Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

She's uneasy about boyfriend's special link with female friend

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

She's uneasy about boyfriend's special link with female friend

Q: My boyfriend seems to hit it off with one of his female friends. When I go out with them, I tend to be ignored as they talk about anything and everything. I confronted my boyfriend about this on numerous occasions and he simply states they are friends and nothing more.

We're both in our late 20s and have been together for two years. Am I acting immature and overreacting? Or should I be concerned that something might be going on behind the scenes (I have accidentally come across messages in which she tells him how much she misses him).

My Boyfriend's Girl Friend

Carolyn: If they have the kind of rapport you want to have with your boyfriend (this one or any other, doesn't matter), then the most direct answer here is to break up with your boyfriend. That's because it would render moot the issue of whether she's more than a friend. Platonic or not, they really hit it off where you and he don't. You have open proof. And don't you want to "talk about anything and everything" with your partner?

Anonymous: Do you think all people who can't "talk about anything and everything" should break up? I think my wife and I have a good marriage, but I would also say I have easier, more free-flowing conversation with some of my friends. That doesn't mean I like those friends more, it just means conversation flows more naturally with them. I don't think it means I should end my marriage.

Carolyn: I don't if you don't. That's the simplest answer. The defensive answer is that I did preface my answer with "If they have the kind of rapport you want to have with your boyfriend ... ."

The answer that reflects my experience with this column over the years is that the couples who have the talk-about-anything rapport have more of a cushion against challenges to other parts of their relationship, albeit not a bottomless one.

The answer that reflects my worldview is that different types of relationships suit different types of people, and I won't tell anyone to leave one type because I believe in another (unless those types happen to be "abusive" and "non-abusive"). Just anecdotally, I've seen plenty of hetero people who prefer the friendship of their own sex, and so a marriage like yours is by no means an anomaly.

Then, finally, there's the put-myself-in-that-place answer: If I were watching a boyfriend really hit it off with someone who wasn't me, I'd anticipate thinking two things: "I want that" and "I don't have it with him." How's that.

Anonymous 2: Assuming it's not about the rapport between him and the friend, but rather the lack of consideration for the girlfriend when they're all out together (ignoring her, talking about topics she can't take part in, etc.), would your answer change?

Carolyn: Yes. If he did it just with this one friend, and he saw this friend infrequently, then I'd say to write it off and just stay home when they see each other. We all deserve an occasional mulligan. If instead you were regularly treated to two-hour freeze-outs, then I'd nominate this rude boyfriend to be your next ex-boyfriend.

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