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So, I attended a birthday for a close friend of mine last night. The woman I'm dating didn't want to come with me, and honestly, her lack of integration with my friends is unnerving at this point because I spend so much time with her, we've each met each other's families, we've traveled together, and we've known each other for awhile... but she just pretty much refuses to ever hang out with my friends.

 

Since we've been dating, we've only really hung out with other people one time, and that was a couples trip away for a 3 day weekend. And even then, she got insanely nervous about it and almost didn't go. She has hinted at having social phobias which cause her to act this way, but sometimes it's hard for me to consider/understand it. I mean, I do see her going out to other parties through work friends (which she rarely invites me to), so it's not like she can't go out to group settings. And beyond that, she's always good with people when we're out in public.

 

Related issue/second problem...

 

So last night, at the party, I knew that my ex-girlfriend would be there with her new boyfriend (they are madly in love with each other). I watched them walk in through the window, hand in hand, smiling ear to ear. And then I get to see them touching and laughing with friends from accross the room. We waved at each other when they came in, but that's it. She kept looking over, perhaps expecting me to come visit, but I never did. I admit that I will always have a little flame for this woman from my past, but that wasn't what was really getting to me. I just miss being able to show off my girlfriend to the rest of the world, and I HATE always having to make up some excuse for why she can't be where I am... again! It's getting so bad that sometimes it feels like one of those "Yeah, I have a girlfriend that lives in the Niagra Falls area" kind of thing. We have been together for almost a year, and spent most of our weekends together, and yet STILL this is an issue.

 

I remember my relationship with this ex, and how we always paraded around together, and I just really miss that, and then wonder what I'm doing with my current. Our relationship is definitely rocky pretty often, and it's just a reminder that I don't really have what I'm looking for no matter how much I really do love my current and how much I try to make it work. And lord knows I try. So this morning, I'm just feeling immature and low for not bothering to go up to the ex and say "hello" (because we really have no reason to be on bad terms), and then just frustrated with my girlfriend over this issue that just keeps bugging me. I have tried to talk to her about it, but she'll have none of it.

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my question to you is what is your gf doing to get over her social anxiety? i can understand, you want to go out in public with your gf. ESPECIALLY in circumstances where your ex is there! i totally get it. and i would wonder too, if my friend had this mysterious "woman" who lives in niagra falls yet i've never met her. would make me think... huh?

 

for me, the bottom line is if she is willing to go to therapy, or do something else to get help with social anxiety, great. if she is not, cut her loose and find someone who will work harder.

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my question to you is what is your gf doing to get over her social anxiety? i can understand, you want to go out in public with your gf. ESPECIALLY in circumstances where your ex is there! i totally get it. and i would wonder too, if my friend had this mysterious "woman" who lives in niagra falls yet i've never met her. would make me think... huh?

 

for me, the bottom line is if she is willing to go to therapy, or do something else to get help with social anxiety, great. if she is not, cut her loose and find someone who will work harder.

 

She's met 5 of my friends, but she hasn't seen any of them in a loooong time. Watching my ex and her boyfriend last night just made me realize how much I'm selling myself short in some ways, and how much I miss friend/girlfriend integration. Truthfully, that was one of the very best things about my 11 year relationship. We shared all of our friends together, and there were never any issues like this.

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I am not buying her social phobia argument. She clearly can socialize with her friends and people she knows and yet she doesn't invite you to join in. The issue is her attitude of "no mixing with each other's friends". You say there are other issues in the relationship..what are they? Is she emotionally distant? A very important part of being in a relationship is the integration with each other's family and friends. Without that integration it is like there is a feeling of shame about the partner..or that this relationship is temporary so that there is no point integrating the family and friends. How does she feel about the relationship..do you feel that she is committed to you, attentive to you?

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I am not buying her social phobia argument. She clearly can socialize with her friends and people she knows and yet she doesn't invite you to join in. The issue is her attitude of "no mixing with each other's friends". You say there are other issues in the relationship..what are they? Is she emotionally distant? A very important part of being in a relationship is the integration with each other's family and friends. Without that integration it is like there is a feeling of shame about the partner..or that this relationship is temporary so that there is no point integrating the family and friends. How does she feel about the relationship..do you feel that she is committed to you, attentive to you?

 

This morning? I feel like our relationship sucks. It was her idea first to want to meet my parents, and she introduced me to hers and had me over for Thanksgiving. But the friend thing, not so much. I don't get it. We go back and forth on the commitment thing though. It's days like this that I just feel like ending it.

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I agree with the idea that if she is socially anxious for whatever reason, she should be committing to work on that if she wants to continue a relationship with you.

 

I don't think you should personalize it, though; likely she is able to go to her own events with other people because she doesn't want to deal with the anxiety of having an s.o. there. Sometimes people worry that the other person isn't having a good time, or that they can't be 100% themselves because they are still trying to impress the people they're dating. Or maybe she's embarrassed about how people she knows will act towards you. Anxieties and phobias are illogical by nature and don't have to make any sense.

 

If you have been together for a while and still have this misgiving on top of the others, I'd say it might be time to walk.

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My heart goes out to you. I hope you'll disabuse yourself of the idea that it was immature not to pursue discussion with the ex and her BF. Somewhere along the line generations started picking up that friendship with an ex is 'mature,' but I think it's because so many of us are children of divorce. Where no kids are involved, it is perfectly mature--even socially acceptable, to be nothing more than civil to an ex. You smiled and waved, you did your part.

 

As for GF, that's a different story. Her social anxiety (whether real or imagined) wouldn't be a big deal if you were also reclusively inclined--but you're not. You're a healthy social animal and wish to stay that way. You already see your time spend with friends declining, and this relationship doesn't exactly position you to build new friendships, either.

 

Unfortunately, this stuff doesn't get any better over time, it gets worse. The social skills you found attractive about GF can only decline as she continues to restrict them. What else can happen when one hates to socialize? It only gets harder to do so, not easier--and you can't play her therapist with any success. It's not your job.

 

I loved a man who had this problem, and while I still love him more than 20 years later, it's from far away. I grew depressed and felt suffocated, he felt guilty and grew depressed.

 

Given the opportunity to see this coming, I'd start reaching for your friends a lot more and prep yourself to break things off and move forward. Life is too short, and you never get any of your time back.

 

In your corner.

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I see two parts to your dilemma. One is her acceptance of your people and the other is her disinterest in being your 'face the guests' partner.

 

In my opinion the first is worth far more than the second (although the second is nice too).

 

My very close friend, a woman, invited her to her birthday party. She sent her a separate invitation to come. Her response was to tell me, "I barely even know her! Why the hell would she invite me to her party?!" To which, of course, I responded, "Obviously because you're with me, and we're close, so of course she wants you to come too." Her only reply after that was to say, "Well of course I'm not coming. I don't even know her or any of those people."

 

At that point I just dropped it and said, "Well, that's what I told her... to invite you, but that I knew you wouldn't come. Sure enough..."

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My very close friend, a woman, invited her to her birthday party. She sent her a separate invitation to come. Her response was to tell me, "I barely even know her! Why the hell would she invite me to her party?!" To which, of course, I responded, "Obviously because you're with me, and we're close, so of course she wants you to come too." Her only reply after that was to say, "Well of course I'm not coming. I don't even know her or any of those people."

 

At that point I just dropped it and said, "Well, that's what I told her... to invite you, but that I knew you wouldn't come. Sure enough..."

 

If you've already let her know how important it is to you for her to accept your people and she still refuses and will not commit to resolving it then your next decision is whether to accept her the way she is or find someone more compatible.

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If you've already let her know how important it is to you for her to accept your people and she still refuses and will not commit to resolving it then your next decision is whether to accept her the way she is or find someone more compatible.

 

Yeah, I know. Even thinking about it is giving me quite the headache.

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My very close friend, a woman, invited her to her birthday party. She sent her a separate invitation to come. Her response was to tell me, "I barely even know her! Why the hell would she invite me to her party?!" To which, of course, I responded, "Obviously because you're with me, and we're close, so of course she wants you to come too." Her only reply after that was to say, "Well of course I'm not coming. I don't even know her or any of those people."

 

At that point I just dropped it and said, "Well, that's what I told her... to invite you, but that I knew you wouldn't come. Sure enough..."

 

 

She has a very negative, antagonistic attitude. Most people would be flattered to get the invite...instead, she seemed rather insulted and offended! This is already upsetting you now...can you imagine years and years of this?

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She has a very negative, antagonistic attitude. Most people would be flattered to get the invite...instead, she seemed rather insulted and offended! This is already upsetting you now...can you imagine years and years of this?

 

Can I imagine years of this? Of course I can! ... and it's purely terrifying. And then at the same time, damn. I really do love her. I really do.

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Is this the ex you met up with recently? (The one you texted?

 

Wow, funny. I'd do my best to integrate with a bf/guy I'm datings friends- and even then it seems to cause problems.

 

Have you told this girl you're dating how you really would like to be able to do "couple" things and go out places together? How you miss having her there with you?

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does she have self esteem issues? is there any chance she feels inferior to your friends? Is her personality very different to that of your friends?

 

I once dated this guy that I don't think our friends ever met. It was such a strange relationship..His friends were "disturbing" to me (many were taking drugs, most seemed to not have any core values) I couldn't totally understand what he was doing with them. He kinda liked my friends but he was "different" to them, felt a little intimidated/uncomfortable (they were more intellectual, more caring)

 

So we had a seclusive relationship in a way and of course it didn't work. We're friends now and noone is disturbed!

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Can I imagine years of this? Of course I can! ... and it's purely terrifying. And then at the same time, damn. I really do love her. I really do.

 

That's the problem--the love. I stayed with my sociophobe for 4 years, and I struggled with leaving him for 3 and half of those. I had never loved someone so much, and I've never loved like that since.

 

My social life erroded, not because I was ashamed to go out without him, but because my own internal struggles exhausted me. I'd envy other couples, I'd tire of making excuses, I'd start to flirt with other men for revenge. Eventually I'd find myself giving up the fight and lapsing into cycles of enjoying BF's protective domestic cocoon.

 

Then I'd feel suffocated and break out again; I'd go hyper-social for a while, but I'd eventually find myself jealous of all the happy couples out playing together with all of their friends. This would depress me, and I'd go underground again for a while.

 

Point is, it never got normal. He, himself, seemed perfectly normal. He'd make an appearance here or there in the beginning, and that's how I thought things would be. Everyone loved him, and he wasn't hostile or anything. My sister came to stay with us on her college breaks and he was fabulous. He'd cook for us all the time, wake us with tea in the mornings, we'd play games, go to pubs and meet locals and things would feel great for a time. Then I'd try to ride the wave and have couples over, and he'd pick that weekend to go off to visit his family--or go fishing or something.

 

I just couldn't get past loving him so much. Eventually, I had to. Things just kept getting worse until I couldn't recognize myself anymore. I was in my 20s and felt like an old woman.

 

I'm now in my 40s. A few years ago, about 5 years after his divorce (I had attended his wedding to the woman I'd hoped would save him--roughly 2 years after our breakup), he and I tried visiting together for a few weeks (he lives out of state). The love was there full force. And so were the same problems that broke us up--only worse. He was heavily medicated and wouldn't even see my family, who had loved him like crazy.

 

It took me longer to get over him the second time around. Maybe a year. Maybe I'm still not over him. I just know that I can't compromise a healthy social life for a lover. Period. I know that trying again would be like walking into a buzz saw.

 

My heart goes out to you. Big time.

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My very close friend, a woman, invited her to her birthday party. She sent her a separate invitation to come. Her response was to tell me, "I barely even know her! Why the hell would she invite me to her party?!" To which, of course, I responded, "Obviously because you're with me, and we're close, so of course she wants you to come too." Her only reply after that was to say, "Well of course I'm not coming. I don't even know her or any of those people."

 

At that point I just dropped it and said, "Well, that's what I told her... to invite you, but that I knew you wouldn't come. Sure enough..."

 

well, i would tell her, 'you will to know them if you go!' i dunno. i go to parties and BBQs all the time when a friend of a friend invites me. why not? unless i'm legitimately busy.

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She made a comment about 5 months ago how "it's so funny that we always hang out alone, and we never hang out with anyone else." But it's not funny. It's HER doing. I just don't get it at all. She is always too busy to attend if there will be other people involved. I do simply adore her, and being with her, when we aren't in fighting mode, is divine. We are passionate and awesome. But this stuff just gets to me so much sometimes, especially after watching my ex fawn all over her new lover. I remember that from her, and I miss that from her, and I wish I had that with my current.

 

 

 

 

 

Exactly. It's completely normal, and I think deep down she knows that, but she just likes to twist things to suit her own ends. It's irritating for sure.

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One of my best friends who I have known for approx 20 years, dated a girl for about 9 years. In all that time, given the fact that we were like brothers, I could count on one hand how many times I spoke to her.

 

There were many excuses; shyness, etc, etc, when it came down to it, she basically didn't want to know any of his friends (or family for that matter) and even saw them, me in particular as some sort of threat.

 

Personally speaking, friendship is very important to me and a huge part of my life; I would want my partner to be a part of that as well; at the very least to make some sort of effort.

 

My close friend put up with her behaviour for so long that it caused a rift between us (long story).

 

I think you should talk it over with her and do not accept any wishy washy answers or avoidence, even if it leads to an argument.

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