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Genuine question, because I honestly don't have the answer: Can heteronormative men and women be friends? I used to think so, but experience has caused me to have serious doubts. Am I just naive? Overly optimistic?

Edited for clarity: can men and women be just friends, nothing more?

Nottheonlyone 7 Mar 1

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I looked u the word heteronormative as it is a new word for me. It's not clear to me what you mean by using that word. My first thought was that you were thinking heterosexual but now I am not sure...
Then the next question in my head "I wonder if she means fiends with no sexual tensions..
In the end my head hurt. I am going to have to ask my friend Linda what she thinks on this...

It means that you only believe in man/woman relationships.


Yes, I think that heteronormative men and women can be friends. I think it really depends on how much each person is steeped in gender roles/stereotypes.

In my experience, women are more likely to question gender roles and stereotypes (I'm guessing because of how limiting the can be for us). The problem I have is when men aren't even willing to question societal ideals of masculinity or when one party has clear expectations of how women and men are "supposed to" interact.

I'm shocked by some of the comments I've seen on this site from men directed toward women. I didn't start dating men until I was in my early 40s and the most startling and shocking thing I've discovered about heterosexual men is their immature attitude about sex. Making everything into a sexual joke is something I'd expect from an adolescent boy, not a grown man. I still can't get my head around that one.


It is definitely possible. My best friend is a man. I have had many male friends over the years. It wasn't because either of us were sexually unattractive either. Generally it is due to one of us being in a relationship and the other one respecting that so that sexual attraction isn't considered even if it might be there. It is only possible with men who don't sexually objectify women. It can be very disappointing when you think you have a mutually respectful relationship and that comes up, but then you know that person is not a true friend.

That's the hitch. How can I know who my true friends are?

@Nottheonlyone You can always tell a real friend: when you've made a fool of yourself he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job.

@MrLink I find that both comforting and bothersome. But in all fairness, I've probably done more than my fair share of foolish things.

@Nottheonlyone i still like you.

@MrLink I can't help but wonder if that's only because you don't know me very well. 😉

@Nottheonlyone well, of what I know so far.

@MrLink Thanks, I'll take that!


its natural for men to want to fuck woman

It's natural for women to want to fuck men, too. We're just less obvious about it.

I guess I'm wondering if there can be exceptions. I'm starting to think not, at least in my personal experience.

I think maybe there is but not often.

OK but why does wanting to have sex with someone rule out friendship? It happens or doesn't for whatever reason but I simply don't get why it's a friendship killer. Unless that's the only reason you like the person in the 1st place.

I think you can have a friendship with heteronormal men and woman as I have a friend but her husband doesn't like it and there is nothing going on. I would want to be friends with my partner for sure too.

@Nottheonlyone Please be more obvious. Really please!

@Nottheonlyone Is it possible that there are different kinds of sex? Is it possible that the drunken sex on Saturday night with someone you never met before is an entirely different kind of bonding experience than the sex of, say, two friends on a cold night, and different yet again for an old married couple?

Perhaps I've been misunderstood. Over the past few years, I've come to discover that nearly all of the men in my life (whom I honestly considered my friends) were, at least in some capacity, sexually attracted to me, which has caused me to doubt my own value as a friend. I don't feel I should have to depend on my feminine wiles to attract friends of the opposite sex. And I certainly don't think it should be my job to be stuck in the role of unwitting gate keeper.

There's less than a handful of them who are mature enough to both admit to their feelings and keep themselves in check. And sometimes I still doubt their intentions.

it does work both ways but its still possible. you haven't been misunderstood by me.

@Dick_Martin I'm certain there are different kinds of sex, but I don't see how that's relevant to the topic at hand.

what I mean is there are woman who pretend to be friends but actually want more, not the sex part. I think your right mostly @Nottheonlyone really


Sorry, I am a bit confused. I am a heterosexual and would like to think a damn good one. But I am not heteronormative. I have many female friends, almost no male friends. These female friends are really just friends and there will never be anything more.

I'd say the same thing (except the heterosexual part, which I am not).

@Prussianfire yeah its the heteronormative bit I have a problem with, seems almost homophobic which I certainly am not


I'd certainly say yes. Some of my dearest friends are men.


I loved the word "heteronomative!"
Yes, I think so. It might take a while for a man to realize what kind of relationship it is.

Based on your photo, that is the first thing Hetero Norm will notice. But, it can be overcome.

I'm friends with a lot of women and yes, I've probably had "those" thoughts about all of them at one time or another.

Thank you for your honesty.

@Nottheonlyone Thank you for the thank you.


Yes, but you can't be attracted to each other simple as that. If there is even the slightest bit of attraction, then "friendship" will very naturally want to develop into "more than friends" and that will make for a difficult friendship.

The solution here is of course to give into the attraction, try it out, give it a test drive. At best, you'll find that being friends was too restrictive and you were really meant to be more. At worst, you'll find out reasons why attraction is not enough and remain friends or, at worst (best? 😉 ) friends with benefits.

I think attraction is an evolutionary hook, something to be wary of. I'm not saying it's no fun, just that I'm trying to learn not to trust it wholeheartedly until I'm ready to face the aftermath.


In my opinion and experience yes. Two other wise normal heterosexual members of opposite Genders can be friends.

True I may not be the average guy, I generally find it easier to spend time with women rather than guys. Thus, in my life I have way more female than male friends. Most of these friendships were truely platonic, though I may have pursued one or two romantically at some point in the beginning.

Not everyone can do this though.


It is easier when the woman is not so attractive and the man is not rich, but sure.

Lol. Being the homely chick ftw!


I'm with you. I've always been "over" the whole gender thing. I used to approach relating to men with equanimity. Experience taught me that I'm vanishingly unlikely to meet anyone else whose authentic gender equanimity is even close to mine.

It's frustrating as hell, but what are you (am I) gonna do about it? Get mad that other people aren't like you (me)? Or just accept that people are shittily stupid and subscribe to ridiculous, needlessly limiting paradigms? And that a probable majority of people cannot or will not refuse to be ruled by their hormones and/or subconscious drives?

It is what it is. I've been served too much awful, painful garbage by life to be bothered overmuch by this one. It's disappointing is all. Maybe somewhere there's a heteroman who can treat me like a person instead of a potential vagina delivery-system--but I've run the numbers, and the odds are long. In any case, I've run out of fucks to give about it. sigh


One of my best friends (been friends for 5 years) is a girl. We were never more than just friends, despite being very similar personality wise. It's possible but people do seem to stick with their own sex. Male friends w/male friends and vice versa.

And you have no other feelings for her?

@Nottheonlyone correct


Heteronormative (-: of course! Some of best friends are.... Everyone is an individual.

If you say you have heteronormative friends, you must be heterophobic! 😀 lol


Absolutely !! I have many delightful ladies as true friends, these ladies were from Japan and China, I gave some of them a roof over their heads and a secure and safe place to call home while they worked in New Zealand. We lived alone together and never was there any question of " crossing the line ".They all wrote lovely appreciative letters on leaving here which I treasure to this day. I loved helping with language difficulties and pronunciation. A truly delightful experience.


I would say so given my experience, I had several friendships like that in high school and after college, a few women I knew from work, as well as some that developed over common interests like college basketball or local politics.


Yes .
It's a sad fact that you should have to ask , but I clearly undersatand the need to do so .

Dougy Level 7 Mar 2, 2018

Yes, I have many wonderful male friends. Not everyone wanted to have sex with everyone lol


As a cis-gender woman, it is certainly possible for me to have male friends. When I got to the stage of my life when I was able to get past the "all males are after only one thing" versus "I'm only a woman and any attention is flattering" mindset, it became possible. Humans are humans and I will be selective about choosing friends but will not exclude any because of gender alone.


I don't think you can seperate liking and caring for someone out of attraction. If you like someone you are going to feel at least some attraction. Maybe it's an issue of control? Just because you're attracted to someone doesn't mean you have to do anything about it. In some cases it's best not to cross that line. Another issue is the societal norm of monogamy. You're only supposed to be physically intimate with one person but that definitely doesn't work for many people either. Not sure if this old dog can learn this new trick but I understand why 'friends with benefits' can be an emotionally healthy way to live.


Yes as long as one of them doesn't have a strong sexual or romantic attraction to the other. That almost always makes it a dishonest friendship.


It really depends on the pair. I would say it more like this, most men are not made to be just friends.

But women are?

Maybe I've just been under this rock for too long, but when I was married, I assumed all of my male friends were just friends. And, if I'm going to be perfectly honest, I couldn't have imagined it any other way. I was so.... neglected is the word, I suppose, by my husband that I assumed I was unattractive, that the only reason people of either gender wanted to be around me was for friendship. So when I realized that wasn't true, I felt disillusioned. Maybe I should have felt flattered. I just don't know.


I made friends with girlfriends of friends of mine. It was safe b/c romantics were off the table. Wish it was always that easy.


Family are the only ones we don't get to choose to have in our lives. Even then, we can decide at what capacity and frequency. Absolutely, we can choose the dynamics of our relationships. But, understanding that it can and will be subject to change. Who and how we choose to interact with is our prerogative. I believe you can be friends and a lover with someone. But, not want to be in a relationship with them at that time. Things change naturally. Life is going to happen. The more we expect of life, the more we're bound to be disappointed. Love your life and the people in it. Be honest and convey your intentions. We make our own happiness.

I agree. I was simply surprised to learn how many of my guy friends were attracted to me. I honestly had no clue. And for some reason, that bothers me.

Maybe I'll journal about it, see what shakes out.

@Nottheonlyone I'd like to truthfully say,"We're all adults here." But, people have difficulty distinguishing between Love and Lust. Admitting there is a difference between them is the first step. Then dig a little deeper. Find the source of your own gravitational pull. It will bring clarity to most of your interpersonal interactions.

The source of my own gravitational pull... I'm gonna have to work on that. Self-acceptance has never come easily to me.

Thanks for the thoughtful feedback, I appreciate it.


Yes, I've had several female friends for many years. I will admit that with some of them it became sexual at one time or another when I was single, but we managed to remain friends even after that.


Yes I have a female friend....just the one when I sat and thought about it...well two but she is an ex.....I would find it very hard being a friend to a woman I was attracted to mind would wander off to often which is not something I worry about with my male friends...its the curse of being a man.: )

You are not being naive but you have some honest answers from the male perspective here.

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