8

Background

I have a friend for almost three years now, we are both 24 y.o, we have always been so close and, even if we live far away from each other (+9000km), we have spoken every single day since we parted ways.

I have been to his country (in South America) to visit him in 2017, and he has recently come to mine to visit me (Europe).

Since the beginning we have liked each other, but distance and me being in a relation ship - with a guy I really love - made it impossible to have a romantic relationship. However, it's true that when we saw each other, we were behaving more like a couple than just friends: cuddling, spooning, holding hands…

I went to visit him in 2017, and after a month, he met a girl with whom he started a friends with benefits relationship and eventually ended up being her boyfriend. At that time, my friend and I were planning a trip of one month together, and his girlfriend got jealous.

During that time, she was getting jealous every time I was sending messages to my friend to the point that he had to show her the messages we were sending each other in Instagram, and he would stop talking to me if she was around, which seemed unfair to me, and I told it to him.

During the trip I asked my friend about his feelings towards me and his girlfriend, and he told me he likes me more and he enjoys talking with me more. He also said he didn't want to be in an exclusive relationship with his actual girlfriend.

Now, after the trip, he talked with the girl and told her that he had cheated on her several times and that he didn't see her as girlfriend, so they stayed as friends, which is cool if they feel like being friends.

The problem

The problem came when now, after the trip and the break up, they met again (as friends), and he went to sleep at her house, and he stopped answering my messages.

That would be ok if he does so because he really wants to. I mean, I don't want him to feel forced to answer me, and I would be perfectly fine with it if it were his own choice. I have asked him before if he doesn't reply to me because he doesn't want or just to not make the girl feel jealous, and he always said the second scenario.

This is where I mainly see the problem. Because somehow he's being manipulated, not directly though, to stop talking to me or not talking that much, while he has the will to do it. And I believe him when he says so, because as soon as he leaves the girl's house he replies to all my messages saying "Sorry, I was with the girl etc".

What I want

What I want to achieve is to make him realize that his relationship with this girl is affecting our relationship. And that theirs is not a healthy relationship as she has checked messages I have sent my friend and he's stopped doing things we both like (talking to each other) just to avoid his ex being jealous again.

I am searching for advice as I want to say it in a way that I don't sound jealous of them being together again (as friends or whatever), as I am really not.

I just want him to open his eyes and realize that it's not a healthy relationship. I am aware that talking about such a sensitive topic might make him feel like I am jealous and that I'm trying to get him to avoid interacting with her. As I said, we like each other, and I would like to handle the problem without making him feel this way.

What I've tried so far

Before the trip, when he started doing the same, I talked with him very seriously and I told him that this kind of behavior annoyed me, because he was not talking to me just because she was feeling jealous/bad.

When I told him about it, I also talked about his relationship with her and he realised he needed to tell her that he was not seeing her as a girlfriend and so on, he waited to come back from the trip and he said it.

He also stopped doing like that and he was talking to me while going to the toilet or so if he was in the girl's house or the girl was around him.

Now, I am surprised he did it again as I already explained him how I was feeling about it before (in July) and he seemed to understand it.

Question?

How could I approach him with the topic again so he can understand my feelings and that he is not in a healthy relationship?

Additional information

I don't want a relationship with my friend as I am more than good with my actual boyfriend.

  • 1
    This post (and it's answers) are being discussed on meta – Tinkeringbell Sep 11 '18 at 10:30
  • 4
    The pronouns seem a little jumbled here, would you mind editing for clarity/consistency? – apaul Sep 11 '18 at 18:48
  • Agreed with @apaul. It might make things easier if you assigned names rather than just "him" and "her". – David K Sep 12 '18 at 12:48
20

This answer is something of a frame challenge. It looks like you've already clearly voiced your displeasure with the situation, and the situation continues despite your displeasure.

So, I'm going to go out on a limb and be the bad guy here, because... Well, the simplest explanation is usually the right explanation.

It sounds like you and this guy had a long distance pseudo relationship. You talk fairly constantly, plan trips together, and most likely flirt. Now he has a local girlfriend/partner and it sounds like he wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants to have a relationship with the local, and a more casual relationship with you.

Chances are pretty good that he's playing you and this local against each other, because that way he doesn't have to be accountable for either of you being upset. You're upset with the local, and she's likely upset with you, leaving him free to continue both relationships relatively blame free.

My advice would be to call it what it is and take a giant step backwards. He's playing you both, if you don't like how he plays, take your ball and go home.

If you're ok with the arrangement as is, that's your prerogative, but don't delude yourself about what's going on. Accept that there will be less frequent contact, because he's choosing to spend time with someone else. She probably is a little uncomfortable with the amount of contact, but chances are pretty good that he's telling her rather similar things about you being jealous, as he's been telling you about her. It's not her fault that he's choosing to spend his time the way he is, that's his choice whether she likes it or not.

Basically, if you're going to be upset, be upset with him. He's an adult making choices, if he chooses the relationship with the local, she probably didn't force him.

The interpersonal skill here is recognizing when someone may not be being completely honest, and/or may be avoiding accountability for their own feelings/actions. In cases where you've already made your thoughts and feelings known, and the other party hasn't acquiesced, sometimes all you can do is adjust your own expectations of the situation.

6

If I had a friend who I thought was in a toxic relationship, I’d approach it with “I’m worried about you” in mind and say something like “I’d like to talk to you about X. It scares me a bit that when you’re with her, you can’t talk to me at all. Can we talk about that ? Is it only with me or are there other people you don’t talk to when you’re with her ? Because that’s the kind of stuff that’s not normal in any relationship (friend or more). Is everything OK ?”

The thing is… I don’t think that’s the case here. First, you say you’re not jealous, but your whole question is way more about you not liking him not talking to you then truly thinking he’s in an unhealthy relationship. You say you like each other but the distance makes a relationship not possible (so there can be some jealousy there that some girl can see him whenever while you only have the phone), you ask him who he likes better, who he likes to talk to better, and when talking about this you’ve mainly talked about your own feelings (“I told him that this kind of behaviour annoyed me”, “How could I approach him with the topic again so he can understand my feelings”). You seem way more focused on your own feelings and your own needs than his.

So check with you first : why does this bother you and why do you want to speak up ? Is it because you’re bothered he doesn’t talk to you when he’s with her ? Or is it because you’re worried he’s with someone who is cutting him of of his friends ? If it’s the first, you’re not that different from the other girl. She doesn’t want him talking to you because it makes her uncomfortable, so don’t make your friend do something just because it makes you uncomfortable. Instead, talk to him to know what he’s feeling and thinking, ask him questions about the relationship with this girl, and express you’re there for him if he needs help or someone to talk to. After all this, depending on his answers, you can tell him again that you're also hurt about this, and you don't want to be ignored by someone just because of someone else's opinion. But I would really first check in with him and how things are on his end.

That all being said, the fact that she still forbids him to talk with you (or just makes a scene when he does) is worrying, even more now that they're just friends.

EDIT

I saw your comment to Greg's response. So it seems what truly bothers you is the effect this girl has on your relationship with him. I still think it's worth to put yourself aside for a moment and talk to your friend to see what's up with his ex. Ask him if everything is OK, and later tell him that you're still hurt he ignores you because of someone else. I think there's a strong chance things will continue as now, you've already had that discussion more or less and things still haven't changed, but at least you might have a better idea on what's going on on his end. And you can choose what to do with the information.

Also, drop the fact that he likes you better or likes to talk with you more. That may be the case, but it didn't change anything. Either he's in some kind of toxic relationship with this ex, or he's a wimp (and prefers to avoid her drama by ignoring you). Since it isn't about you in each case, how much he likes you isn't really a factor here.

  • Thanks for your answer. I already talked with him about this girl and his feelings towards her. I wouldn't be bother if he doesn't talk to me because he doesn't feel like, I am bother by the fact that he would like to talk to me but he feels cohibited by how the ex would react. I will talk to him again to see what's going on. – Marisa Sep 10 '18 at 14:07
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I'm from South America. And here every women will be jealous of your behaviour. Not sure how would be on Europe.

Now what I see he is trying to have a relationship with this girl. And if she request stop contacting another girls cuddling and holding hands with him sound like a reasonable request. You know happy wife happy life.

If you want have a healthy relationship with him, then you have to build a relationship with his girlfriend so she doesn't see you as a threat.

But looks like you want something else and probably him too. So if he want have two girls at the same time he will have to juggle between both and that require stop writing to you when he is with the other girl.

4

Okay, hopefully I understand everything that is going on. First off, do you want a relationship with this friend? If so, tell him. That part is simple.

Second, he is just friends with benefits/just friends with the girl, right? So why is she getting jealous? You need to tell him to tell her that she has no right to get jealous if they are not in a relationship. That's just silly.

Third, maybe talk to him and maybe her about an open relationship. I'm personally not a fan and think it could complicate things if people truly aren't okay with it, but if everyone is okay with it, then it would solve everything. He dates the both of you, and you both date him.

I might be getting to opinionated here but it sounds like a mess. There is no rigid structure to all of your relationships. You and him are friends, he and his girl were dating but now friends, so if no one is currently dating anyone, then you are all just friends. If he's ignoring you because she's jealous, then either he needs to grow a spine and tell her he is allowed to do what he wants, accept the fact that they're dating again, or tell her to leave.

So what do you want? Do you want a relationship with him? Do you want him to yourself or are you okay with an open relationship? Are you okay with a long-distance relationship but if he fools around with this other girl? I feel like he will continue to sleep with her.

A word of caution though and I'm not trying to make you doubt him, but guys are manipulative. If he refuses to leave her but doesn't want an open relationship, he may just be pulling you both along to get his way on both fronts. If he wants you, he will drop her. If he wants her, he should at least tell you he just wants to be friends. If he wants both, he should say that to both of you. Now the only thing that may actually disprove my suspicions of his trickery is that he obviously isn't getting any 'benefits' from you hence the distance (unless he is in a decent time interval becuase why would someone have FWB thousnds of KM away?).

  • I don't want a relationship with him. I just want his relationship with her ex or whatever she's now not affect our friendship. In fact, he is not getting any benefits from me, as you said. But he has stronger feelings for me than he has for his ex. I don't know the ex, so I can't talk with her neither. – Marisa Sep 10 '18 at 12:40
  • @Marisa Okay. So be straight with him. Ask him if he's truly just friends with her and if so, ask why he is ignoring you for her? Why is he letting her control him? Even if the reason is that they're dating, try to convince him that she is taking away his freedom and it's negatively impacting your friendship with him. – Greg Sep 10 '18 at 12:43

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