But the person you’ll hear about most if you read this blog is Harvey. Harvey was first in line to hold Jonas at the hospital (even before Jake’s and my parents!). I talk to him on the phone for a half an hour on most weekdays. He’s lived with me for short periods twice. He is totally big brother-y if I’m upset. And he’s all around awesome. If you didn’t pick it up from the many many mentions of Harvey in blog posts, in Project Life, or from the photos of me as Harvey’s groomswoman: my best friend is male.
I’m constantly surprised at how weird people think that is.
It took me awhile to figure it out, but I’ve reached the following conclusion: many people don’t believe that you can truly have a non-sexual, non-romantic, deep and meaningful friendship with someone of the opposite sex who is not related to you. I’m here to tell you that’s ludicrous.
Harvey and I built a strong relationship slowly: I met him because he was close friends with a guy I was dating and after that it was pure proximity + intersecting interests. We went to the same punk concerts, our schools’ swim teams were joined: I was the manager for the boy’s team and he was the manager for the girl’s team when our gendered teams weren’t in season. Jessica’s parents didn’t allow her to spend time with me outside of school (her parents are Jehovah’s Witnesses and I’m really really not one), so most of my non-dating teenage outings were with Harvey (who is a year older and thus got a car much sooner). We both got jobs as lifeguards at the same place (which also happens to be how I met Jake). We formed a bond of friendship over common interests, which grew as we got more comfortable sharing personal stuff (boy/girl troubles and parent troubles, mostly). Romance was never on the table. Not once, not at all. (Except for that whole “If neither of us is married before we’re 35/ let’s not die alone” sort of pact.)
When I met Jake, I was so happy to find out that two of his closest friends were girls. Finally, a guy who got it. That was one of the early signs that our relationship was going to work swimmingly.
Here’s what’s awesome about crossing gender lines with friendships: Jake and I have the same set of friends. You can hardly tell who started out as my friend and who started out as his. We don’t need to try to search out friends who are in couples to do things with. We think that makes for a stronger relationship, because we can do more stuff together, spend time in big, warm, love-filled groups, and no one feels left out.
This all also means that there’s a whole lot of trust going on in our relationship. There’s no jealousy because we know that there’s no chance that either of us would be unfaithful. We’re obsessively in love, and we both know that there’s no one else in the world that would make a better fit for either of us (cue end of sappiness).
And boy, does that trust run deep. I used to spend a lot of time with a guy that I dated before Jake. It was nothing serious when we dated, but there was a fair amount of time spent making out in his band van. As an adult, I held no attraction towards this guy at all. Jake got that, and didn’t care at all that we hung out a lot. Jake worked a weird schedule at the time (so did Harvey), and we weren’t always awake together. So when Jake and Eliza were sleeping, I was lonely. So the ex-dated friend and I would take long night-time walks through the city (which we called “fat kid walks”) in order to soak up the skyscraper beauty, talk about whatever, and try to shed a few pounds.
Jake and I never even thought about all of that being abnormal. Jake and I ended up severing ties with the ex-dated friend, mostly because he refused to be appropriate around Eliza and had a really bad break-up with another friend that made us think less of him. Drama.
When I ran into a friend of the friend a few months ago, he told me that there were rumors through the grapevine that the ex-dated friend and I were having an affair, and Jake found out, and that’s why we stopped talking to the ex-dated friend. I was a little shellshocked, told him that we stopped being around the ex-friend because we only wanted to spend time around people who weren’t so negative and mean (what I actually said isn’t language fit for a family blog).
Is it really that weird for a guy and a girl to be close friends and not be romantically involved? I know we’ve got a ridiculous divorce rate in this country, and a lot of that probably has something to do with infidelity, but to assume that? Really? Ugh. That’s all just silly.
What if I were bisexual? Would people assume that I was sleeping around with any peer I hung out with without Jake? Maybe America watches too much melodramatic TV.
No matter what the prime time soaps tell you, non-romantic friendships with a member of the opposite sex are not some Loch Ness Monster. I really can’t imagine a life without Harvey. These relationships do exist. They can work.
And if it didn’t, where would that leave heterosexual marriages in the Golden Years? The sex and romance can’t last forever: you’d better be able to connect with the person you’re with romantically on a friendship level too. How can you be prepared to do that if you can’t connect with members of the opposite sex in friendships?
Do you have close friends of the opposite sex? Would it/ does it cause jealousy in your relationship? If you are in a same-sex relationship, does the same stigma apply for close same-sex friendships?
Let’s Get Serious is a blog series where we share our opinions and put ourselves out there. We get that not everyone thinks the same way; the same things don’t work for everyone. These are our opinions. They don’t have to be your opinions. We’d like to hear about what you think, but please don’t be mean to us. Let’s respect each other and talk about it!
Next week, it’s reader’s pick for Let’s Get Serious! The theme of our posts next week is “Megan & Jake Get it Done”, so if you have a serious question about how we balance it all or do a certain thing, ask in the comments section and you might just get a full post answer next week!
Want more? You might also like these: