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Boyfriend stopped hanging out with his female friend because I told him about relationship boundaries?


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Hi All, Me and my boyfriend are together 3 years. My boyfriend used to live in a shared flat when this girl moved in. Since start they seem to become friends. She gifted him a book, gave him access to her netflix, she developed similar interests as my boyfriend, like warhammer, games, music bands. I noticed straight away that she would talk to him a lot, but won't communicate much with me or had intentions to become friends. Sometimes he would text me saying he is out for a walk, but would not specify with who, unless I ask indirect question and he would admit that she invited him. They lived in the shared accommodation for 1 year with other housemates and I am sure that there was no physical cheating because I know my boyfriend loves me and I am the n.1 for him and I was around often. We moved in together last year and I noticed that he would play games and voice chat with her more often and even wanted to invite her over for Christmas. More often he would not say that he was about to play with her, I would just walk in the room and find out. She even bought him a game extension without occasion. For a year I was hiding my jealousy and not saying anything because didn't want to come as controlling freak and obviously break the friendship but with that Christmas invitation my jealousy skyrocketed, but still I said, no problem invite her over. Till the point when I said I can't take it anymore and had a serious conversation with him about boundaries being crossed. I discovered that they were texting almost everyday and she would tell him a lot about her problems. He said that he has naive character, but he would not play games with her and would not contact her. He said that he honestly talked to her, saying that it's better they won't hang out and that she was sorry for being too friendly. My intention was for him to set boundaries, not breaking up friendship. Am I a bad guy? Or there was a really valid reason for him to terminate friendship?

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Your conversation enlightened him and made him realize that he was way too emotionally invested in her... that it would be considered as inappropriate. ....he thought if you were doing this with some male flatmate how would he feel about it. Basically he put himself in your shoes and had a real understanding of your feelings. I say this is a good thing.

Now you know that for the long haul, you both need to communicate if you want to sustain a healthy relationship.

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I agree with smackie. Sounds like a productive chat, if maybe a bit clumsy since you were holding in some big, jagged feelings for a long time. Still, it says a lot about his character and his commitment to you that he didn't get defensive or angry, but rather saw things, and felt them, through your eyes and made some immediate adjustments to foster greater harmony between you two.

If your intention wasn't for him to completely sever the friendship, but to just have tighter boundaries—well, maybe you can express that in a bit, and talk a bit more about what those boundaries might look like. Or maybe not, trusting that he has his own agency and if he feels he made too much of a correction he'll let you know. 

In short, this is a positive moment. For you, you learned that it's better to share tough feelings with him than to keep them bottled up. For him, he learned a bit more about the sorts of boundaries needed to ensure your relationship continues to thrive in a safe and be emotionally safe on both ends.  

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@bluecastle Thank you for your reply. Immediate adjustments came in 5 days. I must say that it was heavy for both of us. I think I will trust his agency, because at present I am not over the whole situation and I am looking how to sort out my feelings and stop ruminating. I guess I was hurt for long time and it will take me few months to be over it and not get angry if I think about it. Thanks again, I really appreciate 🙂

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  Sounds like a good thing all around although a little later than it should have been discussed.  Strange how fear can hold us back from saying something we know needs to be said and when we finally get so bothered by it comes blurting out.  Don't let fear control your life and relationship.

   So he is probably going a little overboard to undo some of this and prove to you his takes your feelings seriously.  Perhaps another talk is in order where you make sure he knows you are not telling him who he can be friends with, just that boundaries are important for the relationship.

  Lost 

Edited by lostandhurt
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A naive character? You can't really believe that. He liked the attention and would have continued with it if you continued stewing in silence. 

I wouldn't worry about this or say anything more. He is a grown man and he should know better. The interactions were out of line. I don't think any more needs to be said on the specific topic. You do not need to feel like the bad guy. Let that go.

I'd spend more time wondering and seeing how you can be more open and vocal about your thoughts as this was long overdue. Focus more on being together as a couple. It's caused some tension so spend more time being loving and creating more intimacy between the both of you. 

Good for you for speaking up!

 

Edited by Rose Mosse
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16 hours ago, boltnrun said:

Don't pretend or try to be the "cool girlfriend".  Be sincere to yourself.  Don't worry so much about "losing" him that you lose yourself in the process.

Totally agree.... I tried for a year to be a cool gf. Then I lost my cool. I need to change how I see things in a relationship and this is what relationship do, at some point you lose yourself, but need to realise that and bring yourself back to yourself. Thanks.

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12 hours ago, lostandhurt said:

  Sounds like a good thing all around although a little later than it should have been discussed.  Strange how fear can hold us back from saying something we know needs to be said and when we finally get so bothered by it comes blurting out.  Don't let fear control your life and relationship.

   So he is probably going a little overboard to undo some of this and prove to you his takes your feelings seriously.  Perhaps another talk is in order where you make sure he knows you are not telling him who he can be friends with, just that boundaries are important for the relationship.

  Lost 

I should be mindful of what triggers fear in me. Definitely in the future will be more aware of this and won't let so much time to run before expressing myself. It was not my intention for him to stop talking to her or telling him who he needs to be friends with but he probably put himself in my shoes and realised that it hurts my feelings and prioritised the relationship over his friendship with her.

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11 hours ago, Rose Mosse said:

A naive character? You can't really believe that. He liked the attention and would have continued with it if you continued stewing in silence. 

I wouldn't worry about this or say anything more. He is a grown man and he should know better. The interactions were out of line. I don't think any more needs to be said on the specific topic. You do not need to feel like the bad guy. Let that go.

I'd spend more time wondering and seeing how you can be more open and vocal about your thoughts as this was long overdue. Focus more on being together as a couple. It's caused some tension so spend more time being loving and creating more intimacy between the both of you. 

Good for you for speaking up!

 

I agree, he definitely liked the attention and he would have carried on as normal if I wouldn't have said anything. He had intention to pick her up for Christmas then let her be with us for all day and drop her back in the evening. That's definitely over the top. But glad it didn't happen. I will definitely need to be braver to speak up in the future and don't let certain things boil my blood for too long. Thank you for pointing out, it did cause a lot of tension indeed and now we need to heal. 

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It was his choice.  He decided to end the friendship vs setting a boundary (not entertaining her problems,  but accepting platonic former housemate friendship that only involved gaming) so you cannot turn this around on yourself and say "i didn't really mean for him to do that."   Just be glad that he took your chat to heart.  In truth, maybe it was easy to let go because he *truly* was not really that invested her.  He liked being able to play video games with somebody, but maybe just "took" the rest because he felt awkward and didn't really know how to gracefully exit those conversations.

 

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I'll be the odd one out and and pose the question of why he didn't end this on his own without being coached.  It would sound much more sincere, as an adult if he had come to this conclusion on his own.  I may be off base, but I think he was biding his time for as long as he could get away with it.

In any event, I hope you find your way.

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20 hours ago, HeartGoesOn said:

I'll be the odd one out and and pose the question of why he didn't end this on his own without being coached.  It would sound much more sincere, as an adult if he had come to this conclusion on his own.  I may be off base, but I think he was biding his time for as long as he could get away with it.

In any event, I hope you find your way.

Thank you, your question is not odd. He honestly didn't realise that their interraction might have crossed my boundaries and saw it as innocent. Funny thing is when he spoke with her about it, she was harsh on him and then she apologised to him later. They both said that they should have realised that earlier. And I should have voiced mine concerns earlier. Lessons learned )))

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21 hours ago, abitbroken said:

It was his choice.  He decided to end the friendship vs setting a boundary (not entertaining her problems,  but accepting platonic former housemate friendship that only involved gaming) so you cannot turn this around on yourself and say "i didn't really mean for him to do that."   Just be glad that he took your chat to heart.  In truth, maybe it was easy to let go because he *truly* was not really that invested her.  He liked being able to play video games with somebody, but maybe just "took" the rest because he felt awkward and didn't really know how to gracefully exit those conversations.

 

Thank you and I am glad 100%

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I've always had close platonic friendships with men.  Including sharing emotional things going on, personal stuff.  The only reason I would end a friendship is if I felt that he was into me to an extent that it interfered with being friends platonically.  Having close male friends -just like close female friends-is very important to me.  I think in your case either he really wasn't interested in hearing about her personal issues or he realized he was playing with fire so it's a good thing he's distanced himself.  Just decide whether you're ok with him being platonic friends with women -if you're not I would tell him and if you are then you'll just deal with this if it comes up again with a particular friend.  I doubt it will.  Good luck!

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On 1/7/2021 at 10:21 AM, NoraJohns said:

I noticed that he would play games and voice chat with her more often and even wanted to invite her over for Christmas. More often he would not say that he was about to play with her, I would just walk in the room and find out. She even bought him a game extension without occasion. For a year I was hiding my jealousy and not saying anything because didn't want to come as controlling freak and obviously break the friendship but with that Christmas invitation my jealousy skyrocketed, but still I said, no problem invite her over. Till the point when I said I can't take it anymore and had a serious conversation with him about boundaries being crossed. I discovered that they were texting almost everyday and she would tell him a lot about her problems.

Do you think that maybe they just became 'good friends' and can 'vent' onto one another?

It sounds like they are just carrying on like they always have.. (gaming, chatting).  Where are the boundaries needed here?

To talk ALL of the time, or if he is always 'contacting her',, I don't feel is necessary- as he should be confiding in you.

I know she is well aware of you- but come on chicky.. He has a Gf, back off a little. (she needs to respect you two a little more, yes).  Didn't mean all friendship needs to be washed away.. (did you explain this to him?)

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I'm assuming you two are very young, seeing his previous living arrangements. Chalk it up to youthful life experience. These very close male/female friendships are common for a time, but then people move out into an older adult stage, getting more serious with a partner, and moving in together as you two are, things do have to change for the good of the couple. The fact that she didn't seem to be a champion of your coupling, since she had no interest in forming a friendship with you, was one good reason their friendship had to end or at least fade to what you'd be comfortable with.

There are those who do have platonic friends of the opposite sex, and if it works for them and their partner, that's great.

For you, you didn't like him pouring time and emotional energy into a female friend. It is a different dynamic many aren't comfortable with, including me. Stick to what makes you comfortable and make sure he continues to be on the same page. Otherwise, you're not compatible which should be a dealbreaker for something so important. Good luck.

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I'm a big believer in rewards, so I'd offer BF something he values to show my appreciation.

I also believe in negotiating bribes in exchange for things that each partner wants from the other.

Sure, it's romantic to believe that someone 'should' be intuitive enough to offer what we want simply because they love us. It's just not realistic. That notion keeps communication closed in order to uphold ideas of perfection--which tends to foment resentments rather than deliver ideals.

So, instead of holding back then snapping like a rubber band one day into 'you always' or 'you never,' I view regular bribes to ask for what we want as a preventative measure and as a discussion opener.

For instance, I'd probably want to know whether BF might like for me to learn more about the games or other interests he has. I wouldn't explore this as a means of trying to 'replace' the friend, but rather I'd consider that couples who share interests in sports teams or games or hobbies tend to bond over those things, and they can come up as trades or incentives over the course of time. Like, "I hoped we might grocery shop this morning, but how about if we play 'x' for a half hour first?"

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12 hours ago, SooSad33 said:

Do you think that maybe they just became 'good friends' and can 'vent' onto one another?

It sounds like they are just carrying on like they always have.. (gaming, chatting).  Where are the boundaries needed here?

To talk ALL of the time, or if he is always 'contacting her',, I don't feel is necessary- as he should be confiding in you.

I know she is well aware of you- but come on chicky.. He has a Gf, back off a little. (she needs to respect you two a little more, yes).  Didn't mean all friendship needs to be washed away.. (did you explain this to him?)

Oh yes I have explained that to him. I told him it is up to you how you want to deal with it and how to establish boundaries. That was his decision and he is not resenting it. He told me after he spoke to her about the issue, obviously she apologised but she was harsh on him over the phone and also refused his xmas gift, that says what a good friend she is. 

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2 hours ago, catfeeder said:

I'm a big believer in rewards, so I'd offer BF something he values to show my appreciation.

I also believe in negotiating bribes in exchange for things that each partner wants from the other.

Sure, it's romantic to believe that someone 'should' be intuitive enough to offer what we want simply because they love us. It's just not realistic. That notion keeps communication closed in order to uphold ideas of perfection--which tends to foment resentments rather than deliver ideals.

So, instead of holding back then snapping like a rubber band one day into 'you always' or 'you never,' I view regular bribes to ask for what we want as a preventative measure and as a discussion opener.

For instance, I'd probably want to know whether BF might like for me to learn more about the games or other interests he has. I wouldn't explore this as a means of trying to 'replace' the friend, but rather I'd consider that couples who share interests in sports teams or games or hobbies tend to bond over those things, and they can come up as trades or incentives over the course of time. Like, "I hoped we might grocery shop this morning, but how about if we play 'x' for a half hour first?"

Sounds like a good dynamic, and I am open to do things together. In this case he never invited me to join him in a game. Sometimes we would play together but not on this occasion. He would just keep it between him and her and from what I discovered she is not a big player either and joined in for this specific game for less than a year ago. How did it all start I don't know. And at this point I don't want to know. I mentioned to him many times about the games I wanted to play but somehow he didn't acknowledge that or didn't say - hey I got this game that you like let's play together.... so yeah into the adulthood. Thanks!

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Well I have a couple of close male friends but one of them is gay, so I know with him it's not the same. I personally don't mind if my boyfriend had female friends but as long as I could see that there is nothing going on there and that my boyfriend is being very open and honest about this friendship.

I think it does sound weird that your boyfriend wouldn't mention that he's catching up with this girl. Why would he be hiding it? He doesn't necessarily have to tell you every single little thing he's doing but it's normal to say: "I'm going for a walk with Bill", "I'm playing online games with Jess". Not because he has to inform you of everything but just because it's normal to mention these kinds of things to your partner. I think this girl was being too overly friendly, especially because she knows he has a girlfriend. Massaging him every day and buying gifts for no reason is a bit inappropriate considering her friend is in a relationship. If she texted him and hung out with him only occasionally and was friendly towards you too, that would be different. My guess is your boyfriend knows she likes him and maybe he was hiding some things because of that. I'm not saying he cheated on you or even that he's that into her. But he probably knows she's into him and that's why he didn't want to tell you sometimes that he's hanging out with her.

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33 minutes ago, Tinydance said:

Well I have a couple of close male friends but one of them is gay, so I know with him it's not the same. I personally don't mind if my boyfriend had female friends but as long as I could see that there is nothing going on there and that my boyfriend is being very open and honest about this friendship.

I think it does sound weird that your boyfriend wouldn't mention that he's catching up with this girl. Why would he be hiding it? He doesn't necessarily have to tell you every single little thing he's doing but it's normal to say: "I'm going for a walk with Bill", "I'm playing online games with Jess". Not because he has to inform you of everything but just because it's normal to mention these kinds of things to your partner. I think this girl was being too overly friendly, especially because she knows he has a girlfriend. Massaging him every day and buying gifts for no reason is a bit inappropriate considering her friend is in a relationship. If she texted him and hung out with him only occasionally and was friendly towards you too, that would be different. My guess is your boyfriend knows she likes him and maybe he was hiding some things because of that. I'm not saying he cheated on you or even that he's that into her. But he probably knows she's into him and that's why he didn't want to tell you sometimes that he's hanging out with her.

Ooopppsss I meant "messaging him every day". Not massaging! If she was massaging him every day then you really should be worried! 😂

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1 hour ago, Tinydance said:

If she texted him and hung out with him only occasionally and was friendly towards you too, that would be different.

Yep. If this woman was cold toward you, she's not pursuing 'couple' friends--she has another agenda. I'd raise this point if the subject ever comes up again.

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10 hours ago, NoraJohns said:

obviously she apologised but she was harsh on him over the phone and also refused his xmas gift, that says what a good friend she is.

Yup, she was put in her place.  Seems like she didn't like - either jealous or insulted.

To the point she could not have 'all she wanted in this'.. or just thought, fine, you don't want me around.

But. if this is how it is between them, fine.. Both will recover.

Good stuff.

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