My friendship with my best friend started with a simple assigned seat in the eighth grade.
All through high school, we hung out in the hallways between classes and had hour long conversations in the evenings. This is the way our friendship has continued through the years and no one has ever questioned it.
I'm sure at first they must have wondered if we were REALLY friends, but eventually they could see that it was a familial bond. That is to say, those who have been around to witness how truly close we are have accepted our friendship as being genuine.
The fact that he's a male, however, has always raised eyebrows from strangers and new acquaintances.
We've never looked at our friendship in any light other than what it has always been. A romantic relationship had never been an option. Sometimes people act like a male and female can't be strictly friends, but I think at this point we are testament that it is absolutely possible.
It isn't any different than any of my female friendships. Except that he's not at all interested in makeup. And I do dish about my love interests in the same way that I would to any girlfriend, and he does the same.
This is a harder concept to digest for someone who I'm considering seriously in a romantic way.
It's hard to impart to a man that the other male in my life is just a friend. They may think that there are possibilities in the air that I may not be making them aware of. Sometimes they think that maybe a relationship may have happened in the past and was ended, after realizing that it was a mistake. Even as they meet him, and see firsthand, what many years of being friends looks like, they can still carry the stigma in the back of their minds.
When I meet a guy that I'm considerably interested in, he learns the following things: I'm looking for a serious relationship, I'm a "Game of Thrones" fanatic, and my best friend is male.
I put it out on the table as early in the relationship as possible. They'll know about my best friend before they even know if I have any siblings. That way, they can decide whether it is a deal breaker for them or not. Because in all honesty, after so many years of being friends, there's no way I'm ending my friendship over some guy. If it's going to be a problem, I want to know from the beginning before I invest any feelings into what's developing.
So far, I've had no one out-right say they have a problem with my friendship with a male. There have been questions though and one of my exes did admit it bothered him -- but only because we were breaking up. However, I've had conversations with friends of both sexes that have admitted they would not tolerate their SO having a close opposite sex friendship.
Mostly, they fear that the friendship could be a loophole into cheating. They're afraid it could turn into an ongoing affair hidden under the disguise of a childhood friendship.
I understand the very real and palpable fear of being duped. You do not want to put your heart on the line to be blindsided by something that was in your face all along. But relationships are built on trust and insecurities like that so early on, can't be a good thing. It is much better to keep an open mind.
The best relationship I've had thus far has never feared my friendship with my best friend. Instead, he would remind me,
Don't forget to tell your best friend about that joke I told you.