Quick quiz: A 38-year-old man you don't know well asks you to dinner. He is married, you are married. Is he hitting on you?
Many people say yes, unequivocally. They suggest there are few married guys who are "just interested in being friends." Most importantly, a man who is really interested in just trying to cultivate a friendship invites both spouses to dinner with him and his spouse as well.
On the other hand, I definitely believe that men and women can be friends with one another without hooking up. Or, as my friend pointed out the other day, the two most important things in a marriage: trust and lust.
We have to trust our spouses. So, do we?
I will admit, the idea of my husband having close female friends doesn't please me. I'm a jealous person by nature. I wish I weren't and I'm working on it, but I am.
My husband is far less jealous and perhaps trusts me far more than I trust him (zoinks!) because he would gladly let me go to dinner alone with a man, while I would throw down with any woman who dared ask my husband to dinner alone.
I know I'm not alone. There are women who asked to stay anonymous who admitted that they, too, would never let their spouse have female friends and men who admitted that the only way a "friendship" is possible is when they're in no way attracted to the female.
Of course, what man will admit to being attracted to a woman to his spouse? We are left to guess at which friends our husbands find hot and which ones he doesn't. Better yet, just forget the whole thing.
Heterosexual men and women relate to one another through flirting and those little flirtations can be harmless, but they can also grow and grow until they're too big for us to control. For those who have had affairs, many will say they start harmlessly -- a little giggle, a hair toss, a dinner, some wine, and the next thing you know, you're trading marriage war stories and thinking the other person would be a much better spouse for you.
It's a slippery slope.
What do you think? Can married people be friends with the opposite sex?
Image via tinou bao/Flickr