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Over-reacting or just right?


annie24

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This thread is for a friend of mine, not for me. She called me this morning after having had a huge fight with her bf of 3 months last night (I'll call her Jen and him Kevin). They were hanging out with another couple last night that they frequently go out with (I'll call them Seth and Connie). Their conversations have a having of coming back to Kevin's ex-girlfriends. This makes my friend Jen feel uncomfortable, but she tries to roll with the punches and laugh it off. Kevin went on 1 date with a girl he met around the same time he met Jen, but it was a disaster. Seth and Connie kept bringing her up, how crazy she was, and Kevin agreed and said, "but she had such BIG BOOBS!"

 

my friend Jen is a good sport but eventually, she gets sick of it, and hearing about exes so often. She doesn't talk about her exboyfriends or the size of their penis or how good in bed they were and she doesn't want to hear about all of kevin's exploits.

 

Later that night, she told him (again!) that it bothered her and Kevin accused Jen of not trusting him. she said that was not the case, just that it's a matter of respect. He then said, "If she wants to worry, there are other girls she should worry about." This bugged her big time. he then texted her this morning that she over-reacts and invited her out with him and his son.

 

I told Jen i would NOT tolerate this. Apart from this issue, their relationship has been very good so far. She is just sick of things and she thinks that she has been a good sport overall. he has 2 kids from a previous marriage, and she enjoys the kids, and thinks of nice things to do for them, like cooking them dinners, or just talking to the kids. She doesn't use kevin for his money either (he's well off).

 

I told her that I don't think she is over-reacting, i think most people would be bothered by continual references to exes. in addition, the comment about being worried about other women was really a low blow.

 

what do you guys think?

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Hmmm... well, it's hard to tell. To a certain extent, it is not Kevin's fault that Seth and Connie keep bringing up the exes. Is it Seth and Connie bringing it up? Maybe they just don't know what else to talk about and they think it's funny. That will go away in time. They are just slightly awkward... And what is Kevin to do? Go confront Seth and Connie and say that the discussion of the exes makes Jen uncomfortable? That will make Jen look REALLY insecure.

 

To that end, I think she is over-reacting. They are talking about the past. The past is not the present. Get over it.

 

BUT... (there is always a but)

 

That comment about the other women WAS a low blow. Really?? There are other women to be worried about?? Not cool. At all. Not even close. This sounds like he WANTS her to be insecure.

 

So - half and half. It depends where all the ex talk is coming from.

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I see this in the 'big picture' sort of way.

 

She's trying to speak to him about something that is bothering her, and he's dismissing it.

 

No one likes to hear about exes, to me thats an area where plain ol' respect for your current partner should come into play.

 

And to me, thats what this is about. His lack of respect for an issue that bothers her. A legit issue that many people would be bothered about.

 

I like to know that I can voice myself to my partner about something that occurred, or is occurring that is bothering me and will know that he will listen and respect the fact that it makes me uncomfortable and change it, stop it, or find a way to work through it together.

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It seems like it's Seth and Connie who bring up the exes, but then he didn't exactly shut down the conversation by bringing up her boobs either. She also upset because last week they had a conversation about how people who are in their mid 30s and older and are unmarried, without kids must be losers and have something wrong with them. My friend is really sensitive as she's mid-30s and never married herself. She's had other long term relationships that didn't work out. And i don't see how having a failed marriage makes someone better or worse than a single, never married person. that's what i tried to tell her. But that whole conversation last week really upset her. Jen and Seth are unmarried, no kids, whereas Kevin and Connie are divorced. Then again, Kevin told me part of what he likes about Jen is that she has no baggage and he finds that refreshing.

 

I do agree Asti - it is a big picture sort of thing. I don't like the way he texted her this morning basically telling her that she's overreacting. i don't think so.

 

And maybe this is me being a bit of a snob, but surely there are more interesting, important things to talk about than ex-gfs. What about activities, hobbies, world politics, etc...... I mean, why keep bringing up some girl that Kevin went on 1 date with 4 months ago??? I think they really don't have anything else to talk about, I find that pretty lame.

 

In general, Kevin's been a pretty good boyfriend. But as Ivan points out, Jen is worried that she's just another in the line of the ex-gfs. That's interesting he pointed that out. Kevin's had a string of girlfriends (from a few dates to some for about a year) and Jen's just worried that she's 'yet another gf'.

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So Seth has never been married...I guess it was Connie and Kevin who were yammering on about older, unmarried, no kids must be losers...then why would they each be dating someone they just said they considered losers!! I think the real losers here are Kevin and Connie who seem to be pompous brats. No, your friend is not over-reacting...honestly, I think she should ditch Kevin and his "charming" friends and find people who act their age not their shoe size! There are screaming red flags here about Kevin's personality (or lack of personality!). He lacks empathy and compassion and it seems to me like he doesn't have a very good view of women (referring to the big boobs comment).

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^^^ yes, you are right, it was kevin and connie talking about how the unmarrieds are the losers. and yes, why would they be dating seth and jen if they really felt that way!?!? Jen told me that she does think that Connie and Seth are sort of uncouth. for sure.

 

aside from this issue, kevin's seemed to be a good boyfriend so far. so far, then again, they've only dated for 3 months so maybe his true colors are coming out now!?

 

while i was on the phone this morning, i was just thinking, "oh, CAD will NOT like this at all!" lol.

 

i mean, i can't imagine most classy women enjoying hearing about the bf's exes all night. i sure don't like that. she was wondering if she is too uptight, i don't think so at all.

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^^^ yes, you are right, it was kevin and connie talking about how the unmarrieds are the losers. and yes, why would they be dating seth and jen if they really felt that way!?!? Jen told me that she does think that Connie and Seth are sort of uncouth. for sure.

 

aside from this issue, kevin's seemed to be a good boyfriend so far. so far, then again, they've only dated for 3 months so maybe his true colors are coming out now!?

 

while i was on the phone this morning, i was just thinking, "oh, CAD will NOT like this at all!" lol.

 

i mean, i can't imagine most classy women enjoying hearing about the bf's exes all night. i sure don't like that. she was wondering if she is too uptight, i don't think so at all.

 

She is not at all being uptight...in fact, I give her credit for being that patient with him. I bet if she started talking about her ex boyfriends he would not be thrilled at all. I don't think many people would feel comfortable listening to talk about their partner's exes.

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I think she is overreacting. Is she insecure to begin with?

 

I also think you're too involved. Why are you posting a story about a friend when it's her business? I hope you are not intensifying her reaction by encouraging it.

 

If you really want to be a good friend, be more neutral... don't encourage hysterical overreactions that get in the way of relationships. I worry about how you'll be there for her if something really does happen and she needs someone cool, calm and collected. Empathy is important in a friendship and I'm sure you have a big heart and lots of it, but so is objective feedback. I'm sure you mean the very best, but really now, encourage her to focus on the positives in this guy. I'm sure there are many or she wouldn't be with him. No-one and nothing is perfect and this is just childish, in my view.

 

People, especially old friends, sometimes talk about silly things when they party. Old habits can be hard to break. If there were something to worry about with the exes, they wouldn't be talking about them this casually.

 

You'll probably find people going both ways in their responses. That's just human nature. However, I think in life you have to pick your battles and this is just not worth a war or squabble.

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minou - i think you do have some good points, they are something for me to think about. she is a good friend, and i only want the best for her. overall, i try to be really supportive of her, but when she calls me in the morning and is really upset, it's hard not to take 'her side' or just try to make her feel better. i do think like asti said, it's more than just some stupid friends. when she called me upset that he wasn't returning her texts this morning, i told her to kind of just sit on things for a few days and let the feelings settle down, and she said she wasn't going to sit and wait for 3-4 days to see if they are still together, she wanted to settle things now.

 

she's not really insecure, but i think is starting to feel that way. she's attractive and educated, but when younger cousins are getting married and everyone around her is getting married and having babies, it makes her feel kind of down on herself. it doesn't help when the boyfriend starts making comments like that, or wondering how she can go to school for so many years and make so little money. (she has a PhD, but doesn't make very much.) after he made those comments, she felt really bad.

 

i guess i'm involved because i'm her best friend and we tell each other everything, from even the most mundane things, like what we ate for dinner or what color to paint our nails (seriously!) I do hope they can work things out (and that he maybe realizes what he said hurt her and acknowledge that). he does seem to have some really good qualities and it would be nice if this led to a 'happily ever after' for her.

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It is very disrespectful and I would not tolerate that no. I do not think she over reacted at all. I would give it one more chance and if the topic was brought up again I would walk out on the dinner or event and it would be done with. I think they need to go on less dates with Seth and Connie to be frank.

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I totally disagree with this post. I don't see anything wrong with Annie's reaction and I certainly don't think the friend is over-reacting. Sure there are good points in everyone...even abusers have good points, which is why the victims stay..because they "live" for the good points and try to overlook the abusive aspects of the person.

 

 

 

Annie, it appears to me that this man is invalidating her life choices and trying, in subtle ways to belittle her. I wonder if HE has insecurity issues. There are many men who are insecure about women having a higher degree so they try to put them down in other respects. I think these are things she needs to look out for because it doesn't sound like he is respecting who she is and what she has chosen for her life. If they are so incompatible with his notion of what people should be doing then he can choose to NOT date her...but if he chooses to date her he needs to not put her down or belittle her choices in life.

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I think he was more just genuinely confused (because he's never dated a PhD before), how you go to school for 25 years of your life and then not make crazy money. he just didn't get it. but of course, having a PhD qualifies you only for certain jobs and there are only so many in the area. and working in academia just doesn't pay very much. of course, you and i know that, but he didn't understand it i guess until now.

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I think he was more just genuinely confused (because he's never dated a PhD before), how you go to school for 25 years of your life and then not make crazy money. he just didn't get it. but of course, having a PhD qualifies you only for certain jobs and there are only so many in the area. and working in academia just doesn't pay very much. of course, you and i know that, but he didn't understand it i guess until now.

 

Well someone who never spent a lot of time educating them self would not understand it but he should at least respect it.

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Yes, I agree about the lack of respect. I'd guess that all of us at some time have unintentionally said things that others didn't like; we're only human. However, it sounds as though she pointed this out calmly and stated her point of view, and it doesn't actually sound as though SHE was the one who was over-reacting.

 

I was in a comparable situation recently, and I know that even if you do your best to be a good sport, eventually it starts to wear a bit thin. If there are a lot of good things about the relationship - then hang fire. Or, to put it another way - she's stated her case, and now needs to let go the outcome. It could be that he got angry and disrespectful because he secretly felt guilty and went on the defensive; if he doesn't do this sort of thing again, then he's taken her point even if he won't admit to it. If, however, he continues to act in a way which demonstrates that he doesn't value her or respect her ... well, need I continue?

 

I guess the short answer is that she hasn't got enough information about him yet. After three months, the honeymoon bit is starting to evaporate and he's only just beginning to let her know who he really is. She doesn't have enough information to know whether he's a good bet long term. If he's belittling her PhD it's because he feels threatened by it - people who feel OK about themselves and their achievements don't need to put others down.

 

If I were her I'd continue to be pleasant, a good sport, cheerful, all the rest and above all, to make sure she doesn't get sucked into the games. And just watch and see what happens before she allows herself to get any more involved emotionally than she is at the moment.

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Well, she called me briefly, and said that everything is settled and they worked things out. she didn't elaborate as she and his daughter were making dinner together. But, she sounds much better. Hopefully things are ok now and they've talked it out!

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Well, it remains to be seen if it is really all better or he just paid her lip service and she accepted it in order to keep the relationship going. Time will tell if this was a one off or if this is a sign of things to come as the relationship progresses.

 

yeah, i agree. obviously as her friend, i want the very best for her and don't like to see some guy jerking her around. well, i guess that every couple goes through some 'hiccups' in their relationship, hopefully he has gotten the point and treats her more respectfully. i do want good things for her, and he does seem like a good match for her in other ways. hope it works out!!

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I agree with NBH. And I also consider it a major red flag in a relationship when one partner tells another their concerns, and then they're immediately dismissed with a laugh or comment of unseriousness.

 

One thing I've learned over many years is that if you tell a friend/S.O. about something they do that bothers you, and they don't listen in a respectful manner, then they will never be a good long-term friend/S.O. That attitude of "I'm right and you're absurd" essentially means that the relationship will always be on their terms. It seems like that's his attitude about it and that's not a good sign at all.

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Totally disrespectful not only talking about his ex all the time, but talking about her BOOBS? And then the "being worried about other women" thing...real winner, this Kevin guy is.

 

EDIT: I think this is the first time I've seen a mod ask for advice...AS a mod!

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  • 4 weeks later...

UPDATE: so, i started getting annoyed with my friend Jen when she missed an event that it was important to me to attend because she was out with Kevin. I started getting annoyed that she never seemed to have time for me anymore and always had to check what was Kevin's schedule and what Kevins' kids' schedules were before confirming plans with me. afterall, this was a guy she was dating for 3 months, not her husband. I kind of decided to distance myself a bit from Jen and give her some space.

 

Well, there was a huge drama recently. Well, like i mentioned, Jen and Kevin hang out with Seth and Colleen, this other couple. Once they were out at that weekly event, and they saw Linda, Kevin's ex. Colleen went over and decided to make best friends with Linda and hung out with her for most of the night. That ticked off Jen and Kevin, maybe even moreso Kevin. And now Colleen wants the three couples (including Linda and her new boyfriend) to all hang out together on a regular basis. These people are clearly off their rockers. who wants to hang out with their bf's ex every single weekend? From this, a bunch of fights occurred. Colleen apologizing to Jen, Kevin getting mad at Seth, etc.... what drama. Kevin told Jen she is too insecure. sigh.

 

well, in the end, he broke up with via facebook. yes, facebook. he defriended her. didn't even call.

 

so, now jen has way more time for me. sigh. i am kind of annoyed by the whole thing. i spent most of last weekend trying to help her, even though i had other stuff to do. well, that's what friends do. but i hate having to keep repeating to her that NO, she was not unreasonable for wanting to hang out with the exes every week. i mean, no reasonable person would. and she starts telling that story to anyone who gets near us too. i mean, sigh. what is it going to take for you to realize these people are drama and insane?

 

so, that's a partial vent about my friend. i'm also annoyed with her because i invited her a few months ago on a trip i am taking with a college friend next month. at the time, she said no, because she had plans with Kevin. well, now she is "thinking" of going with me, but doesn't want to commit. this honestly irks me because this is a trip where we have already made the plane tickets and hotel reservations and reservations for events. i mean, tickets you can't just get at the last minute, and i already have seats for the show. Plus, my friend is very careful with her money, and i can't see her being ready to throw down about a $1000, which is about how much this trip would cost, all in all.

 

sigh. i don't even want to 'uninvite' her, but if she brings it up again, maybe i should just tell her that all the plans have already been made, it's a bit too late.

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oh, and just some more info. i think part of the reason that this all started to tick me off was the part of me that is the 'strong independent woman.' like, why do you have to check with your boyfriend's schedule to see if it's ok to go do what you have to do. it wasn't really about me being jealous that she was spending her time with him. i understand that, as that's what people in a relationship do - but how she had all this time to spend with seth and colleen, this couple she didn't like, but it was a big drama if i wanted to get dinner with her. on the other hand, she was readily available to get lunch with me because her work location is near mine.

 

anyways, i think she started realizing how much of her own life was put on hold with him. jen is really into fitness while kevin is not. jen wanted to go to the gym at 8 AM for a fitness class but kevin mentioned that they had tentative lunch plans with his mom. but they weren't sure when or where. jen decided she wanted to go to the class, and then called kevin after the class to ask what was up (this was 9 AM). she told him that she would go do some errands, and that kevin should call her if he gets in touch with his mom. well, in the end, the lunch plans never materialized and kevin blamed everything on jen, because she wasn't available right then and there. which is total BS because jen could have easily driven over and met them for lunch, if kevin had been clear about the plans. he said she only works out so she can eat more. (what a strange insult!

 

in the end, i think she started to notice she was being treated like an accessory, not a gf. he expected her to rearrange her schedule around him, but he wouldn't do the same for her. i wouldn't be surprised if he had a new gf already and she is already hanging out with seth and connie.

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Oh my goodness, she should thank her lucky stars she is out of that mess. Colleen sounds like a big meanie (there's another word I'd like to use) - how passive aggressive can you be, making friends with your friend's ex in front of the new girlfriend and trying to get them all to hang out - and Kevin sounds like a 13 year old (cue facebook break-up and insults about her working out?!).

 

Is your friend your age? Maybe she's getting worried about finding someone to settle down with and that's where the insecurity is coming from?

 

The dropping you as a friend would annoy me too. One of my male friends has done that to me recently, and I'm very upset about it. If she brings up the trip, I think you should say "you know how much I would have loved for you to come with us, but we've booked everything and I think it might just be too late - hopefully next time we'll all go together". I really hate it when friends drop me because they are dating someone new and then expect me to be back there to pick up the pieces and at their beck and call when they break up. Grrr.

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