A quick glance at popular movies, books and TV shows indicates that male-female relationships make the world go around. The complications and nuances that arise when men and women try to relate to each other provide endless fodder for entertainment. That said, it's helpful to have a good understanding of the basic types of male-female relationships, whether it be to expand your enjoyment of pop culture or simply enhance the male-female relationships in your own life.
One type of male-female relationship is the simple, uncomplicated friendship. This is when a man and a woman become friends through sharing common interests and values; just as two men or two women might do. Though some claim that it's impossible for women and men to be friends without any degree of sexual attraction, it's simply a matter of both people in the friendship being on the same page. Pop culture and history are filled with examples of male-female platonic friendships, so men and women who enjoy each other in a friendship capacity shouldn't be afraid to pursue this type of relationship.
"Friends with Benefits"
Sometimes a man and woman in a platonic friendship decide to add sexual activities to their relationship, resulting in a "friends with benefits" arrangement. For two friends who want sexual fulfillment without the hassles of a commitment, this can be a fun and rewarding type of relationship. However, men and women in these types of relationships run the risk of developing romantic feelings for one another, experiencing jealousy if one partner decides to start a romantic relationship with someone else or finding out that their friendship has changed too much to continue. If two friends become sexually attracted to each other and want to pursue this type of relationship, constant communication and realistic expectations are a must.
Romantic male-female relationships are by far the most well-known. Romantic relationships are by definition intimate. Men and women in these relationships feel love and tenderness for one another, and may also be sexually involved. A healthy romantic relationship is one in which the man and woman involved can grow together while still retaining a sense of individuality. Some romantic relationships are lifelong. Others end after the involved parties grow apart or realize they simply don't feel the same emotional, physical or mental attraction they did when the relationship began.
With the advent of women achieving a more equal status in the workplace, it has become commonplace for men and women to have professional relationships. Long gone are the days when male employees could comment on a female employee's looks or expect her to perform in a servile function. Instead, today's professional male-female relationships are ones where men and women are equally valued for input in meetings, participation in projects and professional development. Men and women know that their success depends on their ability to relate well in the workplace, and these relationships must be based on mutual, professional respect.
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Jane Schmidt has worked in editing since 2003. She served as an editorial assistant of a literary journal and worked with friends to start and write for a community paper. Schmidt received her Bachelor of Arts in design studies and is pursuing a Master of Public Health from The Ohio State University.