Can Men Have Female Friends In Relationships?

Stephen Hussey

Last week I wrote about some of the worst behaviours of women who sabotage relationships and drive men away.

Since then I’ve had a couple of people ask me about point no. 4, in which I basically said: “Don’t forbid your man from having friendships with other females.”

I remember writing that and immediately having the same worries some other readers had when they read it, which was “Yep…that’s right…sort of” and then proceeded to think of a bunch of questions whose answers could render his platonic friendship totally unacceptable.

Questions like: How close is he to that female friend? How often do they hang out? Do they spend time alone? How sexy is she? Is she single? What do they do together? Does she flirt with him?

One female friend read my previous article and said to me: “I just don’t know about that point. If my guy is hanging out with another woman, frankly I wonder why he would rather spend his free time with her and not me.”

And I have to say…I get it.

The idea of your boyfriend having platonic female friendships on the side of your actual relationship will always be tricky.

It’s one of those areas of life where we all want to be liberal and gender-neutral, but when faced with the reality of watching our partner spend ‘alone time’ with someone of another gender, we just can’t help but feel an instinctive jealousy.

When you think of your boyfriend sharing popcorn at the movies with another woman, or I imagine a girlfriend heading out in her adorable summer dress to relax in the park with another guy, it’s impossible to stop that primal knot of unease working through your stomach.

Although you don’t really believe every woman is out to seduce your partner, you also can’t help but feel a little rejected: Why would he choose to spend time with some other girl instead of you?

You get that feeling of:

  • I don’t feel respected
  • I feel like he doesn’t value me
  • Maybe he finds her more fun
  • Maybe he secretly wants her to be his girlfriend 
  • He must be attracted to her to want to hang out with her
  • She must be interested in him…at least a little bit

Are these irrational thoughts? Maybe and maybe not. This just isn’t a simple issue.

Unfortunately, there’s no set blueprint or rule for whether male/female friendships are ok when you’re in a relationship.

Of course, there are some people we just know are dangerous to spend time with, because they spell danger to our new relationship: old ex’s we have lingering feelings for,  that work colleague we have sexual chemistry with, or that friend who can’t stop flirting with us no matter how much we bat them away.

Matt has a great YouTube video on the question of male/female friendship, in which he advocates The Whiskey Test for whether a guy can ever be ‘just friends’ with another woman.

Basically, if you can both drink ten shots of whiskey and still not want to tear each other’s clothes off, you can safely be friends.

6 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before You Let Him Have Platonic Friendships

What really matters here is how you are made to feel whenever your guy hangs out with a female friend.

For example:

1. Does your guy go to an effort to make you feel safe and loved at all times, and never give you reason to doubt his loyalty?

2. Does he always put you first, and never actively choose other women over you?

3. Does he only hang out with women with whom he has no troubling romantic or sexual history that      would give you cause to worry?

4. Is he completely open and free when he talks about other women (i.e. does he tell you about the woman he was talking to at the party, or the ex he bumped into recently?)

5. Does he feel happy chatting to a girl on the phone while you’re in the room so you feel comfortable with it?

 6. Does he ask if you’re ok with him having a specific female friend?

If you can answer yes to these questions, then at least you know you’re with a guy who makes an effort to never exclude you or make you feel less than his priority.

If the answer to any of those is no, then you may have a right to be concerned about his female friendships (and vice versa, if you’re the one with guy friends and don’t do him the same courtesy).

These are just questions to think about.

To be frank, this is an issue for which I would never offer a concrete prescription because I just know that so many couples vary wildly in their rules for platonic friendships.

For some couples I’ve met, it’s no real biggie, and both partners trust each other so much that it’s unthinkable that their partner would cheat behind their back. They have friends with whom they see movies, drink cocktails, go to music concerts, and even whose house they sleep over.

For others, it’s considered a heinous betrayal to even speak to another woman or man and not immediately report back with a full transcript of the conversation and set of reliable witnesses to testify about what happened.

The friendship that turns one woman green with envy, another will shrug off and even happily encourage. I don’t think either is better – it’s about how it makes you both feel and whether it matches your own standard of loyalty you expect from a partner.

When Healthy Concern Turns To Dangerous Jealousy

That all being said, there are some behaviours, no matter who you are, that show an unhealthy level of destructive jealousy and intrusion into your partner’s life.

These might include:

  • You freaking out any time he gets a Facebook wall post/photo like from anyone with a female name.
  • You asking to check his phone messages (without any good reason to do so).
  • You getting weird if he talks to a woman in your presence, say, at a party, and you make it awkward for him by staring daggers or being passive-aggressive towards her.
  • You making him delete girl’s phone numbers (if you’re at the stage where this is necessary, you probably already have a bigger problem in the relationship).
  • You stop him having a friendly coffee with a friend who is in town that he hasn’t seen in ten years.

Now, even as I write that final bullet point I know already that will have its detractors.

Some will ask: Why does his old friend have to have coffee with him alone? Why can’t she just hang out with him in a group with his buddies? Shouldn’t he invite me along too?

My answer to all of these…yep, maybe, fair enough.

I can’t dictate your standards.

What matters again is that:

  • He makes you feel safe
  • He makes you a priority
  • He understands your standards and wants to meet them.

And make sure he doesn’t forget to mention how ugly she looks in that dress.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    *

Stephen Hussey helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.

To Follow Steve On Twitter For More Updates Click Here

(Photo: Gettyimages)

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73 Replies to “Can Men Have Female Friends In Relationships?”

  • I just normal chat in facebook with my female friends. but my girlfriend can’t accept this. She says that man and woman can’t be just friend.Now what can I do? How can I understand her that I’ve no feelings on them? will you give me a solution?

  • Hi, I was going out was a lady for a year. I noticed a change in our relationship when she continuously stated I love you and you make me feel safe then asked for the key back. Then she gave me the key back to help her with her cats. So I got the key back and one weekend said her 11 year old son was staying with her. So I let her be and I had a wired vibe in my gut so I drove by the apt and found a suv parked in my spot. I was stupid and knocked on the door then walked in and found a guy in the apt. He claimed he went upstairs to tell her someone was here and she came down the staircase drunk and totally naked. I walked up to see if her son was in the apt no where to b found went in the bedroom and found this guy sitting clothed on the bed. So she claims he’s an old friend a best friend and nothing is going on. Each Saturday now he’s over at the apt and I’m put out to pasture. I’ve asked to meet him offered to make dinner for the three of us but she will not let me in too meet him since I found them together. To this day 5 Saturday’s later I find his suv there she says she loves me but I’m thrown out and he’s in. Is this woman nuts or just screwing this guy who she says nothing is going on due to him being her best friend. When I ask her if he stays over she says no but his vehicle is there. I am or was deeply in love with her but she also claims she hurts the ones she lives due to her being a victim of child abuse in which she claims the father molested her from 9-13 years of age.

  • No one has stated the obvious what if scenario. What if the reason why the boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t trust their significant other with their opposite sex friends is because that person has cheated with said friends?

  • I haven’t had a romantic relationship in since 2014, but I know that I want to trust whoever comes along. Because I know how it feels being essentially penalized for someone else’s mistakes, although I’m not saying I was perfect either (that’s a tale for later). Since then, one of my best friends is married and I know their spouse and they know that I’d never hurt them. But, I digress. This is quite a hairy issue and I speak from experience.

  • I think that the opposite sex can be “just friends”. But like the article says, it can be a tricky thing. I have close guy friends and lesbian friends I talk to almost every day. I love people in general. I love friendships. It gets you through the hard times in this world. Now with that being said, my boyfriend has met, works with, hung out, or whatever with all my friends. I do not talk to anyone he hasn’t met or knows. I let him know if a new person comes into my life and I’m not secretive about it. My friends are a part of my life and he is a part of my life, so I like to include him in knowing them and being around them. Unfortunately he doesn’t do the same for me. He txts a lot of women and a lot are exes. A lot of those women don’t know about me, but know everything else in his life. It’s disrespectful. He won’t tell me when he’s talking to a new girl friend. He’s cheated on his kids mom. He got too close to a female friend and slipped up big time. We fight a lot about my trust issues with him bc of his secretiveness and how he’s proved in the past he has boundary issues and should know full well he’s playing a dangerous game now with female friends. I’m cutting my losses and getting out of the relationship bc at the end of the day, if your partner can’t be your rock and do things to make you feel comfortable, you have to just leave. Just leave. It’s not worth it. Don’t waste yrs with someone who doesn’t care about your feelings. We got one life and it goes by so fast. Spend it with those who love you and are truly there for you.

  • It depends to what extent the friendship overrides your relationship. People should be frank from the beginning about how liberal or serious they want to be.
    If both parties are serious (the guy) other females should start to be less important as time goes by…I only speak from personal experience.
    Men don’t hang around women they don’t like so be on guard for red flags.

  • My boyfriend hang out with this girl who he have a sexual history with. He often tells me how important and how he love me so I don’t have to worry of him cheating coz he will never to that to me. That girl is only a close friend. Im really jealous of this girl and we fought because of this but we became okay afterwards. He told me to trust him and he did a promise on me.

  • my friend said she value as friend with me should i keep going no relationship. we been seeing each other nearly 1 year

  • My husband was friends with a woman on facebook and at first I was absolutely fine with it, but then I noticed that he was constantly talking about her, how attractive she is, how intelligent she is……..cut a long story short, my husband started giving her more time and attention than me.
    It really affected our life together. He became moody and argumentative.
    The final straw for me was when I went snooping on his FB page (something I am NOT proud of but I needed some answers) and he was telling her how much he loves her and he wished that they could be together (she lives in the USA and we live in the UK) and it broke us up. I left him for 6 months but he begged for another chance.
    We are back together and he has blocked her from his facebook but I feel the damage is done. Although they never had a physical relationship, I still feel that he cheated on me. I am seriously considering a divorce.
    I do NOT think that men OR women need friends of the opposite sex. Your partner should be the one that you confide in and hang out with. End of.

  • I have had more than one female friends.

    I will discuss 2: In both cases they were well aware that I am in a committed relationship.
    1 offered intimacy. I used a very advanced word in the English language that too many here seem unaware of: -> NO!
    It was that simple.
    2 We have been friends (On/off) for nearly 8 years.
    She is extremely aware that I am in a relationship, and we rarely ever talk about relationships. I have sought to likewise develop a friendship with her husband so that he is aware that nothing is happening behind his back.

    When I see remarks here that ‘Men and women cannot have a friendship without a sexual element’, I am aware that you are talking from your extensive experience and knowledge.

    Hence when coming from a woman – it tells me, when a man smiles at you and you converse with him – your knickers automatically fall down!

    When a you’re a man- your trousers hit the ground!

    As anything else – would make you a hypocrite!

    Personally – I have self-control, and an advanced education which allows me access to amazing words in the language – such as No! and I can even explain monogamy!

  • I just don’t understand how that’s supposed to work if men keep admitting that they want to sleep with their female friends. If he is close with another woman, and wants to sleep with her because apparently they all do, then what exactly is the difference between her and me as the girlfriend? That I’m available? What if she has a crush on him? It would just make me feel completely worthless and like my relationship with him is exchangeable because he could just replace me with any random female friend of his.

  • I need to know. I have three kiddos with their father yet their dad has always brought females over to visit. But since we had our 3rd baby, she is just under 2 years old… my husband has been hanging out with a 23 year gal and her boyfriends on probation. She drinks so much and I blew up because she’d been coming over 1 to 3 times nearly every week. For sure it was 2 times a week more often than not. They would spend their time outside and in the heat while I couldn’t. Same for now during the snowy/cold weather when my babe can be out but not seven pm due to the dark. Hmmm also this gal drinks heavily and my husband has always drank about 6 beers every night. I know he is an alcoholic but it’s been 13 years… and everyone I know drinks alcohol anyways. I drink occasionally… and some times I will have 3 to 4 beers with them IF my kiddos are tucked away. Usually I let em stay up 7ntil 10 or 11 and we all chat ( the kids and i) but their dad is either on facebook with his back turned to us. Or with her and for two nights he went to the bar with her and her friend plus her friend has me babysitting for increments… a toddler the friends… while they smoke. So there are 2 friends now 21 and 23… when I said to my partner that it was getting old real quick when they come over… he thinks I’m controlling him… and I am super exhausted now… so he said something like he was stuck at home with his family and needed the family size bottle of Jamison! On her facebook which came up 8n my feed. I unfriended her and decided that she wasnt truly a good friend. I also asked why he felt like that. Long story short now these two chicks called me a fool and said I wouldn’t let him have friends. They are referring to a guy who is a felon who lives in the same apartment complex as my husbands 23 year old co worker and girl friend…. the guy in the apartment was indicted by the FBI. so I’m basically at a loss. The girls said I wont let my husband and old bestie have friends and that im a fool for saying no. Also his 23 year old friend brought her boyfriend over and my mom remodeled our home for us… well the friend brought her bf over and said that we remodeled and it looked nice while we were all outside Also I said in response, yeah Zach (her boyfriend) do you want to come see our new floors. ALSO must say my three kids were inside and watching a movie… our house is around 900 to 1000 sq ft. Its a camping lodge… we live in the country… any ways, the friend said also that I was trying to have sex with her guy when I invited him to see the remodeling… ugh The gal has no license and is pushing for ppl to take her over to our house so I dont know how to say no with out feeling controlling. Idk what to do. But I want my husband to have friends, YES but i don’t want to…do, are people like this the general population. Or amniotic in a very strange circumstance? Do I have to accept this?

  • Nope not in my experience! Fucked his bf after bragging about me to friends and family and meeting them. She’s been a friend for 5 years that put him in friend zone until I came around . Nope
    Don’t trust guys with female best friends.

  • Before you “let him” have a platonic relationship?
    There is so much wrong with that once sentence I wouldn’t know where to start

  • Yes they can except when they ignore their girlfriend and talk to their friend instead

  • Ever since Dr. John helped me, my partner is very stable, faithful and closer to me than before. I highly recommends Dr. John to anyone in need of help. Email: Drjohnsoco @ gmail .com

  • Well – I have had mostly guy friends my whole life as grew up on farms and was into horses, motorbikes, wave runners, farm life, bonfires, bbqs, and found a lot of the girls were too much into dresses, dramas, spoilt, shopping, smoking, lying and chasing guys all over the place and being very bitchy and bad gossips and arguing with each other all the time.
    I had a best friend as a guy that lived near me since I was 5- our friendship has spanned 45 years now,and we have been there together through marriages, divorces, children, miscarriages, operations, parents issues, sickness and fun happy great times in life, business and life.
    I actually introduced him to his wife as she rode horses with me at pony club. It is like I’m his sister and sometimes his mother and if we need each other then were always there for each other, and talk a lot or send photos to each other of our dogs and horses. Pure friendship and have never liked him anymore than a friend and has never been any issues with anything, we know each other and our ways, habits, beliefs and he wanted a wife to cook, clean, shop, stay at home, have kids etc and got this and I went on adventures, travels, worked all over the world, explored and did business, and enjoyed life differently.
    So it is possible to be purely friends with a man and for them to love, cherish, respect, support and care for you in all times as your strength and you be there for them also.

    My other best friend I met him when I was 14 looking for yabbies in the lake and our families were on holidays, our families became friends, and we stayed great friends since 14- til 22. Sadly at 22 he took his own life and I lost him. To this day I have never known the reason and he wrote me a 8 page beautiful letter for my birthday which arrived a few days after we buried him. No hint of anything wrong in his life, family, work or stresses.
    To this day I have never got over this shock and sadness of loosing my best friend that I went surfing with, fishing, swimming, wave runners, camping, talk for hours, write letters, call each other every week, help each other with HSC, laugh, plan travels and backpacking around, plus visit his family all the time for lunch and take our dogs out together swimming.
    We never had any issues or like for each other as he liked Japanese / Asian type girls and I liked country style or surfer type of rugged guys. To this day I have never had or found a friend like him and the hardest times of my life I have missed having him there next to me.
    So I have been blessed totally to have had some beautiful friends that are and were there for me.
    It is possible and is such a comfort to have this type of friendship and support.

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