Friend Jealous of Partner? [Advice]

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Friend Jealous of Partner? [Advice] Empty Friend Jealous of Partner? [Advice]

Post by IHaveToes on Sat Oct 04, 2014 2:45 pm

I've been dating Boyfriend for almost a year now, and the entire time I've felt like one of my friends is jealous. It's really starting to put a strain on my relationship with Friend.

Recently I had a little spat with Boyfriend that has been resolved in a way that I was very happy with. When I told Friend about this she got very upset, telling me that I had made a bad decision to stay with him and that he was abusive. I really don't think Boyfriend is abusive at all, and I was upset that she wouldn't trust my judgement and believe me when I said I felt happy and safe with my decision.
Since then she's been closed off and very hard to talk to at our lunches. Even when I try to talk about our favorite subjects (meta-[insert fandom here]), she won't contribute much to the conversation. If I ask if anything's wrong: "Nothing!". If I accidentally mention Boyfriend, she starts badmouthing him. It's at the point that I don't want to go out of my way to hang out anymore if she's going to pull my mood down and act sullen constantly. I've started skipping lunches (I always give advanced notice though), but when I say "I'm too busy today" she gets upset and only sends text messages like "Hmm" or "I see", which is unlike her.

Maybe Relevant Background?:
Some background which may or may not be relevant.
I've known Friend since starting college (about 3 years). She lived across the hall from me for two years, and until last December (about when I got together with Boyfriend) I had spent almost all of my free time with her. Around the beginning of our friendship she said she had an aromantic, asexual, platonic crush on me. In a few offhand comments since she has said I'm her platonic partner. I'm a hug-person, but there were a few TV-watching times where she wanted to cuddle and I really didn't because that's just something I'm not comfortable doing outside a romantic/sexual relationship. She is one of my closest friends and so I took these as platonic love that I feel for all my close friends (All of whom seem to understand that I have very little time right now and are ok with not seeing me for weeks). But the way she's acting now, maybe they were more in the vein of "I see you as my primary adult relationship".
During the Spring I spent a lot of time with Boyfriend ('cause new relationship energy), but I made sure that I continued our regular Friend hangouts (lunch at least twice a week and once a week ice cream) since both of us really valued them. It was more a matter of I wasn't available all the time for spontaneous hangouts. This summer I had a 40hr a week internship and just didn't have the time/energy to drive two hours round trip to visit Friend at her parent's house. Since the Fall semester started I've barely had time to do all the self-care stuff I want to do (I want to wax my legs so bad but it takes soooo long), let alone take two hours out of prime meeting time (I have a surprising amount of meetings) for lunch, spend hours at her house on weekends, or drive at least an hour in heavy traffic to her university apartment to watch TV. I haven't seen other friends who aren't in classes/clubs with me since the beginning of the semester. The only reason I see Boyfriend is because we've been living together, otherwise I'd have almost no social time.
Since the beginning Friend has not liked Boyfriend, despite never having met him for more than a few minutes. She used to want to hear about people I was attracted to or had crushes on, but now that I'm in a relationship she gets mad when I mention Boyfriend (I try not to, but sometimes it relevant to a story). I've started just not telling her about chunks of my life because they involve Boyfriend, which upsets her when she reads about them on my tumblr because she feels left out.

I kinda hate being around her since she's started doing this closed-off, barely-acknowledge-me-speaking behavior, but I don't want to lose this friendship. How do I get mention this behavior and ask her to stop? Can I do that without insulting her? Am I being a horrible, oblivious friend and making light of Friend's feelings?
Do any of you have advise? Comments? Similar Stories?

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Post by Izmuth on Sat Oct 04, 2014 5:41 pm

Yep, she totally feels neglected.
Which she's taking out on you, making it unfun to spend time with her, leading to less time with her, making her feel more neglected.

I've seen it happen in all age ranges from my own age to my mom's, most often with women and sadly most of the friendships didn't recover.

I'd therefore suggest you throw the rulebook of how a Proper Lady should act out, and just take a page from the Unproper Lady book and confront her. I'm not sure what the best way of discussing the situation with her is, but I'm afraid you really have no other option :(
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Post by Enail on Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:43 pm

It's been at least a day since I last linked to Captain Awkward, so I'm going to say Get ye to Captain Awkward. A brief search didn't turn up exactly 100% your situation, but she talks a lot about handling these sorts of passive-aggressive, possessive type problems in friendships and other relationships, so I think it'd be good to browse around a little. This post and this one seem like good starting points?

I wish you luck. In my (very limited) experience, problems with a backstory of "platonic crush with slightly pushy attempts at cuddles" are tricky to get detangled. :\

ETA: Also, just wanted to say that there is something strangely charming about your username, IHaveToes. It makes me smile every time I see it for some reason!
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Post by Izmuth on Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:57 am

Izmuth wrote:Yep, she totally feels neglected.
Which she's taking out on you, making it unfun to spend time with her, leading to less time with her, making her feel more neglected.

I've seen it happen in all age ranges from my own age to my mom's, most often with women and sadly most of the friendships didn't recover.

I'd therefore suggest you throw the rulebook of how a Proper Lady should act out, and just take a page from the Unproper Lady book and confront her. I'm not sure what the best way of discussing the situation with her is, but I'm afraid you really have no other option :(

Wow, this post is messy.

Let me rephrase it before I accidentally insult someone:

- Observation: I've seen this passive agressive destruction of the friendship by the "neglected" party most often in women, this was attempted to be solved by Proper Ladying (until the busy party decided they were fed up and started a screaming match), and most friendships didn't recover.

- Hypothesis: The reason that I see it more often in women is because men are allowed to confront people when they're dicks directly, solving the situation before it gets unmanageable, and before they reach a breaking point.

-Experimental setup to prove hypothesis: Throw out the Proper Lady handbook, explain to her that's she's being unfun before you reach your breaking point and you can't confront her politely anymore, see if that helps.

One tip: Don't ask what's wrong, tell what's wrong. When you ask it's easy to deflect that nothing's wrong, but when you sáy what's wrong people are more likely to air their grievances.

And obligatory link to the good doctor: http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2012/03/how-to-argue/all/1/
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Post by Guest on Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:20 am

Hmm, I have a slightly different take on it. I do think that friend is feeling neglected, because you went from spending most every day with her to not. However, you have clearly been making a real effort to make time for her despite your relationship - certainly to a degree that I would consider reasonable from one busy friend with a partner to another. I have been the friend who got completely dumped when friend entered a relationship, and this is Not That Thing.

I think the backstory may well be very relevant; you say she was happy to discuss crushes and so on? Crushes being a theoretical stealing-you-thing and your relationship being a real one? Perhaps her feelings for you were slightly more romantic than she admitted. So, my advice, for what it is worth:
* First self-care tip - if she has expressed specific things your boyfriend does that she thinks are abusive, have a really good think about it. The answer can be "Nope, he's fine, we just had a fight", but take some time to check in with your own feelings about it. Just in case. Sometimes people can see from the outside what is clouded on the inside.
* Tell her something along these lines: "Friend, I have sensed recently that you are feeling neglected and that you get very upset when I mention boyfriend. I care about you and would like to resolve this. Will you talk to me about how you are feeling?"
* Accept whatever her reaction is. She may refuse to talk. She may FEELINGSDUMP a host of horrible and unfair things and you, about Boyfriend, about your friendship. She may confess her love.
* Give yourself time to think about whatever she does, and where you want to go from there.

Best of luck, jealous friend dynamic is not easy.

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Post by IHaveToes on Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:40 pm

Thanks for your replies! I've decided I'm going to do one or two more "regular" lunches and if she's still in this funk I'll schedule a coffee-hangout to talk things out. If things don't go well I'll probably need to take a few months break from this friendship.

Enail wrote:It's been at least a day since I last linked to Captain Awkward, so I'm going to say Get ye to Captain Awkward.
I've been skimming the Captain's archives and I think I have a pretty good script cobbled together.

embertine wrote:You say she was happy to discuss crushes and so on?  Crushes being a theoretical stealing-you-thing and your relationship being a real one?  Perhaps her feelings for you were slightly more romantic than she admitted.
She always used seemed amused when I'd talk about people I had crushes on or thought were attractive. At one point she told me that she thought me being attracted to people was interesting since she was on the asexual spectrum and had never found anyone attractive. She point-blank asked me to start pointing out people I thought were attractive when we were walking around because she thought it was fun to see who I was attracted to. I even discussed my crush on Boyfriend with her before we started dating and she encouraged me to ask him out. Since I started dating boyfriend, if romance or attraction comes up in conversation she clams up or changes topic, so I'm not really sure how she viewed my crushes.

embertine wrote:* First self-care tip - if she has expressed specific things your boyfriend does that she thinks are abusive, have a really good think about it.  The answer can be "Nope, he's fine, we just had a fight", but take some time to check in with your own feelings about it.  Just in case.  Sometimes people can see from the outside what is clouded on the inside.
She's never really expressed anything specific about Boyfriend other than "I don't like him, I've never liked him."
I've since the beginning been very mindful about red flags because there's an eleven year age gap and a power differential before we got together. But really I've seen more green flags (listening and understanding during arguments before responding, encouraging hobbies and friend-time, stopping uncomfortable behaviors and not doing them again when I point out the behavior, etc.) than anything else. The fight in question was due to Boyfriend kinda taking out his stress on me (he realized before I did what had happened and gave me room to be angry about the emotion dump) and throwing his phone at the wall a few days later (again he realized why that scared me and did everything I asked for me to feel safe/happy). Periodically throughout our relationship and especially after the emotion dump I looked over a few checklists of abusive behaviors and none of them describe Boyfriend's behaviors. I've soul-searched on this extensively and come up with "Nope, I'm good."

Enail wrote:ETA: Also, just wanted to say that there is something strangely charming about your username, IHaveToes. It makes me smile every time I see it for some reason!
Glad I could bring a smile to your face! Grin

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Post by Guest on Tue Oct 07, 2014 4:53 am

She's never really expressed anything specific about Boyfriend other than "I don't like him, I've never liked him."
Yeah, that's what I thought. Sounds like bog-standard JALUS to me.

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