Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dear TT,

I stumbled across your blog completely by accident, but I realized you might be able to help me. My boyfriend and I have been dating for three months, which isn't the longest amount of time, but I'm extremely happy. He's wonderful, and I finally understand how much easier a transition to a relationship is when we're friends first. So, obviously, he's not the issue. My friend is. She's been my best friend for a while, but since I started dating my boyfriend.... things haven't been the same.

Now, I assumed it would be a little rocky with us because there is a little bit of history between my boyfriend and my friend. My friend has been in a long distance relationship for several months, but when my now boyfriend, C, confessed his crush to her, she led him on very badly. Told him that she like him too, but she wasn't sure if she liked him enough to dump her boyfriend for him. They went to movies, talked on the phone... but then she broke his heart when she decided she wasn't going to break up with her boyfriend. She is still dating her boyfriend, and he is aware of this situation now, but blames it all on my boyfriend.

So when another one of my friends suggested I date C... I was a little unsure until I thought about it. We had been friends for around a year, and it seemed like the right thing to do. I went to my friend and checked that she was all right with it because I didn't want to get together with C behind her back. She told me she was ok with it, but then, later that day, yelled at me in the middle of my math class about how I had been keeping everything from her and going behind her back.

She has since apologized, but its been strained since. She's told me that I'm not allowed to talk to her about C, but she will go on for hours about her boyfriend. It makes me angry because I know that she talks about me to our mutual friends, and she will randomly yell at me for not being concerned enough about her, for not calling her, or for something like that. I don't know what to do. I've tried talking to her about this, but she just yells at me for causing these problems, blaming it all on me. Then she will turn around and be the friend that I always loved. I just don't know what to do anymore... Please help. S.

Dear S,

This is a classic syndrome. It's the "I don't want him, but nobody else can have him" syndrome. Most girls (and women) have, at one time or another, fallen in to this trap. Your best friend has succumbed to this ego-driven (yet natural) response to your new found relationship with your boyfriend. Because she respects you, and you like C, she may be thinking she shouldn't have passed him up so quickly. Or, she may be wondering if your relationship with C is stronger than the one she has with her long-distance boyfriend. Either way, she is having a push-pull with her ego, and that is why she's screaming at you one minute, and behaving like her old self the next.

Even though you are likely aware of why she's behaving badly, the affect is still the same for you, it hurts. I would try once more to have a heart-to-heart with her. Suggest you understand why it's difficult for her to see you and C together, but that you know she'll get used to it and, in the meantime, you really miss being able to speak with her freely and openly, like good friends should.

If she continues her erratic behavior over the next 3-4 weeks, you will (likely) naturally begin to withdraw from her and spend more time with your other friends. If she really is the kind of friend you want for the long haul, she won't be willing to let you drift away. If she does, she isn't ready to have a best friend.

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