Bromance & Romance

The Urban Dictionary defines the term bromance as “the complicated love and affection shared by two straight males.” Now you know why this term is not widely recognized!  Many men are reluctant to admit that they are involved in a “bromance”, even despite the increased publicizing of the term in recent years due to popular television shows.

Throughout history, close-knit emotional relationships are generally what women have been known for. Women can easily tell girlfriends that they love them, and even show physical affection towards them without fear of disapproval. Men on the other hand, are often restrained by the stereotype of masculinity, and what it means to be a real man. Historical roles and societal pressures frequently force men to hide the fact that they are emotionally attached to their buddies. Due to the impact of homophobia, sadly, many straight men feel as if they must make extra effort to prove to the world that they are,  straight.

 This does not have to be the case! It is very important for us, as “thinking feeling” people of the 21st century, to acknowledge and accept the fact that men have emotional needs too, in many of the same ways that women do. Many men feel stifled, lonely and isolated even if they are in a love relationship with a woman due to the lack of friendships with other men. No matter how good a relationship is, it cannot meet all of the needs of either person. Having a buddy that shares incredible passion for football, soccer, hockey, science fiction etc. is priceless and cannot be replaced by someone who has little or no interest in the activity even if there are many or common interest between the two of you.  

Friendships are needed to help to balance your life and your love relationship.

While it is true that both sexes have physical and psychological differences, at the end of the day, we all share basic human needs. It is an incorrect yet popular notion that men do not need the emotional closeness offered by friendships. This is simply not true. It is of utmost importance for all human beings to have a support system of close friends whom they can rely on for their emotional connections even if they are in a love relationship. Just like eating healthy and working out satisfies your biological needs, having a close friend/friends to connect with satisfies emotional needs, whether you are female or male. While the relationships between men may differ from women since men often prefer not to discuss their inner most feelings with each other, their emotional connections are still extremely meaningful.

If you are a woman, it is important for you to understand your mate’s need for friends in addition to you. Encourage him to spend time with them. He will return re-energized and able to give more to your relationship.  You can also benefit from some alone time and/or time with your friends. If friendships begin to negatively impact your relationship address it and compromise. Balance is the key.

Many women are uneasy about bromances because they are clear that when and where men gather, other women are not too far away.  

At the core of this concern is fear that it may lead to wandering eyes and ultimately to cheating. In a healthy relationship, both of you must be free which includes the option to leave, this also means that each of you stay because you choose to.  If you are able to accept that you are both equally vulnerable, and no one can be forced  to remain emotionally connected in a relationship if they do not want to -NO Matter how much you keep your mate under lock and key, emotional connection can only be given freely and not by decree. Your mate needs to be himself and to feel understood and trusted. Being possessive, suspicious and clinging can cause him to feel resentful and lead to distance in the relationship. 

 If you’re a man and you feel that your partner does not appreciate the close friendships you have with your buddy/buddies, it is important to understand that the core of her concern is fear of losing you. This may have very little to do with you directly. Remember that recently there has been excessive chatter in the media about relationships and cheating, which leads to much anguish and nervousness for many women.  Remind her that you are your own person and what others are doing or might do, does not impact your behavior or your dedication to her and your relationship. Even if you do not feel that it is necessary or that it makes no sense, talk to her anyway about your need for friendships. This discussion will go a long way in soothing her anxiety or distrust. Do not hesitate to be honest since all successful relationships are built upon honesty.

Although the term bromance is fairly new (it was first coined in the 1990s), it is a concept that has always existed. Modern psychological studies have proven the significance of human emotional needs and desires, regardless of gender. Unwritten societal “rules” set in place for the way a man should behave makes it difficult for many men to admit to or show affection for another man. Being involved in a bromance is nothing to be embarrassed about and there is no need to avoid its discussion. If handled with rationality, a bromance can be a healthy rewarding addition to a full life.