Should I Be Pissed That My Boyfriend is Some Girl’s Bridesman?


AAPW: I just want to drop her like a bad habit

by Liz Moorhead, Editor, Ask APW

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Q: My wonderful man had a female friend he was close to (just friends) when we started dating. I was fine with it in theory, but she made it very clear to me she was against me through passive aggressive behavior from the start. So for awhile there I had to battle with her being nice to my man’s face and her really crummy behavior toward me.

I have a great guy, I love him, we are happy, and things have been taking nice big steps forward, steps that are clear to everyone. With those steps she has started to become more desperate with her behavior and cutting me down directly to my partner, and trying to drive a wedge in my two-year relationship. She acts very territorial over him, and uses guilt on everyone. She also asked him to be a Bridesman, because of course she did, in one of her attempts of manipulation. He accepted. We are a couple months into her engagement and the amount of money he has already spent on costs that could have been cut is ridiculous. It’s also upsetting to me simply because of the amount HER name comes up talking about HER wedding, and I’ve been ready for engagement for a while.

I’ve expressed this to him and he is very understanding and kind, but he feels it’s easier to just be in the wedding to cause less drama, than to say “no” to her at this point even though he plans to cut her entirely out of our lives after her wedding. Isn’t this going to send mixed signals to her? I’m so tired of her attempts to destroy my relationship, and I’m starting to be bitter that my partner is allowing someone like that around our good, solid relationship. She is mutual friends with my boyfriend’s friends which is why he is trying to fulfill his commitment and reduce the amount of drama overall; he is also known for being too nice. But isn’t he causing more drama for our relationship than it is worth for someone he is upset with and is going to cut out of his life? What do I do? What do we do? Do I go to the wedding? Do I stick to his plan and count my blessings it will be over soon? Do I drop cake on her wedding dress? Just kidding with the last one. I would never ruin a good piece of cake.

—Rita

A: Dear Rita,

This could really go either way. I mean, maybe she really is some conniving, jealous, territorial lady who’s not behaving very nicely. But I’ve only got a brief email to go on, and based only on that, it could easily be a very different situation. Not that I don’t believe you! Just be real with yourself. Is it possible you’re being sensitive? Reading into some of the things she’s done? Honestly, asking someone to be in the bridal party doesn’t sound like manipulation to me, which makes me wonder—what else is going on?

I also want to know how your partner feels about this. He says he’s going to cut her off, which is great if she makes you uncomfortable and he’s demonstrating that he prioritizes his relationship with you over his relationship with her. But does he see her this way? Have you factored in his perceptions of what’s going on?

Maybe, too, you’re letting your jealousy that she’s getting married color your view of how things are unfolding. She’s marrying someone else. Theoretically, this could be a great thing for you! And as much as it stirs up those old, “Why not us?” feelings, her wedding has nothing to do with your lack of wedding. These are separate issues; don’t let them get muddled together.

Being in her wedding doesn’t “cause drama” unless you let it. He already committed to the job, he’s already paid the cash for the various obligations, what’s the harm in seeing it through? It sounds to me like he’s trying to avoid making a statement, when he could just as easily let things naturally drift apart after this wedding wraps up and dies down.

To an extent, a “good solid relationship” can withstand being around some crappy people. Yeah sure, try to remove them when you can, but if you’re really as good and solid as you say, some parameters should be enough. So, he’s in the wedding. Go to the wedding, grin and bear it, look forward to the day that she’s married. And while you’re there, enjoy some cake (eating it, not smashing it).

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ASK APW A QUESTION, PLEASE DON’T BE SHY! IF YOU WOULD PREFER NOT TO BE NAMED, ANONYMOUS QUESTIONS ARE ACCEPTED. (THOUGH IT REALLY MAKES OUR DAY WHEN YOU COME UP WITH A CLEVER SIGN-OFF!)

Liz Moorhead

Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her sons.

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  • Amy March

    I think also you need to check your misogyny here. Your boyfriend is spending money on her wedding. He could choose not to. Your boyfriend is maintaining a relationship with someone who hasn’t been nice to you. That’s again, a boyfriend issue. Your boyfriend is “too nice” and yet is also planning to cut off someone who apparently views him as a close friend suddenly after her wedding out of the blue. She is marrying someone else! I get that you two aren’t friends, but it disturbs me that you’re framing this as a manipulative scheming other woman problem.

    You need to deal with this in the context of your own relationship. You are dating someone who would rather go along with plans that upset you than say no. Is that cool with you? Sure, it is coming up now in the context of this other woman, but you say yourself that he is known for being “too nice.” This won’t be the last time.

    • La’Marisa-Andrea

      My husband is too nice. We balance each other as I can let him know when he’s being too nice. It took time for us to get there but he trusts my assessments. This may or may not be LW’s relationship with her boyfriend at this time.

      • Amy March

        Oh yeah- I don’t think “too nice” needs to be a red flag or problem at all necessarily. It just sounds like RITA has a problem with it they need to work through.

      • Jessica

        Just want to clarify–does “too nice” mean that he becomes a doormat for other people? I had an ex like that, and it was always strange to see his fraternity brothers take advantage of him and then not respond when he clearly needed help of any sort.

        I’m just curious if there is another disadvantage of being too nice.

        • La’Marisa-Andrea

          From what I’ve observed with my own husband, sometimes it’s not just that he’s vulnerable to people taking advantage. He sometimes just doesn’t believe people when they say or show who they are and he trusts people who he probably shouldn’t. He assumes the best intentions in everyone and of course, not everyone possesses the best intentions.

          • Jessica

            Makes sense, thanks!

          • Emily

            Yeah, my husband (married three years together six) and I are on two different ends of the “jumping to conclusions spectrum”. There are lots of times when he correctly tells me “they didn’t mean it that way”, then there are a few times when he INSISTS everything is “totally chill” and “no one is mad” only to be proven totally wrong (like the time I got a “Dear John letter” from a roommate).

            In a lot of ways we balance each other out. He demonstrates generosity, and I let him know when he might be pissing off his friends (like now we always bring a bottle of wine to dinner parties). He is generous and oblivious. I am resentful and conscientious. It works out. However, there have been a few times when I felt that he didn’t stand up for me, and that sucked.

            That said, I would feel really awful if a personal conflict with one of his friends led him to cut someone off. This could be black an white situation in which the bride had a personality disorder and was inexcusably mean to LW. Or it could be a black and white situation where LW was super jealous and was reading into things so that she had an excuse to cut off the bride. But, what if it is a gray situation. What if the bride isn’t trying to split them up, but also doesn’t really like LW and hasn’t always hid it very well? What if LW is really sensitive and took those slight hard? What if she was also kind of threatened by her boyfriend’s relationship with another woman?

            If LW’s partner saw the brides true character and decided to cut her off on his own, FINE. Otherwise, the LW should take a step back. Not only is it kind of mean and controlling to push someone out of your boyfriend’s life, it’s also a lot of pressure. Ten years down the line is her BF going to regret this decision? If not, who is he going to blame? What if another of his friend’s treats her this way? What about a member of his family?

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            Oh I always tell people how much nicer and more generous my husband is than me. He really inspires me to be nicer etc. That being said, I’ve always had a pretty good bullshit meter since I was kid. He’s finally realized that my meter is pretty accurate but he is also generous and oblivious. I don’t really intervene all that much. Mostly he finds out how I feel about something or someone because he asks me :-)

            Re LW, I mean, I think I probably spent WAY too much time defending LW’s assessment of friend’s behavior toward her. I generally don’t like to spend too much time going behind someone’s perception, asking them for proof, asking for more examples etc. I just err on the side of your perception and your reality (unless there’s a known mental ill diagnosis or personality disorder). I feel like she’s entitled to some leeway bc she wrote a letter that’s basically a snapshot of her life. So I believe her when she says friend is mean to her, etc.

            Where I draw the line and what I have an issue with as far as LW is concerned is the demand that her boyfriend cut the friend out of his life. I simply don’t think she has the right to do that. That’s definitely controlling, manipulative etc on HER part. I get it. There was someone in my husband’s life who I HATED. I could not stop talking about this woman bc I hated her so much. But never did I tell him that she had to get out of his life. He figured out on his own that she was a liar and con artist and cut her off himself. But it doesn’t sound like LW is going to be around this woman that much and those most of the interaction is due to the wedding which will be over at some point. At any rate, as someone else pointed out, this isn’t really about the friend. It’s really about the boyfriend and his lack of response to what’s going on. I would not want to be him.

    • raccooncity

      Preach. I kept thinking that if this had been someone writing in complaining about how much a bride is making them spend on a wedding (like, if it was the boyfriend’s POV), everyone here would be like “well then stop. just say you don’t have the money” I mean, even if the bride is a total control freak about the wedding, it’s still on the people involved to say no, and if he really isn’t interested in maintaining the relationship with her afterwards then it should be a pretty easy no at that.

    • It stuck out to me that the brides-man thing is framed as being a manipulative scheme and in reality I know very few people that would invite someone into their wedding party just to spite that person’s partner. I think LW needs to take a step back from the situation, tell her Partner that she doesn’t really want to hear about the wedding or Friend that much, and then hold Partner to it.

      LW can’t force anyone else to do anything, but LW can set up some boundaries that might make the situation feel less crappy.

  • Eileen

    Huh. I feel pretty differently about this. I have been here before, though without the wedding part of it. I think guys are often oblivious to the sort of cattiness that girls are capable of, because female aggression isn’t like male aggression. That said, I also think that the LW has won this battle. And while it seems strange to me to be in the bridal party of a person you plan to “dump” after the wedding, it doesn’t seem like he should back out now. I think it’s valid to say “I’m not going to the wedding of this person who is shitty to me all the time,” and say you won’t be in town. But if you think you can go and have fun and smooth things over for the time being, that’s a good option too.

    • La’Marisa-Andrea

      Yup. Also: women know when other women around them are being nasty and manipulative and playing on the man with whom there is some kind of mutual involvement (friendship, family etc). I think to paint LW as possibly some jealous shrew is unfair. Women really do this crap
      to other women and I don’t have to be jealous to not be ok with it. I believe LW’s take on the behavior. I also think the boyfriend’s plan to end the friendship is his way of appeasing LW and she just needs to deal with him being in the wedding.

      • Liz

        Would you feel the same way if the genders were flopped?

        • La’Marisa-Andrea

          I’m not sure I understand your question because this deals specifically with catty and manipulative behavior of women to other women. Can you clarify?

          • Amy March

            Is there a more sexist way to describe this behavior than “catty”? It’s such an explicitly gender loaded word, and I think using it is problematic.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            I stand by my word choice. I chose that word for a reason. I’m not going to debate my language on here.

          • I agree that “catty” is a word that lots of people with internalized misogyny like to use to be dismissive of feelings, and it saddens me that someone would use it so lightly.

            HOWEVER, I can agree that “cattiness” is taught and learned by society because you’re told there is finite love/attention for women and you have to fight for it. And it’s hard to unlearn. And if that’s the root of this letter, that just sucks, because it’s a really rough mindset to be in (for the giving and receiving end.)

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            Words mean things. I’ve never been a fan of moratoria on words.

          • Yes. I agree, but also there are multiple words with similar meanings and each carries it’s own history, associations, emotions…no?

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            Not disagreeing with you. I was expressing words have meanings and I’m not a fan on banning words merely bc they are problematic. Context, use etc all matter.

          • Liz

            Do “men know other men” the same way “women know other women”? Is manipulative, nasty behavior specific to women? If a man were to write in, “I want her to drop out of his wedding,” would you feel the same way?

          • Eileen

            I don’t think so, but then I am not a sociologist. I stand by my statement that female aggression is harder to recognize for men, but if a friend were being antagonistic to my partner in any way that I picked up on or that he told me about, then I would pull away from that friendship. I would hope that I would have done so before accepting to be in the wedding party however…

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            Ohhh got it. I don’t think manipulative and nasty behavior is specific to women. HOWEVER, I think the ways in which women are nasty to each other versus men are different. I don’t know why that is. Perhaps the way we’re socialized? We’re taught that we always have to get along with each other and be nice to each other so perhaps we learn the art of the nice-nasty so that we can seemingly be nice but express our dislike for each other. The whole competition for male attention also breeds a particular sort of underhandedness that makes us act like crabs in a barrel sometimes. And yes, I think women tend to know when other women are being nice-nasty to them in the same way that black people tend to know when stuff is racist I don’t assume that what’s going on here is just a woman being jealous or overreacting bc I’ve been in LW’s shoes (except the woman was going to be in MY wedding). I take issue with the idea that because what LW has describes comes across as highly gendered or perhaps stereotypical even, that it must not be true. Some are choosing to believe that she’s being reactive. I choose to believe that the boyfriend’s friend is nasty and LW doesn’t like it and has basically listed everything she doesn’t like about this woman.

          • Liz

            “…because what LW has describes comes across as highly gendered or perhaps stereotypical even, that it must not be true.”

            Oh, that’s not how I feel at all! I question anyone who wants a partner to cut a friend. That immediately raises my brow.

          • G.

            Yep. Wanting/asking someone else to cut someone out of their life is a big deal. It might be warranted, but it is an extreme measure best suited for extreme circumstances.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            I, too, raise brows at a demand to cut someone out of your life. I don’t think that’s even something you can demand of someone else. I think what you CAN say is “I’m not comfortable with X person for X reason and these are my boundaries.” But your boundary can’t be “you can’t even speak to this person again.” Even with my fake sister-in-law (the situation I was in with this horrible con artist), I couldn’t tell my husband she had to go. She just couldn’t be part of the more intimate parts of ours lives (like our wedding, staying in my home, giving her access to our money).He was fine with that boundary and he eventually saw her for who she was and dropped her on his own.

          • Anon

            I think jumping immediately to cutting out a friend is definitely a red flag. Sometimes it has to be done, but unless it’s an extreme toxic situation (which this might be, but my gut says it’s not—perhaps unfairly!) I think generally A) it should come after many alternative discussions and mediations and B) the impetus should be from the person in the friendship, not their partner. Mostly because I think that’s the only way resentment won’t build up—either because it’s so damn obvious that the person needs cut out or because it’s clear that their partner is so damn uncomfortable and that’s where the priority lies.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            I just saw your edit. I’m not willing to remove talk of cattiness bc that’s an actual thing and is what she’s describing. Yes, it’s a loaded term but we can unload and still recognize it’s something that is real and does happen. My trust in her is really based on that she’s providing us with a snapshot of her life and I trust her perceptions. It’s not specifically based on the gendered elements; I just happened to recognize assuming that her description is accurate, that this IS a very gendered thing that happens. That is just how I err. I trust people know what is happening to them and I don’t like to spend a whole lot of time telling them that what they experienced isn’t perhaps what they experienced. I ONLY brought this up bc there was so much questioning of whether her experiences and perceptions were real. If we are going to debate THAT, then the discussion about gender and the catty, nice-nastiness of women is warranted.

            With that being said, I don’t really think the cattiness is really LW’s issue (that’s why she dislikes friend) AND the chat about cattiness has nothing to do with LW wanting her boyfriend to get rid of friend. That’s a totally separate issue in my book. At the end of the day, this is really a problem she has with her boyfriend and REGARDLESS of what she said about the friend (say it wasn’t that gendered passive aggressive behavior and something more overt), her demand that boyfriend get rid of friend is what I find brow raising, so to speak.

          • toomanybooks

            I asked my partner to “cut someone out of our life,” and I agonized over it for about a year before doing it. I know how that kind of request looks, which is why for a long time I really didn’t want to resort to that.

            We’re both women, and her ex was a guy who raised creeper red flags for me from the start, but I tried to be friends with him, despite the fact that until she and I became exclusive, they were dating. He was so inappropriate towards her and around me, and around women in general, that it became unbearable for me to be around him. (After every time I was around him, I would feel sad and angry for a solid day or two, stewing while at the office, etc.)

            At about the year mark of knowing him, there was an event that was the straw that broke the camels back – it went too far this time for me to think I should ignore it – and that’s when I said I was not going to be around him anymore and I didn’t feel comfortable with her being around him either. I had communicated my feelings to her before and it had been a process of her trying to ask him to stop specific behaviors within the pattern, but eventually it was the larger pattern that I felt like we couldn’t change, and at any rate it was too late now.

          • Anon

            Re: Nice-nasty and men’s obliviousness, my favorite example of this is from one of my husband’s former friends.

            The first time I met her, she mentioned something about being in a band and I said, “Wow, that’s really cool!” And she widened her eyes ever-so-slightly and raised her vocal inflection to say, “Yeah, it’s, like, SUPER AWESOME!” in a way that mimicked my more traditionally feminine voice. I mentioned it to then-boyfriend later and he said, “Yeah, she really likes her band. It *is* super awesome.” …Completely over his head.

            It wasn’t until weeks later when she drunkenly spat out, “No one here likes you; we only hang out with you because you’re fucking [Boyfriend]” that he realized maybe she really was not the nicest to me.

          • raccooncity

            The behaviour you’re referring to is also classic abuser behaviour, if you forget the word ‘catty’. Abuser behaviour that is primarily attributed to men. Women are maybe more abusive to their friends? But men in general DEFINITELY know how to participate in these behaviours – they gaslight and manipulate their spouses as much as women do.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            I am not saying nor did I say ANYWHERE that men were not capable of being nasty and manipulative behavior. That’s not even what LW’s letter is about.

      • Sara

        I disagree with the idea that “women know” to an extent. I have had close guy friends with girlfriends that claimed that the girls in our group were being nasty to her when we were trying our best to welcome them. One accused me of trying to sleep with her boyfriend. One flipped out at another friends’ wedding because her boyfriend was paying too much attention to the bride and not to her when he was IN the wedding and needed to take pictures. She sobbed in the bathroom at the wedding because he was ‘too busy’ taking pictures to spend time with her.
        Not saying LW is that girl at all, but I am saying there are two sides to every story. Sometimes it is in your head. Sometimes its real. If you aren’t comfortable, don’t go to the wedding. If she’s really that nasty, you’ll be done with her soon.

        • La’Marisa-Andrea

          There are 2 sides. Having been in this situation, I choose to believe LW. Because women really do do this stuff and they pull the oh you’re just jealous card when called out on it.

          • Emily

            I think some women do this stuff. Not all women. I also think it is possible for a woman to be honest friends with a man and be unintentionally (and unknowingly) triggering the man’s partner’s insecurities.

          • G.

            Right. If you’re friends (just friends!) with a guy, and have been for a long time, then you know things about them and have a style of interaction you’ve developed over the years. Just because I know how my good friend takes his coffee doesn’t mean we’ve slept together or I want to sleep with him or his girlfriend needs to be jealous. But it’s easy to look at such knowledge/behavior and assume the worst.

          • Ann

            Sometimes it’s not just that knowledge/behavior, but the ownership of that knowledge/behavior. If the first time I meet my partner’s friend (of any gender), they barely ask me questions or acknowledge me, but instead just talk in Inside Joke Language and “Hey Remember That Time” Stories to my partner, I’m going to think they’re a jerk who’s unwelcoming to me. And whether it’s fair or not, I’m especially aware of this with my male friends’ new partners because I don’t want them to think I’m marking my territory or trying to make them feel like “I knew him first, I know him better, and that’s how it’ll always be.” Which is definitely a message some women (and men!) try to get across to new partners because they threaten the status quo.

          • Ann

            [And I should note that, back when I was dating and not an old married lady, I would always try to find out from my partner what the backstory was rather than just forever writing someone off. Are they shy? Have they not seen partner in a long time? Are they insecure about their friendship with partner for some reason? And–in some cases–is there a romantic history there that I should be aware of? Etc., etc., etc

            Usually, there’s an explanation beyond “I HATE YOUR NEW GIRLFRIEND BECAUSE SHE’LL TAKE YOU AWAY FROM ME” and it’s possible to move past it. And, even in that case, there are ways to move past it, though it requires maturing and bucking up on the friends’ end.

            But overall, most people aren’t trying to be jerks and want their friend to be happy, so it’s good to try to give them the benefit of the doubt…though it should always try to be a multi-way street.]

          • G.

            Yes!

          • G.

            I think that’s fair and you’re very thoughtful. I also think context matters — in-town friend someone sees often is different from college friend he hasn’t seen for years (the latter may mean more inside jokes and remember the time stories, not intended to exclude but intended to maintain the friendship)

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            I agree not all women. But I’m not going to be writing not all in my comments on here. The friend cutting LW down tell me that it’s not just LW’s insecurities speaking here. The friend is intentionally and purposefully nasty etc though who knows for what reasons. But generally I agree with what you said.

          • Emily

            I’m curious–why not write “some” or “not all?”

            I’ve read enough of your comments to know that you are well educated in these arenas, but I know (and I’m sure you know) that there is a continuum of thinking on these ideas. I unfortunately still know some women who truly believe that all women act in manipulative ways. Including “some” seems to me an easy and gentle way to help change that pattern.

            In terms of the LW’s issue, I don’t feel like I know enough from the letter to have a good sense of what is going on. Is the friend purposefully nasty or is the LW unconsciously creating that? I don’t know.

            I know that people have read all kinds of intentions and meanings into my facial expression or my body language and–in these instances involving me–what people have thought I was expressing was very different than what I actually wanted to express.

            It’s definitely possible that the LW

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            ” Is the friend purposefully nasty or is the LW unconsciously creating that?”

            Hmm. I don’t know…I’m thinking I don’t care about the intention, but what I care about is the execution at least when it comes to how LW has interpreted friend’s behavior. I will think about it some more.

            “I’m curious–why not write “some” or “not all?””

            For my particular brand of activism (anti-sexism, anti-misogynoir, anti-racism etc), I don’t engage in “not all” debates or conversations and I don’t pander to the view that a general statement about group of people always means that there isn’t room for deviations, individual personalities etc unless someone explicitly says “not all.” I’m using the word “pander” not from a lofty and superior position, but to convey the idea that that particular viewpoint is one I do not entertain or give validity to. If that makes sense.

          • Emily

            Thanks for the explanation of how you approach “not all.” We
            disagree and I suspect we can be okay with that.

            Is communication about the intentions of the one
            communicating or the understanding of the one receiving, or both? I love the
            question.

            Unfortunately I have to move away from the computer for the day. Thanks for the
            exchange!

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            Oh for sure! We gonna be all right. I will think more on this question!

        • Saxyrunner

          Yeah. I’ve had a weird tension thing between me and a teammate’s girlfriend. The cross country teams at my college were pretty close knit, and one of the team building things we did was draw names out of a hat and make fabric paint tee shirts with puns about the specific runner and wear them at meets while cheering. I had drawn her boyfriend’s name and I think the tee shirt made her uncomfortable. I tried my hardest to be nice to her, but she just wasn’t comfortable with me, so I just let her be and left her alone after a while.

    • He doesn’t need to be aware of what “female aggression” looks like (and I cringed a little bit just typing “female aggression”, even in quotes) he just needs to believe his partner when she tells him she feels uncomfortable around his friend. That’s it.

  • Lauren

    We went through something similar with a friend of my husband’s (minus the wedding), so I feel you on this. My strategy, which I wish I had implemented way earlier, is to remove myself from the situation/their friendship emotionally as far as I can. Which means: I consider myself off-limits for my husband as a source of support if he is upset because of her, she is not welcome in our apartment, I minimize the social situations where we see each other, and I ask that my husband not share any unnecessary information about me with her (because she would use it as fodder to criticize me). Their friendship has gone downhill over the years and I would argue that that’s a very healthy thing – there were some weird, manipulative patterns in it that I was and am uncomfortable with (my husband meanwhile sees this from my POV). But generally, this approach has worked reasonably well for me. There is, inevitably, friction that comes with disrupting their social circle in this way, but it’s been the healthiest route for me. I would try to connect with the friend directly and address the tension, if you haven’t done so already, and if it doesn’t help the situation move in a constructive direction, decide how much you are willing to deal with and set your boundaries accordingly – including skipping out on the wedding, if that’s your choice.

  • Nell

    It sounds like there are a ton of issues here that are being squeezed into one giant ball of anger. But really, they are all kind of separate:

    1) Boyfriend spends a ton of money on something you think he shouldn’t spend money on. Are you guys sharing finances? If you are, or if you are planning to share finances in the future, you guys should work on communicating around money. How much money is ok to spend on someone else’s wedding? How do you say “no” to people when they ask you to spend money you don’t have?

    2) Possessiveness, and its limits. In the first part of the letter, the language is “I have a great guy” “my man” etc. Ok, so this could be just fun language (the way Dan Savage likes to say “my HUSband”) but think about what it means to “have” a guy. Even if you get married, he’s his own person who can make his own choices. He may make more friends you don’t like. He may be involved in weddings or other major life activities with people who really frustrate you. If you’re not ready to deal with that – then you might not be ready to get married.

    Which brings me to . . .

    3) “I’ve been ready for engagement for a while.” Does this girl suck? Probably. Is her engagement holding up yours? Nope! Two different problems, with two different solutions.

    4) It’s really scary to me that your boyfriend is willing to stand up in someone’s wedding, and then secretly pledge to cut her out of his life. Isn’t there some in-between option here where he has a heart-to-heart with her about how serious he is about you, and how she has to start treating you with more respect?

    • AP

      Your #4 hits on something that bothers me, too. I get naturally drifting apart after the wedding, but I can’t imagine standing up in someone’s wedding while actively planning to never speak to them again after wedding is over. It does seem like there could be a few in-between steps, like a conversation he could have with the friend. And if that doesn’t work, then yes, maybe the friendship has to go. But a sudden (planned) ghosting seems cruel to me.

      • Sara

        That really jumped out at me too. I almost wonder if he’s telling LW what she wants to hear so she’ll drop it because of the ‘too nice’ thing. I know people that just agree blindly to a solution to stop an argument and then never follow through. I hope that’s not the case here.

        • AP

          I’ve got a too-nice husband, which in his case ‘too nice’ translates into ‘equates being needed with being liked/valued’ and ‘uncomfortable with conflict.’ In the past, he has definitely told me what I wanted to hear just to stop an argument, and it’s something we’ve had to work on.

      • Sarah

        This actually happened to my husband. Like, his groomsman called him shortly after the wedding and told him he was cutting us out. It really really hurt him :( do not recommend.

        • AP

          Whoa. That’s rough.

          • Sarah

            Dude has a lot of issues he needs therapy for and he chose to cut my husband out instead of addressing them : I think we were a reminder to him about how few people he has in his life, so, he reacted by cutting out the last person instead of allowing himself to have feelings

          • AP

            That’s incredibly sad for a lot of reasons.

        • chrissyc

          No! That’s terrible.

    • Lauren

      “He make more friends you don’t like. He may be involved in weddings or other major life activities with people who really frustrate you.”

      I think there is nevertheless a difference between your partner’s friends who you don’t like very much and your partner’s friends who are actively antagonistic toward you. I think it’s reasonable to expect that you tolerate your partner’s kind-of-annoying friends, but, with the situation reversed, I would seriously have to question any friendship with someone who actively disliked and rejected my partner, and was vocal about wanting my relationship to end.

      • Amy March

        I would seriously question my relationship with my partner if he wanted to be friends with someone mean to me, absolutely.

        • Liz

          That’s a big question for me… like, was all of this voiced PRIOR to agreeing to be in the wedding? I had a real problem with one person my husband knew, but there were times he had to be around her. Alone, even. He didn’t cut her out, but still managed to make me feel heard and prioritized by establishing boundaries etc.

          • AP

            I think boundaries are key here. My husband has a family member who is drama-prone, demanding, and even tried to drive a wedge between us when we first started dating (and still does, to a lesser extent.) I’ve tried to be friends with her but she makes me really uncomfortable. He can’t cut her out because she’s family, but we do have some boundaries in place where she’s concerned and it makes all the difference. Like, not spending alone time with her, not jumping in to rescue her when she’s having a crisis (this was a big one because he loves being needed and he’s the go-to guy in his family) and not talking about her or changing the subject when her name comes up (because she tends to dominate family conversations whether she’s present or not.) It’s not always easy, but knowing he’s on my team helps.

        • Lauren

          I’m just a bit thrown off because Nell’s comment is written in a way that makes it seem like all dislike is equally serious/not serious, but it seems pretty clear from the letter that there has been some open hostility toward the relationship.

          • Nell

            Re-read the letter and saw the line about “cutting her down.” There are people who say inappropriate things for attention – and those people are battling with things inside themselves. I’m trying to say that if she makes it about this girl vs. her – she’s probably going to make herself miserable – because who knows what motivates this woman to say and do awful things.

            She’s assigned the motivation to a desperation to split up her relationship with her boyfriend – but even if that’s true – acting as though this woman has a chance in hell of doing that is counterproductive. CP’s comment above is exactly what I was thinking they need to do.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            Yeah I think the motivation is off. I don’t believe that the friend is motivated to get between LW and her boyfriend but I concede it’s a possibility. I mean, I’ve met women who were openly hostile to me from JUMP. Like, I walked into the room and I’m getting daggers and we haven’t even been introduced. There are people who are like this.

          • G.

            This is where more details would be helpful. What does “cutting her down” mean? It could mean saying she’s a terrible person or does horrible things. Or it could mean an apt characterization of a personality trait she doesn’t love (e.g., calling a drama queen a drama queen — some will embrace that part of their personality and think, “ha, you got me,” and others dislike that part of themselves and see it as unfair critique b/c they don’t want it to be true). Without examples, it’s hard to parse the situation, and it’s easy to sympathize with the LW or the other woman depending on past experiences that felt more like one experience than the other.

          • K.

            Suuuuure, but using your example–is it really that friend’s place to say “You’re a drama queen” to someone she’s not close with? Even if it were true and something I could laugh at when true friends and family said it, that would piss me off if SHE said it, only because it would feel like an overstep. Like, you barely know me and you’re going to make broad, non-flattering statements about my character in front of everyone? Not cool. That sort of ribbing requires a fairly sturdy foundation of respect and even some fondness, IMHO.

          • G.

            To me that’s so dependent on context and personality. I know some blunt people who would just say it, and that’s just part of who they are. I know some thoughtful people who never voice it aloud to the person’s face, but might say it to the partner as a check-in (have you noticed s/he can be a drama queen about XYZ) and if that got back to the person could create an unintended shit-storm. Was it said sarcastically (in a group of people who are generally sarcastic) or meanly (as an intentional put-down)? Was the situation improved by the action (“Way to go, drama queen, you got us our seats!) or was it aggravating (“Maybe we could have resolved this without that drama”). All of which is to say, a) it depends and b) intentions and experienced feelings don’t always align.

          • K.

            “I know some blunt people who would just say it, and that’s just part of who they are.”

            But people like that also have to realize that the things they say don’t exist in a vacuum. The people they say those things to can and often will have reactions and there can be consequences–like someone thinking you’re out of line, damaging relationships, etc. In general, I’m very, VERY suspect of people who claim they can’t filter themselves from saying hurtful things and then claim that those who are hurt by their hurtful words are too sensitive or are trying to stop them from “being themselves.” Frankly, if “being yourself” requires you to say mean things without thought for how it affects others, then yeah, sorry, but maybe you shouldn’t be “yourself” all the time. But that’s an extreme personal pet peeve.

            I guess I just think in general unless you have a relationship with someone that’s mostly positive, you should avoid saying non-positive things to them or about them, even if the intention isn’t “I don’t like you and I want to make sure you know it.” Sometimes we just have to suck up things we don’t enjoy about someone [not including truly toxic things] without calling attention to it for the sake of harmony or sparing someone’s feelings. I feel pretty strongly about this though [if you can’t tell!] so I get that others feel differently.

          • tr

            I mean, to an extent I agree, but at the same time, depending on your natural personality and the environment you’re used to, your idea of appropriate and mine could potentially be very different.
            For example, I grew up in a family where we all made lighthearted jokes about one another. Joking about say, a person being a diva if she didn’t want to go duck hunting with the guys wasn’t meant as a put-down in the least, it was just a way of showing affection. However, in another context, or heard through the grape vine, it could probably be taken as a hurtful comment, regardless of intention. If that person then got mad, they wouldn’t be in the wrong, but it also wouldn’t mean that we were insensitive jerks who should have been more considerate.
            Sometimes, both people are right, depending on the context and perspective you’re viewing it from.

          • K.

            But would you make a joke like that to someone you not only don’t have an affectionate relationship with, but with whom you actually have a fraught and difficult one? That’s the key. For me, what you’re has tons of nuance among friends and friendly acquaintances, less when you’re talking about people who already barely tolerate each other. I guess if that’s the way to try to build the relationship, I can sort of understand, but I think it’s a super risky way to go about it and would also understand if the person on the other end described you as “cutting her down,” if only because it’s HARD to go from We Can’t Stand Each Other to I’m Teasing You! in one step.

          • tr

            Also, what’s passive aggressive to one person is normal, friendly behavior to another. The thing about being passive aggressive is that it relies so heavily on context and intentions, so two reasonable people can read a situation VERY differently. Judging from the tone of the letter, I can’t help but think the LW is one of those people who sometimes sees daggers that aren’t there.

          • tr

            It sounded like the issue was largely passive-aggressive behavior, which isn’t really the same as open hostility.
            The truth is, what one person interprets as passive aggressive may or may not actually be hostile behavior–I’ve known a number of people who tend to interpret normal, neutral behavior as passive aggressive based on their own past experiences. It’s not that they’re crazy or anything, it’s just that passive aggressive behavior is inherently so context laden that a person’s past experiences can really color their present interpretations.
            To me, this sounds like an issue that needs more open, honest discussion between the letter writer and her partner–she needs to tell her partner about the offending behavior, and then she needs to truly consider his feedback about what that behavior means.

      • Nell

        That’s totally valid – but then if this girl is cutting her down in front of her boyfriend. . . why isn’t boyfriend speaking up? Why aren’t the other people in the room speaking up? It makes me wonder if Liz isn’t on to something with the LW misinterpreting behavior – or at least being incredibly sensitive to this particular person’s behavior.

        • CP

          Right? From the LW’s letter, I don’t get the impression she and partner talked about friend’s behavior rather than friend’s wedding. LW should probably talk to her partner and say, “When Friend does A, B, and C, it makes me feel X.” Partner may say, “I really haven’t seen Friend do that, but I will try to be more observant.” And then LW and partner can both take a chance to try to view friend’s behavior as objectively as possible. Or if LW’s partner says, “Yeah, I can see why Friend’s actions would make you feel that way,” then LW can say, “Can you please help me navigate that when it happens?” LW and LW’s partner must not be seeing friend’s behavior in the same way, unless partner is just cool with his friends being mean to his partner (in which case… other issues.)

        • Lauren

          It’s definitely on the boyfriend to decide his priorities and treat both of these women appropriately. If he’s willing to leave the LW hanging in that gray area, that would be a sign for me to step back from the relationship for a bit rather than trying to move toward an engagement. But I wouldn’t say that him not defending her more is necessarily a sign that the LW is exaggerating the dynamic with the friend – he may just feel enough loyalty to the friend that he isn’t willing to cut her out or directly address the situation.

    • chrissyc

      I agree, I think it’s essential to break apart each of these separate issues. (I think this can be hard to do when you’re in the middle of the situation–which is why outside advice can be so great!)

  • Rebekah Jane

    I’m curious as to how the female friend was initially presented in the LW and her boyfriend’s relationship. When I first got together with my guy, it was clear from the start that he highly values loyalty (which is a super positive trait to have), as shown by his continued close relationships with his friends from middle school (all great guys, thankfully). But, when describing these people to me initially, he went spent a lot of time talking up the girlfriend (now wife) of one of his friends. Of course, this made me cautious and uncomfortable. After all, why would a guy talk that much about his friend’s girlfriend unless there was something for me to worry about, right?

    Wrong. I saw through a lens of jealousy for a long time in my interactions with her and was extremely judgmental from the start, which was incredibly unnecessary and pointless. Thankfully, as I spent more time with her, I realized that my problem wasn’t with her – it was within my own head. If he had been as complimentary about a guy friend, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

    We’ve since become extremely close, to the point of where the couple now lives within a few blocks of us. I am eternally grateful that such a strong female was in my guy’s life before I got there. It gave him a great example of a positive relationship on a daily basis and ensured that he was as ready for me as I was for him when we met.

    I think the LW needs to be honest with herself. If these female friend has been catty from the get-go, absolutely continue on a path of cutting out a negative influence. I’ve also been involved in girl-on-girl crime and it’s not pretty. But if you might have walked into the relationship with guards up, try to bury the hatchet before you cut out her out.

    • G.

      This makes me wonder if the LW has close male friends or has dated men with close female friends. I agree that if the other woman is being truly hostile it’s one thing, but I also see this (from the brief description in the letter) as a situation ripe for misinterpretation. I’ve been the close female friend of a guy when he started dating a woman (who is lovely, to whom he is now married, and they’re both good friends). When they started dating, guy + I were roommates and I was friendly but cautious (she seemed fine, but the spark was between friend and her, not between me and her). I can see how someone with a different personality/set of experiences might have interpreted my cautiousness as “hostile” — I was waiting to see where the relationship would go! Once it was clear that it was serious and she would be a big part of my friend’s life, we became friends too. I remain closer to my guy friend, but we all hang out and I hang out with her one-on-one too. I was never jealous, I just wasn’t going to invest deeply before I knew I’d continue to see her.

      • Anon

        I don’t think deep investment is necessary; when I first met my husband, I wasn’t so sure about most of his friends too. I think as long as friends engage new partners in conversation, help them feel included when inevitable Pre-New Partner History Conversations come up, and don’t act put out by their sheer presence [even if it’s more often than they’d personally like, because then they should talk to their friend about retaining one-on-one time rather than taking it out on the newbie], everything should be copacetic…unless the new partner is completely unreasonable.

        • Jess

          Yes to all of this. Just… yes.

      • Anon

        And New Partner has to put in effort too! It’s a more nerve-wracking/less comfortable situation for NPs for sure, but attempting integration and asking questions of their own is also key.

        Also, it’s okay if friendships don’t end up fully integrated. Sometimes they don’t, but as long as there is respect, that’s all that matters. I read an interesting article a long time ago about how in-law tensions sometimes come about because their family has certain similarities to your partner…and then wildly diverge in other ways. And sometimes people subconsciously choose their partners to counteract those wild divergences/gaps in relational needs, which is great for the partnership, but creates some automatic friction between the partner and in-laws based solely on how they live their lives…but now have to try to co-exist. Like a forced ven diagram. I imagine friendships can sometimes be the same way. What you get from a friendship and what you get from a partner can both be great, but doesn’t make the people in that friendship or that partnership compatible.

        • rg223

          This is really interesting insight!

    • Jess

      So, I was initially introduced to a few of R’s friends in the same way, with one of their girlfriends (now wife) described as this super awesome, totally baller chick. I was kind of like… if she’s so great, why aren’t you dating her?!?!

      Turns out, she is an awesome, totally baller chick. R was trying to get me to feel less nervous about meeting everyone and point me her direction to make a fast friend. So yeah, that skewed view can totally happen.

  • Laura C

    Oh, boy. I’m definitely on team “men are often oblivious to the ways women are cruel to each other” … but from this letter, the culprit in that could be the friend, the LW, or both. And it is SO frustrating to try to explain that stuff to your boyfriend and get the skeptical look and the feeling that he thinks maybe you’re being unpleasantly possessive and jealous. I know it is. I’ve been there, in a very minor way, and trust me, my best friend would still remember those women’s names from like seven years ago. But even giving LW absolute benefit of the doubt in a way that frankly the tone of the letter doesn’t give me full confidence in, in this one, boyfriend’s behavior is definitely at issue as much as his friend’s — why does her name keep coming up if he knows it bothers you? Why can’t he talk to her about her treatment of you if he’s serious enough about choosing you over her to be planning to cut her out? Isn’t it a little creepy to know that you’re with someone who could appear to be fully on board a friendship while planning to cut the person out?

    • Anon

      To be fair to the LW, the tone of this letter came across to me more as a burst of frustration. There are definitely some problematic word choices and possibly some revealing language overall, but I think what some women can sometimes do to each other (particularly when men are involved) can amount to a form of gaslighting, which is both extremely frustrating and ultimately damaging. It took years for my husband to see how his female best friend used to/still sometimes does treat me out of a hatred [and sorrow, really] for my replacing his primary intimacy. Cruelty is the word I would use to this day and I can’t lie that I haven’t ranted to my confidants about her by always using perfectly rational thoughts and measured word choices.

      • Laura C

        Absolutely I agree that women can be terrible to each other in ways that are mostly invisible to others and that can take the form of gaslighting. I guess the letter just didn’t convince me that that was going in one direction and one direction only here. I’m not ruling it out one bit, but the specific tone of the frustration expressed in the letter … made me wonder a little.

        • Kayla

          “The specific tone of the frustration expressed in the letter … made me wonder a little.”

          +1

    • La’Marisa-Andrea

      Boyfriend sounds completely clueless about how to navigate this which is how I account for his response and his “plan.”

  • Mrrpaderp

    I really doubt that BF is going to “cut out” the bride the way LW seems to think he will. If he won’t bow out of the wedding for fear of awkwardness in the social group, he won’t completely cut out bride either for the same reason. I’m not saying he’s intentionally lying, I’m just saying that his view of cutting someone out seems to include still seeing them in social settings and being friendly toward them in said social settings; not, as LW seems to think, avoiding the person as much as possible and being distantly polite when it’s not possible.

    All that said, I don’t see anything in the letter about BF’s response to bride’s bad behavior, and that’s a huge problem. BF seems conflict avoidant. He needs to suck it up and have a serious conversation with bride. That conversation needs to include a lot of “I feel very hurt when you do/say X to/about LW” and needs to avoid any hint of, “LW feels you aren’t nice to her.” After that, every time bride says something remotely negative about LW, BF needs to shut it down. If he can’t do that, LW needs to seriously reconsider whether she wants a future with someone who is so invested in avoiding a single second of conflict that he is content to listen to someone badmouth LW instead of having her back.

    • Violet

      I agree that based on the impression we have of BF, it is highly unlikely he will cut bride out of his life post-wedding. When he said he did, he’s either lying to LW or lying to himself about his ability to follow through on that.

    • chrissyc

      I completely agree; I’m also hung up on the fact that he says he’s planning to cut out the friend after her wedding. All of the possible scenarios I can think of seem bad: (1) he’s lying to LW to try to appease her, (2) he’s planning to be cruel to his friend by agreeing to be part of this special moment and then intentionally ditch her afterwards, (3) he’s completely oblivious to how cruel it is to agree to be in a wedding and then willfully abandon the relationship afterwards, or (4) like you said, he and LW have different ideas of what “cut somebody off” means.

      • La’Marisa-Andrea

        I’m going with option 4. Maybe he won’t intentionally seek friend out for get togethers but if she’s around for gatherings with mutual friends it won’t be a problem for him.

      • Liz

        This line of thinking is interesting to me! To me, dropping out of a wedding is such a STATEMENT (in this situation, at least), whereas after the wedding, maybe he could do a subtle fade out, ditch her without making things weird for his friends.

        But yeah, we don’t get much of an impression from this letter that bf is super action-oriented here. Maybe he won’t.

        • chrissyc

          That’s a good point; I didn’t consider how much of a statement it is to drop out of a wedding. I think for me, it would be worse to look back on my wedding and have the memory tainted by the fact that somebody I liked enough to have in my wedding party didn’t feel the same way about me. It would seem so disingenuous, and I would rather they be upfront ahead of time.

          But I was thinking more along the lines of the BF blatantly telling the friend that the friendship was over, rather than letting the passage of time quietly end the relationship. I think you’re right–BF doesn’t seem super action-oriented, so he probably wasn’t planning anything as dramatic and final like that anyway.

          • anon.

            I’m with you here. After my wedding, two of my bridesmaids (out of 4, and one was my sister) stopped inviting me to things, and rarely return my calls. I would have MUCH prefered that they drop out of the wedding because this slow fade-out is incredibly hurtful.

          • chrissyc

            That’s terrible! I’m sorry you have to deal with that.

          • I don’t know you, maybe this is true for you personally, but I don’t think it’s globally true. The hurtful thing about the end of a friendship is the end of the friendship. I don’t think there’s a mechanism that is significantly LESS hurtful. But I do think that for many people, the wedding planning experience is pretty fraught and– dare I say– traumatic and having a friend come to you in the middle of that and say “I can’t be in your wedding because I don’t want to be friends anymore” IS pretty hurtful and is also heightened by other emotions going on at the same time.
            I do think the best course of action is to not be in the wedding in the first place (have the friend breakup before wedding planning emotions get ramped up), but since the bf has already accepted and partially participated, if he really doesn’t want to be her friend anymore I personally am team slow fade.

          • anon.

            All of your points are completely valid. It was just a statement of my experience.

          • K.

            My husband’s cousin dropped out of our wedding by ghosting on us, due to some family drama. We’ve both said over and over again that we’re SO glad he did that rather than stand up on our day, secretly stewing and hating my husband’s guts. It was obviously a very sad thing overall and my MIL was definitely pretty upset about it, but overall it was better than us wasting money (he stopped talking to us prior to the final guest counts and floral counts, etc), time, and effort on him. We could focus on the people who were thrilled to be there for us and that was invaluable. Plus, who knows how he might have acted out if he were harboring such bad feelings?

          • chrissyc

            I’m glad you’re looking on the positive side! I agree, I’m sure it was for the best.

          • gingersnap

            I have a sibling who agreed to be a member of our wedding party, then made everything exponentially more difficult by refusing to respond to emails or phone calls except to talk about how hard it was for them to anticipate being around other family members. I told sibling it was okay to not be part of the wedding party, to please just tell me if this was too much, and they insisted that it was fine and they wanted to participate, while participating as little as possible and complaining constantly. Years later it’s hard to imagine a way for the relationship to be repaired. I would have far preferred for them to have pulled out ahead of time.

        • NatalieN

          I’m curious as to when LW told her bf that the bride’s behavior was upsetting. Was it before or after he agreed to be a bridesman? Definitely agree that dropping out of a wedding is a huge statement, but did he agree to be in the wedding before or after knowing how the bride upsets his gf?

        • Emily

          Also, even if she was really being mean, I think there should be a pretty high bar before cutting off your boyfriend’s friend.

          If LW’s boyfriend realized that he didn’t like the bride through her actions to LW, that’s one thing.

          If put down his foot and said “be nice to my partner or I’m out” that’s another thing.

          But if LW just doesn’t get along with the bride and is letting that affect her boyfriend’s relationship with the bride, that’s effed up.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            I’m also wondering how much do they really see this woman? Or rather, how much does LW?

            This also brings up another question for me: is everyone obligated to be nice and like you just because they’re friends with or related to your partner? Does your partner ALWAYS have to be involved or say anything? My mom and one of my dad’s sisters have always had an openly hostile and antagonistic relationship and at this point, all parties just accept it is what it is and my dad stays out of it unless someone is deliberately insulting to my mom when he is present.

          • K.

            I think [in a perfect world] everyone should be obligated to be respectful and courteous, but liking shouldn’t be a requirement. In fact, I sometimes think that the idea that everyone has to like each other and become BFFs just because of a mutual connection is what creates open hostility (not necessarily in your parents’ case, but often). Sometimes people don’t like each other; that shouldn’t be the end of the world. I don’t like a few of my husband’s friends and I don’t think they like me either. We’re oil and water. But we all love my husband, so we tolerate each other when we have to see each other and try not to spend too much time together if unnecessary (husband does one-on-one stuff). But if they were openly jerks to me (or vice versa, which I think gets lost in this narrative occasionally), that would be another story.

            I also think blood family is often more fraught and difficult when it comes to these issues, but I can’t put my finger on why. I guess because we’re generally socialized to see family as less dispensable than friendship, since it often affects most people’s closest ties in a way that even the closest friendship can’t. I think it’s definitely true that partners are much more likely to say “Your college buddy is a jerk to me and I’d prefer not to be around him. And in fact I think you should really think about why you’re still close to him” than replacing ‘college buddy’ with ‘older brother,’ even if both are valid.

          • anon

            Right or wrong, in our cultural context, friends are seen as a choice and family isn’t. One doesn’t *choose* to have a jerk older brother, but it’s the way the hand was dealt and it needs to be handled with the assumption that he’s not going away. But one absolutely chooses to continue the relationship with a jerk college buddy and can cut ties more cleanly and without as much disruption (especially as we get older and groups of friends who see each other often become much, much less common, statistically)

            I personally don’t agree with this black and white take [because FUCK some of my blood relations and I’d die before giving up a few of my friends], but I think it paints our biases more than we realize.

  • Mrrpaderp

    MODS – I don’t know if this is the right place to post this, but the ad at the bottom of the bar on the right of my screen pops out to cover about an inch of the comments if I scroll down far enough. I tried to opt out of the ads, but I still get a pop out. Is there a way to fix this? Thanks!

    • emmers

      This has recently been happening to me, but only in internet explorer.

      • Mrrpaderp

        Thanks, I’ll try a different browser.

      • Jess

        It’s been happening to me in Chrome, too.

    • Liz

      Forwarded on to the knowledgable.

      • Mrrpaderp

        Thanks!

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Fixed! Sorry guys, bit of broken code.

  • Violet

    I am fully on Team This is Not a Friendship Issue, This is a Relationship Issue. All of the details about bride’s motivations, what bride’s actions have truly been versus what LW perceives, etc. don’t change that for me, one bit.

    RITA, you told your boyfriend how you feel, and he said that while he understands, it’s easier to put his comfort above yours. That either works for you or it doesn’t.

    • La’Marisa-Andrea

      I agree!! It’s ultimately about how the boyfriend has responded. But it’s so easy to direct the rage at the friend!! I feel like I’ve been rolling around in the mud calling friend intentionally nasty etc. (I believe LW that she prob is ) bc DOES IT EVEN MATTER?

  • emilyg25

    The letter is too brief to tell who’s “right,” the LW or the female friend, so I’m not going to weigh in on that. But it’s clear there’s a relationship problem here. LW and her BF aren’t on the same page when it comes to getting married and what friendship and partnership mean.

    A good friend doesn’t try to undermine their friend’s romantic relationships. A good friend doesn’t stand up in a person’s wedding knowing the friendship is ending immediately after. A good partner doesn’t let a friend routinely badmouth their partner. A good partner doesn’t try to control who their partner is friends with without very good reason.

    It sounds like LW and BF both need to sit down and have a conversation and maybe grow up a little.

    • EF

      I’ve undermined a relationship or two my BFF (a guy) has been in. He’s done the same to me. And good thing too, for both of us! Because those were the wrong relationships. I think sometimes, when someone knows you better than yourself, you should trust them. And this LW has a whole lot of issues, it seems, with close friendship.

  • Jessica

    Reading this made me defensive because I have been “that girl” who has lots of platonic male friends whose female partners have been threatened by our friendship. I found out recently from one of my best (guy) friends that his first serious relationship was called off by his ex-girlfriend because she thought we were too close. I was surprised and hurt by these judgements, because I thought that we had always been friendly to one another. I wish that she would have spoken to me about them, and that is what I encourage LW to do.

    LW – from your original letter, it’s really hard to say what these “desperate behaviours” are. Maybe she has also been seeing their friendship drift apart is trying to do more to save it, while not realizing that you are upset by it. If you are ready to spend the rest of your life with this man, I would encourage you and your man to have an honest and frank discussion about this friend, and possibly include her in the discussion at some point.

    • MTM

      Yep, this.

  • Amanda

    Just to add a voice to the side to the husband not wanting to escalate drama by cutting out now, I happen to agree with him, especially if it’s a “group of friends” from college or something. He drops out now, and suddenly the entire friend group is taking sides between the support of the group and a relatively new relationship. And instead of having a problem with one person within a group, he loses half his friends and the LW becomes “the bitch who broke up the friends” or, a Yoko, as it were. Even if Yoko didn’t *really* break up the Beatles! It’s MUCH easier for him quietly go along with the group, and ease out of a 1-on-1 with this woman after the wedding. Then, it can be known throughout the group without making an Event out of the drift.

    I want to say, too, that it’s Okay not like someone and coexist. It’s Okay to not be liked too. People aren’t always nice, and as long as your BF isn’t allowing his bud’s words to come between you, then, life goes on. For example, my partner is in a creative project, and there’s someone in that group I cannot stand. He doesn’t like me much either, and we’re just of this edge of civil. I will try* to avoid him at all costs, but we inevitably end up at parties together. I really like this guy’s girlfriend, and she and I talk and are quite friendly. I’m not going to tell my partner to abandon his creative project & all the other nice guys he works with because I don’t like one who isn’t particularly nice to me. I’m not even going to stop being friends with his girl friend just because I happen to not get along with a person she loves.

  • Agree with others that the girl’s actual behavior and motivations are not particularly clear from the letter and therefore it’s impossible to weigh in on that side. Maybe the friend is jealous, maybe RITA is, maybe it’s just a personality mismatch. Can’t tell.
    I know that “you have to cut out this friend” carries some big red flags, but I also think that its reasonable within the confines of a committed romantic relationship to take a stand against friends of your partner who are either not friendly to you or who actively undermine your relationship. The LW and her BF need to be on the same page here. It sounds like they are if he’s willing to cut her out post-wedding, so I would say go to the wedding, be nice, move on. And in the future, this is an opportunity to communicate more openly about friendships and making commitments to be in weddings, or other things that cost a lot of $.

  • Alexa

    It’s fascinating to me to read the comments about strongly gendered behavior farther down, because my only experience along these lines was with one of my (then boyfriend, now) husband’s male roommates in college. It definitely felt like he went out of his way to make me uncomfortable whenever I came to visit (we were long-distance in college, so I was coming in from out of town), while my husband is also the kind of person who assumes the best of everyone and generally felt I was imagining things/overreacting. Thankfully it basically became a moot point when they stopped living together, and things have been way less tense when we’ve seen him since graduation (he now lives across the country).

    On the other hand, I tend to be direct and prefer when others are too, so there’s probably a fair amount of stereotypically female passive-aggression that goes over my head. Luckily, I get along pretty well with most of my husbands other friends. *shrug*

    • AP

      I’m in a similar boat. Looking back, I experienced some gendered aggression from girls in high school, but I don’t really relate to the conversations about it here among adults. There was one woman who came on to my husband a few years ago, but there were a lot of things my husband could have done to stop it in its tracks before it happened, and that’s what I chose to focus on. I never considered it a distinctively “female” action. Yes, she was out of line, but it could have just as easily been a guy hitting on me. I’m generally of the opinion that assholes are assholes, regardless of gender. But I’m only coming from my experience, and I don’t discount what others are saying about the different ways women are socialized to display aggression. I have a few female friends who have “mean girl” type relationships with other women in their lives, and I am baffled when they talk about it. And last year, a female coworker blamed our toxic office situation on the fact that we were all women “and you know how women are,” as though a male presence would have solved all our office’s problems. That made me pretty angry, and I don’t really want to contribute to that kind of stereotyping.

      • Amanda

        I see both sides of the gender divide. I’ve definitely been mean-girled, both in middle school and in the workplace as an adult. I know other women who have been mean-girled in the office too. Mostly, it’s because (I think) we’re conditioned to feel like there isn’t room for another woman at the boardroom, so all other women are threats to getting ahead. I will also say that some of the best relationships have been with women who are supporting each other who understand that getting means lifting the rest, and making it better for the next generation. I also feel like there CAN BE a specific kind of toxicity to female dominated spaces, not unlike how Wall Street is full of toxic masculinity. But bitchy people are everywhere, from male-centric tech to “pink” PR, to the most gender-balanced places. The best solution is always to not engage, rise above, and find cool kids to nourish your life with.

        • AP

          “find cool kids to nourish your life with” <– I totally agree. I'm pretty hard-lined about who I let into my life. There was a reason I didn't hang out with those toxic coworkers outside of the office (even though I'm sure they thought I was a bitch for denying their FB friend requests), and a reason I don't stay in touch with very many female friends from high school. So yeah, just because mean girls don't really affect my life, it doesn't mean they don't exist, period.

      • Alexa

        Yeah, I think it can be a difficult line to walk. On the one hand, I do understand that there are gender differences in how people are socialized to interact (and, in my experience, these differences are also mediated by things like race, class, geography, and role in the work place). On the other hand I think it varies a lot person to person both within and across genders, and I at least get exhausted if I try to read between the lines of everything everyone says. (Though I try to be especially aware of signs of discomfort with people who might feel unable to express concerns to me at work because of our relative “status”; I don’t want them to get hurt by my obliviousness.)

  • EF

    geez, am I the only one who thinks the LW sounds insane? Like, this could have been the girlfriend of my best friend, if it were written a year ago prior to my wedding. BFF is a guy and he and I go way back and are platonic soulmates. I am more confident in the bond we have than any other relationship in my life, ever. We have a close enough friendship that it creeps out other people, but dammit, we are there for each other through fucking everything. We’ve literally planned a life together, we have backup plans if we both end up divorced in our mid-30s. We have a plan to buy apartments next to each other. We fly across the world to see each other. We have a pact that if one calls the other, we *always* answer (he answered my call to say I was engaged in the middle of a board meeting: ‘Hi, EF, I’m kinda busy in this meeting, is everything ok?’ ‘Yeah, we just got engaged!’ ‘*screams* I’M SO HAPPY! THIS IS GREAT! Now I’ll call you back after the meeting.’)

    So when he dates shitty girls? I let him know. I’m not nice to them. I know they won’t last, even if he dates them for a while. In college, I broke up with a girl for him once. He sat next to me when I dumped a boy over the phone once. These were good life decisions. And when I met my partner? BFF was hard on partner, sure, but it was very, very quick that BFF approved and was like ‘yeah, he’ll do!’
    And right now, I am DELIGHTED that BFF is dating a girl where I’m like ‘her! she’s awesome.’

    I get that different people view friendship differently, and certainly not all friendships are equal. But if they are truly best, old, loyal friends? LW shouldn’t be trying to get her BF to choose her or the friend. Because the friend will (and should) win.

    • CMT

      Wow. I can’t imagine ever being intentionally not nice to people, just because I didn’t like them dating my friend. That’s cruel.

      • EF

        No, it’s cruel to be cruel to someone. It’s also cruel to drag someone along in a relationship that is doomed. Simply not being nice is not the same thing as cruelty, it’s just opting out of fakeness.

        • Violet

          Why can’t your friend decide when the relationship has run its course? Why do you have to be mean to the other person to try to speed up a timeline?

          • EF

            I don’t speed up the timeline (admittedly, when we were 19 that was different). But i don’t have to prolong it.

          • Violet

            All I’m saying is, I could never be friends with someone who thinks it is their role to either speed up or prolong MY relationship.

          • EF

            So i think this gets back to that thread about being in the wedding party when you don’t support the marriage. A lot of people said they support their friend, and thus the marriage (which sounds like you! Cool!)

            I am not one of those people. And neither is my closest friend. This is probably why we work so well together :-)

          • Violet

            To me, support means I trust my friends to live their own relationships, and they trust me to live mine. We don’t consider it our role to support by thinking we should influence each other’s relationship lengths.

          • EF

            Right, whereas support to me means stepping in when things are shit and i can’t see that they are. Again, different worldviews.

          • Violet

            Yeah. I have to know myself better than anyone else. Sure, other people can offer their feedback, and I’ll consider it. But if I ever got to the point where I didn’t trust my own sense of my needs, I’d be working on that. Not asking my friends to step in and tell me what to do with my life, or not be nice to people I was dating. Different world views.

        • Amy March

          Why are you deciding his relationships have run their course and running off women?

          I’d be so hurt to be introduced to a new guys friend and have her not be nice. Like, what’d she do to you

          • EF

            Ah, see. If it’s a blank slate, some new girl, don’t know anything about her, sure that’s one thing.

            If it’s a person who has cause my friend pain (unjustified, ugly, spiteful pain, as has happened), then NOPE.

            On the other hand if person causes friend pain because he’s been an asshole and needs to be told that, she gets a high five from me (figuratively). It’s not an indiscriminate thing.

    • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

      You probably think she sounds insane because you’re approaching it from your life perspective. Personally, I would dump any partner in a moment if he “had a backup plan in case he ended up divorced in his mid-30’s” with a female friend. In a marriage you prioritize your partner. Period. I’m glad your relationship works for you, but I’m with CMT.

      • EF

        Woah there, you jumping to conclusions. Surely you’ve had a thought: if my whole life goes to shit, i will start with x thing to put it back together? For you, that thing may be moving back to your parents place, which is what many many people do when their life falls apart.

        Some of us don’t have that option. So when i say a backup plan, i say this as someone who has been on the streets, as someone who has been abandoned by all but two people in my life at some point or another, as someone who knows how badly it hurts when you don’t eat for a couple of days because there just isn’t food or money. Been there. So if my life falls apart? You better believe i have a backup plan. Hopefully BFF (and maybe wife by then!) will have a nice little apartment and i’ll get his sofa or gasp! guest room. If his life falls apart, he’s got my place. If both of us hit rock bottom? That pact, which you think is so wrong because i have girl parts and he has boy parts, is to live in an apartment above our favourite bar in college, that we used to think would be the height of decadence and now joke about it as nostalgia. But it’s nice to know he’s always there.

        In your relationship, you might elevate your partner above all else. But my bff is basically my twin: we are a package deal. I told my partner early on to never ask me to choose. He in turn asked me to never have him choose between me and his family. And i won’t. This works well for us, but i recognise it comes from a place of deep loyalty that many people do not comprehend because it is not their loyalty. But there are other people out there like me, and like my bff. Don’t you dare say we are wrong because our worldview is different than yours.

        • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

          Absolutely, I have back up plans. And, admittedly, I’m approaching this from my life perspective, as you are from yours. To me, there’s a huge difference between “My BFF always has my back, and I know that I can show up on their door stop, no questions asked and have a place to stay” and “My BFF and I have a plan for if we both get divorced in our mid-30’s”. One is basically family/friend loyalty (I have said many similar things to friends, they’re always welcome to stay with me if they need to, no questions asked) and one is sitting down and making a plan with a friend that says “If/when this relationship I’m in fails, here’s what we’re going to do”. It’s hard to put into words, but the first, to me is loyalty. The second is… (sort of) planning for failure..it’s hard to put into words.
          Also, “elevate your partner” isn’t really what I meant. I believe, that, in a marriage, your relationship with your partner must come first. Always. It’s so so easy to allow other things and people to sneak in and take priority. I’m my husband’s priority, and he’s mine. Always. Which is very important to me, because I was in a relationship where my bf chose his family over me and it was awful. I’m not saying that your relationship(s) are wrong–they work for you, and that’s great. I’m just saying I disagree with your relationship philosophy. You are, of course, welcome to disagree with mine.

          • EF

            Ok, see, i think we probably agree more than you originally thought, then.

            But is a pre-nup planning for failure? Because i view that and having a backup plan, voiced, as similar things.

            I could maybe add that without a voiced backup plan, i in no way could have committed to my partner. I’m way too afraid of abandonment for that (i know, i know, go to therapy, i know, i’ve heard it before). When bff and i had that particular discussion, when i was close to tears over wanting to commit but scared shitless to, he basically freed me to be with my partner. Because the world would go on, i wouldn’t be nothing, if it didn’t work out. I get that this sounds different from pretty much everyone’s world view. But… I don’t know. I guess sometimes i forget how different my background is to most people’s until i get reamed in the comments like this :-)

            (Side note: was talking to an acquaintance about making friends in london. She’s a londoner and explained that after university, everyone just goes back to where they are from and frequently live at home and have the same friends they had in school. But what about those who don’t have homes to return to, i asked. No shit, she said this: ‘you mean, like kids abused or in care? Well they don’t go to university in the first place. So we don’t see them.’
            And i despair.)

          • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

            I’m honestly not sure where I land on pre-nups. I don’t have one (and didn’t need one) but I think my initial thought is that–yes, unless you have SUBSTANTIAL monetary holdings (or family money)—you’re planning for failure.
            And I get the commitment fear (really). Go you for going to therapy! I just feel—and plenty of people disagree—that your partner/spouse should be your most important relationship. They should be the one that you trust to always always be there. Personally, I could never be in a relationship where I didn’t feel that (or be in a relationship with some who didn’t feel that way about me). And that’s BECAUSE of my commitment issues. Knowing my husband will never leave freed me to be myself and trust in the love he was always showing. Again, I get that people deal with issues in their own way–like I said, we’re just approaching this from different life perspectives.

          • EF

            Yep, different perspectives. And i think it’s cool to talk them out like this. Thanks for being chill and explaining your side a bit more clearly for me.

            I think maybe the big difference though is you feel your partner could never leave you? Like, that must be awesome. But…i just don’t grasp it. Intellectually, i get that it’s a thing, but emotionally i’m swinging and missing (perhaps because i am emotionally stunted enough that i constantly use baseball metaphors to explain myself!). It’s wonderful you feel that, particularly if you overcame some fears to get there! I just…can’t see it.

            (This is again where people are like, go to therapy! Which whilst you cheered me on, sadly, is not a thing i’ve done since -shocker- bff made me go in college. It wasn’t helpful then, really, and i guess i don’t see why things would be different now)

          • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

            Different perspectives make us all richer and better people! Like, legit, that’s a basic life philosophy of mine–don’t be an ass, and let’s talk it out.
            Also–I should be going to therapy myself, and don’t (scheduling) but—yeah. Therapy. Please go if you’re emotionally ready to, because it’s very very helpful.
            Yeah, I don’t bring it up a lot, because it’s a hard concept for people to grasp–and harder to explain. But I can say, with absolute certainty–unless I was a danger to our (non-existent) children or my husband–he is never going to leave. Ever.
            And I think you feel that with your bff which is why my heckles admitedly got raised. I think that level of intimacy should be something you feel with your partner (and if you have it with other people great, but the partner is necessary)
            *Hugs* Be kind to others and yourself always…it helps. :)

          • Violet

            So much this. EF, I hope you can feel the same level of support and safety from your husband as you do from your BFF. Not so your husband can “win,” but so you can feel safer and better in this world. The more close relationships the better. Love is not finite.

          • Violet

            I totally can see how a prenup can be a sign of love for your intended spouse- you think about finances when you’re in a lovey dovey state and more likely to be fair and kind. Versus when the *hit hits the fan and you’re angry and vengeful. Sure. Prenup as a backup plan that is a kindness to your intended. I feel that, on a gut level. (Not that we got one; neither of us had assets!)
            I would not feel quite so good if instead of a prenup, my partner said to me, “Violet, it’s okay, I can marry you now. I checked with the attractive girl I had a crush on freshman year of college, and she’ll take me in if we don’t work out. So let’s do this thing.” (Assuming this is the same BFF you’ve spoken about before, my apologies if I’m mixing things up.)

          • EF

            er, there’s not a crush/freshman year of college thing going on? Not sure where you got that, we’ve been friends for much longer than since college, though a third joined us then, who was a close friend, but not like this. I may have mentioned him before, i honestly don’t remember. It’s actually quite rare i talk about the details of bff’s and my friendship, because it feels…i dunno. You wouldn’t necessarily talk about the details of you and your partners relationship (or i and mine) and it feels like a very similar, almost sacred thing.

            I can’t think of a more hurtful way he could categorize our relationship though. Like, it pains me to read that someone else would interpret it to anything so simple. And to be perfectly clear? We’ve never slept together, or been involved romantically in any way, or wished to be. We’ve been friends from the day we met, which we both remember and celebrate as a friendversary. Much like when you fall for someone romantically immediately, we fell into a deep and caring friendship. and that’s just what it always has been.

          • Violet

            Oh, I thought it was this person (below) you’ve been referring to this whole time. My mistake!! Apologies! About a month ago (http://apracticalwedding.com/2015/10/ex-husband-best-friend/), you wrote:
            “my partner *isn’t* the first person i share news and fears and hopes etc with. my best friend is. my best friend is also a man, and attractive, and once upon a time freshman year of college i had a big old crush on him. but instead, we became incredibly close best friends.”

          • EF

            Ahhhhhh: clarification: freshman year of college was like waking and being like ‘dude! You’re attractive now!’ but that was about it. I’d known him much longer than that, so it wasn’t quite a crush (i’ll describe as such offhandedly to simplify matters, as previously, but that was me being a bit daft). A few years later he’d tell me he’d need to meet a girl just like me who wasn’t me – that doesn’t seem to be a crush either.

            So yeah. Making that comment previously was trying to fit into a more mainstream viewpoint. But it wasn’t 100% accurate.

          • Violet

            I see, I see. If you’ve ever seen “Cool Hand Luke,” I’d say, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” I take your words at their face value. When you say you have a pact, I assume you mean a pact. When you say a crush, I assume you mean a crush. When you say “not nice,” I am apparently supposed to know that–despite everything I’ve learned about antonyms as a child–clearly what you meant was “the absence of nice,” instead of mean.

            It’s a shame- we might agree more than we think, or we might agree to disagree, but I honestly can’t tell because most of your responses say I’m misinterpreting you. I’ll take responsibility for my portion of us talking past each other.

            Anyway, hope you’re having a good afternoon!

          • EF

            I’ve had a terrible day, actually, and it’s because i’m trying to comprehend why you belittle someone else’s relationship so much like you did to me.

            You’re playing innocent, fine. But if you were taking what i said ‘at face value’ you wouldn’t have made it out like i was some crazy kid obsessed with s boy. You would have listened when i said: there are different types of relationships and friendships, and family is not necessarily the end-all. You would have, like a more compassionate commenter here, been constructive rather than trying to tear down me and my identity within the longest and most solid bond with a human i have.

            So i hope your little non apology made you feel better. Just like i hope you get a peaceful christmas with family, don’t have to ever go to court against those who birthed you, and have the ability to sleep without night terrors.
            But not all of us have that luxury. Just because my life is different doesn’t mean you get to belittle me.

          • Violet

            I don’t know how to respond to this, but I want to at least acknowledge you. You needn’t believe the sincerity of my apology nor accept it. You are in control. But I want to give you the respect of saying that I see you, I hear you.

        • Amy March

          You just called the letter writer insane though. So much for not calling who don’t share your world view wrong?

    • Violet

      “Insane” is harsh. But then, so is being mean to people just because you don’t like them. I couldn’t be mean towards someone my friend liked and still consider myself a good friend. If they weren’t right for my friend, I would trust that my friend would figure that out for themselves. I know what’s best for me, and I trust that my friends know what’s best for them. I could never tolerate their interference in my relationships, let alone want them to break up with my romantic partners for me. I could never have a friend, partner, family member, boss, ANYONE who demanded via a pact that I answer their call any time they called, without exception. While you cherish this kind of friendship, it sounds like pure draconian hell to me. Am I insane?

      “The friend will (and should) win.” Is this a contest? I shudder to think that people are thinking of relationships in all their varied states and forms as competitors in a contest.

      Your relationship with your friend is something you’re clearly very proud of and happy with. Good for you. It seems your respective partners are on board as well, so those are the only opinions that matter, practically speaking. But please don’t call other people “insane” for valuing different types of friendships than you.

      • EF

        To be clear, i find it insane to not value friendship, which is what the letter sounded like to me. And i’ll stick by that assessment.

        You also misinterpret the phone call thing, making me sound demanding. It’s not a demand. It’s an expectation we both have that developed after years of being there for each other when no one else was. Surely there is someone in your life where you’d drop everything for them? There’s nothing wrong with that.

        • Violet

          If you feel comfortable saying LW doesn’t value friendship based on this letter, then go ahead. It feels like a huge overreach to me to think that because she feels uncomfortable with how this person is treating her means she does “not value friendship.” Woah.
          I have several people I’d of course drop everything for. But what you describe would not feel like support to me, it would feel like enmeshment and strangulation. Again, it works for you, so fine. But you seem to be discounting all other forms of friendship that don’t reach your particular level of intimacy. You’ve described yourself in past posts as requiring extremely close relationships- which seems to imply that you know your version of friendship does not work for everyone. Judging others as “insane” or “not valuing friendship” just because their relationships do not look like yours is really not something I’d expect from you.

          • EF

            I think you’re overreaching. Again, i don’t expect people to be that close. Nor do i expect new friends to be that close to me (god, that WOULD be exhausting). But when LW talks about a close friendship, out of a set of old friends, and she seems threatened by all of that, it does seem anti friendship to me.

            I don’t discount other types of friendship, btw, and never said i did. I just said that friendship is serious business, though i perhaps could have said ‘close friendship’ (should, rather, have said that. But that’s because that’s what the friendship described in the letter seemed to be, to me.

          • Violet

            You see her as threatened by close friendship. She nowhere says she is threatened by close friendships. She probably has really close friends, too. Many people are fortunate enough to have close friends. But her close friends aren’t being mean to her boyfriend. That’s the difference. I could not have a close friend who was not nice to my partner. I would feel caught in the middle, and a true friend of mine would not put me in the middle.
            I see her as upset that the friend was actively being mean to her.

          • Amy March

            She seems threatened by it because the friend is being mean to her though. Not because she hates friendship. And I think it’s reasonable to be disturbed when you’ve been dating a guy for a while and one of his good friends is just mean.

    • Amy March

      Why aren’t you nice to them? Because they’re committing the crime of dating a guy who wants to date them? Can’t you be nice to them because you’re an adult, and that means treating people with courtesy, civility, and respect (nicely) even if they aren’t going to be your BFF? Is it really being “fake” to be nice just because they are a person who hasn’t done anything bad to you? Why should someone always choose an old friend who is being mean to a romantic partner over that partner?

      Do you interrupt sex to take a friends call? Do you really think someone not being down with that is insane?

      • EF

        Never did i say anyone should do exactly as i do. But i do think friendship should be taken seriously.

        I don’t think you have to be nice to people you don’t like, who aren’t going to be in your life for very long. But again, the absence of nice is not cruelty.

      • k

        I think it’s interesting to think about where niceness falls in terms of people interpreting behavior (wow that’s phrased wonky). Like whether there are just two types of behavior: nice and mean, or whether nice requires a specific threshold before it qualifies as nice. For me, niceness is something extra to do, above and beyond basic civility / human respect / manners. I’d agree everyone should be treated civilly regardless of whether you like them or not, but I’m definitely not going to go out of my way to be nice to someone I don’t like, and it would be ingenuine, at the least.
        Now if the idea is you’re being actively mean to someone you don’t mesh with, that’s another thing, but there’s nothing wrong with defaulting to polite civility.

    • Anon

      Anecdotally, the friend won’t always win, if the friend is being shitty enough. Sometimes people do things and treat others in ways that aren’t salvageable, even best, old, loyal friends. Happened with my husband. His best friend was a complete nightmare to me because she didn’t like that he spent more of his time with me than her as we got more serious and that he expected her to get on board with our relationship, even though I wasn’t the kind of girl she “envisioned” him with. They’re still in contact, but over the past 5 years, it’s gone from daily contact to once a year-ish, because she was just NOT NICE to the person he intended to spend the rest of his life with. She doesn’t respect our family, so why should she be a major part of it? And it was completely on her—I reached out to her consistently, but because I wasn’t good enough in her eyes, she tanked her friendship with my husband by treating me poorly.

      For the record, I’m extremely close with the rest of his friends from the same era, both male and female, so I’m definitely not “anti-friendship” just because I don’t want to be around someone who is disrespectful to me.

      Not saying this will happen to you (I’m more speaking in reference to the LW–I don’t know your context/etc) but the idea that old friendship should always trump everything, even when the person is being actively shitty? Absurd.

      • CMT

        For real. I wonder if EF has ever seen My Best Friend’s Wedding.

  • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

    Ok, I just wrote a huge big comment here that got deleted so briefly:

    LW–This stuff does happen. While slightly different circumstances, I had a very similar situation with a friend of my husband’s while we were dating/engaged/married, and I freely admitted that I couldn’t properly articulate why I felt she was undermining my relationship (later she gave me examples…) but I felt her behavior was inappropriate, and that she made far too many demands on my husband’s time. I expressed to my boyfriend/fiance/husband who acknowledged it, said he didn’t see it that way, but he understood what my feelings were. I, in turn, didn’t always hang out with her in social situations, and never without my husband. I also re-framed it as “She’s lonely” which I found very helpful ( and was very likely true, as the behavior basically disappeared when she got married) Big Hug. It should get better soon. There’s nothing wrong with removing yourself from all social situations she’s at. Do what you need to do for your mental and emotional health.

  • Megan

    A friend of mine just had this happen to her.
    She didn’t have a wedding party , but she did have a guy as her honorary bridesmate. He had know her for almost 9 years, he helped her through hard times and her rubbish family. He was also a bit of a “loser” when it comes to girls. He got a girlfriend, his first ever ( at almost 30) and she was super jealous of his relationship with the girl that called him her brother. Six months into the relationship it was her wedding, he stood up at the wedding and said lovely things, but snuck out of the venue numerous times to have horrid fights with his new gf ( who bad mouthed the bride to every single person at the wedding).
    The Monday after the wedding he sent the bride a text message that he would no longer be talking to her. So the newly married ( also 1 1/5 months pregnant ) bride lost her best and dearest friend and her groom woke up to her bawling.
    I can’t imagine how anyone could be soooo unimaginably cruel to someone that they ever cared about.
    I think this guy is either lying to his nutso gf to get her off his back, or he is a horrible human being and needs to back out of the wedding ASAP.

  • Rita

    I’m Rita.

    I was trying to bring a voice to those who are in the pre-engaged situation and relationship challenges around it. We are now happily engaged, so all the stresses and worries around my eagerness to be with my best friend have subsided. I was certainly overwhelmed at the time of writing for advice, which was why I was asking for advice. There were so many moving parts in the pre-engaged relationship, that was simply where I was, and I am the type of person who looks for resources when I am troubled.

    There have a few questions that have been raised, and I would like to answer them. First, the money. I was frustrated that she was asking that much of him because I felt it was unnecessary, and so did he. But as a friend he felt he couldn’t say know because he had already agreed to be in the wedding party. We are very open and are always on, or get on the same page when it comes to finances.

    It is his friendship with this girl and I believe in allowing him to make decisions involving his relationship how he is most comfortable. It is hard to see someone you love have their kindness used against them. I know there has been debate if I am misinterpreting her intentions, but I promise you I am not. When you know you are going to get engaged to the man you see as your partner, everything is a little bit more emotional. There are also anxieties that you can only share so many times with him before you drive yourself crazy. I’m guilty of being a what-if person sometimes and I have learned you only need to say something once to your partner, after that it turns into a different problem, and is pointing at some other issue that needs to be talked out. So I had some anxieties that I expressed on here that I had already talked to him about. I promise you, he is the most supportive partner and heard me… but I wanted advice to make sure there wasn’t something more I could do to build our relationship stronger.

    I’m not possessive. But I am protective of the ones I love. I said “my man” etc. as terms of affection, not ownership. We are two people on one team cheering for each other.

    As far as the concern about him cutting her out after the wedding… well there are many variables. We share friends so she will never be “gone” unless someone moved. I am aware of this. But as far as spending time with her one-on-one that will end entirely after the wedding, because it isn’t necessary. She has boundary issues, and this is something my now fiance and I can easily remove ourselves from. I should clarify she has said things about me and in reference to me that have hurt his feelings too. I also am aware that he played a role in this… had he called her out earlier we wouldn’t be here. But it was his friendship and not my place to call her out even when she said inappropriate things to me. I am his partner and I believe in respecting other peoples friends….and frankly I felt it was up to him to stand up for us.

    He is standing up for us now. He has figured out how he is most comfortable with handling it, and he understands the importance of defending me/us.

    As far as the details of her crummy comments, lies, and manipulative behavior over the last two years… well your going to just have to trust my woman’s intuition and my basic human interaction abilities. If it was simply a case of foot-in-mouth disease with her we would have probably ended up best friends. Unfortunately, this just wasn’t the case and I am adult who doesn’t tolerate negative, malicious people. I would have normally been the first person to say something to her, but she was one of his closest friends when we started dating and I wanted to focus on building our partnership, and not tearing apart his friendship with her.

    Thank you to everyone with constructive advice, it helped me in a time of frustration! Best luck to all those in the pre-engaged land.

  • Sandra Selina Mitchell

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