Is it normal to cut off your female friends for the sake of your girlfriend?
May 15, 2009 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Is it normal to cut off your female friends for the sake of your girlfriend?

Hi all. First post, so please bare with me. I have lots I want to ask but don't want to put my whole life story in one post, so I'll keep it specific to this one question.

I'm 29, and my girlfriend is 32. We've currently live together and have been dating for almost two years. More on that some other post. Let's just say I don't feel she trusts me even though I've never given her any indication that I'm unfaithful.

One of my best friends is female and I've known her since I was eight. She knows her and we've all gone out on many occasions before and after she was married. I'm used to talking with her constantly and lately her and my girlfriend haven't talked much ever since she met someone else so she's been unavailable as of late.

Here's the thing, ever since the beginning, she gets a really bad attitude with me when she sees that there are emails between me and her, that we plan lunch dates, or if we communicate period. Admittedly, I've had to cut off almost all of my female friends ever since I decided to be serious with her. I figure that comes with the territory but I find it difficult to do this to this particular friend because we've been through thick and thin. Sure we dated once for a few months in high school, but that was long ago. Our conversations are never inappropriate.

My girlfriend and her ex boyfriends conversations? That's another story for another post as well. So what do you guys think? I mean, is it wrong for me to have lunch with my friend? I feel like I've sacrificed enough already.

My girlfriend throws it in my face that she sacrifices as well because she constantly has guys asking her out and she says no, but I imagine those to be guys with other intentions so her saying no should be pretty standard. No sacrifice there. Don't know, just seems unfair.
posted by salsa buena to Human Relations (76 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I feel like I've sacrificed enough already.

Hm, I'd say THAT isn't normal or good; feeling martyred all the time probably isn't doing much for the overall health of your relationship or the overall health of salsa buena. And, uh, I think it's tacky and weird for her to "throw it in [your] face" that other dudes are "constantly" asking her out.

So...I don't know for sure whether or not it's normal to reduce the time you spend with female friends for your girlfriend's sake (I'd vote no, though) but that other, no, I'm going to come down on the side of Not Normal.

(And I'm a crazy jealous hag, so keep that in mind because even I don't object to my husband maintaining friendships just because the friend is the lady kind.)
posted by Neofelis at 2:13 PM on May 15, 2009

It's probably more normal than it should be, but it isn't okay. It's controlling and it occasionally gets downright abusive.

Her assertion that she sacrifices by not accepting propositions (!) and that this would be equivalent to you sacrificing a childhood friend is bizarre and irrational.

This is going to get worse before it gets better. Good luck.
posted by padraigin at 2:13 PM on May 15, 2009 [7 favorites]

Cutting platonic female friends out of your life to appease your girlfriend is neither normal nor a good idea. It is extremely controlling behavior and I would seriously think twice about continuing your relationship on these terms.
posted by lalex at 2:13 PM on May 15, 2009 [7 favorites]

My girlfriend throws it in my face that she sacrifices as well because she constantly has guys asking her out and she says no

What. Just... what?

A human being really said that and wasn't kidding? keep your best friend and dump this horrible woman immediately.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:14 PM on May 15, 2009 [37 favorites]

It's easier to find a new girlfriend than it is to find real friends. If she can't stand the fact that you have female friends, her jealousy issues will only cause further troubles. Drop her like a rock and don't look back.

Also, if she talks to her ex-boyfriends, she's being a total hypocrite. More reason to listen to Mr. Savage in his wise acronym. DTMFA, go laugh it off over lunch with your friend, and find a woman who isn't controlling and jealous.
posted by Saydur at 2:15 PM on May 15, 2009 [4 favorites]

This does not come with the territory. Healthy people realize that their partners will have friends of the sex that they are attracted to if the partner in question is him- or herself a healthy adult person.

Do not put up with this.
posted by overhauser at 2:15 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Saying no to would be suitors is completely different than cutting out friends.

This is not cool.
posted by utsutsu at 2:16 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

(I'm assuming she did mean "asking out" as in on dates, and that she seriously is saying it's a "sacrifice" for her not to cheat on you.)
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:16 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Many women are jealous. It is quite common to have to accomodate them by avoiding close contact, however platonic, with other women. Whether that is acceptable compromise, given all her other wonderful traits, is up to you. If not, you need to find a confident, unjealous woman.
posted by randomstriker at 2:16 PM on May 15, 2009 [3 favorites]

No it's not wrong for you to have female friends... but if it's something that bothers your current girlfriend, you have to decide which is more important: her jealousy, or your friendship with the other girl. We can argue all night whether it's right or wrong for your girlfriend to be jealous of this other girl, but that's pointless: she is.

Has she told you she doesn't want you hanging out/talking with the other girl, or do you just get the feeling she has a problem with it because of the way she acts when you do it? If she hasn't explicitly said anything, ask her straight up: "Do you have a problem with me doing X?" then go from there.
posted by nitsuj at 2:16 PM on May 15, 2009

Admittedly, I've had to cut off almost all of my female friends ever since I decided to be serious with her.

This isn't normal, and it's not okay. Unless you and the exes/female friends were carrying on all sexy-like, which you're apparently not.

My partner and I (we're both women) had a commitment ceremony officiated by an ex of mine; another ex stood up with me as a best person. Another ex of mine lives downstairs (she and my partner met and became friends a long while back, completely separately from knowing me).

It's controlling behavior and it says much more about your girlfriend's insecurities than it does about you. She needs to work on them, and you guys need to have some (calm) communication about this. Random guys asking her out on dates (and her saying no) is in no way equivalent to longtime friends calling to ask you for coffee, even if some of those friends were once bed-friends.

If you were a woman asking this about a male partner's behavior, it would raise all kinds of red flags about abusive behavior, which often starts by isolating the person and not allowing them to see their friends and/or family. Actually, it still raises those flags for me.

You two need to talk about this, almost certainly more than once, and as calmly as possible, and perhaps in the presence of a third, neutral person, like a counselor.
posted by rtha at 2:17 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Your girlfriend sounds insecure. It is normal to cool some friend relationships in general when you're involved with someone, but she can't expect you to ditch one of your very best friends. I think your experience is very, very common, but it's not a good one.

I will caution, though, that you not hide your interactions with your friend from your girlfriend. That will give her all sorts of cause to be suspicious, even if there really isn't anything untoward going on. Be open and honest with all parties.

Chances are, your friend will be around longer than the girlfriend.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 2:17 PM on May 15, 2009

It's easier to find a new girlfriend than it is to find real friends

Also, amen to that, 1000 times. of all the lies romantic comedies tell, the biggest is that "the one" should be the most important person in your life. Maybe if you've been married 30 years, sure. But girlfriends come and go, you get one best friend in life, if you're lucky. Don't throw away the most meaningful relationship of your life for one that sounds really controlling and horrible, just because the latter happens to involve intercourse.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:18 PM on May 15, 2009 [7 favorites]

salsa buena: "Admittedly, I've had to cut off almost all of my female friends ever since I decided to be serious with her. I figure that comes with the territory"

No it doesn't. This sounds incredibly controlling and it sounds like your girlfriend of yours doesn't really have your best interests at heart. The telling you about the guys asking her out is especially weird and not at all loving.

My suggestion (apart from "find a new girlfriend")? Go to lunch with your friend. You have sacrificed too much already. If she gives you any more trouble about the kind of friends you have, laugh, turn around, and walk... away.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:19 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

It's not fair of her to have expectations of you that she won't adhere to for herself.

You live together. You said your friend is married, right? I don't understand why your girlfriend is being so rigid.

You might see if she'd be willing to try couples therapy. Trust issues are a big deal.

Also, from personal experience, when you get accused of doing something that often indicates the accuser is deflecting your attention to your behavior when the accuser may be trying to hide something him/herself. I hope that isn't the case.

Also, bragging about other men wanting her while refusing to let you see a childhood friend = she is very insecure in herself and in this relationship. I wonder why she'd feel that way?

And by the way, yes, men and women can be friends without anything ever happening. It's ridiculous to think otherwise--she surely knows this. Controlling, manipulative behavior is not part of a healthy relationship. Good luck.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:19 PM on May 15, 2009

Abnormal jealousy.

What makes it really bad, though, is the fact that she still talks with her ex and not cheating on you is a "sacrifice."

The jealousy plus the hypocrisy = crazy and controlling.

It's true you might not be able to make her jealousy go magically away . . . But you also have to realize if you stay in this relationship you have to be OK with being under her bootheel.
posted by schroedinger at 2:20 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'd only think it was reasonable if a specific female friend was obviously hung up on you, and you were stringing her along, or something along those lines.

A lot of people do this sort of thing, and I bet your girl could find someone who would do it for her. So maybe you could call it "normal," but would that really make you feel better about being one of those people?
posted by substars at 2:20 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm with lalex - you should not have to give up your platonic friends as long as they don't infringe on your relationship with your girlfriend. No one should be "sacrificing" good friends for their partner under normal circumstances. My husband's best friend (and best "man" at our wedding) is a woman who he's known and been great friends with for over 20 years.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 2:24 PM on May 15, 2009

Put your foot down. This doesn't necessarily have to be a deal-breaker for you, but you need to let your girlfriend know that it's a dealbreaker for her, that she can mellow out or get out.

Seriously, this is not cool and heads nowhere good.
posted by hermitosis at 2:24 PM on May 15, 2009

Yeah, her saying no to some dude who is hitting on her (or even some guy she's known who is hitting on her) =/= you ending established long-standing friendships.

I will admit that, as a girl, I've had tinges of jealousy/insecurity when it comes to stuff like this...but you guys have been together two years. And, as a girl, I'm not about to cut off my platonic guy friends for the sake of a relationship. This is how you were when you started seeing her, right? If she's not cool with it, you're not the one that needs to change. I'm not saying you need to be a jerk about it, but she's not being fair at all.
posted by AlisonM at 2:25 PM on May 15, 2009

Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions. I know in my heart that this is wrong. Truthfully, I am guilty of trying to hide the fact that we have lunch together. I mean why provoke a fight?

In fact, just the other night I told my female classmates that I couldn't have dinner with them. I made up some lame excuse, but really I know that if I were to call my girlfriend and say, "hey, can I have dinner with my classmates?" that she'd be upset because my schedule is so busy to begin with and I don't give her enough time. That sucks, I don't even feel I should have to ask permission. I'm a man damn it. She should be happy I'm telling her where I'm going and what I'm doing.
posted by salsa buena at 2:27 PM on May 15, 2009

Oh yes, and Step 2, after you've laughed and walked away from her: Get A New Girlfriend. There's actually quite a lot of nice women out there.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:30 PM on May 15, 2009

No, it's not normal to cut off a close female friend that you've known since childhood for the sake of your girlfriend. I would never ask my boyfriend to do this. Ever.

I feel like I've sacrificed enough already.

Sacrifice shouldn't be a part of a healthy relationship. Negotiation, adjustment and give-and-take, yes. Sacrifice, no.
posted by meerkatty at 2:30 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Let me be frank, I've done something that I'm not proud of. In the two years we've been together, I've gone through my girlfriends phone 3 times. I'm not proud of that but I had my reasons to suspect something between her and the ex.

Her ex and her were together for six years. He practically raised her son. He's 16 now. But that doesn't mean he gets a get out of jail free card.

Every time I did go through her phone, each time I found something I didn't want to see. Once it was a naked picture of her to him, which she said it wasn't a big deal. Then it was him sending her a picture of himself (you can imagine), and recently he sent her a text message asking her to come sleep with him to which she replied... "I wish..."

See what I'm saying? I know he did a lot for her and she's probably stringing him around as a kind of security blanket. But at this point I feel that I want her to cut him off completely or I'm walking out of this relationship that we've fought so hard to keep together.

She has a great person. I don't want everyone to think of her as some kind of monster. I love her, but I feel like if our relationship is to go on, he can't be in the picture no matter what he's done for her and her son in the past.
posted by salsa buena at 2:39 PM on May 15, 2009

I'm a man damn it. She should be happy I'm telling her where I'm going and what I'm doing.

Take some time and sift through where you're getting your ideas about what is normal. I'm sensing that way too many of them come from made-up scenarios on television or in movies because outside of those realms, common decency doesn't have much to do with gender.

Best of luck to you.
posted by nosila at 2:41 PM on May 15, 2009

Oh, good lord. Just saw the last comment. Dump her. Fast. She is toxic.
posted by nosila at 2:43 PM on May 15, 2009 [13 favorites]

WTF, seriously? You're about to get more DTMFA advice than you could possibly imagine.

It's wrong to snoop, but what I said upthread about her trying to accuse you of considering doing things she is possibly doing RIGHT NOW should stand out in neon, 30-point type. And be flashing.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:44 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sorry, that was a bit of humor on my part. ;)
posted by salsa buena at 2:45 PM on May 15, 2009

Saying no to would be suitors is completely different than cutting out friends. This is not cool.

Repeated for truth!
posted by ericb at 2:47 PM on May 15, 2009

WAY out of line. This is jealous, controlling behavior on her part, and it does not have any place in a healthy relationship.

In fact, the sad thing is, she doesn't get that she's viewing something as a negative that in my book is a huge positive. In fact, I have long refused to date men who DON'T have close female friends. Why? Because men who can have platonic relationships with women are, generally speaking, better partners than men who can't, because they can relate better to women as people. I support my boyfriend's relationships with his female friends, just as he supports my friendships with men, because we both know they pose no threat to our commitment to each other.

In short: expecting you to break off your friendship with someone you've known from childhood is a red flag so large and bright it could be a banner in a May Day parade. Put your foot down, or walk away.
posted by scody at 2:48 PM on May 15, 2009 [4 favorites]

I find it a bit strange that your relationship question is about your girlfriend's attitudes toward your female friends rather than about her very obvious lack of faithfulness, loyalty, respect, and love for you. DTMFA. Truly, this is not a healthy relationship.
posted by JenMarie at 2:51 PM on May 15, 2009

Oh man, I just saw your most recent comment. Based on what you're describing,her behavior has given you numerous crystal-clear messages about who she is and how she will continue to behave. You can heed those messages or you can ignore them, but that's up to you. You're not going to "make her" be a different person.
posted by scody at 2:54 PM on May 15, 2009

(well, I suppose it all goes hand in hand, but the thing about her interactions with her ex would be much more front and center for me than her attitude toward your female friends)
posted by JenMarie at 2:54 PM on May 15, 2009

...Once it was a naked picture of her to him, which she said it wasn't a big deal. Then it was him sending her a picture of himself (you can imagine), and recently he sent her a text message asking her to come sleep with him to which she replied... "I wish..."

Wait, what? What?? Yeah, you shouldn't have gone through her phone, but you did, so whatever. What you found is a big deal, and I definitely wouldn't be with someone who still sends pics of their junk to their ex. Like someone said, there's better peeps out there. It's not worth sticking with a shady girl when there are better, trustworthy people out there who want to be with you, rather than wishing they could have a sleepover with their ex.
posted by AlisonM at 2:59 PM on May 15, 2009

It's pretty "normal" to explicitly or subtly try to cut a partner off from friends of the opposite gender. But that doesn't make it right. It sucks, and for me it's a total dealbreaker. About half of my best friends are people I find physically attractive, and several of those are, in fact, even exes. I make no apology for my awesome and attractive roster of friends and there's no WAY I'd ever date someone who gave me grief over it. It helps that I also have absolutely no history of cheating, strong opinions about how shitty and inexcusable cheating is, and a deliberate & self-controlled personality that precludes "it just happened" type scenarios- so my personality makes me seem pretty trustworthy to my partner, I guess. But you said you're trustworthy too, so let me chime in to say that you can definitely find partners who won't feel threatened by your female friends, or try to make you ditch friends to appease the partner's unreasonable suspicions.

Now it's also possible that your GF isn't some unreasonable jerk- maybe the way you've framed the friendship might be confusing to her, or maybe you put your friend on a pedestel that makes GF feel unable to measure up. It might help if she got to know the friend in question, and if you gently found ways to let your partner know that she's the type of girl you like, not this friend.

So for instance, say your friend is a slim, flighty blonde artist and your GF is a solid, introverted brunette acountant. You could say things like, "I love your hair. Brown hair is so beautiful." Or "Your curves are sooo hot." or "I love how you're so calm and thoughtful. Flighty people are exhausting." "Your job makes a lot of sense. Sometimes I wonder about creative types and how they manage the lifestyle, it seems so unstable." etc.

I'm not saying you should slam your friend to make GF feel better, because that's mean and lame. But letting GF know that HER qualities are the ones that attract you, and that there are reasons why you're happy to be dating GF, not friend, might make her feel better. I'm not very jealous, but my boyfriend's best friend is awesome, plus she's much prettier, skinnier, and more easygoing than me, with a well-paying job. When my guy subtly mentioned how he likes girls with a butt on them, and that he couldn't imagine dating someone with a stable 9-5 job, I have to admit I felt much better. But listen, even though I was slightly jealous of how much he likes her, I would NEVER tell him, hint, or even desire for him to spend less time with her. She's a part of him and I would never want to separate them.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:00 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

You guys are right. I've reached that point where I'm no longer afraid of losing her. But I also don't want to just be on the prowl waiting for her to do something wrong to cut her out of my life. I love her son and I love her. If my relationship where to end, I'd want to be able to look back and say, I gave it my all. I try and adjust/adapt to her emotions, but I won't sacrifice my dignity or my friendships any longer.

If there's one thing I've learned in my 29 years of living is that a woman can never be figured out. There is no formula or key to unlocking the mystery that is a woman. What a man can do is learn to adapt as women seem to be ever changing and ever evolving (good or bad) as human beings.
posted by salsa buena at 3:01 PM on May 15, 2009

she's probably stringing him around as a kind of security blanket

Probably because something about you, intentional or unintentional, makes her feel insecure and maybe he'll always be there for her and her son.

I guess you should think about how much you love her. Is she the most important person in your life.

You ask if this is's normal for a girl to be jealous, but what you're describing isn't a normal situation. She has a 16 yr old kid and an ex she sends naked pictures to with sexy replies to sexy questions. This is a little more of an unappealing situation than those weird incestuous relationships where everybody sleeps with each others' friends on the television show "Friends." So I wonder even if you should expect any kind of normalcy in the relationship, and if you're looking for a normal relationship, try someone without so much baggage who shares your idea of what normal is.

Or accept that you love her and want her in your life and compromise. But she has to not send naked pictures anymore.
posted by anniecat at 3:01 PM on May 15, 2009

Based on your last comment especially... DTMFA. I wouldn't be surprised if part of the reasons she doesn't want you to have female friends is because she knows how she feels about some of her male friends and she's projecting that onto you. No wonder it doesn't matter to her that your best friend is married; she's in a relationship and sending naked pictures to someone else, so why wouldn't she worry that your best friend would stoop as low as she does?

Don't be a doormat. Don't sacrifice people who have been good to you, people you've known for years, for this woman. Run.
posted by Nattie at 3:03 PM on May 15, 2009

Nosila, Sorry, that was a bit of humor on my part. ;)

Can you please clarify? What was humor? What was truth in your "Let me be frank..." post?

It is obvious that there are issues regarding trust, jealousy, etc. for both of you in your relationship.

As has been mentioned above by rtha, the two of you need to have a calm, "heart-to-heart" conversation about the state and nature of your relationship. Consider it a "Come-To-Jesus" Meeting.

You need to decide if you are each willing to work through the issues and, if you think you can work things through as a couple, or if you should seek independent counseling (together and/or separately).

Good luck.
posted by ericb at 3:03 PM on May 15, 2009

If there's one thing I've learned in my 29 years of living is that a woman can never be figured out.

I haven't figured myself out but my spouse seems to always know what I'm like. Pick a normal lady.
posted by anniecat at 3:04 PM on May 15, 2009

What the crap, naked pictures? And complaining about you? Does she even like you? Do you even like her? Dude, it's not that the "mystery of women" can't be unraveled, it's that this specific person is a crazy, controlling, possibly-unfaithful asshole and needs to be kicked to the curb. Nobody can understand a person like that.
posted by schroedinger at 3:04 PM on May 15, 2009 [9 favorites]

What? No. Just, no. We had one of my husband's closest female friends who is single stand up in our wedding. On his side. It was awesome. I love his chick friends and, even if I didn't, I would put up with them because I love him.

And the sending photos via phone thing? Sorry, but I think that is sounds like she is incredibly insecure with herself as a person and gets off on having her ego sparked. Dating insecure people is draining and annoying. I used to be one years ago. I have no idea how anyone put up with me. Life was so much more drama-free once I worked on my self-esteem issues.
posted by jeanmari at 3:06 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

If there's one thing I've learned in my 29 years of living is that a woman can never be figured out. There is no formula or key to unlocking the mystery that is a woman. What a man can do is learn to adapt as women seem to be ever changing and ever evolving (good or bad) as human beings.

Ok, this is my last response, but dude? We are not some mythical mysterious unicorn glitter fairies, we are people. If you feel like you need to "figure out" the person you're with, you're with the wrong person.

And I think, based on what you've said here, and despite your feelings for this one and her son, you're with the wrong woman and she's with the wrong guy, since it doesn't sound like she wants to be with you as you are right now, which is what really matters today.
posted by AlisonM at 3:09 PM on May 15, 2009 [17 favorites]

posted by kestrel251 at 3:09 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

If there's one thing I've learned in my 29 years of living is that a woman can never be figured out. There is no formula or key to unlocking the mystery that is a woman. What a man can do is learn to adapt as women seem to be ever changing and ever evolving (good or bad) as human beings.

Honey, as a gay man, I can tell you that men (as in "some men") can also never be figured out! It's not about gender. It's about the dynamics of emotions, intimate relationships, love and sex.
posted by ericb at 3:12 PM on May 15, 2009 [5 favorites]

She sounds controlling, and not very generous.

You sound suspicious of her, and not very trustworthy either -- you're looking through her phone. Whether or not you had cause is a separate matter.

This doesn't really sound like a genuinely healthy adult relationship. It doesn't really sound fun.

It sounds sort of nightmarish. It's a little stressful just to read about it.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:23 PM on May 15, 2009

Hehe, well said ericb. Well said.
posted by salsa buena at 3:25 PM on May 15, 2009

I just thought of something else--I think a good measure of a healthy relationship is whether or not it brings out the best in the people involved, whether it's a place where you can work toward being your best self.

This doesn't seem to be the case for either of you.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:29 PM on May 15, 2009

Terrible Llama,

I'm asking you to trust me that my suspicions were valid. I feel awful that I've done that not once, but thrice! Is that what I've become? I will never go through her phone again. Not to mention I'm afraid to see what I'll find. Think about it, in two years, I went through her phone three times and found something I felt to be inappropriate every single time. So what about everything in between? I'm sure she is careful to delete whatever communication she has with him now, but it just shouldn't be that way. She should trust me and I should trust her. I want to build that trust, but I'm not really sure how anymore.
posted by salsa buena at 3:29 PM on May 15, 2009

If there's one thing I've learned in my 29 years of living is that a woman can never be figured out. There is no formula or key to unlocking the mystery that is a woman.

Psst... the key to understanding women is to realize that first and foremost, we are fellow human beings. We are not from Venus. We are not mystical sparkly creatures. Our breasts, vaginas, and additional X-chromosomes do not bestow upon us a collection of unimaginably exotic emotions, needs, and desires that must forever remain shrouded to the simple creatures that are men.

You might have noticed that there are a lot of women -- myself included -- in this thread who are actually siding with you, and telling you that your girlfriend's behavior is unhealthy and unacceptable. This should be an indicator that it's quite possible for men and women to share very similar worldviews about significant issues.

Sure, men and women have different perspectives, experiences, etc. for a whole host of reasons. But really, if I've learned one thing in my 40 years, it's that we share more than we don't.
posted by scody at 3:33 PM on May 15, 2009 [12 favorites]

She has a bad attitude toward you and your friends because she's afraid you may be doing what she's already doing. Guilty mind, taking it out on the innocent.
posted by rhizome at 3:46 PM on May 15, 2009 [3 favorites]

Good god. She's lying, sending naked pictures of herself to an ex, expressing the wish to sleep with him, and being utterly controlling. You will not get any advice from any sane adult other than to leave this women, or suffer the consequences. Your call, but there's nothing more the green can do for you.
posted by ellF at 4:01 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

[Bunch of comments removed. Take the speculation about trollery elsewhere, it doesn't belong here.

salsa buena, it's fine if you need to add a follow up comment or two to clarify something from the post but this needs to not turn into a general chat session and that kind of feels like where it's been going, so please try to dial it back a bit on your responses.]

posted by cortex (staff) at 4:51 PM on May 15, 2009

Oh, nothing about this is fictional. I've lived with crazy. Crazy as in screaming, crying fits that go on until the early hours of the morning because last night was the first night in a month that we didn't have sex because I was exhausted. Crazy as in (to come closer to your problem, salsa), absolute, dramatic refusal to let me leave the house, again with screaming and crying, because I wanted to go to a life drawing class at which a nude female model might be present.

salsa, you're in a relationship with someone who is deeply insecure and also deeply manipulative. The sheer amount of lies and misdirection you're likely to encounter (and have put up with so far) are likely to make you question reality itself if you continue to see her.

It's obvious that you love and care for her, and her son. But you cannot cure her. It is unlikely that any amount of love or patience will do so. That will take, likely, intensive therapy on her part, combined with several sharp shocks that cause her to understand that partners won't put up with her bullshit. (And yes, that's why she is stringing potential partners along, in addition to you: she's terrified of being alone and unsupported, and therefore needs multiple backup options).

You are not this woman's white knight. You are not the father of her child. You are not in this relationship to rescue her. She either accepts you - and the fact you have friends - on your own very reasonable terms, or you have to leave.

This is an extremely hard lesson to learn, because you appear a nice guy who wants to remain that way. But being a nice guy doesn't mean attempting to exorcise your partner's issues by destroying your own life-long friendships, or your sense of self. Explain this to her, as calmly as you can, and walk away.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 5:05 PM on May 15, 2009 [8 favorites]

Really sorry that you're going through this, but her demands and her treatment of you are very, very unreasonable. If you've gotta choose between her and your friend, go w/ your friend. In general, romance < friendship.
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:26 PM on May 15, 2009

I'm a pretty jealous girl and can kind of understand where the girlfriend is coming from. Is there some information that is missing? Have you and your old female friend slept together or dated at some point? Are you super affectionate to each other? I used to date a guy whose female BFF (that he had casually slept with a few times in the past) would sit on his lap and hang all over him when they were together and although I knew nothing was going on between them, it used to enrage me with jealousy.

Otherwise I think that jealousy over a close child hood friend who happens to be the opposite gender is a big fat red flag. What will be next? Will she start limiting which male friends you can hang out with or make you feel guilty for doing things with your friends without her?
posted by pluckysparrow at 5:30 PM on May 15, 2009

It is not normal to cut off your female friends for the sake of your girlfriend.
posted by trip and a half at 5:38 PM on May 15, 2009

Bora Horza Gobuchul has a brilliant response, but I just wanted to add to not let yourself become jaded if you do leave her. You sound sort of on that way, and people have made good comments about how as women, we're not some mysterious, incomprehensible creatures, but just people.

It sounds like perhaps you (and whoever you are with in the future if you leave this woman) need to brush up on open communication in a relationship. You don't need to ask permission to see friends, but you've been sneaking around to do it, regardless of how wrong it is on her part to be so controlling. It makes you look guilty somehow if you're caught in that lie.

But nor does she have to ask permission to see male friends nor deserve to be spied on.

I know you say you wouldn't do it again and had good reason to suspect something, but in the future, don't do that, regardless of your reasoning. Talk to the other person. If you're in a strong relationship, then it will survive some hard conversations.
posted by cmgonzalez at 5:57 PM on May 15, 2009

I haven't read all the responses to this, but, speaking from experience, if you are comfortable and cherish these relationships, and your SO doesn't approve, this will not go well..

I did this for 37 years before I realized the huge mistake I made...
posted by HuronBob at 5:58 PM on May 15, 2009

Posting without reading the responses--

I've seen almost identical situations before with close friends. Dump your girlfriend. Dump her immediately. If you stay with her and cut off your friend, then another crazy demand will come up down the road. And then another. And then another, until the situation finally becomes untenable and you're not willing to put up with her insecure, controlling demands.

The question isn't to DTMFA or not to DTFMA--it's whether you want to do it before or after you alienate your friends.
posted by kprincehouse at 8:59 PM on May 15, 2009 [4 favorites]

I'm not just going to say 'DTMFA', I'm going to say 'GET THE FUCK OUT NOW BEFORE THAT CRAZY HAG DRIVES YOU INSANE'.

The woman you are with is not a good person and will make your life miserable, as will anyone insecure enough to try to interfere in their SO's friendships.

Again, dump that crazy bitch.
posted by kldickson at 9:49 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

There's a solid rule here--when somebody asks if it is normal to do something, there is manipulation and control, usually centered on some sort of demand and whether or not that demand is "normal."

If you have to ask, it usually isn't.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:50 PM on May 15, 2009

Normal? Yes, it happens all the time. I've (temporarily) lost a lot of guy friends who I thought I was good friends with just because their girlfriends didn't like them being friends with me. But it sucks, shouldn't be that way, and eventually the guys all broke up with their jealous girlfriends (usually over something else, or a combination of jealousy over other girls and other stuff) and became friends with me again.

But, at the same time, girls have a really really good intuition for these things. Most of the times the guys I mention above did have some feelings for me in the past. I, however, did not have feelings for them so I knew it was ridiculous for the girlfriend to think anything was going to happen between us... but at the same time I knew where they were coming from so I let the friendship go for a while because I didn't want their relationship going bad over something so silly. But also, I know that anytime I, as the gf, decided "I'm not gonna be psycho-crazy-jealous-gf, I'm going to let my bf be friends with that girl" the guy has dumped me and started going out with that other girl in a month. So girls just know whether there is something to worry about or not with another girl.

Ask yourself, honestly, were you ever attracted to your best friend since you were 8? Or other of your girl friends? If yes, then there's a reason the gf is jealous, she probably feels it. I'm not saying you would act on it or cheat on her in any way, but that's the reason she might feel insecure, or from previous experiences like this.

So, my point is, yes it's normal because a lot of guys do that crap to their friends when it's a choice between getting laid regularly (gf) or not (no gf). And ideally no, the girlfriend wouldn't demand that and you wouldn't have to give up your female friends. And the way you talk about the gf (saying more about this problem later, etc), shows that you probably won't be with her forever, so giving up some friends for her is probably not worth it. But, I suppose, there might be girls that are worth losing some friends over, if they're going to be your #1 person in your life forever, but then again, girls like that deserve to be your #1 person forever should never demand something so unreasonable as asking you to give up your friends. Is that confusing enough?
posted by KateHasQuestions at 11:22 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Yet Another DTMFA.

She's taking advantage of you. Hard.
posted by rokusan at 11:35 PM on May 15, 2009

salsa buena: She has a great person. I don't want everyone to think of her as some kind of monster. I love her, but I feel like if our relationship is to go on, he can't be in the picture no matter what he's done for her and her son in the past.

Okay, I'm going to take the opposite tack from everybody else here, because it simply must be done:

Of course you want everyone to think of her as some kind of monster. You've wanted that since you came in here and pressed the first key. Think about it. Your first sentence up there is:

Is it normal to cut off your female friends for the sake of your girlfriend?

That, my friend, is what we call in the industry a 'fishing question.' There is no sane person on the face of God's great earth who would say that it's normal to cut off your female friends for the sake of your girlfriend. You knew that; that much was clear by the way you phrased it. A person who didn't know or wasn't sure would have phrased the question something like: "is my girlfriend asking too much, or am I being a little to close to this other girl?" or "how much should a bit of healthy jealousy play a part in my relationship?" It was a 'fishing question' because it was designed to get a 'HELL YES!' before people even clicked in to look at this question—and, of course, it succeeded.

You then proceed to ask your question in a sort of round-about way, which barely disguises the fact that you give us no good reason why you'd even wonder if she was reacting in a healthy or beneficial way. All of the people here so far seem to have followed you on that point, looking past the interesting way you asked the question to what you were pointing to: the fact that she's a monster. You try to act as though you're holding back when you reveal this shit; you apologize to us right before telling us she's sent naked pictures of herself to her ex. Many of these are passive-aggressive forms of manipulation, and they don't point to an ability to be clear and open.

That's actually why I'm saying all of this. If you feel this way about her—or even if she inspires you to say things like this about her for any reason at all—you two really shouldn't be together, even if you're lying about every word of what you've said above. I happen to believe you're mostly telling the truth, but I can't know for sure whether you're leaving anything out; every relationship has two sides, especially the bad ones. And if you're telling the truth even about only two or three of the things you've said above, you should end this thing immediately, as she really is the monster you seem to want to paint her as (and probably worse).

Your description of her and of her dynamic makes it clear where all of this is coming from. You come in here describing the awful way she's treated you in an expert way to play to our sympathies and gain some support; you're probably used to doing that in other ways, too. You may use this mechanism for dealing with the pressures of living with her; in fact, since you seem to associate the mechanism with the cause, your girlfriend, it's likely that these plays for sympathy are part of the disputes you have with her, too.

The point, salsa buena? You may as well get pissed off; if you're telling the truth about even a little of this, she's being horrendous to you. It can't be very enjoyable to live through. But the easy part at this point is breaking up, and the hard part is moving on and unlearning any strange habits you've picked up while you've been with her. I'm only saying that this seems to be one of them; you'd better face that, and I think the only way to face it is to (a) tell her to her face how you feel about this and (b) remember what came of trying to pad things and play for sympathy; directness would've gotten you out of this relationship a lot sooner.

One thing you can think about now is the fact that you seem to feel some guilt over all this. Take it from an expert in the stuff: nobody is as nice and gracious in talking about the rude and annoying things their significant other has done as you are unless they feel guilty about something. My guess is that you're feeling a bit guilty because you don't like the prospect of leaving the mother of a child; you know the kid's raised, but it seems painful and difficult. Just do it. You are your own moral commander; it is not wrong to leave a person with whom it isn't working, no matter what you or they have done.

Good luck.
posted by koeselitz at 12:04 AM on May 16, 2009 [10 favorites]

rokusan: "Yet Another DTMFA.

She's taking advantage of you. Hard.

And add another one from me while we're at it.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:11 AM on May 16, 2009

From my experience as a woman friend in wonderful friendships with men who have significant others. And also from experience of a three year (now ex-)girlfriend who during that period was not given a chance to feel as if in a primary relationship.

The male strategy of compartmentalizing does not work. It does not work with female friends, male friends, mothers, fathers, or siblings. If you try to have control over those relationships to antagonize them against each other, you are wasting your energy aimlessly. As a side note, after two years of relationship with her, you are entering a zone with yet new challenges, and it is vital in order to keep this relationship (if you want to go on, of course) to put your energy to answer those challenges.

Bridging the friendships, on the other hand, does work wonderfully. My male friends meet me for lunch with their significant others, the girlfriends are on-board about who and how I am from square one, and we are able to hit off a friendly chat between us right from the beginning. There is no lack of clarity, nobody is put in place of anxiety. And yes, there is clear mental attitude transition whenever any of my single male friends start a new relationship: naturally, for obvious reasons (for me and for the friend). It does not look like "cutting off"..: more like respecting a new, reconfigured situation.

It is not a territory thing (women seldom even think in this way). My guess is that your girlfriend's attitude, as you name it, is mostly a reaction to your attitude, and not something inherently wrong in her personality.

Work on your attitude and deep-set insecurities. Try the non-antagonizing ways, even if for a couple of weeks. All these people around you are not to gang up against you should they form friendships between themselves. If I'm wrong, you will know it, too. Good luck.
posted by Jurate at 1:25 AM on May 16, 2009

koeselitz has it. Whether or not you love her, you have an aggressively bad dynamic: She's trying to socially isolate you while sending off sexypics to other men? Bad! You're posting passive-aggressive questions to the internet and checking her phone expecting trouble? Bad! There was an interesting thread on the green a while back, describing how some relationships just bring out the worst in each other, even if separately each person in a couple is sweet as pie. Either both of you sincerely make an attempt to change that dynamic and stop the idiocy, or DTMFA.
posted by grippycat at 6:27 AM on May 16, 2009

"bros before hos"

in which "bro" is defined as: "a platonic friend of either gender who has stood by you cosistantly through the years
and "ho" is defined as; "a romantic interest of either gender who can't deal with the above mentioned relationship."

are you seriously asking if it's a good idea to cut off someone who has been in your life for TWENTY YEARS for some chick that's been around for less than two (and whom you don't even mention being in love with) ? or did you just come here to vent?
posted by swbarrett at 7:55 AM on May 16, 2009

After all the comments, I'm a little surprised that no one has keyed in on the fact that this woman is 32 and has a 16 year old son. I am not judging that. But I do think it means that her life up to this point has been different in significant respects from other 32 year old women.

Honestly, I think she needs therapy. She has some serious trust issues, and also commitment issues.

Also, whatever you do, I hope you will try to maintain a healthy relationship with her son.
posted by anastasiav at 8:04 AM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

> Once it was a naked picture of her to him, which she said it wasn't a big deal. Then it was him sending her a picture of himself (you can imagine), and recently he sent her a text message asking her to come sleep with him to which she replied... "I wish..."

That right there, combined with the utter hypocrisy of everything else, is raging sirens going off.

*/s\* DTMFA */s\*
posted by Decimask at 8:42 AM on May 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

As a moderately sane female, I have no problem with most of my man's female friends - in fact his ex-gf and I are on good terms, and this only having met after I started dating him.
But there was one female friend that I requested, politely, that he stop communicating with; that would be the one who met him for coffee when he was just about to move in with me, he told her how well it was going with us, and her response was to spend the next four hours trying to get him to sleep with her. That and a couple of.. interesting.. calls to our new place from a female who laughed when I asked for her name to leave a message. Luckily for me, he was pretty unthrilled too and had no problem dropping her.

So: no, you don't have to abandon your female friends. But it's respectful to your new relationship to make a little space between you and any female friends who are unclear on boundaries, imo.
posted by Billegible at 11:15 AM on May 16, 2009

I was you two years ago, essentially having to choose between my then fiance and my best friend (who was a lesbian). I chose the fiance.

Then the fiance decided that my SISTERS (three of them) were the latest threat between us, and once accused me of wanting to sleep with them.

I wasted two years of my life trying to please my then fiance - to no avail. Then I gave up, and I'm a much happier man.
posted by almostwitty at 3:42 PM on May 16, 2009

If there's one thing I've learned in my 29 years of living is that a woman can never be figured out. There is no formula or key to unlocking the mystery that is a woman. What a man can do is learn to adapt as women seem to be ever changing and ever evolving (good or bad) as human beings.

I just have no end of disbelief and contempt for this view. Get this straight: There seems to be no formula or key for unlocking this particular insane, arbitrary, manipulative woman you're dating, okay? But your willing to generalize from that some some B.S. about "the mystery that is a woman" is nigh-unbearable. My wish for you is to find a life situation that helps you root this archaic garbage out of your system.
posted by argybarg at 4:34 PM on May 16, 2009 [4 favorites]

I'm a crazy jealous woman (in recovery, with a very patient boyfriend). She sounds crazier than I am. Leave.
posted by divabat at 7:31 PM on May 17, 2009

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