Discussion related to living as a Catholic in the single state of life. As long as a topic is being discussed from the perspective of a single Catholic then it will be on-topic.
Tobias and Sarah's story is from the Book of Tobit, and his journey is guided by Saint Raphael.
Learn More: Tobias & Sarah as led by Saint Raphael
Yes, I have always had male friends in fact three of my best friends now are men. We don't see each other often but always left off where we started the last time. The three I grew up with, there were 6 of us that hung around together and all of them are married...none to each other. I have made male friends thru work or church and they were either married or not interested in anyhing but friendship, at least as far as I know. There were some females that wouldn't allow my male friends to be friends with me while they were dating, but they eventually went their own way. I enjoy the perspective of the man in any subject, very informative.
I think there is some confusion as to what constitutes a friend.
I would point out (again) that the level of intimacy in a friendship that I am referring to is not allowable between one person and another person of the opposite sex if either one of the two is married. It would involve keeping company with another's spouse, which the Church forbids.
I might meet a former (unmarried) co-worker for a lunch date and make small talk with her, but that wouldn't rise to the level of friendship I am referring to. If someone asks if we are dating, however, either one of us would say, "No, we are just friends."
But brothers and sisters are not friends, regardless of how we consider the term. (They may very well be our friends, but it's certainly not automatic. I know people who no longer talk to certain brothers or sisters.)
I'll put the question to you, Donna: When a man and a woman share a non-physical intimacy, what is the natural barrier that prevents them from moving towards marriage? Because someone has to be hitting the brakes. In one post on this thread, the man had a vocation to the priesthood, which would certainly serve to interrupt any growing attraction between two people.
I would say that my younger sister is my friend since she knows me very well personally and I usually list her as an emergency contact when required.
I don't want to speak for Donna, but there is one woman a few years ago that I was interested in courting and after getting to know her better decided it was better to be friends since it seemed like our personalities were too different. I wanted to be friends but she didn't; maybe she has more of your personality?
Another woman that I know, is interested in being close friends with me. Since marriage involves physical attraction, that is what is preventing me from moving towards marriage with her. Being friends with someone doesn't really require being physically attracted to someone; in our case it is related to the 20+ years that we've known each other as single, never married and being involved in Catholic singles groups in the Cincinnati area.
I have acquaintances who are both male and female and I have friends who are both male and female and I have very close friends who are both male and female and I had one friend who was my ultimate friend, also my spouse. There are very clear cut boundaries and roles and my very close friends who also happen to be male were always very respectful of husband and my marriage as was I. I never kept company with any married or not married in any sort of compromising situation. The multitude of intimacies in a marriage operate on many levels from the physical to the non-physical and include many things that I would not share even with my closest female friend.
A marriage is an incredibly rich, nuanced tapestry and there are threads woven into it that are absolutely unique to the marital bond. You will never be able to capture them, create them, share them or experience them in anything other than a marital bond. . .you won't find them in the tapestry created with your friend and you definitely will not be able to find them or have them in an affair.
In our current society sex permeates and rots everything. The assumption is that two people of the opposite sex will automatically be drawn into sex really bugs me. This assumption permeates all discussion of teens and sex -- that they will be unable to avoid it, they are going to have it, so better contracept them. I say that is ridiculous, some will and some won't. Along with the idea that love must be expressed in sex. Love is free of sex. In marriage, sexual intimacy becomes a special language of love between the spouses. It is not the same in an illicit sexual relationship, nor is the love I have for my friends something I feel it necessary to express in that way and I have never felt that they did either.
I have been widowed almost a year now and my friends both male and female have been there. I have had long discussions. I have cried with them. They have hugged me and held me and held my hand and talked to me and loved me. None have offered sexual services (as evidently happens to some widows), none have made a pass, none have asked me on a date, nor intimated that they are interested in more, not even those I am closest with. Of my two very closest friends one is male and single and one is female and married. My male friend is a very good man, a very good practicing Catholic and I think him among the finest of men. I suppose it is possible with the boundary of my marriage removed something could develop but given that almost a year has passed and nothing has changed in our relationship, I don't think that is going to happen.
I don't know if it is something you have to experience, but the most intimate and dear friendships I have in no way compare to the relationship I shared with my husband, it is exponentially different and even my most intimate friendships pale in comparison to the marital relationship. And, that does not mean marriage is always smooth sailing and without slights and hurts and rough patches, but it is an entirely different thing. Having experienced both I continue to believe it is possible to have close friendships with members of the opposite sex that do not infringe upon the marital relationship, and I have to date had no experience that would indicate it was not possible.
There could be more than one natural barrier: one is lack of physical attraction, another could be both parties or one is off limits so one doesn't even go there...not even in thought...this is natural respect for the other and for oneself (not to mention one of God's commandments), another could be a charateristic or habit the other person may have that one knows one doesn't want in a long term relationship, however, it is acceptable as a friend. I refer to a friend as a brother only because I would not consider them anything more...being very open and honest...I think age (not much time left, and also not being afraid to be oneself), also enters the picture and faith as well.
This is just a quick response...coming home from Long Term Care...my dad isn't well, and time for bed. I am sure I will ponder some more tomorrow on this.
I'll give you an A for brevity but I don't believe you have read the post; you are confusing acquaintances with friends, and I clearly differentiate between the two.
I would also point out that you would not have male married friends who you were emotionally intimate with, as keeping company with another's spouse to this extent is forbidden by the Church. I have read enough of your posts to say with certainty that you take the Church's teachings seriously enough that you would not sin either by doing this or by giving scandal.
I read your post. I just think your definitions are a bit skewed. My point still stands, people of opposite genders CAN share "friendships" as you class them; ie. the expression of "emotional intimacy". That term in of itself, I'm no fan of either, but that's another thread.
A female having a male friend where you share your hopes/goals/dreams/fears/whatever is perfectly acceptable, not to mention mentally healthy as it gives you another view point from the opposite gender. To treat a "friendship" with someone of the opposite gender as something that causes scandal is offensive to both individuals, and it once again reinforces the secular view that people of opposite genders can't be friends, because we're obviously all hormonally raging sex crazed maniacs.
Yes, there's always the risk of scandal, but that can be mitigated by not hanging out privately where others know of this. You can still go out with these people in a group, or hang out in public places. Granted, charity towards the partners of the opposite sexed individual should be considered, especially if they're those jealous, clingy types who can't fathom their partner having friends outside of their gender.
I mean, really, this isn't Afganistan under the Taliban. People of opposite genders can associate and be friends without ending up in some orgy.
Yes men and women can be friends without either one being romantically attracted to the other it happens all of the time. It does not take anything away from present or future relationships. Should one of you marry it does change a little, but the friendship remains. I know because my best friend got married a little over a year ago. My best friend and I talk at least once a week, and meet for lunch occasionally when he has an appointment where I live. Sometimes his wife is with him and sometimes she is not. She does not have a problem with our friendship. I know because I came right out and asked her. The guy I am dating does not have a problem with it either.
It is not the same kind of friendship you have with your spouce. I know because I was married for almost 24 years until we were parted by death.
If you consider this a sin, then a lot of us are sinning then. Personally I do not see it as a sin.
To side track, your premise could also prohibit relationships with the same gender who are same sex attracted.
My best mate from my school days is a lesbian. We have fantastic arguments over the redefining marriage to accomodate same sex couples, but we're still bloody good mates. She's in a same sex relationship. Does that mean I commit the sin of scandal when I hang out with her? Does that mean we can only be accuquitances?
What about a woman being friends with a homosexual male? A homosexual male in a same sex relationship?
It would involve keeping company with another's spouse, which the Church forbids.
I would very much like it if you could direct us all to Church documents and teaching that expand on this.
I'm going to generalise and assume by thinking you're not just referring to the "thou shalt not committ adultery" business as being your sole foundation for this argument. Surely we as a Church haven't become that prudish that "hanging out as friends" hasn't been classed as adultery. Even with the emotional discussions.
I've been successfully married and know what kind of man I need to be successfully married again. None of these men is IT, although any of them would be right for someone else.
Naturally, when we first got acquainted there was some of that "What if?" in the back of my mind. But when it evaporates there is absolutely NO reason to cut off the acquaintance. "Lovers or nothing" is nonsense.
Maybe the best way to describe this kind of relationship is "brother-sister". But that would be the second best type of friendship, after marital friendship, don't you think?
But brothers and sisters are not friends, regardless of how we consider the term. .... I know people who no longer talk to certain brothers or sisters.
True. I no longer talk to my sisters...but my brother is my best friend at this stage of my life. He wants what is good for me, listens to my secrets, and tells me the truth. That's a friend.
When a man and a woman share a non-physical intimacy, what is the natural barrier that prevents them from moving towards marriage?
There are many possibilities.
Man #1: Too much like me to offer the challenge -- and comfort -- of a different point of view. Like having two light bulbs but no socket.
Man #2: Too settled in his ways. Though more adventurous now than when we first met, he is too stodgy for me to drag along.
Man #3: Too hurt by a failed relationship to move on.
Man #4: Deeply desires to have a family of his own, which I cannot give, and his regard for me is not strong enough to overcome that.
Man #5. Needs someone to give to him, but cannot give to me (for whatever reason).
But the quick answer is: you sometimes just don't like a person enough to be willing to get over these (and other issues).
And, yes, you can be friends without liking someone 100%!!