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Private Friends... Is it OK?

Jun 10th 2013 new
When you're in a relationship that is on the marriage track, either talking marriage or officially engaged, is it ok to have friends of the opposite sex that your partner knows nothing or next to nothing about? Is this ok when you are married? Is it ok to have friends of the opposite sex that you share initimate discussions on life events, and your main relationship? I find it interesting that there are many practicing Catholics that think that there is no "cheating" if there is no physical intimacy, or no physical intimacy to the extend of the actually marriage act.

I've spoken to many priests about this, and all of them say the same thing: engaged or married couples ought to not have secret friends, whether or the opposite sex or even of the same sex.

That having been said, is not one of the main comforts of marriage the emotional bond? How can that be maintained if this sort of bond is being shared wtih others outside the marriage? Also, having close friends of either sex that are not shared with your partner is always wrong, and it is especially damaging when these close friends do not share the same marriage values and ideas.

ALSO, is it wrong to expect that one should be able to pick up their spouses cell phone and not be surprised by who their contacts are?

From what I am hearing, most infidelities in marriages occur without the intitial desire or intent, such as with a workplace affair. Sometimes people's wills are in conflict with their desire and/or intent, yet people nowadays people tend to presume that they can live by a code of morality that is half by the spirit of the culture, and half for the Lord. (Although, our Lord has some pretty choice words for people who try to straddle both camps, warning them for their lukewarmness.)

Thoughts? Please share!

Jun 10th 2013 new
No, friends should be public knowledge to both spouses and if one spouse doesn't like the friend, even if the logic is irrational or it's due to jealously, it's not a good idea for the person to keep this friend. No friend is worth the strain put on the marriage and there is always temptation for the friends.
Jun 10th 2013 new
Linea,

Good topic..

In my way of thinking and my beliefs about an authentic Catholic marriage there can be no secrets. Even to the point that if someone wants to tell you something in confidence you need to let them know that you do not "keep confidences" from your spouse if it would in any way be detrimental to your marriage. The same goes if I am the one talking to a friend, male or female. The problem with having a confidant of the opposite sex is that the emotional aspect can (and does) lead to indiscretion. Have you ever heard of the sponsorship concept in AA? It's a way of mentoring and sharing. The organization is very clear- men sponsor men, and women sponsor women.

I don't believe that I need to give an accounting of my exact location through out my work day (I drive between three nursing homes all day long) but if my spouse asked me where I was I would of course tell him. The same goes for me. If he had a job that took him running all over town I really don't need the details of every appointment, gas station stop, etc.

Finally, if a dating couple is unable to communicate or unable work through their issues, conflicts, concerns or reservations with each other or together with a trusted third party (ie, spiritual director, priest, clergy, counselor, etc) I say "Danger Will Robinson, Danger...." These two persons will never be able to wrap a boundary around their marriage . They will never keep the energy, the commitment, or the focus in or on the marriage.

As for cell phones, texts, emails, social media, passwords, etc... well, all of that should be right out in the open. Today's technology makes hiding very easy. I know couples that only have joint accounts on Facebook, and joint emails, etc. For me, my work email has to be private because I discuss private health care issues in my emails. It could be a temptation for some to stray away. We need to be so careful.

I hope that answers your questions/ concerns. I am looking forward to seeing others posts.
Jun 10th 2013 new
Oops.... Lynea, sorry I spelled your name wrong!
Jun 10th 2013 new
My 2 CW is that if there is a relationship with the opposite sex that the spouse does not fulfill than there is something wrong in the relationship. You can have many friends, but if you can only talk with the opposite sex friend about certain things you don't talk with your spouse about there is something wrong in the relationship. rose heart flower
Jun 11th 2013 new
(quote) Lynea-297530 said: When you're in a relationship that is on the marriage track, either talking marriage or officially engaged, is it ok to have friends of the opposite sex that your partner knows nothing or next to nothing about? Is this ok when you are married? Is it ok to have friends of the opposite sex that you share initimate discussions on life events, and your main relationship? I find it interesting that there are many practicing Catholics that think that there is no "cheating" if there is no physical intimacy, or no physical intimacy to the extend of the actually marriage act.

I've spoken to many priests about this, and all of them say the same thing: engaged or married couples ought to not have secret friends, whether or the opposite sex or even of the same sex.

That having been said, is not one of the main comforts of marriage the emotional bond? How can that be maintained if this sort of bond is being shared wtih others outside the marriage? Also, having close friends of either sex that are not shared with your partner is always wrong, and it is especially damaging when these close friends do not share the same marriage values and ideas.

ALSO, is it wrong to expect that one should be able to pick up their spouses cell phone and not be surprised by who their contacts are?

From what I am hearing, most infidelities in marriages occur without the intitial desire or intent, such as with a workplace affair. Sometimes people's wills are in conflict with their desire and/or intent, yet people nowadays people tend to presume that they can live by a code of morality that is half by the spirit of the culture, and half for the Lord. (Although, our Lord has some pretty choice words for people who try to straddle both camps, warning them for their lukewarmness.)

Thoughts? Please share!

You asked a good question and answered it very well.

When I become friends with a married person, I make a serious effort to befriend the spouse as well (regardless of whether my friendship is with the male or female). I do this especially with co-workers. In one case with a gal pal, that was a particularly hard challenge, but as time went on the husband and I became close. He calls me his sister and his wife is grateful for our friendship. Sometimes he calls me to "vent" and after he blows, I give him the women's perspective. I've been there for the hospital visits, confirmations, baptisms and weddings . . .. the birth of grandchildren, and the death of parents. I can spend the afternoon shopping with her and the evening watching football with him. I have truly been adopted into the family. There are times I've had to speak the truth in love and he got so mad he didn't speak to me for a week! But as with all family's, reconciliation comes.

So yes, any friendship, male or female, should be known by all parties. It is selfish and detrimental to do otherwise.
Aug 1st 2013 new
Well said, Marita. I definitely agree with you.
Aug 1st 2013 new
Alma and Marita,
I know of someone who was engaged and whose fiance was to plan the precana with the priest one day. That same day he broke up the relationship because she asked about a friend he had admitted to spending time with after having lied about it admittedly. Then later that week she learned that he had already moved on and had wanted to marry his close friend instead.
Aug 1st 2013 new
Goodness, I have known guys who would break up with their girlfriends to go out with one of their female friends. I even confronted such a fake friend, and he admitted he would break up with his girlfriend for me. I told him he ought to break up with her and be alone because no one deserves to be treated like that and I certainly wouldn't respect someone like him.
Aug 1st 2013 new
Non mutual friends of withers ex is fine, as long as both are aware these friends exist ( no secret friends) and that these friends do not occupy the time on should spend with ones spouse.

It was common for several of us to have a beer after work. Some times it was all of us, sometimes just one.

Now being alone with someone that's a friend mutual or not and is the opposite sex is never a good idea.
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