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I would like to help you with your question.
I can understand how frustrated you feel with your boyfriend's behavior. It is definately asking a lot of a relationship to have such a close relationship with another woman. Particularly a woman that seems uninterested in having a friendship with you.
I agree that the love relationship should take priority over a friendship.
Many people have friendships with someone of the opposite sex. These relationships can be quite healthy and enhance one's life. But...when friendships interfer with primary relationships then they must be addressed.
I see you are trying to get into chat.
I will wait for you to reply.
No, was waiting to see what else you were going to say.
What did you mean...they must be addressed?
There needs to be a conversation about this and some resolution that supports the love relationship. Right now, he sees this woman friend but you do not feel comfortable with this. He doesn't talk about her, but you know that they are together from time to time. And, their going to the wedding together is hurtful and disrespectful to you.
These things need to be talked about.
From what you wrote, I don't think that you are being over-controlling. I think you are asking to be respected.
It has basically come down to any time we talk about it, it turns into an argument. He says he is going to do what he wants with whom he wants.
Basically what he has said is I need to deal with it or we probably don't have a future.
Because you are living together, I think there should be less "telling" and more "asking". By that I mean, there should be a stronger desire to work as partners.
And, how do you feel about him telling you that he will do whatever he wants? Do you feel hurt? Disrespected? Threatened?
I can't see myself saying yes it would be ok for him to go to a wedding with her, even if he had asked me instead of telling me.
Yes...I understand. Certainly you want to be his "date" at such an event. Do you think he understands how disrespectful and hurtful that is?
It hurts and I feel disrespected. I feel he is putting this friendship over our relationship. He says they have been there for each other for 20 years and he isn't going to change just because I don't like her.
He says he doesn't see why it should affect me because they are just friends.
That's a pretty strong stand on his part. Yes..I understand 20 years of a friendship. But...where are you in his priority list? And...why is it okay that two people he cares about don't like each other?
Wouldn't it be wiser for him to help you become friends?
He says that we don't need to have the same friends. That it isn't necessary for me to be with him when he is with her.
So...perhaps his word "friendship" holds a different meaning.
What do you mean?
How do you feel about that statement...that it isn't necessary to be with him when she is with him?
When you use the word "friend" what does that mean to you? I'm wondering if "friend" means something different to him.
He says they can't be themselves if I were there. That she would interact with us as a couple not as she does if it were just him there.
But you are a couple!!
I see friend as someone to talk to our hang out with, but not when it puts a strain on my relationship.
That is exactly what I tried to tell him, that if he is in a relationship, then he shouldn't be acting as if he were still single and doing the same things he did when he was single.
She must understand that you are a couple and act accordingly. If he isn't making this clear - and isn't insisting that she view in this way then I'm concerned about how he sees your relationship.
Yes...if you are in a committed relationship you should be happy and delighted with that and want your friends, family, co-workers, and so on to know this and to support this relationship.
Isn't that how you feel? Don't you want others to know about your relationship and be happy for you?!
from what I understand, she has never been in a normal dedicated relationship. She has always been with the man that is the father to her kids. I don't think she knows what it's like to be in a real relationship. Thus, I feel she encourages him to be like he is. But she doesn't force anything...he is the one going to see her.
She obviously knows about us, and everytime we have a problem, he turns to her to talk to about it. He doesn't have a problem for the most part with me being around his other friends.
According to what he says, she supposedly wants us to be happy together.
Yes...these is definately a strange relationship. Her not having "normal" male/female relationships can certainly contribute to her inability to understand what means to be in committed love relationships.
She wants you to be happy together? Wow. That is an interesting statement. Do you believe she really thinks this way?
While I am not happy about her actions, the problem is, he is not discouraging it. All he would have to do is back off from seeing/talking/texting her.
So, to an extent, I blame her....but the blame lies more with him.
Yes. I Iwould certainly agree that he has a responsibility here to put you as his #1 priority. What about another tactic. What about you attempting to get to know her. Would you be willing to befriend her?
If it would be occasionally talking or seeing each other every couple months, I would be fine. But its not that
I don't think that would be possible. She knows from what he has told her about our arguments, that plain and simply, I don't like her.
I know you have written that there are things you don't like about her...but there is an old saying about befriending your enemy. That way you have more control.
He would also never go for it....as I said before....he says we don't have to have all the same friends.
I am not suggesting that you like her. I am suggesting that you get to know her so that she becomes less of a problem.
So he wants to have her as a confidant...someone he can talk to about life's problems and someone who has a long history with him.
I don't see that as possible as I would have no way interacting with her.
Well..one way would be to just say, "We have a history of not getting along. I want to change that."
Yes, they call each other BFF (best friends forever). I tell him, I should be his best friend, not her.
Wow. BFF. Yes. I can understand how you want that designation...not someone else.
I only see that as creating more problems, since he doesn't really want us to be friends.
Okay...it was just a suggestion.
I have met her once in two years...at my insisting.
What would you like to do about this situation? Do you want to find a way to accept it? If you continue to argue with your boyfriend about her, then she wins and you lose.
So she really is a very "private" friend of his.
That is why I am seeking advice. I don't know what to do. I have tried accepting it, but it's hard.
Yes, that is why I question whether there is more going on than what he says.
You have a choice here. Your boyfriend is committed to a relationship with her. He values her opinion, likes spending time with her, and has a long history that helps him to feel comfortable and happy.
Awhile back, he was on the phone with her after an argument and he said that she said that I am lucky that she isn't attracted to him. Makes me feel like if she said yes, he would be with her in a heartbeat.
It sounds like he truly does put that friendship over you to some extent. It does not sound like he would drop that friendship because of you. Rather, he insists that you must "live with" the friendship.
Yes, I feel my choice is either to accept it, and know it's going to continue to bother me, or give up on the relationship with someone that I love dearly other than this.
It's hard to determine if there has been anything more there than a friendship. I would not take her statement seriously.
No, and that really hurts....I understand putting ones children ahead of a partner....but it's really hard to deal with putting a friend ahead of a partner.
Yes...as hard as it might be to handle...you don't have alot of choices here. Acceptance is not going to be easy.
He keeps going back to the fact that they have been friends for years and she is always there for him. I try to tell him that I want to be that one that's there for years, but if he pushes me away, I can't prove that I am there for him.
And, yes, it is hard to understand why he puts her in front of you. That's why I wondered about you becoming her friend. If he truly cares about her and that friendship is important, then he should want you to also be her friend. When you think of your friends...isn't that what you want? That they "like" and respect your boyfriend. Enjoy being with him - and with you.
I very much like what you wrote! It is very very reasonable! Yes...by continuing that friendship he is not making room for you in his life...he is not giving you that opportunity to be his BFF and to have that special place in his life.
I think you understanding of relationships is very clear. He should want you to have that primary place in his heart and in his life. I do understand life long friends or long term friendships. But these should never take precedence.
Yes, but that brings up another problem. I don't really have friends that I hang out with. I moved to this area about four years ago and have not made any real friends that I choose to hang out with. My life has always been dedicated to my kids and my partner and work. He sees me as wanting to become friends with his friends because I don't have any of my own.
I don't need to be friends with his friends.....I just want this one friend to be less important in his life.
Okay. That's an another issue. If you want - and need - to make new friends - great. Maybe that would be a good idea so that you do branch out and have some of your own friends to rely.
And...absolutely...if would be wonderful if she had less importance in his life!
He says he is with me everyday of the week, that he comes home to me each night....that having a friend outside of our relationship is ok and normal and shouldn't afftect us.
I can understand his statement. And there is truth in what he is saying. But...the problem is that this woman seems to be more than a friend...she seems to take precedence over you. If she were not so important...then what he says would be just fine. Right?
I don't have the "need" to have friends. I am fine as I am. Again, my problem is with the importance he places on her.
Yes. I agree.
Yes, if she were less important to him, I would have no problem with him being friends with her.
So...what can you do to be okay with how important she is today?
It sounds like you want to move to a place of acceptance and not feel so upset by the role she plays in his life.
I would love to not be upset with it, but I feel resentment everytime I know he has been to see her. Especially when he hides it and I find out later.
I also feel that if I show too much acceptance, then that is only going to encourage him to see her more.
So perhaps it would be better to go to a full disclosure agreement. That is, saying, "I would feel much happier if you would tell me when you see her. I'm accept that she is your BFF and I am working hard to be okay with that."
He calls that "reporting in" and that I am not his mother and he shouldn't have to tell me everything he does.
That's too bad that he doesn't see that as reasonable in a committed relationship.
But..if he thinks it's a negative then it would be hard to help him understand that it's about respect and love and has absolutely nothing to do with mothering or control.
My thoughts exactly. He has a real problem with what he feels as me being controlling and I don't know how to change that.
It sounds like that is his issue and something he has dragged in to your relationship from his past.
I am going to suggest a few books for you to read. Would that be okay. They would help to shed some light on what is happening in your relationship.
I feel the same way. as I said, he says his ex was very controlling. Said he didn't even realize how controlling she was until they divorced. Now he will not live that way.
Just as I thought...old history that has nothing to do with you and everything to do with his past. That's really unfortunate because you are having to live with those old wounds.
That would be fine. I just know I am trying really hard to make this relationship work. I try to deal with what he has with her. I just don't know how well I am going to be able to deal with him going to that wedding in June.
Don't get me wrong, I know he makes sacrafices for our relationship too. It isn't completely one sided. I would just like to find a way to deal with this one issue....her. And I think our relationship would be much stronger.
He is also one who says he likes to talk about things, but when we do try to talk, it ends up in an argument and he says he doesn't argue as it solves nothing and then we are back to square one.
I understand what you are saying. It certainly has to be hard for you knowing that she has such a big place in his life. As you wrote earlier, you want to be that BFF, you want to be that one he confides in, you want to be that priority person.
Let me suggest the following:
I understand that he needs someone to talk to if we are having problems, but it's the priority he puts on her otherwise that really hurts. I don't feel as if I will ever be as good as her in his eyes.
Deborah Tannen is a university professor who has studied male/female communications for many years. She has a number of very wonderful books about couple communication. I recommend that you get one.They are easy to use and implement. Communication does seem to be an issue between you.
Yes...I hear the pain in those words. Certainly he puts so much emphasis on her that it would be difficult to feel that you would ever have that kind of place in his life. I'm sorry. It must really hurt.
He has said that our beliefs on friendships and what is acceptable is at total opposite ends of the spectrum and that worries him because at our age he doesn't see our values changing.
I had that same sense that friendships mean something different. But I think it only applies to her...as you said you don't have issues with any of his other friends.
I don't think the issue is about changing value. It's about you accepting this particular person.
Or...at least you coming to a place where you tolerate her presence in his life and are okay with that.
Do you think you can do that...come to a place of tolerating her and being okay with the fact that she is in his life?
What he meant was his values are that you don't just drop a friend like this after this many years....that you don't have to do everything together....that you don't have to check in with your partner....ect.
I really don't know. Everytime I think I have accepted it, he hides the fact that he saw her and it bothers me and I have to start trying to deal with it all over again.
Yes...I understand what he meant...but are you okay with this? Do you think you can LIVE with this?
Like I said, there are so many things about him that I love, that I hate to see it destroyed by this one thing.
But I also don't want to wonder every time he goes to pick up his son whether he is seeing her too.
That's why I think it would be better for him to tell you. All this secretive business is destructive. Yes...it would be sad to end the relationship because of this one issue. But...if this one issue leaves you feeling hurt, disrespected, unappreciated...how are you going to live with that kind of disruption in your life?
I can understand that he doesn't want to argue about it each time, but it creates a trust issue
Yes...exactly it's about trust.
Right now you don't trust him about this woman. He does seem to understand this point. By being secretive he is not giving you an opportunity to accept the friendship..instead you are left to worry and wonder. It would be so much better if the friendship were out in the open. Even if you didn't like him seeing her, at least you would know it was happening and could be in a place of tolerating it...accepting that it is an important friendship for him and that he is not going to stop being her friend.
*he doesn't seem to understand this point
It's nearly impossible to trust someone who keeps secrets or hides things.
I just don't know how to get him to see this. When he does tell me he has seen her, as hard as it is for me, I try to not say anything.
Yes..he has the right to have his own friends...
But when he keeps that from you...it is not healthy for either of you.
Yes I know that. It's makes us both unhappy with the relationship.
Yes...that is a very good response! If you act nonchalant and make no comment then he will see that you are accepting.
Well, I guess all I can do is see how it goes. I just needed to know if I was totally off base with my thinking of how his relationship with her and me didn't seem right.
And..at this point...all you can do is to tolerate her presence in his life and accept that this is an important friendship for him. You don't have to understand the relationship or like the relationship. But what you don't want to do is let it come between you.
Unfortunately it has come between us and that's the hard part to correct.
It is a strange relationship. We can all appreciate a 20 year friendship and understand the deep bonds. But to put that friendship over a love relationship is difficult to accept.
Your feelings are legitimate. I think it would be hard for most women to be comfortable with this situation - particularly when he isn't willing to tell you when he sees her and there is secrecy involved.
I agree. As I said, I don't want him to stop being her friend and stop all contact, I just need to know that I am important too.
As to my other question. Am I being controlling when I ask that he check with me before announcing plans to do something with someone?
Yes...that is the botXXXXX XXXXXne isn't it? Knowing that you have a place in his heart. Perhaps you can share that thought with him at some point. For now, I think you have a good plan...don't raise a fuss about seeing her. Continue to treat his friends well and to get to know them.
No. That's not controlling at all.That's about respect and trust. You want him to have friends.
The only fuss is going to come in june, because I just don't know how well I can deal with that.
Ok. good. I was beginning to feel that I was old fashioned and stuck in the stone age with how I thought relationships should work.
My suggesting is that you plan something fun for yourself that weekend so you have something else to focus on. He has made his plans. At this point, it is not worth fighting about.
No...your views on relationships are still very very valid!!
I could try that, but don't think I would be in the mood to do anything fun.
Is there any last thing you would like to ask me?
When I press save and exit....will it save our chat conversation?
Well...that might be hard for you to think about today. But if you stay home all sad and unhappy that is like punishing yourself! Why would you want to do that! Please consider my words.
Yes. Our chat is saved under your account. You can come back to it later and you can also print it off.
I will consider it,
Great...think about taking care of yourself...of course it is going to be difficult knowing they are together...but...if you have a plan for the day it will be less painful and more bearable.
Ok. Maybe at some point when we can talk...I can show him what I said, and your thoughts on it. Help him to understand that I am not trying to come between them, I just want to be more important that what I feel.
Yes...very good. You have your heart in the right place...it's okay that he has friends...and particularly this friend...but you need to know that you are important too.
Thank you for your help and suggestions.
You are very welcome!
I wish you the best!
Thank you! Have a good night!
If you should ever want to chat again, please put my name at the beginning of the question and it will come directly to me.
I would be honored to help you in the future!