To say that two straight male friends, or "bros," are having a "bromance," is to say that these guys really like each other and are able to express their feelings in obvious ways. It means they enjoy each other's company, share many thoughts and experiences, and have a very close, meaningful relationship, just like any two best friends.  It is exactly what female "besties" have been doing for ages.

The Rise of the Bromance

With both men and women staying single longer, there is more need for close friendships. Often, the two guys in a bromance have known each other for a very long time and have grown up together, all the while growing closer. In other cases, two men may meet in college or afterwards, during a period when they are discovering themselves and their true interests and, at the same time, meeting new people and making new friends who share those interests.

As it becomes more acceptable in American culture for men to express their emotions, forming a bromance has become easier and seems more natural than in the past. The lifting of stigmas has also allowed straight men to be less concerned about others perceiving them as gay.

The Problems of a Bromance

If there is a problem with bromances, it is the same type of problem often encountered by people in any seemingly exclusive relationship. Others may feel jealous or left out. With a bromance, the exclusivity may be deeply felt by one or the other guy's girlfriend or wife. She may feel threatened by the fact that her partner has another relationship that appears to be as close as theirs. One of the guys in a bromance may feel slighted when his "bro" temporarily turns his attention elsewhere.

But according to Allison Cohen, MA, MFT, a family therapist in Beverly Hills, these fears are usually unfounded.

"Unless someone is using one relationship to avoid another, or violating boundaries of time spent or energy given, there's usually nothing to worry about," she says. "Men and women are equally capable of channeling their efforts into more than one meaningful relationship at a time."

If you are a woman who is concerned about a non-sexual relationship your man is having with another man, Cohen suggests actively reminding yourself about the types of conversations and experiences your partner is having with his friend. Then ask yourself if you actually want to be participating in those as well. If so, express your desires and ask your guy what you can do to support his needs as well.

"Open and honest communication is essential to any strong relationship," Cohen points out. The key to a successful dialogue lies in your mutual abilities to express feelings with soft, open-ended language and a collaborative approach." This way, you keep the conversations light and friendly and avoid accusations and threats.

Allison Cohen, MA, MFT, reviewed this article.



Michael, Meghan. "Isn't it Bromantic?" Boston College, The Heights, Vol XC, No. 5, 2 Feb 2009. Accessed July 16, 2013