So, I have had a lot of unhealthy relationships with men in my past--whether platonic or romantic, it's just been unhealthy. I've finally freed myself from those unhealthy relationships and am focusing on improving myself and my existing healthy relationships. But now my only close friendships are with women and I often find myself wanting male companionship--like I want to hang out with a man, or talk to a man and I don't get why I want to do that...is it okay that I still want to form some type of relationship with a man? Or do I need to continue to stay away from forming close relationships with men while I'm in this stage?
It's starting to become a question that keeps reappearing and I just don't want to make the same mistakes as I have before. I'm trying to be single until I'm in a healthier place emotionally and mentally. Plus, because of my past, it's hard for me to know how to have a healthy close friendship with a man, but it's something that I would be able to have someday. I'm trying to figure out what boundaries I should put in place and it's all kind of confusing and frustrating.
It's always perfectly okay to want more or less different types of relationships with different sorts of people.
I would say that to take small steps is always a good piece of advice. I imagine there are men around who are connected to your friends, but who you just don't get to hang around with?
I would definitely start by mixing in a group... especially if your friends already know about your situation.
I'm also getting a vibe here from you, that you're scared that if you put yourself out there and was hurt again, that it'd be your fault for having made a decision like this one: to be open again to friendships with men. That would very much not be the case... it is never your fault if other people are bad to you.
The trick here is to know that it is an individuals choice how they behave. So those of us who have been hurt can end up pretty choosy about who we spend time with, because the individual person and their decisions makes the difference, and sometimes we'll just avoid a group of people at once.
That choosiness sounds like the stage you are at. If it has mainly been men have treated you badly it makes so much sense for other men to make you uncomfortable.
I'd say there's no need to go from where you've been to suddenly trusting everyone, rather I think that trust is something you can nurture, and that other people can earn.
It sounds to me like you're not interested in relationships but want to make new friends... so the best you can do on that front is just let people know.
There is of course always a risk of things not going perfectly in those friendships, but you are wiser now for all your experiences, and certainly you'd be better equipped to deal with anything hard.
This article is about partnered sex and relationships but I also think it works as a metaphor for friendships. Not wanting to get hurt, not wanting to regret anything, not wanting there to be any risk, are all things that carry over:
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