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His friend attacked me but is in denial- friendship group could be split


sapphyre

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sorry this is so long I need to contextualise it- sorry! -

 

I went with the guy I'm going out with (we've been going out for roughly 5months-ish- this is both of our first relationship) to a Halloween party late last year, which was a gathering of his friends. I was really nervous, I suffer from anxiety disorder and travelling is one of the things that sends me into a nervous state, so I found it quite difficult to muster up the courage to go. It was hosted by one of his friends, Phoebe, who, on twitter (before I'd met her) was perfectly amiable. It is important to mention that she is also in a relationship and living with one of the friends from the group (for a bit longer than me and Tom have been together). I was trying my best to be friendly/nice, but from the minute she met us off the train, she was noticeably cold towards me (also worth mentioning here that Tom is absolutely useless at noticing this kind of stuff). Initially I thought that maybe she was just socially awkward, or maybe it was something that I was doing, but it just got worse as time progressed.

 

She drove us to a supermarket to pick up some food/drink before the party, and throughout monopolised Tom in intense/very friendly discussion whilst completely neglecting to look at me. I was already feeling tired because of the amount of energy travelling and being anxious had taken up, so I just remained quiet and didn't try to butt in. When we got to the flat, thankfully there were other people there so I could just interact with them and I thought that might be the end of it.

 

I didn't really interact with her too much that night and got on really well with everyone else (his other friends did genuinely seem to like me and welcome me to the gathering). We all stayed over (sleeping on the floor).

 

The next morning though, the trouble started. Phoebe was making breakfast and drinks for everyone (there were a few other people helping). When she was asking around the room if anyone wanted teas/coffees, I said I would quite like one (cue barely acknowledging I'd spoken). When she came out with my tea (I was sitting on the floor by some shelves), I said thank you and tried to take it from her with the handle. She, however, looking straight at me as she did it, shoved the burning hot mug right into my hand so that I was forced to grab the entire body of the cup. I, obviously, said ow, and managed to just get it on the shelf before nursing my burnt palm. She had just walked away. Then, when she was serving the components of breakfast, it seemed as though kept forgetting to see me. When Tom went into the kitchen (it's fairly open plan so I could see/hear everything) she hugged him in a very warm and over-friendly way, and laughed loudly at whatever he was saying. When I came in, she barely looked either of us in the eyes. At this point she bent down to get something out of the freezer. She asked me to move out of the way (without looking at me), and I stepped back- evidently not far enough for her liking, because she then aggressively opened the freezer door, slamming it against my legs, and causing me to trip backwards. I did cry out, but she didn't even look up.

 

Alongside those two, very specifically aggressive actions, she was cold, or hostile, or openly rude (I asked for a moment in a card game to which she said 'no') for the whole occasion. I could not for the life of me figure out what I'd done to offend this person I'd never met. I mentioned that she didn't like me to Tom on the train, but without going into details, because I didn't want to create a fuss/get in the way of the friendship group (which I'd only just met (and this wasn't so far into our relationship, so I guess I was nervous that he'd feel like I was creating problems (I know it's stupid- anxiety manifests itself in irrational ways unfortunately)).

 

Later on, Tom admitted to me that it was Phoebe who he had slept with (he'd only slept with one other person on two occasions before me- it sounded casual). I then realised that her actions might not have been random/because of an inability to deal with strangers, but specifically motivated, and self-aware. I got mad, and asked Tom to leave (we were at mine)- he had purposely avoided telling me, and it was very dishonest. However, I also told him about what had happened at the party. He came over after work the next day, and we managed to reconcile. He admitted it was dishonest, and he was really sorry.

 

However, the matter of Phoebe was still hanging in the air. He himself opted to message her to ask what was up- why she had done the things she'd done. It took a while. Tom's really bad at confrontation and actively tries to avoid it as far as possible. Finally he did it, but the wording heavily put emphasis on me having the issue, rather than him. I was unhappy with that and said so. He said it was to soften the blow to her. He said that his priority was to stay friends with her. He finally sent another more firm one because we'd had a really bad argument. Her replies are entirely in denial and defensive/angry. Is it selfish of me, knowing it could break the group up? What should I expect? What is a reasonable outcome? Are his priorities ok? It it just that I'm stinging that makes me want it to be because he's angry and wouldn't actually want to be friends with a person who could do that to his partner? They have known each other for ages, and he's said that avoiding her will make it difficult to hang out with the whole group per se. I keep veering between being really angry and feeling really guilty. Please help

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I'd dump him. He knowingly took you into a situation without giving you all the information, then didn't bother to notice when she was rude. I know that if someone was deliberately and obviously rude to my boyfriend (whether I slept with that person or not- I'm including friends, family members, anyone) I would tell that person it was unacceptable and no longer contact him/her.

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I don't know how long it was that Tom sent the message after all these things happened, but the fact that he put the issue firmly on you tells you all you need to know -- he would prefer to remain friends with his group than defend you if/when a member of that group treats you badly. This isn't a matter of choosing one over the other, but calling out someone who has done wrong. He could have done that and still remained friends with the group.

 

Phoebe and Tom had sex once. Phoebe also probably has more feelings for Tom than he was willing or able to return (i.e. Not Merely Friendly). Phoebe is angry at Tom that he chose someone other than her, so she picks on you, since she doesn't want to pick on Tom and potentially ruin any future chances with him. Tom picks his friends over how one of them treated you, which tells you where you stand in the pecking order.

 

It's up to you whether or not you want to dump him. I don't think Tom has seen what he's done, he seems pretty clueless in general based on what you've said. I think that if you continue to see him, this problem with his friends is going to keep popping up, especially where Phoebe is concerned. Tom's trying to be a Nice Guy and just being a Doormat. I think you can do better.

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He said that his priority was to stay friends with her.

 

Not to stand up for his girlfriend, or make a stand when his girlfriend is being treated unfairly. This is key, because in a decent friendship someone should be able to say "look, I didn't like how you treated sapphyre and it made me feel uncomfortable, i'm pretty sure it upset her as well, if you have a problem with her or us then please let me know and we'll be out of your hair." without even being told to

His priority, however, was to keep around a friend (that wasn't really just a friend at one point, was she?) rather than care about how that "friend" made you feel.

He also brought you into a situation that would have been uncomfortable for you had you known the truth, but decided to keep it from you anyway.

God knows why this girl was being such a b*tch when she is supposed to be happily in a relationship with someone else, but that is neither here nor there. It important he recognises when people are hurting you or being disrespectful towards his relationship. It is also important he not lie to you. He didn't live up to either of these situations, so what are you going to do? Stay in a relationship knowing your boyfriend prioritises his ex-flings over you and lies to you? That's what it comes down to. Personally, I would walk.

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Also, I'd be very wary of this trait in a person. I see lots of threads on here about how this bodes in a marriage twenty years down the line.

 

^^ So true!

 

Many stories of years of hurt, resentment, and loss of respect caused by partnering with a spouse who does not stand up for their partner.

 

He prioritized causing no waves in his friend group over calling out his "friend" for disrespecting his girlfriend! This guy has no backbone -- when it comes for looking out for you. He'll resist your requests just fine, but take on his friends? No way, no how. He's a weasel.

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He said that his priority was to stay friends with her.

 

That was when I would have told him "goodbye". He is fine with an ex eff-buddy treating you like crap and disrespecting you in front of everybody because he would rather keep her friendship than keep your relationship?

 

You're ok with accepting that? You need Tom that badly?

 

He finally sent another more firm one because we'd had a really bad argument. Her replies are entirely in denial and defensive/angry. Is it selfish of me, knowing it could break the group up? What should I expect? What is a reasonable outcome? Are his priorities ok? It it just that I'm stinging that makes me want it to be because he's angry and wouldn't actually want to be friends with a person who could do that to his partner? They have known each other for ages, and he's said that avoiding her will make it difficult to hang out with the whole group per se. I keep veering between being really angry and feeling really guilty. Please help

 

No, his priorities are not ok---that is evident. When she put the hot mug into your hand and clocked you with the freezer door, he should have jumped up and asked her what the eff was her problem... for that matter, you should have said something, too. You allowed her waaaaaay too much room to debase you; it's no wonder Tom is slow to go defend you, although he should have. If you didn't think you deserved to defend yourself in the moment, I guarantee you that he's not going to be quick on the uptake.

 

If it's more important for him to be a part of this group that she's a part of than to be with you, then your answer about what to do is right there. You will continue to be punked by this girl whenever you go with Tom around these people. Are you up for that? She got away with it in front of everyone and she can talk Tom down off this ledge because he needs her friendship more than he needs your relationship.

 

You need to dump Tom. He's a liar and he doesn't defend you. I think you know that you deserve way better treatment from a boyfriend than that, right?

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The other posters have covered many important points well, but I have one further comment...

 

Where there's smoke there is fire... Now most people are NOT genuinely crazy and this 'friend' is behaving like there is a lot more to the story than a one night stand between herself and your BF. There is always a chance that they are having an affair behind each of their partner's backs (or did), and perhaps she wants them both to break up with the current partners and get together with each other. So she may have a lot of resentment in this situation for a very good reason that no one is speaking about because they are hiding something.

 

so your sudden appearance may have taken her totally by surprise/shock/anger if there is/was more between them than others in this little friendship group know about, if they're having an affair (or had one) and now she is expected to meet his new GF and act like she's not upset about it.

 

I also think you are making a bit more than you should have about these 'assaults'. If she is holding the mug by the handle, she may have had no idea how hot the mug really was, and also, if she has one of those freezers with a sticky bottom drawer, if you jerk on them they will sometimes open with more or less force than expected. So to me it sounds like she was just upset in general and stomping around because of it rather than scheming to make assaults on you.

 

When it comes to trying to figure out what is REALLY going on, Occam's Razor is an approach used by many, which goes, the simplest explanation is the best. Now, if someone is behaving like she did towards you, would the explanation be she is a total lunatic who is insane and wants to attack his GF for no reason other than a one night stand long ago, or would a more likely explanation be that there is something more going on there between them that they can't/won't tell you or the group, and perhaps she has a right to be angry if she is also sleeping with him on the sly and he lied to her about his intentions to get her to do that (i.e., he really loved her and wanted her, yet he suddenly turns up with a girl at her house?). Affair partners can get really jealous of their paramour's spouse/BF/GF, even if they have their own partners themselves!

 

So I think this is a very problematic situation. And should give you pause because I think there is a lot more to this story than they are letting on. They may well be having an affair, and both of course know if it comes out it will explode everything in the cozy little friendship circle, but Phoebe is now starting to chafe under the restrictions, or perhaps thought she meant more to your BF than she did, and is now upset and angry feeling he used her for sex while lying about his intentions towards her.

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