Healthy, romantic relationships allow plenty of room for growth – partners help each other grow personally, professionally, and sometimes spiritually. Romantic partners include each other in their previous circle of friends, thereby growing their support system and number of friends in a positive way. They encourage each other to attend guys’ night out or girls’ night out. Everyone is one, big happy family of friends and loved ones. But sometimes this growing group can present challenging and not so romantic circumstances. Have you ever heard of the term “bromance”? Maybe you have if you read about past President Barack Obama and past Vice President Joe Biden having a “bromance.” This type of relationship is a close, emotionally intense, non-sexual bond between two or more men. A bromance exceeds the tightness of a typical friendship. Wonder if this type of bromance ever gave Michelle Obama any problems? A better question might be, “Have you ever experienced issues resulting from a bromance?” Let us give you an example of when a bromance may not be as healthy for the female partners as it seems to be for the guys in the relationship.
On a recent adventure trip out West, the authors met a female adventure guide who was part of a large bromance. She lived in a mountain house with her boyfriend and three of his close buddies who were all friends before her romantic relationship with her “Montana Man.” This living situation was not her preference, but she loved her boyfriend and accepted this fraternity house arrangement. Besides, it was only going to be short term, and her boyfriend surely loved her more than he loved drinking with his buddies. Eventually, night after night of beer drinking, poker playing, and male bonding became old news and not too much fun to clean up after. Her boyfriend’s bromance with his buddies took priority over his relationship with his girlfriend. This basically doomed any long-term success. Strong friendships between men are typically positive though, and you can probably name a handful of healthy “bromantic” relationships. Or maybe you are thinking about your man?!
Omar (the co-author), for example, had a bromance with a friend before he met Christie (the other co-author). Omar and his buddy did everything together on an almost nightly basis. They went to church together, bar-hopped together, attended sporting events together and double-dated often. They enjoyed a true bromance. This friendship changed when Omar’s friend met a very smart, athletic blond, whose love immediately broke the bonds of bromance. Omar was abandoned to continue his journey without his male buddy. Omar’s friend eventually married his new girlfriend, which might not have happened if this bromance had gotten in the way.
So, we have shared an example of when the bromance ended a relationship and when a girlfriend ended the bromance. But it doesn’t have to be all or none. Many romantic relationships exist in harmony with bromances and even thrive because of them. Most bromances exist long before the girlfriend joins the group. And these friendships help make the boyfriend the attractive catch that he is. So, finding a way for romance and bromance to co-exist seems to be an important key to long-term happiness. Just pay attention to the red flags! If your man had rather spend your anniversary on a cold river bank in a smelly tent with his best buddy than waking up in a 5-star hotel room in a warm bed with his best girl, then that could be a red flag.
Ladies, you know what is just around the corner? Activities like football, hunting, and fishing are possibly about to put your romance to the test (unless you love to hunt, fish, and watch football). Try to be accepting, but not too accepting, as you balance the growth of your relationship and guy time.