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Ask Michele Sayre Your Own Question

Michele Sayre
Michele Sayre, No professional title
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 52
Experience:  Writer--I study human nature to understand why people do the things they do.
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Boyfriend/friend situation

Customer Question

My boyfriend (known his family and him for 20 years,dating for 2 yrs. We've taken a growth pause/separation, during this time we don't speak or see each other. At the same time my closest friend who owns a trendy cafe wants my boyfriend to play and sing at the cafe near my house. He live an hour away. She knows him through me.
I feel very hurt and unconfortable, it's right in my face.I hate to tell her what to do, but this will wreck
our friendship of 25 years. What is the proper etiquette/manners in this kind situation? Jill
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Anne replied 11 years ago.


            I can understand how you feel considering that you are under some emotional stress at the moment.  Your friend  who owns the cafe' may only be looking at it as a business propositon, and does not realize that it may hurt you.  Sometimes when one owns a place of business that requires entertainment,  it is easy to lose sight of anything else pertaining to the entertainer.  Maybe it would be an idea to talk with your friend and explain how you feel, but keep in mind that your friend may not change his/her mind regarding hiring your boyfriend to entertain the customers.  Regarding your question to proper etiquette/manners...   I think that what you may be asking is,  should your friend of 25 years be loyal to you and not ask your boyfriend to entertain.  This is a tough call. because your friend is a business owner.  Proper etiquette/manners, from your point of view, would be to be honest with  your friend as to how you feel, yet let your friend know that  you realize he/she owns a business and although you would be very uncomfortable, you understand whatever he/she decides.   This should take the stress of the 25 year friendship.    I wish you the best.

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Anne's Post: she is a business owner, yes. But she is also friends with him through me, we've all gone out socially. I feel left out, and he feels free to
be personel with them, including the co owner. This
is not the way he acts at his other gigs. He is
gloting and is very happy about being able to play there.under my nose and doesn't have to see me. So, I understand if it was business only like the other gigs are, that's OK, I don't want to tell anybody what to do, but this is killing me. I've told my friend she says it's business, I say when it gets personell, it's not all business. I would like them to tell him that they can't use him now, like they did when we first had our pause. This next week will be the 3rd Friday in a row. He can get other gigs.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
I've already replied, I'm waiting for Anne to answer.
Expert:  Michele Sayre replied 11 years ago.

My question to you is this--is this the only time in your twenty-five-year friendship that your friend has ever done anything that you feel is a betrayal of your feelings and trust?  If it is, then perhaps you should just let this incident slide.  You've told her how you feel, and that might be all you can do about the situation right now.

You mentioned that your friend has a partner in this business.  Perhaps it is he/she that is insisting on hiring your ex.  If this is the case, your friend is stuck in the middle of trying to maintain her friendship with you and also trying to do what is best for her business and her partner.  You've said that this isn't the first time that these two have hired your ex-boyfriend.  The fact that they keep asking him back can only mean it is because he is doing his job and is bringing in customers for them through his performance.  Believe me, if he wasn't a benefit to their business, then they would have never asked him back in the first place (even if that benefit is that his playing fee is cheaper than other performers in the area).

I'd say that the best that you can do is ask your friend for a list of dates and times in which he will be playing at the cafe near your house and then make it a point of 1) making other plans to be out with friends during this time, and 2) DON'T make any sort of contact with your boyfriend at all, so that he won't get another opportunity to bait you like you've written above that he does. (I thought that it was strange that he would be able to do this because you two are supposed to be NOT talking.)  If someone is passing this information on to you, then do yourself a favor and tell this busybody/troublemaker that you just aren't interested in anything he/she has to say regarding your ex and cut that person off at the pass before the information can ever leave his/her lips. (After all, a good offense is the best defense!)

Good luck with your problem!

Mic Sayre

Michele Sayre, No professional title
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 52
Experience: Writer--I study human nature to understand why people do the things they do.
Michele Sayre and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Steve -- a.k.a. Oreport replied 11 years ago.

You state that your once-and-future boyfriend is getting personal
with the management and gloating -- in other words generally rubbing
your nose in his 'freedom' from your relationship.

First, assuming that you have not actually seen him while he
(currently) performs at the Cafe -- how is it that you know about his
behavior -- and how can you know that you are labeling his behavior
correctly?  Are your friends telling you what you want to
hear?  Or are you letting your fears and insecurities fill in the
gaps of your actual knowledge of his behavior/motivations?

Second, even if you have nailed your boyfriend's behavior while
performing at the Cafe -- how does that make your friend the
cafe owner responsible for your boyfriend's behavior there?

Third, is there an unspoken part to your question -- namely that you're
concerned that your cafe owner friend and your boyfriend may have (or
be developing) feelings for each other?

Any which way, it seems to me that the first one you should be dealing
with about all this is your boyfriend -- regardless of any 'growth
pause/separation' in your relationship.  After all, how can there
be any growth without occasional evaluation and communication. 
Without that what you have is a breakup with a good healthy dose of

Your boyfriend (not your cafe owner friend) is responsible for his behavior.

Your cafe owner friend (not you) is responsible for decisions affecting
her business -- and she doesn't need your permission to hire musicians
(including your boyfriend) to perform there.

Assuming there is anything 'going on' between them -- your boyfriend
and your cafe owner friend are each responsible for their own social
and/or romantic behaviors and actions -- and (unless you and your
boyfriend currently have a 'no dating rule' in effect) -- owe you no

Even if you and your boyfriend have a 'no dating clause' in your pause
-- it seems unreasonable to expect that that rule to mean no
socializing with members of the other team.

My bottom-line advice: stop trying to be so controlling -- that comes
from fear and insecurity and it is very seldom seen as attractive.
Plus... it very seldom works.  Your continuing to push things with
either your boyfriend and/or your cafe owner friend will very likely
end up costing you both relationships.

One last thing, if I were you -- I would (very soon) arrange to have a
calm nonjudgmental conversation with your boyfriend about whether the
relationship is truely in a 'pause' or 'breakup' mode.  I recommend you
avoid talking about the gig and/or your cafe friend.

If you both agree that your relationship is on 'pause' -- take the
opportunity to clarify and, if necessary, redefine what the rules and
boundaries are.

If this pause turns out to be a breakup -- while expressing
disappointment and pain is acceptable -- do yourself and him a favor by
avoiding anger and blame.

Let me know if you need more input.  If not, thanks for the
opportunity to assist you... I would really appreciate your honoring my
efforts by 'pushing the button' and Accepting this answer.  Adding
a bonus -- should you wish to do so -- is always warmly welcomed.

Good Luck!


Expert:  Anne replied 11 years ago.


 I am sorry for the delay with my reply.   Yes, I can see where this would present a problem.  Judging from your response to me, it appears that there is an issue with loyalty to friendship. I can understand why you would feel "left out".  I don't know how "strong" you may be, but it may be an idea to continue to socialize with your friend and continue to attend functions at her cafe'.  Don't back away and allow someone to curtail what you enjoy also.  I know it is difficult,  but sometimes, one has to put on a "brave" face and continue with life as it was.  It may come as quite a surprise to your boyfriend if you continue with your life, be friendly, smile yet be a bit aloof. You also may meet someone else along the way.  Try not to isolate yourself from this situation.  Join in with  your friend of 25 years, continue the friendship and activities yet keep a "mystery" with your private life.   The  less your boyfriend knows about what you do in your life, when you are not attending the functions at the cafe' , the better it is.  This may be a difficult step to take... but if you decide to give it a try, it may well work for you and, you may feel less "left out", less lonely and proud of yourself for not letting a difficult situation end a 25 year friendship.    I wish you well.

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Thank you Anne for responding to me. That's true there is a loyalty issue,with my friend/owner of the cafe, but I should include more info. My boyfriend, we are both 50 yrs old. We're in L.A.
My x has asked me for the past year and a half to live with him, then to get married, he's had 2 unsuccessful with drugs, marriages. He's been clean and sober for 5 years and has now been on an excellent life path, he wanted to include me. He has an anger issue and I have issues that I have to deal with also. Like one, why couldn't I except his love and trust? The time with him was the happiest in my/his life. We both love each other
very much.
I to have issues to deal with also. Maybe I feel hurt and resentful because I can't tell either one what to do. Are there any etiquette rules for a situation like this. So now I get to hear how much everyone likes him, how good he is, there plus some personal things he tells them,and not me, she also tells me he comes into the kitchen to say Hi. It hurts, big time. One of the reasons he and I are not fully together, as he told me, he wants to be a better man for me(also for himself).
Does this info change your last response, or does it still stand? Jill

PS When we've gone out a few times this past month, he spends the night, like he always did.
Expert:  Michele Sayre replied 11 years ago.


Why are you making yourself feel badly about all of this? Did it ever occur to you that maybe there is no one to blame concerning this situation? Maybe you two were just not meant to be for whatever reason.

Just because your relationship with this guy was one of the best you've ever had doesn't necessarily mean that he's the guy you are ultimately supposed to wind up with. Maybe this relationship was meant only to teach you and prepare you for the next relationship. After all, you've learned that you still have issues to deal with, so try to deal with them so that they won't continue to affect any future relationship(s).

Also, it's been my experience that if you're holding back in a relationship, then there might be a good reason for you to instinctually do so. After all, he could be the greatest guy in the world, but sometimes, depending on the level of anger shown, the relationship just isn't worth all the extraneous crap that you have to put up with also.

Besides, did it ever occur to you that you might be his learning relationship, too?

Try to get rid of the guilt that you are feeling about this relationship failing--from my point of view, it succeeded because it got you thinking about areas in your own feelings/life in which you could try to improve yourself. Stop listening to all the good reviews from your friends. If they think he's so great, then maybe they should date him instead of continually trying to foist him back onto you!

Lastly, nothing is forever. If you two are truly meant to be, then maybe it's at a later date when you've both had an opportunity to grow. Sometimes you have to grow apart to ever be able to come closer together.

I would suggest broadening your horizons--with some new activities and new friends (still keeping the old ones, of course), so that you can take advantage of everything the world has to offer. Life is too short to make yourself nuts listening to other people tell you what you should or shouldn't do.

You mentioned above that it bothers you that you can't tell either your good friend or ex what to do. It's been my experience that when I tend to focus too much on the problems other people are causing me that I spend so much time focusing on them and less time on my own personal issues that I should instead be addressing. That's usually because it's easier to point my finger at others rather than myself--focusing on my own inadequacies is hard because it means that I see a necessity in myself to change, and change is one of the hardest and scariest things that a person can do. Perhaps that is what's really behind your conflict with your friends. If it is, then once you recognize this to be true, you will be free to truly enjoy your friends and your life.

I hope some of that helped.

Mic Sayre

Expert:  Anne replied 11 years ago.


Thank you for responding, I have to fully agree with Michele"s answer. I do believe that is a well thought out reply, and I wish you the best with whatever decision you come to. Thank you.

Expert:  Steve -- a.k.a. Oreport replied 11 years ago.

Ask yourself this... With both of you at age 50 -- with a 20 year history, and after
dating for two years -- you two have a relationship where a 'growth
pause/separation' includes going out several times a month ... with him
(like always) spending the night...

Does this read like a relationship on a positive maturing growth
track toward deep and lasting, mutual, self-sacrificing commitment?

Or is it more... mutually 'me-focused' -- secretly safe and
comfortable... where you both can avoid the hard and risky stuff --
pretending to be
working on commitment by cranking up the emotional intensity with

Good Luck!


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