Can I Keep My Guy Friends?
Dear Annie: I have been dating my boyfriend for almost eight years. We were high school sweethearts, and we are each other's first everything, so we've only been with each other.
I've had a guy friend for about six years because we worked together. We've since stayed friends once we both left our jobs. I do hang out with him, but I always let my boyfriend know. My boyfriend was fine with it until an incident happened two summers ago.
I was at an old friend's party in college, and my boyfriend couldn't go because he was working. At the party, there were guys who would flirt with me, but I let them know that I had a boyfriend. One of the guys leaned his head on my shoulder, so I gave him my water to help him feel better. However, he posted the video of the two of us on his Snapchat story, and his ex, who was my friend at the time, saw it at 3 a.m.
I did not know he posted it until I was told the next day. When she saw it, she got very jealous and told my boyfriend that I was sitting on his lap. She was not at the party, but just saw it on her Snapchat story. My boyfriend was devastated and texted me, saying, "We need to talk." I was very confused and not sure what was wrong. He asked me questions about my sitting on a guy's lap. I said, "That never happened."
Eventually, I pointed out to him that I can hang out with whoever I want and he should trust me.
Fast-forward to this past summer. I met another guy who I became friends with. I became sexually attracted to him but never acted on it. Over the course of the summer, I became close friends with him, and the feelings went away because of our friendship. This was the only guy, other than my boyfriend, who I had a sexual attraction to. Meanwhile, my boyfriend has had sexual attractions to many other girls. I was fine with that because it's normal and he never acted upon them.
I told my boyfriend about my sexual attraction to this other guy, but I was still confused because I didn't know it was a sexual attraction at the time. Plus, we share personal stuff like this with each other all the time; we are best friends.
However, the situation keeps being brought up between us about my guy friends, and I'm not sure what to do. We recently just had a conversation about it to work it out again. He knows he needs to work on his insecurities about my having guy friends, but it's exhausting having these conversations over and over again because I feel like he does not trust me. I want to be with him for the rest of my life. I have no interest in any other guy.
Is it OK to be friends with guys and hang out with them like I can with my girlfriends? How can I get my boyfriend to be comfortable and trust me again? What can I do to make this situation better? -- Just Friends
Dear Just Friends: Yes, it is OK to be friends with someone of the opposite gender so long as the rule applies both ways and you don't get jealous if he has girls as friends. Trust is earned when your actions meet your words. Trust takes years to build and seconds to break.
Everyone has sexual fantasies that they don't need to tell the world about. Being at a party at night where guys are flirting with you is asking for trouble, especially when your boyfriend had to work that night. It sounds like the two of you are very close -- you are both good people, really trying -- and when you see the world from the other's point of view, there is much love and support. Keep building on that.
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.