How long’s a piece of string?
Age old question, usually revolving around far more factors than sex. Have I missed any below?
1. The nature and compatibility of the two for a start – outgoing, introspective, likes casual affairs, is the faithful type, same type of humour and so on. If this isn’t right, there’s nothing.
2. Do you like a specific feature in that person, sufficient for it to outweigh the negatives?
3. What do you need in a friendship? Are you looking for a prop, someone to just have a laugh with, mutual interests, a prelude to a relationship, what? A golfing partner? Sometimes I think that a man’s and a woman’s concept of friendship differs. Whereas he just appreciates a mate to knock around with [the platonic meaning of that word], she might want something deeper and more conversation based.
4. How intimate can it be? Handshake, hug, kiss, casual sex?
5. Does it coexist with another full on relationship and how much can your partner take?
6. Do you see it changing and do you intend it to change? Can you keep it in the groove you’ve agreed?
7. Is there some form of obligation to it? That is – do you have to get along, according to a boss?
8. Location – is it a sports friendship, a work colleague, what?
9. Would certain personal habits or attitudes in the other or even in you kill it off? There only have to be one or two. With a friendship, you can then scale back face to face time but in a partnership, you can’t.
10. Then the biggy – the attraction gap. I might immediately fall for her but she certainly might not feel the same way. This precludes the friendship because I can’t stand the idea of it not going further – she is just too beguiling. I’d try to just sit the other side of the cafe table and act all platonic but if that’s not possible, then I’d have to get out of there quickly.
Gender differences [I’m not going to call them sex differences]
Men: I believe that men fall into two camps – those who like to play the field and have as many lovers as possible and those who fall madly in love, hopelessly in love with the one lady and want to make love as often as possible. There’d be a small minority who’d find a halfway position but most men don’t.
If it runs deep, then when it ends, it devastates him for months. It took me a couple of years to get over one lady.
Women: I believe that the majority of women want something more serious than casual flings [although it’s definitely changing]. They put far more of a premium on the “onwards and upwards” and if he doesn’t respond to that, feeling that he’s done the hard work and can now rest on his laurels, she’ll move on to the next partner, in a form of serial monogamy.
It usually only runs deep for her if he’s a bad boy or a hunk [in which case he can do whatever he likes to her and she’ll still come back for more], then when it ends, it devastates her for days or not at all because she’s already moved on in her head.
These gender differences spill over into friendships too. If a woman feels the male friend is no longer providing that which she needs, she moves on and he can be puzzled by this.
I work on the basis that she’ll be the very best friend a man can have for some time, putting effort in which your mate [male] just doesn’t but all my friendships with women have had a shelf life – either she eventually tires of it, as she gently extracts herself or else her own life changes onwards and upwards and she moves on or else one of us wishes to redefine it beyond that which the other will accept.
It’s never easy. I appreciate friendships between men and a women but understand that they can be ephemeral. On the other hand, knowing this, in itself, can create a barrier of fatalistic cynicism which can be equally as damaging as any of the factors above. This is a surefire recipe for dying alone.
Is it possible?
Under certain circumstances, for some time, usually [but not always] determined by her.