We are here to talk about how to avoid having your significant other feel uncomfortable about one of your friendships. Many people worry that the only solution to this problem is to avoid anyone of the opposite sex, but that won’t work well. If you were to follow that advice, half of the world would be off-limits for developing fundamental connections.
Can people who are potentially sexually attracted to each other form friendships and still remain true to their relationship? Absolutely, as long as you pay attention to the nature of the relationship.
If you’re wary of a friendship that may jeopardize your relationship, keep these 10 guidelines in mind:
1. Your partner must feel comfortable around your friend.
Your partner doesn’t necessarily have to feel spiritually bonded to your friend, but he or she should be comfortable with your friendship.
2. Keep your bonds.
Your new friend must be willing to form a connection with your significant other. They won’t take interest just to spend more time with you, but also because they genuinely want to know all parts of your life.
3. Don’t hide secrets from your partner.
Neither give nor receive any secret messages. You should feel comfortable telling your partner about any and all contact with your friend.
If you and your friend accidentally meet somewhere, shoot a text to your partner telling them that you ran into each other.
4. Don’t speak poorly of your relationship.
Under no circumstances should your friendship include discussions about your partner’s major faults.
Telling your friend that, “Scott doesn’t have a good eye for color” when your husband’s shirt and tie don’t match is acceptable. But commenting that the lawn isn’t mowed because “Scott’s too lazy to get around to it” is not. It’s important that you learn the difference.
5. Don’t let your friend speak poorly of their own relationship.
Your friend also shouldn’t use your friendship to talk about faults in their partner. It’s more tempting to have an affair when your friendship becomes a partner-bashing session, so you both should refrain from talking about your relationships.
6. Never value your friendship above your partner.
Never share something personal with your friend, then follow it with, “I’m telling you this because my partner wouldn’t understand.” Don’t hint that your friend appreciates you in ways that your spouse doesn’t.
7. Refrain from talking with your friend about your sex life.
Under no circumstances should you speak about any sexual topics with your friend. It’s fine to discuss your favorite Kardashian’s romantic exploits, but any discussion about your personal sexual preferences or experiences is strictly off-limits.
Avoid situations that can stir up physical intimacy, like candlelit dinners, enjoying a sauna together, or entering a dance marathon with your friend. You may not feel any romantic inclination toward your friend before you do more intimate activities, but certain situations can breed thoughts of sex.
8. Minimize alone time with your friend.
Try not to spend time all your time with your friend alone. It’s critical that you occasionally include your family or other friends in get-togethers with your friend. Also, be cautious about developing “alone time” routines with your friend.
It’s OK to watch the Fourth of July parade with your friend every year, but it’s not the best idea to power-walk with your friend every morning. Get your partner’s approval for routines that involve your friend.
9. Pay attention to your emotions toward your friend.
If you begin to feel a romantic attraction to your friend or if they share that they have feelings for you you immediately break off your relationship with your friend. You don’t need to be around someone who could jeopardize your relationship with an affair.
We live in a society where people of all genders can share friendships. But when your friendship with a potential love interest crosses the line into potential “affair” territory, stay vigilant and makes sure that your friend respects your relationship with your partner.
Scott Haltzman, M.D., is board-certified in Psychiatry and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He has appeared on the Today Show, 20/20, Good Morning America, Rachael Ray and in TIME Magazine, as well as others.
Originally published on YourTango.