He is just a “guy friend” – not my boyfriend. We may hang out each weekend. We may talk on the phone for three hours at a time. We may share our hopes and dreams for the future – minus any reference to a committed relationship. We may pray with and for each other. We may study God’s word together. We may confess some of our deepest secrets to one another. But he is just my guy friend.
My point? Joshua Rogers’ article is directed toward men. I agree with his concept – but I’d like to grab that accusatory finger and direct it toward the females now. To be specific, I’m aiming his finger toward myself.
I had a good friend throughout high school whom I will call Alex. For four years Alex and I maintained a very close, platonic relationship. We both moved several times. We kept in touch despite distance. He was one of the best friends I’ve ever had. I felt like I could tell him nearly anything. I went to him for advice when I faced difficult decisions. I called him up to complain when I felt overwhelmed or stressed. He was the first to know when something wonderful happened in my life. I cried on his shoulder each time something devastating happened in my life.
He dated a few different girls over the course of our friendship. I never felt jealous. I knew those relationships lacked the depth his and my friendship possessed. That girlfriend would not know him like I did. She would not understand him on the same level as I could. I had no reason to envy a girlfriend because I knew that I was receiving the full benefits of his emotional intimacy.
Alex was a better man than the young man in Joshua Rogers’ article. After years of friendship, Alex approached the subject of a deeper relationship. Although he faced the possibility of losing a strong and solid friendship, he asked about a dating relationship anyway.
I loved Alex. I truly hoped to marry him. The idea of sharing my life with him excited me. Nonetheless, I told Alex that I viewed him as a brother and that I was not ready for a deeper relationship. While he was hinting toward a dating relationship – before he actually voiced the question, I brought up other guys that I liked in order to steer him away from the possibility.
Although I desperately desired something more – I ran from the opportunity when he presented it. Why? Fear. I could not risk losing such an amazing friendship. The friendship was guaranteed. Romance would spin everything out of control. If we started dating, and then broke up, the friendship would never be the same. I could not chance that. I preferred to use him as my best friend with no physical contact than to move forward in a more holistic relationship.
My married friend shared with me this weekend that the friendship she has with her husband is of primary importance to her. She told me that the physical aspect to their relationship is nice, but that the companionship is more imperative for her satisfaction; she can be happy without the physical aspect. Because men are wired differently than women, the physical aspect of their relationship is of greater importance to him than it is to her.
Following that principle, the companionship I gained from Alex was enough to satisfy me. In essence, I used his vulnerability toward me for my own fulfillment and denied him the dating relationship he may have desired. My motives were completely selfish. Although I admit that I would have liked to marry him, I ultimately chose the platonic relationship over the possibility of marriage using classic “bird in hand” mentality. I limited Alex to “guy friend” status, despite his feelings.