Is it Normal To Feel Tension Around My Boyfriend's Friends?
March 16, 2014 1:26 AM   Subscribe

I've a question, which is a conundrum. I'm a female newly involved with a fantastic guy I've known nine years. While generally I’m okay with my boyfriend’s friends (male and female) there are two males I’m completely uncomfortable around. The friends I’m uncomfortable around give me a strange vibe: One does not look at me at all when I’m around him, the other friend wishes to lean on my boyfriend constantly – he has made no effort to know me, does not know what I do, who I am – he will however call my boyfriend to get advice and ask for help (this friend is older as well.) I’ve listened to both of these guys but feel uneasy around them when in their company because I feel as though it is a chore to smile and act interested. I also feel they want something from my boyfriend with no regard for his relationship and time.

To make matters worse, I’m the woman after his twenty year marriage – both these guys disliked my boyfriend's ex-wife, in fact many people did so I’m unsure if these two men in particular dislike her out of jealousy or because of her character and if they judge me based on that criteria.

Sometimes it seems the people in my boyfriend’s life are meeting me with preconceived notions based on the ex. It seems I’m treated the way his ex may have been treated, which I’m unsure is the right way for me to feel (I did ask my boyfriend if the two guys I have issues with treated his ex the way they treat me, the answer was yes.) I’m not her; certainly I’m me and feel I’ve a lot to offer people in the way of friendship. I suppose I assume these two people in particular are very jealous and also very possessive of him to the point that perhaps they dislike me for interfering with their relationship with him? I’m uncertain how to deal with it. It has gone on enough that I wish to not be around those two friends. It’s odd when the older male friend tries to tell me things about my boyfriend’s personality that I already know (I have known him nine years) as he is forceful and a bit rude - and I dislike that the other one will not make eye contact because it makes me feel extremely irrelevant. That aside, there is some social anxiety on my end; I’m shy and introverted - also extremely cerebral with a very creative personality being very much my own world. However, I try hard to be welcoming and open to others.

I’m curious how one might handle himself or herself in this sort of social situation. Should I keep at a distance or humor them? What psychologically causes this in my boyfriend's friends? I’m afraid to meet more of his friends out of fear they will not accept me. There's no need to make a big deal out of it to my boyfriend and he explained that’s just the way those two guys in particular are and to not take it personal and he also loves me deeply, so I try my best not to. Is this normal with friends, is this a result of his long marriage to a selfish and not so deep personality? Maybe his friends worry I'm that way too? Or?

Any thoughts and opinions, even advice, is very welcome. Thank you in advance.
posted by Fayrose to Human Relations (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Absolutely, do not take this personally.

This could be a situation where your boyfriend acts one way when he's single, or simply alone with his friends, and another when he's in a relationship, or when you're around. The friends may interpret this as something you're doing, but, it sounds like this is largely about your friends dynamic with your boyfriend. Both sound awkward and aloof, but I'd be willing to bet you're not the only one who gets this vibe in their lives.

The best you can do is to be friendly (is this humoring them?) but you don't need to go out of your way to try and win them over, at least any more than with anyone else.
posted by Unsomnambulist at 1:46 AM on March 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

Based on your description, it's absolutely normal to not be comfortable around them.

Just forget them. Also, there's no need to socialize with them, ever, except for whatever annual 'mandatory' rituals there are, and even then that's what sudden migraines are for.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:55 AM on March 16, 2014 [5 favorites]

Partners are under no obligation to like all of each other's friends. If you don't like any of them. . . that's probably a bad sign. But you're doing pretty well if it's only two.
posted by valkyryn at 3:39 AM on March 16, 2014 [6 favorites]

I also feel they want something from my boyfriend with no regard for his relationship and time.

This makes it sound like you feel you're in competition with these guys for your boyfriend's time and attention, and maybe you're more comfortable blaming them for not having appropriate "regard for his relationship and time" than with asking your boyfriend to pay attention to you you instead. The thing is, it's totally unrealistic to expect everyone else in the world to guess what it would be okay to ask for. People generally suck at guessing what others need. Assume your boyfriend is less than perfect at guessing what you need. Assume your boyfriend's friends are bad at guessing what your boyfriend needs or would be comfortable giving, and totally awful at guessing what you need. It's your boyfriend's job to regulate the time and attention he spends on you and on others. It's also your job to ask your boyfriend for what you need.
posted by jon1270 at 5:37 AM on March 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

You say you are newly involved? My advice is to not let these comparisons to his ex continue. Try to do what you can to find a way to either let go of the comparisons or try to deal with it in a healthy manner. If you continue to compare (which is a sign of insecurity), you will doom the relationship. He is no longer with her for a reason and he is with you for a reason.

There's no need to make a big deal out of it to my boyfriend and he explained that’s just the way those two guys in particular are and to not take it personal and he also loves me deeply, so I try my best not to.

Listen to him.

As others have said, you don't have to like all of your SO's friends and they don't have to like you. Lots of people have different friends for different reasons. His friends may just be overprotective of him in regard to whatever he went through with his ex. FWIW, after a close friend's divorce, I had some trepidation about getting to know his new girlfriends only because I didn't want to put a ton of effort into getting to know them because I didn't know how long the relationships would last.
posted by NoraCharles at 5:40 AM on March 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

It's also possible that this is just how these two gentlemen treat women in general. How are their interactions with other women in your social circle?
posted by Andrhia at 6:37 AM on March 16, 2014 [7 favorites]

Why does your guy foster this dynamic between these men and the women he is with?

I think you are asking the wrong questions here.

The solution you've been offered thus far is that you are not supposed to take pointedly anti-social behavior directed solely at you in a personal manner.

Why should you do all the heavy emotional work when you are the one being picked on?

I'd dump the boyfriend because it's clear his ex-wife got a bum deal, and holy shit, why sign on to be the second to experience that?

I wish I could explain to you how wrong it is to disparage someone's ex in this way (she was good enough for him to marry but universally disliked? really??) and that coupled with the dynamic with these two men highlights that your boyfriend likely has a history of passive aggressive behavior such that he uses these men to vilify his partners while he keeps his own hands looking "clean" to others on the outside.

This man has known you 9 years. Even if he knew you 9 minutes... He should not subject you, or anyone he is romantically involved with, to this sort of treatment under any circumstances.

Healthy normal people who expect to have successful mutually fulfilling relationships don't allow this sort of thing to go on in their orbit.

It's a set-up, and you are correct that the dynamics are broken, but you are holding the wrong party accountable.

The question is not for him to choose between them or you, the question is what does he get out of allowing these men to overtly and covertly vilify his romantic partner in his presence?

Most people that have been down this emotional dead-end once or twice get hip to the signs and try not to date people that triangulate between people the way your guy is doing. The end results are never good. If you extricate yourself now, it will be the healthy and mature thing for you to do for yourself.

Your guy does not see his behavior or his underlying motivations for setting the people around him up like chess pieces. When (if) you point this dynamic out, it will appear like a mystery to him. He won't see it. You can spend years in this relationship arguing about it, and he will almost certainly not change.

Ultimately, your boyfriend is responsible for how his friends treat him and you.

You can absolutely try talking to him about it, but in all honesty, you should be prepared to protect yourself by exiting the toxic dynamics he's exposing you to.

Life is too short. It's not you, it's them.

Put yourself first. The sooner you decline to participate in this type of drama, the sooner you will find yourself in a romantic relationship featuring healthy gestures, safe interactions and safe emotional space, with mutual respect.

PS. I know it is tempting to blame personal traits you have, things you want to improve, for at least part of this situation - I know. YES, you still have to work on yourself;))

I know you've known your current BF for 9 years, but like others on the outside of his orbit, clearly there are things about the way he conducts his intimate relationships that you did not see.

You're not naive, btw. This is just a type of relationship that comes up along the journey. I think most people end up learning about this one the hard way. You seem to see this clearly enough already that I hope you won't need to spend heaps of time and energy on it. You just needed that last little piece to grok the full picture.

You laid out the full situation really well in your AskMe, and if you go back and reread what you wrote with an "outsider's eye" you'll see what I tried to illuminate. You already wrote your own answer in your question. I just tried to re-arrange some of the pieces to make it clearer for you.

Good luck.
posted by jbenben at 6:45 AM on March 16, 2014 [16 favorites]

Someone above correctly identified the competition aspect as a red flag, but they mistakenly attributed that to something you were doing all by yourself.

Funny how your boyfriend's affection and attention is always the "prize" in these little skirmishes, don't you think?

Absolutely you should not play along with this competitive bullshit, but it seems to be a strong feature of the way your current boyfriend conducts his relationships. There is little chance you generated this dynamic out of thin air on your own. There is also little chance you can fix what did not start with you.

The ex wife was in competition with these men and others, and now you are in competition with her and others in your boyfriend's life. These types of dynamics don't magically repeat themselves over and over again by chance.

Sure, you are at fault if you continue to participate in these competitions, but it is crystal clear the dynamics existed long before you joined the party.

OP, I'm not sure if you can triumph over this type of systemic dysfunction, or if you should even try.

The competition thing IS a red flag, but it only becomes your failing if you go along with it.
posted by jbenben at 7:16 AM on March 16, 2014 [5 favorites]

Is it normal to feel tension around [a new] boyfriend's friends?

I think it's normal enough, as long as the tension disappears in short time. Or, sometimes the tension means the friends sense their friendship won't endure. Like Unsomnambulist said above, perhaps "This could be a situation where your boyfriend acts one way when he's single, or simply alone with his friends, and another when he's in a relationship, or when you're around." QFT. Boyfriend just ended a long relationship, then he was single, and now he's with you. He was almost like three different guys over this process. Which incarnation do you think was the most fun for palling-around with? The two friends in question will have to either get hip to the situation, or maybe they don't want really want to be friends with a guy who's in love and in a healthy relationship. Maybe it messes up their "thing."

(Just my two cents and so on.)
posted by little_dog_laughing at 8:07 AM on March 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Totally an anecdote here, but: when I first started dating my bf-now-husband, I was convinced that one of his friends hated me because he wouldn't make eye contact, smile, direct any conversation to me, etc. I was uncomfortable spending time around him and wondered why he'd taken such a burning dislike to me. Over time he warmed up to me and I realized that he's just socially awkward and moody and it had absolutely nothing to do with me, it's just how he acts around new people. Sometimes people have blind spots for quirks held by long-time friends and this could be in play here.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 8:14 AM on March 16, 2014 [13 favorites]

Tl:dr. Sounds like the older pal has vague crush/protective feelings for your BF, and doesn't want to include you. The other guy, who can't look at you, might be attracted to you but is loyal to your BF. you're not dating the gang, and you don't have to like them all or have them all like you. Even if you've known him for 9 years, you're new as the official GF, and thus still on waivers (that's why the older pal tries to clue you in.) I wouldn't turn it into a competition of who knows BF better.
Your BF likes you the way you are, but you might consider being a bit more tolerant of the circle. You know sides of the BF that they don't and vice versa.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:41 AM on March 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I do think some tension, especially in the beginning, is normal; I do not know if this particularly flavor is. I do think (as someone with social anxiety herself) that going down this rabbit hole of speculation is probably not going to be fruitful; and frankly, I think it is already a big deal if your interactions with these two people are causing you to dread meeting others in his social circle because you fear they will not accept you.
posted by sm1tten at 9:01 AM on March 16, 2014

What psychologically causes this in my boyfriend's friends?

Do not go down this rabbit hole of rumination. Thar be dragons.

Your boyfriend's pals aren't holding up their end of the social contract -- they're being rude and weird. There's no need to psychoanalyze them; there *is* a need to protect yourself from them disrupting your sense of self and your healthy social boundaries.

If your boyfriend is unwilling or unable to nip this dynamic in the bud, then I don't think he's such a great partner for you. A true partner is on your side, and WANTS you to feel safe and protected. It's a point of pride for a mensch. And a mensch doesn't surround himself with jerks...these friends are giving you some interesting clues to your boyfriend's value system.
posted by nacho fries at 9:20 AM on March 16, 2014 [7 favorites]

There are conditions, often on the autism/Asperger's spectrum, where making eye contact is hard for people with the condition. Just throwing out the possibility that its not intentional rudeness.
posted by Jacen at 10:08 AM on March 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: You're not obligated to like his friends and they're not obligated to like you.

Sometimes, you come across people whose personalities you just don't mesh with - you've probably had this happen with people in other social situations, at work, etc. How did you handle it then? Personally, I'd just avoid these people. I would keep as much distance as possible between myself and them, because for all of the effort you put in and time you spend worrying about it, you're not necessarily going to get the resolution you want. These people might always be this way. Ultimately, they have the right to be a bit weird or strange or whatever. If you don't want to deal with that, then don't be around them.

You could try calling them out on their behaviour. Use your agency and tell them that you find their behaviour confusing or patronising or whatever. It sucks, but part of dealing with other people sometimes means getting your hands dirty and saying "quit treating me [that way]". If you want to keep dealing with these people, then I think you're going to end up having to do that. The other alternative is to let things continue as they are.

This isn't about you. Assholes gonna asshole, you know?
posted by Solomon at 11:13 AM on March 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's not required at all for you to like all of your partner's friends, or for them to like you. One of my man's close friends doesn't like me much (the feeling is somewhat mutual), but we're polite and nice to each other because we both care about him and don't want him feeling bad or awkward.

However, I would personally expect that if any of my guy's friends were treating me poorly or badmouthing me, and he knew about it, that he would tell them to cut that shit out; I'd certainly do that if any of my friends were being jerks. Your guy made a great first step by telling you what he did; now he needs to go to his friends and say, essentially, "you guys are my friends, but you're making my partner feel uncomfortable around you, and that needs to stop."

In any relationship, you and your partner have an obligation to stand up for each other; you're a team. Friends have the obligation to at least be cordial to their friends' partners. They don't have any obligation to like you, get to know you (beyond whatever's necessary for social interaction), or care one whit about you.

I'm kind of curious, however, as to how you've known this guy for nine years but are only just now learning about his ex. That seems peculiar to me, especially in light of your concern about one of your guy's friends doing nothing to get to know you.

All of the above being said, I have to echo strong agreement with nacho fries: any partner who doesn't stand up for you, who doesn't make you feel safe and protected and loved, is probably not a good partner for you. I'd walk away from what seems like a pretty toxic dynamic, I think.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:28 AM on March 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

"Don't take it personally" is always good advice when someone's being rude to you, but it's also something that's often said with self-interest, like by the person who is being rude, or as in this case, on their behalf. I would not be a fan of being told how to react to people treating me shitty.
posted by BibiRose at 1:41 PM on March 16, 2014 [7 favorites]

Agree with others, they sound like maladjusted men who dislike women. Maybe your husband puts up with them because they've just known each other forever, loyalty, they helped him when, they're lovely if you get just to know them / spend x years drinking beer with them every Friday / are a man who went to high school with them.

Whatever the reason for their rudeness, whatever their bond with your husband, it's not cool for them to be disrespectful. If they aren't responding to normal efforts to at least be civil, he should stand up for you.

The fact he hasn't doesn't necessarily mean he's a jerk - maybe he leaned on them to get through his marriage, and they're like training wheels or something he can't shake off, and loyalty or whatever. But he really should be setting some kind of boundary at this point.

I don't know if it's fair to ask him to just ditch them altogether (it might be though, idk); not everyone loves every one of their partner's friends, and even if they are misogynists, it's not certain your husband has anything to do with them on that level. (If you've known someone long enough, sometimes, you love them in spite of hateful things..) Maybe, it'd be fair enough for him to have nights out with the guys, and keep evenings where everyone's together to a minimum.

But in that case there ought to be compromises. Couples back each other up. They develop signals to help each other out of uncomfortable situations. Like Jack can tell that Jen can't take any more of Sam's ranting about politics, because she's been to the bathroom twice in an hour and also she gave him a look he understands. So Jack says, "Well Sam, I've got an early morning so we're going to set off now."

If you say outright "I don't like your friends", your husband may, idk, see parallels with his ex (involuntarily). If you say, "I'm not sure how to respond when x does y", and he sees you making an effort, the lightbulb may go off.

Good luck. I wouldn't want to hang out with those guys at all, and I'd do what I could to avoid it.
posted by cotton dress sock at 4:02 PM on March 16, 2014

Response by poster: OP here Thank you all for your extremely well thought out comments. The feedback has given me a lot to draw from and provided I did not decide to cling to comments I could easily agree with, some insight into myself. I’d like to respond to everyone and so I will - some posters also had questions so will also answer those here as well.

I discussed the issue with my partner several hours today with the conclusion bringing about some resolutions. Because the relationship between my boyfriend and me is new, he and I agreed to give it some more time regarding to these two friends. If in a few months they don’t include me a little more, he will talk with them. Maybe in a few months I won't really care if he does. So we both want to see how it plays out with them. As it stands now he makes no real effort to visit with them and explained that his apprehension to spend more time with these two particular friends is based in the fact they are the way they are - his patience is also tested. His ending the friendships never came up, as I would never, ever, under any circumstance request that of anyone – it’s too invasive and controlling.

Unsomnambulist and A Terrible Llama have it right for the time being, it’s best to be polite and sometimes not doing anything, including not being there too often, it is better for all involved. Valkyryn is also right, some of his friends and I have bonded exceptionally well, with me gradually becoming closer to one female in particular who I view as a little sister.

Jon1270, I had to consider this carefully. No competition, just rudeness on their part. The issue is not my partner’s affection, he gives me plenty and we are together often, doing everything including working together. He also gives me a lot of attention and is incredibly thoughtful toward my needs. The concern was regarding and leaning toward their use of him – and what he derives from them in return. A viable concern as my boyfriend is extremely giving and patient. That too was broached upon, with my partner explaining that the older more needy male has become this way more so in the last few years whereas he did not start out that way when originally embarking on a friendship with my boyfriend. Also the older male plays the role he places my boyfriend in with others, so essentially my boyfriend is the only person his older friend has got to lean on. Like Ideefixe suggested, older male is gay but sees my boyfriend as his support and feels slightly threatened by his and my relationship.

Andrhia, apparently older male dislikes women, as he never overcame a bad divorce and leans toward males sexually the older he becomes. The younger has a rough history (of his own doing) with women and he also has children scattered from state to state. Even more so, he carries on this way with a lot of people of both sexes in so far as being aloof and strange. While he doesn’t have aspergers syndrome or autism, he is just plain out fucking weird and socially inept.

Jbenben, I agree, affection always the prize, it implies neediness on the part of the female, sad really when affection ought to be an underlined given all bullshit aside, especially before bullshit ensues. Personally I take no responsibility in this whatsoever, only in how I react – I also don’t blame my reaction or observation due to the thought my boyfriend does not give me enough attention but on the "fact" these guys are simply dicks for their own reasons having little to do with me personally. I agree my boyfriend fostered these relationships and he would agree with you also, but not in a way that he sets up the situation for games, even unconsciously. As an exceptionally open minded, brilliant and sensitive person, he tends to draw all sorts of personality to his door, these two simply happen to be needy. He admits they try his patience and good graces. My boyfriend tries to include me and last time we ate dinner at the older friends house, did so with a younger guest who happened to mentioned his current divorce. Boyfriend included me and mentioned ex wife with regard to a situation to help sooth the younger gentleman who was emotionally distraught. The older male friend is a diva and had to nip that conversation in the bud because it didn’t revolve around him. I was pissed but took it in stride. Boyfriend gave me some advice how to deal and explained again, the reason he hardly see’s this particular friend (and the other one, too) is due to the inherent selfishness of their personalities.

Some responders mentioned it may be best for me to make no comparisons regarding the ex wife, so I won’t. It is not my place. I wasn’t there when what happened happened between them and truth be told, my boyfriend doesn't often speak ill of her. He tends to be frank when he says she was quietly judgmental toward his friends, all of them, and that some of his friends sensed this. Many complained to him privately and carefully regarding their discomfort when around her and they also admitted she was right about them in her judgments - this is also regarding the women with whom he was friends or business contacts with. It gets complicated where ex wife is concerned and we both try not to focus on that (that is an entire post unto itself and there are many MANY factors on his and her end as to why they were not suited to one another.) Just to make a long story short, apparently she was a silent judgmental sort and a bit reserved, which left many with unease. She and I are like night and day. Older male is set in his ways, apparently likes me enough to invite me for dinner but needs to be the center of attention and is stubborn – I become bored. Younger male is very aloof, seems rude in my eyes but it’s for sure not personal, he is this way period – younger male friend's wife makes me feel very comfortable and welcomed. Boyfriend even has issues with these two guys - I'm not alone and he has my back. The boyfriend is simply trying to place me at ease and has done a pretty good job, and perhaps his self-interest is at heart, I can understand him not wanting drama in his life. As for them, his actions speak louder than words, he really doesn’t deal much with either of those two and is generally reduced to a bunch of “yeah” and “un huh” when he must (I can practically hear the static whirring through his brain as he zones out.) I can also see his physical discomfort when in their company, as though he cannot wait to escape through the window.

Feckless Fecal Fear Mongering - As for how I'm just learning about the ex - I knew they had issues before he was divorced but did not know her personally as my boyfriend and I were at a distance with me in another country and relationship and then another state for awhile after returning to the US. He never confided in me intimately about her and I wouldn't have been comfortable with that, nor him. However, he kept an online diary where several pals could read and offer support. I remember reading he and his wife separated at one point. Later he told me after they were divorced why: At one point he and his wife reconciled after separating and she had an affair with someone from her past, then while solidifying the relationship emotionally with the affair (whom she left boyfriend for and married later) tried to cheat on him with soon to be ex husband, another words a cluster fuck. Boyfriend takes culpability regarding some of their issues. I don't know her personally. She doesn't seem very deep from her text online, though. Far be it for me to really know or judge though. I don't care to.

Thank you for all you comments - they are deeply appreciated and extremely insightful. I'm impressed with the compassion and kindness, also concerned many have showed. Again, thank you.
posted by Fayrose at 7:21 PM on March 16, 2014

That is still a lot of text about the ex wife situation.

Why is this person a force in your relationship?

In the original Ask you portray these objectionable friends as a big part of the overall social landscape, in the follow-up you back track on this portrayal.

OP, it can not be both ways.


You are a fellow MeFite, you asked the question, and I care more about you.

Ex wife still a significant presence + additional BS?

Proceed with caution. Both issues will not be a factor when you embark on a relationship worthy of the Grace and Character you displayed in your follow up.

Ask me how I know:)
posted by jbenben at 11:43 PM on March 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

I discussed the issue with my partner several hours today

How newly involved are you? Two of his friends being jerks doesn't seem like hours worth of conversation.

And the ex wife is part of his life. As is his third grade teacher, the boss who he was constantly afraid of being fired by, and the no eye contact friend. They're all a plate of beans you are way over thinking.

I would deal with the jerks friends by being as disinterested as possible without being rude.

Best possible outcome - weirdo friends observe your good relationship with BF's other friends and start to model that behavior.

The guy with kids all over the place, though, I wouldn't want to be friends with him. And I'd stand up to BF if, in the course of normal conversation, BF seemed to be defending that behavior.

Your BF probably won't be instant besties with your friends either. Not a big deal.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 9:17 AM on March 17, 2014

Best answer: My first thought was, "Just because I like my BF, I don't have to like his friends." We all have friends that our SOs don't like, or get along with. It's not a requirement.

Husbunny was doing some gaming, I have 0 to -0 interest in that, so I'd go off and do things when he had his gaming dudes over to the house. I have friends that Husbunny doesn't get, he's not impolite but he has nothing to talk about with them, so I make lunch dates, or go to movies or shopping or whatever. No harm, no foul.

BUT, this is a HUGE ISSUE for you? Why? Why must all of your BFs friends like you? Why is that even a thing?

Now, one thing I'll say is that if these guys are outright nasty to you in front of your BF, and he doesn't do or say anything to them about it, DTMFA.

As for the ex, he chose her, he stayed with her for 20 years, and presumably, he loved her for most of that time. So don't think for a minute that she was some harridan that his friends hated, and that they're transferring their hate to you. It's a fantasy.

All people have annoying habits, and relationships end, but most people can differentiate between the ex-wife and the new girlfriend and are perfectly willing to make decisions based upon what they see and hear from the new person.

In other words, for a new relationship, this is WAY too much mind-fucking for a couple of schlubs you have nothing in common with.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:09 AM on March 17, 2014

Response by poster: OP Here - I hate to thread sit but -

The ex wife is not a major factor in our relationship. I simply wondered (which is why I originally posted the question) if it might be a possibility that perhaps they viewed me as they did her. Some people disliked her, some didn't.

I admit if she seems to be a factor, it's due to MY question based on insecurity: I'm not used to being the girlfriend after someone’s twenty year marriage and admit, my insecurity could be at play, hence the question.

Also, I never stated that these two friends are a large part of the overall landscape. The older male is someone he has known 12 years and someone he cares about but doesn't see but once a month - they text a few times a month. I did not think it necessary to expound upon how often they speak; now I do. My SO doesn’t have friends he throws beers back with or confides deeply in, the one person he is closest to, she and I are extremely close and hang out together with him and alone. With regard to the older male, my SO has shared some of the advice on how to handle him - not out of defense of his friend but to help bring his friend and I together, again, the older friend was not always that way. I personally feel that stands for a lot right there and changes the dynamic of why the older friend is still in my SO’s life.

A few hours for that particular topic too long? No, we love to talk and sometimes the exchange of ideas leads to other things. We actually have fun and it’s one of the things that drew us together. The first time we spoke on the phone, we spoke 9 hours. ;)

When (if) you point this dynamic out, it will appear like a mystery to him. He won't see it. You can spend years in this relationship arguing about it, and he will almost certainly not change.

It's difficult to judge a person based on a metafites question. And it's kind of a loaded statement isn't? Rather a catch 22? Not everybody is fueled by the same agenda or necessarily an evil one. Again, he chose these two friends and not while motivated by ulterior motives or the urge to sit back and watch the chips fall out of a very basic need to see people suffer or how something plays out , that implies narcissistic behavior. I've dealt with diagnosed sociopaths and narcissistic personalities and he isn't one. No relationship or person is perfect and some people have a few odd friends. He also has some wonderful and kind friends. While those two are not particularly friendly or warm, or breaking the walls down to know me better, they do not bad mouth me either. If they did, he would defend me. I simply wanted to know if my feeling uncomfortable is normal based on the criteria I outlined, or if perhaps they saw me as they did the ex, which these two did not care for. The question has been answered and I’m fascinated and thankful for the variety of feedback.

I think Ruthless Bunny hit the nail on the head. The issue is bigger for me, most likely due to past issues with previous SO’s, something for me to work on. In the end though, she is completely right.
posted by Fayrose at 11:31 AM on March 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

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