December 28th, 2003

Rules of Engagement when dealing with friendships.

Recently, a femme/FTM couple (good online friends of mine) had a falling out with another femme/butch couple. Now, from what I understand, all four formed friendships together. It wasn't a case of one forming a friendship with another, and the two partners tagging along. Maybe initially, a friendship was sparked between the 2 femmes.

Now, when these four met, my friends in particular were happy to meet another b-f couple. They're feeling a bit isolated in their area, and haven't exactly felt a strong connection with other members of their community at large (ie: straight couples). Everything was going well, they had a great time together, but now, the femme from the other couple is forming what appears to be some rather arbitrary rules about how their communication should take place. For example, she no longer feels it is appropriate to get a private message from my friend (the FTM) unless his partner is present. The same rule would apply to her, and so on and so far.

What appears to be happening here is, Femme B is making rules based on gender expression, and friendships should be similar to that of straight couples because according to her, sexual tension between butches and femmes are "hard wired" much the same as males to females.

LOL, as I write this, I'm reminded of the movie "When Harry Met Sally" Harry had the idea that males could never be friends with females, because the "sex issue" would always be there.

So, my question to you all is this: do arbitrary rules of engagement need to exist among differently gendered people, much like what does tend to happen in the community at large? Is sexual tension relevent in forming strong friendships regardless of gender. What are some trust issues do you personally have, or have struggled with, and where does your gender play into this?

Btw, I think this is a great topic for anyone regardless of style of relationships you're in, be it femme-femme, butch-butch, ftm-ftm, bi, straight, poly, etc. I'll give my answer to my question in a little while.
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