Dear Wendy: When Friends Interfere
I have been happily dating my boyfriend for one year now. I have always considered myself to be friendly with his friends, and vice versa. Of course, I’m grateful that everyone gets along so well, but recently, my boyfriend is becoming a little too close to my friends and I’m beginning to grow uncomfortable. Seeing a friend of mine run her fingers through my boyfriend’s hair was infuriating. I also found out that he had lunch recently with another friend of mine and never mentioned it to me. Most recently, while partying with a few friends, my boyfriend laid his head in a friend of mine’s lap. After this, I tried to confront him about my feelings, and he said he felt bad he had upset me, but he didn’t seem to see what the big deal was. I do trust him, but I feel like the whole situation is making me look like a fool. I have always known that he can be a flirt — it never really bothered me — but it’s different when it’s with my friends. I’m clearly just jealous, but I guess I’m wondering if it is unnecessarily so. This is one relationship issue where I can’t turn to my friends for advice… — Too Close For Comfort
No, you’re not being unnecessarily jealous, but at this point it would be premature to make too big a deal out of things. It’s definitely weird that your boyfriend had lunch with a friend of yours and never mentioned it, but is there a chance they were planning some sort of surprise for you, or discussing some worry or concern they had about you? Before you jump to more cynical conclusions, let your boyfriend know that while you’re grateful he gets along with your peeps so well, his recent closeness with some of them is making you uncomfortable and you’d like him to reel it in. If your girlfriends treats all their friends’ boyfriends the same way they’re treating yours, I might discreetly pull the biggest offenders aside and tell them basically the same thing you told your boyfriend — that you appreciate how well everyone gets along, but certain things, like private lunches and hair ruffling, make you uncomfortable. If they seem to be singling out your boyfriend specifically, definitely let your friends know you’re not cool with them flirting so much with your guy, and if things don’t change over the next few weeks, it might be time to consider exactly how much you should trust those in your inner circle. Consider everyone’s behavior here a red flag; be cautious and keep your eyes open for other red flags, but don’t freak out before you have more reason to.
Last night, my boyfriend and I hung out with a mutual guy friend. A guy friend who, as my boyfriend was fully aware, I used to date. Other than friendship, I feel absolutely nothing for the guy friend; I realize that what happened between us was a mistake, just two lonely people who needed someone and found each other. Recently, the guy friend was looking for a place to live, and my boyfriend suggested moving into our neighborhood. Turns out, the unit right next to ours is available, and guy friend is supposedly moving in. I had asked my boyfriend if he’s CERTAIN that he’s okay with that, and he seemed nothing but enthusiastic. But then, last night, while on a cigarette break together, guy friend mentioned to boyfriend something about our previous sex life together. My boyfriend mentioned this to me when we got home, and got angry when I didn’t deny it. He accused me of having lied to him about my past relationship with guy friend, and I was completely dumbfounded.
I had told him that we’d dated, but boyfriend just kept saying that I never mentioned we used to have sex. Am I naive to think that he should have assumed? I mean, I never thought I had to flat-out say, “Hey, I used to have sex with so and so,” even though I had already said that we used to date! Boyfriend said this changes everything, that he can’t be friends with guy friend anymore, and that there’s no way he can move next door now (which I understand, and frankly, I don’t really want him there either at this point). I’ve never once lied to my boyfriend; I love him more than anything and he means the world to me. He says he still loves me, but he can’t trust me, and this is really hurting me. I honestly never thought that I was keeping anything from him. I told my boyfriend last night that I understood why he was upset, but that what happened before we met is technically none of his business, and it shouldn’t change our current relationship. I don’t necessarily feel guilty because I don’t feel like I hid anything from my boyfriend, but I’m really sorry about the way things played out. Is he the one who is wrong to be so upset, or am I the one who should have fully disclosed? — Bit By Past Love
Let’s not think of this as who’s “wrong.” Neither of you is really wrong, though it could be argued you’re both a little guilty. You’re guilty of letting your boyfriend — and maybe even yourself — believe it would be perfectly fine for your ex-boyfriend to move in directly next door to you. Didn’t any part of you think, “Hmm, this maybe isn’t such a great idea”? If so, you should have spoken up! If not, maybe your boyfriend isn’t the only naive person in your relationship. And your boyfriend, for his part, is guilty of projecting his bruised male ego onto you and, rather than admit he was naive, trying to blame you for his feeling foolish.
The party who’s most guilty here, though, is your ex, the big cad. What kinda dope talks about the sex he used to have with his buddy’s woman? If I were you, I’d tell your boyfriend you’re disgusted with “guy friend’s” behavior and that you’re going to ask him not to move in next door to you. Explain to your boyfriend that you understand that he’s insulted and hurt, but the only thing you’re guilty of is assuming he read between the lines when you told him you used to date guy friend. Tell him that you’re hurt that he’s decided he can’t trust you because of this incident, but you hope together you can move past this and resolve to be more transparent in the future and more willing to forgive misunderstandings. Cut guy friend out of your life and move on. Hopefully, this will blow over quickly. If it doesn’t, it will be because of your boyfriend’s ego, and if he’s going to let this keep you from being happy together, it’s probably better you see his true colors now rather than later.
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