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What if one person stays in touch with an ex, or has an opposite-sex pal? A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology estimated that an opposite-sex friendship can result in an affair as often as 15 percent of the time. Author, comedian, actor and host Steve Harvey tackled this topic with a of couples.
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For some guys, it would. Because although it might sound absurd and antiquated on its face to say some men have trouble with the idea of opposite-gender friendships outside the confines of marriage, the fact is, many of them still do, despite how much gender roles in society have evolved.
Kelso, a year-old travel agent in San Francisco, has female friends who his wife has no problem with, he says. Why does she want to hang out with a married dad? Los Angeles IT specialist Scott says he started distancing himself from female friends after his wife expressed some disapproval about it. Other men think keeping up with female friends they knew before they were married is fine but making new ones might be kind of weird.
Men are encouraged to treat women like sex objects from an early ageand the process of becoming a man traditionally has been heterosexualizedwith men encouraged to start obsessing about sex around adolescence. So that some men have trouble interacting with women without sex and attraction getting in the way makes some sense.
Research of platonic, opposite-gender friendships is a fairly new field; no one studied it until the s. Much of the research supports what obnoxious rom-coms have drilled into our he for decades: that keeping opposite-gender friendships free from the complications of attraction is nearly impossible.
In fact, many men misread their friendships with women, according to a Bleske-Rechek study. There are many reasons men might have trouble having platonic friendships with women, psychologists say.
For other men, the problems are more internalized. In past generations, boys were discouraged from being friends with girls and encouraged to see them as sex objects, so friendships with women might feel foreign to them, says John Paul Garrison PsyD, a clinical and forensic psychologist in Roswell, Georgia.
And, on another note, the subjects of all these studies concluding that men tend to sexualize their female friends were college students. College kids, as it goes, are fairly young, inexperienced, and typically highly sexed. Cohen Ph. Tolerance levels and personal perceptions are key here.
People have very different ideas of what behavior qualifies as flirtatious and what kind of relationships are appropriate outside of a marriage. In other words, whether having platonic female friends might affect your relationship depends on you and your partner. William, a year-old translator from Sacramento is sensitive to that.
His partner was cheated on by her ex-husband, who had an affair with one of her closest friends. That bad experience made her less trusting.
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It all hinges on how much he respects his partner. The only way to learn how is through therapy. Men and women would benefit from talking more about setting boundaries in their relationships and the kinds of behavior that makes them uncomfortable, Garrison adds. Please try again.
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