is that the presence of attraction changes the nature of friendship.  For many people, attraction is THE factor that distinguishes a friendship from a relationship.  You can’t be truly friends with someone you want to have sex with.  The nature of friendship, somewhat ironically, is in NOT seeing the totality of the person but rather ignoring the sexual aspect of that person.  Whereas being in a relationship with a person is being both friends and sexually attracted – seeing and valuing the whole of the person including their sexuality.

         

        Given that men are more likely to be attracted to women than the reverse, it is much more difficult for men to be friends with women without desiring them sexually.  But not impossible.  A man can be friends with a woman to whom he is not at all attracted.  He can be friends with a woman if he is in a romantic relationship with someone else and satisfied.  He can be friends with a woman if he has an extroverted and Feeling personality-type such that female-style friendships come naturally to him and don’t signify anything emotionally deeper than his other friendships.  As long as attraction doesn’t occur and as long as the emotional connection between these “friends” is no deeper than his other friendships, a man can indeed be true platonic friends with a woman.

        1. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          The nature of friendship, somewhat ironically, is in NOT seeing the totality of the person but rather ignoring the sexual aspect of that person.  Whereas being in a relationship with a person is being both friends and sexually attracted – seeing and valuing the whole of the person including their sexuality.

          Actually, I’m going to disagree with you. Attraction, if it is strong enough, prevents you from seeing the whole person. It blocks you. Often, with attraction, you want the other person to like you and are actively trying to win her/him over. Whereas if attraction isn’t present, you can relax, be yourself and allow the other person to see you clearly.

           He can be friends with a woman if he is in a romantic relationship with someone else and satisfied.

          But what if he is attracted to the friend despite being in a relationship? I think you’re right in that this isn’t as big a problem for women. They feel attraction for far fewer people than men do. I actually (and maybe subconsciously) pick my male friends based on the fact I’m not attracted to them.

        2. Persephone

          Dear Jeremy, my response is to this from your post:

          Given that men are more likely to be attracted to women than the reverse, it is much more difficult for men to be friends with women without desiring them sexually.  But not impossible. 

          I agree with you about the above statement, but we probably do not agree  about the reasons why. I have learned that human beings are capable of flipping certain switches off, or switching them back on again. One of those switches is sexual attraction. Adolescent-acting men and women don’t understand how to do this. Grown ups do. Women have more to lose, therefore they are more motivated to learn how to flip these sexual attraction switches off. This is supposed to be one of those things that separates humans from dogs.

           

        3. Persephone

          In response to Emily where she said:

          I actually (and maybe subconsciously) pick my male friends based on the fact I’m not attracted to them.

          I pick my male friends based on their good character.

          My man friends and I reciprocally know that it’s beneficial to turn off the switch for sexual attraction. Otherwise we could both be attracted to each other, if sex was the only factor. However we have a few things separate humans from the Animal Kingdom.

        4. Jeremy

          I think you’re absolutely right, Persephone – we do disagree on the reason.  Because turning on or off sexual attraction has nothing whatsoever to do with maturity or lack thereof.  Maturity begins with self-awareness and culminates with self-control.  Self-awareness of our thoughts and emotions (and the difference therein), self-control of our actions.

           

          After reading countless psychology books and undergoing many CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) sessions, I can tell you this:  We can control our emotions by changing our thoughts when our thoughts are incorrect.  But when it comes to attraction, our emotions are not always based on thoughts.  And therefore we often can not eliminate attraction by changing thinking patterns.  We can control our behavior, and that indeed is one thing that distinguishes us from animals.  But we can not necessarily control our underlying emotions, especially when they are powerful.

           

          My observation is that women’s emotional state is far more fluid than men’s, and subject to all sorts of hormonal and mood variations.  Attraction comes and goes far more easily.  Less so for most men.  This has nothing to do with adolescence, and everything to do with psychology and physiology.  A person who is self-aware enough to understand his or her attraction to another and to rationally decide whether or not to pursue a friendship based on a cost-benefit analysis is, IMHO, the most mature type of person.  Far more than someone who tries to repress emotions without doing the psych work.

        5. Emily, the original

          Pereshone

           I have learned that human beings are capable of flipping certain switches off, or switching them back on again. One of those switches is sexual attraction.

          That’s a lot of self-control. If this was true, everyone would be in the right relationship. Attraction is a physiological, hormonal response. You cannot control who you are attracted to or will yourself to be attracted to someone. All you can do is control how you act on it.

        6. Persephone

          Emily, if your logic were true, then just because I am able to abstain from drinking alcohol before I get behind the wheel of a vehicle,  then there wouldn’t be no DUIs, either. One person can’t exercise self-control for all of humanity.

        7. Emily, the original

          Perspehone,

          Emily, if your logic were true, then just because I am able to abstain from drinking alcohol before I get behind the wheel of a vehicle,  then there wouldn’t be no DUIs, either.

          I don’t understand the analogy but apparently you’ve never experienced visceral, powerful, overwhelming, paralyzing physical attraction versus he’s-a good-person-and-I-will-decide-to-want-him-because-he’s-appropriate attraction.

        8. Persephone

          I have experienced a strong desire to stay in the bed in the morning but I haul my gnarly butt out and get to the office. I have seen Krispy Kreme chocolate covered cream filled Donuts that I want really badly, but I abstain so that I don’t get fat. I have been attracted to a guy, but made a decision that it’s best that I not act on that attraction, because perhaps one of us is attached, or perhaps he has a criminal background, or perhaps he is a client and off-limits, or perhaps a number of other things. Yes, we’ve had attorneys who lose their law licenses over this stuff, but if we weren’t able to be mature adults about it, more of us would lose our license. We all have a lot of people coming through, and there’s always good-looking men looking for a divorce. I simply learn how to behave myself and not let the attraction happen, if at all possible, and if it does happen I figure out ways to make the attraction die. It is possible to do that. You don’t have to act on every little whim that your heart desires in life.

        9. Jeremy

          Persephone,

           

          You like donuts but you abstain from eating them so you won’t get fat.  This is an excellent example of controlling one’s actions, not controlling one’s emotions. You see the donut at the office, but you don’t carry it around with you in your purse.  If you did, if you had it with you every moment, there is a strong possibility that in a moment of hunger you’d smell the nutmeg wafting out of your purse and succumb to a moment of weakness. That is why no one should go shopping while hungry.

           

          Because ultimately the reptilian part of our brain is more persistent than the more evolved parts, and it wins out in the end if given enough opportunity.  This isn’t about childishness, it’s about humanity.  So we can forgive ourselves if perhaps, in the past, we’ve behaved this way.  A smart person recognizes his/her desire for the donut, recognizes his/her goal of NOT eating it, and tries to stay away from donuts.  Not carry them around, smiling about their maturity.
          The analogy holds.

        10. Emily, the original

          Persephone, 

          I simply learn how to behave myself and not let the attraction happen, if at all possible, and if it does happen I figure out ways to make the attraction die. It is possible to do that. You don’t have to act on every little whim that your heart desires in life.

          Well, if you read what I wrote, I said that we can’t control who we are attracted to but we can control if we act on it.

        11. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          Not carry them around, smiling about their maturity.

          Or acting pompous because of it.

        12. Yet Another Guy

          @Persephone

          One last thing, it is not mental or emotional maturity that allows a man to control his reptilian brain-based primal urges as he matures, it is declining testosterone.   A twenty-something man’s total testosterone is around 1,100 ng/dl.   A fifty-something man’s total testosterone level is around 450 ng/dl, and more of it is bound up with SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin).  You have no idea as to how strong the primal urge to pursue and conquer is when a man is in his sexual peak. He will literally do and say whatever it takes to get into a woman’s pants. It can be a funk inducing experience at times. Couple this enormous hormonal drive with inexperience, and you find young men who befriend women with whom they seriously desire to have sex because they have not yet learned how to lead a woman from introduction to the bedroom.   This is the period of time when men learn to avoid the friend-zone through painful experience.

           

          By the way, the reason why grandfathers are better nurturers than fathers is due to testosterone decline.

        13. Persephone

          Y.A.G.:  One last thing, it is not mental or emotional maturity that allows a man to control his reptilian brain-based primal urges as he matures, it is declining testosterone.   

          No. Then can explain how a 24 year old can have emotional maturity / good character? Every emotionally mature man with good  character who is 21 does not have a hormonal disorder.

      2. 12.1.2
        Persephone

        YAG, I didn’t say that men seek out platonic friendships with women. I merely said they occur. Very good friendships often just happen instead of looking for them.

        You merely being a man doesn’t mean that you understand men better than I do. That’s like saying a schizophrenic doesn’t need to go to a mental health professional because the schizophrenic  has been one and the psychologist hasn’t. We know that’s not true, because people with schizophrenia don’t normally self-diagnose, but instead relying a doctor for that.

        I worked for a decade at a company doing heavy manufacturing, where I was the only female put of hundreds of employees on the entire grounds, for almost every one of my night shifts. Who knows, maybe I’m one of those women who  has male energy instead of female energy, except that everyone tells me I’m feminine. I got to know the way men think, act, respond, and do things very well. Please spare me the assumptions. I’ve heard it all. All the complaints about their wives. All the discussions about the ones that would go to different countries for sex tourism with underage girls. All the ones with amazingly good character. I figured out who did drugs, and whose  wife was cheating on them. It gave me great insight on the way men think, and the depth of character that men have the ability to cultivate within themselves. It’s those with good character who are able to have the self-discipline to not try to hump every female that they’re friends with.

         

  13. 13
    Marika

    Emily

    I agree with your points about friendship (to Jeremy) and desire (to Persephone). May have been on different posts. I’ve lost track. I think it’s much easier to be objective about someone when you’re just friends, as opposed to attracted to/in love with them. That’s why the saying goes love (not friendship) is blind!

    In terms of blinding desire, just last night I did my Bikram yoga class behind one of the hottest guys I’ve ever seen (outside a movie theatre)! I couldn’t hold my poses, I was distracted – at one point I even thought I may have to move my mat so I could actually get something out of the class! I’ll never act on it, but if I see him again I’m sure I’ll feel the same feelings. If I find out he’s married, again I won’t do anything, but the desire will still be there. I don’t think you can change that.

    Jeremy

    Again, I may be on the wrong post, but speaking of human nature…while men may be more direct than women (or encouraged to be) outside dating/relationships, I still find personally that men are not very direct & often don’t say what they mean/do one thing say another in dating. Something funny happens to us all when vulnerability, desire & sex enter the equation.

    1. 13.1
      Emily, the original

      Marika,
      I think it’s much easier to be objective about someone when you’re just friends, as opposed to attracted to/in love with them.
      It’s also much easier to be yourself if there’s no attraction. You’re relaxed, you aren’t trying to impress them. Although sometimes those guys end up thinking you like them because you can be chatty and natural.
      In terms of blinding desire, just last night I did my Bikram yoga class behind one of the hottest guys I’ve ever seen (outside a movie theatre)! I couldn’t hold my poses, I was distracted – at one point I even thought I may have to move my mat so I could actually get something out of the class! I’ll never act on it  
      Why not? Start planting yourself closer to him, wearing those slightly see-through yoga pants.

      1. 13.1.1
        Persephone

        I hear you, Emily! One, Marika might actually get that guy, and two, after she catches him she may not be so attracted to him after all. I used to talk to guys like that, and then the initial kookiness I was experiencing would wear off, and then I would either be no longer be attracted to him anymore, or that initial rush would be more manageable so that I was able to make a decision whether or not he was worth it. After a while, you’ll get used to talking to these kinds of guys, where you don’t get that craziness anymore in your head.  It’s way better to be that way. It helped me get didn’t to that effect, because I’ve always had amazingly good looking boyfriends. My ex-husband was so good looking good he received an offer to be in Playgirl, but he was afraid to fly to California, and was afraid someone in his family would find out.

        As for the person on the other side of the coin, it’s no fun for people to be going gaga over them. It makes them feel like a piece of meat. The ex-husband I mentioned above used to catch a lot of  hell  at a nightclub. He and some of his good-looking friends would  discuss how  people at bars wanted to beat them up  for nothing. It was jealousy.

        You’re better off approaching them  even if you don’t intend to actually act on it, because it makes things inside of you settle down. Then often times people who get gaga like that treat them bad because those attracted to them don’t know how to deal with their own feelings. Evan has a whole different thread entitled Pity the Pretty, and if you read it, you’ll understand how hard it is to be the object of somebody’s attraction, and being treated like an object or a piece of meat.

        1. Emily, the original

          Persesphone,
          One, Marika might actually get that guy, and two, after she catches him she may not be so attracted to him after all. I used to talk to guys like that, and then the initial kookiness I was experiencing would wear off, and then I would either be no longer be attracted to him anymore, or that initial rush would be more manageable so that I was able to make a decision whether or not he was worth it.
          All of this could be true, but why not approach him? And all attraction diminishes over time, whether it’s with a level 10 chemistry or not. I know some people run from this kind of attraction. It makes no sense.
          After a while, you’ll get used to talking to these kinds of guys, where you don’t get that craziness anymore in your head.  
          I meet about a handle of guys a decade who have that effect on me, and I rather like the effect. Granted, it says nothing about there being anything to it beyond a physical attraction, but why not ride that wave while you can?
          As for the person on the other side of the coin, it’s no fun for people to be going gaga over them. It makes them feel like a piece of meat. 
          I don’t agree. Ideally, they feel the same way about you. If they don’t, you move on.

        2. Persephone

          Emily, what I’m referring to is the situation where somebody’s going gaga over them, and then just avoids them. When I see guys like this, instead of approaching the girl, what they often do is make crude jokes about her behind her back. They do that because they’re just too chicken to approach the girl. Or else they don’t know how to control their attraction so that they do not approach her, and they get all red-faced and walk away from her real quickly if she tries to say hi when passing in the hall.  And then they seem angry at the girl, and often times are because the embarrassment feels like anger. So then they irrationally take things out on that girl. The more attractive the girl is, the higher number of guys who are going to act like this to her. You can also reverse genders and it’s the same way. It causes problems on the job, too.

        3. Emily, the original

          Peresphone,

          Emily, what I’m referring to is the situation where somebody’s going gaga over them, and then just avoids them. 

          Well, I guess it’s their choice to avoid the person. As you wrote, there are some people who are very uncomfortable around the people they are really attracted to and choose not to pursue it.

    2. 13.2
      Jeremy

      I’ve definitely observed the same thing, Marika.  When it comes to dating, some men can be very indirect – either because they don’t know how they feel or because that is their nature.  I fall into the latter category – my nature is to be indirect.  I prefer to communicate with subtlety and let those who are perceptive understand….yet often times people just don’t understand at all and that’s my fault for being indirect.

       

      Look, for example, at the advice Emily gave you about wearing see-through yoga pants for the guy at your class.  If your genders were reversed, the advice given to the interested man would be to ask the hot woman out.  Not to wear tight bicycle shorts for her.  But the advice to the woman is to wear tight clothing.  Yet men are taught (virtually screamed at) that the way a woman dresses has nothing to do with him, and that he can not assume anything from it.  Look at Sparkling Emerald’s recent comment regarding a woman’s make-up.  She wrote that a woman wears make-up to go out in public, not for her husband.  Interestingly, if the point of make-up is to look good, and if the person you want to look best for is your husband, how counter-intuitive is it to wear make-up when out and not at home?  Yet how ubiquitous is this attitude?

       

      I won’t get into this discussion with Sparkling Emerald – she and I had a long discussion years ago on this site about directness vs indirectness in men and women and we aren’t going to convince each other of anything.  Her point was that women like being indirect, so men should learn to pick up on their signals.  My point was that their signals are mixed to the point of indecipherability (is the make-up for him or not, are the yoga pants for him or not?) so it is better to be direct.  I think relationships would be so much easier if women learned to communicate directly.  That would help men tremendously learn to listen to what women say.

      1. 13.2.1
        Emily, the original

        Jeremy,

        Look, for example, at the advice Emily gave you about wearing see-through yoga pants for the guy at your class.  If your genders were reversed, the advice given to the interested man would be to ask the hot woman out.  Not to wear tight bicycle shorts for her.  But the advice to the woman is to wear tight clothing. 

        OMG Jeremy I was kidding

        1. Marika

          Emily

          OMG I was kidding.

          Yes, haha, I got that! (Maybe we are too subtle..😉). It doesn’t matter, anyway, as in Australia men don’t ask random women out on the street. I’d have to pretty much turn up at his house naked! (Kidding!!).

          I’m also kinda-sorta seeing someone. I’ll know more after this weekend whether it’s serious, but I’d like to just focus on that for now. My point was to agree with you that you can’t change that rush from someone you find hot. I was weak in the knees over my ex-husband. He was good looking, not a supermodel, but there was just a primal, chemical rush I’ll never fully understand. It was there the day I met him, there 9 years during our courtship/marriage and still there when we separated. This was in my pre-Evan days when I thought chemistry was a good marker for a relationship…

          He’s very bad for me, so all I can do is steer clear!!

          Jeremy I disagree with women who say men should ‘just know’ what they’re thinking/signaling. My mother has been saying that her entire marriage to my father even though it’s clearly not working!

          But, while you may be different, I don’t think most men appreciate directness in dating. I’ve said before you’re one of our resident relationship experts, but I think you’d get a shock if you re-entered the dating market. Men scare easily in the early stages of dating, particularly when another woman is a swipe away. If women laid all their cards on the table top early, a lot of men would freak out and run.

          I actually think men are very indirect in dating. See Persephone’s stories about the men in her life. Do they like her as a friend or more? Their actions are all over the place.

          ‘I’ll call you’ could mean ‘I never want to see you again’, ‘I’ll call you before you’re even home’, ‘I’ll call you 80 times a day’ or ‘I’ll call you after my booty call leaves’.

          ‘I’m busy’, could mean, ‘I’m busy’, or ‘I’m busy with other women’, or ‘I don’t like you that much’, or ‘I was only ever in it for sex’.

          Etc..

          It may be better if both genders were more open & direct in dating, but honestly, I’m not sure it will ever happen.

        2. Emily, the original

          Marika,

          Yes, haha, I got that! (Maybe we are too subtle..😉). It doesn’t matter, anyway, as in Australia men don’t ask random women out on the street. I’d have to pretty much turn up at his house naked

          But can’t you strike up a conversation with him before and or after class? Maybe develop a rapport over time? There’s no saying you have to sit by and wait for him. I mean, if in the future, depending on what happens with this new guy. If it turns out yoga man is married or doesn’t display interest or you end up not liking him, that’s fine. All you’re doing is chatting him up.

      2. 13.2.2
        Emily, the original

        Jeremy,

        If your genders were reversed, the advice given to the interested man would be to ask the hot woman out.  Not to wear tight bicycle shorts for her.

        Actually, I would tell the men to wear the tight bicycle shorts.  🙂   Why not? Use what you have. I’m in college right now and I walk around campus baffled by the young women. No make up, hair in a bun, sweat pants, T-shirts. They are in the prime. Why not sex it up a little? What other period in their lives will these young women be surrounded by this many available men their age?

  14. 14
    Persephone

    Emily @ 13.2.2

    Those kinds of girls end up on academic probation, in rehab, or in abortion clinics. Sometimes all three. I’m in a college town too, plus I’m an attorney who sees all the trouble they get into when they act like that. Victims of date rape drugs.

    I’m not suggesting that women who dress provocatively deserve to be raped, so don’t throw that at me. But that’s what college men’s suggest when they see a provocatively dressed women.

    The point is to go for school, not for a sex orgy. Well-grounded young men or young ladoes learn that after they graduate, interview, and land a stable job, then that’s the time to play. Aren’t I the wet blanket? Lol!

    1. 14.1
      Emily, the original

      Peresphone,

      Those kinds of girls end up on academic probation, in rehab, or in abortion clinics. Sometimes all three.

      You took it WAY to the extreme. I mentioned trying to look a little more put together, more feminine,  and you took it to Girls Gone Wild. I should have been clearer. I was referring to the Camille Paglia article that Evan posted about Hugh Hefner. She talks about how men and women are becoming too much like each other and have lost the sexual charge between them. It’s true. These young people I see at school don’t even flirt with each other.

      Lol ! Aren’t I the wet blanket? Lol!

      Yes.

      1. 14.1.1
        Persephone

        I could not find where Evan posted the the Camille Paglia article, but I was very put off at the media by the big deal they made over Hefner’s death and her criticism of some of the authors I like. I dislike Paglia. I disliked that a man who made it okay to ogle naked women thus turning them into objects was so celebrated. I feel that Hefner endorsed and encouraged misogyny.  I am a very feminine looking and acting women, although I am proficient with a chainsaw and a backhoe.  We can still be feminine and different than men, while not having to be playboy bunnies.

        1. Persephone

          Thank you, Evan. I will comment on the other thread regarding Paglia.

        2. Emily, the original

          Persephone,

           I was very put off at the media by the big deal they made over Hefner’s death and her criticism of some of the authors I like. I dislike Paglia.

          I like her. Her writing and worldview is interesting and she’s not afraid to be a contrarian. She’s her own person.

  15. 15
    Mary H

    I think it depends on time, too, though. I’ve known my female best friend for 15 years. She’s seen me through everything — ups, downs, growing up. My boyfriend has only known me for 6 months. If we eventually marry, he will still have only known me for 3 years, compared to my best friend’s 18 years at that point! How could I expect him to be my best friend?

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