How to sort out my private life?
November 23, 2007 6:25 AM   Subscribe

Yet another relationship question. Help me resolve this issue. I'll try to keep the explanation short.

I am in love with a woman (Woman A) who I recently discovered loves me back... sounds simple. However, I a major issues preventing us from moving forward openly.

Woman B - a close friend who I had an odd relationship in the past (see this anon question) - has never quite put the sexual side of our relationship aside, seemingly always wanting to retain that option when we meet. I have had to deflect her advances on more than one occasion.

For those who've read that past anon question, my actions after that post were to move to a friendship position minus the sleeping together, a position which held up well except on one or two occasions which admittedly didn't help.

After discovering the mutual interest I share with Woman A, I was talking to Woman B about how I don't want the sexual side of things to play any part of our friendship. She took it quite strangely, asking me why I'd brought it up now and so on and saying that if I got into a relationship she'd stop being my friend (i.e. clear cut emotional blackmail). I tried explaining to her that her cutting me off wouldn't be my issue but hers and she'd just have to deal with it. She then got upset about "finality" and how she'd seen me in her future - with a strong implication that meant in a relationship - something that seems odd considering the anon question linked above, something I pointed out to her.

Outside this issue, as much as I can do that, Woman B is a great friend and I don't want to lose her over Woman A. However, I am also aware that she is being irrational and trying to guilt trip me.

What I want to know is how you think I can get her to be rational and accept my choice without cutting me out of her life completely?

If you don't think that's possible, then let me know and try and offer strategies for letting her down gently as I think she is emotionally unstable and may need help.

I am very much in love with Woman A, so although I don't want to hurt Woman B and don't want to lose her from my life... If that's what happens when I am openly with A then so be it.

Those wishing to reply anonymously or get further info, please email:
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (56 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite


posted by methylsalicylate at 6:33 AM on November 23, 2007 [21 favorites]

It sounds to me like you have decent clarity except for the one or two occasions when you hooked up with Woman B, occasions that will now receded slowly into the past. It's a wonderful thing to love someone who loves you back. Explain, briefly, to Woman B that you are proceeding into a relationship with Woman A and while you'd appreciate her friendship and she's important to you it's ultimately her decision what she wants to do. Sounds like you've more or less done that already. Also sounds like, form your last question, that she was the one holding you at arm's length, not your issue really.

In short, you've had this sort of sideways relationship with Woman B and being fully in a relationship with Woman A most likely means a severing of the not-quite-above-board other relationship of closeness and friends with benefits or whatever you call it. Continuing to argue about it is still maintaining that relationship. Trying to "make her see reason" is still maintaining that relationship. Worrying too much about her emotional stability is maintaining that relationship. You can be clear with her that you apprciate her friendhsip but you must also be clear -- with her and with yourself -- that Woman A is going to be your relationship priority for the time being, moving forward. The most difficult thing in these sorts of situations is when the other person -- Woman B in your case -- decides to force the issue sort of continuing to entangle you with them even if it's not in a productive or pleasant way. I know it's hard watching a friend go through something like this, but it's not your job to shepherd her through it.

In short, she's not a great friend if she's standing in the way of you being in a relationship that makes you happy. Perhaps she can be one in the future when you both have hammered out the new paradigm. I'd view her much more through an ex-girlfriend lens than a good friend lens because honestly no matter what you've said to her, that seems to be how she is acting.
posted by jessamyn at 6:35 AM on November 23, 2007 [5 favorites]

Short answer, (a)you can't, (b) it's not your problem.

Long answer, she's made her choice clear. She doesn't want to be seen as part of a couple or having the "baggage" of a boyfriend. She may or may not be attached to you (methinks from what I've read that she is) but whatever is going on in her head is preventing her taking it further with you.

You may get with her in a month, a year, ten years or NEVER. My advice is to tell her you're in a relationship and go ahead and be with woman A. Let woman B handle it how she sees fit. If she feels she needs to have you in her life both of you will come to a compromise. If not, unfortunately, there's little you can do about it.

Also, if I were you I wouldn't read too much into the "implication" of a relationship. People in general will do/say all sorts of things when faced with loss. If she REALLY wanted you in a relationship, you would be in one right now. So don't blow off woman A on a hint.
posted by gadha at 6:36 AM on November 23, 2007

At first blush, it doesn't sound like Woman B is going to be terribly rational about your choice, regardless. Based on the other question, this woman wants a Best Friends with Benefits situation from you, yes?

I think your best bet is to repeat to Woman B what you say in your question: I am very much in love with Woman A, so although I don't want to hurt Woman B and don't want to lose her from my life... If that's what happens when I am openly with A then so be it.

She'll react the way she's going to react, and that's something you have no control over.

Frankly, it might be the best thing for her to realize that she's lost you to someone else through her own inability to commit. This "be my boyfriend but only in secret" attitude doesn't sound like a wonderful way to treat someone.
posted by LN at 6:37 AM on November 23, 2007

This happens with casual sex--one person gets more attached than the other. Are "A" and "B" friends? Here is my female take on it-- she probably feels used by you, and now here you are gushing about some new girl to the old girl like you are just "friends", but fuck-friends aren't just friends, there are little tender feelers attached no matter how much people claim otherwise. Don't talk to any woman you've boinked in the recent past about some new woman--that is just tacky and hurtful. Also, don't say she is "unstable". That is the male interpretation when women get rightfully pissed off at men who they feel used them or where not completely honest with them...playing games with them. You are using her if you are talking to her as a sounding board about some new woman--just don't go there. To do that is to totally negate your past with that woman and women are not wired that way. Ever hear the phrase "hell hath no fury than a woman scorned"? There is a reason for that phrase and I guarantee you that Woman B (see, you even call her second even though she was first in your line up) see you as screwing around with her feelings and it is pissing her off. Get a clue and just shut up about your love life when you are talking to others who knew you in an intimate way at one time. Don't be a caveman.
posted by 45moore45 at 6:46 AM on November 23, 2007 [3 favorites]

oh, not enough coffee...forgive spelling errors, etc.
posted by 45moore45 at 6:48 AM on November 23, 2007

In situations like this, when a friend gives you ultimatums about whether they'll be your friend or not, THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND. You are an object to such a person, who exists for their needs so the you, as person don't matter. Do you really want to be friends with someone who has repeatedly taken and not given you what you need/want?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:59 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Woman B's ass is crazy.

Also, "my actions after that post were to move to a friendship position minus the sleeping together," doesn't make sense since you still sleep with her. Stop doing that.
posted by chunking express at 7:00 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Get with woman A. It's what you want to do.

Get rid of woman B. It's what you need to do.

If you've made it clear to B that you are just friends (verbally and physically - if you hooked up within the past week of saying "we're just friends" to her, the statement is going to carry a lot less weight), and she can't handle that, that's her problem.

That said, hooking up with her after telling her that you're just friends is just reinforcing her view that you two will get together again at some point in the future. So, lay it on extra thick that you are a] just friends, and b] there will be no more sex between the two of you, from now, until she gets the idea. It might even be best to cut her out completely for a while, so she really gets the hint. But don't be cruel - this mess is partially of your making.

Then, explain to A the whole situation, including the bit where it's your fault. She needs to know up front if this other girl is potentially going to cause grief in the relationship.
posted by Solomon at 7:01 AM on November 23, 2007

45moore45, if you read the previous question, you'll see that he tried to have a relationship with Woman B, but she repeatedly rebuffed him. Much of what you're attributing to the original poster and his state of thinking, actions and events that occurred seems to
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:04 AM on November 23, 2007

No, it is not "off". It is female. Sorry if that sounds foreign to you, Brandon. Too many people think they can fuck and run but the truth is that feelings happen whether you want them to or not, and that is the part the OP doesn't seem to get. You just don't talk to females about other females and not expect them to want to cut your dick off at some point. If more men understood that, there would be less drama. I don't speak for all women, surely, but most of the posts here seem to be from men and you just aren't getting it.
posted by 45moore45 at 7:09 AM on November 23, 2007

Nthing what 45moore45 said, and yes Brandon Blatcher, I have read the previous question.

Granted - Woman B rebuffed the OP when he wanted to have a relationship. But that doesn't mean that she can't feel scorned NOW, that he's found someone else. Clearly, she is a "have a boyfriend, keep your options open" kind of girl; but its not that she didn't want him as her back-up option. So I think the feelings that 45moore45 attributes to her are spot on.

Definitely do NOT talk about woman A with woman B (that would be called "rubbing it in her face"), and if you think woman B is really pissed, you might want to warn woman A that woman B is upset and let her know of the previous relationship. The last thing you want is woman B confronting woman A (assuming they know each other, of course).

I would just tell woman B that you've met someone, that you want to have a relationship with her, and that you value and care about woman B and still want to be friends (and just friends) with her. After that, the ball is in her court.
posted by zia at 7:15 AM on November 23, 2007

45moore45, I think you have it exactly.
posted by pearlybob at 7:20 AM on November 23, 2007

You have a very clear choice:

Option A: Embrace your identity as a drama queen, keep having long and agonized conversations "about us" with the first woman, while immersing yourself deeper into a complicated relationship with the new one (because the conversations and perhaps infidelities with the first will complicate the second, duh), and then needing to periodically post anonymous AskMe's saying "OMG!!! My love life is so complicated!!! What do I do???"

Option B: Get your shit together and act like an adult. That means not having lots of deep and meaningful conversations with the first woman if you are going to be in a relationship with the new one (or at least, not if the new woman isn't totally cool with it). It means acting like the person you want to be, instead of this half-whingey / half-proud recitation of a trainwreck you have twice given us. Basically it means shitting or getting off the pot -- if you think woman A is cool, then you do the things to treat her well. If you think woman B is the one for you, then you do the things to treat her well. But you can't have it both ways, because the things you need to do to make things work with the new woman are in conflict with what would need to happen to make things work with the old.

So can you choose the new woman and still be friends with the old woman? Maybe -- but it's not really your choice. You can openly choose the new woman, and you can communicate to the old one the new parameters of your relationship (maybe, hanging out is cool, but snogging and sex aren't? Or, maybe hanging out is cool but only when the new woman is around? Remember -- the key here is what makes the new woman happy, not the old.). But you can't control how she reacts -- will she be happy with it, or freak out and start one of those daytime TV fights with your new girlfriend "You stole my man!"?

The key points here are a) that you need to make a choice, and b) your actions have to be in support of that choice. Announcing a choice for woman A, but then acting like you want woman B, will not have pretty results, and I can guarantee will result in at best a follow-on AskMe post, and at worst... well, we've all read about poor Mr Bobbitt, right?
posted by Forktine at 7:20 AM on November 23, 2007 [8 favorites]

Dude - I've BEEN "Woman B". She's not unstable - it's called "unrequited love" and you've just been fucking with her mind, stringing her along, because it feeds your ego.

And yes, it feeds your ego to know that she still pines for you, still gets jealous, still very obviously cares.

Stop trying to have your cake and eat it too. Stop being unfair by

Let Woman B get over you and get on with her life. Let her go.
posted by wayward vagabond at 7:35 AM on November 23, 2007

I really think replies here would be much more helpful if people read the earlier thread. Like, really read it. Assuming basic truthfulness on the part of the OP, the person labeled "Woman B" insisted on the strange, semi-relationship relationship they have had, including the secretiveness and the unclear boundaries between friendship and romantic relationship, and used the OP for some time. That doesn't make it OK for the OP to use her back, but it totally changes the context, and I think it makes 45moore45's tone (not the substance of her point) really inappropriate.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:41 AM on November 23, 2007

Ok, hold on a sec, 45moore45, zia and Forktine. The OP says nothing about talking to Woman B about Woman A. What he says is that he asked her to stop making sexual advances on him, and that he wants to be friends without the benefits. It's woman B that raises the spectre of another relationship with the "if" statement. The way I read the question, the OP is trying to sever all "relationship" ties to woman B, so that he can openly pursue a relationship with woman A.

Yes, Woman B clearly has feelings for the OP. Yes, she's going to be hurt by his decision to go with the woman he's currently interested in. Perhaps the OP is wrong to want to remain friends with Woman B once he's fully in a relationship with Woman A. And maybe Woman B was in the wrong for ignoring the OP's frustration at having to keep their relationship a secret.

OP, decide which lady you want, and let the other one go. The hurt feelings of whoever is let go is not something you have control over.
posted by LN at 7:42 AM on November 23, 2007

Woman B is a great friend
posted by softlord at 7:44 AM on November 23, 2007

you've just been fucking with her mind, stringing her along, because it feeds your ego.

This sort of attack on the anonymous poster is inappropriate in general, and especially unwarranted in this case. Flagged.

Ditch Woman B.
posted by grouse at 7:46 AM on November 23, 2007

Game Warden, don't assume a "tone" because you don't like what I post. You can post your own comment without referring to mine. I did read the original question and what I see is an immature boy dallying around with a girl who is equally clueless, sex happens, feelings develop, immature boy wants his cake and to eat it too by talking to girl B about girl A as if the sex he limply tried to fend off a few times but, gee, somehow happened, never happened. Women are not wired that way. Immature boy further stirs the pot and creates drama by talking to girl he now labels as "unstable" about the new girl... Ah, but that girl wasn't too "unstable" to pork in the first place, right? Woman become "unstable" to men when the men involved are not clear, when they have shifting intentions and then when they do something really stupid like talk to them about new girls. He is sending mixed messages and attributing the unclear communication to the girl when in fact it is himself and his immaturity that is egging this whole drama along.

I also suspect the part of the story the OP is leaving out is that these girls know each other and he secretly likes the idea of two girls vying for his affection.
posted by 45moore45 at 7:56 AM on November 23, 2007

Dude - I've BEEN "Woman B". She's not unstable - it's called "unrequited love" and you've just been fucking with her mind, stringing her along, because it feeds your ego.

And yes, it feeds your ego to know that she still pines for you, still gets jealous, still very obviously cares.

Stop trying to have your cake and eat it too. Stop being unfair by

Let Woman B get over you and get on with her life. Let her go.

Did you even read the other question?

She's the one who wants to have her cake and eat it to - she doesn't want a relationship with him but she doesn't want him to have a relationship with anyone else.

Why do you want to stay friends with this loony? If she wants to cut off contact with you because you have a girlfriend then its her loss - let her go.

Clearly, she wants you to wait around until she's ready for a relationship. She had her chance, its time for you to move on. You're not going to get her to act rationally, she's a selfish cow.

If she's doesn't want to be friends without the benefits then she's just using you, stringing you along for sex when she wants it hoping to keep you on the line til she's ready - with her emphasis on secrecy and wanting to be seen as 'single' - you don't know how many other men she's got on the line too.

You need to be CLEAR with her that the only place you have in her future is as a FRIEND. If she can't take that then she was never your friend.
posted by missmagenta at 7:58 AM on November 23, 2007 [2 favorites]

You don't have to "ditch" Woman B per se. You should enter into the relationship with Woman A, and if Woman B decides to be immature and stop being friends with you, then oh well.

You pretty much answered your own question in the post when you said, If that's what happens when I am openly with A then so be it.

However, you did contradict yourself a bit earlier when you said that you don't want to lose Woman B over Woman A.

Sounds like you need to decide which of these statements is most true.
posted by fructose at 8:01 AM on November 23, 2007

There is no way to make her understand -- she likes you, maybe like you like Woman A. In that sense you are both irrational, you are just fortunate that Woman A likes you back.

You need to be firm (but kind) with Woman B in order to be fair. It may be hard, given you consider her a good friend, but it is best in the long run. The alternative (having this drag on forever) would be much harder, especially on Woman B. Woman A would not be a fan either.

If you share common friends with Woman B, encourage them to lend her support. As emotionally unstable as she may be when confronted with the news, that should not be the reason for you to be indecisive -- she is emotionally attached to you, so what would you expect? In due time she will recover, but there is no doubt that a network of friends would be massively helpful in speeding this up, and making it easier on her.

Imagine Woman A letting you go, and maybe it will give you an idea of what Woman B is going through. I think a lot of the replied above lack sympathy for her, and the whole "cut her off" from your life approach strikes me as unnecessarily harsh. But you have to be firm at where you draw the line in your relationship with her, and let her implicitly understand that you still care for her as a friend.

Basically, this is a golden rule thing. Not Fermi's ... the reciprocity thing. The friends-with-benefits things was a fuck up if you knew she was emotionally attached to you. Now you have to sack up. You can be kind, firm and fair, and it will make up for it.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 8:16 AM on November 23, 2007

I think only good things can come from Woman B getting out of your life. She may say she isn't going to be your friend anymore once you start dating Woman A, but I'm guessing she's bluffing and she will do everything in her power to mess up your new relationship. And that relationship sounds like it is going to be a lot healthier than whatever you had with Woman B, that's assuming of course, that you don't let Woman B screw it up.
posted by whoaali at 8:19 AM on November 23, 2007

45moore45, I referred to your post because my earnest advice to the OP is that he should not burden himself with the sense of blame for this situation that you seem to be arguing he ought to feel. Not least because, assuming he was telling the truth in the earlier thread, he wanted a regular healthy public relationship and she insisted, against his will, on secrecy and unclear boundaries. You infer a lot about what you believe to be missing from both these posts based on your beliefs about "how women are wired". Of course it's always true that RelationshipFilter posts could bear little relation to the truth, but surely we have to assume some basic veracity in order to answer them at all.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 8:19 AM on November 23, 2007

You don't have to "ditch" Woman B per se.

You're right, he doesn't have to. I'm saying that he should choose to. She's not a great friend, she's a user.
posted by grouse at 8:19 AM on November 23, 2007

Wow, we must all be going on a trip somewhere because everyone's bringing their baggage!

From anon's original (linked) question: girl likes boy, boy likes girl, boy wants to be seen with girl, girl isn't so keen on that visibility. Potential stories we can tell ourselves about that include (by no means an exhaustive list):
  • She's ashamed she's in a relationship with boy;
  • She's playing the field and doesn't want potential 'others' from seeing what she's doing;
  • She's waiting for Mr. Right to come along / be available, and until that time she's fulfilling a need;
  • She isn't into public displays of affection;
  • He's being pushy and she doesn't like that;
  • He's attempting PDA in ways that she isn't into;
  • He's failing to communicate his desires appropriately
  • The question is filtered through boy's lens and the situation is objectively different;
  • something else.
From anon's new question, where we add some more backstory to the mix, along with 'new girl': boy likes A, A likes boy, boy wants B as friend (and has attempted a transition away from FWB), B only wants FWB with boy. Again, we have all sorts of stories we can tell, and the ones above are interesting and entertaining.

Here's my initial story about this question: In the way that anon has expressed things, it appears he's attempting to 'let B down gently' (his later questions would confirm this) and maintain some kind of contact with her. Unlike what some others have assumed, the phrasing does not suggest that anon has spoken to B about A or the other way around.

Anon has a specific question: What I want to know is how you think I can get her to be rational and accept my choice without cutting me out of her life completely?

Here's his answer: Anon, you can't change anyone other than yourself. You can attempt to influence people, but that's as far as it goes. The person you're influencing has to choose to change.

Anon had a follow-up for negative responses: offer strategies for letting her down gently as I think she is emotionally unstable and may need help.

My suggestion: honesty helps, but rubbing the fact that you've found someone new in B's face wouldn't be very nice. From the backstory you've provided, it sounds like you need to make it very clear that you're no longer going to participate in anything sexual with B, and let her know that if she doesn't want to accept that, you understand.
posted by lowlife at 8:26 AM on November 23, 2007 [5 favorites]

If you pursue a relationship with A, and attempt to maintain a friendship with B, I suspect the relationship with A will fail miserably and quickly.
You seem to be OK with putting up with B's games but I guarantee you that miss A will not.
posted by rocket88 at 8:32 AM on November 23, 2007

Game Warden-- OP doesn't need to feel blame, he just needs to be clear. I laughed reading your "against his will" statement, though. He still had sex with the girl and doing so given the confines of her (ridiculous) closet requirements is complacency, not "against his will". The boy was not raped. The boy accepted the agreement based on his continuance of the relationship even if he didn't like it. Now all he needs to do is be clear and realize that the first girl will never be a "friend" in the way he seems to think it means and he seems genuinely clueless about the hurt he inflicts on the first girl when he pussyfoots around talking about a new girl. Simple clarity and ownership and expression of feelings and intentions would go a long way on his part to making it right with the first girl. He is not responsible for her reaction. He does, however, owe it to her as a human being to be absolutely clear about where he stands and not try and milk the situation because he doesn't want to "lose" something--that is the gray area, that is where the hurt is, those unclear unexpressed intentions that are confusing the first girl and probably making her really angry. With the introduction of a new girl, the rules have changed for all involved and he needs to own it and be clear and let the chips fall where they may. It is absolutely unfair to label the first girl unstable when he is sending mixed messages to her, and certainly continuing to have sex with her after her relationship rules were expressed (no matter how stupid he may have thought they were) would imply agreement with those rules.
posted by 45moore45 at 8:36 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

it sounds like she's forcing you to choose between her and the other woman. make your choice, tell her politely and quickly, and move on. your friend doesn't sound like much of a friend at all, and not worth losing the love of your life over.

and it's not your responsibility to keep her sane. presumably she has other friends who can help her.
posted by thinkingwoman at 9:01 AM on November 23, 2007

immature boy wants his cake and to eat it too by talking to girl B about girl A

Please stop repeating this assumption of yours. There's zero evidence that he's talked to either woman about the other. The only topic that the original poster mentioned speaking of with one of the women is this: "I was talking to Woman B about how I don't want the sexual side of things to play any part of our friendship. " Anything else is pure conjecture and should not be treated as fact.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:20 AM on November 23, 2007 [4 favorites]

Also, it might be better to take this to Metatalk, email or Mefimail.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:20 AM on November 23, 2007

Honey, Woman B is using you as a security blanket. This is fine when it is of mutual benefit - everyone is gettin' some and everyone has their options open - but stops working, as you've now discovered, when either party wants to switch their priority to a new, 3rd party.

Please trust me when I tell you: if she had found a new in-love interest before you, she would give you the same talk about being friends but dumping the benefits part, and expect you to just suck it up and play along. If you threatened to yank the plug on the friendship because of that, she'd no more entertain that level of self-centered whininess than you should. She's shed a few tears and tell you to get lost, because in-love is like that.

Your position is doubly solid considering that you gave her every invitation and opportunity to move from a covert friends with benefits type of deal to the kind of relationship you want with Woman A and that Woman B now resents. Basically, she assumed you would always be there, entirely on her terms, and now she's going to have to pay the price for the gamble she took and lost.

If you are feeling particular ties that bind because she was, say, the first person you ever had intercourse with or the first person you ever fell in love with, then that makes it tough for you at this exact moment in time. It will be painful, but remember that every adult has these "first big Xs" in their past, and the mass of humanity proves to you that it really is possible to move on to new and happier relationships. Go, run, be happy!
posted by DarlingBri at 9:22 AM on November 23, 2007 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I am female, and I agree with those who say Woman B is acting crazy. She's the one who wants to have her cake and eat it too. Previous to this poster falling in love, she got to have a secret cuddle-boyfriend, free sex, and didn't have to deal with the "baggage" of a relationship. All of the physical comfort of a partner and none of the commitment! Hooray!

So of course she's pissed off now, because that's being taken away. I don't see the poster as stringing her along--if he was stringing her along he wouldn't have asked for them to be open about their relationship. She was stringing him along. How convenient that now that she's in danger of losing her toy she's finally throwing out that maybe they'd be in a relationship for her.

Anonymous, don't take that bullshit bait. Woman B was using you. You've now found a lovely person who wants to be in a mutually beneficial relationship, rather than have you be the sex-and-and-cuddle bitch. Go for it! Explain to Woman B you are pursuing this relationship. You want to remain friends but there will be no benefits, and that's final. What she does after that is her problem.

If she continues her manipulative guilt-trip bullshit, you will know that is proof she is not your friend.
posted by Anonymous at 9:43 AM on November 23, 2007

Anyone that emotionally blackmails you is not your friend. Quality of friendship is truly measured when things are good; a friend's ability to stand by you and be supportive when things aren't good, or when you do things they don't agree with, are true measures of friendship. Your "friend" has the emotional maturity of a child threatening to hold their breath until you do as they say. Tell her that she can not dictate that conditions of your romantic relationships, no matter how much time you spent between the sheets. If she has a problem with that, then she no longer has to enjoy your company.
posted by Nelsormensch at 9:46 AM on November 23, 2007

I was a Woman A. His involvement with his Woman B destroyed our once-loving relationship. Woman B refused to respect any boundaries and constantly tried to lure him back with sex. Any "friend" who doesn't respect your other friendships and relationships is not your friend.

Tell her that you want to be her friend, but if she can't accept and respect your new relationship, things just won't work out.
posted by melissam at 9:55 AM on November 23, 2007


It sounds as though you are quite inexperienced at relationships. That's not a criticism; everyone starts there.

You don't love Woman B and you probably don't love Woman A. Loving someone takes a lot of emotional maturity. Maybe you can learn that with Woman A or Woman Q, R or X.

Here is my advice to you. Take a break from Woman A and Woman B. Figure out what your standards are. I don't mean a shopping list of pretty, busty, etc. Things like: she's kind and honest; she shares my views of public displays of affection; I feel better about myself when I spend time with her. Make that list whatever is important to you. If Woman A is close fit - go for it! If not, move along to someone else.

It takes a long time to figure out what's love, what's lust, what's sexual need, what's infatuation and what's simply friendship. When you get that figured out, you'll still screw it up about half the time. If you haven't established what you are looking for in a partner, then you're going to waste a lot of time with the wrong girl.
posted by 26.2 at 10:02 AM on November 23, 2007 [2 favorites]

I don't know why you have to settle anything with Woman B. You're going to be in a relationship with Woman A, and you're not going to let Woman B get in the way of it. If Woman B starts trying to sabotage your relationship, out she goes. Basically what jessamyn says.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:04 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Mod note: A few comments removed. STOP IT - at the point at which you are "fucking resenting" other people you should take a breath and go to METATALK or mefimail oroutside.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:07 AM on November 23, 2007

I feel like something is missing:

if she had found a new in-love interest before you...

Right - why didn't she? She's acting like she's in love with you. Does she still maintain that she doesn't want a complete relationship with you or has she changed her mind? Either way, she missed the boat by messing you around back in the day (whatever her reasons were, again, something's missing).

You can't be expected to remain in limbo. You have to tell her that and hope she'll understand. If not, you have to let the friendship follow it's natural path. Unlike some others, I don't think she'll be vindictive and try to destroy your relationship with A - she may even thank you in a year.
posted by MiffyCLB at 10:27 AM on November 23, 2007

Woman B is not your friend, but I don't agree with the guy above with the STUCK CAPS LOCK that she's "fucked up" or that she's interested in causing problems for you. She's been very explicit and clear about her desires and needs. The problem is that, while you hope she can be your friend only, she wants you to be her boyfriend and she's keeping that hope alive because you occasionally sleep with her.

She's told you that she couldn't bear to be your friend if you started seeing someone else. That is not "clear cut emotional blackmail," even if you find the sentiment disagreeable. It is a courageous and honest statement and you should honor her intent in making it.

You should cut Woman B loose and stop seeing her, because it sounds to me like neither of you are ever going to be able to get what you want from the other.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:32 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

It is a courageous and honest statement

I think that's really true. It takes a lot to lay it out like that. She really seems to have deep feelings for you, I don't get it.
posted by MiffyCLB at 10:38 AM on November 23, 2007

She's been very explicit and clear about her desires and needs.

Which do not include a real relationship with OP, something he wants and has told her he wants. He expressed a desire for a friendship with no benefits and how did she respond? She tried to get him to continue things on her terms—offering nothing but some petulance and a vague reference to "seeing him in her future."

It is a courageous and honest statement and you should honor her intent in making it.

Sorry, I just don't see this. What's courageous about demanding that someone continue meeting your needs while you ignore his ? And expecting him to give up seeing a woman who could well be interested in the kind of relationship you're withholding? Bold, yes; narcissistic, yes; courageous, not even a bit. It is honest, I suppose.

The woman's intent apparently is to have her cake and eat it too, and the OP should honor it as he would any other unreasonable demand—by refusing it. Once he's separated himself from her, he'll wonder why he let things drag on for as long as he did.
posted by dogrose at 11:11 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

the OP should honor [woman B's request] as he would any other unreasonable demand—by refusing it

Well yes, I agree completely. What's pretty clear is that Woman B wants something that she can't have. She obviously doesn't really believe that she can't have this - she keeps trying. Whether that's because she's stupid, blinded by hope or love, or is just a narcissistic, manipulative evil person isn't relevant - and we can't find out anyway. It doesn't matter; the poster's going to have to break it off with her.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:16 AM on November 23, 2007

Date Woman A. You love her + she loves you = jackpot, baby! Congratulations on that.

Cut Woman B off, utterly, completely, for her own good. You can't be friends with her, and continuing to do so just rubs in her face the fact that she can't have you anymore. Have "the talk" with her, then no phone, no e-mail, nothing. Delete voice mails before listening & e-mails before reading. She will be very hurt, you'll feel bad about hurting her, and she'll try to use the guilt as a way back into your life. It sounds cold, it sounds mean, and she will probably hate you for it, but it's what's best for her.

She's been using you as an emotional crutch. Let her learn to walk on her own.
posted by LordSludge at 11:21 AM on November 23, 2007

Ok, personal anecdote: I've been in a similar situation as Woman B. It's mostly that I can't stand seeing another woman with someone I've slept with. It creeps me out, especially if I really had feelings for the guy at one point. I'm pretty sure I've actually said "I can't be friends with you if you start dating someone." Immature? Maybe. A clue that I am not over him and it's unhealthy to maintain any sort of contact? Probably.

However my current friend-with-sometimes-benefits and I aren't quite like that. I am okay if he wants to stop any of the benefits and I've told him that if he were to start dating someone it would stop altogether because I won't be the "other woman." And I'm almost certain I will be able to maintain our friendship after that happens.

I think you should go for Woman A, tell Woman B the sexy stuff stops there, and if she can't handle being friends-without-benefits, then it's unfortunately on her. Maybe she'll come around once she's over you in that way.
posted by eldiem at 11:56 AM on November 23, 2007

It's interesting how the different factions keep using the same two things against each other, the accusation of "craziness" and of "trying to have cake/eat it too."

I've been the crazy-acting person. I've also dated the crazy-acting person. I've had my cake, had my cake stolen, etc. You know what? I've learned there are no good guys or bad guys. We all (with the exception of a very very few pathological people) do the best we can with what we have at a given time.

I highly doubt there's anyone pathological in this situation. All I hear is confused, scared, desperate.

OP, I think you should give yourself some time away from both Woman A and Woman B, and also this three-ring circus. While I haven't read a response that didn't have a grain of truth to it yet, I think these folks need time to chill the fuck out, be adults, drink some tea.
posted by RobotHeart at 1:37 PM on November 23, 2007

follow-up from the OP

1) In response to 45moore45, I've not talked to Woman B about Woman A. I just want to set clear boundaries BEFORE I move into a relationship with Woman A. I'd prefer it to be laid down before anything happened, than for B to suddenly find out about it.

2) My comment about "moving on to friendship minus sleeping together - except for 1 or 2 mishaps" should have been more accurately phrased. Since that point there has been no sex, but there has been a drunken kiss on two occasions. That was as far as it went.

Finally, Thank you for all the responses. I'm just going to make it clear to B, again, that there will be no sexual aspect to our relationship in the future and she'll just have to deal with that. In my opinion, she had her chance to be in a relationship with me and missed it. I've moved on in my head, so if she wants to cut me off then it's up to her.
posted by jessamyn at 1:55 PM on November 23, 2007

To follow-up on RobotHeart's astute observation: I suggest you declare a personal ban on being "friends" with women who you know, without a doubt, want to fuck you. Even if they backpedal and "just want to be friends"... just No, sorry.

While it's a nice ego-boost having several love-sick women trailing after you like pets, it's pretty shitty to string them along like that. Similarly, don't date (or fuck) anyone who develops feelings for you if you're pretty sure you won't develop those same feelings. Adopt this attitude, and the number of "crazy, emotionally unstable" women in your life will drop to zero. Also, it may sound harsh, but it's kinder to them in the long run.

The downside is that you will lose your easy fuck-buddies for when you're between real relationships, but if you're a fulfilled, well-adjusted person, this won't be a problem for you. (Get your life to a point that this isn't a problem for you.)

You can't control other people's behavior; you can control yours.
posted by LordSludge at 2:05 PM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

I just also wanted to add that it is smart that you are laying down boundaries before proceeding. You have ID'd a problem...and that is a great first step.

Also ditto to LordSludge's "I suggest you declare a personal ban on being "friends" with women who you know, without a doubt, want to fuck you. Even if they backpedal and "just want to be friends"... just No, sorry."

This sort of ban would have saved my relationship. Wait a few months, let your new relationship develop, then maybe you can try out a friendship with B. If you do that, please do inform woman A so she knows this is a friends thing and you have boundaries that are not going to be violated. It will save you all a whole heap of trouble.
posted by melissam at 4:30 PM on November 23, 2007

I read your other post. The reason you don't want to cut Woman B out of your life is b/c you're still in love w/ her, whether you want to admit it or not. There's still a shred of hope that one day she'll tell you she wants to be your gf and you her bf.

It's not going to happen. Ever. Sorry. Try things out w/ Woman A w/o Woman B in the picture. Woman B hasn't figured out what she wants or just thinks the grass is greener on the other side. This will never change. You have a life to live and shouldn't be on Woman B's back burner.

Good luck.
posted by dannon205 at 5:32 PM on November 23, 2007

It sounds to me like youve just been keeping Woman B in your back pocket for backup sex. Her choice to NOT be your friend if the sexual part of the relationship is over is perfectly rational, since you were using her in the first place. What you're really asking is for woman B to continue to allow you to use her, as you go off with someone you really want to be with.

Stop being selfish. Go off with the woman you love, and let the woman you DON'T love get on with her life.
posted by medea42 at 7:28 PM on November 23, 2007

medea42, it sounds to me like the OP has been trying to stop Woman B from keeping him in her back pocket, and that she was using him.

It seems more like the OP doesn't want B to use him any longer and wants to move on with woman A without causing woman B too much hurt.

Whether that is possible is another story altogether...
posted by knapah at 7:48 PM on November 23, 2007

It IS simple.
-woman B and you have a toxic relationship.
-she is not your friend.
-she does not want to to be happy.
-hence, you being happy in with woman A will make her mad.
-Yet you are still buying it.
Stop buying it.

you'll be happier
posted by French Fry at 8:59 AM on November 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Tell A: "I love you and I want to be with you. My ex (B) is kind of jealous though, and very secretive about who knew we were going out (which is why you haven't heard anything about her and me in the past [if you're all in the same social circle]). It was a kind of odd sort of relationship, but it's over now. I'd like to stay friends with her, and I'd like you to give her a chance to be friends with you and me if you can, but if it comes down to choice, I'll choose you over her. I already have."

Assuming A's OK with that, tell B: "I've met someone who I believe I'm in love with, and I want to have an exclusive boyfriend/girlfriend relationship with her. So you and I can't be spending time together the way we have been, and we're definitely not having sex any more. I like you, and I have always found you very attractive, but you and I aren't a couple, and I don't see you as anything more than a friend. All the time we've known each other, we've been good company for each other but you've always been waiting for someone to come along who you can commit to, and since I realized that was really what you wanted, I've been doing the same. Now I've found that person. I'd like to stay friends with you, but if it comes down to a choice, I'll have to choose her. Think it over for a few days, and if you want to be friends, give me a call and I can introduce you to her (A)."

Hopefully, this will assuage A's potential jealousy (but leave her prepared for the possibility of some jealous behavior from B), and leave B her dignity and believing that the change in relationship is due to her choice to not commit to you (an offer you apparently made and she rejected).

Keep the boundaries up, and make sure all of your mutual friends with B know you're going out with A. PDAs at group gatherings are good. Don't be alone with B any more. Private chats out of hearing are fine, just don't be out of sight.

If A and B are OK with the above but there's some tension still, here's something you can do to reinforce the situation: Matchmake. Ask A to call you about seven-ish for a movie. Make plans from mid-afternoon or so with B and some other friend of yours (C) who B would consider attractive, who probably likes her too, and who you actually would like to see get together with B. (Dinner, playing pool, rollerblading, etc - something all three of you enjoy.) Mention nothing about your plans with A, to B or C. In fact talk about tentative plans, "let's grab a bite to eat and see a movie later", even buy tickets. When A calls, excuse yourself to B and C and go meet up with "my girlfriend" A. If called on it, you "forgot" you were meeting up with A, but you have to go, so "see ya" B and C, and here's the spare ticket if they want to call someone else to use it. This demonstrates to B that you favor A over her, but leaves her and C to keep each other entertained. Or maybe stare at each other blankly until they say "well, see ya" and go their separate ways. Or maybe bitch about your blatant attempt at matchmaking them, which would actually be helpful in the circumstances as it lets B talk about it with someone.

Nothing erases jealousy like a new relationship. Indeed for some people nothing erases jealousy except a new relationship.

Of course this leaves you open to watching B and C fall madly in love while A dumps you the next day, but YMMV. :)
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:38 AM on November 24, 2007

This thread is simply too long to read all of.

If you're considering jumping through some kind of hoops to satisfy B, who is doing you no good, then you're not doing A any favors being with her.

Drop both A and B, or get your head on straight.
posted by JimN2TAW at 12:15 PM on November 28, 2007

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