The internet is abuzz after recent comments made by Mark Ruffalo regarding the demise of his friendship with fellow actress Jennifer Garner were released. According to Ruffalo, both he and Garner were quite close (although purely on a platonic level) during and after the filming of ‘13 Going On 30’, which both individuals were featured in. Although their friendship was proceeding quite smoothly, things took a turn for the worse when Garner first met Ben Affleck, the actor who later became her husband. According to Ruffalo, Garner’s fledgling relationship with Affleck immediately led to a moratorium on his friendship with her. When asked by talk show host Andy Cohen if it was indeed true that Affleck did not allow his then girlfriend and now wife to have male friends, Ruffalo did not confirm or deny these sentiments.
This scenario, while somewhat small in its general impact on any of the parties involved, offers readers the opportunity to confront one of life’s more elusive romantic mysteries, that being whether or not it is, indeed, possible for men and women to maintain friendships with members of the opposite sex while simultaneously being in a relationship with a different person. Although there are, obviously, dozens of opinions on this particular issue, we’ve compiled a brief overview of the prevailing sentiments and justifications used to defend both positions on this issue. Enjoy!
Perspective #1: Individuals Should Not Have Friendships With Members Of The Opposite Sex While In A Relationship
Assuming we were to adopt the age-old “wisdom” that men and women can never truly be friends without acknowledging latent passion and tension, acting on it, and, ultimately, becoming romantic partners, then Affleck was correct in alleged move to bar his girlfriend-turned-wife from pursuing friendships with other men. That being said, using this particular adage as a point of reference, it could also be inferred that Garner could never have been friends with Ruffalo because of her interest in Affleck, which would have barred her from developing and pursuing a romance with Ruffalo (hopefully).
In truth, this perspective has been justified by countless scenarios in which men and women have inevitably fallen into a relationship with a friend of the opposite sex. That being said, this shouldn’t be interpreted merely as a sign of weakness or lust. Instead, the point could be made that the greatest relationships begin out of a platonic friendship, meaning that men and women who do make contact under these circumstances may be in a better position to develop a loving and deep emotional and physical bond over time.
When asked to discuss this subject, Alexander Greenberg, founder of new dating platform PriceDate.com, was quoted as saying, “While there are certainly a number of examples where friends have progressed into romantic partnerships, there are also a wide number of situations where friendships remained cordial and platonic. There seems to be no evidence showing that one of these situations is more likely than another.”
Perspective #2: It’s Perfectly OK For Individuals To Have Friendships With Members Of The Opposite Sex While In A Relationship
After all, why not? A friendship is, by its very definition, a more casual and less intimate relationship than one that is shared with a romantic partner. Because of this, those that have already been delegated to friend status will most likely not interfere with a relationship that has proven itself to be of a higher priority.
Although critics of “friendship” argue that this is merely a step along the path towards a romantic encounter, the point must be made that, in some ways, they are right. Many relationships do begin out of friendships. That being said, an even larger number of friendships do not progress into relationships. Unless larger insecurities or egos are preventing an individual from allowing their partner to have friends of the opposite sex, there are very few reasons why this should be a problem.
Ultimately, it may come down to trust. Some individuals may not trust their romantic partners to act responsibly around those of the opposite sex. Additionally, some may fear that their partners will inadvertently find themselves attracted to someone else, thus ending their current relationship. These thoughts, however, are usually products of insecurity, not reality.