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Sun, Jan. 26

In a relationship or not, be happy

Is it possible for a woman to have a man-friend? Someone who she is not related to and just enjoys spending time with? Some relationships just get way too complicated.

I have found that having a man as a friend can be nearly impossible. And I am not sure why that is. We have lady friends that we may call sisters or girlfriends. Why then can't we have a man friend, and call him a boy/man friend? Maybe there is indeed a reason for that. A boyfriend is a boyfriend, right? Your guy, your partner, your other half?

There were several times in my life that I thought I had a good friend, who happened to be a man. There was my friend, Frank, way back when I was around 40 years old. (Yikes! That was thirty years ago.) He was one of my regular customers at a thrift store I was managing at the time. It was a non-profit and I often had volunteers who helped me in the store. Frank would often help me with heavy lifting and that sort of thing. Once every few months I would have a barbeque at my house and invite anyone who helped me at the store.

I enjoyed spending time with Frank and always appreciated his help. Well, I must have been sending out the wrong signals to Frank because after about a year of what I called a friendship Frank told me that he wanted a relationship. He thought that I wanted one as well. I was stunned. I had never thought about him in that way and felt just awful that I had to tell him so.

Frank was not the only man-friend I had that went wrong. I know that there are some married couples who will tell you that they "started out as friends." Now, I am not sure exactly how that works. Do they meet these people online now? Could they live next door? Were they high school friends they ran into again years later? Maybe it was all about the timing, and they were not available in the beginning. Whatever the situation, it just never happened for me. Now that I have passed that 70 mark, I wonder if those opportunities might still arise. I pride myself in "never saying never" to a lot of things. Ever since my friend’s mom found love and got married well into her 70s, I know those things do happen. I just think that sometimes NOT getting into a relationship can be equally as complicated.

Sometimes it can actually be a little awkward not being part of a couple. If most of your friends are paired up through marriage or a longtime relationship, you may feel that you are the odd number. I do notice sometimes that those friends and family that are couples seem to do a lot more things together. Maybe it is just a coincidence. Sister and I often joke about being a couple, and even threaten divorce when we argue. I think I also have referred to us as the odd couple.

Do men just assume all women want to have a man in their life? I think for some women this may indeed be true. I know a lady who is my age and still has a "boyfriend" at all times. She was married a few times, and seemed to trade them in every 10 years or so. She did eventually stop getting married. Now she just has a boyfriend. I am talking relationship here, and not the man who is a friend.

Is it the stronger independent women who do not feel the need to have a man-relationship in their life? I notice that those women do not seem to be constantly looking for that matchup. But that does not mean they do not have a full and happy life. I always believed that true happiness comes from inside you. It is not the job of another person to "make you happy." Some of us feel complete without adding another to the mix.

A dog is supposed to be man’s best friend, right? I think they may also be a woman's best friend. I know my dogs and I always had a great friendship. Of course, we don't often go out to dinner or have many serious conversations. Joining a dance club is probably out of the question as well. But then again, he does display his sadness when I am about to leave the house.

I never stopped believing in falling in love, but I think you have to be open to it. I think there are many of us out here who are perfectly happy NOT being a couple. Then again, I am often hearing of people my age or older who are starting a new life together. I guess you are never too old to begin again, if that is what you desire.

Being happy with your life is really what matters most.

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