I have received a couple of comments about Keeping very close friendships (best friend) with members of the opposite sex while married or in a serious relationship, from the various reports I have on this issue, it is clear that this is a potentially destructive problem that has threatened many marriages. There has been a lot of arguments for and against it, infidelity and emotional dependency on someone other than a spouse are the most prominent of these arguments. Most people will find it extremely difficult to accept members of the opposite sex who are very close to their spouse, even when these friendships predate marriage, the fact that you’ve known the friend longer than your spouse doesn’t matter much because marriage should be about abandoning the old order and starting a new life together as one. Consequently after marriage one becomes totally answerable to their spouse in all matters including friendships outside wedlock. While it is your responsibility to explain to your spouse the extent and depth of your relationship with all the friends you have, the prerogative is theirs to accept or reject any of the friends. It is wise to sacrifice any friendship for the sake of your marriage if it posses a problem.
A friend means different things to different people, but the meaning and the reason for your closeness can easily be misunderstood by a spouse, and rightfully so. If you have a friend who is that close, don’t hide him/her, bring him/her home, the person should be a friend of the family and must be willingly and without coercion accepted by your spouse. Encourage your friend to bring their own spouse over to meet yours, sometimes it helps to smooth things over. If after all said and done your spouse for any reason still kicks against the friendship, let the friend go because if you continue holding on to him/her, you may have inadvertently made that friend more important than your marriage, this is not good. It is natural to become irritated and angry with you spouse when they question such friendships, you may be tempted also to stubbornly hold on to the friend, especially if the friendship is actually platonic and you know for sure that you are not cheating; this can create very serious issues in your marriage, including suspicion of infidelity and betrayal. Cheating is not just about sexual infidelity, having or replacing a spouse with someone else as your best friend is emotional infidelity. Be careful when you insist on some friendships, especially with the opposite sex, you may come off as having motives other than a pure platonic friendship. This is potentially dangerous for your marriage and the relationship you have with your spouse.
There is also a genuine concern about becoming friends with a woman or man who develops or already secretly harbour’s feelings for you. Being close friends with who you share private information about your marriage can be very dicey if they like you romantically, their competition for you attention/affection may prompt them to give you advice tainted with mischief which will negatively influence you against your spouse. It is also expected that they will always work surreptitiously towards ensuring that you always have issues in your marriage to guarantee their unrestricted access to your attention. So care must be taken to avoid becoming aligned with someone who will indirectly cause problems in your relationship. Be careful what you discuss with such friends if you keep them, never ever say negative things about your marriage/relationship, if you do, you are only encouraging them to intensify their efforts at ensuring your relationship fails.. Your marriage should be about two people only, once a third party steps in, problems will definitely arise.
Ideally, your spouse should be your lover, companion and best friend, you do not need someone else when you are HAPPILY AND COMFORTABLY MARRIED. It is only those who are unhappy in their marriages that seek friendship and companionship from elsewhere. For the avoidance of doubt and suspicion, do not keep very close friends of the opposite sex especially if your spouse does not approve. I know it is impossible for one to go on without friends, especially from school, work, church etc, you can have those, but you must set serious boundaries that will demonstrate your sincerity of purpose to your spouse. The friends should also know that you are friends with them only with the approval and blessings of your spouse whom they are under obligation to respect. – Sir Stanley Ekezie
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