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Is a chaperoned friendship worth having?
August 18, 2011 6:47 AM   Subscribe

I have a friend who isn't allowed to hang out with me unless his "female friend" (explanation inside) either grants permission or is present. And that "female friend" used to be my friend. But my friend is really, really cool; how can we remain friends when there's this unusual set of requirements?

Basic info: I am a straight woman. My friend and ex-friend are a straight man and woman, respectively. With the exception of my friend (who's 23), we're all seniors in college.

To explain, ex-friend and I met friend (let's call him Jake) at the same time. Ex-friend started sleeping with him shortly after; Jake and I remained friends. Jake made it clear to her that he wasn't interested in a relationship, so they just hooked up and became friends-with-benefits. After I moved closer into the city, Jake and I started hanging out more (usually with my roommate, who is also a good friend). Ex-friend still lives with her parents in an outlying suburb with no car - inviting her over each time was a huge hassle. In fact, every time we DID manage to get her to our apartment, she would call Jake over (if he wasn't already there) and go home with him to have sex - and then have us cover for her when her mom came to pick her up. Even though I didn't want to keep excluding her, I didn't want to get used again; Jake and I just hung out more, and became better friends. Fast-forward a few weeks:

I got a phone-call early in the morning from my ex-friend (before she became an ex-friend), who expressed her chagrin with "Jake only casually mentioning hanging out at (my) apartment after-the-fact" and the fact that we stopped inviting her when he was present. She informed me that even though he made no indication of wanting to move into a relationship, she thought they were close and I needed to back off. She demanded that both of us stop hanging out without asking her or telling her in advance, bringing her along or only in spaces where she already happened to be there. I swiftly ended the friendship after she accused me of trying to "steal her man:" if I wasn't willing to oblige her with even "something so small as telling me when you're hanging out with him," then I was sneaky and not to be trusted. I've never had to do such a thing with other friends who happened to be dating (or just sleeping with) other friends before.

She had the same conversation with Jake, and though he said she was being irrational, he stopped hanging with us for a while. Since my ex-friend routinely goes through his phone, he doesn't call or text me when he wants to hang out with my roommate - most of the time, he goes through my roommate (who is also a woman, and with whom he is "allowed" to have dinner with/hang out with one-on-one/etc.). But the school year begins next week; I want to remain friends with him, but how is this going to work? IS this a friendship I should even try to maintain?

Sorry for the long question, but thank you so much for reading!
posted by Ashen to Human Relations (58 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Tl:dr. You need new friends. Extricate yourself from all this drama.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:51 AM on August 18, 2011 [39 favorites]


I want to remain friends with him, but how is this going to work?

It's not.

IS this a friendship I should even try to maintain?

No.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:53 AM on August 18, 2011 [19 favorites]


Well, this is not going to last long- your friend (male) is not going to let someone who is not even his girlfriend dictate who he spends time with. It's just not going to last...

If by some miracle he continues to let his friend dictate that he cannot spend time with you, I think you should question whether you even want him as a friend.

In all, this is too much drama and if I were you I just would do nothing, honestly.
posted by bearette at 6:53 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Depends.

Does he recognize that her behavior is entirely unacceptable? Does he recognize that by agreeing to her "rules" he is choosing to end his friendship with you? Because there's no way that, even if her requests were reasonable (which the demonstrably aren't), you should jump through hoops and checkpoints to hang out with your buddy.

Tell him that. He'll make that decision himself.
posted by lydhre at 6:53 AM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


This isn't really a problem you should be getting involved in. Your ex-friend is quite rightly an ex-friend, and you'd do best to have nothing more to do with her. And as for Jake, he's a grown man and can decide for himself which relationships are worth pursuing, and whether relationship A is worth pursuing to the detriment of relationship B.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 6:54 AM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


What Ideefixe said.

Your male friend is enjoying the attention - tremendously. I bet he is hoping to get another "friends with benefits" situation with you.
posted by BuffaloChickenWing at 6:54 AM on August 18, 2011


IS this a friendship I should even try to maintain?

Nobody is so cool as to warrant all the work and worry over simply hanging out with them. You also shouldn't have to do more work to make the friendship work than he does. So, move on. Find people to have in your life who are free to be your friend and who value your friendship enough to ask that it be respected.
posted by inturnaround at 6:55 AM on August 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


If ex-friend (I'm going to call her Linda) really is your ex-friend, then it seems like the one who really needs to worry about what she thinks is Jake. You owe her nothing, from the looks of it.

Jake is the one who needs to figure out what HE wants to do. Take her out of the equation altogether -- what you need to figure out is whether you still want to be friends with Jake if he keeps using "I have a jealous sort-of-girlfriend" as an excuse not to hang out.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:55 AM on August 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Jake needs to man up, and until he does, I don't think this is a friendship worth maintaining.

He's not doing the right thing by your friendship if he lets her get away with telling him he can't hang out with you (and what does that say about how he values your friendship vs. sex with her?) Also, she sounds crazy, but it does sound like he's maybe not really doing the right thing by her either, since presumably he realises she's developed an emotional attachment beyond the FWB situation... I kind of think he's taking advantage, too.
posted by lwb at 6:58 AM on August 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


IS this a friendship I should even try to maintain?

Leave the door open, but don't chase him for his friendship. Make it clear that you'd like to be friends, but it's up to him to reach out, since he's been ignoring you.

Then get on with your life. If he decides to be friends, then don't hold this against him, move forward. Everyone makes mistakes, especially when young. It this situation happens again though, him allowing himself to be controlled by an SO and forging the friendship, then dump him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:00 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


IS this a friendship I should even try to maintain?

I don't know, is your life so dull and dreary you need to have this girl in it to spice things up a bit?

Anyway, either Jake will realize what he has gotten himself into and extricate himself from the situation and things will go back to normal -- after he apologizes for being an idiot, of course -- or Jake is the sort of person who would have probably ended up in this situation eventually and permanently and this might be it.
posted by griphus at 7:00 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


If Jake is okay with this, then you should just drop it. If he isn't, then it isn't your problem.

I'm sort of unclear why you stopped inviting ex-friend over, if it was because she lives far away (her problem, not yours, certainly) or because she didn't come to see you, she came to have an excuse to see someone else. If it's the first, you were sort of obnoxious by deliberately excluding your friend but inviting her sort of boyfriend around each and every time. I think she's responding in the entirely wrong way, but it's rude to only ever invite half of a couple.
posted by jeather at 7:02 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


This problem belongs to the two people in this situation that are not you. You are under no obligation to heed your ex-friend's demands. Jake isn't under any obligation either, but if he chooses to do so, that's up to him. Continue to act as you would if ex-friend didn't exist, and allow Jake to either take you up on/turn down your friendship.
posted by litnerd at 7:06 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I want to remain friends with him, but how is this going to work?

You refuse to participate in the drama and hope he comes around eventually. "Hey Jake, I like you a lot, but I'm not willing to ask your girlfriend's permission to hang out with you. I know that that puts you in a position of choosing between your girlfriend and me, so I'll understand if I don't hear from your for a while." And then leave him alone. He may find that he likes having this girlfriend more than he likes having healthy friendships, or he might miss being able to socialize like an adult. Either way, it's something he needs to work out on his own, and the best way to help him is to refuse to play along with the crazy.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:07 AM on August 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


This will not work because Jake wants his friends with benefits relationship so he will acquiesce to her demands. All you provide to Jake is friends. Girl or guy, Jake would blow you off to get laid every time.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:10 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ditch these people and spend your mental energy on important matters. Just drop them.
posted by DWRoelands at 7:10 AM on August 18, 2011


This is really in Jake's court.

Yeah, ex friend is acting crazy, but Jake is permitting her to do so. He doesn't seem to have the balls to tell her to knock it off (or I guess he just can't give up having sex with her, which is too bad).

Friendship is a 2 way street. For this guy, getting laid > your friendship. If you're okay with this equation, keep on being his "friend". Personally I'd just write him off as charming but spineless and pursue other people's attention.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 7:11 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I promise I won't threadsit! Thank you SO MUCH for your answers so far!

Clarification for Jeather (sorry if I was unclear!): even though it was a hassle to invite her over, I wanted her to be there as me and our other friends made new memories. I stopped inviting her after it became clear that she was using my apartment (and me) as a stepping stone between her parents' house and Jake's apartment. Her parents wouldn't have allowed her to come into the city to spend the night with a man, but they were more than happy to let her spend the night or weekend over at my apartment. She never stayed longer than a few hours if Jake was in town, and he usually was.
posted by Ashen at 7:12 AM on August 18, 2011



Your male friend is enjoying the attention - tremendously. I bet he is hoping to get another "friends with benefits" situation with you.


Nah..if this was true he would just be ignoring Fuck Buddy's dictates and lying to her about hanging out with our MeFite.
posted by spicynuts at 7:13 AM on August 18, 2011


Is this a friendship I should even try to maintain?

I think "try" is the key word here, and I think the answer is no. If Jake decides to extricate himself from ex-friend's (on preview, I'll go with "Linda" too) death grip, then the friendship can continue. But Linda's ready to play tug-of-war, and you don't want that.

Stop bothering with all this conditional hanging-out and just fade gracefully. If asked, don't point fingers; just shrug and say "it was getting too complicated to hang out." Jake may or may not figure things out and come around.

Also: are you sure Jake's feelings toward you are completely platonic? Some people easily make friends with their preferred sex, and then just as easily escalate to friends-with-benefits. And frequently, they're not really aware they're doing it; they just think it's sort of the natural progression of things. Actually, if either Jake or Linda has a history of this, it could be trouble. It's also possible that Jake does view you as just a friend, but Linda's a serial FWB-er and suspects the same of everyone she's interested in. Nothing in your question indicates any of this is (or isn't) the case, and it doesn't excuse Linda's behavior; I'm just throwing it out there.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:19 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ashen, she came over, hung out for a few hours, then saw her boyfriend? This doesn't sound like using you -- even if you would have liked her to stay longer, a few hours is really reasonable. If she usually only stayed less than an hour or whatever, that's one thing, but a few hours? I don't think she was using you. Did you ever say "Hey, if you are using me as an excuse for your parents, I'd love to see you more"?

I think it's gone too far to be friends with her right now, and I don't think you should feed into the drama, but it still sounds like you wanted her and Jake to spend a lot of their spare time with you, and they wanted to use some of it to sleep with each other, and you cut her off because of this, but still hung out with him.
posted by jeather at 7:26 AM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah I don't get why you're so ok with facilitating her parents controlling her life, to the point of actually feeling bad for helping an adult friend have a mutual sexual relationship with another friend of yours, but you freak out at the idea of her controlling his life. I don't really get why you weren't actively helping your friend spend time with the guy she wanted and escape *her* controlling parents. Giving her a head's up as to when her crush will be around - well that seems like such a basic favor I would do for a friend. I get why she would be pissed at you.

She clearly comes by the controlling techniques honestly, and I don't think you're doing anybody any favors by continuing to put yourself fin the middle here. It seems like he's not even that into hanging out with (you said he wants to hang out with your roommate).

Just let it go.
posted by Salamandrous at 7:42 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


On the one hand, "Jeather" may have used you (and your apartment) as a cover. As far as that particular behavior is concerned, I feel like a lot of people, even seniors in college, have parents who are strict to the point of nuttiness. So Jeather can't be honest with them about where she's going or what she's doing. This seems to be Not The Real Problem.

The real problem is her trying to tell Jake (and you) who he can and can't spend time with. That's also nutty, and immature, and with luck she'll eventually outgrow it and maybe realize this whole thing is just stupid shenanigans. But that's not where she is right now. At the moment she's playing jealous-not-quite-girlfriend, and you are quite right to draw a line in the sand.

As for Jake, it's his choice who he's having sex with and hanging out with and texting. When he gets to the point of realizing he no longer wants to deal with the many strings attached to his NSA relationship, he will probably resurface. And then you won't really have to worry about Jeather, because the two of them won't be talking.

Basically, make sure he knows you're around, and happy to be his friend whenever he concludes his dalliance with Jeather The Jealous.

To be honest, I feel bad for Jeather. When this affair of hers crashes and burns, she's going to be hurt. Because she is investing her feelings in Jake, even though he's not doing the same for her. And hopefully she'll learn something from that, such as that jealousy does no one any good ever. I'm not saying you should excuse her behavior, just that she's got some hard knocks coming her way, made harder still by the fact that she isolated herself from the friends she trusted before she got involved with Jake. You may have to think a bit about how you'll respond when she comes back around. And though I'm usually one to denounce drama on the spot, I also think it's generally better to have friends than to have ex-friends. So, you know. Just something to consider.
posted by brina at 7:43 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the only reason someone came to my place was so they could use me as an excuse? I'd be pretty irritated too. I've been a cover for friends before, but this does sound a bit egregious. Also to be fair, Ashen doesn't sound like she's offended by the hooking up, just by having to always make excuses and cover for Linda, when Linda apparently wasn't particularly appreciative of the help (and is now assuming that Ashen will poach her man). If Jake cared all that much, wouldn't he ask if he could invite her? Also people are jumping on you about not helping her get free from her parents, but Linda is a senior in college - plenty of people have managed to move away from home by then.

In any case, I would drop them both. If he wants to go back to being friends, he can get in touch, but honestly if he's letting someone he's not even officially in a relationship with control him this much, I wouldn't be terribly surprised if he keeps up this pattern in the future and continues to get in relationships with controlling people.
posted by brilliantine at 7:45 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ashen, she came over, hung out for a few hours, then saw her boyfriend?

If I'm reading this correctly, it's that ex-friend would tell ex-friend's strict parents (with whom she lives outside of the city) that she was coming to visit Ashen for the entire weekend, and then spend the weekend with Jake at his place instead, forcing Ashen to lie to the parents on her behalf. Which, unless you specifically arrange to do so beforehand, is a pretty shit thing to do to a friend. If I were Ashen, I would wonder why I was good enough to repeatedly use as a convenient lie, but not good enough to spend time hanging out with.
posted by elizardbits at 7:45 AM on August 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


On the one hand, "Jeather" may have used you (and your apartment) as a cover.

n.b. jeather is a responding mefite, not the bad friend in question.

posted by elizardbits at 7:46 AM on August 18, 2011


This is a very odd situation.

The first thing the pops up is "do you want to be friends with Jake?" As in, if "Linda" wasn't part of the situation, would you want to hang out with him? If you would, then you have some work cut out for you. If not, then cut them both off, and problem solved.

Having to ask "Linda"'s permission to hang out with Jake is a very odd thing. I can see why you're not OK with it. The problem seems to be that Jake seems to be OK with it. Maybe he's enjoying the idea of people fighting over him, maybe he's just not comfortable telling "Linda" to knock it off, or whatever. Whichever way, he's going to have to put his foot down about it if he wants to stay friends with you. For him to do that, you need to say to him that it's a problem.

So that's the first step: have a chat with Jake about the situation and let him know what is going on, how you feel about it and offer him something akin to an ultimatum - he either works with you to stop "Linda", or the friendship is over. He might then not bother, in which case you know how he feels about things. Or he might have a conversation with "Linda" about how her obnoxious behaviour is affecting his friendships. This could backfire, though - Linda might be looking for just such a thing as this to drive a wedge between Jake and you even more.

Long story short, have a chat with Jake about "Linda". The ball is then in his court. He's going to have to do the majority of the work, though, so don't get your hopes up too high.
posted by Solomon at 8:02 AM on August 18, 2011


They're not "in a relationship" according to him, just FWB, and she's managing to pull this level of crazy? Wow. No, don't bother trying to fix the friendship unless he's willing to grow a backbone and stand up for it himself and his friendship with you.

If he does come back later minus the crazy chick, then you can try fix it.
posted by stillnocturnal at 8:05 AM on August 18, 2011


She had the same conversation with Jake, and though he said she was being irrational, he stopped hanging with us for a while. Since my ex-friend routinely goes through his phone, he doesn't call or text me when he wants to hang out with my roommate - most of the time, he goes through my roommate (who is also a woman, and with whom he is "allowed" to have dinner with/hang out with one-on-one/etc.). But the school year begins next week; I want to remain friends with him, but how is this going to work? IS this a friendship I should even try to maintain?


Wait, what?

Does Jake want to hang out with you or not? If he does, why is he complying with Ex-Friend's orders/control? Why is she going through his phone? When he calls your roommate to hang out, is it only one-on-one, or does he come over to your place and hang out with both of you? This is all really fucking weird.
posted by desuetude at 8:05 AM on August 18, 2011


No friendship is worth this amount of stupidity.
posted by Sternmeyer at 8:08 AM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


I could just say Meg_Murry for the win, because she's spot-on. Script and everything. That's the really gracious way to go about it, with the least drama.

But I also want to add that it seems that your friend's at a different social level developmentally, because, well, holy high school, Batman! You're all 23 and seniors in college and she has to sneak out and lies to her parents (and have her mom pick her up)? And I think she's feeling it, being under her parents' thumb and being disadvantaged by living in the suburbs and having limited transportation and the "Her parents wouldn't have allowed her to come into the city to spend the night with a man" thing? She's transferring her frustration and trying to control what she thinks she can control, and flailing. Crabs in a bucket. So you've let her know that doesn't fly with you, though I'm not sure how you responded to her. At any rate, you're all still learning how to have adult friendships, and this is just what you all have to go through. I think everyone uses the the apartments of their first independent friends to enjoy their first sexual relationships at a more adult level, like a rite of passage. But, the privilege has been abused, and you're drawing a line. Congrats, and you've just moved forward a few more squares in the game of adulthood.

So, what I'm adding, is, nicely "this too shall pass." I think that unless she managed to catch up, either by rebelling, or moving or getting mobile on her own or what have you, she'd end up in the slipstream anyway, whether or not you jettisoned her. Meg_Murry's advice burns no bridges, and lets you be the adult in this. Except, I'd add somewhere in there, and hopefully your roommate's on board: and I'm done with and my home, and my goodwill, being used to facilitate hook-ups.
posted by peagood at 8:09 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tell him it must be really good sex to keep hanging out with this girl and allowing her to believe she has a real relationship with him, interfering in his life and trying to control him. She has a problem with you being friends with him, and if he's going to allow that, then adios - get him to call you when he loses the crazy.
posted by lizbunny at 8:12 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jake is clearly more interested in getting laid than he is in your friendship.

Don't take it too personally; he's also more interested in getting laid than he is in his own dignity and self-respect.

Which is the prerogative of boys in college, I suppose, but you can do better.
posted by Zozo at 8:13 AM on August 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


The problem here is JAKE!

If he's accommodating her where you are concerned, then she's more than a FWB to him. You need to face this. He needed to make this woman his official girlfriend back when this all started.

He's giving her mixed messages and that's why she's upset. I agree you could have been a better friend to this girl and more understanding about her parents.

Frankly, it sounds a bit like you are romantically interested in this guy but you won't admit it. Or he previously flirted with you and is enjoying having the two of you fight over him? Except he's siding with her now. I dunno. You were, I wasn't. Did he flirt with you? Was there a "vibe" between you guys at one point?

Jake created this in a lot of ways, but if he doesn't want to hang out with you, then I don't see your options. No one makes anyone do anything. Stop blaming ex-friend.
posted by jbenben at 8:14 AM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Eject. Too much drama.
posted by matrushka at 8:16 AM on August 18, 2011


Somebody did something similar to me a few years ago, and I've never regretted saying "Fuck that, get back to me when you grow a pair."

If somebody is willing to distort a friendship to observe some kooky rules, you don't want to find out what else these people will do at your expense in the name of those rules. Make your rule "I deal with adults," and you'll do yourself a favor.
posted by Rykey at 8:17 AM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Listen, if this guy is willing to put up with a girl who goes through his phone to see if he's hanging out with you for the sake of getting some tail, you really need to question if you want to hang out with this person in the first place.

When you add all of the drama you have to go through to see this person who seems kind of compromised to begin with, it just doesn't seem worth it to me personally, but that's your choice.
posted by Fister Roboto at 8:17 AM on August 18, 2011


Oh. And if Jake gives lipservice to ex friend and then hangs out with you behind her back... RUN.

Don't be a shitty person. Just don't.
posted by jbenben at 8:18 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Oh. And if Jake gives lipservice to ex friend and then hangs out with you behind her back... RUN.
Don't be a shitty person. Just don't."


That wouldn't make her a bad person at all. She didn't make any promises not to hang out with him, and she has every right to if he asks and she wants to. Jake would be the bad guy in that scenario for lying to ex-friend, she doesn't owe ex-friend anything in that regard.
posted by stillnocturnal at 8:20 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


(although in that case you should still probably back off, just because who needs that kind of drama and a friendship he won't actually stand up for)
posted by stillnocturnal at 8:23 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Haha, I think she's his girlfriend but he's trying to make a bed partner out of you without your realization. My opinion. Sorry girl, don't let him play you.
posted by InterestedInKnowing at 8:33 AM on August 18, 2011


Jake is a grown-ass man. He can hang out with you if he wants. It's also his choice on whether or not or lets his fuck-buddy dictate who he can hang out with.

That being said, friendship is a two-way street. Invite him to hang out, whatever. Send him a text. If he reciprocates, great. If he ignores you, you stop inviting/texting as he is no longer holding up his end of the the friendship bargain. And when he comes crawling back to you when the sex is no longer worth the drama, forgive him this once and move on. When he pulls this crap again, it's time for you to move on without him permanently.
posted by cgg at 8:37 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Call her mother and apologize for lying to her to cover up for her daughter.
posted by oreofuchi at 8:43 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Sorry about the name confusion. Am sad Jeather is one of us, and not your friend, because I was growing fond of the title Jeather The Jealous.)

Also, seconding peagood.
posted by brina at 8:47 AM on August 18, 2011


Too much drama. Find more mature friends.
posted by canadia at 9:04 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah I don't get why you're so ok with facilitating her parents controlling her life, to the point of actually feeling bad for helping an adult friend have a mutual sexual relationship with another friend of yours, but you freak out at the idea of her controlling his life. I don't really get why you weren't actively helping your friend spend time with the guy she wanted and escape *her* controlling parents. Giving her a head's up as to when her crush will be around - well that seems like such a basic favor I would do for a friend. I get why she would be pissed at you.

I have to say that I was in this position in college. I repeatedly had a friend come to visit me, spend large chunks of the (very short) visit texting or trying to call her fuck buddy, only to have her leave after an hour or two to see him. One time we had specific plans--and I'd invited her over to have girl time because I'd had a fight with my SO!--and when she ditched me, I got upset, and she tried to ream me out for being selfish. "You don't understand how far I have to drive to see him!" etc. etc.

I eventually realized that I'd never be as important as boys/sex to this girl--in fact, nowhere near it. And that's a shitty, miserable feeling. Unfortunately, it took me years to realize that my initial assessment was correct and to get over guilt about not being cool or progressive or sex positive enough. The truth is, this isn't about sex positivity or being supportive. This is about a friend using you and treating you like you're disposable.

Ashen, you and I know that you'd never pull this kind of drama with your friends. It's sad that your male friend is rewarding it. If someone ever tries to pull you into their relationship drama again, here's what you should say to them: "I'm friends with him and have every right to be. The boundaries of your romantic relationship with him are your business. Don't pull me into your drama."

As for the male friend, I'd let it go for now. These two sound like they frankly deserve one another, and I've never gotten anywhere trying to convince someone to be a good friend when they're acting all hoes before bros (or, with girls, bros before hoes). Just let them be and give it time. Maybe one day one or both of them will come crawling back to you--no use putting your emotions on the line again and again only to have them stomped on by these people.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:24 AM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


That was so convoluted I could hardly read it. But whichever of your friends and ex-friends is being so incredibly rude to you, you should add those friends to your list of ex-friends, if you haven't already. By which I mean: stop interacting with them beyond the bare minimum.

If you still have people in your friends list who are trying to pull you into the drama of ex-friends, convert those friends into ex-friends too.

And of course this is drama for the sake of drama. Friend/ex-friend? is 23 and has to use you as a way of sneaking over to your other friend/ex-friend?'s house? I really don't get why you were so desperate to invite her over in the first place if that's all she ever did. If this were a group of 14-year-olds I could understand it. Looks like friend/ex-friend? learned from the example of some wacky controlling parents.
posted by tel3path at 9:45 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


From my perspective, ex-friend is behaving like she's in a relationship with Jake; Jake is treating her as a fuck buddy. That's not going to end well. These two are an dramabomb waiting to go off. For your own sanity, how much do you want ot be part of that?
posted by bonehead at 9:50 AM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Somebody did something similar to me a few years ago, and I've never regretted saying "Fuck that, get back to me when you grow a pair."

This. I was also in a similar situation and said basically the same thing. NO ONE is worth that kind of drama. No one.
posted by patheral at 9:51 AM on August 18, 2011


What kind of a spineless weeny lets a girl he's sleeping with dictate whom he hangs out with and tolerates her going through his phone? That's pathetic. Why on earth would you want to maintain this friendship? Ditch that scene.
posted by fso at 9:56 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


PhoBWanKenobi - dingdingdingdingding!

I didn't want to list too many details since it would just be way too much GRAR in my own question, but your situation (and analysis of your friend) matched my own. She has, among other things, stranded me in the city, tried to destroy my reputation and out me with a certain sorority to try to keep from "losing" me to potential sorors (you NEVER disclose someone's group of interest in the Black Greek world). She has also started discussing my depression history and past eating disorders with multiple people, which got back to me... /endrant (sorry! again!)

Tel3path - she's at the same university as me (only Jake is 23; ex-friend and I are 21). I'm absolutely going to take your advice and avoid her.

To clarify upthread, Jake went through my roommate if he wanted to hang out with us concurrently, since he isn't allowed to hang out with me alone. This rule applies specifically to me, not to other female friends and not to my roommate (who agrees with ex-friend and gives her heads-up whenever he comes over or they go to dinner). He told me in private that he was "a grown ass man" and wasn't going to take her demands seriously - whether he told HER this or not is no longer my concern.

Thank you all for helping me realize that this situation is NOT what mature people engage in, and I shall promptly extricate myself from this mess (gracefully, as suggested). I have much healthier friendships elsewhere and I'm 9 months away from graduation; I will not let this distract me from my attempts to grow as a person.

Again, thank you. :-)
posted by Ashen at 10:51 AM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Ashen, what you've said above really changes the story from your original post. I think you should avoid her, and not play along with Jake if he asks you to accede to her demands, and been forever grateful that you are not involved in this woman's drama anymore.
posted by jeather at 11:32 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder if "Linda"'s freakout doesn't have as much to do with her wanting to control you as it does with Jake. Like, she may not have understood why you stopped inviting her over, if she did understand she might not have accepted it, and maybe she's out for blood, a little?
posted by hungrytiger at 1:01 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


With the new information, my answer changes from "huh, these people are kind of insensitive jerks" to "holy shit, why were you still friends with this woman before this all went sour?"

Anyway, yeah, this is group drama at a very high level. Your buddy is telling you he doesn't plan to accede to crazy lady's demands, but he's still willing to sacrifice his own dignity to pretend to do so and keep sleeping with her. That's not awesome. I'd be asking myself what else he's willing to lie about, and who he's willing to lie to, and in what other ways he believes ends justify means.

I agree with those above, this is going to blow up and the people around will still be there because they love the drama. You don't, so time to bail. And, yeah, you're going to be fine, once you start hanging out with other people who, you know, like you and treat you and themselves with respect.
posted by Errant at 1:24 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I agree that you shouldn't go out of your way to stay in this friendship. But if Jake's seeing a woman who's banning him from seeing his friends, and calling them separately and throwing accusations at them, then it's time for one of his friends to pull him aside and tell him that he should break up with her. No reason why that friend can't be you.
posted by Ragged Richard at 2:36 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


This sounds like a heck of a triangle ex-friend is trying to create. Here's my take on it.

People often say that the person in a relationship who wants or needs it more is at the mercy of the other. For whatever reason, ex-friend has gotten into a position where she is calling the shots on Jake. And he's letting her, at least for now.

If you get all desperate and/or accommodating, you'll be at the whim of one or both of them for the foreseeable future. But on preview I see you've figured that out already.

What I'm here to actually add is: I just got out of an abusive relationship, and even though Jake is not "dating" ex-friend (but see this Scott Stanley talk about sliding versus deciding, she may be trying to "slide" him into a relationship!), what you're seeing is quite likely just the tip of the iceberg. Only one ***of my many friends had the balls to tell me "I don't like x y and z about the way he treats you. Here are some resources that back up my concerns. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Of course, I hope that he's as awesome as you say he is, but if he's not, please don't be ashamed to call me." You can do this for Jake, just pointing out that this type of controlling behavior is a common first sign in unhealthy relationships. You don't even have to use the word abusive, but make it clear that if and when he decides he is done with this relationship, you'll continue to be a friend.

Having that one person may have saved my life. It took me a while to come around to seeing and admitting that there was a problem, but when I did, that friend's support did two things. It gave me a resource to draw on in leaving (she was a great cheerleader) and, most importantly, it confirmed my sanity. There's something about practiced abusers (and ex-friend seems to be one, leaving you stranded! etc) that makes even the savviest of victims question their own sanity and perceptions.

Whatever you do, don't mock Jake for continuing to hang out with ex-friend. Don't give ammunition for her to set up an "us versus your bitchy friend" dichotomy, where you are the outsider. Just, please, make it clear that you are there.

***Although after I left him, a few were candid in their dislike/distrust of him. Their reasoning? Nobody wants to rain on your love parade! You seemed so happy! If things were bad, you wouldn't have stayed there. Unfortunately, seeming happy is not a sign of being safe. And, things being bad and things seeming bad enough to leave are not usually the same thing.

On further preview, Ragged Richard is close. But I think saying "you should break up with her" (from my own recent experience, and my sociology background) might make Jake dig in further.
posted by bilabial at 3:05 PM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


The only way this works, first, is if you refuse to play her games. Second, he also has to refuse to play her games. You have no control over whether or not he does.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:25 PM on August 18, 2011


To clarify upthread, Jake went through my roommate if he wanted to hang out with us concurrently, since he isn't allowed to hang out with me alone. This rule applies specifically to me, not to other female friends and not to my roommate (who agrees with ex-friend and gives her heads-up whenever he comes over or they go to dinner).

Wait, what again? Your roommate agrees with Ex-friend? And actively supports her policy of keeping Jake away from you? Honestly, I'm sorry to say that it sounds like they've agreed to oust you from their circle (with varying degrees of passive-aggressive and not-so-passive.)
posted by desuetude at 1:44 PM on August 19, 2011


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