How do I handle a friend who is potentially messing up my love life?
December 13, 2012 7:44 AM   Subscribe

My date canceled on me because he's best friends with a guy who is in love with me...even though I have absolutely no feelings for said friend and I've told him so. How do I handle this?

So, I've been friends with a guy (we'll call him C) for over a year. It became obvious he had feelings for me pretty quickly and we had to have a "define the relationship" talk because I have no romantic feelings towards him at all. He said he understood and was fine with just being friends. C has also told me he just wants me to be happy and if it's not with him, that's fine. He'd rather be friends than nothing at all and he's been a great friend (even though we've had to have 3 "DTR" talks because he kept acting like a boyfriend and not a friend).

Time goes on and he introduces me to one of his friends (we'll call him B). All three of us are good friends now and B knows how C feels about me. Just recently, B asked me out on a date. I accepted. I am attracted to B and want to try this out. Note that I have a hard time dating because I've been hurt many times in the past, as we all have, and it's kind of a big deal when I want to go out with someone. I was excited to say the least.

B calls and I answer thinking we're going to plan our date, but instead, B cancels the date and says he just can't go out on a date with me knowing how C feels about me (they are really good friends and C told B recently that he still had "hope" for us).

Of course I'm disappointed and I can't help being upset with C. I am starting to resent C and feel like he is blocking me from potentially being with a really great guy. I never dated C so it's not like we're ex's or anything. I'm not sure how to handle this situation as B does not want me to say anything to C about him asking me on a date. B doesn't want to hurt C. But I feel like C should know about this, as I was really excited for this date and C inadvertently ruined it for me. I feel like if C was truly a friend and authentically wanted me to be happy, that I should be able to tell him about this and that he should give B and I his blessing (even though I don't think I NEED his blessing, C doesn't own me). I do understand that B doesn't want to hurt his friend. I'm just not sure what to do. Do I tell C that this happened and risk him getting upset with B...and then B getting upset with me for telling C? On the other hand, the other outcome is I tell C, he understands, and tells B it's fine and we get our date. Either way, I feel like C needs to know, but I just don't know how to tell him and I don't want to mess up C and B's friendship.
posted by mlk915 to Human Relations (64 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't want to mess up C and B's friendship.

Then let sleeping dogs lie, to borrow from another recent AskMe about relationships.
posted by benbenson at 7:45 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


You don't "handle" it. B is prioritizing his existing friendship over a potential relationship, a perfectly normal thing to do. Move on.
posted by downing street memo at 7:46 AM on December 13, 2012 [68 favorites]


You *don't* handle this. Your date is putting his close friend's feelings first. This is admirable on his part. It might suck for you, but it's good for their friendship, in fact it is the only way to preserve it. Find another guy to date, and move on - this will never work.
posted by deadmessenger at 7:48 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sounds like exactly the type of drama B didn't want to deal with. Just let it go.
posted by xingcat at 7:53 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Either way, I feel like C needs to know, but I just don't know how to tell him and I don't want to mess up C and B's friendship.


No...C does not need to know. The only reason you would ever tell C anything about this is with the hope that C will give his blessing to B to date you. However, B asked you not to say anything to C. If you disregard B's request, any blessing from C that might be forthcoming (unlikely) will be worthless because B will likely not appreciate your having told C in the first place.

In other words, keep your mouth shut and move on.
posted by murrey at 7:54 AM on December 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


I don't think I NEED his blessing, C doesn't own me

Absolutely true. You also don't own B. He made his choice, it was a legitimate choice and above-board*. Let it go.

*As far as we know, he may just have had second thoughts about dating you, and used C's feelings as an excuse.
posted by OmieWise at 7:55 AM on December 13, 2012 [12 favorites]


Tell B that you're disappointed as you were really looking forward to the date and to give you a call if he changes his mind. Then you let this go.

Don't talk to C about this. You don't know what - if anything - happened and bringing this up will only cause drama.
posted by Diskeater at 7:56 AM on December 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Well, I think it's pretty clear that C doesn't want to be just friends, and isn't going to be satisfied with friendship only (if his continuous behavior of acting like a boyfriend wasn't enough to tip you off, he's evidently now told B that he still has hope for you two).

You should stop being friends with C. In an ideal world, he'd have the self-awareness--and enough of an emotional preservation instinct--to not try to do this friendship farce with you, but that's not the case and now that you know he still is holding a torch for you, the only humane thing to do on your end is to back off the friendship and give him time to get over you.

In terms of B, this falls into "choices he gets to make about prioritizing friendship over potential dates." It's unfortunate for you, but I think you have to respect the fact that he values his relationship with C more than the potential relationship with you. If you're lucky, falling out of contact will give C a chance to get over you, and maybe your relationship with B can move forward then.

Nothing is going to happen until C gets over you, though, and you do have some ability to help that along by not allowing him to torture himself in the friend zone indefinitely.
posted by iminurmefi at 7:56 AM on December 13, 2012 [60 favorites]


I do understand that B doesn't want to hurt his friend.

I'm not sure that you really do. Your feelings about B are causing you to view C primarily as an obstacle to your romance, and that's obscuring your perspective. B and C are best friends -- they have a strong emotional, mutually protective bond. For B to date you would obviously -- obviously! -- be deeply hurtful to C given his feelings. It sounds like B didn't comprehend C's feelings fully at the time he asked you out, but since then there's been clarification, and he's chosen not to risk his friendship.

It's a difficult situation for you because you've invested more heavily in the idea of dating B, but you absolutely need to let this go.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 7:56 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am starting to resent C and feel like he is blocking me from potentially being with a really great guy.

Quite natural. But, to agree with everyone else, let it be.

I don't know if it would be a help to your accepting the situation. But you can think of it this way. You served him with a relationship disappointment first. Not out of any ill will. But just because you felt a certain way, which wasn't your fault.

Now he has served you with a relationship disappointment in return. Also, not out of any ill will. But just because he feels a certain way, which isn't his fault.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:57 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is gross and the fact that C still has "hope" for you after literally months of you telling him otherwise is gross.

C is seriously being a bad friend (or "friend") here and you should consider whether this friendship is a genuine friendship or a long-running campaign on C's part to get you to disregard your completely valid choice not to date him.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:57 AM on December 13, 2012 [57 favorites]


Not to sound harsh, but why are you continuing to be friends with C knowing that he's carrying this torch? It may be better for everyone if you explore different social circles. I understand that you want to remain friends with this guy, but it seems like he hasn't let go of the hope that you'll "come around" and decided to date him. And that can turn into some pretty nasty co-dependence and passive aggressiveness pretty quickly.

That being said, you don't owe C anything and B made his own choice. Respect B's decision and start to remove yourself from C to avoid similar entanglements in the future. This appears to (this totally not-involved internet stranger) to be a toxic friendship at best.
posted by picklesthezombie at 7:59 AM on December 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


Agreed with the young rope-rider above that C telling B that he still has hope for you, after you've made it clear that you're not interested is inappropriate. So I understand why you have bad feelings towards C -- I would too.

At the same time, it's pretty clear that there's no way you're going to get into a relationship with B without his agreeing to it. He's obviously put his friendship with C over pursuing a relationship with you and that is his choice, so you should just do the mature thing and let it go.

And cut ties with C.
posted by peacheater at 8:01 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


C is being a real ass, obviously. It doesn't sound like you've done anything wrong, but you should consider cutting C off for a while. Three DTR talks is too many and he is still carrying a torch for you. It will be best for everyone if he can give up hope, get over you, and move on with his life. It may be in your best interest to help him along in that process.

As for B, there's nothing to be done. That's too bad, but you should respect his choices and his request to you.
posted by Area Man at 8:02 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


You need to sever ties with C. There are some sad people out there who will clutch at any crumb of their object of desire, hoping against hope that magically, the beloved one will love them back.

Send an email to C saying, "I wish we could be friends but I'm growing uncomfortable with the difference between our feelings. I wish you well, and we need to go our separate ways."

As for B, this is a miss. The guy is being a stand-up friend and "Bro-Code" or no, I don't see that this would have turned into anything, given sad, ole C in the corner pining for you.

There are plenty of fish in the sea, so re-bait your hook, you'll find someone with little or no baggage, who can give you the attention you deserve.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:07 AM on December 13, 2012 [15 favorites]


I'm going to buck the conventional wisdom here and say you absolutely should confront C. It really wasn't cool for him to cockblock you like that and he should be made aware that his bullshit shenanigans crippled or ended (your choice) your friendship with him.

In the meantime, abandon any designs you have on B. He's made his position clear. Which is sad because that's exactly the kind of good person behavior that would have made a great boyfriend. I don't think you have to honor B's desire for you to not tell C as it wasn't a fair position for him to put you in.

In the new year...new friends.

Good luck.
posted by inturnaround at 8:10 AM on December 13, 2012 [20 favorites]


These responses seem a little one sided. I think both of you are crossing boundaries either. It doesn't seem like a good idea to mess around with the best friend of someone who has feelings for you, especially if you really value your friendship with this person. Just because he said he wants you to be happy, doesn't mean he wants to be involved with the new person your dating. I'd recommend dating outside this triangle.
posted by anoirmarie at 8:15 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Accept and respect the fact that this guy is choosing to protect his friendship rather than pursue a romantic relationship with you.

Cut off ties with C. The relationship is not balanced and it is mighty unfair to both of you to remain friends.
posted by teamnap at 8:20 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Agreed with the young rope-rider above that C telling B that he still has hope for you, after you've made it clear that you're not interested is inappropriate.

Totally disagree. He was having a frank discussion with his best friend - his feelings are his feelings and he is perfectly entitled to tell his best friend what they are. His friend acted accordingly to his own moral code in that he's unfortunately had to shelve any feelings he has for the OP in order to protect his friend. That's... just what it is. It's the right thing to do from B's perspective and no matter how unrequited C's feelings are, they remain valid.

The OP is part of the problem in that she has perpetuated a 'friendship' with someone that clearly has significant and enduring feelings for her. If someone needs the 'DTR' more than twice then they are just waiting. They are not a friend, they are just staying around hoping you'll change. In that light, this scenario was almost guaranteed to happen and having this guy around will continue to make this happen. What if the OP met someone from outside the social circle and was introduced to C at a later date? Do you think he'd be happy for her? Or do you think that he'd be hurt and potentially try and cause problems for her?

The friendship with C is fundamentally flawed. It is not a true friendship. Cut ties and move on. B is just collateral damage from that flawed friendship and would be completely unable to honourably proceed with any kind of romantic involvement unless he too completely cut ties with C. That is an unreasonable request so the only 'dealing with it' that is required is cutting C off and moving on.
posted by Brockles at 8:23 AM on December 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


I had a friend who was like C. We were really close friends for about five years, lived together at one point in college, and we'd also had the DTR conversation a few times. I offered to go away each time until he could figure things out, but he always insisted that he was fine being friends and could handle it. I was never single while we were friends, but that didn't stop him from becoming more and more possessive towards me (and more and more resentful when I pulled away), until eventually in the end things turned bitter and he just started antagonizing me about everything and trying to belittle me in front of our mutual friends. It was obvious in the end that he thought his turn would come up eventually, and when I broke up with one person and started dating someone else and still didn't come rushing into his arms, well.

I told him in private that I had no interest in talking to him for the foreseeable future until he could stop being a troll, and we didn't speak for six months. Last time I saw him at a big gathering of friends we were friendly and bantering but not cordial. I think things are better this way.

What I'm saying is: C isn't going to get over you if he sees you all the time, especially not if he thinks that there may be a chance you're holding back from him because (as you say) you've been hurt before and are cautious. B is a lost cause, because he's an adult who's made his own decisions. But the longterm situation with C isn't tenable, and it would be best for all involved if you cut off that tie for the time being.
posted by Phire at 8:24 AM on December 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


I see two options here:

1) Walk away. C is a jerkface who's trying to control your romantic life, but B has every right to decline to date you, no matter the reason; or

2) Ask B if they would reconsider dating you if you sort out the issue with C. If so, have a conversation with C in which you explain that nothing is ever going to happen between you ever, and ask C's permission to ask B out on a date. If C gives you permission, proceed as planned.

Either way, C is not your friend, and you need to stop hanging out with him for both your sakes.
posted by hot soup girl at 8:25 AM on December 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


It sounds like your relationship with C is complicated. I don't really know too much about the situation, but I'd suggest thinking hard about what you get out of your relationship with C, and how you feel about the attention he gives you. It's not unusual for people to inadvertently encourage romantic feelings in people like C because they enjoy the attention they get from them, and then be confused about why they are behaving so posessively.
posted by DaveZ at 8:32 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Cut off C as your beta orbiter. That's how you "handle" this and move on from any hopes with B.

In a very large sense, this is a situation of your making. You knew from the word go that C had romantic feelings that you did not return, but you kept him around anyway. My guess is that "great friend" is pretty accurate. I imagine that if you need anything, you can call and C comes running. That is the kind of "great friend" you get when you can exploit their unrequited feelings. More generally, you probably like the attention.

Keeping C around is unfair to the both of you. He needs to learn that this sort of romantic comedy "nice guy" behavior doesn't work, and you need to learn that it is exploitative.
posted by Tanizaki at 8:35 AM on December 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


"C, this is terrain we've gone over multiple times. Since you do not seem to be getting the message, I need to spell things out for you once and for all: I am not attracted to you. I never was. I never will be. We will never have a romantic relationship. You telling other people that there's still hope for us is profoundly uncool and inappropriate. Since it doesn't seem like you respect me enough to let this drop, I feel we should sever ties now so you can start getting over this and so I can move on with my life and not feel like my boundaries are going to be disrespected. Do not contact me. Do not contact me through friends, by phone, in person, email, or any other medium. Please leave me alone, period."

C is being a dick. I had some guy in college get all of his friends to ask me out for him in front of a huge crowd once -- apparently he'd had it in his mind that we were meant to be together since he saw me in a hall his freshman year -- but I had never met or spoken to the guy and had absolutely no intention of dating him! He would not let up until I told him off in front of many people and even then he sent me tons of innappropriate letters about how I had crushed his dreams and all this super indulgent stuff. I was too nice about it the first time it came up. I should have been explicit and clear right away. As such, I'm in the camp that says you don't owe C anything except a firm and unequivocal goodbye, even if I do think you didn't do right by him by keeping him around as a friend.

Also, B is not going to be an option anymore so let that go too. Don't bring him into the goodbye to C.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:39 AM on December 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


C is not your friend. C is a person who has unrequited romantic feelings for you, and is pretending to be your friend in hopes of someday winning your affections.

C is NOT your friend.
C is NOT your friend.
C is NOT your friend.

Get rid of C.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:53 AM on December 13, 2012 [16 favorites]


I was just coming here to give you the same suggestion as hot soup girl. Don't say that B asked you out, but ask C for his blessing to ask B out. Otherwise, B isn't going to change his mind. And I disagree that you have exploited C by keeping him as a friend. There's nothing inherently wrong with wanting him as a friend, as you have been very clear about the way you feel about him. That said, since you are beginning to resent him and he's still holding out hope that the two of you will get together, you might want to think about distancing yourself from him.
posted by random thoughts at 8:54 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


C might be being unreasonable, but B is putting bros before hoes which is an entirely reasonable thing to. In fact, I'm not sure that I'd want to date someone who would put a potential romantic relationship ahead of a good friendship.

1.) I wouldn't bother talking to C about this, it's not going to change how he feels or how he acts. The fact that he's getting an emotional rise out of you (even a negative one) will probably feel like a good sign to him.

2.) Let B go. As I said, he doesn't want to risk his friendship for you. Playing games about who is asking who out and receiving blessing and stuff is just asking for drama. Do you really want to be the drama girl here?

3.) You need to find people to date that you don't meet through C. ASAP.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:56 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


(The letter business does not work for me so I will refer to these people as Ben and Charlie)

How you handle this is you walk away from the situation. You go, "Man, that sucks," and start seeing less of both people. Charlie needs to grow up; it's fine to have a crush but if you've had to have a DTR talk with him more than once, let alone three times, you've been patient and done all you can. He's on some classic Nice Guy shit and you do not need that, you do not need it. It's entirely possible that he's a worthwhile human being in every other aspect of his life, but since he's kind of shitty in terms of how he relates to you, you'll pretty much always be guaranteed to be dealing with a shitty side of him.

Ben is trying to be a good friend to Charlie. Whether Charlie's being shitty or not (I think he is), it would cause friction between him and Ben if Ben dated the woman he's got a wormy Nice Guy crush on, so Ben is choosing not to. Respect that, even if it's tangled up in a dumb fundamental situation, and walk away.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:59 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Have you and C ever hooked up? Cause the facts of your question (3+ DTRs? For a friendship? Not impossible to imagine, but also not standard.) plus some vague wording ("never dated" can be interpreted very narrowly or very broadly) makes that seem like it is a distinct possibility.

The fact is that the advice for this question changes pretty dramatically if you and C were involved. If C has been Silenced In the Friend Zone His Whole Life, that's one thing and the only thing that you can do is sort of let that "friendship" go because it is no longer working for either party. But if you and C had a thing? Then it is pretty tacky to try to date his friend, unless he specifically introduces you to the friend as a set-up. You'll note that in neither situation is it really appropriate to continue to pursue B, because B is an adult who has made up his mind about how complicated he wants his life to be, and those complications don't include dating you.
posted by jph at 9:02 AM on December 13, 2012


How do you handle this? You drop both C AND B out of your life entirely.

B asked you out but then deferred to his buddy C, like you are some kind of property they can decide ownership of. C apparently tells B he has 'dibs' on you, so B backed off --- which makes him some kind of wuss who'd make lousy SO material.

C told you months ago how he feels, to which you've replied multiple times that you do NOT feel the same, and have no intention of ever having a relationship with him. But C wants a romantic relationship with you no matter what you tell him, so he ignores your boundaries and literally chases off other suitors.

Neither one respects you as a fully-functioning adult capable of making your own decisions.
posted by easily confused at 9:04 AM on December 13, 2012 [20 favorites]


Yeah, don't hang out with dudes who treat you like property. However, given the type of responses in this thread you would be wise to note that most of society still thinks a woman is property with whoever saw her first getting dibs.

Fuck that noise. Drop both of these guys.
posted by thelastcamel at 9:06 AM on December 13, 2012 [18 favorites]


Would you date someone your best friend was in love with, was rejected by, and then confessed that he or she still had "hope" for a relationship with based on the friendship that your BFF still maintained with this person?

... I was really excited for this date and C inadvertently ruined it for me. I feel like if C was truly a friend and authentically wanted me to be happy, that I should be able to tell him about this and that he should give B and I his blessing...

Would you really be able to say to your best friend "hey best friend, I know you love this person, but they don't love you. I think you should approve of them dating me instead, if you really want them to be happy..." You seem to think that being a good friend means that sometimes you do things that you don't like out of concern for your friend's feelings and emotions. That is basically what B is doing here, but it's just not the outcome you want.

B is putting his friendship with C over any potential relationship he has with you. And I agree that C sounds like he has this wormy "nice guy" thing going and you should avoid, avoid, avoid.

As for the women-are-property thing, I can't really tell from your question if that is how these guys see you, or even if you are female. I don't think the "don't go out on a date with someone your best friend is in love with" is way more about not being a shitty friend than it is about who called dibs.
posted by inertia at 9:13 AM on December 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


B asked you out but then deferred to his buddy C, like you are some kind of property they can decide ownership of.

Or like he doesn't want to hurt his friend's feelings, irrational as they may be.

The effect is the same for our asker tho.
posted by ftm at 9:15 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


C deliberately sabotaged your shot at a relationship with B, and did so knowingly and selfishly.

B bought into the whole idea that because C spiritually pissed on you first that you belong to C.

To hell with them both. Find some new friends whose opinions about women were formed by electric light as opposed to candles.
posted by DWRoelands at 9:17 AM on December 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


You just have to stop being friends with C.

B is out as a dating possibility. It's disappointing but it's the call he's made!

C is not going to give up on the possibility that you might one day just eventually "come around". He is not your friend.

I don't think you should confront either one of these guys. You have tried enough. Just stop being available to C, and start meeting new folks.

Sorry this whole thing happened! It sucks. Remove yourself from the situation now so it can stop sucking sooner than later!
posted by pazazygeek at 9:19 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Have you and C ever hooked up? Cause the facts of your question (3+ DTRs? For a friendship? Not impossible to imagine, but also not standard.) plus some vague wording ("never dated" can be interpreted very narrowly or very broadly) makes that seem like it is a distinct possibility.

NEVER! I have never hooked up with him in any way shape or form. I have told him from day 1 that I was NOT attracted to him and that this wouldn't happen.
posted by mlk915 at 9:20 AM on December 13, 2012


You want a way/method to at least got out on a date with Ben, regardless of his relationship with Charlie. The issue is that Ben cares more about his actual relationship with Charlie than a potential one with you. Which makes total sense.

There probably is a way to approach Charlie and talk to him about all this, but we don't have strong idea of his personality or relationship with Ben. Even if we did, it would be a tricky situation that would most likely result in some negative impact in their relationship, which could effect any relationship you develop with Ben. What you're asking for, Ben being willing to go out on a date with you, while not impacting his relationship with Charlie, is very difficult and requires a subtle touch and maturity among all three of y'all. That isn't currently there, so let it go.

You definitely need to pull away from Charlie, though. His feelings, which his is entitled to, but which you are under no obligation to honor, are messing up your potential relationships and that's not good.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:25 AM on December 13, 2012


Instead of being pissed off at your friend C for having feelings for you he can't control, why don't you go find someone else to date? Simple solution.
posted by strelitzia at 9:27 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have been C. I have also been you.

Really, best thing to do is cut ties, or if you can't do that, stop hanging out one on one at least. But the best thing to do is cut ties. If you know that C has feelings for you that you can't reciprocate, then you're kinda being manipulative by hanging out with him. Best to end that for both parties involved.
posted by lettuchi at 9:38 AM on December 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


So here's the thing. C did, in fact, act badly, by being all creeptacularly "there's still hope." That's some consent-overriding bullshit right there. When is there hope? When you're drunk or depressed? Knowing you don't want him, what is he waiting for?

That said, it is possible to get past the bro code, but I think you need to accept that it's not going to happen with B. If he valued you enough, he would have raised the topic with C. Also, I don't agree that he's being a prince here - he didn't tell C he asked you out, and wanted to see if it worked out before taking the heat. Now he's asking you to lie about it.

But you still need to talk to C about his expectations. Just don't mention B in dating context. "Hey, what are you telling your friends about me? B seemed to think you had hopes for a relationship with us. It sounds like you're not honoring and respecting my choice that we just be friends."
posted by corb at 9:40 AM on December 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


Totally disagree. He was having a frank discussion with his best friend - his feelings are his feelings and he is perfectly entitled to tell his best friend what they are. His friend acted accordingly to his own moral code in that he's unfortunately had to shelve any feelings he has for the OP in order to protect his friend. That's... just what it is. It's the right thing to do from B's perspective and no matter how unrequited C's feelings are, they remain valid.

C's feelings may be valid, but I stand by thinking that it is inappropriate and over the line to say one still has "hope" for a relationship with someone when that someone has made it clear multiple times that they are not interested. It's just icky, and goes with that whole first dibs, women-as-property thing that people are mentioning above. That said, I don't think it makes much difference to what the OP needs to do, which is cut off ties with both B and C -- with B, because she still has feelings for him; with C, because he still has feelings for her (and is being rather creepy about it).
posted by peacheater at 9:41 AM on December 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


This is a crappy situation, but I think that there's not much you can do about dating B, and that you should reconsider your friendship with C.

Here is a relevant XKCD comic. I don't think C is a horrible person or anything, but he's not really respecting what you're telling him.
posted by cider at 9:47 AM on December 13, 2012


C's entitled to his feelings, as anyone is, but there's a world of difference between "Hey, bro, I'm never going to get to date this girl but it will be way too hard for me to see you, my friend, dating her; I hope you can respect that" and "Hey, I want to stop you or anyone else from dating this girl, because that way there's still hope." The former is emotionally honest, the latter is delusional and frankly a bit scary, since you've already had 3 DTR talks.

So C is not being a good friend to you or to B, and is holding you both hostage to his unrequited feelings that are becoming ever more detached from reality. You will need to give up B and back way off from C at least until he finds a partner, though I'd bet that once he did you'd learn that he wasn't even interested in the "friendship" anymore.
posted by ziggly at 9:55 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nothing to see here. Move along. Dump both of them. C because he is a selfish douchebag and B because he is using the "moral code" of high school boy. Both of them didn't yet fathom that the essence of friendship is happiness of the friend not the fulfillings of one's desires.
posted by przepla at 10:10 AM on December 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


forget about b. he made his choice, stupid as it was.

c on the other hand: c is a jerk who doesn't respect your right to say no to him. he is not your friend, and is not capable of being your friend. he doesn't respect you as a human being. by choosing not to believe something you've said multiple times over a long period of time, and by cockblocking you, both for his own completely selfish reasons. that's crappy and creepy. someone who doesn't respect your right to say no is someone you should never be around ever again. you don't owe him so much as an explanation for dropping him immediately and never speaking to him again.

i'd totally tell him exactly why i was never speaking to him again, because i'd hope that it might jolt him into rethinking his behavior and not ever being such a creepy dickwad to another girl in the future, but yeah, i'd never speak to him again. you're not safe around this guy. you've never really had a friendship with him because he's been dishonest with you the entire time.

oh! and if you have mutual friends: tell them now why you're cutting him off. guys that can't take multiple nos for an answer can escalate and get dangerous when you don't give them what they feel they deserve, so you should protect yourself just in case that happens.
posted by lia at 10:20 AM on December 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


You do NOT know what C said to B. You don't know what he meant to say, you don't know what he said, you don't know what B understood or misunderstood, you don't know how much B post-processed the conversation, and you don't know what spin B put on what he thought he understood when he was talking to you, or whether he was even aware of spinning it.

YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT C SAID. Even if you got the exact wording, you wouldn't have the body language or tone of voice. Even if you had a video recording, you wouldn't have the context.

Making decisions about C based on B's stress-driven testimony would be a huge mistake.

I *do* think it's fair to tell B, "hey, telling me that stuff about C has really made it hard for me to feel comfortable with my friendship with him. Since I value that friendship, I'm going to have to sit down and talk to him about it. I know it's not what you wanted, but, honestly, you shouldn't have been telling tales out of school in the first place. This telephone crap stops here."
posted by endless_forms at 10:22 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Hey, I want to stop you or anyone else from dating this girl, because that way there's still hope."

It should be noted that the OP has not provided conversation details between Ben and Charlie, beyond a two word phrase that Ben told her.

No one here knows what was said between Ben and Charlie. The important part is that Ben feels the need to respect his feelings in this matter.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:24 AM on December 13, 2012


B didn't do anything wrong (he didn't treat you like property your use a high school code, or any of the other nonsense you're getting above).

He just vaules C over you. C is is close friend, you are a person he might have had a date with. He made the decision that he thought was best for him.

Now, you need to do what's best for you, and that's obviously break ties with C. The situation is inescapably toxic, even if C is a good guy, because it looks like his feelings aren't going to change.
posted by spaltavian at 10:44 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Does C actually know about the potential date at all? It sounds like he doesn't if B wants you not to mention anything to C. B may have had an attack of weird bro-code guilt.

This sounds like far too much drama before you've even dated. Go look in pastures new.
posted by eyeofthetiger at 10:46 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


If C is still holding such a torch for you that he's willing to sabotage other romantic interests you may have -- even after telling you that he wants you to be happy and find love -- this would be the point that I would rapidly start disengaging. I mean, this dude is either lying to you ("we can be just friends!" "I want you to date other people!") or really emotionally immature.
posted by Sara C. at 10:49 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


B is gone. If you want a diagnosis, I would guess that B came to suspect you would be full of DRAMA and BAILED for that reason. Honestly, my opinions sounds as good as anyone else's but it really doesn't matter -- B is still gone.

So what are you going to do with DEFGH et al? C will still be around to actively or passively poison the wells. If having a romantic relationship is a top priority, then you need to arrange your life to accomodate such possibilities.

Most modern men want a woman to have a well-rounded cast of friends that includes you having some straight male friends of your own age. But most modern men don't want a woman who is knowingly dragging an unrequitted lover along for the ride. At best it shows some form of social blindness, at worst it shows a big capacity for manipulation, with a lot of other unpleasant possibilities in between. Aren't three "defining" conversations about two too many?

Good luck!
posted by 99percentfake at 10:58 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, you should step away from C -- not only because of what has happened, but because he needs to get over you, and that obviously is not happening while you two are friends.

I agree you cannot do anything about B. You have to respect B's choice not to date you, just as you would like C to respect your choice not to date him.
posted by shattersock at 11:02 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


You *don't* handle this. Your date is putting his close friend's feelings first. This is admirable on his part.

Actually...no. B is going along with a really immature behavior on his friend's part and enabling him to affect the lives of other people...yours and B's. C has no right to dictate who either of you date, whatever his feelings. Either B is letting C run his life, or B thinks C has some "claim" to you which is gross.

Dump 'em both, thank the stars you dodged that friend/relationship bullet, get more mature friends who don't pull this crap.
posted by emjaybee at 12:45 PM on December 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Either B is letting C run his life, or B thinks C has some "claim" to you which is gross.

My god, some people are REALLY reading into this with their own baggage. As explained in the OP, the guy decided to rescind his dating availability after he found out his friend had feelings for the person in question. There is no mention of 'dibs' or marking territory or anything, he just found out that there were feelings involved and decided to back out. He didn't want to upset his friend by directly hurting his feelings (which that would have done).

It has nothing at all to do with pissing on your property, or ownership or immaturity or any of the crap that is being dumped on top of it quite vociferously here. It's one guy respecting another guy's feelings. It's not running his life, it's weighing up something that he wants, considering how it'd make someone else feel, and putting their feelings above what he wants.

That just seems considerate to me. He's not an arsehole, he just didn't want to hurt his friend. I mean, clearly this means he didn't want to be with the OP that bad, but it's not immature or possessive to have respect for a friendship over a date, for crying out loud.
posted by Brockles at 2:14 PM on December 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


Drop them both, get a cat.
posted by Coaticass at 2:57 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, only kidding about the cat. Not the other part though... B is trying to do the right thing and C can't help his feelings, but he's not really your friend.
posted by Coaticass at 3:05 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would sever ties with C, and let him know exactly why. He's made it abundantly clear that he doesn't "just want you to be happy" even if it's not with him, and that he doesn't really respect your feelings -- he's going to keep trying for a relationship with you whether you want him to or not. (Plus, it would be healthier for him, since he's not terribly likely to let go of his hope for a relationship as long as the two of you are in contact.)

I don't think B did anything too terrible here -- I certainly don't think he treated you like property or anything. I can understand wanting to avoid hurting his friend.
posted by sarcasticah at 3:57 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


From what you're saying, C is hoping that eventually, if he puts enough friendship and nice tokens into you that a girlfriend will fall out. There is no way to dissuade him (in fact, cutting all ties might not do it) but there is a way to remove his influence from your life, and that's to end the relationship on your side.

If I were in your shoes, I would say the following:

"The recent events with B, where he asked me on a date than unasked me because of you, has really brought home to me that we cannot be friends. You don't believe me when I say I am not attracted to you and will never date you, and I can't be friends with someone who doesn't believe me, so this is goodbye. Please don't contact me again."

To any mutual friends who bring him up or pass messages:

"I'm not friends with C anymore. Please don't pass messages from him. [Conversation change]"

The next time he contacts you:

"I said please don't contact me again. Any further contacts will be documented and forwarded to the police. If necessary I will get a restraining order."

The next time he contacts you:

No response. Document. If the contacts continue for over a month, get a restraining order.

Alternate opinions on similarish things: #225: Restating boundaries with a clingy friend.
posted by Deoridhe at 4:11 PM on December 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Move on from both of them. B made his choice to prioritize his friendship. C isn't friends-friends with you. Find a new friend and find a new romantic prospect.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:40 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Regardless of why, it's perfectly fine for B to change his mind about going on a date with you. I'm sorry that you're disappointed, but choosing a good friend's feelings (unwanted as they may be to you) over a potential new relationship is a choice many people make comfortably. I wouldn't go putting myself between them when B had both made his choice and requested your discretion with the expectation that B will welcome that with a date. Now, if B comes back to you, doubting his choice, and wondering if you guys should talk to C, that'd be a bit different.

Get new friends and move on. Honestly, it sounds like all parties involved really need to learn to set, accept, and maintain appropriate boundaries.
posted by sm1tten at 6:08 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ugh, they're both babies. Find better friends/dates.
posted by stoneandstar at 6:53 PM on December 13, 2012


It's fine for B to change his mind about dating you, for whatever reason. His loss.

It's also fine for C to have feelings that he needs to deal with. On his own, quietly, while acknowledging that you've turned him down at least three times now and nothing's going to happen.

But when C's going about telling people "there's still hope" for you and him, he's showing that he isn't listening to you. Three DTR talks are more than enough; this man does not respect you or your wishes, and hopes that if he just hangs around long enough, he can Nice Guy his way into your bed.

I'd call him on it and cut him out of your life - tell him that as long as he's still pining over you to friends and claiming there's hope that One Day, You Will Be Together (or even angsting about how Our Love Can Never Be), he doesn't get anything from you but space to get over it.

Personally, I'd also be telling B that this is precisely what you're doing, if I had a social relationship with him, because I'd want to make it clear just how inappropriate C's comments are. But that's your call.

(The responses criticising you for "carrying on a friendship with C while he has Feelings" baffle me. We're talking about a grown man here - it's not your job to protect him from his own feelings by making his choices for him, it's his job to deal with them like an adult, and withdraw if he can't. Cutting him off because he won't respect you is, of course, making that choice for you.

Also, the "bros before hos" thing is a misogynistic piece of rot that needs to die. Gah.)

posted by Someone Else's Story at 7:20 PM on December 13, 2012 [13 favorites]


From what I read of it, B already knew how C felt about you when he asked you out. It was only later, when I assume that C had a talk with B, that B bottled it. <== waay too much drama. Ugh. Put down the boys and pick up a man.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 8:37 AM on December 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I speak from experience when I say that when C says he wants you to be happy, he means he wants you to be happy with him. He may not consciously believe it but it is nonetheless true. Furthermore, as long as you maintain your friendship with him while he holds feelings for you, it will hurt him. It will initially be painful for him if you become distant from him, but in the long run, he will heal. It's like picking a scab. It often feels good to do, but if you keep picking it it will never have a chance to just heal and fall off on its own. To be fair, most of my experience has been "maintaining" (and, finally, letting go of) friendships after a relationship has ended (There was this one girl in high school that I held a torch for for a long time, but we were only acquaintances and never real friends). So there is a big difference where it's often a natural step in the post breakup process to establish distance, but not quite the same thing where you are establishing distance in a friendship that never had romantic associations.

BTW, I totally believe that friendship between men and women works, even when there is some one-sided physical attraction there. It does not work when there is romantic emotional attachment, however.

Love is weird man. It's the only thing I know of that can hurt and feel wonderful at the same time and with such intensity.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:03 AM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


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