Back in my twenties, I found myself in an emotional triangle that caught me by surprise. I was spending a lot of time with Jonathan on a major project. I don’t know when things changed, but professional conversations became personal and before I knew it…I had a crush. The problem—he was engaged.
We knew an attraction had developed, but we didn’t do the right thing! We kept talking and enjoying each other’s company. I convinced myself that because nothing physical had happened I wasn’t doing anything wrong—but deep down in my heart, I knew that was a lie.
Finally, one day my brother in-law, questioned me about my relationship with Jonathan. I told him we were just friends, but he saw through my deception and called me out on my crap. I cried as he told me the truth—I needed to cut the relationship. Physical or not, emotionally we had crossed a line!
Two days later, Jonathan was at my door bringing me lunch because I was home sick with the flu. I knew my personal integrity was on the line and as hard as it was to tell him to leave, I told him to go and our friendship had to end.
Because sex or physical contact isn’t involved, we sometimes don’t understand the impact and carnage emotional affairs have on our lives and the people we betray. What we focus on grows and what we neglect dies! While we are busy growing the affair, those violated feel the separation and death.
This week, I was asked the age-old question, “Can men and women just be friends?” I believe the answer is yes…with wisdom. Here are some guidelines for navigating the terrain:
1. Know Your Worth: I looked forward to my time and conversations with Jonathan. I allowed myself to believe that his emotional availability was enough, but I was selling myself short. I know that when we’re going through it the compliments, the time and attention feel great…but when a person who is giving them cannot be publically identified with us…it means nothing. Our heart space is sacred; we must make sure we invest in people who are free to give us what we deserve on all fronts.
2. Do Unto Others: Grandma taught us right! Don’t do to others what we wouldn’t want done to us. If you wouldn’t want someone calling your man all hours of the morning, don’t call someone else’s. Don’t talk about her in a way that you wouldn’t want someone speaking about you. It’s called integrity.
We can have powerful and valuable friendships with men, as long as we understand our place. If he is lying to her to be around you, there is a reason. His reasons don’t matter…don’t support the behavior. The way we respect someone else’s relationship sows the seeds for our future relationships.
3. Take Your Pulse: My feelings for Jonathan grew unnoticed because my guard was down. Before I knew it, I was allowing myself to emotionally be someone’s “other woman.” There is nothing wrong with single women being friends with men who are in relationships…but we have to make sure we aren’t getting our wires crossed in terms of the space we allow them to occupy.
Today’s actions become tomorrow’s story; let’s make sure we are living the story we want told about us!
Do Your Work: Think about the relationships in your life; analyze them to make sure you are truly operating in integrity.
Define Your Wealth: Affirm out loud, “I act with integrity and character so that God can bless me!”
Named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Coach Felicia is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who empowers her clients to "Turn their Worth into Wealth" as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO the WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make” seminar MP3 on her website.