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Handling Girlfriend's Friendship With a Former Friend With Benefits


Arkhan
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I am a male who has been dating a female for 7 months, but I am having issues being comfortable with a close friendship she's maintaining with a male that was formerly her friend with benefits.

She's known her friend for over a decade and has been very open about how he and she have converted the relationship to 'with benefits' a few times in the past and the most recent ended just a few months before she and I started dating. She explained that she felt he and she were basically dating because they spent nearly every weekend together, had sex often and planned special days together for their birthdays, but he apparently didn't want to commit to a relationship.

In my past, I've had two girlfriends cheat on me, one with a fellow coworker of ours and the other with a former boyfriend she wasn't quite over. I noticed in both of those relationships that they'd become very one-sided with me being the only one who would offer to pay for a date or meal we shared together or with me seeming to only do the little thoughtful things for my girlfriend. In both of those cases, I had to catch them cheating on me because they still piled on the praise and how much they loved me in conversation.

My current girlfriend is triggering those alarm bells for me because when we go out to a particularly nice dinner together, even though she offers to split the bill, she doesn't object when I say I'd actually like to treat her this time, but she also never offers to pay for another nice dinner later. She also didn't do anything really special for my birthday, bought me a subscription to a foreign language learning site and cooked a dinner with me like we often do. On Valentine's Day weekend, I spent a lot on flowers, gifts and an expensive dinner I picked out for us and she get or plan anything for me. She and I make very similar salaries, so I don't think it's because of financial reasons that she might be limited. I've had the sense in the past that her family doesn't really do much for holidays, so I've always chalked it up to it being that she's not very thoughtful around special occasions for that reason.

I was giving her the benefit of the doubt on the birthday letdown when she mentioned the week later that her former friends with benefits had his birthday coming up and last year she planned such a cute day for him, going out to his favorite brewery and a few other activities, so she was trying to think of something to do for his next birthday coming up soon. He ended up having invited her to a birthday celebration with other friends of his, but my girlfriend and I were away on a trip and just getting back late that night. She ended up missing it, but telling him she'd take him out to brunch instead the following weekend - Valentine's Day weekend.

I reminded her it was Valentine's Day weekend and hoped we could spend it together, but she said that she felt bad because she'd missed several of her friend's recent activities and felt like she was being a bad friend to him. So Valentine's Day weekend came and we spent the fun day together that I'd planned all on my own and had what she kept describing as the best sex she's ever had, but she still, for some reason, brought up how she once hooked up with a guy on a school trip as we're coming back from dinner. The next morning, I asked if she was still doing yoga class in the morning, like she does every Sunday, even though she had plans to take her friend out for brunch. She said, "Yes, he's ok with going later because he's well-aware of my yoga classes. I'm sure you can imagine why." When I didn't say anything, she added, "we used to spend every weekend together." I left shortly later, after she thanked me for the best Valentine's Day she ever had and mentioned how no one else has ever really done anything special for her on it, and just sent a text message about my cats a little later before she was going to pick him up. I didn't hear back from her until 6 pm and she said "Sorry my phone hasn't been working to send texts" when she responded.

I really would like to be able to trust her at her word, but it's been very hard for me to be ok with it given my history. I'm not sure if I'm being 100% paranoid and feel guilty to discuss all the issues with her directly because it's basically saying the hard truth which is "I don't trust you" when I probably just have a hard time trusting women in general. I know she values her friendship with this guy very much, especially given how long she's known him, but I feel like there are still mixed feelings for her there. She's made comments in the past, describing what she and he were doing and saying, "We were basically dating, weren't we?" like she's still processing the fact that they weren't in a committed relationship. At that time, I asked her outright, "you seem like her were very taken by him and had this close friendship. If things were different and he had asked you to be his girlfriend, you would have, right?" and she guardedly said, "Yes."

I don't think it's unreasonable of me to try to set some boundaries about her relationship with him now, but I'm just not sure what's going to work. Even if we were to agree to something, I'm not sure how I can be comfortable with her being out somewhere alone with him and not worry that she's just cheating on me like my past girlfriends were until I caught them. I just don't feel that that gives me the right to try to limit or end a relationship that she values, but maybe my thoughtfulness in that regard is just what the women of my past have counted on to take advantage of.

I would greatly appreciate advice from people who have an outside perspective or have dealt with similar.


Thank you in advance!

-Steve

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The thing I’m picking up is that you feel there is a disparity of effort and if you want to test and see if she’s the kind of partner that will work through problems with you it’s time to broach that topic with her.

 

you could say something like 

 

‘I don’t really know how to broach this so I’m just going to have a go. 
 

increasingly I’ve been feeling like I try and do small and big thoughtful things to make you feel special and loved and you don’t really do anything like that for me. I was telling myself that’s not in your nature but then your friend’s birthday came around and the things you want to do for him, I wish you would do them for me. And when you prioritised spending time with him on Valentine’s Day instead of me that made me feel extra kind of second fiddle to him. Are you feelings for me fading perhaps? And if they remain as strong as they have ever been are you speaking a love language I can’t hear? And would you want to try and speak mine going forward? I’d love it if you did *concrete, tangible examples of things your partner can do that will make you feel loved here*? And if I’m feeling like you’ve lost interest a little because we speak different love languages are you also feeling like that? What things make you feel loved and special?’

 

It could be she loves you as much as ever and your self doubt is creating wild narratives. And it could be she’s lost interest and doesn’t realise it. I think your best bet is to actually have a conversation with her and see what she says, and what does she choose to do going forward?

Edited by 1a1a
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I will tell you straight what is going on.

She wants to be in a real relationship with him because she is In Love with him and since he will not commit she agrees every so many months to have sex with him hoping he will change his mind this time.

  You are a place holder until he changes his mind, heck she could be using you to try and make him jealous and finally agree to a relationship.

 I am sorry but she obviously loves this other guy and is still in love with him so you can either end this now or sit around on the edges of her life and wait for her to make time for you.

  The only time you gf will ever put her dream bf away and focus on the man in her life is when this other guy ends up married or out of reach for good.  Until then every guy she dates comes in second...

Do you want to be the number two guy in her life and wonder when this other guy tells her one day he is ready.  She will drop you like a hot potato.

  Step back and look at this clearly.  You already dated a girl that wasn't over her ex and now you are dating a girl that is STILL dating her ex.

 Lost

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OP: looks like your tally of girls not being faithful is about to be 3, if not already. Hint: it is not all on them. A good part of this pattern is on you. 
 

In a nutshell, you put too much effort into your relationships.

Women are naturally attracted to resourceful men who lead them. If you care too much you cannot be an effective leader to your woman and you will not have a woman. 

The guy she is seeing cares about her one tenth as much as you care and yet he has her interest not you.

Your only slim chance to turn this around is to ghost her, go no contact, and focus on yourself. If she chases you after the no contact, great. Let her chase but put very little effort into things. Make her do most of the work. 

If she doesn’t chase… well you quickly learn her true feelings. Move on. 

A relationship is like a movie.

Your dating strategy is to go straight to the end of the movie. This is a turn off for women.

The best parts of the relationship are the beginning and middle parts of the movie where the woman is not sure if she can win the guy. 

The end of the movie gets kind of boring because you know the rest of the story and that is less fun.

Best of luck to you!

Edited by BMP2CPM
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Speaking only for myself, I won't involve myself with anyone who is still involved with a past lover in any way, shape or form beyond shared children. You're learning WHY.

This doesn't mean that I'd impose rules on anyone, I'd just screen them up front to learn whether any of their current friendships involve an ex. If so, I wouldn't date them again.

In your position, I'd tell GF that I adore her, and that's why I'm walking away while we both still think highly of one another. If she ever finishes her relationship with her ex lover, and she'd like to pursue a committed relationship with me, she can let me know. If I'm still available then, we might meet to catch up. Meanwhile, i wish her the best.

This keeps your door open without attempting to impose restrictions that would only cause her to resent you. Chances are, she's in love with that guy, so my pride wouldn't permit me to settle for playing a distraction from that in her life.

Head high.

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Trying to set boundaries here is beside the point, OP. 

She is clearly still into him, and not that into you. 

That's all you need to know to end this. Trying to limit the time she spends with him won't change the fact that she has feelings for him and treats you like an afterthought. 

This isn't going to work, man. Cut your losses and find a woman who is as excited about you as you are about her. This one just isn't. You are her filler-guy, but not the one she truly wants. I'm sorry. 

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It's not unreasonable to set boundaries, but you're not setting boundaries and you don't seem to understand what they actually are. Take, for example, this statement: 

7 hours ago, Arkhan said:

I don't think it's unreasonable of me to try to set some boundaries about her relationship with him now, but I'm just not sure what's going to work. 

Boundaries only "work" when you enforce them. 

For example, if she doesn't end her relationship with her FWB, then you end your relationship with her.

Boundary. 

That's literally all there is to it. 

7 hours ago, Arkhan said:

Even if we were to agree to something, I'm not sure how I can be comfortable with her being out somewhere alone with him and not worry that she's just cheating on me like my past girlfriends were until I caught them.

Agree to what? Are you saying that you're going to agree to compromise your boundaries? You're already doing that.

7 hours ago, Arkhan said:

I just don't feel that that gives me the right to try to limit or end a relationship that she values, but maybe my thoughtfulness in that regard is just what the women of my past have counted on to take advantage of.

You're not limiting or ending her relationship. You're forcing her to choose between him or you. You have a right to do that and you should do that. She can continue with her FWB relationship, but she doesn't get to have you, too. Boundaries.

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It seems inappropriate. You can communicate your discomfort but it would not help your distrust of her. 

What is it about her that seems attractive to you? This would appear a very bland or uninteresting person. I may not even notice her in a crowd given her behaviour or disregard for you. 

What keeps you here or interested in her? 

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Myself and my husband over the years have had many successful and good friendships with people we dated.  We have appropriate boundaries.  I couldn't date anyone who made me give up a close friend just because we'd dated.  However to me the appropriate boundaries are -the relationship is completely over, the partner has the opportunity to meet the friend, the friend is supportive of the relationship.  For example my husband had to have a professional relationship with the most recent ex but she wanted him back. 

So in that case she wasn't supportive of our relationship and he limited his contact to professional.  And because of this I was totally fine with him having dinner with her when he was in her city for a conference - she was involved with someone else, we were engaged or nearly so, and it was clearly platonic.  I'm glad he did -it showed her -again -that we are a happy stable couple, it had been years since she'd asked him to get back together etc.  Oh and I trust him to the moon and back.  No cheating and no inappropriate behavior in all the years I've known him.  

He enforced a boundary with me one time and I put him first -no he said, no I don't want you meeting up with (the guy) for an hour prior to when we all meet up - and this was a guy I hadn't actually dated other than one lunch where I realized I wouldn't ever date him (years before my husband and I dated).  But he felt the guy was out of line asking me to meet up an hour earlier to have a personal conversation.  (Completely platonic).  

The guy totally understood, apologized for asking me to do so, and went out of his way to befriend my future husband.  Show each other that you put each other first IMO -and I personally don't think telling someone to give up a close friend is wise -with the appropriate boundaries.  

This woman doesn't want to give up the option to play kissy face with her "friend" -he's not just a friend, he doesn't care she's involved with someone else and she's basically flaunting it.  You deserve more.

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I dunno, first thing that I noticed is not the friend, but how she treats you. Who pays for what aside, if she is showing you how she can plan for anybody else, but not plan for you, that is not because her family didnt learn her that. Its because she values him over you. Even for Valentines Day. Day that should be dedicated to you, her boyfriend. And she spends it with some guy that she had sex? Planning for him but not planned anything for you? I think its rather telling where her priorities are.

Also I dont think some kind of ultimatums are going to do anything. She is not a child, its up to her to put boundaries there. Not up to you to make her do it. Simply put, it wont do anything. For example do you think that if you forbid her to see him that she wont do it? Or that, even if she accepts that, that she wont do it behind your back? Cheaters are notorious for hiding stuff. In any of your previous or current relationships, you giving ultimatums wont bring you anything unless the person wants to put those boundaries there. You can express that you are uncomfortable with the level of interest she puts in her former FWB instead of you. But again, it wont probably do anything.

Sadly, I think that you are a placeholder there. And that she just waits for him to make a move. And that moving on and finding somebody who would appreciate you more is the way to go here.

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Sorry to hear about your situation. I came across this quote about boundaries I think makes a lot of sense.

Not saying you never had boundaries, I think you are absolutely right here.

Seems the only people who get upset about them probably would be benefiting from another not having them.

05585D14-7C56-405D-B1CE-5F60EF5798FC.jpeg

Edited by mical
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You have bad taste in picking GF's. Talking about about current one do you see any future with her. She has onging relationship as per you with former male friend, I mean I don't what is former about it. As per your post she takes care of him more than you. If you are desperate enough to keep going then go on she will do the same things which your former GF's done. You more look like a third wheel in this story sorry to stay. I am not sure what are you going to achive in this relationship other than a hatrick all three GF's cheated on you, just humbly saying. If you got cash to burn and prone to heartbreak. We all no what friends with benefits are, she wants to keep her options than why wont you?

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Time for you to take a time out from dating and fix your picker. Once is a mistake, twice or more is a pattern. You are on your third time picking a woman to invest in who is not emotionally available. It seems that you are drawn to a dynamic where you are doing everything while she is busy getting with someone else. What draws you to this kind of a dynamic? Why are you playing the "cool guy" in this situation when there is nothing cool about it. You don't sleep with your friends, ergo he is not just a friend. Not to mention that she is prioritizing him over you to your face.

Sometimes, having healthy boundaries is as simple as walking away once you see something that is not working out for you. For example, when you discover that they aren't fully emotionally available and are still neck deep in their relationship with their FWB or ex or whatever.

Even if it may take some time to uncover the truth, once you do, having boundaries means that you show them out the door and bolt it shut behind them. What you don't do is compete for their attention while growing increasingly bitter that it's not working out. You don't get a cookie for being nice and patient and cool and understanding - you are just setting yourself up for pain and disappointment.

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17 hours ago, Arkhan said:

She also didn't do anything really special for my birthday, bought me a subscription to a foreign language learning site and cooked a dinner with me like we often do. On Valentine's Day weekend, I spent a lot on flowers, gifts and an expensive dinner I picked out for us and she get or plan anything for me

Okay, what YOU did was your choice.

She was kind enough to buy you something like that - after it only being 7 months!

17 hours ago, Arkhan said:

I reminded her it was Valentine's Day weekend and hoped we could spend it together, but she said that she felt bad because she'd missed several of her friend's recent activities and felt like she was being a bad friend to him. So Valentine's Day weekend came and we spent the fun day together that I'd planned all on my own and had what she kept describing as the best sex she's ever had, but she still, for some reason, brought up how she once hooked up with a guy on a school trip as we're coming back from dinner. The next morning, I asked if she was still doing yoga class in the morning, like she does every Sunday, even though she had plans to take her friend out for brunch. She said, "Yes, he's ok with going later because he's well-aware of my yoga classes. I'm sure you can imagine why." When I didn't say anything, she added, "we used to spend every weekend together."

Okay, all of this I do find a little unamusing 😕 .  In ways, I feel her full focus should be on your relationship.

Do you feel she brings him up a little too much?

I wouldn't assume she's cheating on you in any way... BUT, if her heart/mind is still on HIM.  Yeah, that's concerning.

For sure, her hanging with this guy has to be a lot LESS than they used to. Yes, to proper boundaries are necessary.  If I was involved with someone, no way would I feel a need to have continous contact with an ex or (ex fwb).  

Is maybe time to sit & have a heart to heart with her.  Write all you want to discuss down so you know what you want to say & have it covered.  If you feel she's an honest woman, then she should admit if she is still caught up in her past.

 

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Dump her. Her cute BDay plans for her ex lover is a deal breaker. It's obvious she still is attached to this guy...and 7 months with you hasn't changed that...and why should you HAVE TO discuss something like this? It should be a no brainer to anyone that you cut out this type of interaction when in a relationship. 

Edited by smackie9
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