Is It Wrong to Hang Out With Another Guy While Dating Someone?
So, you’re seeing somebody–congratulations!
Maybe it’s even serious, maybe it’s even love.
But being in a relationship doesn’t mean that no other men exist in the world, and it’s possible that some other person might want to spend time with you outside of your relationship.
A coworker might ask to get to know you outside of work, or you might reconnect with an old friend from school.
Is this cheating?
How can you tell when someone is interested in an innocent friendship versus something more?
How can you tell where your interest is–sometimes, feelings can really knot themselves up!
Read on for the skinny on friendships with men other than your boyfriend.
And do note that this advice is universal, so don’t worry if you’re not a woman with a boyfriend! It’ll work out just the same.
Knowing His Motives
Let’s lay it out, once and for all: it’s completely possible for men and women to just be friends.
While there can be a little culture clash in these relationships due to the way that different genders are raised, your friendship with a man can be just as valuable as those you have with other women.
But how do you know if that’s what your guy pal wants?
Sure, it’s possible that he only wants to pursue a friendship with you, or he may be interested in something more.
Here are a few ways to tell that a man is interested in you romantically or sexually.
Signs He’s Into You
- He keeps asking you to hang out.
- If a guy friend keeps wanting to hang out, it can just mean that he’s interested in you as a friend. But keep in mind the contexts he’s asking you to be with him in. If he’s inviting you to house parties or movie nights among his friend group, that’s different than if he’s asking you to hang out alone.
- He uses mirroring.
- ‘Mirroring’ is a behavior that all people use when they’re speaking to people they like, whether they’re conscious of it or not. If someone is mirroring you, that means that they are showing the same body language that you are. Maybe they’re sitting in the same position, or making the same gestures that you are. If you’re talking with your hands, does he start to do that, too? It’s not a foolproof way to tell, but it can definitely help.
- You think he likes you.
- It’s impossible to know for sure, but if you just have the feeling that he’s interested in you as a lover, there’s definitely a possibility that you’re right. Trusting your gut is one of the most important things you can do for success in relationships, and that applies just as much here as it does anywhere else.
- He gets touchy.
- This is the big one. While men can be very hands-on with their male friends (think a playful slap or fist-bump), they usually don’t touch women as much. If your friend touches your shoulder during a conversation, gently touches your lower back as he passes by, or any other soft touch, this can be a sign that he’s attracted to you.
Knowing Your MotivesIn these situations, it’s important to be honest with yourself about what you want from the relationship.
Being open with yourself is another golden rule for luck in love, and it applies here.
It’s also okay if you’re unsure–you don’t have to figure everything out right away.
Take the time to do a little soul-searching, and figure out what feels right.
If You’re Uncomfortable With Him
If you feel uncomfortable with the idea of another man being interested in you, you don’t have to spend any time with him at all.
Women often say ‘yes’ far too much, and it can be harmful to our mental health.
If you’re receiving unwanted attention, don’t be afraid to turn him down when he asks to hang out.
If You Want To Be Friends
But what if you do want to spend time with him? Full stop, this doesn’t make you a cheater.
Wanting to be friends with a man while you’re in a relationship is completely fine.
It’s only cheating if you act on any attraction you might feel.
If You Want To Be More Than Friends
This can be really, really hard.
A lot of people can feel really torn between an existing partner and a new spark of attraction.
But it is possible to navigate this situation with grace–and to avoid betraying anybody’s trust.
Let me tell you a little story: when I was in college, I was mired in a failing relationship.
Even though I loved my partner, we were long-distance and the communication wasn’t there.
I became friends with another man, and eventually became attracted to him.
This led me to end my relationship with my partner at the time.
This wasn’t cheating, it wasn’t an ‘emotional affair,’ and it wasn’t wrong.
It took befriending this other man to find out that my relationship was over.
A lot of thinking went into my decision–it’s important not to rush these things.
But still, if you really feel you’d be happier with this other man, it’s okay to move on.
What If Your Boyfriend Doesn’t Like It?
It’s entirely possible that your current boyfriend might become jealous of this male friend of yours, no matter how you actually feel about him.
Jealousy is a normal feeling, but it can be a red flag depending upon how he chooses to act on that feeling.If your boyfriend is disrespectful of you for being friends with another man, or if he becomes controlling, it’s time to break it off no matter what.
You deserve to be your own person–and you deserve respect.
What If You Like Them Both?
If you’re happy in your relationship with your boyfriend, but you’re also having feelings for someone else, don’t panic.
This is natural and totally okay.
Now, this is not a one-way street here. You may encounter a situation like this: my boyfriend won’t cut ties with his ex.
Learn to find out what to do about it.
Take some time to decide what it is you really want from this situation.
Think of the pros and cons of dating either person–may be the stability of an established relationship is what you need, and your feelings for the other person are just a flight of fancy.
Maybe you’re looking for a change, and a new relationship might help you find a new lease on life.
In the end, it’s important that you do what you truly feel will make you happiest.
The More The Merrier?
It’s entirely possible for you to be attracted to both your boyfriend and another person–or even more people than that.
Healthy, positive relationships between three or more parties are possible.
These are called polyamorous relationships, and they’re coming into our cultural consciousness.
Of course, it’s not always an easy solution.
If you’d like to date someone else alongside your boyfriend, you have to be unflinchingly clear about it.
A relationship will only survive a transition to polyamory if everyone is on board, and everyone is truly honest about their feelings.
Here, as ever, communication is the key.
Keep Calm And Carry On
No matter what the movies say, it’s totally alright for a man and a woman to be friends–even if one or both of you are in a relationship!
If you want to pursue a friendship with somebody, don’t let anyone stop you!
And even if you are interested in something else, know that this doesn’t make you a bad person.
It’s always okay to consider all of your options and take the time to decide how you really feel.