It seems as if my dear blogger friend (Santa) Ralph has been in a bit of hot water lately, first for not letting on until after the fact that the party he recently arranged was his birthday party, and then for being – as he put it – a Natural Flirt.
The only reason I thought Santa was naughty (and I told him so) was because of the birthday party, and just yesterday I had been wondering about the nature of LOVE when I received notification of a new post on Ralph’s blog inspired by a “young Lady whose husband told her that our conversations were over the top and that we had to tone it down”. Now, this was not my husband, and I am not that young Lady, but Ralph’s post inspired me to write the following comment:
Oh, Ralph – I am so sorry to hear that your natural sweetness has gotten you into any trouble at all.
I was thinking about just this sort of thing this morning, when I came across a couple of posts on other blogs about LOVE, and what that word means – what that emotion is.
Why is it acceptable for me to tell my Sis (who is not my biological sister, but is a very, very dear classmate of mine), or tell my mother-in-law or my children that “You mean the world to me”, “I love you to the moon and back”, “I love you from the depths of my heart”, or to send them e-hugs….BUT it is NOT acceptable for me to say or write those exact same things to my dearest friends who happen to be men?
Now, I know from experience there IS a (fine) line between dear friendships that may appear to be flirtatious, and relationships that have gone beyond flirtation to something more. I know from experience how painful the latter can be to a spouse, and I also know that simply not keeping secrets can keep relationships limited to the former. However, when even not-keeping-secrets causes alarm or jealousy, I believe it is due either to a deep insecurity in the relationship, or to the fact that one member of the relationship has at some point crossed that fine line between dear friendship and “something more.”
Love is very complicated, and friendships can be, but I have learned it is much better to tell someone how much you love them rather than wish you had. If you can’t do that without hurting your “significant other” then I believe something is wrong with one relationship or the other.
I love you dearly, Ralph, from the depths of my heart, to the moon and back…and that is no lie and no secret 🙂
See my post on The Social Impact of the Internet at https://mylatterhalf.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/the-social-impact-of-the-internet/
Of course, I happen to follow my own advice on this matter, and I keep no secrets from my husband. The difficulties in my marriage extend far beyond the complexities of flirtation vs. cheating, and I will admit that I am a spouse who remains suspicious of my husband’s e-life…however, I do not meddle in his “affairs” and I will state emphatically that my friendship with Ralph has actually inspired my husband to try to be a better man in many ways. That is a good thing!
Beyond that, my friendships both on- and off-line have led me to understand that it is not necessary to view every relationship my husband has with a woman as a potential threat to my own relationship with him. My friendships have led me to a better understanding of the world and my place in it. All my relationships have led me to a greater understanding of LOVE, if not to a constant contemplation of what “love” is (or is not).
Above all, I do know that my children are of utmost importance to me, and if it weren’t for my friendship with Santa Ralph, they would not be having much of a Christmas this year. And regardless of my “issues” with my husband, our children deserve to have us work through our differences in order for them to grown up in an unbroken home. It’s not easy, but day by day we keep it together and only time will tell whether the marriage will survive once the children have grown and flown the nest.
I’m grateful to Ralph, the Starfish Man (that’s another story) for many things, not the least of which is bringing to the forefront a discussion on what the boundaries of certain relationships ought or ought not to be. I hope that readers will check out his blog and my own post about Santa Ralph, as well as the blogs I mentioned in my comment to his post about being a Natural Flirt.
Hugs all around!