My guy friend keeps mentioning the girl I was dumped for... what to do?
March 14, 2013 3:24 AM   Subscribe

A few months ago I was suddenly and harshly dumped for an acquaintance. One of my guy friends still has a crush on this acquaintance and keeps mentioning her to me. How to prevent this from happening again?

A couple ago I was suddenly and harshly dumped. You can read about that in my question here (and thank you all so much for your answers, it's hard to convey how helpful they were, they were an enormous relief to me.)

Since I posted that question, I have been doing way better. It had been quite a while since I last thought about "Adam," the guy who dumped me, or "Eve," the acquaintance of mine that he dumped me for.

The problem:

When I was still dating Adam and becoming friends with Eve, I introduced them to a lot of my friends. My good friend, Bart, had an instant crush on Eve. Asked for her number, added her on Facebook, the whole nine yards. Bart kind of "collects" girls like that, who he has crushes on, without really doing anything else.

When Adam dumped me for Eve, I was very messed up for two weeks, and Bart was one of the people I talked to about it. He knew what happened and how I was very upset, and he was sympathetic.

About a month in, Bart asked me about one of Eve's friends that he had met and was attracted to, if she had a Facebook presence. I said I had no idea. Later he informed me he looked through Eve's profile, found her, and added her. Then, he said he would "help me get revenge" on Adam and Eve by seducing Eve's friend.

I was upset because I do not need revenge on Adam and Eve, I just need to not hear about them. I told Bart that would not help me and I really wasn't interested in that. I did not come down too hard on Bart because he is from a culture where men are supposed to be great seducers, and I think he feels insecure about that, and it makes him feel better to talk big. So I decided to just ignore it.

However, tonight, again, Bart brought up Eve. Out of nowhere, he started telling me about photos that Eve had been posting online.

I immediately cut him off and said "Bart, I really do not want to know about Eve or anything that is going in her life. I have her blocked so that I do not find out anything about her life."

After some back and forth about how Bart was surprised I was "still angry" he said, "Well don't worry. If I have the chance, I'll get revenge for you. :-)" I could predict what he was going to say so I repeated myself "Bart, I just don't want to think about these people or know anything about them." But he had to go ahead and say it anyway. He said, "No, don't worry. I'll break them up by seducing her :-)"

I was so upset he kept on pushing the topic. The last thing I want to hear about is how eager he would be to have sex with this girl who was a source of so much pain to me, and how desirable she is. The worst part is how he talked about it like it was this thing he was doing to help me, while actually he was hurting me so that he could have the chance to talk about his crush.

The last thing I said was "Bart, I really just want to forget these people." He replied "Okay, I'm sure you will. Just stop thinking about them!"

I let it drop because I was starting to get really upset. But I really do not want to hear about Eve ever again. This came very out of the blue, and got me thinking about Adam and Eve afterwards and upset again. Should I bring this issue up to Bart again? Or let it drop for now?
posted by Sock of Silliness to Human Relations (38 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Bart is a creep. Tell him to never bring her up again around you. I'd be distancing myself in general from him, tbh.
posted by empath at 3:31 AM on March 14, 2013 [21 favorites]


1. "Bart, stop fucking talking about Eve or I'm going to stop talking to you."
2. Stop talking to and hanging around Bart. He sounds like an asshole.
posted by kinetic at 3:33 AM on March 14, 2013 [43 favorites]


Yes, Bart is a selfish dick.
posted by cincinnatus c at 3:46 AM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Bart not only sounds like an asshole, he doesn't sound like much of a friend, and seems to have a problem with women. Seducing people as revenge? That's questionable. And I doubt he could pull it off, based on his past behavior of collecting crushes and doing nothing about it. I think it's time to reevaluate his friendship.
posted by loriginedumonde at 3:48 AM on March 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think I perhaps didn't emphasize the 'creep' part enough. Your description of him literally made my skin crawl. You should not be associating with someone that behaves that way.
posted by empath at 3:48 AM on March 14, 2013 [19 favorites]


Ban the Bart.

Maybe warn these girls by forwarding his messages, too, IF you feel OK about it, but no pressure if not.

People will be outraged at the suggestion, but if Bart is stating in so many words that he plans to seduce somebody in order to hurt them or someone else, and you think he might actually attempt to do so, you could say, "Hi, I realize this is a weird thing to contact you about out of the blue, but I think you should know that if Bart approaches you, his intentions might not be the greatest: [quote message]. I won't be in contact again, but I wanted you to be forewarned in whatever dealings you have with him. Best regards, etc."

Since I guess there is at least some chance Bart is kidding, maybe you would never want to do this even if you felt safe doing so... You're the one who would know.

But yeah, Ban the Bart.
posted by tel3path at 3:48 AM on March 14, 2013


I don't think you should be spending time with Bart.
posted by heyjude at 4:01 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Just a quick side note, for anyone who is concerned for the women he talks about seducing... it's a complete fantasy. They are not interested in any way, and he'll never actually do anything. He just likes talking big about it and being able to count them as his friends. This is not to discount anything else that has been brought up.)
posted by Sock of Silliness at 4:06 AM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


(Just a quick side note, for anyone who is concerned for the women he talks about seducing... it's a complete fantasy. They are not interested in any way, and he'll never actually do anything.

What you are describing is low-level stalking. It's just weird, creepy behavior, and I'd be concerned about him being associated with you -- imagine what he is saying about you to other people, for example.
posted by empath at 4:10 AM on March 14, 2013 [15 favorites]


Oh, I'm not worried about Bart getting anywhere with Eve, because he sounds like an ass.

And that's why you should tell him only ONCE MORE if he mentions Eve that "Bart, I swear to God that if you talk about Eve I'm leaving," and then if he does, then do it. Start enforcing that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:11 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's possible that he took your disavowal to be a sort of coy "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?". In any case, making it clear that you actually want to hear absolutely nothing about these people again for real is the thing to do.

He does seem like a total creep, though.
posted by wayland at 4:18 AM on March 14, 2013


Bart's is not respecting your boundaries here. You're asking him not to bring up something that is painful for you and he is just flat-out ignoring your request in order to spin this fantasy about himself. That's not good.

If this is the first time he's exhibited this kind of behavior, you might want to cut him some slack, but based on how you describe him I really doubt that's the case.

Seriously: weird fantasy-life, boundary issues, slightly creepy attitude towards women... you might want to re-think this guy.
posted by Broseph at 4:26 AM on March 14, 2013 [22 favorites]


Why are you friends with such gross people? You need real friends who listen to you and are actually your friends.
posted by discopolo at 4:26 AM on March 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


And why would you even be friends with someone like Bart, especially? Maybe you need to clear your plate of these kinds of ppl and meet new and better people.
posted by discopolo at 4:28 AM on March 14, 2013


Bart is a creep, or, possibly, depending on your ages, a potential creep. It sounds like you are all post-college out-in-the-world adults, so I think the best course of action is to cut way back on dealing with Bart. If you like, you could say "I don't want to hear about Eve, and I have told you that. If you don't respect me enough to honor my feelings, then I am out of here." Then leave. If he says he will do better, give him one more chance. Then cut him off for good. Now, that's because you say he's a good friend. If he's more like a person who you hang out with, it may be easiest just to "be busy" a lot without explanation and let the friendship connection on its own. This will be less drama.

If you are young, like just post-college, and you really like Bart, you might try explaining to him that his behavior is really really creepy and is not going to help his dating life at all. The sooner he realizes that women are, you know, people rather than "prizes" to be "gotten," the sooner he might actually form a relationship that is not going to end in loathing. Basically, shit's got consequences. That's a toxic behavior that he's learned, and, unless he unlearns it, he will cause himself and the people around him misery (and probably blame everyone but himself).
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:29 AM on March 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is almost a side note, but is it possible that this is Bart's weird, dysfunctional way of trying to get with you?

I mean... the brain in love/lust is a weird thing. Perhaps his is telling him, "do anything for this girl! what will make her happy? oh yeah, revenge for something that hurt her!" and simultaneously, he's hoping that you might stop him by saying, "don't seduce her Bart, seduce me".

I mean don't get me wrong, it's a pretty weird and kind of cavemanny way of trying to get in your pants. But I've had weirder come-ons.

I don't have a good suggestion based on this. It was just something it occurred to me that might be worth keeping in mind.
posted by greenish at 4:33 AM on March 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


I was going to say exactly what greenish said! I don't know what you'd do differently, but I certainly think it's possible.
posted by tel3path at 4:55 AM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


You are talking to Bart over text and/or chat, yes? Pick up the phone. Depending on your usual personality and context, he may not realize how serious you are until he hears your voice. If he persists after that, cease contact.
posted by murfed13 at 5:24 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Given your past experiences, I'm guessing it would not be so easy to "just get a new friend."

Therefore, no reason to completely dump Bart. In his own strange, conceited way, he is trying to be there for you. Your problem with him is that he doesn't shut-up. The best way to shut him up is to tell him that you are ready to start meeting other guys for a brand new relationship. This is effective because his "revenge" talk is feeding off your perceived loss & suffering at the hands of "Adam & Eve."
posted by Kruger5 at 5:33 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Bart, I really do not want to know about Eve or anything that is going in her life. I have her blocked so that I do not find out anything about her life."

The last thing I want to hear about is how eager he would be to have sex with this girl who was a source of so much pain to me, and how desirable she is.

Eve is not the source of your pain and it seems to me that your negative feelings towards Eve are totally misplaced. Adam is the one who rudely and suddenly dumped you and you're still harboring that. When you can let that go, you won't care about Eve one way or the other. But you certainly won't be jealous of her any more.

In his own strange, conceited way, he is trying to be there for you.

Bullshit. He's trying to play this to his advantage. This is not what a friend does when you need him to be there for you. I mean the chips are down and he's trying to improve HIS hand? That's not a friend.

There are friends who will help you move house, but only a true friend will help you move a body. Bart is - at best - in the former category.
posted by three blind mice at 5:41 AM on March 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


My good friend, Bart, had an instant crush on Eve. Asked for her number, added her on Facebook, the whole nine yards. Bart kind of "collects" girls like that, who he has crushes on, without really doing anything else.

What he's doing is using their FB photos as porn.
posted by ecsh at 5:42 AM on March 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is almost a side note, but is it possible that this is Bart's weird, dysfunctional way of trying to get with you?

This.
posted by bfranklin at 6:03 AM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Stop seeing Bart for a while. Don't make a big deal, just be busy elsewhere.

This kind of friend, you don't need.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:04 AM on March 14, 2013


Bart is not getting the hint, because Bart is kind of thick. When he mentions her and then you say you don't want to know about her, what he's hearing is that you're angry at her so he says something he thinks you'd want to hear if you were angry at her. He's hearing that you feel bad about her so he tries to make you feel less bad. He's not hearing what you mean.

I know this seems completely intuitive and you probably have no idea how the hell he doesn't get this, but judging solely by what you've written here, you haven't explicitly asked him - explicitly him - to stop talking about this girl to you, in front of you, whatever.

You've said you don't want to know about these people, you don't want to think about them. You haven't said, "Hey Bart, listen, can you please not talk to me about them? Just please don't mention them when you're talking to me. It upsets me when I hear about them and I know you don't want to upset me, so please - don't talk about her photos, don't talk about revenge, just don't talk about them at all. Okay? Please?"

So do that.

If he still can't manage to shut up about it after that, fuck it, walk away.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:10 AM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Actually I would put it as "Bart, I have told you repeatedly I don't want to hear about these people, if you talk like this one more time I am going to block you."

BART: Haha, don't worry, I'm not a guy who brags about his conquests...

YOU: [block]

BART: [nothing, ever again. you blocked him, remember?]
posted by tel3path at 6:20 AM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think (in addition to creepness) it sounds like Bart does not understand that you don't want to hear about Eve because it hurts you to think about her.

So he's trying to help in his admittedly messed up way, by keeping you informed of what's going on, and offering to use what he thinks he has (shitty treatment of women) as a superpower to help you.

He may also just be hurt by what happened with Eve and can't stop talking about her himself. Hard to say.

Either way, make it crystal.
posted by corb at 7:05 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Then, he said he would "help me get revenge" on Adam and Eve by seducing Eve's friend."

"he said, "Well don't worry. If I have the chance, I'll get revenge for you. :-)" I could predict what he was going to say so I repeated myself "Bart, I just don't want to think about these people or know anything about them." But he had to go ahead and say it anyway. He said, "No, don't worry. I'll break them up by seducing her :-)" "

Nthing what everyone else has said. Even if this is all a fantasy and he has no intention or chance of seducing anyone, these are still creepy things to be saying to you regardless of your feelings about Eve.

If Bart is a teenager and you have the sense that he means well and is making a joke but just hasn't yet learned appropriate social skills, then you have the option of explaining to him that his behavior is creepy and inappropriate and that he needs to cut it out immediately or else stay away from you.

If he is old enough to know better or if you don't feel up to being an educator for the socially maladjusted, then just stop hanging around with him and find some better friends.
posted by tdismukes at 7:52 AM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


When he brings it up again, get the check and leave.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:15 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, Bart's a delusional creep. You have more than enough reason to dump him as a friend and surround yourself with people who actually care about your feelings. He's willfully upsetting you at this point, he's not trying to support you at all, it sounds like. And if he thinks he's helping, in spite of your assertions, do you want to be friends with someone who thinks they know you better than you know yourself? Do you really want to be responsible for trying to get Bart to stop creeping just for your own piece of mind?
posted by Sayuri. at 8:19 AM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


surround yourself with people who actually care about your feelings.

Really? She should head over to a large box store and pick up a package of ready to go awesome friends?

Part of the OP's challenge is she has a limited circle to rely on. Suggesting this may make her feel worse. Better route is to attempt first step at correcting Bart, and if that doesn't work, distancing him quietly without fan fare. She can replace Bart with herself as her confidant.
posted by Kruger5 at 8:57 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think Bart is necessarily a "creep," but from the way he's been described he appears to be a person to whom relationships don't really mean very much. Friending everybody he's ever come into contact with and being surprised that "you're still angry" are perfectly compatible sentiments, since, if he just collects friends the way you say, there's really no reason for him to ever get very angry at any of them. He's just shallow and dense and he doesn't understand how deeply you were affected.

Then, he said he would "help me get revenge" on Adam and Eve by seducing Eve's friend.

This is meaningless and just tone-deaf. He wants to white-knight you by being a stud? In light of my own interpretation of this, I'd say it's unlikely he would (or has ever) seduce(d) anybody. I agree there's a possible angle that he's trying to get with OP, but it's so clumsy that I think it's probably best for all involved to ignore it, and him in general.
posted by rhizome at 11:35 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bart is engrossed in his world and has no idea that this overlapping world isn't all about him. Next time he is nearly talking about those other people, just stop him and say that you are going to leave for the ladies' room until he is done talking about those two people. Explain to him that he is really getting on your last nerve with the bringing them up. He just doesn't get it and has no idea that he is truly upsetting you. If he doesn't seem to care, you either have to build a thicker skin to deal with it or you can't hang out with Bart until you can deal with hearing about them two.
posted by Yellow at 11:42 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ouch. You can decide whether or not to continue being Bart's friend. There's a pretty strong consensus here that he's not really being a good friend, but none of us know either of you. So it's okay to take time to make your decision. And whatever you decide is best for you is right. You don't have to keep toxic people in your life. You can always make more friends. And you can also forgive people for being idiots if you know they're otherwise good to you.

In the short term, I find it's sometimes helpful to just stop engaging in the topic and stare at the offender until they become uncomfortable and change the topic.

Bart: BLAH BLAH BLAH I'M STALKING EVE TEE HEE BLAH BLAH
You: ...
Bart : BLAH EVE BLAH
You: ...
Bart: BLAH EVE BLAH?
You: ...
Bart: *gets uncomfortable, segues into defensive bullshit about how it's your problem and not his that he's being a shitty friend and knows it*
You: ...
Bart: *peters out, changes topic*
You: *engage as you normally would*

You've told him you won't talk about it anymore, so, just, don't. Act like you haven't heard him. If he won't stop talking about it, block him or walk away. He's getting some kind of reward out of your attention regarding this subject. Don't give it to him.
posted by rhythm and booze at 12:47 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe he's using your drama to justify his own revenge-fuck desires/fantasies.

Facetious suggestion: Ask him to revenge-fuck Adam instead. Since Adam is the person who instrumentally hurt you, IMO that's what would make more sense.

Actual suggestion: be mindful of confiding too much of your inner drama to male friends. IME excess complaining is often interpreted as you being too helpless to help yourself. Your complaining has established with Bart that you are helpless to fix this problem you've extensively described to him. Counter that belief with actions that show you are, in fact, remedying your heartbreak in a constructive, non-vengeful manner (e.g. maybe mention when you find yourself noticing new attractive guys again, how you spent Saturday night hanging out with a girlfriend instead of staying home heartbroken, etc.). And next time Bart starts pushing the topic to get his drama-revenge fix, back up your boundary by getting up and walking away from the conversation (surely he can find another buddy to ruminate over these fantasies with, right? he doesn't have to keep using you as his outlet). No consequence or follow through on your boundary statements = ineffective boundary.

"I'm sure you will. Just stop thinking about them!"

That's a rather sadistic thing to say, IMO. It may be that your drama is more important to Bart than your well-being. When someone seems to get more out of seeing you in pain rather than happy, healthy, moving forward in your life, that can definitely be a sign they're not a high quality friend. No matter what your story is, you deserve high quality friends; don't ever doubt that.
posted by human ecologist at 1:44 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I disagree that Bart's intentions are well-meaning but misguided. His intentions are entirely selfish. He keeps talking about seducing Eve because it gives him the pleasure of making his fantasy feel more real. The whole revenge angle is just a bullshit excuse for him to keep bringing her up. He doesn't give a rat's ass that you're hurting, he's not at all concerned that he's making things worse for you, he just wants you to be an audience to his fantasy. Drop him.
posted by keep it under cover at 2:30 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm firmly in the "Bart is a selfish and creepy jerk" camp, myself. Ick.
posted by sarcasticah at 3:40 PM on March 14, 2013


"Really? She should head over to a large box store and pick up a package of ready to go awesome friends?

Part of the OP's challenge is she has a limited circle to rely on. Suggesting this may make her feel worse. Better route is to attempt first step at correcting Bart, and if that doesn't work, distancing him quietly without fan fare. She can replace Bart with herself as her confidant.
"

Developing a group of good friends isn't necessarily easy. It can take time and work. However, one important element of the process is learning to recognize people who are toxic and not good friends. Otherwise the jerks will take up the time and energy that the OP needs to devote towards finding a healthy social circle.

Of course, none of us has met Bart and it's conceivable that he's not as big a jerk as he appears to be from the behavior that Sock of Silliness describes. However that behavior does amount to a pretty massive red flag.
posted by tdismukes at 5:06 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Bart, you're being a dick. Knock it off."
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:04 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


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