Three Friends, Two Sexes, One Question

To keep the question/issue as unclouded as possible, I will put it very simply.

If three people are friends, and two of them are a couple, is it appropriate or inappropriate for the other friend to call the opposite-sex friend more often than the same-sex friend?

I guess that doesn’t sound simple at all. Reads like a damn word problem. “A train going at 45 mph…”

Okay. Female Dopers, if you and your man were equally good friends (read: met at the same time, friendship developed equally all around, generally hang out as a threesome, etc.) with a woman, would it bother you if she called your man more than you? Or if the conversations were longer with him than with you? If she text-messaged him more frequently?

The same question goes to the male Dopers. Would you care if your mutual friend seemed to call your honey more than he called you? Or seemed to talk to her for longer periods of time? Whether you’re present or not?

It’s important for the sake of the question to note that there is plenty of contact on all sides; these people are all equally good friends and hang out together. The question is restricted to phone/text/IM/whatever contact.

This is not a case where you have a friend and then they become friends with your SO also, through you; your and your SO met your friend at the same time and the friendships developed at the same pace.

I’ve gotten varying answers on this from my own friends; there seems to be two main viewpoints. One view is that a friendship between people of the opposite sex can be asexual (or at least honestly platonic) and it shouldn’t matter because the three people are all equally good friends, so who cares. It’s a silly question. It sounds like you’re asking for “permission” to talk to your own freakin’ friend, or that you should avoid them under certain circumstances (like “I saw something my friend would think is funny–I need to tell him about it” and then you think, “Wait, maybe I shouldn’t”) and where’s the sense in that?

The other viewpoint is that, out of respect for the feelings of the other guy/girl in the couple, care should be taken never to show too much interest in their other half. So, for instance, if you’re a girl and you’re friends with a couple, don’t call/seek out/text, etc. the guy more often than the girl, even inadvertently. It’s all about respect for those unwritten boundaries. No sense even planting the seed of curiosity about your motives. This should be common sense.

I am genuinely curious to see if there is a consensus on this, or if opinion will fall equally on both sides.

For me, it would depend on whjy I thought this was happening. If it was apparent, when we were together as a group, that the male friend just got on a lot better with my girl than he did with me, and I didn’t detect any sexual tension, then I wouldn’t be concerned. If I thought there was something more involved, and that it might be recipricated, then of course I’d be a little concerned or at least find it off putting.

Short answer: Yes, it would bother me if a woman who was friends with both me and my SO was in more frequent contact with my SO than she was with me, if she has known both me and my SO for pretty much the same length of time. (If she knew him first, different set of issues, of course.)

And it would appear that I didn’t read all of your post. If the friendship is equal all round, then, I don’t know. It is a situation where infinite variables can change how I’d feel about it. If it involved my current wife, I’d probably shrug it off, even if I thought the guy was keen sexually, I’d find it a bit of a joke really. Mainly because I’m very secure in my trust for my wife.

With some of my ex-girlfriends, I’d be worried.

There’s only really two things that could be happening. Either the other party happens to be more comfortable communicating with my other half, or they are romantically interested, my response depends entirely on which of those I think is the case.

My personal view is that text messaging would be the crux of the matter. The only reason for texting platonic friends would be to verify times and/or venues of meetings with* the couple*.

If texting goes on more regularly than would be necessary for quick updates as per above, I’d be concerned.

Then again there are cases where

a) People treat couples as a single unit and use whatever they are used to for communication with that unit.


b) People might have more trouble communicating with the same sex. This is the case for me, and I suppose I’m always the “friend” from your story. Besides, why the hell would I call a guy just to chat? Guys don’t do that. Sometimes I feel like talking but don’t have anything to say. I can’t call a guy, that’d just be weird.

I guess I am that guy with some couples I know. I met both husband and wife at the same time, but I tend to chat with the wife more often than with the husband. Why? Because us guys just don’t talk. I can say “How was your day?”, and he will reply “Fine, how was yours?” I reply “OK”, and the conversation is over. If I ask his wife the same question she will answer with what went on that day, and we end up having a conversation.

The strange thing is one of the coupes I know when we are in person the communication changes. I met them online, and am always talking with the wife. Then when we met in person sometimes I felt like we were leaving her out of the conversation because we were talking back and forth so much. After they went back home I ended up back talking to the wife much more than the husband.

It isn’t even that what we have in common. The one couple above the husband and I are both computer network experts, and the wife, although very intelegent, does not understand the networking concepts we tend to talk about. I just talk about different things with her, and her husband. If I want to find out what is going on in their life I talk to her, and if I want to ask a question about sending proxy ARP requests across a ATM backbone I ask him.


Nah, wouldn’t bother me. I’m probably not a good person to ask though because I was born with out the “Jealousy” gene.

So much so I’ve gotten in troublge for NOT being jealous. If you can believe that.

That being said; my ex-wife used to get jealous of this one female friend of mine. A friend, who I have known for about eight years before I even met my wife.

My wife said she could TELL that she had the hots for me. I used to laugh and shrug her off (my wife) telling her: “Bwaha… That’s rediculous, we’ve known each other for years. Your just reading to much into our friendship.”

Unfortunately, later on down the road my wife turned out to be right because my “friend” professed her love for me after having one too many drinks at a party.

I felt really bad for her. :frowning:

But at the same time; How the hell did my wife know that?! (and not me?)

It seems to me that the sexual orientation of the “odd person out” would be an important factor.

That was my positive contribution, my “cute” remark is that a threesome would resolve the matter once and for all. :wink:

Umm, look at all your male friends who have female friends they secretely lust after. You can tell, right? Even without them saying a word. Women can do the same thing with women, but not that well with men. Now, before you run off trying to use this to your advantage somehow, be warned, that women that are interested in you (openly or not) will often tell you somebody is interested in you to read your reaction. No, not the following “Her? No, no way, I’ve known her for years, she’s like a sister to me”, but the split-second facial twitch preceding that. Yes, that one :wink:

That’s just silly. You never email friends for any reaon other than to confirm appointments? You never pass along jokes or dash off a couple of lines about the thing that just happened at work or whatever? Texting is just another form of email, and texting someone doesn’t all by itself have sinister implications.

While I agree with your general thrust, e-mail and text messaging are two different animals in practice. I only use text messaging basically to ask where somewhere is or to confirm the time we’re meeting or some such thing. It’s just too unwieldy to type out a longer message like you would with e-mail.

As for the OP, I’m in that situation with one couple that I’m friends with. I talk with the femal component a lot more than I talk with the male - although I don’t call her on the phone or something. Part of that really is just the gender thing. I don’t call up or e-mail my male friends just to chat. There has to be a reason. The other reason is that the woman and I have more in common and have similar interests. For instance, we both have more of an interest in art than my male friend, so a lot of time she’ll give me a call to ask if I want to go to an exhibit that he doesn’t want to go to. On the other hand, if we’re all together as a group then I am just as likely to talk with him as with her, so I don’t think it’s a big deal. Plus, he’s not the jealous type anyway. If I ever thought he had a problem with it, I’d back off.


To me, text messaging means “I’m at work/school/on a bus/eating lunch/at the library, but I’m bored and would like to communicate with someone.”

I would have no problem with the situation stated above. Most of my friends are guys, and so yeah, they contact me a lot. I’d be kind of offended if my current SO expected me to downgrade these friendships, most of which have existed long before he came around.

Hmm. I’ve always had male friends who are… wait, I can’t think how to word this. I’ve always had guy friends that are friends with my husband as well, but chat more with me. It’s never been a problem. And vice versa.

In the rare instances that one of has thought a friend was becoming non-platonically interested, we’ve discussed it, sent out clear ‘only friends’ signals, and it’s been fine.

I have been on this situation on both sides fro much of my life. I also tend to have more female than I male friends since I started college and I am married now. I tend to treat everyone as an individual and I don’t even care about the sex or the traditional rules.

That has led to conflicts when I took another person’s wife out to dinner if we happened to being doing something together and it was that time. My wife knows me and has basically the same view. We have a couple of female friends that we are friends with almost coincidentally at the same time. They aren’t friends with us as couple and I don’t want it to be treated that way. They might call her about one thing and then call me a little while later for something unrealted.

The way the OP describes things is a complete non-issue in my view and I have to remind myself that not everyone views these things the way I do.

Guys don’t “call just to chat” unless there’s a motive. Or unless he’s gay.
Guy phone calls are:

Guy 1 “Yo, what are you doing tonight?”
Guy 2 “Nothing. You?”
Guy 1 “Not a damned thing. I’m coming over.”
Guy 2 “Word. I’ll unlock the back door.”
That’s it. Total phone time: 30 seconds tops.

If you wish more insight, read the ladder theory.
Ladder Theory

That should explain everything…

Two of my best friends in the world are a couple, and I definitely communicate more with the guy–we’re very alike, get each other’s weird humor and bad jokes and are just in general more chummy. I love his wife dearly, but she’s the more reserved of the two, is less communicative and also works the opposite schedule from mine–she’s graveyard, I’m very early AM shift. So yeah, I’m much more on the phone, or texting or visiting with him by a long shot. It’s not an issue because we’re friends and have been for twelve years–if he and I were going to screw around we’d have done it long ago!


Three Friends.


Two Sexes.



**One Question.

Just when they thought it was safe to see movies with mutual friends…

Scandal shook their little town forever.**

Hello??!? dialtone

Double the Action!

“PUT DOWN THE PHONE!” machine gun fire

Triple the Excitement!


This summer, Arnold Schwarzenegger is…

racing heartbeat, Schwarzenegger running in slow motion

The Back Stabber.

With a soundtrack by the O’Jays.

I have the exact same relationship with my two best friends as SmartAleq.

He and I (i’m a woman) knew eachother from 5th grade but I disliked him. She and I became close friends in high school. I hooked them up. I hated having to hang out with him when they started dating. Then she went off to college 2 years before us, and he and I somehow clicked and were inseperable best friends. Like those kind of people that other people always refer to as SoAndSo :slight_smile:

15 years later we’re all three still close as close can be, and the two of them are married. She and I are both pretty anti-social as it is so we don’t talk much. We bowl together once a week w/o him and he and I take karate classes once a week w/o her. We do stuff as a “threesome” all the time (like today).

She doesn’t hardly use email or IM, and those are my major modes of communication. He and I are both online at work all day and at night. We chat all the time, definitely call eachother more than she and I. She gets up at 6 AM and goes to bed at 9. I am a nightowl. I usually need him more than her - like for lifting heavy stuff or moving things in his truck.

So it just sort of works out that way that he and I are the best best friends of the group, but I love and respect them equally and consider them both my best friends. I think at the beginning of our relationships, in high school, there was some jealousy from her but she is very insecure and even so it didn’t take her long to be comfortable with our relationship, and he’s the sort of dude that would never cheat - and if he did, it wouldn’t be with me.

All that lovely story being said - I think I am insecure enough that if I was in the position of being the female in a relationship where my guy talks to our female friend more than I do, I would feel weird and there’d be problems. I give my friend props for being cool about it.

Good point. It’s funny how much I overlook that too.

I guess I’m weird in that I’m comfortable with my wife having male friendships exclusive of me but I think I’d react differently if it were a mutual friend. Maybe that’s just an issue of possible double betrayal or that in her exclusive relationships I only have to trust just her, I don’t know.