Men and women being friends seems to be a running theme in my life. It's like a bad penny that just won't go away.
The other day, Trooper went to hang out with a friend of his, who happens to be a woman. Not a big deal; I wasn't upset, and I had plenty to do. A girl can always use some time to herself.
But I did feel a little pang when he told me. Worry? Jealousy? Doubt? I'm not sure - but it went away quickly, and I was back to normal.
It got me thinking about a conversation I'd had with a friend, whose boyfriend also has a good friend who happens to be a woman. They hang out, and it usually doesn't bother my friend at all; but sometimes, it does.
She'll even tell you it depends on her own mood; it has more to do with how she's feeling, than how she feels about the woman, or the friendship. She completely trusts her boyfriend. It comes down to a feeling of, "If he wants to hang out with a woman, why isn't it me?"
I get that. We've all heard that people need friendships outside of their relationships; but the assumption is that those friendship will be with others of the same gender. Guys will need other guys to hang out and watch sports; women need female friends to go shopping and have lunch.
But what about when genders cross? Is it realistic to think that a guy will never need a female friend, if he's in a relationship?
The more I think about it - the less reasonable it seems. We don't choose our friends based on gender; we choose them based on connections, which come from common interests, experiences, points of view, etc. Often, we have those connections with someone of the same gender because that is one thing we already have in common, and it feeds the others. (Example: When discussing relationships, I relate more easily with other women. It's easier to talk to them, therefore easier to build a friendship.)
But that doesn't mean that a guy can't find a woman with whom he can go to a sporting event, or a woman can't find a guy with whom she can talk about politics. Those are friendships - which we all need, in order to build up our own self-awareness, confidence, and boost our romantic relationships.
I think the problem comes in when we look to be everything to our significant other. We develop this idea that my boyfriend shouldn't need any other women in his life, because I should fill that role. If he does want other women in his life, that must mean I'm somehow inadequate.
Talk about a depressing thought.
That's too much pressure to put on yourself - or your relationship. No one can be everything to anyone else - you can't be every friend, every answer, every relationship to your SO. Sometimes, he will need others in his life.
Which is OK. It gives you a chance to recharge your relationship with yourself. In the end, being secure with yourself, and realizing how much you bring to the relationship, really will mean everything.