in but not of a love triangle
February 26, 2017 12:18 AM   Subscribe

Joe is into Greg, who's secretly dating Nick. I am stuck in the middle of this triangle.

We are all 20somethings who work for an organization that has regional meetings in the Bay Area. Nick and I live in San Francisco. Last year, we met Joe and Greg; we all became good friends. We did a group trip together and have a group text.

When we first met, I didn't read anyone as gay or bi, though obviously that's meaningless. Nick and I were both dating women.

Between the times we saw each other, Joe was harboring a huge crush on Greg. Joe also lives in the middle of nowhere and is pretty isolated.

At the most recent meeting in November, Joe confessed his feelings to Greg. Greg rebuffed him, saying that there was someone else. Turns out that someone else was Nick. I found out when Nick and I were at a party, both drunk, and I made a lucky guess.

Now I know, but Joe doesn't know. Our next regional meeting is coming up in a few weeks. Greg and Nick haven't told Joe that they're together. Joe is obsessing and heartbroken.

I want to tell Joe about the relationship, because I think hiding it is bullshit, and I think the relationship will come out next time we're all together. But I also feel conflicted about outing them. I've told Greg and Nick to tell Joe, but they haven't.

What's the right thing to do?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (16 answers total)
It's for greg and nick to let Joe know this. Stay out of it.
posted by brujita at 12:26 AM on February 26, 2017 [31 favorites]

Greg already stated he wasn't interested and that there is someone else--
Stay out of the details.
posted by calgirl at 12:48 AM on February 26, 2017 [11 favorites]

I wouldn't seek out an opportunity to tell Joe about Greg and Nick. However, he might ask you if they're together, in which case I recommend you not lie, but tell him to ask them. He'll figure out what you mean by that, of course, but while it's not your place to tell him what's up, it's also not your job to cover for the two of them.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:55 AM on February 26, 2017 [6 favorites]

Its none of your business, stay out of it. Joe having a crush on Greg doesn't give him any special rights to know Joe's business. Joe already told him he wasn't interested and there's someone else. Knowing who that someone else is, isn't going to make him less heartbroken.

Who that someone else is, is irrelevant. They may be keeping the relationship secret because of Joe or for any other reason that is completely between them.
posted by missmagenta at 1:27 AM on February 26, 2017 [11 favorites]

If your name isn't Joe, Greg or Nick you aren't in the middle of anything.
Find something on Netlflix to watch instead, however juicy this may be.
posted by Iteki at 1:51 AM on February 26, 2017 [59 favorites]

I understand wanting to tell Joe -- when he does find out, and also finds out that you knew and didn't say, he'll probably feel weird. But you don't know why they haven't told him. Maybe they want to be private about it. Maybe they're worried it'll break up the group friendship. They could simply be manipulative jerks. Maybe Nick isn't out for reasons. Whatever the deal, it's on them, not you. If it were me, I would not tell Joe, but I would ask Greg and Nick to tell him prior to the upcoming get-together.
posted by pepper bird at 5:15 AM on February 26, 2017

Mod note: A couple deleted. Hello, folks who are doing shouty all caps and bold stuff: please don't do this. Just explain your advice if you feel like it, or skip the thread, but the yelling-text thing is jarring and obnoxious and not a good way to communicate on Ask Metafilter. Thanks.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:17 AM on February 26, 2017

I know it feels like you're in the middle of things, but unless you've left out some details, you're not. It's not your business to let Joe in one what's up; if Nick and Greg ask you to cover for them, tell them you don't want to be in the middle (because you don't, right?) and then don't cover for them. I understand you care about Joe and don't want to see him hurting, but you telling him about Nick and Greg is not going to fix that, and is also...not your business.
posted by rtha at 6:34 AM on February 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

I am with Calgirl: Greg has already said he's not interested, and that he is seeing someone else. He doesn't owe anyone any more details than that. If you want to be helpful, encourage Joe to refocus his energies elsewhere and move on. Otherwise, stay out of it.
posted by rpfields at 7:56 AM on February 26, 2017 [6 favorites]

This is such a hard situation to be in! Yes, you aren't "involved" because you aren't Joe, Greg or Nick, but you *are* involved because the 4 of your have a relationship amongst the 4 of you. Greg, Nick, and Joe are also putting the burden of Emotional Labour on you to cover up for Greg/Nick and potentially manage feelings/interactions because you have information that Joe *should* have but the people responsible for sharing it are avoiding doing so because they don't want to deal with the guaranteed fallout.

My position would be to tell Nick/Greg that while you 100% support their relationship, Joe is going to figure it out the next time you are all together and it is putting you (asker) in a inappropriate position to have to cover for them/pretend that what is happening isn't and very unkind to have Joe learn about their relationship this way. I would recommend that Greg break the news to Joe before the next hangout to let Joe get used to the idea and decide if he wants to join the next gathering. I would also say that if Joe asks you outright you won't confirm or deny but will tell him he should ask Greg/Nick.

They *are* going to have to deal with this so it is just a matter of 1) putting on their big boy pants and dealing with it up front and possibly saving this group friendship or 2) waiting until it blows up in their face (which unfortunately is the usual course of action).
posted by CoffeeHikeNapWine at 8:44 AM on February 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

You're not in the middle. If Joe asks you something about it, just say something like, "that's a better question for Greg or Nick." Repeat as many times as you need to. You can encourage Greg and Nick to be open about it; there's no reason to hide that they're together. They shouldn't be shamed or made to feel responsible for Joe's feelings. And, Joe sounds like he needs to be encouraged to move on. He had an obvious crush, asked Greg out, was told no thanks in a nice way and that should be it. Being dramatically heartbroken and openly pining is both inappropriate and creepy. Joe isn't entitled to a return of his interest. He's also not entitled to create tension and disturbance in the friend group because he can't resolve his own feelings.

Maybe this sounds harsh, but as a woman who has had to manage damaged social relationships when some dude's crush on me has blown up into drama because he couldn't take my polite "no thank you" well, I have little patience for this. Of course, people are entitled to their feelings, but they're not entitled to make managing those feelings the responsibility of the larger friend group or the person they have a one-way crush on.
posted by quince at 9:30 AM on February 26, 2017 [10 favorites]

Agreed, this isn't your information to disclose. I think the suggestion to redirect any questions about whether Nick and Greg are dating are on point, but I can also envision a scenario where Joe isn't making that leap but is still dissecting interactions or wondering why Greg isn't into him during conversations between the two of you. It's understandable that would make you uncomfortable, but really the only appropriate response is to gently remind him that he received a direct answer from Greg and, even though it isn't what he wanted to hear, he needs to respect that. Good luck!
posted by katemcd at 10:14 AM on February 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Everyone telling you that you aren't in the middle isn't going to matter if Joe gets mad at you for not telling him what you knew. At the same time, Greg said what he needed to say and it's not on you to be an intermediary. I would actively avoid being an intermediary and consider how you want to handle things for yourself if things go badly between them at the next regional meeting. It's really hard when this happens and in some ways especially when it's not your drama, but take care of yourself first.
posted by bile and syntax at 1:59 PM on February 26, 2017

Why do you feel any obligation to tell Joe about someone else's personal information? The fact that he has a crush doesn't give him any entitlement. He needs to grow up and move on. This isn't for anyone to 'deal with' or feel like they have to manage his feelings on the matter and the longer you all act like you do, the more Joe will feel like everyone owes him something. It's only a drama if you make it one and right now you are.
posted by Jubey at 3:34 PM on February 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

Just so it sinks in: stay out of Greg and Nick's business.

Nick even told you because you were drunk but maybe they are not ready to share their status with the rest of the world.
posted by Kwadeng at 1:14 AM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

idk, you don't want Joe to be hurt and you imagine intensely his whole loneliness and things, if the chance comes up you can tell him that the one he fancies is already in a relationship? I feel responsible for other people's pain too, whereas for their pleasure i don't...
posted by maiamaia at 12:42 PM on February 27, 2017

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