8

I’m [29 F]. My best friend (and roommate) [34 F]started dating a man [32 M] that I had a crush on. He is also a good mutual friend of both me and my roommate.

Before they were dating, I had decided for my own reasons not to ask him out or make a move because I don’t think it would be a good fit long term with him. I thought I had gotten over my crush feelings for him. Then he asked my best friend (and roommate) out on a date.

She knew I had a crush on him and asked me if it was okay that she started to date him. I said I thought it would be okay with me. But then I saw them together and felt terrible pain, sadness, loss, and rejection. She has been spending more time with him and I miss my close friendship with her. Now, we still have a friendship, but it is more distant.

He was also a close friend in a mutual group of friends we share (about ten of us total in the group of mutual friends). A week after they started dating I told him I had had a crush on him and it is hard for me to see them together. I wanted to share this to have open communication since we are all in a group of mutual friends. So now the three of us are all aware of my feelings and that this is a tricky situation. (The other seven friends don’t know but might be able to guess, because I haven’t been hanging out with the larger group if I know both my roommate and this guy are going to be there together). Both she and he have been understanding up to this point. They have not been hanging out at the house my rommmate and I share - they always go to his house and I’ve only been spending time with each of them individually.

It’s been one month now they’ve been dating, and I’m still not comfortable seeing them together. I saw them together yesterday and burst into tears in front of both of them. She wants to start bringing him over to the house for dates. She and I talked about it last night what we should do to solve this situation. I’m okay with them dating, and even happy for them, (because I think they are a good match, and there is probably another man who exists that compliments me better) but I don’t want it rubbed in my face and I just want distance to finish healing and getting over him while mourning the loss of depth of friendship with my closest friend. But getting this distance is hard since I live with her.

She asked me for a timeline - she thought a month would be enough time for me to get comfortable having him over at the house seeing them together. I told her maybe three additional months would give me enough time (so four months total). She isn’t happy with this timeline as she feels restricted if he can’t come over to the house. I don’t know what to do.

I want to ask my roommate to not bring him over for an additional 3 months. What's the most reasonable way I can go about this?"

  • 13
    Please note - the method you chose for reposting this question will risk you losing your ability to post questions here if repeated. Please do not do this again. If you have immediate need of help, you are in the wrong place. In future, fix your question and wait for it to be reopened rather than reposting it. – Catija Jan 5 '18 at 19:14
  • 4
    Is moving to another apartment an option? I'm aware it's not an IPS solution, but it surely beats seeing them together in your home. Personally, I understand how it feels to see the person you have a crush on with someone else, even with a friend. It hurts like hell and it only gets worse. So if it were me, I would've moved to another room/house and seen them only individually or kept myself together when hanging out with a group of friends - it should be easier with other people around. Otherwise, asking a couple to stay away from her home sounds a bit unreasonable and "too much". – user2851843 Jan 9 '18 at 9:31
3

I would try to talk to them both, perhaps not in the way you're thinking. That's for several reasons.

There is a good bond and trust between all three of you, and the difficulty is that your emotions are stronger than you realised they would be, even though you're happy for them.

Stand on their side of things, especially his side of it. They may be unsure what you feel, and/or if you resent them - and even if she is fine, its very unclear whether he has the same understanding of what's going on.

If you can be open with them both - and it doesn't have to be a big deal to talk about it - then you can make sure he understands how you feel, and what your request is about, and that its about finding ways to handle the emotions, and not resentment or jealousy or trying to undermine your female friend in a competitive or passive-aggressive way.

Make sure you're clear about your real feelings, exactly as you wrote above, and that you want them to understand you are happy for them but need to find a way to get past the emotions of it, and the fear that you'll lose 2 friends not just 1 over time (a common fear).

Then tell them you can't figure what to do alone, and wanted to ask (not "tell") them what's best to do.

18

I have sympathy for your situation. I can well remember from my own time living with friends how overwhelming such situations can be. Things that affect you in your home, where you want to feel safe and secure can be the most unsettling.

That said, I think you should consider that you are asking for the most reasonable way to make an unreasonable request. There are ways that you can make the request more reasonable, but ultimately it is not sustainable for you to seek to control your friend’s life in this way for any extended period and you can only achieve this with her co-operation.

She has said that she is willing to change her life for a period to help you. That is extraordinarily generous of her. At a time when she wants to be enjoying her new relationship she is still worried about your feelings and willing to go out of her way not to hurt you. She is being a good friend to you, so this is an opportunity for you to be the best friend you can be to her, her partner and to yourself.

Think about what you are asking.

Really think.

The month she suggested plus another three: that’s seventeen weeks, a hundred and twenty days… what are you going to do with that time? What can you do in 120 days that you can’t do in 30? Time is mostly useful for forgetting, but you won’t forget because every day the time until she is back will get shorter.

One of the things you can do with 120 days is spend them building up in your mind how terrible it is going to be when ‘your time is up’, four months is a long time to build something up into a terror it needn’t be.

120 days is a long time to expect a friendship to survive on starvation rations. How will you feed and nourish your relationship with your friends over that time?

17 weeks is a long time to keep a friend from enjoying her own home.

17 weeks is a lot of time to push your friend away for.

120 days is a lot of time to feel lonely in.

If you feel you really must do this, I suggest that you bring a whole load of accommodations that you are willing to make when you ask for this huge thing. Practical things: Don’t make all the inconvenience theirs, make most of it yours.

  • She pays, I assume, for her share of your home. Be prepared to compensate her for her reduced access to her home. Pay some of her rent, her share of the utilities.

  • Be prepared to make yourself scarce some of the time. Go visit family, book yourself a B&B for a weekend, sign up for a class that means you are out for a regular period each week. Busy yourself doing things, don’t just be ‘not at your home’ be doing something you enjoy and are engaged with and if that doesn’t seem possible at first; fake it ‘til you make it.

  • Don’t try and hog or divide the friendship group. Don’t use their shoulders to cry on. What can anyone do? They are together, you and he aren’t. Don’t make it awkward for everyone. And if that seems tough; fake it ‘til you make it.
  • Be prepared to work on yourself. I am not a counsellor, physiatrist or anything else, but it seems to me that your reaction is disproportionate and perhaps unhealthy. Maybe you are sad about other things, maybe you have concerns that counselling or something could help with. I suggest that you be prepared to explore that with your healthcare provider, or whatever avenue is available to you. Don’t fake that. Expecting other people to stay away from their home because you can’t deal is inherently not reasonable and in my view you need to get yourself to a mental space where you can see that and handle it.

I’ve not been in exactly your situation, but close enough that I can remember how inescapable it all felt. I actually asked someone to delay starting a relationship with someone else because of my feelings. It wasn’t reasonable and in retrospect I’m glad they declined to accommodate me. I moved out of the house, got some counselling and moved on. I don't say that this should be your solution (my situation didn't involve best friends in the same way so the stakes were different, perhaps lower), but it is something you should be prepared to consider if you really don't think you can endure the current living arrangement.

I’ll leave you with this thought:

Be reaslistic:

  • Four months of this is really likely to permanently damage your friendship. It might survive better if you take yourself out of the shared home voluntarily rather than pushing your friend away.
  • In the end you are the boss of you, and only of you. Try taking an active role in coming to terms with their relationship, don't wait to feel better; determine to feel better.
  • Four months of this might be really, really bad for your mental health. Look into getting professional assistance, four months dwelling on this is bad news.
  • 3
    At last an answer that says the OP is expecting too much. You can't get use to something by avoiding it. Either the OP walks away or the OP learns to accept things as they are. – StephenG Jan 9 '18 at 5:04
  • 2
    This answer is spot on. I would take less words: @Seb693 You need to take a good look at your own behavior, especially where your words do not correspond with your actions: I don’t think it would be a good fit long term versus dragging this out. I said I thought it would be okay with me: note the 'I thought' where you try to avoid a straight answer. You are out-of-integrity here and need to clean up the negative things you are putting into the relationships. – Jan Doggen Mar 19 '18 at 13:25
  • 1
    Great answer. I can add that I've been in a similar situation (Living together with ex and the ex's new huspand) and while it was no fun initially repeated exposure works great, and reasonably fast. – monocell Aug 3 '18 at 13:47
6

I don't know if you can ask that she not bring her boyfriend over for 3 months in a way that would be considered reasonable. On the one hand it is your space, but on the other it is her space too.

Perhaps, you can ask her for a different compromise such as:

not bringing him over for 1 month, then only having him over once a week for the second month, and then only having him over twice a week for the third month.

While it is normal to need some space to sort ourselves out, if you really want to over come something your usually have to face it head on in the end. Incremental steps are a good way to practice facing a hard situation.

For example when a psychologist treats some one with agoraphobia she/he does so by getting their clients to voluntarily get closer and closer to the place they fear, until they learn how to cope with that fear courageously, so that it no longer interferes with their lives. See here

Hopefully your friend will be more amenable to a compromise of incrementally bringing him over more often.

Good luck.

6

I want to ask my roommate to not bring him over for an additional 3 months. What's the most reasonable way I can go about this?

Asking for this in and of itself is not reasonable, however your question is not asking for a reasonable way, just the most reasonable. For this I suggest you try and calmly articulate how you feel and why you feel this is necessary to your friend and then listen to her response. Keep in mind it is fine to ask a friend for something unreasonable, but to demand it is incredibly rude, so if she says that you are asking for too much then unless you want to ruin your friendship I suggest you accept her response. After all, even agreeing to one month is very giving of her.

She asked your permission, you said yes and then you confessed to him one week into their relationship. - You are lucky that your friend is not super upset with you about this, it can quite easily be interpreted as you trying to sabotage their relationship out of jealousy. Did you do this openly and with your friends permission? After all, she asked your permission to go on a date and you only had a crush on him... they were actually going out.

mourning the loss of depth of friendship with my closest friend

I would like to comment on this. It may be presumptuous but it seems as though this fact has less to do with their dating life and more to do with you and your inability to deal with it. You said "but I don’t want it rubbed in my face" however I would argue that your friend has been doing quite the opposite. She has been going out of her way to cater to you by not bringing her SO over for over a month. It is very common and natural to want to spend time with your SO, if you are feeling a loss of depth with your closest friend, then logically that would be because you refuse to interact with her when she is with her boyfriend.

Although unfortunately self inflicted, I think this loss of depth is most certainly not beyond repair. It may be hard, and it contradicts your actual question (refer to the start of my answer for that) but I whole heartedly encourage you to accept and engage with every part of your friend, in this case - especially the part that has been dating this person for a few months and wants to spend time with them. Her relationship is most likely a big part of her, and if every conversation about it ends up being around why it makes you uncomfortable then that will be a larger contribution to your growing apart than anything else. It is clear she still values you as a friend so I think working towards fixing that may be worth considering.

1

Your request is entirely unreasonable. They have been understanding so far, build on that instead of burning the bridge.

In psychology, exposure therapy works by gradually increasing exposure, not by isolation.

I strongly recommend rethinking your position. Some other answers already gave advise on details.

Offer your roommate a compromise. Instead of waiting for a month, allow her to bring him over immediately, if she agrees to have him over like a friend the first three weeks - no private time in her room, no intimacies in the house. The second three weeks, he can come as a boyfriend, but ask her that they don't engage in sex and he doesn't stay for the night. The final three weeks, they can do whatever they want as long as they make an effort that you don't notice it.

Something along those lines (adjusted for your triggers) can help you manage your emotions over time without fear of a sudden overexposure.

You should also keep the apparently good and understanding communication between the three of you open.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.