Please help me figure out if this friendship is over
June 4, 2014 6:06 AM   Subscribe

I think a friendship that had meant a whole lot to me is over. Part of me is ready to just cut ties and call it a day, but another part of me is loathe to let go of what had been a really fun and meaningful friendship. Details below.

I have (had?) a friend I'll call Frank, who is married to Jill. Frank and I have been friends for a while. Jill was someone I tolerated because I really liked being friends with Frank. I say tolerated because Jill is a very negative, complainy person, and if it weren't for Frank, she's certainly not someone I'd socialize with.

Last year, Frank and I had a number of extensive conversations, both over text and email, about things of a highly personal matter. It was a shared interest that Frank and I had, so it was good for both of us to have someone to talk to about this stuff. I discussed these things with the explicit understanding that my privacy was paramount, that these discussions were absolutely confidential. He understood, and agreed. Jill was aware that Frank had a friend who was discussing these matters with him, but that the friend wished to remain confidential. Frank assured me that Jill understood. There was some low-grade flirting going on between he and I, but it absolutely wasn't going anywhere. We were never physical, we never had any contact beyond a friendly hug.

A few months ago, Frank, drunkenly texting me, confessed that Jill had "accidentally" read his journal, where he disclosed the fact that I was the confidential friend. She freaked out about it. Frank did not tell me all of this until several months *after* the fact. I was pissed and concerned about my privacy being violated, because didn't know nor had I consented to him writing about me and all of this stuff in his stupid journal, but in the interest of our friendship, I elected to let it go, especially since Frank promised me that Jill knew nothing much of what he and I had discussed aside from the fact that I was his confidential friend. I was uneasy, but I let it lie.

A couple weeks after this disclosure, Frank reached out to me and said that he wanted to arrange a meeting between me and Jill so she and I could "talk it out." I politely declined, because I didn't feel like she and I had anything to discuss. He kept insisting, but I firmly refused, since we were treading into an area that triggered some really horrible childhood experiences for me (not really germane to the question; suffice that it was a terrible, scarring experience that made any sort of "summit" with her an absolute no for me.)

Frank was pissed, because he insisted I had hurt Jill. I apologized for that, but absolutely no way was I going to sit down with her, especially since it was my privacy and confidence that hat been violated. So both of us took several huge steps back from the friendship.

And that's where we are today. It's been well over two months now with no meaningful contact between the two of us. He still follows me on Twitter, but I'm reasonably sure he's got me on mute, because I've been through a few major life events in this period and he's said nothing, which does sting. I know Jill's grandmother died, and I conveyed my sincere condolences to her through Frank, but that was it. I'm a little creeped out by him following me but not interacting.

Ugh. I know this all sounds terribly childish and shallow, and I'm cringing as I type.

So basically, I don't know what to do. I think the three options I have are 1) I call it a day and sever the few remaining ties I have with him; 2) I try to reach out to him and salvage the friendship, although if the price for that is the stupid sit-down with Jill, that will be a dealbreaker for me, or 3) just leave things how they are and let it go. If he wants to try to repair things, leave it on him.

Help me be a grown-assed woman about this, MeFi.
posted by shiu mai baby to Human Relations (48 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
He's made it clear that he needs you to talk things out with Jill. Presumably Jill suspects him of having an affair with you, and your refusal to meet her makes her suspicions much stronger. Nothing he can say to her will change her mind; it has to come from you. So if you're not willing to meet with Jill, I think you've lost the friendship.
posted by musofire at 6:09 AM on June 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


So...forgive me but this reads like the "highly personal matter" is something that pertains to some sort of fantasy interest. It is an interest you both share, highly personal, you expected complete confidentiality. And you knew he was doing it without his partner knowing who he was doing it with, which borders on a bit sketchy. And, you guys were flirting (low grade, but yes flirting).

If I were Jill, I'd be mad - but not at you. Jill doesn't have a real relationship with you (Shiu Mai), at best she regards you as an acquaintance, she needs to deal with this with her partner, not a third party.

So - with all that said, yes, I'd give up on the relationship. Mute or unfollow him on facebook/twitter as well and move on with your life. Don't meet with Jill, nothing good can come of it other than her transferring whatever feelings she should appropriately direct at Frank to you. Chalk this up to a learning experience.
posted by arnicae at 6:13 AM on June 4, 2014 [28 favorites]


I would reach out to him and say basically what you've outlined in your last paragraph. That is, you miss your friendship with him, and would like to salvage it, but you are not willing to sit down with Jill to assuage her concerns about a non-existent affair (or whatever it is she is worried about.) If that's the only way you can be friends, you're sorry, you'll miss him, and should he change his mind in the future, please get in touch.

Personally, I can think of no circumstances where I would agree to such a sit-down either, and I have no childhood experience on which to base that refusal. So you shouldn't feel like you're somehow in the wrong because you don't want to, no matter what the reason.
posted by lyssabee at 6:17 AM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


So...forgive me but this reads like the "highly personal matter" is something that pertains to some sort of fantasy interest. It is an interest you both share, highly personal, you expected complete confidentiality. And you knew he was doing it without his partner knowing who he was doing it with, which borders on a bit sketchy. And, you guys were flirting (low grade, but yes flirting).

This was the impression I got, as well. And I'm wondering whether, when he told Jill that he was discussing this with "a friend," he implied it was a MALE friend who was into the same stuff, not a female friend he could potentially be attracted to.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:19 AM on June 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


I think that when you discuss something of a highly personal matter with another person who already has a partner, you can reasonably expect that the partner may eventually find out. Especially if they're living together, it's a risk you take in revealing something like that (whatever it may be, I have no idea).

That being said, I don't think it's your responsibility to make Jill feel better about it. If she has a problem, that's up to her and Frank to work out. It seems like he's shifting the blame to you, which isn't cool. It's really none of her business though, to talk it out with you. I think that's a pretty stupid suggestion on his part.

I would just let it lie and wait for him to reach out. It seems that if anyone's done anything sketchy here, it's him. So let him fix it.
posted by winterportage at 6:20 AM on June 4, 2014 [32 favorites]


Frank was pissed, because he insisted I had hurt Jill. I apologized for that, but absolutely no way was I going to sit down with her, especially since it was my privacy and confidence that hat been violated.

Frank is an asshole. He violated your confidence by letting Jill read his journal entries about you. Jill's reactions have nothing to do with you. You did nothing to Jill. You owe nothing to Jill. How dare he blame you for his marital issues.

I say cut ties, Frank is no longer worth your time.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:22 AM on June 4, 2014 [37 favorites]


There was some low-grade flirting going on between he and I, but it absolutely wasn't going anywhere.

This and a "shared interest" are what have Jill worried, and for good reason. If you won't meet with Jill (sorry that you don't like your friend's who you flirt with and have a personal shared interest with partner, but really), you're just making your relationship with Frank seem like more and more of a threat to their relationship.

I have plenty of friends whose partners I don't particularly like. I make tons of effort to get along with them, because I respect my friends enough to do so.
posted by xingcat at 6:22 AM on June 4, 2014 [20 favorites]


If Jill won't trust Frank enough to let Frank hang out with you, then you meeting her won't do anything to change that. Walk away.
posted by Etrigan at 6:27 AM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Honestly, if your friendship is causing this much drama in their marriage I think you should just accept that the friendship is over.
posted by Blissful at 6:28 AM on June 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


I think you're being pretty hard on Jill. I don't feel like I'm a particularly jealous or possessive person but I would feel really displeased about my spouse having extensive, mildly flirty conversations that I wasn't allowed to know about with someone of the opposite sex.

This whole thing is fraught with drama and I think you should let it go. And I would work on setting much clearer boundaries in the future when you're interacting with a man who has a partner.
posted by something something at 6:29 AM on June 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


To be clear: Jill knew that Frank was discussing this with someone he gave an alias to. She knew the person was female, she knew the general nature of the stuff being discussed, and that Frank's friend wished to protect her identity. It wasn't until she snooped that she found out it was me and flipped out. I have never given her cause to by trust me. Aside from the low-grade flirting already, I've never behaved anywhere even close to inappropriately with Frank when we would all hang out. And I have always been exceedingly kind and friendly to Jill. I wouldn't be friends with her if Frank weren't around, but my attitude was that they were a package deal, so I was always friendly towards her.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:30 AM on June 4, 2014


Also: Frank and Jill are in an open relationship. Whether that is a genuine two-way street is debatable, however, and I suspect might be a source of the drama here.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:31 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Frank is setting you up; his relationship with Jill is his issue, not yours. And it sounds like he could use some space to focus on that relationship without any "confidential friends" lurking in the background. Let him go. Let him go. Turn away and slam the door.

On preview: Frank and Jill are in an open relationship. Whether that is a genuine two-way street is debatable, however Are you kidding? Come on. You know this drama is totally not worth your time.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:33 AM on June 4, 2014 [51 favorites]


I don't see why the hell you're supposed to work things out with Jill - I'd think that that is Frank's role.

I'm sorry that you're losing a friend, but for at least the foreseeable future, I think you and Frank can't be friends anymore.
posted by rtha at 6:34 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]



A few months ago, Frank, drunkenly texting me, confessed that Jill had "accidentally" read his journal, where he disclosed the fact that I was the confidential friend.


Frank sounds like a train wreck, from this one sentence alone. I'd say walk away. If you want to meet with Jill as a courtesy to her, do so. But I bet she doesn't really want to either. And even if you meet with her, I doubt whether what you say is going to really make her happy. It sounds like Frank enjoys this kind of secret keeping/provocation and when you are gone he'll just start something else.
posted by BibiRose at 6:35 AM on June 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


Frank is not being a good friend to you, nor is he being a good spouse to Jill.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:36 AM on June 4, 2014 [20 favorites]


He was being a duplicitous asshole to both his partner and you, his friend. Open communication is key in open relationships but you both shut her out. His partner should be the number one person in his life but it sounds like you were angling to usurp her by building confidences that specifically excluded her. In many open relationships there is a "primary" partnership, which it sounds like she, at least, feels should be Frank and Jill. The primary partners are first and should not be keeping secrets from each other. If you are going to date people in open relationships you should practise more open communication or else choose to date people that aren't already entwined with other people. Open relationships aren't for everybody.
posted by saucysault at 6:36 AM on June 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


Cut ties. Your concerns are not childish or shallow. He screwed up and wants you to fix his issues with his wife? That's a whole lot of nope.
posted by carrioncomfort at 6:38 AM on June 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


You've say you've never given her cause not to trust you, but Frank has. This is a lot of drama. Potentially not open open relationships? Aliases? Keeping someone's identity a secret? Lots of discussions about... something... that you and Frank share that Jill does not? Looking to see if he follows you on Twitter? Drunk texting? Reading private journals? Gosh, this sounds like a lot of drama with which to be involved. Frank is doing you a favor by staying away from you. Block him on Twitter if his following you bothers you and be glad that you have good memories of your friendship. These types of situations usually end much more dramatically, with little hope for fondness.
posted by sockermom at 6:39 AM on June 4, 2014 [19 favorites]


You just learned that his expectation for friendship seem to differ from yours. He values his wife more than any friend. This will not change. Use the knowledge gained to inform your decision about further steps.
posted by travelwithcats at 6:47 AM on June 4, 2014


Frank sounds like he is consistently making poor choices, many of which revolve around concealing things from people, but not so carefully that they don't eventually find out. Honestly, he's either really bad at keeping things confidential, prone to manufacturing drama by intentionally being bad at keeping things confidential, or both. His idea for you to meet his wife is just the cherry on top of that poor-choice cake, and not going along with it was a good decision on your behalf. You have no place in the problem he made between himself and his wife.
posted by griphus at 7:02 AM on June 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


nobody has the right to compel you to go to any sort of summit. that is how you treat a servant, not a friend. You deserve better friends than that.
posted by Mistress at 7:09 AM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think the friendship is over. You won't do X, he won't be friends if you don't. I could go placing fault but it doesn't really matter. Each party has drawn their line in the sand and there's no way to close that gap unless someone gives (which seems unlikely).
posted by Aranquis at 7:22 AM on June 4, 2014


Yes, unfortunately, in this situation, you do nothing. So long, strange friend.

But there's good news! In a few years/months/decades, he'll be a friend to you throughout their divorce.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 7:22 AM on June 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Aside from the low-grade flirting already, I've never behaved anywhere even close to inappropriately with Frank when we would all hang out.

That may be enough, though. People view boundaries in their relationships in different ways, but I think low-grade flirting would be enough to feel troublesome, along with the intimate nature of personal conversations. I'm not saying that you were planning on it going anywhere, but I think this is enough for his partner to think it was inappropriate. I wouldn't like it if my spouse flirted in a regular and ongoing private conversation with someone of an intimate nature, and she wouldn't like it if I did, either. She's not wrong to not like this.

I wouldn't be friends with her if Frank weren't around, but my attitude was that they were a package deal, so I was always friendly towards her.

She's not wrong to feel that regular flirting with her husband in private is actually unfriendly towards her. For some people, it can feel disrespectful.

Last year, Frank and I had a number of extensive conversations, both over text and email,

I may be in the minority about this, but texting is really not a good way to have private conversations that are expected to stay private. I speak from personal experience.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:28 AM on June 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


I think you should just ditch them both because this all sounds needlessly high-drama. But the whole thing with the secret conversations and the aliases *already* sounded pretty high-drama to me, so maybe I am not the right one to give you advice.
posted by mskyle at 7:30 AM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


It really was not reasonable of you to expect a friend not to share things with his spouse. It's a fact that spouses cannot be made to testify against each other because they are considered a single unit in the eyes of society. I tell my fiance everything and we're not even married yet. With all due respect, I don't think you have the emotional maturity to be friends with this guy because you don't understand that his relationship with his wife comes first.

And that you admitted to flirting with him crosses yet another, large, red line. Leave him alone and get therapy.
posted by Rach3l at 7:43 AM on June 4, 2014 [21 favorites]


I think Frank was being really presumptuous in trying to set up a "summit" between you and Jill. Who DOES that? And I think it was absolutely reasonable for you to ask Frank to keep your conversation between the two of you, and then to expect that he would do so because he told you he would. If he wanted to act as a single unit and share everything with his spouse (which in an abstract sense is not at all unreasonable), he should have let you know this was the case before your conversation.

You did the right thing in standing your ground about the summit, but unfortunately I think this does mean this friendship is, if not over, at least frozen out for the time being. Maybe he'll come around later; it might be worth spending time now deciding if you'd be willing to go back to being friends if this happens.
posted by DingoMutt at 7:47 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


If it's a true open relationship, why is he hiding stuff from her? I assume that whatever I tell a married person is going to be repeated to the spouse or at least not hidden. That sounds super sketchy. Add in the flirting, and ugh. I would have been really pissed if someone had been communicating with my husband that way. Especially if we had agreed to an open relationship - why is he hiding the flirtations??

If this was like, your childhood friend or something, I'd be more inclined to say work it out but given what you've said in the post I'd just wash my hands of it. You have nothing to discuss with her, and there are other people to talk to about the shared interest.
posted by desjardins at 7:48 AM on June 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Ugh, leave this whole thing alone, and in the future remember that husbands keeping secrets from wives is never going to be ok with the wife, and that your friends' marriage trumps your friendship, rightly so.

Here is how this went down:

Frank: I want to continue to flirt with shiu mai
Jill: no that makes me sad and suspicious
Frank: it's totally innocent. I'll make her tell you how innocent it is and then you will believe it and not be threatened ok? And you can assert your dominance over her and feel safe.
Jill: I'm confused because I'm saddened and threatened by your 3rd party flirting even tho we're supposedly open.
Frank: SHIU MAI! GET IN HERE!

Don't be part of this.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:48 AM on June 4, 2014 [15 favorites]


leave this behind. It sounds liek while you may not have been taking it this way, Frank was having an emotional affair with you.
posted by WeekendJen at 7:55 AM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh, I feel for you shiu mai baby. I had an almost identical thing happen to me, and I lost the friendship. Their choice, not mine: the wife decided (wrongly and dramatically) that I was a huge threat to her husband and told him to cut off all contact with me, and he complied.

If he wants to try to repair things, leave it on him.

This. The question becomes, do you want the friendship to continue? Was it a very close one? If you're thinking that the sit-down is a dealbreaker, then maybe it's not that big a friendship for you, that other friends could fill the need in you that they fill. (In my case, it was a very close lifelong friendship and I begged them to reconsider, but the wife was adamant and he just did what she told him to do.) If he wants to genuinely have a platonic friendship with you (and can control whatever urges he may have), then sure, let him repair his life. But only you can decide how much it all means to you.
posted by sockerpup at 8:10 AM on June 4, 2014


Frank is a Drama-Llama. He's already drunk-dialed you, that is NOT a privilage a married dude-friend has EVER.

What you THOUGHT you had with Frank isn't what that relationship really was. And you keep dipping back in here to justify things, which means that you're trying to justify continuing to see him, without dealing with his wife, and...no. That's not fair to her.

She is suspicious of you and now even moreso because you won't meet with her (and rightly so.) Frank has wound her up good and tight and the only thing that's going to relieve her is to unspring on you. That's no fun.

Frank is some kind of manipulator here, even if he's completely unaware that his actions are causing all of this hassle.

Back away from the crazy, you won't be sorry.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:10 AM on June 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


I can see many ways in which a meeting with Jill would end badly, and non where it could realistically go well.

This is an unresolvable drama. Worse, being unresolvable, it's a time sink; your life is drifting by while you spend it stuck in "Frank space". The probably significant time you are investing in thoughts about Frank could be spent in uncomplicated, unrisky, useful, FUN relationships with other people.

It may - probably will - sting at first. But block Frank on everything. Delete everything about him (so you don't spend the lonely evenings re-reading it). Go out and spend time connecting with old friends, and finding new ones. And don't spend - waste - your time discussing Frank with them, or thinking about him. Life is short.
posted by Wordshore at 8:19 AM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


In some cases of "omg my significant other is CRAZY and JEALOUS for NO REASON" there's actually a decent reason that you're not privy to because it's not your relationship. Either way, he handled this in the most dramatastic fashion possible and you should back away quickly.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:47 AM on June 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


On second thought... Also block Frank on Twitter and pretend he does not exist.

If you can, in future, it would probably be better to share whatever private thing in person, so there's no paper trail that a jealous spouse could misunderstand.
posted by mitschlag at 8:52 AM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think Frank was being really presumptuous in trying to set up a "summit" between you and Jill. Who DOES that?

I was in a similar situation but it was with my (current) partner and his ex, his son's mom, who wanted to "talk it out" with me in some weird way about a thing that did not concern her. Its slightly more complicated than that but I similarly refused. I see it as a controlling tactic "You have to arrange a meeting so that my feelings can be manged" as a way of working through your own anxiety issues and making someone else responsible for your feelings.

Now, that said, this is actually a thing that partners can request of the other, in the hierarchy of relationships. Different people place different values on partners vs friends vs close friends vs family but it seems like it's clear that Frank is choosing the feelings of his partner over your feelings and that's a choice he is allowed to make. Your relationship is with him so you can refuse to meet his partner. But he is saying that his primary relationship is with her so that's a dealbreaker.

All the rest is, to my read, drama on your part and his part and her part. You did not hurt Jill, Frank did. Move on, this is over.
posted by jessamyn at 9:22 AM on June 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Keep in mind, this is the first time he has done this kind of thing to you, his friend. I bet this is a pattern he has and she is recognising you playing a familiar role she has seen before. So the whole idea of the meeting may have been that she wanted to let you know that you were going to be used up and discarded, just like all the other girls he shared confidences, flirtations, drunk-texts, and secrets with before. I can see how being married to such a manipulative person would make her negative and complainy - thank goodness you got out of his influence before you became too enmeshed!
posted by saucysault at 9:39 AM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I find the whole Jill "accidentally" reading his journal dubious -- that's the kind of discovery that happens when one partner is getting a strong feeling about not being able to trust the other. I'd bet that Frank perceives Jill as being more successful with the opposite sex than he is, and especially if that has translated into Jill having more extra-marital sexual opportunities than he has (if it's actually an open marriage, that is), then I'd bet that insecurity has led him to overcompensate in perceiving himself to be highly desirable in his friendship/relationship with you. A kind of "see there is a woman who would want me as much as other men want you" sort of thing. Frank wanting you and Jill to meet sounds like he's trying to set the stage to confront Jill with the idea that other women want him (and his fantasy kink, whatever your secret conversations pertained to) -- potentially toxic, toxic territory that you are very wise to stay clear of.

Keep in mind too that you're mostly working with what Frank wants you to understand about Jill. You have no idea what it was specifically that led Jill to freak out about it (as mentioned above, maybe he's pulled this drama setup before), or what kind of spin your role has been given to help satisfy Frank's underlying motives here.

I'd go with option 3 + boundaries around how your intimacy needs (those arising from your conversations with Frank) will be met in the future, i.e. not via a married man.
posted by human ecologist at 10:23 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I agree with all the advice above: Frank and Jill have major problems in their relationship, and he is trying to take some of the pressure off himself by putting you in the middle of it all. He does not care about your feelings or your friendship in all this. The only way to win this kind of game is simply not to play.
posted by rpfields at 11:18 AM on June 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


things of a highly personal matter.

What is this? You don't have to say, but you should understand something.

By the sounds of it, you were engaged in some cyber-chat sex stuff...with a married man.

And you didn't think it may have an effect on your friendship?

User, please. Just let this go, and don't complicate their marriage any more than you have.

The worst thing that can come out for you is the best thing for their marriage...that she was privy to it from the beginning. Because there is such a contrast in goals here, the cannot work.

This friendship is over.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:47 PM on June 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Oh geez, this sounds like drama city. Honestly, you never had the 'friendship' with Frank that you thought you had; and the way he's continuing to act is really spelling this out loud and clear. I would make the choice not to be involved with Frank's drama. I mean, consider why his wife is snooping on his journal etc. You seem very trusting that what Frank has said to you; I would question why you are so believing as to what he's said - especially in regards to his marriage - when several discrepancies have already emerged.

More broadly: I discussed these things with the explicit understanding that my privacy was paramount, that these discussions were absolutely confidential.

It is very good practice indeed to assume that married couples tell the partner everything. They might not always, but I would argue they do more often than not, and that it's understandable, and even desirable.
posted by smoke at 4:05 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I discussed these things with the explicit understanding that my privacy was paramount, that these discussions were absolutely confidential.

Combining this with the information that they are in an open relationship... There are a lot of different ways to be in an open relationship and many different ways to be polyamorous, but one of the big things is clear and open communication. There are a lot of different ways that Jill and Frank may have structured their relationship, but one partner keeping secrets from the other about someone they're on a flirting-level of acquaintance with is often seen as a red flag.

That is, it may be entirely possible that their relationship is open enough that it would permit some sort of relationship between you and Frank, but it's significantly less likely that it would permit that same relationship happening in secret or with some level of subterfuge (the whole "she knows he's discussing it but not who he's discussing it with" thing).

So, again, it's totally AOK for you to not want to meet with Jill about this, but my read on the whole thing (absent more context) is that Frank may have been acting outside of the spirit of his relationship with Jill, he got caught out and decided to sacrifice his friendship with you in order to get things back on track.
posted by jessamyn at 5:15 PM on June 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Even in an open relationship, the principal loyalty of the primaries is, definitionally, to each other. Even if it's unfair, and even if the people involved are behaving irrationally.

Jill doesn't want Frank to talk to you any more. Frank is following the letter of the law by following you on Twitter but not otherwise communicating (and he's violating the spirit of the law because he's not unfollowing, because he wants to have it both ways).

It doesn't matter who hurt who, Frank wants you to fulfill Jill's conditions so he can keep Jill happy, because she's his primary. That circumstance is not going to change whether you're his totally platonic friend or you become his lover. If you don't want to dance to Jill's tune, unfollow, block and get on with your life. He knows where you are if he really wants to find you.
posted by gingerest at 7:03 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


"There was some low-grade flirting going on between he and I, but it absolutely wasn't going anywhere. "

I don't flirt with any of my friends... not even low-grade flirting. So just by doing that it already went a little beyond friendship between you two and Jill of coarse senses that.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't trust Frank. Men don't generally write about personal things in journals. Jill probably found out when Frank TOLD her or when he told someone else, but he doesn't want you to know that so he made up this journal thing. When Jill found out her suspisions that there was something more between you heightened big time. He decided then to tell her everything and she wants confirmation from you. Whether he really wrote it in a journal or not Frank isn't being honest with you because why in the hell would YOU owe Jill some kind of discussion or explanation? He's leaving something out. Probably that Jill suspects something between you two, but then why wouldn't he just say that?

I've been betrayed more than enough times in my life by so called "friends" so maybe this has made me assume the worst, but I don't think Frank is someone you should be sharing secrets with. If you want to save the friendship (friendship with flirting??) just talk to Jill and see what's up there. No you don't owe her anything, but she seems to suspect something's up and if you can ease her worries I don't see how that's a bad thing. And if you do salvage the relationship I would kindly suggest you be careful what you share with Frank from now on.
posted by manderin at 12:54 AM on June 5, 2014


You know I somehow missed that Frank and Jill are married! When you said they were in an open relationship I thought they were just dating. Ok... you need to just stop this "friendship" with Frank right now. I stand by what I said that he is not being honest with you, but really this isn't the type of friendship that is meant to be salvaged.
posted by manderin at 1:03 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Frank was pissed, because he insisted I had hurt Jill.

Frank sounds like someone who is blaming you for his own mistakes. His relationship with Jill is not your problem to fix.

I'd bet that their relationship is not exactly open, and that Jill was never really cool with or understanding of anything that was going on between you and Frank.
posted by inertia at 10:47 AM on June 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Consider this a lesson learned, and walk away.

He's violated your trust twice. He shared your confidential conversations with his wife when he promised he would not do so. Despite knowing that meeting with her would be extremely uncomfortable for you, he pushed and then ended the friendship. These are not the acts of a respectful, considerate friend who cares about your feelings.

Spouses do share a great deal with each other. But when a friend asks me not to share something with my wife, I don't. Because I respect their privacy and confidence. That's what friends are supposed to do. You explicitly asked him to keep your conversations between you. When privacy is promised, it's completely reasonable to expect someone will keep their word. Yes, even from their spouse.

Personally, I would not maintain a friendship with anyone who treated me the way he is treating you.
posted by zarq at 2:03 PM on August 22, 2014


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