Can You Really Just be Friends with Someone of the Opposite Sex?

At some point in our lives we all seem to have that one best friend, the one we can confide in without limits. Tell them everything, cry on their shoulder, and stay up all night laughing your asses off being obnoxious. There for you in the good times and in those moments when you are an absolute freight train heading towards the cliff with no breaks. For me, that has undoubtedly been a friend of the opposite sex.

In years past, it has always been completely platonic. I thought of these friends as big brothers who always had my back, of which the feeling was mutual. And that was what it was. Complete and total trust in them. Never having to worry about what might happen if we found ourselves alone and those primal instincts of jumping each other’s bones rearing itself.

Usually they had girlfriends whom for most turned into long term relationships if not wives. But here in the later years as we are all approaching the first of those milestone birthdays, I have noticed things have changed, changed drastically. As some, including myself, have endured breakups and divorces the tables have turned. And unfortunately some of those long term friendships I’ve had to let go of.

Let go of due to those primal instincts taking hold. No longer can we stay up laughing and joking all night as it turns into who can jump who first. Can I ask why and what has changed? Is it with age that these casual encounters seem less faux pas? It is after all someone that I have the upmost trust for and added bonus it’s not some random. But the thing is it’s not due to having feelings for each other, more of maybe filling that loneliness void. In the short term it’s great, fucking fantastic.  No strings attached.

As the weeks and months go by though the confusion sets in. One of us seems to meet someone that we want a relationship with and have those more than friends feelings for. Which in turn leads to the other singleton left out in the dark, wondering. Crawling up in their head trying to figure out did they have feelings for that friend.  Or was it just filling the loneliness void, a moment of vulnerability?

I have walked both sides of the equation and decided no more. No more crossing that friendship line with any of my long term friends of the opposite sex. Long term being defined as they knew me pre-divorce, pre-kid, or pre-marriage. Essentially they have grown through the years with me. As I have discovered it ends badly. For some people maybe not but in my experiences over the past few years it is just plain messy.

But what about those I have met since the long term definition? Here’s where it gets even trickier. I met this guy a few years back randomly. We chatted and hit it off immediately. I was attracted to him but we were both in our own separate, weird dating relationships at the time. Kept in touch though and a great friendship grew of it. We tell each other everything and when I say everything it’s all the nitty gritty. We don’t roam in the same circle of friends so I guess you could say we felt safe baring it all. My confidant, a therapist of sorts.

Few months ago it all changed. One night staying up being goofy, as he was trying to get me over the latest heartbreak, that friendship line was broken. Well to say the least it was erased into oblivion. As we were both suffering our own relationship woes we decided to enter into this whole “helping each other through it” arrangement. The two of us being emotionally detached peoples it was great at first.

Then it evolved. Not just a night here and there. But every weekend and the occasional week night. It dawned on me one of the last weekends he was here while we were folding clothes that I can’t differentiate is he being helpful as a friend or something more. It’s all blurred, I mean come on we were folding clothes on a Saturday night. So many mixed signals

He is talking to his ex again and asking me for advice. Before all this I wouldn’t have thought twice about giving advice but honestly I don’t think I can now because my own feelings could occlude it. I will admit when he talked about the ex I had those infernal stabs of jealously raging internally, and that took me by surprise.

Now here I sit pondering what the hell to do with this all. Again asking that damn question:

Can you really just be friends with someone of the opposite sex?  And not give in to those primal instincts….

~Snarky Coppertop

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#Woke

via Daily Prompt: Oversight

It was gradual. But powerful. Sitting back and watching the protests in  Ferguson, where ever there was violence against people of color, the beginnings of #BlackLivesMatter movement, I thought to myself, “Wow-how angry these people are.” And went about my own business. I wasn’t indifferent, just ignorant in my understanding of their experience. Sure, I could watch the tv news every morning and night and see the violence that people of color are subjected to daily by the government meant to protect us all, but hey-it didn’t affect me, so….I didn’t think about it too much. Am I showing how deep I was in my own white privilege?  I hope so. Honestly, I am still shoveling my way out of this deep hole I am in.

Then I spoke with people. SPOKE with them about their experiences. SPOKE with them about their thoughts, their feelings, their beliefs. And it started to sink in. I wrote a piece earlier last year…about 6 months ago…and I stated that violence begets violence begets violence…but I better understand WHY there has been violence. I was still mired down in my own privilege and allowing that to influence my thoughts and feelings. But not anymore. I GET IT NOW. We have, since the founding of this country, used non-peaceful protest and actions to achieve the desired results (Hello…the American Revolution! A giant war that included an act of rebellion and governmental property damage in Boston). WE WERE FOUNDED ON NON-PEACEFUL PROTEST. I get it now, my friends of color. I get WHY there has been so much violence. I get WHY peaceful protest does not always work. And I understand that, if I want to be a part of this protest against the atrocities taking place in our country against people of color, women, immigrants, the LQBTQIA community, I HAVE to WAKE THE FUCK UP to the fact that it will not be peaceful, silent, or pretty. I HAVE to be okay with that because if I am not, I will remain in my bubble of ignorance surrounding myself with the unrealistic and idealistic point of view that just by talking about it, something will happen.

NO. I was WRONG to think that a peaceful protest will always be the best way to be heard. And it is uncomfortable. I feel guilty. I feel ashamed. I feel like I have been part of the problem. And I am going to try my damndest to correct my oversight. I am going to try my damndest to continue to be uncomfortable, because when I am feeling this discomfort, I am learning about what I have done to overlook the truth of it all. And MY truth is that I was too scared to be fully involved because I didn’t want others to think poorly of me, to think I was stirring the pot, to think that I was supporting something just to support it and not because I truly believed in the movement. I didn’t want to catch shit from my family, whom I love dearly, but I do not share the same political beliefs as they do.

The amount of emotional labor that my friends of color and my friends in the LGBTQIA (of which I identify as being a part of, btw) have put in to educate cisgender, heterosexual white people has been tremendous. They are the ones experiencing the violence, condemnation, anger, racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc and then they have to EXPLAIN WHY they are upset?? No. Not okay. NOT OKAY AT ALL. I should not expect them to go through all they do and then do MORE work to try to explain why things need to change. So, I plan to stay uncomfortable. And I plan to make other folks uncomfortable as well by talking about it.

So, my friends of color, my friends in the LGBTQIA community, stay angry. Keep protesting. Keep speaking out. I am going to be a better advocate for you. I am going to be a better listener. I am going to pay attention to the ignorance that is around me and try to educate people as best I can. And I may come to you from time to time to help me use the right words so I am not furthering misconceptions or passing along unhelpful and ignorant information. I am going to stay #woke.