In doing research for the blog, I polled friends of both sexes to get ideas for what to post next and to better understand what my target audience wants to hear about. I recently talked with a guy friend of mine who had quite a lot to say about dating and relationships despite having claimed to care about neither. He informed me of his 3 unwavering requirements for dating girls. First, she has to be financially independent. Secondly, you must never allow yourself to fall in love with every girl you date. You can have sex with her and spend time with her, but don’t get too attached. (Apparently guys tend to fall in love with girls easily which was shocking news to me. Where are these men when I’m dating??). And thirdly, she either cannot have a lot of guy friends or you cannot be a jealous man. This point was of interest to me because I have tons of male friends that will always be just friends, but for the first time I wondered what guys would think about this. Personally, when I like a guy or am dating someone I can get really jealous when he is spending time with girls or they are writing cutesy comments all over his Facebook page that are sexually ambiguous or downright lascivious. I of course never would say anything and keep that envy and fear locked away inside, but the thoughts ultimately do cross my mind. Obviously trust is the key to sustaining a relationship but does anything other than physical cheating count as crossing the line?
This past weekend I went out with one of my best friends to a concert. Afterwards we got food and drinks and went back to his house to hang out more. We fell asleep on the couch watching Inglorious Bastards and when we woke up late at night I opted to sleep there with him rather than to get up and drive home. The next morning he made me breakfast (a request I make every time we hang out because his award winning pancakes are delicious), we went grocery shopping, and hung out the rest of the day watching funny videos and finishing the film from the night before. This entire friend power-session was strictly platonic as we are truly just friends, but looking at it from a guy’s perspective I could faintly hear the lyrics of Biz Markie in the background. Since I am single I certainly did nothing wrong and I have a number of single friends who have platonic sleepovers as well. Interestingly, I know people happily in relationships who also sleep over at the homes of friends of the opposite gender. While nothing sexual or physical takes place I still cannot help but wonder, is it wrong when you are dating someone to spend the night at the house of an opposite sex friend? Inherently, I would say no since there is no attraction, cheating, or breaking of trust but I still would be deeply hurt if I had a boyfriend who spent the night in a hot girl’s bed having a “platonic sleepover.”
While we personally may not be attracted to these opposite sex friends, I do question if it becomes wrong when we know that a friend has feelings for us and we still spend a physicality-free night at his/her place. When I first starting dating someone a while back, I slept on sofa with a friend who I knew liked me. Nothing happened other then us sharing the couch and some platonic touching. Additonally, this other guy and I had done nothing more than kiss and had literally just begun dating; yet, it still felt wrong because we were friends for a while before deciding to take it to another level. If he had done the same thing I would not have been mad but I would have been hurt or taken it as a sign that he was not truly interested in me. Even when in a relationship, so many people spend the night at an opposite sex friends’ place and think nothing of it. If no cheating takes place and there is no attraction then technically there is not anything wrong with it but I still can’t see any boyfriend or girlfriend accepting platonic sleepovers as just part of their significant other’s life. Despite it not being innately wrong, I would feel somewhat guilty telling a boyfriend that I spent the night at some guys house and yada, yada, yada he cooked me breakfast the next day. In this instance the yada would be sleep not sex but what guy would be cool with that? Moreover, if it does not phase him, what is he doing when you are not around?
Aside from platonic sleepovers, overall friendships with members of the alternate gender can be tricky. I grew up with more guy friends than girl ones and even now still have a lot of close friends who are male. Being a talkative person, I am always sharing stories of times with one guy friend or another and while I know they are just friends and I am telling people about them because they are interesting or funny, it only recently has occurred to me that it could appear as though something more was going on. This compounded with all the joke-flirting that I engage in with all my close male and female friends on social networking sites (mainly Facebook) may give the appearance of impropriety or scare some guys away who might like me but think that I am not single or capable of commitment. Perhaps part of why many of my relationship attempts do not work out is because my close friendships and extreme comfortableness with members of the opposite sex is intimidating. However, since it is best to always be ourselves and be honest in relationships and without trust a partnership will never work, are we really supposed to change our friendships or hide the truth for fear of upsetting our significant others when we know that what we are doing is not cheating and that we only have eyes for our partners? I suppose my friend’s guypinion was correct and when it comes to dating we have to either draw our own lines and set boundaries for ourselves for the good our sexual relationships or we must opt to date people who are not the jealous type…which is so rare being that it is ingrained in our nature as human beings.
I would never expect a guy I was dating to change who he is or give up any of his friends but I also do not know how well I’d handle him sharing his bed with a girl for a platonic cuddle session either. Additionally, I do not want to alter the nature of my present friendships for someone else, especially when I have no attraction to these male friends. Yet, I could understand a boyfriend wanting me to out of respect for him. Ultimately, I do not really have any answer for this one. It is not wrong but it also is not right. Modern relationships are so much more complicated then they were hundreds of years ago or even just a few decades ago with society being far more liberal. Opposite sex adult sleepovers are a more recently common happening; so I wonder that while society as a whole is evolving and setting looser boundaries, is the individual American mentally and emotionally capable of handling the complexities of twenty-first century dating or are the innate sensitivities of human nature unavoidable?
I would love to hear everyone’s opinion on this so please share any stories you may have.