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Albie Girl (Creative Commons)

It’s the question Harry pondered when he met Sally. It’s the question Rachel and Ross asked on and off again.

Can men and women just be friends? What about married men and women? Can you have opposite sex friends without having an affair?

I think so, as long as we set some boundaries to protect ourselves from taking the friendship further. Here are five ways to have opposite sex friends without having an affair.

1. Never spend time alone with an opposite sex friend. Ever. The more time you spend alone with someone, the closer you get. We all have weaknesses. You don’t want your relationship to even appear romantic. Even if you have no trust issues in your marriage, you are not perfect. David was a man after God’s own heart, yet he fell to temptation. If you need to speak one on one, do it in public.

2. Do not flirt. How do you know if you are flirting? If it feels like flirting, it probably is. This is different from laughing at a joke together. Think back to when you and your spouse were dating. What cute things did you do or say to impress each other? Don’t do those things with a friend. Does this mean you should never hug or touch an opposite sex friend? I think hugs can be okay, but be careful about flirty touching or too much touching.

3. Be transparent with your spouse. Your spouse should have access to your Twitter, Facebook, text, and email conversations. Keep the lines of communication open. If you feel the need to hide conversations or interactions, that’s a bad sign.

4. Cultivate mutual friendships. If possible, your spouse should be friends with your opposite sex friends. Foster friendships with other couples.

5. Never share something you should only share with your spouse. You may be close, but your spouse and same sex friends should be your confidants. If you feel you can’t share with your spouse, figure out why. It could be a lack of communication or a lost sense of closeness. What could you do to feel closer to your spouse? If you need help connecting, drop me a line. You can also check out the 31 Days to Romantic Bliss in Your Marriage page to download a list of 31 ways to get closer.

What do you think? Can married men and women just be friends? What boundaries have you set to protect your marriage?