A careless Facebook friend request has caused some larger problems
September 16, 2013 3:01 AM   Subscribe

Hey guys, help me resolve this awkward situation that started with a Facebook friend request and has now blown up out of proportion.

So my GF and I have been seeing each other for just over a year. We were at a music festival this summer that my band was playing at. After the festival a girl I’d seen there friend-requested me on Facebook, which I accepted, despite not having talked to her - I’d seen her about and been vaguely aware she was part of a wider circle of friends.

I’d like to think that my motives were innocent, but I’m sure there was a part of me thinking ‘Hey, good looking girl friend-requests me, I’m into that’, and so I did, without really thinking about it.

My GF picked up on this and got pretty upset, and requested that I delete her friendship, which I did. I tried to defend myself, as at the time I didn’t see that it was a big deal - I really didn’t have any feelings for this girl, and things were going well with my GF at the time. This obviously only made things worse, as my GF felt it was indefensible, and that both me and this girl were complicit in an intimate connection.

Fast forward to this month, and my housemate and FB girl have started seeing each other. My GF and housemate are good friends and get on really well, but last night, when he came in with FB girl, she didn’t say a word, didn’t get up and say hello as she normally does, and it was generally quite awkward. They left soon after.

This morning my GF got really, really upset about the whole thing - she took the day off work because she was so worked up. She says that she feels this other girl has ‘won’ and we as guys are defending her, and she feels frustrated that she has to be the one that’s affected. I think the fact I didn’t immediately agree with her that it was a big issue, has caused it to become one. I’ve since admitted that I was in the wrong, which has helped.

My GF’s older sister dates a guy who plays in a (far more successful) band, is away for long periods of time, and makes FB friends with lots of random girls on tour, so she’s obviously seen the hurt that it can cause, and I think this is also playing into it.

So what’s the best way to deal with the immediate situation? I don’t expect us all to be best buddies, even though my housemate, GF and I got on really well before this, but it’s a small flat, and things are only gonna get more awkward if this isn’t resolved.
posted by ashkenazy to Human Relations (39 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Assuming it's the truth, tell your girlfriend one more time that you're not interested in FaceBook Girl, then maintain fidelity to your girlfriend and make sure your interactions with FB Girl are appropriate.

The rest is up to FaceBook Girl and your GirlFriend.
posted by HuronBob at 3:08 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'm not sure of the best approach, but it really sounds like your girlfriend is the one who's out of line. If she's reacting to a fear of bad stuff you haven't actually done then you can't ease her anxieties by continuing to not do that same bad stuff you're already not doing. Letting her anxieties shape your choices to this degree, to no real effect, is not likely to be good for you, her, or your relationship.
posted by jon1270 at 3:11 AM on September 16, 2013 [44 favorites]

If you don't live together then I would just spend more time at your girlfriend's place. Honestly, it sounds like she is completely overreacting and taking a day off of work to deal with emotional fallout from a non-event sounds...not good. But anyway, if you aren't going to tell her to relax or break up with her, then I would just spend less time at your apartment with her to avoid the awkwardness.
posted by bquarters at 3:11 AM on September 16, 2013 [8 favorites]

The problem is your girlfriend's jealousy, not the friending. You need to be an adult, talk to her about it, and explain to the other girl, on the side, what happened.

In the future, continue to be honest in your relationship, but also discuss boundaries and what is okay and not okay in dictating each other's behaviors (like becoming friends with people and how it's not okay to view that as a threat).
posted by history is a weapon at 3:13 AM on September 16, 2013 [31 favorites]

So your girlfriend got so upset that she had to take the day off work because this other girl is now dating your housemate?


I mean, the only thing I can see that you did wrong was cop to some bad behaviour that you didn't even do. Unless you're seriously mischaracterising how you interacted with this other girl, I am totally in the dark as to how befriending her on FB is wrong. (You're allowed to find other people attractive while in a relationship, btw.)

Is this typical behaviour from your GF? Does she get jealous/defensive about other friends-who-are-girls of yours? I mean, basically, if she has anxiety issues over infidelity, that's kind of something she has to own, and commit to working through, rather than putting the blame on your shoulders. The fact that your housemate is now dating this girl should have zero effect on her, so the fact that she's making it about the two of you ganging up against her is...again, I'm just really confused. Like, this is a troubling thing, and would be a red flag for me.

I don't know how to best resolve the situation, but I do think it calls for a sit down with your girlfriend where you try to get to the bottom of why she thinks it's appropriate to restrict your friend pool, as well as your housemate's dating pool.

[on preview, yeah, history is a weapon is right on with a discussion about boundaries]
posted by catch as catch can at 3:21 AM on September 16, 2013 [36 favorites]

Possibly, you done goofed, what with adding her, sure. And maybe your motivations weren't entirely pure.

The awesome part is you totally recognized this, fixed the situation, and made things right.

Except you didn't-- you did, you totally did-- but she didn't accept your reparations, and it wasn't enough. This is a red flag to me. She needs to give you an out, an exit, a way to make things right. Especially considering nothing actually happened. That she hasn't, and is still holding a grudge, it makes it a no-win situation, and it doesn't bode well in general.

She's (and I'm speaking as an insecure woman who can totally understand her anxiety) completely out of line. She's being rude, a child, and letting her jealousy cloud her reasoning.

On what? Based on the fact she just doesn't like FB girl? You haven't done anything wrong, beyond connecting for a split second to someone attractive, then disconnecting. Nothing happened. She has no right to crucify you, or your room-mate, for things you haven't done. Moreover, she has no right to get petulant about who your room-mate is dating.

This girl has done nothing to her, except, exist, and be pretty.

She's jealous, and that's pretty much it. And I get it, but it doesn't make it right.

In my experience, though, people don't tend to feel so insecure without there being something up. Are you a flirty guy in general? Does she have abandonment issues?

She needs to accept your reparations. And then let it go. This is crucial. Room-mate is not going to stop dating FB girl for her; to take it so wildly personally means something up.

What can you do? Establish boundaries, discuss what kind of behavior is okay/not okay, what her insecurity triggers are, why they occur, try to be reassuring and loving, and talk about it. I would possibly gently guide her to therapy, because to me, her over-reaction it means she can't deal with some kind of underlying emotion.

But really, she needs to accept she's being irrational, even if she says, "I hate her because she's hot," and accepts that's an invalid reason to dislike somebody, nevertheless, she's feeling it, and then discuss what to do about it. If she's going into it convinced she's rational and she has a point, you seriously need to not pander to her messed up and misguided point of view. She needs to realize she's being really insecure and acting out because of that-- not because she has a right to be mad. She doesn't.

Seriously, though, if that kind of behavior continues from her, it would be a total dealbreaker to me. You don't deserve that kind of lack of trust and disrespect.

Good luck.
posted by Dimes at 3:29 AM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]

The only problem here is your GF's jealousy.

Does your GF act this way with other women, or is this the only time? The difference is, if this a symptom of continuing overreaction to any other women talking to you, versus if this particular other woman was obviously coming on to you.

Assuming your fb and real-life contact with this other woman is merely friendly & related to your music, GF has no real basis for her jealousy, and GF insisting you de-friend the other woman is an unreasonable demand. Indeed, that kind of controlling behavior is one of the signs of an abusive relationship.
posted by easily confused at 3:31 AM on September 16, 2013 [8 favorites]

Honestly, the fact that you're playing in to her version of events that you "did something wrong" by accepting a facebook friend request is a bit disheartening.

Seriously, you did nothing wrong here. Thinking otherwise is drifting in to borderline gaslighting territory on her part. Especially since, as dimes said, you're being painted in to a no win situation.

You haven't even really talked to this person who's now dating someone else you know and probably just added you after the fact because hey, she knows your roommate and you guys will probably be seeing more of eachother, etc. The entire thing would be really innocent and not warrant a second thought if your girlfriend hadn't ridiculously overreacted.

I think the fact I didn’t immediately agree with her that it was a big issue, has caused it to become one.

This especially, is totally bizarre and bullshit behavior. I've experienced this first hand in the past.

And i hate to say it, but with every single person i've ever known(or dated!) like this, this ended up being pretty much the road to ruin. This situation may eventually resolve to some simmering hatred that the girl is around in your house and that this is some sort of perceived slight, but at some point either with her or someone else you'll say the wrong thing that's actually a completely innocuous statement, but she takes it the wrong way, and you're in freaking hell again.

I would approach this pretty much from a standpoint of "Look, i'm not deleting her because that's weird and i'm going to end up seeing her all the time and you know actually know her anyways because she's dating my roommate. What kind of action would you like to see me take outside of that with regards to interacting with her, and with them as a couple? What would make you comfortable?"

Don't be surprised when you get something even less than what Dimes is saying along the lines of "i hate her because she's hot", you probably won't even be able to get a direct answer to that question. I agree that a discussion needs to happen, but i seriously doubt that an actual mature discussion can even happen here. Go ahead and try, but i would be extremely surprised if i walked out of a situation that was already at this point having had one.

Really though, she's in a relationship with someone who is a friend of yours. What reasonable assumptions could be made there that wouldn't start out with assumptions of infidelity(or attempts at it) from both sides? That's pretty far down the road in to "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" territory.
posted by emptythought at 3:41 AM on September 16, 2013 [27 favorites]

It sounds like your GF is being completely unreasonable.

Either that, or there is some more information that either a) someone else hasn't supplied or b) you haven't supplied. Pending further information I'm going with "completely unreasonable".

Has she ever been like this about anyone else? I think you should politely and firmly refuse to cooperate. If your GF ever does something like this again, you have some definite information about her character.
posted by tel3path at 3:46 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

Another vote for completely unreasonable, unless there is more than your girlfriend is saying. And, even if she does have knowledge that this woman is some sort of boyfriend stealer (hate that term, it's not the woman, it's the man), doesn't she trust you? Unless there are some other reasons, like, gossip, backstabbing, or property damage, your girlfriend needs to check herself.
posted by kellyblah at 4:00 AM on September 16, 2013

Your girlfriend is acting incredibly crazy and catering to that madness, as you've been doing, isn't good. Talk it out with her, sure. Have sympathy for her position, where you're out a lot and meeting random attractive women, sure.

But you haven't done anything wrong and becoming Facebook friends with random people is part of your job, it's how you grow an audience. Either you girlfriend can deal with that or she can't, but she doesn't get to act crazy and throw tantrums. So this relationship might be in a death spiral unless she gets her shit together.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:01 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Okay so everyone is being rather uncharitable to your girlfriend. Please do not leave this thread thinking she is "crazy". There is some current bullshit where we are taught to be the "cool girl" and not care if a guy is treating us badly. We don't care, man! We're cool, no worries! Sleep with whoever you want, I'll still be here and I never want a commitment!

It sucks and it's not fair, and I'm kind of mad at the other women throwing your gf under the bus like this. She isn't crazy. Insecurity and jealousy don't just...exist. They come from places. Maybe not from YOU, but she has probably been burned before. If I were her, I'd assume this girl and you have had your eyes on each other for a while. If you're willing to be her FB friend that means you want to be able to talk to her more and see what she's up to on a day-to-day basis. The fact that she is now dating your roommate would do nothing to make me feel better, and would in fact make me feel worse. She will now be in your house when you're sleeping, waking, getting ready for bed, cooking, using the bathroom. She will be around all the time, and maybe you guys will become closer. Maybe one day it will be REALLY EASY for the two of you to get a little closer than you meant to, whoops!

Let people "like" your band page and don't accept friend requests from groupies on your personal page. Do spend more time at your girlfriend's house like someone mentioned upthread. If you love your girlfriend and have a future with her, treat her well and never leave room for doubt to grow. Eventually she may come around to the idea of the new girl, but it will hinge mostly on your behavior (and the girl's, which you can't help but you can react properly to--if she is flirtatious, rebuff her).

Part of loving someone is making sure they feel loved. I really hate on these threads when everyone jumps down the girl's throat for being jealous. Jealousy is not always unfounded. My boyfriend had some close girl friends who I was jealous of, and their intentions did eventually become more clear and I was correct to not trust them. Please be kind to your girlfriend, and be careful around the new girl.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 4:11 AM on September 16, 2013 [24 favorites]

Your GF is making completely unreasonable demands and you shouldn't have unfriended her to begin with. TBH, I don't think she has the appropriate temperament to be dating someone in a band, and she is going to be causing more drama like this in the future. Seriously rethink your relationship.
posted by empath at 4:21 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

This morning my GF got really, really upset about the whole thing - she took the day off work because she was so worked up.

Your girlfriend is way, way, way overreacting. I agree with others who said you should not have unfriended the other girl.

I really hate on these threads when everyone jumps down the girl's throat for being jealous.

That's not what's happening here. The issue is that the girlfriend has unreasonable expectations and is demanding the OP live up to them. She is acting immature and I hate to say it, crazy. Llisten, she's allowed to feel jealous but there are more mature ways to go about it. You need to tell her this shit ain't cool and have some good old fashioned communication about it.
posted by futureisunwritten at 4:36 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for your answers everyone. Some clarification, as I'm seeing a lot of 'she's crazy, WTF':

My previous relationship was four years with someone who was genuinely troubled (suspected personality disorder), and I've seen the whole scope of unreasonable behaviour, so believe me when I say that she's otherwise very down to earth and loving.

I'm less interested in who was in the right or wrong here, and more interested in practical solutions for dealing with the situation. I think her reaction has been a bit extreme, especially today, but I can understand it and don't think it's completely crazy. She is normally a wonderful, grounded, very adult person, so this is kind of out of the blue, and as I said, her experiences with her sister's relationship, and her boyfriend's suspected infidelity, are colouring things. I think she equates being in a band with a risk of infidelity.

I don't think she's worried about me cheating with this other girl. I've not spoken to her much at all, I don't have feelings for her, and I've made this very clear. I think she feels powerless, and she's thought herself into a 'them vs me' situation. She's also threatened by FB girl's confidence and youth (19, we're both 28). That's something that she might have to deal with herself. I want to continue to support her but I am wary of gaslighting etc. as I got a shit ton of that from my last relationship!
posted by ashkenazy at 4:38 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

GF's reactions entirely aside, I think you should ask her what her ideal solution to the current situation would be, and go from there. Her ideal solution may not be reasonable (for example: your housemate dumps her), but there may be some things you can do (spend more time at her house?) and come to some kind of compromise that still lets her feel heard and like you're on her side. You guys are a team, right?
posted by corvine at 4:56 AM on September 16, 2013 [11 favorites]

corvine: I think you should ask her what her ideal solution to the current situation would be, and go from there.

Exactly. "I'm sorry about this whole situation, and I could have handled it better at several points. What can we do to help you feel better about this?"

After this immediate situation has been managed -- and NOT now, while in the middle of a fight -- is the time to have a talk about boundaries and privacy and what the two of you feel is appropriate or not regarding interaction with the opposite sex. If you are not on the same page about that issue, or cannot come to a mutually satisfying compromise, it does not bode well for the future of your relationship, especially if you continue to be in the music industry.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:23 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

Part of loving someone is making sure they feel loved. I really hate on these threads when everyone jumps down the girl's throat for being jealous. Jealousy is not always unfounded.

I'll agree with that. Jealousy can be a great indicator that something is shaky in your relationship. Is your housemate in the band, too? I can easily put myself in your girlfriend's shoes- you're friending random young women from shows, women your girlfriend suspects are out for more than being just "friends". And then, what do you know, she ends up dating your housemate! You cannot pretend those two things (her friending you and her dating your roommate) are coincidences; those things are related, either through the band or through you. Your girlfriend isn't "crazy" to notice that. Clearly, the boundaries in the household, if not with you particularly, are open to bringing random women from shows into your romantic lives. Who wouldn't be jealous of that? I think it's important for the two of you to have a discussion, as said above, about boundaries and privacy specifically as it relates to your music career- who gets to be your Facebook friend? Who do you hang out with after shows? Who gets to come on the bus? These are just examples, obviously; tailor for your particular situations.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:32 AM on September 16, 2013 [15 favorites]

I'm less interested in who was in the right or wrong here, and more interested in practical solutions for dealing with the situation.

I think it's really on your girlfriend to deal with this. She's overreacted and made things uncomfortable, and the way to do that is to pave over the initial awkwardness with some normal human behavior like bringing over pizza and beer.

The more fundamental way to deal with it initially is to have a conversation with your girlfriend about appropriate boundaries. Lots of people accept all FB friend requests, because why not. Even if somewhere you had a teensy motivation of also thinking the other girl was attractive or whatever -- it's still not necessary to intensively police every stray thought you've ever had for anything other than the most sparkling motivations. It's possible to think she's attractive and remain completely committed to your girlfriend.

If this is really undone, and it's not going to be possible to get past the awkwardness, and you really want to indulge your girlfriend in this bit of jealousy and you really believe this is an understandable one-off, get a new apartment.

But really, you should probably spend some time working on open and honest communication and both of you tackling this problem, which you now share, together.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:33 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

I don't think she is crazy, but based on this (admittedly very short) description of events, it seems to me that she is either unhappy, has unrealistic expectations, or is picking up on other things from you that are feeding her insecurity. I could not date someone who had a problem with my adding women as friends on Facebook, but I can imagine that there are normal and happy people out there who have this boundary in their relationships. If that's how the two of you feel comfortable, more power to you. But the fact that the situation did not resolve when you addressed it tends to make me think something else is going on. Either you don't actually agree that this is a reasonable boundary, and she can sense your resentment; or she actually does have jealousy issues and you guys need to talk that out; or... something else. But the key thing is, you guys need to talk, not about this issue, but about -why- this is an issue.
posted by Nothing at 6:01 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

As far as "practical solutions" go, the ball is firmly in her court. You've done nothing wrong.
posted by schmod at 6:11 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

If you're measuring current levels of crazy in comparison to past levels of intense crazy, then yes, your GFs reaction isn't going to seem as crazy. But seriously dude, she's out of line here.

Sit down with her and discuss the whole thing. You can friend people on facebook and not have it be about cheating or sex or dating or attraction.

She doesn't trust you, at all, at any level and that's no good.

Not interacting with this girl isn't an option. Why is your GF so out of whack on this?

She needs to come to the conclusion that she's being unreasonable, and that 50% of the population are her gender and you will inevitably be interacting with them.

How much do you want your GF controlling who you hang with or talk to?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:15 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

It sucks and it's not fair, and I'm kind of mad at the other women throwing your gf under the bus like this. She isn't crazy. Insecurity and jealousy don't just...exist. They come from places. Maybe not from YOU, but she has probably been burned before. If I were her, I'd assume this girl and you have had your eyes on each other for a while. If you're willing to be her FB friend that means you want to be able to talk to her more and see what she's up to on a day-to-day basis.

Facebook friends, to me, are not Automatic Future Bosom Buddies Who I Want To Know Everything About. They're People I Met And Liked Who Have Facebook Pages. Friending someone isn't even on the same level as getting somebody's number.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:18 AM on September 16, 2013 [10 favorites]

OP, here's my question: you've been seeing this gf for a year. Surely in the past year you've had occasion to meet other women socially. Did you not add any of those women on Facebook? If you did, how did your gf react? Is there anything different about this particular case that's making her react so strongly?
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:23 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

It's fine that you don't want to call her crazy, and we can all take your word on that. It's still the case that in this specific instance, she is 100% the cause of the problem. So any steps to move forward are going to have to be taken by her. It's not "indefensible" to accept someone's friend request. I know that there's an ugly history of men dismissing women's feelings by claiming that they're "overreacting," but sometimes people do overreact to things, and sometimes those people are women.

But the problem is that your GF is the one who needs advice, and she didn't ask us for it. This, by the way, is why so many human relations AskMes get a "DTMFA" response - the solution here is that your GF needs to change her behavior, but we can't tell her that, and you can't make her do it. So you don't have many good options here besides 1) walk away and 2) set a really firm boundary with her that this kind of thing is unacceptable. This is going to be hard, because she's probably going to be very upset, and your instinct will be to do or say whatever you have to to make her less upset (this seems like it's your pattern right now). But doing that will mean allowing yourself to be controlled in a really unhealthy way.

Finally, my standard advice for when people are having real-life fights about things that happen on facebook: everyone involved should be spending way less time on facebook.
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:14 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Perhaps you've already done this, but have you asked your girlfriend what she thinks the bad outcome is going to be? She might need some time/thought to really sort this out.

Everyone has something irrational that really pushes their buttons. Seriously, think about it - we all have one thing that really flips us out because it recalls something else in our lives or something from childhood. Most of the time, we can handle that stuff privately, but sometimes it appears in a relationship.

I would rather frame this as "your girlfriend is being irrational about this one thing because it's pulling up some strong feelings, let's look at the strong feelings" instead of "your girlfriend is crazy/jealous/creating a problem/being inappropriate" - particularly because you describe your relationship as otherwise good and loving.

Honestly, I'd suggest a conversation fairly soon, but when you've both calmed down, where you just listen to her talk about why this whole thing bugs her. Ask some questions. This isn't because you've done anything "wrong" or need to "make things right"; it's because, as you point out, your girlfriend obviously has some trauma around this whole thing. Once you've gotten to what she's actually worried about, you can rationally reassure her on that specific issue or find a mutual way to deal with it. Maybe this involves her coming up with strategies to remind herself that you don't have one foot out the door and aren't going to cheat just because you meet a cute girl. But since you care about your girlfriend and have a basically good, loving relationship, you're interested in helping her get to a place where she feels calm and confident, not in blaming and being all "she is so jealous and out of line".

Also, I've been in a headspace where I've felt that other people "won" and that I was the weirdo/outsider/problem person. This generally wasn't because I was jealous and crazy; it signaled something that was off in the group dynamic. Not "off" like "everyone is going to hate each other and we can never be friends again" but something unspoken or some bad dynamic that was developing between the others that excluded me or hinged upon my filling some role I didn't want to fill. Can your girlfriend talk more about this feeling? It might be that there's some relatively simple thing - an open conversation with the housemate, different hanging-out strategies - that will get everything back on track.

[Also, when I have been jealous I've found that my best strategy is to befriend the person I'm jealous of. Once I start to see them as a real human being, I can't have irrational feelings about them, even if they're dating someone I wish I was dating or have a job I wish I'd gotten, etc. This might not work for your girlfriend, but it also might move FB Girl from "threatening outsider" to "ordinary person" in her head.]
posted by Frowner at 7:27 AM on September 16, 2013 [27 favorites]

Also, when I have been jealous I've found that my best strategy is to befriend the person I'm jealous of. Once I start to see them as a real human being, I can't have irrational feelings about them, even if they're dating someone I wish I was dating or have a job I wish I'd gotten, etc.

This is brilliant, brilliant advice.
posted by Quilford at 7:30 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

DON'T do what was suggested above and tell the other girl anything about your girlfriend. Up til now, I think you didn't do anything wrong, but that - confiding to another woman that your girlfriend perceives her as a sexual threat - would be a HUGE betrayal.

I think the standard Ask.Mefi gong of "jealousy is wrong! There's something wrong with your gf!" is getting rung loudly here. Here's what I think you should do: ask your girlfriend what's different about this girl that she's so upset by her; and ask your girlfriend how you'd she'd like you to proceed from here. As someone said above, obviously you can't make your housemate dump this girl, and that would be an inappropriate request. I bet she just asks you to reassure her that you love her, and to not flirt with other women online. And I bet she'll be able to articulate -something- about this girl that you didn't know before.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:31 AM on September 16, 2013 [7 favorites]

I can easily put myself in your girlfriend's shoes- you're friending random young women from shows, women your girlfriend suspects are out for more than being just "friends". And then, what do you know, she ends up dating your housemate!

This jumped out for me too.

She says that she feels this other girl has ‘won’ and we as guys are defending her...

So, was there a conversation about this? I can imagine a situation where your girlfriend thinks someone else is actively-- even aggressively-- competing with her, and you and your housemate are denying it when in fact she may be right. If so, I think she is handling it in all the wrong ways. But you may be adding to the problem if you are insisting that her perceptions are wrong.

I think your mission now, if you choose to accept it, is to reassure your girlfriend that you want to stay monogamous with her. If she keeps having problems with these other people, she may just not be cut out for dating a guy who's in a band.
posted by BibiRose at 7:59 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

I don't think it is irrational for her to think that dating somebody in a band is a higher risk for infidelity. I mean, you have higher social status and access to young women than say, an engineer, and yeah, it is a cultural thing that guys in bands are entitled to cheat. If you don't admit that and tell your girlfriend the ways in which you plan on not taking the path that her sister's boyfriend does, then yeah, she is going to be jealous of "innocent" situations.

Your post reads as very disingenuous to me. I think there is some sort of deep avoidance of the real issues here, otherwise this would not be a big deal.
posted by cakebatter at 8:01 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

This can happen and it's not necessarily a big deal or a red flag. She's entitled to her feelings and she's nervous about her boyfriend making friends with girls she doesn't know very well. It's actually not too uncommon an issue.

Some practical recommendations:

1. Take your gf out to eat or for a nice long hike or something (wherever she would feel more comfortable airing feelings). Make her feel loved and supported.

2. Ask her what bothers her about the facebook girl. Not in an accusatory manner, just a casual "So you seem to be really upset about this and I'm worried about you. What's up?" Listen to her concerns.

3. Let her know more about this facebook girl. It's super easy to judge someone if you don't know what they are like and what issues they struggle through.

4. Remind her that you love her immensely and that she is the only one for you. Mention that your housemate had no intention of bothering her by seeing this girl, he was just romantically interested in her.

5. Reiterate that she doesn't have to hang out a lot with this new friend if she doesn't want to but that she is always welcome to if she does want to. Talk about some things she might have in common with the new friend.

6. Make sure you make clear that there was and is no competition between her and this girl because she (your girlfriend) is the only one for you.
posted by donut_princess at 8:17 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The point is letting her feel comfortable with telling you why she feels the way she does. When I have out of the blue taken things very personally and felt very threatened it's always been for one of two reasons. The first is that I knew something was up with my boyfriend and the other girl and was frustrated at his attempts to turn it back on me being jealous. This does not seem to be the case here but she still might mistakenly think that you are hiding something. That is totally on her and her own insecurities if you are being honest. You have already reassured her.
The second reason is more to do with the other girl. Do you know how guys who are caring brothers or family members or whatever sometimes seem overly protective of who their sister dates? Most of the time it's because men can read other men and know that they have bad intentions sometimes the way a woman can't. Well guess what?! Sometimes we women can read other women's bad intentions very easily and that's the root of our insecurity. I would not be surprised if this is the case given that she got angry when you wouldn't see it was a big deal. She may have felt that you didn't believe her that the girl was an active threat and that you were defending the other girl. That may create an "us vs them" mentality. If your girlfriend doesn't trust the girl she may be totally on point and being called jealous or having you not realize it makes her feel as though you were too blinded by attraction/ego-stroking to realize the other girls motives or worse that you do realize it and are enjoying the attention. I'm not saying she handled it gracefully or that was what went through your mind when you friended her but that might be where your grilfriend's head is.
I may be more conservative than other people but a 19 year old girl following your shows, friending an adult man band member who she doesn't know and wedging herself into the personal romantic lives of the band more than likely means she doesn't have the best of intentions and your girlfriend, fairly or not, expected you to pick up on that and rebuff her teenage groupie activities from the beginning.
posted by Valkyrie21 at 8:20 AM on September 16, 2013 [16 favorites]

You could set up a Facebook page for your band so you can have fans but not "friends."
posted by cass at 8:55 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

I agree with Valkyrie21. The problem may not be your fidelity but your perceived disloyalty; when your girlfriend accuses this girl of nefarious intentions you either try to reassure her that this is not the case or you show through your friendly socialising with her that you believe FB girl and not your girlfriend.
I imagine on that evening your girlfriend sat there feeling crappier and crappier while you two guys, seemingly oblivious, were having a whale of a time laughing with pretty, young groupie girl (who will now be around to charm both of you every day). It probably wasn't what happened - you say they left soon after - but it may have seemed that way to her. Rightly or not she felt ignored, shunted and gaslighted about her concerns. She felt powerless. If anyone truly tries to "steal" you next time, she'll know you'll not believe her.

That's how I Interpret this "us vs them" thing.
posted by Omnomnom at 9:00 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

I think Frowner brought up a great point about group dynamics. Is it possible that the 19-year-old can be more a part of the group of 28-year-old guys that are in a band and may have the type of schedule that allows for lots of hanging out and touring? As you didn't mention that your 28-year-old girlfriend is also in a band, does she have a more traditional career that puts more restrictions on her hanging out time? Especially given that she took a day off, her jealousy might also be wrapped up in this sort of group dynamics.
posted by fermezporte at 9:08 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hi, married to a musician. He friends a lot of people as part of his efforts to publicize himself. Many of them are women. Some of those women have flirted with him. But we have a good relationship and I think it would be pointless of me to forbid him from friending another woman on social media, even if he wasn't a musician. Because if he wanted to cheat, he wouldn't need FB to do it, would he? I don't believe he's a cheater, so therefore I don't care who is on his social media.

Now, I might feel differently if he had cheated on me in the past, but that doesn't apply here. He also doesn't tour, so I see him every day, so again, I have less cause for anxiety.

So: your girlfriend is having a hard time. She might need to talk to someone about it. She doesn't feel she can fully trust you (or maybe any guy) not to cheat. And as others pointed out, when your SO is in a band, there is a sort of expectation that temptations, and giving in to them, happen a lot, and it does put a strain on the relationship.

All you can do is continue to behave honestly and show her you care about her. Maybe even have the difficult conversation about how, if your relationship doesn't work out, you still wouldn't cheat; you'd break up with each other honestly before moving on to the next person. She may or may not be able to handle that level of candidness.

She has to take a risk to trust you not to be like the stereotypical cheating musician dude. That's hard on her. But, if she wants to date musicians, well, that risk comes with it, and that's something she needs to be ok or not ok with. Because you will keep meeting other women, some of them attractive, and the opportunity to cheat will undoubtedly come your way at some point, whether you FB friend any of them or not.
posted by emjaybee at 9:23 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

I don't think your gf is crazy either. I do agree she may not have the temperament for dating someone in a band who is regularly pursued by other women.

There are three (purposely over-simplified) ways a guy can betray his SO with another woman. 1) Either he actively pursues another woman, 2) he creates a seemingly innocent situation where "it just happened" or 3) the other woman creates that situation and he doesn't do anything to stop it by, for example, clearly letting her know it's not going to happen ("she just threw herself at me!"). When a gf is feeling insecure (b/c, for instance, she's dating a hot band member who is always finding himself in the last scenario), she might jump to conclusions, require more reassurance from bf. Or maybe she just needs to get to know you better (you've only been together a year) to be assured that you're not the kind of slippery slope guy who'd take advantage of the last scenario.

My bf gets noticed regularly but I don't have the impression that he'd do any of the above. I don't consider myself gullible about this, he's just never given me any reason to doubt him, (which is why I don't pay any attention to who FB friends him). That said, if I knew that a girl of the type that pursues unavailable men were pursuing someone I was seeing only to discover that following his rejection of her friend request is now dating his housemate, I would at least wonder if the FB girl did any engineering of events and if so how aggressive she is. Does she see you as some kind of challenge? at which point I'd need to rely on your not falling into scenario 3, which might require me to know you better.

I also agree it sounds like there may be something you're leaving out that may cast your gf's reactions in a less negative light. Definitely don't discuss your gf's emotional issues with the FB girl. That would be hurtful for your gf and FB girl may read this as a green light to pursue you.

I agree you have to find out what would make your gf feel more comfortable about this situation, understand that she may not have the right temperament for dating popular musicians and find out if you two can compromise. You can work on assuaging her fears by be more reassuring, by clearly letting these admirers know you're not available (having a FB band page is a good idea) and she can learn to develop a more easy-going temperament (not demanding you defriend every attractive girl that comes along) and, over time, trust you more.
posted by lillian.elmtree at 10:04 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for all your responses guys. We've had a chat and things are better, she acknowledged it was an over-reaction, and it brought a lot of stuff up that was related to it that we were able to talk through. As some of you rightly guessed, it was more complicated than jealousy. Feels good to be able to get it out there, and hopefully things won't kick off like this again!
posted by ashkenazy at 10:23 AM on September 16, 2013 [13 favorites]

If you want to know how to make this better, ask your GF. Sit down with her and brainstorm solutions. Be sure to gently state that you can't control anyone else's behavior, and don't agree to totally re-arrange your life so that you never have to breathe the same air as this woman, but your GF is the only one who knows what will help her feel comfortable again, if anyone does.
posted by KathrynT at 10:24 AM on September 16, 2013

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