Part 2 of a three post arc on relationships as suggested to me by my good friend Griff, will cover platonic relationships and whether or not they actually exist.
Using me as an example yeah, I know, I know. I'm always using myself as an example. got any better suggestions? I have quite a few platonic friendships with members of the opposite sex, off which Griff is one of them. I can honestly and truthfully say that they do exist.
Now, having and maintaining a platonic relationship is a rather tricky proposition. Not only do you have to walk an incredibly fine line with the person you're friends with, but you also have to make sure that your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend is okay with this as well. Nothing worse than your partner (or your friend's partner for that matter) becoming supremely jealous of your other relationships.
I want to elaborate further on the two basic statements in the preceding paragraph: walking a fine line and making sure your partner is okay with this.
1) Walking that fine line between "just friends" and "more than just friends". I don't care what gender you are, you really have to use your head when you have friendships of the opposite sex (or same sex, if you swing that way). For me, with platonic relationship in both parts of my life, I find that the ones in my CyberWorld are much easier to navigate than those in the Real World.
In the CyberWorld, you don't have to worry too much about the friendship/relationship getting out of hand. Because I live here on the east coast and most of my female friends either reside to the extreme left of New York and south/southwest of the Mason Dixon line, there is no danger in having those blow completely up in my face. If it winds up becoming too intense (and they have at a few points in my life), I found that cutting myself off at the knees is a viable option. By that I mean not showing up where they do and blocking out their e-mail addys.
In any event, the friendships I have online aren't meaningless by any stretch of the imagination, but they are safely platonic and I've been able to gradually introduce my wife to them, mostly on a need to know basis. As a point of record, my wife and I met one of my online friends this past summer, and she was absolutely fine with it.
Now for the Real World, it has a tendency to be a bit more complex, mostly because of the people I'm friends with. I'm always walking that fine line that I previously mentioned, and it has taken me a few years to become that good solid dependable friend again. I was lost for a little while when my friends decided that a lesson needed to be taught to me, so they gave me some rope and basically pointed me in the direction of the nearest tree.
Took me a while to get it, but I did. Unfortunately though, I did destroy a couple of decent platonic relationships in the process of trying to get it.
In any event, my relationships have been repaired sufficiently enough so that my place in the universe is secured. I now know when to take that extra step forward and offer a helping hand, and when to simply back off and give the parties involved whatever space they really need.
2) Making sure that your significant other is okay with your opposite sex/same sex friendships. For the longest time in both parts of my life, I kept all of my friendships hidden, for fear of what my wife might say or do if she found out. I introduced her to some of my Real World friends, little by little, and over time she has gotten used to them. So much so, that she now inquires about their general well-being from time to time. As a matter of fact, my wife recently met up with some of my friends at an after work socializer this past Friday and got to know them a little bit better.
She is okay with my Real World friends, mostly because she has met them live and in living color. With my Cyber World friends, it has been a much tougher go of it. Because she is so incredibly paranoid about the 'Net, it has literally taken me more than 9 months for me to introduce her to some of my online friends.
For instance, the person we visited this past August. Even though I've been friends with her since March/April of '07, I've only told my wife about her early this year, when she happened to ask who I was talking to on the phone note: I have quite a few phone numbers of my cyber friends. It took quite a while for her to get used to me having a platonic relationship with this person. Recently, I introduced her to another Cyber friend who I've known for about a year, because this friend recently suggested that we should hook up for dinner the next time she and her husband visit CT.
The important thing in all of this, is that my wife trusts me 100% in the platonic relationships that I currently have. It may have taken me a long time to get her involved with my friends, but in the end it was really worth it. She knows that nothing of consequence is going on or will ever happen and she's quite happy and content in that knowledge.
To sum it up, platonic relationships do exist and if treated the right way, can open up brand new worlds and other facets of your personality for your significant other to experience.
Treated the wrong way, and basically you can kiss your sorry ass goodbye, because people will be talking about you as a distinct afterthought.