Here is one of those tricky questions that can cause arguments in relationships and friendships: can people who are in a relationship still have one or more good friends of the opposite sex? I mean, most people would say why not, but that answer tends to blur once you’re actually in a relationship and have to deal with your boyfriend hanging out with his girl mates (or vice versa).
You suddenly feel your stomach churning with all sorts of emotions: jealousy, resentment, worry, fear, suspicion, guilt, etc., because you might be trying to be that cool girlfriend/boyfriend who is laidback and gives their partner space and freedom, but you can’t help but think of the possibilities. What if he/she is tempted to cheat? What if their friend is flirting with them instead? What if they’re out and they get really drunk and something happens? How would you know?
These questions reverberate throughout most people’s minds, and some people give into them and start restricting their partner’s friendships. They push aside the guilt over their actions by justifying it for the sake of their relationship. After all, it’s the most important thing in their lives, so they’ve got to do everything they can to maintain it, even if the measures are a little drastic and irrational.
But as most of you would know, that causes other issues. First of all, the person calling the shots will most likely be resented by their partner, especially when their partner’s friends and family are in their ear about ditching them. Also, most people don’t like to be controlled or restricted, and that’s part of the reason why some people fear commitment these days. Initially they might not even realise how much they’re ignoring their friends and family for their partner until they end up feeling isolated from the world completely, which can be a very alienating experience.
So how do you avoid that feeling of loneliness when you realise that you’ve got nobody else but your partner in your life? You have to make sure to establish trust and faith in the relationship. Some jealousy is expected in the early days of a blooming relationship, and of course the first six month ‘honeymoon period’ of a relationship is very consuming, where your partner is the centre of your existence and you most likely end up neglecting your friends and family.
But in the end, you both can’t live in that lovey dovey bubble forever, because eventually you’re both going to realise that you have separate lives outside of your relationship, ones that include your family and friends. The key is to maintain a steady level of communication and build your trust for one another over time, because that’s what relationships are all about. This includes trusting your partner to be faithful to you no matter who he/she is hanging out with and wherever they may be at. After all, what is a real relationship without trust?