In the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally, Harry famously said, “men and women can't be friends.” Now throw in a ring and wedding vows he’s taken with someone else. Is there any chance of being friends with a man who is married?
Rachel, 38, a banker who is living single life in New York City, remembers her “friendship” with a married doctor. “We’d meet at events and hang out together the entire evening,” she confesses. “It seemed harmless enough. We were in a public place, and we never left together.”
But she admits that sometimes their conversations got a little racy. “There was something about getting turned on and that happening to all women he was around,” she says. “But we were just enjoying our time together, and there is nothing wrong about that, right?”
Fran Greene, relationship expert and author of the upcoming book, Dating Again with Courage and Confidence: The Five-Step Plan to Revitalize Your Love Life After Heartbreak, Breakup or Divorce, begs to differ. “You can’t be friends if you have romantic feelings for your married pal,” she says. “If you’re physically attracted to him, and when he talks about his wife, you find yourself getting jealous, the answer is ‘no.'"
What if you knew your guy pal before he tied the knot?
“If this is a person you knew before you got married, the odds of the friendship staying intact are much higher,” Fran says. “Your friendship is built on years of knowing him as a single dude, and nothing can erase that.”
Just know that things will change.
“When you come home from a date wanting to talk about how great – or how horrible – it was, that may not be an option at that time. You have to respect those ‘new married’ boundaries.”
There is one caveat of being the gal before his bride, as one girl learned, “your guy pal will need to vent about his spouse from time to time and you, his trusted gal pal, will be first in line.”
He’s married, you’re married, this relationship must be totally chill, right?
“If you’re friendship transcends gender, meaning you have a common interest, like gardening or karaoke, then it will most likely work,” Fran says.
She adds that your respective spouses should be fully aware of the friendship. “That way there are no hidden or misconstrued notions of what the relationship is,” she explains. “And it probably shouldn’t be your most prominent friendship, as time is a precious commodity and you really shouldn’t take away time he would spend with his wife.”
Of course, there is one time this friendship should come to a crashing halt. “If you’re just saying that you’re just friends, but in really want to be more, it’s time to end it,” Fran surmises.
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