By your late 20s, you'll have at least one friend of the gender(s) you're attracted to that's married. Because of the way we've been socially conditioned, we consider adult one-on-one time to be something that's reserved for people who are interested in each other in an intimate way. But what if you want to have solo friend time with someone whose taken?
No, you're not living a real life version of My Best Friend's Wedding. You're not in love with your friend, and you're not trying to break up their relationship. But at the same time, there's something about your friendship that starts to feel strange once they're married. There was never anything romantic between the two of you so you're both a little bit surprised by how the new marriage challenges the old dynamic.
Either that, or you're new friends and you're both a little bit defensive about each other and your relationship when brought into question. And while you both might be quick to say that you're not attracted to each other in that way, a part of you knows it doesn't matter. Your friendship raises questions with the people around you. So what do you do when you want to keep your friendship intact but worry you might be crossing lines?
Consider Your Intentions
What do you want out of your friendship? Are you looking for a completely platonic partner to spend time with once in a while? Or are you trying to get your friend to take time away from their relationship to give you time and to satisfy your ego? How do you see this friendship working out, logistically?
Think About Their Intentions
Do you have a funny feeling that your friend might cross the line if given the opportunity? Are the two of you extra careful around each other because you know that with one drink too many you might act on some other feelings you have for each other that you don't acknowledge?
Be Honest With Yourself
Just because you don't acknowledge it, doesn't mean it's not there. Are you playing with fire? Does a part of you want something inappropriate to happen? Do you feel like you know your friend better than their partner does and that gives you some sort of leeway, morally?
Put Yourself In Their Partner's Shoes
How would you feel if your own partner was engaged in a friendship like this? Would you be jealous? Mad? Hurt? Think about how their partner feels when the two of you go out for drinks. Do they even know about your hang times?
Embrace Their Partner
If you truly love your friend as only a friend, you'll do your best to embrace the person they love. Get to know this person, and let this person get to know you.
Include Their Partner
Maybe in the old days, it was just you and your friend on Tuesday Movie Night and that's the way you liked it. Well, things change and friendships evolve. Your friend's married now, so be the biggest person you can be and include their partner in your plans every once and a while. If your friendship is pure, you won't mind.
Give Them Space
Even if your friend wants to hang out everyday, give them space. They might not know they need it, but their partner will appreciate it. You're not their life partner, you're just a friend, which means they need to have a private life with their life partner that doesn't include you.
Keep Things Kosher
Do not get involved in fights between your friend and their partner. Be a shoulder, be an ear, but do not go out of your way to bash you friend's partner. If you have a legitimate concern, find a way to share it will eloquence and respect. You're adults now, you have to be careful with your words.
If a part of you feels like there's always a subtext when the two of you are together, bring it up. Is it in your head? Is your friend curious about you in a more-than-friendly way? Ignoring it won't make it less so. If your friendship isn't equally pure, it might not be worth fighting for.
If you're really not sure if the two of you are crossing invisible or hard-to-see lines, ask. It might the scariest or most uncomfortable conversation you have, but you should both be adult enough to be honest with yourselves and with each other. It's better to acknowledge an overstep than it is to keep overstepping without looking.
Know When It's Time To Go
You don't want to lose your friend. They mean so much to you, but you know in your gut if the friendship is not as innocent as the two of you say it is. You might not have physical urges, but emotionally, there's definitely some gray area that doesn't feel good on your conscience. It may be painful, and it may be hard, but some friendships are meant to end. Let it go if it feels wrong. True friendships won't.
Images: Giphy, FOX