Despite conflicting views on the matter, marriage remains a traditional institution that inspires a different level of commitment, consideration and respect than dating does.
It’s difficult to build and maintain a friendship with a married man without attracting some judgment or suspicion.
Even when it comes to male friends you’ve known for years, the dynamic changes when he puts a ring on it, and it may be difficult to adapt to your new place in his life.
So, in order to stay on the right side of that fine line between friendship and flirtation, abide by these rules of thumb when it comes to your married bros:
If it’s a new friendship, be sure his partner is aware of your existence.
It's a major red flag if your new friend, say the one you met at the office, has not bothered to mention your existence to his better half.
If you’re spending time grabbing lunch together or catching after-work drinks, it may be odd you never come up in conversation when his spouse inevitably asks about his day.
Men who have nothing to hide should be open about their friendships with other women and ensure their wifeys are comfortable with the relationship.
It’s likely the lady of the house would want to meet you, so if you’ve never even had a passing encounter or he doesn’t introduce you at the office party, it’s best to just come out and ask him about it.
It might be awkward for a few minutes, but if the friendship is genuine, he’ll understand why you asked and appreciate your respect for his marriage.
If he brushes it off completely, it may be a sign he had more than a friendship in mind. At that point, you might want to cut that sh*t out.
Homewrecking is not a hobby.
Heed third party warnings.
If you’ve had this friend for a very long time, long before he was married, you may fall into old habits that were considered harmless before the Mrs. came into the picture. Without even realizing it, you may jokingly touch each other or get a bit too close.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to differentiate between friendly teasing and flirtation. But, the people around you may notice and bring it to your attention.
Don’t ignore them or become indignant about the sanctity of your platonic relationship.
Listen to reason, and back the f*ck up. Get some distance, and set some boundaries. If you don't, you may have to let go of the friendship completely Friends come and go, but marriage is forever (for the most part).
Respect the window.
There are some hours of the day and nights when we simply, out of courtesy, do not message or call our friends unless it’s an emergency.
This forbidden window for me is somewhere between 10 pm and 7 am.
If you are blowing up my phone during this window, you are either having a crisis or we’re dating and you miss me.
Even if you are having a crisis, it needs to be a life or death situation.
It's probably best to avoid calling him (or anybody) at 3 am to complain about a fight you had with your sister or that guy who never called you back. Such issues are best resolved in the calming light of day.
Though inconsiderate, late-night talks may have been slightly more acceptable when your friend was single.
But, when his phone rings at that hour now, trust that he will have some explaining to do. He might even resent you for it.
Stay in your lane.
Maybe he was the kind of friend who would drop everything to bring you soup if you weren’t feeling well.
Or maybe, he would pick you up from work when your car broke down.
But now that he's married, he is much less available than he once was.
It’s not that he cares about your friendship any less, although it might feel that way. It’s just that someone else in his life (rightfully) takes precedence over it all.
His time is not only his anymore. It would be inappropriate for you to throw a tantrum about it.
All things considered, this kind of landscape might take some navigation and some getting used to, but at the end of the day, friendship is about sharing in each other’s joy.
Your friend’s partner and marriage makes him happy (I’m hoping).
A good friend should share in that happiness and do what she can to respect and maintain it, even if that means getting a bit awkward and letting a little (or a lot) go.