Discussion: Where is the Line?

posted 2 months ago in The Lounge
Post # 16
1906 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

Darling Husband and I are on the same page in that there’s no need for us to have close friendships with members of the opposite sex. I have some friends that are males at work, but I do not hang it with them one-on-one, or really at all, outside of work.  We have couples friends, and that’s  really the only time we’d spend time with opposite sex friends, but it’s in a couple’s setting. 

Howevet, in the scenario in your OP, I do feel it would be inappropriate due to the implied and traditionally romantic nature of the gifts (flowers and chocolates) and the holiday of Valentine’s itself. 

Post # 17
91 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I agree with most bees on this one. I will say though that I have a male coworker who is very social with most of the women in the office. In the past he’s gifted me (and the rest of the women) with a flower for V-Day and also a gift for Christmas and my birthday (only to his closest cowokers). It also hasn’t been for every holiday or consecutively. I’ve shared this every time with my husband and he’s not bothered by it nor have I felt there was more to the gifts to where I need to address it with him (coworker) because he does with the other females as well.

Post # 18
6306 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

As others have mentioned, sometimes people are gregarious and get small gifts for others just for fun. A man I worked with once gave me an inexpensive green scarf on St. Patrick’s Day so I wouldn’t get pinched (I teach, and while the kids wouldn’t dare actually do it, they will threaten to pinch people if they aren’t wearing green). He was just kind of a crazy guy, and it would have been laughable to think he had any romantic interest in me whatsoever. 

But for people who AREN’T like that, and who don’t randomly gift other people besides the person in question, then it is obviously inappropriate.

For us as a couple personally, Dh is a complete introvert. For him to gift someone else or have gifts given to him (that weren’t, say, given to his whole team at work) would DEFINITELY indicate something was amiss. Likewise, while I am more outgoing, I know he wouldn’t understand if I were to do such a thing and so I respect his wishes.

Post # 19
598 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2018 - UK

I’m another one who thinks the line can depend on the partner’s feelings. If my husband was feeling hurt by a friendship I had, I’d dial it back, and vice versa. 

In the Jane and Max scenario, the flower wouldn’t bother me, but I think the Valentine’s Day gift would. Not because of the gift giving so much as because of the nature of the holiday.

I work in an all male environment, and my husband’s best friend is a woman, so opposite sex friendships are something we’re fine with. I have to go on overnight business trips with these guys at times, so it would be difficult if my husband was uncomfortable with them.

My husband is a gift giver, whenever we go shopping, he’ll see something that he thinks one of his friends would love, and he’ll often buy it for them just as a sweet gesture. He does this for male and female friends. It doesn’t bother me at all, it’s an aspect of his personality that I find endearing, it’s sweet that he thinks of his friends and wants to make them happy. His best friend moved away a few months ago, and he’ll routinely still send her gifts he thinks she’ll like, including a big welcome hamper with chocolates and flowers when she first moved into her new home. 

The guys I work with will occasionally buy me sweets or chocolates, or little knickknacks too. My husband has never been bothered by it.  

Post # 20
159 posts
Blushing bee

I agree with PPs that I think it depends on the understanding between two people in the relationship with one another. 

I personally would not feel comfortable with my husband giving or receiving gifts from other woman. Not because I’m insecure, but because I do believe that gifts like flowers, or chocolates on Valentine’s day are inherently romantic in nature. 

But that being said, this may not be the way everyone feels about it. I think what’s most important is to take into consideration your partner’s feelings over and above those of the friend who gives/receives gifts from you. If your partner is uncomfortable with it then you definitely should not be doing it (obviously, as mentioned, within reason). 

Post # 21
452 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I’m going to kill Darling Husband if he gives flowers to another woman on valentines day lol. 

Post # 22
1815 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

It’s a fine line.  It’s cheating when they start lusting after them

Post # 23
470 posts
Helper bee

There is no answer to this question that can be adjudicated outside of the parties involved. There is no magical boundary of cheating. Cheating is violating your partner’s trust. What constitutes cheating therefore depends on the couple in question– their agreements, their choices about their relationship and so on. For example, I know several couples who are poly. For them, having sex with another person is NOT cheating. It is not a violation of trust. But that does not mean their relationships have no boundaries. Indeed, they often have quite carefully negotiated boundaries. For example, it might be cheating to go on dates with somebody and not tell your primary partner.  Or it might be cheating to enter into a relationship with somebody you both know. Or for people who are open but not poly, it might be cheating to have a relationship rather than a one-night stand. Etc. Etc. Etc. These are conversations you have to have with your partner and develop shared views on. 

For my partner and I this sort of thing would be fine in certain contexts. For example, it would be fine to exchange flowers/gifts/cards with friends of the opposite sex when that person is known to both of us, and clearly otherwise related to as a friend. My husband’s best friend is a woman. She is super awesome–and she is having a really hard time right now with health concerns. My husband sends her flowers whenever she is in the hospital, or gets her gifts of specific things she likes whenever we/he travel. Far from being angry at him for this, it is part of why I love him. He’s a caring, attentive friend. Conversely I have male friends who have been really supportive of me, and I exchange baked goods with one or two of them once a month, so in that sense, I send them chocolates and they do the same for me. It’s not romantic, and my husband doesn’t feel threatened by that (he’s supportive and friendly with these people too, but its clear they are first and foremost my friends, just as his best friend is first and foremost his friend). 

None of this is cheating or even cheating adjacent because it is consistent with patterns of behavior with which we are both comfortable. 

Post # 24
3665 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

To me, it becomes an issue when someone becomes uncomfortable. As soon as someone has expressed discomfort, the behavior should be stopped. If it continues despite the spouse expressing concern, that’s where it becomes questionable. I wouldn’t necessarily call that an affair, but you’re now prioritizing someone else’s feelings over your spouses and that’s not OK. 

Post # 25
13521 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think that giving anyone a Valentine’s Day gift who is not your spouse is inappropriate.

I say this as someone whose best friend is a guy and who has some very, very close and very, very platonic male friends. 

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