All's fair?
January 7, 2006 7:38 PM   Subscribe

I messed up. Roommate, girl, me. Things go boom.

J and I live in New York. S lives in Boston.

J and S never officially went out, but over the course of the year he went to visit her a half-dozen times. In discussion with me he became less and less enthusiastic about her. I had a crush - which seemed to be reciprocated, we always had crazy spark - but let it lie there.

They hadn't seen each other in a few months when S gets in touch with me. We're emailing back and forth for a while. Make plans to see each other. J calls S for the first time in months. S and I decide, yeah, we should tell him.

J is cool with it at first. Week later changes his mind, is hurt and jealous, asks us to stop.

So I'm a dick, yes. Still, what to do? Could we really stop? Is there a middle ground where we can still explore? We don't know each other well enough yet to be in love, but the possibility is definitely there. And they were never that serious ... but he is hurting, and he's my friend.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (30 answers total)
Let me put it very simply. You have done absolutely nothing wrong. If he can't get over the thoughts of what could have been, that's his fault, not yours. You shouldn't let that stop you from figuring out your own possible future with S.

If anything, you and S were more than reasonable, since you immediately let him know that you and S had something going on. If he still can't get by it, you have to accept that you may lose him as a friend. You may want to consider keeping your relationship with S from being constantly in his view (take phone calls in the next room, don't hang out with him arount, etc).
posted by mystyk at 7:53 PM on January 7, 2006

Yeah, I don't think you did anything wrong, but that won't make J feel any better. I dunno, I guess you have to decide whether your thing with S is more important than your concern for J's feelings. Pursuing anything with S is going to hurt J, regardless of justification or not.
posted by xmutex at 7:57 PM on January 7, 2006

Do nothing except what you're doing already. Continue to be open and honest with him, you and S both, and be sensitive to his feelings - don't rub his nose in it, as mystyk suggested. But if he starts getting grumpy because he thinks he's some sort of right to dictate your love life just because he's a git who can't make up his mind... well, maybe it's time to look for a new roommate.

You = not dick. Him = quite possibly a dick.
posted by flashboy at 8:00 PM on January 7, 2006

eh, him != a dick. Just a hurt human. I think we've all been there. Or maybe it's just me. Don't make it right, but...
posted by xmutex at 8:00 PM on January 7, 2006

I have been J... except my roommate didn't tell me, and I discovered they'd been sneaking around -- that was totally not cool.

You and S however, did the right thing and informed J that this was going to happen. Additionally, he said he was cool with it. It is unfair of him to change his mind later on and decide he can't deal with you two together. You did the adult thing and told him before it happened, and you did the friend thing and went ahead after he gave it his okay.

IMHO you are in the clear. J needs to understand you did nothing wrong.
posted by ruwan at 8:11 PM on January 7, 2006

Perhaps you and S and J could, you know, explore certain boundaries.
posted by xmutex at 8:26 PM on January 7, 2006

Yeah, J needs to get over it and realize that he has no claim over S.
posted by bshort at 8:28 PM on January 7, 2006

Uh, you did nothing wrong so far. But this is your roommate you're talking about. Are you thinking that S is going to come and visit you while you're still living with him? That would not be cool at all. Get your own place so that J doesn't have to think about what's happening if he doesn't want to.
posted by bingo at 8:29 PM on January 7, 2006

You know, New York's a great place to meet cute, cool girls. There's a whole mess of 'em here - either for you or yr roomie. Why go all the way to Boston?
posted by item at 8:51 PM on January 7, 2006

It is too late for J in any case. If S and you get together he is out. If you call it off with S because of J then S will be resentful and have little to do with J (and you btw). He may be hurt, but he also has no claim over what S does. If you think the two of you are compatible go for it.
posted by edgeways at 10:45 PM on January 7, 2006

as long as he isn't obsessive or crazy or anything, you should probably be able to have nice talks with him to calm him down and introduce him to what's happening in daily life slooooowly and things will be fine.

if he is obsessive or crazy, maybe one year later you'll still be hearing about it, but in spite of that you'll make posts on metafilter about how people should do the roommate-girlfriend move anyway.
posted by soma lkzx at 10:52 PM on January 7, 2006

Uh, you're not a dick, the other guy is a dick. And a petulant wanker.
posted by delmoi at 1:29 AM on January 8, 2006

Guy code. You're a dick.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 2:37 AM on January 8, 2006

Yeah, there's a guy code. You don't appear to be following it.

You should have told J the day that S contacted you and you started emailing back and forth what was going on, and made sure it was okay with him. Most likely, he wouldn't have cared then. So you waited until he called her and was interested again to tell him. Clear break of the rules there.

Best you can do now is sit down with J, apologize for not letting him know immediatly. Tell him that you had an interest in her when they were just sorta dating, but would never act on it as you respected him too much for that. Make sure he's clear that S contacted you, not you her, and probably mention you were reluctant at first, but figured he no longer had interest.

At this point, J will hopefully realize that you do indeed respect him and his feelings (though being men, no discussion of 'feelings' or even the word will be used) and let you and S move on without interfering, as that's what a real friend should do.

It wouldn't be a bad idea for S to find a local female friend that may be interested in J to come down and visit with her, if S visiting you is in the works. She's been with him, so she should have some idea of where his tastes run.

If J doesn't come around? Well, he may not be a understanding friend, but he's still your friend. This is the super hard part. A girl can be worth throwing the guy code out the window, but she'd have to be a hell of a girl. And keep in mind that you won't just damage your friendship with J, but also with any other mutual friends you have, especially other males that see that you've totally broken the code. I'd take some serious time and figure out just how good of a friend J and you have been over the years before you throw that away.

Friends are Forever.
And there's plenty of fish in the sea.
posted by Phynix at 3:42 AM on January 8, 2006

You're a dick. It's not just guy code, the same applies between girlfriends too.
posted by randomstriker at 5:47 AM on January 8, 2006

Nah, you're not a dick. You're caught in a bit of a grey area as far as the guy code is concerned, but I think you did the right thing in telling him. He has every right to be hurt, but I suspect that it's more his pride that has been damaged rather than an any inherent feelings for the girl. He'll get over it.
posted by ashbury at 5:53 AM on January 8, 2006

Look, you can't expect him to be okay with this. He's already made it clear that he's not.

Maybe he's being a dick, but so what? He's still upset. You can point out that he's being a dick, but he'll still be upset. You can "persuade" him that you did no wrong, but he'll still be upset. Hell, you can tell him that you've got the entire internet on your side. He'll still be upset. Emotions are irrational, and you can't make someone change how they feel.

So you've got a very practical decision to make. You can have either
  • a girlfriend in Boston and a pissed-off roommate
  • no girlfriend in Boston, but a less-pissed-off roommate
And that decision is up to you. Which one would you prefer to have?
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:58 AM on January 8, 2006

You're not a dick (and this "guy code" thing is bullshit), but you do need to decide which is more important to you, your friendship with your roommate or your potential romance. It's irrelevant whether your roommate has a "right" to his feelings; that's what he feels, and you have to deal with it.
posted by languagehat at 6:40 AM on January 8, 2006

The "guy code" or "girlfriend code" stuff is purest crap. You are a free agent. Who you date and don't date is up to you, and only you. Who you date is none of your roommate's damn business. You are free to date someone your roommate doesn't know from Adam's housecat, or S, or your roommate's mother or sister, all without his permission. And however many fish in the sea there are, there are a damn sight more potential guy friends out there than there are potential mates.

Indeed you can't expect him to like it. If he's actually your friend in a stupid guy FRIENDS ARE FOREVER sense, you still can't expect him to like it -- but you *can* expect him to put up with it, and eventually come around after he's done being pissy about it, and to remain your friend throughout.

If he won't, if you end up having to choose between him and her, then you do. But you might think about whether it was J or S that had been an asshole to you and which relationship is more worth holding on to.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:02 AM on January 8, 2006

hurr guy code ladder theory bros before hoes i'm nineteen years old

If she wants to be with you, she'll be with you. If she wanted to be with him, she'd already be with him. He has no right, no privilege, no expectation here. He should know this, and if he doesn't, well, it's understandable that he might be hurt but also he should get over it in a few months. If he doesn't, he is a grade-A weenie. Like flashboy said, don't rub his nose in it, and you're cool. You've already been way upfront and honest with him and I would not sweat it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:03 AM on January 8, 2006

I think honesty is all that any of you owe each other. That, and a little bit of caring. You and she were honest about what's going on, and he has been honest about his (perfectly understandable) erratic feelings.

Nothing wrong with the two of you getting together, AT ALL. Don't feel bad about it, there's nothing that you can do to change the essential truth that right now the two of you are interested in one another. BUT, realize that you have a friend who is hurting, and try to do what you can to be sensitive to that (if that means not bringing her to your place, or whatever...)

His hurting should not cause you stop seeing her, just tread lightly, follow his lead as to how he wants to deal with it, and basically just treat him like any other friend who's having a tough time.

Good luck :)
posted by eileen at 8:48 AM on January 8, 2006

What does 'never officially went out' mean? There was obviously something there. I'd question S's motives for getting in touch with you out of the blue. She could probably guess J wasn't going to like it. I'd step away from it. Save your friendship and find yourself a nice New York lassie.
posted by MrMustard at 9:33 AM on January 8, 2006

I don't think you did anything wrong, but on the other hand, you have to live with your roommate.
posted by dagnyscott at 11:15 AM on January 8, 2006

I don't think you have to buy into a 9th-grade bros-before-hoes Guy Code to agree completely with Phynix that anonymous "should have told J the day that S contacted you and you started emailing back and forth what was going on." That's what friends do and anonymous dropped the ball.

I don't agree that anonymous needed J's approval to go ahead, but an apology for seeing her without at least letting him know is the right thing to do (if he wants to keep the friendship). After that, if J decides he can't deal with it, then that's J's call.
posted by mediareport at 11:49 AM on January 8, 2006

J doesn't own S. If something was going to happen between them - "true love", etc, it would have. It didn't. It wasn't meant to be between them. I think he's got a special form of "the grass is always greener" thing going on - the girl is always better once your buddy is dating her. Yeah he's hurting, but you know what? Hurting doesn't give him the right to get in your way. If he has regret over what he did or didn't do, he's got to work through that. That doesn't mean you have to bend over backwards for him, though it would be nice, as others have said, not to rub his nose in it.

And frankly, if he were a good friend, he'd be happy for you both. I can't emphasize that enough.
posted by beth at 12:13 PM on January 8, 2006

there's no "guy code." i'm a guy. no code.
some people have way too much invested in their cocks.
posted by poweredbybeard at 12:20 PM on January 8, 2006

There's no guy code, you don't have to live with your roommate, your life is yours. The best time to live it is now.
posted by lowlife at 2:31 PM on January 8, 2006

"Week later changes his mind, is hurt and jealous, asks us to stop."

I suggest SHE tells him to back off and that he has no say over who she dates.

I suggest YOU tell him that rather than have you give up the happiness that you both have with each other, he finds a "way to be cool with it"; he finds a way to be happy for you both.

And then walk away, and don't debate it further. It's his problem; it's for him to find a reasonable way to deal with it - as someone has already said, you and the girl are both free agents.

If he's anything other than a 'dick', he'll come 'round in time.
posted by Blue Stone at 4:09 PM on January 8, 2006

The "guy code" is bullshit. Further, "guy code" requires him to get the fuck over it and not be a goddamned pussy about violations of the "guy code."

"Hey man, I didn't realize this was gonna be such a big deal for you. I mean, I'm still gonna see her, but I'll be discreet because it bugs you. You want the number of one of my exes? Are we cool? I'll buy the beer for the apartment for a month."
posted by klangklangston at 8:33 PM on January 8, 2006

Guy Code, Girl's all a part of standard social abilities that we lump together and call people skills.

Yes, you are a free agent. Feel free to tell your friend to piss off and date the girl anyway. You are free to choose your own path. What you are not free from is dealing with the consequences of your choices. Piss off your friend, and you'll lose him. You may also lose other mutual friends, that think you are being a jerk (which you would be if you did it).

Just because J has some problems with jumpy emotions and is a bit wishy-washy, obviously doesn't mean he's not friend material, as you still wish to keep him as a friend. If you didn't, you wouldn't have bothered asking this question, you just would have told him to get lost and dated S. So, despite the no guy code claimers above, you seem to be aware that there are indeed some things that need to be followed to go through life without alienating everyone by being a total Free Agent.

By the way, I'm sure S would be happy to sit down and talk with J and explain just why not committing and constantly changing his mind back and forth ruined whatever they had, and even if she was alone and lonely, she wouldn't have gotten back with him anyway. Perhaps this whole experince, if handled properly, could be a very good thing for J and his future relationships.
posted by Phynix at 11:11 PM on January 8, 2006

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