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Can't agree about friends of the opposite sex


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Hi All,

 

I need advice: my girlfriend and I have this recurring argument about my friends -- my female friends, to be specific. It's the one argument we can't resolve. I can see the resentment building on both sides and I do feel it will finally drive us apart.

 

There's one friend in particular that my GF is really not happy about. She feels this friend wants something more. Stranger things have been proven true, but I don't see the situation the way my GF does; I only see my friend as just that -- a friend. I adore my GF and I have no interest in any one else, this friend included.

 

I really like my friend, as a person. We get along famously and her friendship enriches my life. She's very outgoing, intelligent, funny and has an easy-going charm which I can imagine some GFs might find a bit threatening. I've known this friend for at least four years; I've been with my GF for just over 12 months.

 

Summer of '09: my friend and her sister (who has also proven herself a great friend) invited me for breakfast. As I'm heading out to meet them, they ring me to say the sister won't make it, so it's down to the two of us. We go anyway and spend a lovely morning chatting, as mates do.

 

When I tell my GF about the day, she gets very upset about the fact that it ended up being just me and my friend having breakfast together. She believes -- to this day -- that the morning was orchestrated as a 'date' for me and my friend and she told me she no longer wanted me talking to this friend at all.

 

I feel I'm right in saying that I deserve to keep my friends, and that I deserve to be trusted and given the benefit of the doubt. It was a very platonic relationship that I had with my friend (yes, had). I resent my GF's suspicion and the fact that it's caused a huge rift in my relationship with my friend, but I'm also trying to understand where my GF coming from and so I'm asking for some outside perspective.

 

Does my GF have a point? Do guys in a relationship have no business being good friends with another woman? Or have I ruined what I saw as an honest friendship, simply because of my partner's assumptions and mistrust?

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Your gf would have a point if this friend was a former lover..but this friend was always a platonic friend and you were friends with her long before your gf came into the picture. Your gf is out of line..and your gf clearly doesn't trust you..because if she did, she wouldn't have had a problem with you having breakfast with your friend. Is your gf controlling about other aspects of the relationship?

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Honestly, I can't stand hearing about women trying to control the friendships of people they are involved with.

 

Of course you have a right to your friends - male or female. As long as you are telling your GF that you care about her and that you are trustworthy - and your actions support that, then the rest is her insecurity issues.

 

You should not lose a friendship because your GF can't handle you having a female friend. She has no right to tell you who you can and cannot have as a friend. It's not like this woman was ever an ex of yours or someone you once had feelings for, from what you're describing.

 

Has she met this friend? Sometimes that helps alleviating fears.

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In the picture you have elegantly painted - your girlfriend does seem like the one mostly in the wrong. Asking you to cut off communications completely with your friend is extreme. In a relationship there has to be compromise in every situation.

 

Quick question... Did you know about her jealous feelings towards your friend in the Summer of '09 when you had your pseudo-date with your friend?

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I believe in everyone's right to have friendships outside of a relationship. Indeed, I think it's very healthy too. Your GF sounds very very insecure and dare I say it, a little immature about all of this. How old is she? Surely she has friends of the opposite sex too?

 

You may have to sit her down and explain to her that if she can't deal with people having friendships then she should prepare to lose you.

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Your girlfriend is way out of line. Don't encourage people like her by stepping down on this and making them believe they are right in acting this way. Tell her out right that this is just a friend and for her to deal with it, if she can't than maybe she should address her issues before being in a relationship.

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...As long as you are telling your GF that you care about her and that you are trustworthy - and your actions support that, then the rest is her insecurity issues... It's not like this woman was ever an ex of yours or someone you once had feelings for, from what you're describing...

Has she met this friend? Sometimes that helps alleviating fears.

 

I tell my GF all the time. I show her all the time, and she knows very well I do love her and care for her and that I have nothing to hide. My friend and I have never been anything more than friends; I've never done anything to suggest otherwise, and I was very happy with our friendship as it was.

 

I did very much want them to meet, but the chance never arose: my friend left the country shortly after (she travels often). I wanted to keep in touch via email, but despite the fact we were separated by an ocean, my GF was still not happy with any kind of communication.

 

Even if her intuition was dead-right (I'm just saying) shouldn't we all be mature enough to trust our partners and give the benefit of the doubt to the other person?

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Even if her intuition was dead-right (I'm just saying) shouldn't we all be mature enough to trust our partners and give the benefit of the doubt to the other person?

 

YES! Your GF sounds insecure, jealous and immature from what you have described.

 

You've given her love, shown her, told her...and she still can't trust you? Those are HER issues. And it's not fair for her to tell you to stop speaking to a friend you've had long before she came into your life.

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Quick question... Did you know about her jealous feelings towards your friend in the Summer of '09 when you had your pseudo-date with your friend?

 

Second question: Is it just this one friend your girlfriend is jealous about or does it come up with other friends too?

 

No, this issue hadn't come up with my friend before that day. And yes, my GF does have this problem with other women in my life, to varying degrees.

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How old is she? Surely she has friends of the opposite sex too?

 

She's 25 and yes, she does have friends of the opposite sex. I've noticed she's cut down on her communication with these guys (some of whom I got to know and like) but never do I discourage her talking to or hanging out with them. She is very beautiful, so it's not as though I'm naive enough to think that some guys don't want more, but again it's a matter of trust. We need our friends, male or female.

 

She was cheated on in her last serious relationship, but so was I... It's very disheartening because, on the whole, she makes me very happy.

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You need to get her to realize:

 

1) She can trust you

2) She is being a bit too controlling - but you understand why (history)

 

Then you guys have to find a way in which you can remain friends with your friends and she can control her jealousy. For example, say you won't hang out with your friend one-on-one... or at least try to avoid it. You're doing this not because you have any feelings for them (aside from friendship) but because it makes HER feel better. Also, when you are out... send her a text or give her a call just to let her know you're thinking about her. If you want to make this work there is a way. You can eventually work up the trust - although there is no reason to distrust - sometimes you just have to build it up anyways.

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...say you won't hang out with your friend one-on-one... send her a text or give her a call just to let her know you're thinking about her.

 

Thanks for the advice, Mamake. We are in touch every day with texts and phone calls. There are flowers. Picking her up from work after her late shifts (I don't drive). Cooking nearly all the meals. Open access to my phone/emails/computer if she wants it. I know so well how important trust is and I try to instil as much as possible.

 

In the case of this one friend, she is now half a world away and it would be nice to send (or respond to) the occasional email to see how she's doing, but my GF doesn't find this acceptable, either.

 

I've since taken the decision to respond to an email from my friend -- it was a cool, formal request for some information. Naturally, this went down very badly with my girlfriend.

 

I want to understand where she's coming from, but what I'm seeing as a conciliatory approach on my part only seems to be taking us in circles.

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You sound like an amazing guy and you seem to be so incredibly in love with her that you are willing to assure her.

 

Do you think it's possible she has any resentment toward you for something to do with another girl? Perhaps when you were first dating, you were dating many other women? And she wasn't? Perhaps something to do with your last relationship? Maybe she has seen some remnants/memorabilia from the last relationship and it may have hurt her? Or perhaps in her eyes, she saw you acting overly flirtatious with other females before?

 

If you think it couldn't be any action of yours from the past that she could have hung onto, then I am sure from my own experience, that it has nothing to do with you in particular. Since you are doing all these gracious things like letting her look in your phone, emails, computer...then it most definitely comes down to her pain and fear from being cheated on in her last relationship. I know it took me a long time in my last relationship to grow up from this and I did awful damage in that relationship because it took me some time to realize I had lost my trust in others and even worse, thought everyone was out to get me...hence, her fear of the other female friend's actions/motives as well.

 

You are doing all the right things and what Momake mentioned is PERFECT. Certainly I still do think a man should never be alone with another woman... but you should certainly go out with female friends in groups. Invite her along. She needs to get to know your circle of friends. It sounds like she doesn't, which is strange since you've been dating for a year. You need to introduce her to your friends. That alone is very important to a relationship. You should introduce her many times to them in large group settings. It might make her see your female friends' interactions with you AND others and alleviate her fears.

 

It's going to take some time, but hang in there because if you do compromise and you do work hard to do some of the things Momake mentioned and go above and beyond with showing your emails, texts, showing loving affection when out with your friends, showing her you have nothing to hide... she will eventually grow familiar and cool down.

 

If she gets stubborn and controlling, as I used to be, the best thing to do is to tell her often you love her and what qualities you love about her, give her little gifts, surprise her with romantic events, and most important, touch and adore her often in public and when out with friends. In my opinion, women like me who are controlling need to feel loved often times more in public than in private, particularly in front of female friends they could get jealous about....

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Thanks for your thoughts, jencasey.

 

Do you think it's possible she has any resentment toward you for something to do with another girl? Perhaps when you were first dating, you were dating many other women? And she wasn't? Perhaps something to do with your last relationship? Maybe she has seen some remnants/memorabilia from the last relationship and it may have hurt her? Or perhaps in her eyes, she saw you acting overly flirtatious with other females before?

 

Yes to all of these, actually

 

When I look back I realise I had a pretty busy life, in that regard. She's largely learned to deal with that, as I've been straight up about my past since date number one. With her, there was no 'overlap' when it came to dating; when she asked me to go steady, I was more than happy to. I don't play around and I don't get overly-friendly with other women.

 

We spoke for hours last night (didn't end spectacularly well, mind you) and she revealed that her previous LTR was actually pretty traumatic for her, emotionally. Coupled with what you've said, it explains so much.

 

She needs to get to know your circle of friends. It sounds like she doesn't, which is strange since you've been dating for a year...

 

I came to realise this as well. She's always been reluctant to do this, but over the last couple of weeks she's expressed her willingness to make an honest effort -- which I was very relieved about!

 

If she gets stubborn and controlling... the best thing to do is....

 

Whoa, is she ever sometimes But we are talking, I'm trying to understand and I'm taking you up on your advice to make more of an effort to make her feel special. What she asked me a few times last night is "why is this one friend so important to you?" and she also stated she felt that my friend seems more important than her. I explained it's not about that friend, but about not making me have to chuck away friends just because she feels they could come between us. It's the thin end of a wedge, to me; I'm uncomfortable about where that could lead.

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Does you GF have a point? Well, from everything you've said, you've never given her a reason not to trust you. I think everyone would agree with that.

 

But as a female that's definitely felt like your GF feels, I can understand why she feels the way she does. First of all, your insistence on staying friends with this girl is probably encouraging your girlfriend to feel as if this girl is very important to you (and maybe in more than just a platonic way). While I understand that it's the whole principle of the matter that's driving you to fight for this friendship, your GF might see it as you fighting for this girl specifically. And fighting for this girl despite your GF's wishes makes it seem like you're placing this girl's importance over that of your GF's.

 

Furthermore, your GF may be wondering why you feel the need to email this girl when you have her. Your GF wants to be #1 in your mind, the one you can come to for everything. Perhaps she doesn't understand what role your friend is serving in your life that she can't fulfill.

 

And have you considered that your GF may feel jealous or even threatened by the strictly platonic relationship you have with this girl? Like I said, some girls like to feel like they can and should be everything to their boyfriend, and the fact that you have been friends with thisgirl for longer than you've known your GF might make her feel second-rate.

 

You sound like a great guy, and your GF is lucky to have you. Your GF sounds a lot like me, and I think it's great you haven't written her off as some controlling * * * * * and that, rather, you're understanding of her insecurities and are trying to make things work.

 

Like others have said, I think the best thing to do is show your GF how much you adore her. In the most unscripted and genuine way as possible, point out what you love about her. Maybe even bring up aspects about your friend that you find negative-- make sure your GF knows she's "better." As immature as this sounds, I think it's human nature for people to want to be "the best" to their partner. After all, we all put so much time into our relationships, right? We love our partners, and we want those feelings reciprocated.

 

Best of luck.

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Hi Overmyhead, thanks for your thoughts as well.

 

I do understand her desire to feel like the Number One woman in my life -- she is the number one woman in my life, by a country mile. It's her I want to cuddle with, fantasise about, have adventures with, marry, have children with. But suppose I cave in and cut all contact with this one friend? And based on a judgement of someone my GF has never even met?

 

Like I mentioned before, my GF is very beautiful. She has guy friends as well; there are more than a few who would love to take things further, given half the chance. One in particular was a friend who she even developed strong (romantic) feelings for, before we met. They worked together. They used to talk a lot, about everything. Even months after we started going out, I could see how she would lose a bit of her composure whenever his name was even mentioned. They still keep in touch (e.g. two days ago was the last I know of).

 

But we're together now. She's assured me she's over him and, you know what? I choose to trust her. Even that situation is far more dangerous than anything I could have with any of my friends. And I've been cheated on before. My point is this: is it fair for her to be this way? It is acceptable? I understand it's hard to fight strong feelings of jealousy and insecurity, but what should a partner be prepared/obligated to tolerate? I know in my heart that it wouldn't stop there.

 

I told her last night I don't want her to have any contact with this friend of hers. She was shocked. She said, "none?" It took her a long time to agree "as long as you don't talk to [my friend's name here]. Is this acceptable?

 

The most difficult thing is, she won't even admit she's jealous. She's adamant I'm the one who has the issue, because I won't give in to her demand. I can't even get the chance to show her how much she means to me because she shuts down or changes the subject.

 

I'm not sure I know what to do anymore.

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I can see this from two points of view. My ex had a lot of guy friends that I didn't like. I always considered her a bit naive about the way guys treated her even though she always insisted that they were just friends. I suppose I didn't really trust her judgment either about what to do if a guy came onto her. I never told her she couldn't hang out with them, but it did bother me. Turns out I was right about every single one of them. =/

So if it's just this one friend that your gf worries about, it's possible that there might be something there that you just don't see.

 

With my current SO, I'm completely fine with him hanging out with girls or even his ex-gf's.

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With my current SO, I'm completely fine with him hanging out with girls or even his ex-gf's.

 

What was it that changed your outlook on the 'friends' situation? Is it just that you see things differently, or is it something about the way your BF behaves that's made you feel more comfortable? I'd love to know...

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What was it that changed your outlook on the 'friends' situation? Is it just that you see things differently, or is it something about the way your BF behaves that's made you feel more comfortable? I'd love to know...

 

I guess I just trust him not to make stupid mistakes. My ex was very impulsive. She'd do things that she ended up regretting later on. Plus, I didn't really like her guy friends too much. To me it was obvious that they wanted more than friendship from her, or that they just weren't very nice guys in general.

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Like others have said, I think the best thing to do is show your GF how much you adore her. In the most unscripted and genuine way as possible, point out what you love about her. Maybe even bring up aspects about your friend that you find negative-- make sure your GF knows she's "better."

 

I'm sorry, I don't believe in the long term that 'rewarding' irrational fears and expectations by going above and beyond will be beneficial. It's only treating the 'symptoms' rather than the cause.

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Does the jealousy stem from your gf maybe knowing that this friend girl may be interested in you as more than a friend?

 

Has she been told in the past that you two were an "item" maybe even if you weren't?

 

Do you think anyone might have told her that they think she is wrong for you and this girl is the one?

 

I see things from a different perspective I guess. According to studies I have read men cannot be friends with women who they find sexually unattractive so I think that any woman friends my man has CAN be a threat to me. The study is based on the fact that men are so visual. It says that statistically women can be friends with men who they are not attracted to but men just cannot. I have asked male friends,acquaintences,etc and they tell me that they agree 100% and have no female friends who they do not find attractive.

 

That seems to be ammo for your girlfriend but I don't mean it like that. I am trying to learn to be less jealous with my bf - but it is not an easy battle and the insecurity lies within me and it has nothing to do with him and everything to do with my past and the fact he cheated on me. Statisticlly speaking your girlfriend is right - you are "attracted" to this friend even if you don't really want to admit it. It doesn't mean that you are going to act on it and that is where her trust has to come in. I have little to no trust with my bf because of how he has treated me in the past - but it sounds like she has no reason not to trust you at this point.

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An update: things are much, much better between us.

 

Thanks everyone for your views.

 

A couple of mornings ago I took my GF aside and told her that she is far and away the most important woman in my life. I told her that I love her, and why. I said we both need our friends, but that she is the one I want to share the best parts of my life with, that I made a choice to be with her and no woman is ever going to come between that. I asked her to at least give everything a chance, then judge.

 

I think she took it onboard...

 

For my part, I'm trying to be more conscious of the effect of what I do/say (or don't do/say) -- to help her trust that how I feel about her is genuine. Last night we went out (her request) and she told me she's still not okay with this one friend, but she seemed willing to trust me a bit. She said she also felt life in general was getting a bit stagnant, and this heightened her frustrations. She wants to work on changing that.

 

It's a good start; I guess the best thing is that we are managing to find a way forward, because we clearly both want this to work.

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