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I think I saw this exact scenario on As the World Turns once...
January 31, 2011 4:56 PM   Subscribe

How do I deal with a treacherous friend in a way that is ultimately kind?

A few months ago I posted a question regarding whether or not I could retrain myself to be comfortable around a S.O. who truly honestly cares and respects me. As it turns out, it is possible, and I am on a slow road to getting myself to a new state of being, and the S.O. in question is patiently and kindly supporting me in all of this in all the best ways possible. We are both seeing other people in addition to each other, and so far, so good. I don't know where we'll end up romantically, but I know one thing for sure: I have gained an incredible, wonderful friend who is honorable and kind, and I cannot tell you how big a deal it is for me to be with someone like that now that I've moved past some of my old relationships.

Recently the sort-of-S.O. and I attended a party together and I had the chance to introduce him to some of my friends, all of whom found him to be charming, awesome, etc. One friend took a particular liking to him and took the time to help me help him feel super welcome. She ended up friending him on Facebook and the S.O, being the gentleman that he is, politely thanked her for the warm welcome and expressed a desire to see her and my other friends again as a unit since we all seemed to get along together.

Two days ago the S.O. calls me and tells me that this Friend has been texting him every day, leaving him messages and inviting him out, and that she had gone so far as to invite herself to a party that he was attending at a very fancy club in the Metro area when she learned that I was unavailable to attend the event with my S.O. as his (rightful) date. My S.O. is extremely upset and uncomfortable because while they were at this club, my Friend made very forward advances towards him and made it very clear that she was interested in dating him. She knows full well that he and I are in a casual but solid relationship, and he in turn reminded her of this multiple times throughout the night, but she has yet to get the hint. He is categorically not interested in this girl and told her so to her face, and at this time, this friend has no idea that I know about her treachery.

I am not sure how to proceed. After doing some gentle reconnaissance I have been able to determine that this is something that my Friend has been planning and that she enlisted other members of our friends group to help her achieve this.... Goal... by telling them that I had given her the "OK". (Never did I ever.) The thing is that this is not normal behavior on her part. Of all the people I know, I have always found her to be the most trustworthy, and this is absolutely outrageous.

What can I do here that will satisfy my desire to both smack her upside the head for being so incredibly gauche (and for embarrassing both me and my S.O in front of our friends), and hug her for being so desperate?
posted by iLoveTheRain to Human Relations (48 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I fail to see how this is rightly your issue. Your SO should make it painfully clear that he's not interested. Again. And again. Until she gets it. That's all there is to it. Doesn't matter if she's been planning much of anything, if he's not interested, that's their problem, as best as I can tell.

Resist the urge to smack anyone; the fact that she's getting repeatedly rejected should be enough satisfaction for you. SO needs to make sure he's clear about this, and not leading her on in any way, but past that, there's nothing for you to do.
posted by disillusioned at 5:00 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't understand why, if you and your SO are both dating other people also, it wasn't okay for your friend to ask him out. Sounds like your friend doesn't understand this either.

Bonus: Explain it to me, and I can help you figure out how to explain it to her.
posted by milk white peacock at 5:01 PM on January 31, 2011 [26 favorites]


You are both dating other people. Why is it not OK for him to date your friend? I know people in open relationships who have rules like that, but perhaps he or you need to explain that rule to your friend.

I am confused as to why you see this as "treachery" seeing as you're both dating other people.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:03 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm with milk white peacock. I think you may have explained to your friend that you were seeing other people, and she took this to mean she got your okay.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 5:03 PM on January 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


How is it not rightly my issue? This friend is/was a very close friend, someone whom I would have ventured to call my best friend prior to this situation. My S.O *has* made it painfully clear that he's not interested. She thinks he's being coy. I have fallout to deal with on both sides.
posted by iLoveTheRain at 5:04 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


And note: if you told the friend that you and SO are both dating other people, but did not explicitly say "But the other people we are dating can't include members of each other's circle of friends" I can understand why she might have honestly interpreted that as an "all clear" to date him.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:05 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because as far as my friends know, he and I are together. We have both agreed on who we are dating, and this friend was not part of the mix. She has absolutely no idea that we are currently dating other people. We have never mentioned that to anyone outside of our circle of friends. She has apparently taken it upon herself to go after him despite knowing that he and I are in a relationship.
posted by iLoveTheRain at 5:06 PM on January 31, 2011


Still missing the "treachery" part. I can understand how it might be awkward for everyone, though.

Have you read Opening Up by Tristan Taormino? There's a lot of wisdom in there about dealing with the challenges of open/multiple/polyamorous relationships.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:07 PM on January 31, 2011


We are both seeing other people in addition to each other
She knows full well that he and I are in a casual but solid relationship

this friend has no idea that I know about her treachery.

Wait, what? I mean, she might be embarassing herself by being so forward, but you're in a casual relationship. What's treacherous about her asking out your SO? You're both open to seeing other people. She's asking. I see no treachery. I see someone using some drama-heavy wording, though.
posted by griselda at 5:07 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is something your S.O. could have dealt with himself, but he mentioned it to you. Now it's you have every right to call her on it. Stop talking to other people behind her back, and tell her that you know she's been pursuing him, and you'd prefer she didn't. That's all you can do. She may ignore your wishes – it's a free country, after all. But at least you'll both know where you stand.
posted by roger ackroyd at 5:09 PM on January 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


She has absolutely no idea that we are currently dating other people. We have never mentioned that to anyone outside of our circle of friends.

Wait, I thought she was your best friend? You are really confusing us. Perhaps she is also legitimately confused.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:10 PM on January 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Gah, threadsitting, sorry. I'm just very irked right now.

Peacock: My S.O is not interested in dating this girl in any way, shape, or form. He is only interested in dating me and the aforementioned "other" people we are both comfortable with. He is upset that she is ignoring his clear-as-day statements of fact that he is not interested, and he is doubly upset that she has done this behind my back despite knowing that he and I are together. This is where the issues lies. Does that make sense? Gah..
posted by iLoveTheRain at 5:10 PM on January 31, 2011


Because as far as my friends know, he and I are together. We have both agreed on who we are dating, and this friend was not part of the mix. She has absolutely no idea that we are currently dating other people. We have never mentioned that to anyone outside of our circle of friends. She has apparently taken it upon herself to go after him despite knowing that he and I are in a relationship.

It's lame of your friend to do this. But you apparently want to have your cake and eat it, too. Either you're an exclusive couple and she has no right to ask your friend out (or attempt to seduce him or whatever) or he can date whom he wants and she has the right to attempt it. But to claim that you have an "open" relationship which must remain secret to even your friends . . . that's just weak.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 5:14 PM on January 31, 2011 [12 favorites]


My S.O. is extremely upset and uncomfortable because while they were at this club, my Friend made very forward advances towards him and made it very clear that she was interested in dating him. She knows full well that he and I are in a casual but solid relationship, and he in turn reminded her of this multiple times throughout the night, but she has yet to get the hint. He is categorically not interested in this girl and told her so to her face, and at this time, this friend has no idea that I know about her treachery.


So, are you saying that he kept reminding her that although he was in a good relationship with you, you two are still 'casual'? Has he literally told her (nicely) that he is not interested in dating her at all?

You two are in an open relationship. It is not treachery - a mistake, maybe - for a friend to assume this means that he can date her as well. Your SO needs to be the one to tell your friend that he does not want to date. It is not much of your business.

Not to seem insensitive, but are you doing all right with the 'dating other people' aspect of your relationship?
posted by amicamentis at 5:14 PM on January 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


It is really your boyfriend's responsibility to sort this out, but if you can't resist getting involved, I guess you could call her up and say, "Hi Charlotte. Listen, I need to talk to you about something. You know Rory and I are together, right? I need you to quit flirting with him so much, he and I have been talking about it and it makes us both uncomfortable. I mean, I can understand why you'd want to of course, but yeah, he and I are together, so it's not really cool. Thanks. See you at the party Thursday."
posted by milk white peacock at 5:14 PM on January 31, 2011 [18 favorites]


Is there some reason you can't talk to her directly? As we teach in my second grade classroom, use "I" messages: "I heard something the other day that concerns me and I'd like to ask for your view on it." Give her a chance to explain. If she says something really egregious, then you say, "I feel very disrespected and hurt by your actions. I've always valued our friendship..." Etc.

Respectful honesty can oftentimes be the kindest cut of all.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 5:14 PM on January 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Okay people, just because "dating other people" is okay doesn't mean "dating my best friend" is automatically okay.

If S.O. is being direct and she's not getting the hint, and she's YOUR close friend, then I think you're within your rights to say something. As in, "I'm sorry, and I don't know exactly what your impression of my relationship with S.O. is, but you're coming on a little strong and it's making wonder what your intentions are."

You don't have to be a huge drama queen about it, but being direct and cool about it is going to go a lot further than seething or worrying. Especially if your S.O. is having a hard time getting the point across on his/her own.
posted by hermitosis at 5:25 PM on January 31, 2011 [17 favorites]


Your SO needs to just keep reinterating to your friend, in blunter and blunter terms, that he is not interested. And you need to let your friend know that you are uncomfortable with her hitting on a guy you are dating. Even if she thinks he's up for grabs because you guys are casual, it should still matter to her that it makes you uncomfortable.

Also, if you are seeing someone else, and SO is seeing someone else, how is it not possible that others don't know this? Like the other people you are dating, and maybe some of their friends? There are no secrets in this world, you know. So maybe word is out that you guys are still seeing other people.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:27 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I for one don't care if you threadsit at least long enough to explain how both of these sentences are true --

She has absolutely no idea that we are currently dating other people. We have never mentioned that to anyone outside of our circle of friends.

She's your closest friend, and so ... is she not part of this circle that knows you are both dating others?
posted by salvia at 5:32 PM on January 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


If you and your SO are dating other people, your friend may have heard about this from mutual friends and assumed that she could make a move on your SO. Your friend may not be aware of any boundaries that you and your SO have set for your relationship. If your SO is not interested in dating your friend, he should tell her in a respectful and direct manner (no hints). You could also invite her out for coffee or something and 1) let her know that you know of her actions, and 2) it bothers you and your SO.
posted by macska at 5:34 PM on January 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


"She knows full well that he and I are in a casual but solid relationship and he in turn reminded her of this multiple times throughout the night, but she has yet to get the hint"

"She has absolutely no idea that we are currently dating other people. We have never mentioned that to anyone outside of our circle of friends."



What?

The reason why people keep asking for clarification, is because it sheds more light on the situation. If she didn't know about your casual relationship - then you and your S.O. would probably have to pretty much be nasty.

In any case, I'm guessing she obviously knows that you guys are in a casual relationship since you said that your friends know and that your SO told her again and again.
That's kind of a mixed signal. "We are in a casual but solid relationship."
And she probably thinks it's okay.
Is your SO not assertive? Does he get his point across?
You weren't there, so no one knows what was said exactly.

Why is it upsetting him? Just tell him to tell her to knock it off.

I would call this friend and explain to her what the situation is.
I don't see why you can't just do that.
posted by KogeLiz at 5:45 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm with hermitosis. I think this girl is being dirtbaggy.

Even if he were your *ex* and she was hitting on him without asking you first, you'd have a right to feel hurt. So it sucks that she's doing it when you're in an actual relationship. And that she keeps after him even after he's said no. Even if she knew that you were in an open relationship she should have asked you first. 'Open' relationships should be just that -- open -- so it's still not ok to sneak around behind your back. What kind of friend would do that?

I would be weirded out by this girl. Honestly, I find her behavior aggressive against you. When girls try to take other girls's boyfriends it's because they want to prove (to themselves, to others) that they're more desirable than their friend, and desirable in general. I would proceed cautiously -- maybe tell her that you know what she's been up to, and that it hurts (I agree with others that it's your SO's responsibility to actually deny any king of relationship with her). And then start to withdraw from this friendship.
posted by imalaowai at 5:47 PM on January 31, 2011 [11 favorites]


It sounds like maybe she's confused about your relationship status, and is making kind of a fool of herself. I think it would be totally appropriate of you to send her a very quick and cold message stating "my boyfriend is not interested in you, and you're making him uncomfortable." She might get the hint if it comes from someone other than him. Who knows, she might be taking his rejection as "playing hard to get."

I don't think she's betraying you or your friendship, however, because you ARE dating other people. She just seems very misguided and maybe a little pathetic. Take pity on her, be cold and firm, and she might wise up. No need to make a huge deal out of it.
posted by katypickle at 5:59 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


CUT THE BITCH.

In the world that I live in, my girlfriends need to ask permission before they attempt to after a guy that I've said I like. I'm sure people will think I'm living in junior high, but those are the very-commonly-accepted rules of my peer group.

The closer friends we are, the more taboo. A best friend approaches sibling on the sibling-stranger continuum. Even if CNN knew that I was in an open relationship, I'd expect to hear about it before my sister started making moves on my boyfriend; ditto a best friend.

I can't think of any "misunderstanding" about the state of the OP's level of exclusivity that would preclude a "Hey you wouldn't mind if I..., right?"
posted by thebazilist at 6:02 PM on January 31, 2011 [13 favorites]


Okay -- you say that this is your case to handle because she's your friend. But she's not involved you in this yet. Your SO is handling this right, by continuing to tell her he's not interested.

As your other friends come to you and say "but she said you'd be okay with this," you can set them straight.

But if your SO takes you aside and asks, "can you talk to her and tell her to buzz off?" Then and only then can you go to this friend. Until then, you can best handle this by only speaking when you are spoken to.

Oh, and this friend is totally being a dicksmack.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:02 PM on January 31, 2011


Sounds like a genuine misunderstanding.

The terminology that you two are using is really going to confuse the vast majority of monogamous, non-casual people about the status of your relationship. (I say this as someone who is in a non-monogamous relationship). Multiple people helped her with her plan which seems to indicate that there is a large communication issue.

You really cannot assume that people will know and respect all of your relationship agreements. They can get very complex and it's up to you and your SO to enforce them. (Which he did, which is good).

Some people take "in an open relationship" or "casual" to mean "will sleep with anything with a pulse". It's frustrating and obnoxious, to be sure. Your friend was gauche in the extreme.

"Treacherous" seems to be taking it a bit far, though, so I'd address it immediately as a huge misunderstanding.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:09 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


If your goal is really to be kind in the end, then give her the benefit of the doubt, speak to her directly (but kindly), and assume there was some sort of misunderstanding or miscommunication somewhere down the line. Life's too short.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:15 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a lot of mixing up of people's business here. Your concerned on his behalf; he's concerned on your behalf; etc. It's natural, but the kindest thing is for you each to handle your own business with her, discreetly, without ganging up on her, like adults.

Your business with her: she is trying to date your boyfriend; she said you gave your ok when you don't think you did
His business with her: she is hitting on him when he is not interested

Handling this business should involve going through these steps, one step at a time, escalating to the next step only as necessary: 1) inform her of the situation assuming that she didn't know, 2) remind her of what you informed her and let her know that it bothers you that she disregarded your earlier statement, 3) start to enforce some sort of protective boundaries (like not inviting her to group events).

So, re: his business with her, we know that he has informed her that he doesn't want to date her. Next step, if she keeps pushing herself on him, would be to move to step two and say, "hey, I have to be straight with you. I told you last Tuesday that I didn't want to date you. Now, you're still being all touchy-feely on me, and I don't like it. I need you to recognize that I don't want to date you. It bothers me that you disregarded me the last time I said it. If this keeps happening, I'm going to have a hard time hanging around you."

But re: your business with her, we don't yet know whether or not you have done step one: "Martha, I heard that you were flirting with James. Just so you know, I really don't want you and him to date. I felt a bit betrayed, honestly. But then I realized that maybe you didn't know. Maybe when I said that we have a casual relationship, it seemed like I was giving my okay for you to date him. But it's a special exception for him to be dating those other people. It would really upset me if you started dating him, and as my best friend, I really hope you won't."

Until you do that, I'd assume that she's received ambiguous information and has misunderstood, and that your challenge is to straighten things out in the least-awkward way possible, with as little "I've been betrayed" drama as possible. Yes, I would feel betrayed, too, but open relationships can be really confusing to people, and if this is her first encounter with one, she might be torn between rationally telling herself that the normal rules don't apply, yet still feeling weird about it and hence hiding her actions. Inform her that yes, the normal rules actually do still apply, then if this keeps happening, you can move on to "I'm really upset by this. I feel very betrayed. I told you XYZ clearly and you are disregarding it."

But in general, I would altogether skip "you're making us uncomfortable," or "you're making him uncomfortable." Just have everyone involved handle their business with her directly and discreetly. The adult way to handle this is to let everyone handle their own business with her and not involve everyone in the social circle in resolving a situation.
posted by salvia at 6:18 PM on January 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I stumbled on the open relationship bit too, but c'mon - chick is LYING to their mutual friends to get some mack time on a dude her "BF" is at least mildly involved with. The friend code is not cool on either of these things, no matter how "open" a guy may be.
As others have said, your friend is a dicksmack (GREAT word).

Be cooler, be stronger, keep your head higher. Don't avoid the subject with any of your friends (deceitful types thrive in the embarrassed silence of their victims). Feel entirely free to ask people, "hey, what's up with (bf) and (my guy)? I hear she's putting moves on him, what's up with that?" This could be drama'ey, but it also puts it right out there that she does NOT have your okay. The trick is to treat it not as a Big Emotional Issue, but as a rather embarrassing social faux pas BF has made - embarrassing for HER.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 6:26 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


"She knows full well that he and I are in a casual but solid relationship and he in turn reminded her of this multiple times throughout the night, but she has yet to get the hint"

"She has absolutely no idea that we are currently dating other people. We have never mentioned that to anyone outside of our circle of friends."

my Friend has been planning and that she enlisted other members of our friends group

Since you can't keep any of this straight, it seems safe to assume that someone else can't really keep all of this straight either. I would imagine it's poor form among all but the most diehard polyamorous to date a friend's lover, but how can you expect her to know the boundaries if you don't?
posted by spaltavian at 6:31 PM on January 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


How do I deal with a treacherous friend in a way that is ultimately kind?

What can I do here that will satisfy my desire to both smack her upside the head for being so incredibly gauche (and for embarrassing both me and my S.O in front of our friends), and hug her for being so desperate?


Hugging someone "for being so desperate" isn't in any way kind, it's passive-aggresively insulting. So I guess the first thing I'm not clear on is whether you truly want to deal with her in a kind way, or give her a passive-aggressive smackdown. Not that I'm judging you if it's the latter, I would be pissed in your shoes too, and I'm taking what you say at face-value that she didn't know you and your SO were in an open relationship.

If you actually do want to deal with her in a kind way, the only thing I can suggest is to lose all the drama. No more talking behind backs. Just contact her and be totally open about it. Tell her that you were really pissed off, hurt, and embarrassed that she would do what she did. Ask her to explain herself. If you feel she has explained herself honestly even if you don't like what she says, think about what would be necessary for her to make it up to you. And tell her what that would have to be. Then, forgive her. (Forgiving doesn't mean you have to trust her or have her in your life anymore, though.)

If she did what she did out of some weird messed up circumstance in her life that you can sympathize with, then, if you really want to be kind, you can help her change that circumstance. I wouldn't feel at all obligated to do so if I were you, though.
posted by Ashley801 at 6:41 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I meant to say "inside our circle of friends". As it stands, neither my boyfriend and I have told anyone we are close friends with that we are dating other people in addition to each other. I know how bizarre that sounds, and I know that that seems impossible. We've worked very hard to make this a possibility because it's something we both want and need, and as far as we're concerned how our relationship is really structured is something only we need to know about. That is our prerogative. As such, our friends (rightly) view us as a newly formed but steady couple that has a laid back and comfortable relationship.

The thing that my boyfriend and I take super issue with is that:

a) he's not available and doesn't know her very well yet
b) she's lying to other people to make them think he is available
c) she's not taking no for an answer

She had only met him once prior to acquiring his number and insisting they go on an "outing".

As someone who's known this person for a while, yeah, I'm worried, because she IS acting desperate by going to desperate measures to try and somehow snag my SO and that's ridiculously out of character for her. I am upset because to me this is so totally out of line, and because I can't understand why she'd lie about this to people.

I contacted her today because after a while I couldn't help but need to figure it out and because she texted my BF a bunch of times trying to talk to him and we decided I needed to step in since I actually know her well enough to do so. She tried the "haha, yeah, we totally hung out on accident" line and backpedaled a bunch when I harshed out on why I was upset. The basic thing is that "she just wanted to see if she could do it", meaning she wanted to see if she could steal him from me. I told her to value herself a little more because that kind of person isn't who she is, nor is it someone she should want to be. And then I told her to back off.

For those getting hung up on the polyamory aspect of this: just because my relationship is polyamorous does not mean my group of friends (or his, for that matter) = fair game. We have very specific rules in place to structure our relationship so that it works for everyone involved and that's that. The issue at hand was that we have a mutual friend who was intruding on that in the worst possible way.

Thanks for the feedback. Hopefully this will nip this ridiculous situation in the bud now.
posted by iLoveTheRain at 7:13 PM on January 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


It sounds like your guy handled this very very poorly. I understand your wanting to lay it all on the (ex?) friend... But he should have been the one to stand up for your relationship.

Understand this will come up again in your romantic relationship with this fellow, maybe with others and maybe this same chick.

Consider dumping them both. Definitely dump her.
posted by jbenben at 7:58 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Last thought:

She had only met him once prior to acquiring his number and insisting they go on an "outing".

She "acquired" his number, like found it in the phone book, or he gave her his number? Also, outings don't happen just because someone "insists" unless they are using physical force. Both people have to agree to it.

Hope you catch my drift here. What she did isn't cool at all, but he has his fair share of responsibility for this, too.
posted by Ashley801 at 8:04 PM on January 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


For those getting hung up on the polyamory aspect of this: just because my relationship is polyamorous does not mean my group of friends (or his, for that matter) = fair game.

Yeah, as someone who is "hung up" on it, I'm not making that assumption. My point was that you can't just assume she knows all of the agreements you have, and you need to communicate them clearly. It sounds like you have clearly presented yourselves as monogamous, so, great. The question made it sound like there were mixed messages. If people knew that you didn't mind him dating other people, then it wouldn't be crazy for her to wonder if you wouldn't mind him also dating her. And here we're getting into Ask vs. Guess culture, and whether she should ask you vs. him and what that says about relationships as ownership, and etc. But the point is that it wouldn't be right to just assume that she'd know the truth, if a bunch of evidence pointed in other directions, not some "oh polyamorous people have to let everyone date everyone" generalization.
posted by salvia at 8:18 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you feel her behavior is treacherous, DTMFA (her, not him). There's no such thing as a kind smackdown, and even if there were, you're not going to be able to do the "help her" thing when you're so pissed at her.

Also, you're really not communicating with us well. Is it possible you're communicating poorly with your friends as well? If she's thinking you guys just aren't serious and aren't going to be getting serious, rather than that you're in a meaningful polyamorous relationship, from some perspectives (maybe hers) this guy is fair game. (And you're conflating issues: her unwillingness to accept his rejections isn't your issue; her sneaking off with your man is.)
posted by J. Wilson at 8:47 PM on January 31, 2011


Are you sure your guy is cool with the polyamory?

Because it sort of sounds to me like he's really emphasizing this girl in a way to make you jealous, even if she did hit on him.

If this girl is a real friend, I would discuss it with her. Not over the phone, but in person. Really listen to her. You should be able to read her if you're best friends.

Also, no judgment here on the polyamory. Been there, done that. It's just that even in the most secure group jealousy is always something to be very aware of, and if this is both your first foray into it, might be something you might want to keep an honest, open dialogue about.

Good luck.
posted by jnaps at 8:48 PM on January 31, 2011


Your friend crossed boundaries. It's on you to deal with it. I don't care that all those people up top are saying that it's his problem to deal with. She's in your circle. She's your friend, and you shouldn't have to tell your friends to not try to date the person you are in a relationship with, even if it is non monogamous. That is ridiculous. Friends do not do that to their friends.

I think it's perfectly okay for you to tell her that you and S.O. have talked about her pursuing him and tell her that her advances make him uncomfortable, and that she betrayed her friendship with you. She knows that you are the primary person in his life, so she should expect that he should tell you the important things that happen in his life. Your friend incessantly hitting on him is definitely one of those things that gets shared. If she thought about this for half a second she would have realized this, or she just assumed that she could steal him away from you, or convince him to cheat on you.

Telling her this should accomplish both your goals of saving her further embarrassment and putting her in her place.
posted by newpotato at 9:01 PM on January 31, 2011


iLoveTheRain, you last comment about no one inside your circle of friends knowing about your relationship rules helped make sense of this thread for me. However, I don't think that's the issue: your S.O. said he wasn't interested and she is persisting and making things uncomfortable for the three of you (and maybe various other friends who are sucked into this).

As for what is happening, there are quite a few possibilities:
- S.O. explicitly told her he's not interested, she is persisting anyway.
- S.O. didn't really tell her point-blank that he's not interested (from politeness, shock, etc.) and she thinks some relationship is possible.
- S.O. is interested and/or flirted with friend, she is following up, and now he is panicking and trying to cover his ass vis-a-vis your relationship with his explanations.
- Friend is sowing drama in your group (because that can be fun and make her life seem really important).
- You are sowing drama in your group (because that can get the group to pay attention to your relationship with either your S.O. or your friend). Maybe you really do want people inside your circle of friends to know about your open relationship and this is one way to do it without an announcement?

I don't know any of you, so can't comment on the possibilities. But maybe think about which seems most likely.
posted by sfkiddo at 9:04 PM on January 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's pretty clear to me, cut and dried -- don't go there, at all. This friendship is now over, wave her goodbye, in the silences of your heart, cut the cords. This woman maybe -- probably -- no, obviously -- this woman has different principles than yours (damn sure way, way different than my own), or maybe she has none. No telling.

I can't see the friendship lasting -- I'd be so, so done. Yeah, do be kind, don't snipe at her -- though she is damn sure sniping at you -- don't snipe, don't be cruel, but cut her from your life, she's now outside the circle, looking in. Beyond the pale.

My values are much at variance with many people here, probably because I'm older, or maybe I'm just a weirdo, compared. Some of both of those, maybe, probably. I just could not even begin to have this person in my life as a friend anymore, had they played this game.

Why allow an unprincipled person into your sphere? No percentages; she'll eventually bit you again. Cut the cord.

Tell her or not, it doesn't matter, she know all she needs to know when she's not at your birthday party, not going out to lunch with you. I think that your SO needs to keep on doing what he's done, but firmer; you can tell people something all day long and maybe they won't hear it, but told from bedrock -- "Myrtle, we are never going to date, I'm very uncomfortable about you continually coming on so hard even after I've told you to stop; it's actually quite annoying."

THAT'LL stop it, for sure. If he throws something in about how he's always been sickened by even the thought of a woman with blue eyes (or long hair, whatever would fit here), if he does that, all the better, but I don't think that'll be needed, should he really bolt his underpants on tight and tell her how it is one day.

I don't think you're wrong for feeling what you are feeling. She's a sleaze.

Good luck.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:39 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe I'm old and slow but bringing this to internet strangers seems off. First the description of the situation caused tremendous initial confusion. Now your friend appears to be acting way out of character and very much in the wrong - ludicrously so. But you needed to get our opinions to see how best to point out to her how ludicrously wrong her behavior is? You are internet-shaming your close friend to strangers? Why aren't you worried about her bizarre recent behaviors and asking if you should talk to her about getting therapy?

I don't know, this really doesn't smell right. I suspect you are overlooking your SO's part in encouraging or tolerating the attention from the friend because you want your new SO to be this great fantastic guy "who truly honestly cares and respects me". You want him to be the awesomest SO ever (now that you are convinced to give this new sort of guy a chance) and your friend's failed attempt to steal him only feeds that conviction (plus the ego stroke of him choosing you over her). Be careful you aren't wearing blinders, OP, and finding this so personally flattering you are not seeing the situation for what it is.
posted by griselda at 12:34 AM on February 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Echoing spaltavian and jbenben. I'd ask what all of you are getting out of these weak boundaries and drama. I especially wonder what your bf gets out of having the women in his circle pitted against each other, rather than against him, and having you fighting over him and for him and around him and about him while all your friends haggle over the television rights to Grudge Match 2011. Makes him seem like quite a trophy, doesn't it?
posted by tel3path at 2:37 AM on February 1, 2011


I would kindly and gently end this relationship. She went after your guy, she planned it, she plotted - and look at how many people she lied to in order to do it. And when you spoke to her - she kept lying. This person does not act like a friend to you. This person is not a friend or someone you need in your life.
posted by lemniskate at 4:13 AM on February 1, 2011


If she didn't know you two were seeing other people, then okay, that fact about your relationship is not relevant to her actions, and what she did was very much Not Okay. (In my experience, when your friendship group gets used to thinking of you as someone who's always single and/or tangled up in various dramatic quasi-relationships, some really bizarre dynamics can occur when you get into a drama-free serious relationship. I have no idea why - people are just weird sometimes - but it does happen. I think explicitly calling her on her actions and letting her know they were out of line was exactly the right thing to do. I'd end the friendship as well, but YMMV there.)

But, still: the fact that you two are seeing other people does seem relevant to your (and your boyfriend's) own actions/reactions here, and I think that's why people are still talking about it even although you don't consider it relevant to what your (ex?)friend did.

Your friends don't know what your relationship arrangements are, and you're very keen that they don't find out. Which is your right, of course, but is it practical? What if one of you is interested in dating someone who neither of you really know too well, but who it turns out is the colleague of a neighbour's sister? Are you going to swear everyone you're interested in to secrecy on how your relationship works? Okay, you could probably do that (or at least try to), but then: what if someone in your friend groups sees one of you out on what's clearly a romantic date with someone else? They'll probably assume 'cheating' rather than 'non-exclusive relationship', but that makes it even more likely word will go round like wildfire.

And it seems like that would really bother you, if it happened. The way you describe your situation here, it seems that not telling your friends about your relationship is less of a 'we'd rather not make an issue of it unless it's directly relevant' thing, and more of a 'it's very important that nobody knows we're allowed to see other people, and everyone treats us like a monogamous couple' thing.

Your boyfriend was 'extremely upset' that your friend wouldn't take his 'hint' that he wasn't interested, when the hint in question was him reminding her that he was seeing you. Okay, she should definitely have backed off when he explicitly told her he wasn't interested in her - but why did he feel a need to pretend he was in a different kind of relationship to the one you've got in the first place? You're hugely, deeply upset that she hit on him "despite" knowing you were in a relationship (and presumably, thinking it was an exclusive one). Okay, she shouldn't have approached him in the first place - but why is it so important to you that she should assume you're monogamous, rather than assuming your boyfriend is off-limits without your say-so?

I mean, your friend was out of line, no doubt about it. But you might want to spend some time thinking about how you're running things in your own head, and how that maps on to the way you want to present your relationship to the rest of the world, all the same.
posted by Catseye at 4:38 AM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


So confront her.
"Girl, my boyfriend tells me you keep hitting on him and it's going on his nerves. It's annoying me too and you need to stop it."
Pause to let her say whatever (probably that he was hitting on her first or some shit).
"Whatever. Stop flirting with my boyfriend, stop texting him, stop going to places with him one on one. Is that clear?"

Also, agree with your boyfriend on how he should be reacting when she contacts him (not texting her back, for instance).

Then find the person in charge of your friends' grapevine and let them know that your boyfriend and you are certainly not up for grabs and you don't understand how such a silly notion could be making the rounds.
posted by Omnomnom at 7:53 AM on February 1, 2011


"To see if she could do it." ?!

Why did you pee in the soup you served me, and initially deny it when I first said the soup tasted bad? "Oh, I just wanted to see if you'd notice, and then I wanted to see how much you'd eat."

Why did you call my parents and boss and ask them if they would come to an intervention to get me off of drugs/gambling/protitution/embezzlement? "I just wanted to see if I could convince them you had those problems. Killer joke, huh?"

Seriously, her answer to why she lied to your group of friends saying she had your blessing, and then starts trying to either co-date or steal your boyfriend is to see if she can ?

Either you don't need her as a friend, or you've *greatly* overestimated how much of a friend she is to you. There are repurcussions to actions. Attemping to date without permission, or steal a boyfriend falls into the group of actions with consequences. She either isn't capable of comprehending consequences (in which case you don't need her as a friend), or she doesn't care about how this impacts your relationship with your boyfriend (and thus you've over estimated your friend status).

Also, while you might think that you're keeping your openness private, if your friends were going along with this, then I'm betting it's not as secret as you think. It might be a good idea if you would be up front with your friends about a minimum of the rules that your boyfriend and you have. If somewhat poly-friendly mefi thought that casual meant 100% open with no rules and my boyfriend is the sluttiest of sluts who doesn't have the right to say, "No." and should be safely ignored if he does because tee hee casual/open tee hee, then who knows what your friends were and are thinking.

I'd officially give your boyfriend permission to defriend her on facebook - perhaps that will send her a message.
posted by nobeagle at 8:15 AM on February 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think that Mefites are defining 'casual' as open with no rules or inferring that her boyfriend is slutty and can't say no. I think that most people recognize that there is a lot of leeway in the word 'casual' - and this could be one of the reasons why her friend was hitting on her boyfriend. The OP asked for a way to be ultimately kind dealing with her friend, and I believe a kind interpretation is one that allows for alternate explanations of behavior. However, on follow-ups it seems like there is more to the story than "oh, I am so embarrassed, I thought since you were in an open relationship I could date your boyfriend".
posted by amicamentis at 11:04 AM on February 1, 2011


I've had situations similar to what you're describing -- once with a friend, and once with a sibling. I don't know what came over me, but somehow I came up with a pretty good way to handle it. I was angry, but I was also hurt and very confused. I couldn't understand why someone close to me would think it was okay to go after my guy. I set the anger aside during The Conversation, and talked about the other emotions. "Brian and I talked. He told me you've been pursuing him, and that really hurts me."

If you say something like this, be ready to stay calm when she replies. Don't say anything right away. If you stay silent with a neutral facial expression, she will probably keep talking. If she doesn't address what you said, just repeat it. Or tell her how confused you are because you've always been able to trust her in the past. I wouldn't talk about what you've heard from other friends. That would just give her more ways to go off the subject -- that you trusted her and you feel really bad.

She probably won't own up to anything, or apologize, or do anything else to make it better. But you will have let her know that you're aware of what's been going on, and that your SO wasn't keeping anything from you.

By the way... this will work even if you're wrong in some way, as others have suggested. Because you're just telling the truth about the most important aspects of the situation: Trust, friendship, and your emotions.
posted by wryly at 12:18 PM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


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