Guest columnists and contributors are generously sharing their talents and insights while I’m taking some time to care for my new baby. Today’s letter is answered by columnist and blogger, Billie Criswell.
I’m in the midst of a somewhat complicated situation with my best friend. “Mary” has been seeing this guy in a FWB situation. The broke up a few months ago because he was sleeping with other people though she asked him to remain monogamous. After she broke things off with this guy initially, I finally felt free to express to Mary my sincere dislike of him. (This is often a mistake, but Mary and I have always had a very honest friendship.) I did and still do hate the way he constantly flirts and how he has actually asked me out, all of this right in front of her! It always made me uncomfortable, and I asked him to stop several times. She acknowledged that his behavior towards me was a contributing factor to their breakup.
Flash forward to the present. Mary is seeing this guy again, presumably in the same way (I haven’t asked, though she’s alluded to the fact), and I’ve been supportive though neutral. My fiancé dislikes this guy because of the way he’s treated Mary and his behavior towards me, but is also neutrally supportive. Because Mary lives very close by, we often spend the evening together at one of our houses. This guy that she’s seeing will spend the evening with us as well if we’re at Mary’s. But the other day, Mary, my fiancé, and I were hanging out on my porch and imagine my surprise (and displeasure) when he shows up at my place to meet her!
So, my conundrum is this: I need to find a way of telling Mary that while I can stand to be around this guy in a large group or even if we’re hanging out at her place (her house, her rules), I just CANNOT abide this guy being at my house. I don’t like him, he offends me, and he is simply not welcome in my house. Moreover, his lack of respect for his relationship with Mary is off-putting, as is his lack of respect for the relationship I have with my fiance. How can I tell Mary I don’t want him at my house without offending her? — Not a Fan of her FWB
It’s always a tricky situation when your friend dates someone you aren’t crazy about; it’s hard to watch as they are treated poorly and it’s difficult to keep your mouth shut. Is this guy a total scum bag? Well, at least in the dating world he is…
But your friend is dating him — not you. I think that you really would be entering dangerous ground if you decide to forbid your friend’s FWB/boyfriend from coming over to your house. Simply put: I don’t think that there is a way that you can tell her this without offending her. What you are proposing will likely hurt her feelings and alienate her from a friendship with you, at least temporarily and possibly permanently.
So, what you’ve got to do is decide what’s more important to you: distancing yourself from her FWB/boyfriend or having a friendship with her. There are ways to limit your contact with him without coming out and saying to your friend that you don’t want him in your home. Don’t invite him over, for starters, but know in your mind that once in a while he may come over to meet her at your place, and if he does, keep it brief — you don’t have to invite him inside, do you? Make an excuse — say you’ve got something going on. Feign fatigue. Call it a night when he comes by.
The bottom line is, you aren’t going to like everyone your friend dates, but sometimes being a supportive friend means keeping your mouth shut. If the guy disrespects you or your fiancé directly, stand up for yourself in a poised and intellectual manner. Chances are, if you do say that you don’t like the way he treats you directly to him (and not involving your friend) then he’ll distance himself from you.
Keep in mind, though, that it’s not your job to police your friends and who they date. And it’s not like your friend has asked you for your approval on her dating choices. Fact of the matter is, if they broke up once, it’s likely that they’ll break up again (and let’s face it, this guy really doesn’t sound like great boyfriend material.) So just sit back and bite your tongue and don’t make more drama than is necessary.
* Billie Criswell is a columnist and blogger from the “Delaware Seashore.” She loves zumba, bloody marys, and cooking. You can follow her shenanigans at Bossyitalianwife.com.
FireStar October 18, 2011, 7:26 am
My first thought was “isn’t a monogamous friend with benefits a boyfriend?” but maybe not…
Treat your best friend’s boyfriend civilly – you don’t have to be his best friend but out of respect for your friend be polite to her guest. The fact that he picks your friend up at your house isn’t a huge imposition. Your friend already knows how you feel about him – nothing is to be gained by repeating it now that they are together again.
LW October 18, 2011, 10:53 am
“My first thought was “isn’t a monogamous friend with benefits a boyfriend?” but maybe not…”
Trust me, the concept confuses me, too. She’s tried to explain it and I just nod. I’m assuming it means they’re together but it means that there’s no commitment to a future together?
6napkinburger October 18, 2011, 12:22 pm
The problem might come from the fact that “boyfriend” means different things to different people.
There was a guy I was dating in grad school, for about 4 months, monogamously. I remember having the “do we use the terms boyfriend/girlfriend” conversation. Not surprisingly, I was pro, he was con. He said that the term “girlfriend” meant a lot of things that he wasn’t sure we were at. I said that “boyfriend” just meant the guy i was dating monogamously. I remember using as an example the show Friends: on the show, Joey, super player dude, constantly had “girlfriends”. A girl would be in one episode, but she was Joey’s new “girlfriend”. That’s all it meant to me, a way to introduce the person I was dating, but it meant way more to this guy.
Older and wiser, I think I may now be on his same page. My last boyfriend was a husband in everything but legal status; he was a partner; my “other half.” This guy your friend is dating is CLEARLY not. So the difference is legit.
Though I think they are also clearly “casually dating” and FWB should be limited to ACTUAL friends who you are casually sleeping with while still dating.
cporoski October 18, 2011, 11:46 pm
You are right about the FWB title. This guy isn’t a friend. He is mean and hurtful.
honeybeenicki October 18, 2011, 7:47 am
Telling your friend that her FWB/Boyfriend/Whatever he is can’t be in your house will NOT end well. She knows how you feel about him (you made that perfectly clear when they “broke up” before) and any further conversations will be redundant and likely not well received. The best you can do is try to avoid being around him, take the suggestions about ending his impromptu visits at your home to heart, and just be a friend to your friend. You don’t have to like him, but you also don’t have to be the one dating him.
Shadowflash1522 October 18, 2011, 8:41 am
I don’t know that the LW has made her feelings about the boyfriend perfectly clear – there are lots of people who will say “I always hated him!” when you break up, but become conspicuously mellow when you get back together. We know that the LW really did always hate him, but from Mary’s perspective this only came out when they broke up. Maybe she thinks LW didn’t really mean it before, but was just trying to be supportive? It might be worth gently reiterating that she doesn’t like him, but is willing to be civil and supportive about it.
SpaceySteph October 18, 2011, 9:33 am
This is true. Alot of people think that part of being a good friend is hating your ex the moment he becomes your ex.
When my ex and I broke up, I was annoyed how many people said “I never liked that guy” because I would like to believe I’m not a total idiot and even if we weren’t meant to be, he had to have some redeeming qualities for us to date for all that time. Jumping on the “hate that guy” bandwagon just makes it seem like I was a blind dumbass in love.
honeybeenicki October 18, 2011, 10:18 am
That is definitely true. I didn’t think of that. But, if they are as good of friends as the LW seems to say, it is likely that Mary knows how she feels about the guy even if it is just through her actions.
LW October 18, 2011, 12:45 pm
Mary has always known that I’m not a big fan of the guy. I didn’t say anything at first, since I was trying to be nice initially, but he eventually just got too creepy for me to even pretend around.
Greebo October 18, 2011, 1:14 pm
You said she knows he’s flirted with you, even that he asked you out in front of her, right? Honestly, a former friend’s father (yes, father) hit on me and actually aggressively tried to kiss me while I was in college. While that may be more extreme than your friend’s boyfriend’s behavior, I was comfortable telling my friend that his dad wasn’t welcome around me. Ever. He understood. (We aren’t friends anymore because we drifted apart, lost touch—you know, life happened. Not because of anything to do with this.)
My point is that if his behavior towards you and your SO has been egregious enough, and/or if he has recidivist tendencies, you may have a way out. It depends on the tone of your friendship.
FWIW, I agree that their relationship has a brief life expectancy, as long as she takes lots of precautions against pregnancy. And STDs, since that seems to be an issue.
L October 18, 2011, 7:57 am
I respectfully disagree with your advice. If my boyfriend treats my friends like dirt, I would want to know about it. Is this guy a scumbag? Most definitely. Is he being a total jerk for treating her friends like crap? Oh yes. A guy shows his true colors when he is dealing with friends and family, and it should be a HUGE warning sign when he doesn’t respect them.
It also appears that this is a FWB situation. That indicates to me that this relationship doesn’t have as many ties to each other as a “true” relationship might have. Of course she may have gotten attached to him anyway but personally I would choose a good friendship over a FWB any day. Chicks before dicks.
LW, my suggestion is to sit your friend down where there aren’t any distractions and tell her directly what it is that bothers you about her guy. Even though you already told her your opinions on this guy, things haven’t changed. She apparently doesn’t see that. If she is a true friend, she will listen to your concerns openly and think things through with your feelings in mind. You aren’t asking her to break up with him (though frankly, that’s what I would want any of my friends to do in this type of situation), you are just telling her what concerns you about him. Phrase it in a way that won’t make her defensive, like: “I have some concerns about how ____ treats me and I want you to consider a few options.” Make sure that you don’t tell her what to do, just make some suggestions and requests. Hopefully through that she will realize he is a scumbag and act accordingly.
FireStar October 18, 2011, 8:58 am
The friend already knows how the LW feels…she is choosing to continue to date the boyfriend nonetheless. Now what? Does the friend have to choose between her boyfriend and her best friend? Why not just restructure her time so she sees her friend alone? Not every night but at least her time won’t be shared with the detested boyfriend if she can’t stand to be around him.
L October 18, 2011, 10:00 am
I realize that she has already talked to her friend about the situation, however as another commenter pointed out there are plenty of times when a couple breaks up and the friend says “I never liked him” to side with her girlfriend but then the couple gets back together and the friend doesn’t say anything. Friend who is with said boyfriend doesn’t think anything of it and things continue as usual. In this case “Mary” is NOT going to know anything is seriously wrong unless the LW says something. Will it add drama? Of course. Will it create tension? Most likely. But if the LW just puts a smile on her face and deals with it she is lying to both herself and Mary.
Personally I value my friends deeply and their views of my significant other weigh heavily for me. How a guy treats them tells me a lot about his character. If a man can’t respect my friends or family — people who are a HUGE part of my life — he is not worth my time.
FireStar October 18, 2011, 11:51 am
My understanding was that the dislike for the boyfriend was known before the first break-up since it was a factor that contributed to it at the time. So it wasn’t just a case of shared venting.
I’m not one to beat a dead horse. In an ideal world everyone would act properly – but that is not reality. Reality is that there is always going to be a great girlfriend that dates a loser and if deaf to her friends telling she can do better. You can’t control other people’s choices – just your own. So if the friend wants to date an ass – that’s her business – all the LW can say is just don’t bring the ass around me.
L October 18, 2011, 3:02 pm
I agree with you on the fact that an awesome girlfriend might date a douche-tastic guy and just won’t listen to anybody. Of course, in that “ideal” world that you described, DearWendy.com wouldn’t be necessary… Based on recent letters however, we’re FAR from the “ideal”!! 🙂
summerkitten26 October 18, 2011, 10:57 am
I really agree with this! the only thing I’d add is that there is another party here: the LW’s boyfriend. I would also approach having him in your house from that angle, not necessarily “hiding” behind your bf, LW, but saying “I’m uncomfortable having him in my house because it makes my guy uncomfortable due to the way he acts towards me, and I’d prefer to respect my guy’s feelings in this regard.” I don’t think that LW voicing her and her guys uncomfort levels (yes, new word) in the FWB’s presence is a stretch if the FWB has propositioned her in front of her friend’s face. If it does, her friend really doesn’t have her eyes open to the nature of the FWB relationship or this dude’s character, and very little helps or is taken as useful, caring advice at that point.
plasticepoxy October 18, 2011, 11:58 am
I really like how you focused on the LW’s concern on how her friend’s FWB is treating the LW. I think at any time it is okay to say, “He’s making me feel uncomfortable and I’d like your help to figure out a way to be more comfortable.” This guy is asking the LW out on dates, in front of his FWB, when he knows that she is engaged. There doesn’t even have to be a mention of how she doesn’t like him as a person, she can focus on the behavior that makes her uncomfortable in her home and ask that her friend help her resolve things. I actually think that she’s fully within her rights to say, “Friend, your FWB is treating me poorly, I’ve asked him to stop x times and he hasn’t. Because of that, I need to ask that he not be invited to my home.”
6napkinburger October 18, 2011, 12:08 pm
I like your first suggestion merged with the second. Asking Mary for help with how not to feel uncomfortable around the FWB is genius. Then you can say everything you need to without it being confrontational.
“Mary, I kind of need to talk to you. A lot of the time I feel really uncomfortable around [Your FWB’s name] because of the things he’s said and done to me, like the time he asked me out in front of you, and the time he X and the time he Y. I love you and love spending time with you, so what can we do so I don’t feel uncomfortable having someone who said and did that to me in my own house?”
Chances are, she’ll suggest that he not come over, and will suggest that you guys spend more time together outside of your house so you can “get to know him better.” If she doesn’t, lead the conversation there.
Nadine October 18, 2011, 8:23 am
I’m with L. I guess it depends on how much you see your friend, but if someone I hung out with was dating someone I hated so much, it would affect the friendship anyway (I might respect them less for settling, or I would just hate the guys behaviour so much it wouldn’t be worth hanging out with my friend). Since I would feel affected anyway, I would rather go out with a bang, and sit my friend down and explain, for the last time, why he is a problem, how she can do better, how much you love her etc etc. I know for me, that having a real douchebag around would make me resent my friend.
H October 18, 2011, 8:48 am
Do we know the same exact guy and have the same friend? I swear I could have written this. And I have been struggling with the same question.
My friend and her FWB are welcome to date other people, but she did ask him to be very careful if he intends to sleep around- for obvious reasons (although I wish she would be safer, none of my business I guess). I don’t really know how closely he has upheld that. I feel bad for her that she allows herself to be disrespected by this guy. True, they are in a non-committed relationship, but this has been ongoing for TWO YEARS (seems like too long for a FWB, but again none of my business). He holds her back from really getting out there and dating other people because she is so often with him. He openly flirts with other women and discusses all his other conquests in front of her. But, all of this is HER business.
But, what I feel is MY business is how he talks to me. We all went to the beach together once and FWB proceeded to make commentary on my body. He remarked on how nice my hoo ha looked in my bikini… I kid you not. But, how I could use more of an ass. I was too shocked to respond. And when I look back, I feel ashamed that I didn’t freak out on him… really though, he should be mortified that he spoke to me that way. That was strike 1. Strike 2 was when I first started dating my current boyfriend. His ex was throwing a hissy fit and making my life miserable. FWB started in on how he would love to bang this girl, in detail. It was really crude & not helpful at all to what I was going through. Then came strike 3. I was out with my friend and she decided that we should meet FWB for dinner. At dinner, he started talking about how he was angry with a woman at work, so he was going to a strip club to “pay for extras”, so he could “humiliate” a stripper to release his anger. Screwed up, right?
His respect for women does not exist. He is incredibly misogynistic. I don’t want to spend time with him. But, I know my friend is lonely and for some odd reason, she seems to think the world of him. So, *for now* I am choosing to not say a thing. But, I am also choosing to avoid any situations where he will be there. I can not make the choice for my friend- but I CAN make the choice for me.
If you do happen to have the misfortune of hanging out with this guy, LW, and he talks to you disrespectfully, you have every right to call him on it. But, for now, I wouldn’t tell your friend. I am trying to have faith that my friend will meet some new guy who will treat her right and she will forget all about FWB. Hopefully, your friend will too. I do know how frustrating it can be to see someone you care about dating/sleeping with someone who is of such poor character… but we can’t make their decisions for them. Good luck!
DDL October 18, 2011, 9:04 am
…I had a friend (she was 18 at the time) who dated a guy (who was 33 at the time) like that and he told me, in front of her, what nice tits I had and how he’d love to use them as his pillow every night. She just laughed, then told me later that actually her boyfriend thought that HER breasts were better. I asked her why she’d let her boyfriend get away saying something so rude like that to me (I was 16) and she said he wasn’t being rude; that it had been a compliment and I shouldn’t be so sticky about things like that.
H October 18, 2011, 9:09 am
I wish I could say we are that young… but, we can’t use youth as an excuse for taking that crap. We’re 30. She knew he said that to me. She only ever says “Well, he doesn’t have a big brain to mouth filter”… sorry, that’s a poor excuse.
We definitely have a dirty sense of humor in our group of friends. But, this felt different. This made me feel really… violated.
DDL October 18, 2011, 9:49 am
It’s a horribly poor excuse! I know girls want to defend their boyfriends for love and all, but do you have to let them treat your friends like shit? Or say, ‘It’s just his sense of humor’? Ugh! Friends are frustrating sometimes. 🙂
But, no, I completely understand where you’re coming from cos my friends and I are one dirty mind when it comes to humor, and when someone you don’t know makes a perverted comment instead of a “dirty” one, it really changes things, and makes everyone feel uncomfortable, but no one knows what to say.
Flake October 18, 2011, 9:57 am
Holy crap… that is so wrong… :/
DDL October 18, 2011, 10:01 am
I think the worse part was when she said she was going to marry him and take care of his two children from two previous relationships. Cos, ya know, then we’d have to deal with him forever. Oh, yeah, and he had a farm with horses.
H October 18, 2011, 4:40 pm
And for the record, I have tried to be a “good friend”. I did tell my friend that I think she needs to let FWB go and focus on attaining something with more potential, since I know getting married/having a family is a big goal of hers. I gave her my opinion as kindly as I could… now, it is up to her.
Amanda October 18, 2011, 8:52 am
LW, I think that confronting your friend about her douche FWB is going to backfire on you and probably drive her closer to him. Instead, I would recommend always going to your friends house to hang out, or politely ending your friend’s visit should the scumbag come to your house. This is only a temporary situation; they will breakup again soon. My bet is within the month they will breakup and then get back together a few weeks later until your friend obtains some self-esteem and ends the cycle.
DDL October 18, 2011, 8:59 am
But what can the LW really say? Sure, she can tell Mary that she greatly dislikes this douchebag for the following reasons [inert reasons here], but ultimately, who wants to listen to someone nag and rag on about how much they hate a current suitor? No one, and therefore it’s unlikely that Mary will listen. Obviously, she never listened before, and she realized the guy was a douche on her own. Then she went back to him. Honestly, I’d resent my friend for going back to him, more than I’d resent him for being around.
But as the friend of Mary, LW, I would distance myself from her FWB/boyfriend, and hang out with Mary on her own. If she brings around her whatever-he-is and plans to stay, then tell her something has come up and you’ll have to hang out with her later. If she invites you over and you know he’ll be there, and you don’t want to see him, then don’t go. It’s going to be your choice whether or not you see this man, and if it includes sacrificing time with Mary, then that’s a sad side-effect that’s bound to happen, seeing as she wants to spend a lot of time with him.
But you’re writing to Dear Wendy because you don’t want him at your house. Well, then tell him that’s he’s not allowed to pick Mary up from your place because he’s disrespectful towards you and your fiance, and that’s not welcome in, or around, you home. Let Mary know that if she plans to see him after she hangs out with you, she should be leaving your place, and go to hers or meet him elsewhere, and not telling him to pick her up from your house.
Unless he tries to force his way in, there’s not a whole lot you can do, cos he’s just picking her up.
Hopefully this “relationship” will end in due course (it has before, so it shouldn’t be long now) and you’ll be able to help Mary find better men to date.
Skyblossom October 18, 2011, 9:47 am
You’re so right that you can control whether you see him. If he shows up at your house to pick her up you don’t have to open the door and invite him in. You don’t have to open the door at all. If you see him pulling up you can tell Mary that he’s there and if he knocks at the door you tell him, through the closed door, that she will be out soon. The entire time you are polite and you say nothing bad about him but you don’t let him into your home.
If he joins you while you are out with Mary you say good-bye and you leave. Don’t ask her to choose between the two of you, just choose for yourself to not be around him. If, and when, Mary asks why you’re avoiding her FWB you tell her you don’t enjoy spending time with him but you don’t want to try to tell her what to do so you will find other things to do when she is with him. Tell her you hope she’s happy and that’s what matters most to you. Don’t in any way insinuate that you think he makes her unhappy.
bethany October 18, 2011, 9:16 am
Good advice! I agree that there’s really no good solution to this problem, other than to remain neutral and hope for them to call it quits again.
I hate to say it, but when given the choice of bff vs bf, it seems like girls will 9 times out of 10 pick the guy, so choose your battles wisely!
KD October 18, 2011, 9:16 am
I guess I’m going against the majority by saying that I think you should be allowed to say “Hey, I told you I don’t like him, therefore I don’t want him at my house”. Everyone has a point though, this will probably strain your relationship with your friend. I don’t think it’s out of line to ask for some space from someone you don’t like, especially in your own home. I know it sucks, but I would try to not get wrapped up in their love life, hopefully she’ll realize on her own what a tool this guy is. Ask for some boundaries (I would keep it to your own home) and leave it at that.
GatorGirl October 18, 2011, 9:30 am
I agree with you. There is no reason why the LW should have to tolerate some one she does not like in her own home. It will cause stress between you and your friend, but it is your home and you can chose who comes and goes. Make sure your fiance is willing to back you up.
DDL October 18, 2011, 9:55 am
Yeah, personally I’d want to avoid their drama as much as possible .
I do agree about saying “Hey, I told you I don’t like him, therefore I don’t want him at my house”, but the problem is, is that it seems that the LW said something similar the first time Mary dated this guy, and Mary didn’t really listen, seeing as she’s with him again. I think the LW just needs to take a different approach to avoid this man; taking the steps herself instead of trying to get Mary to do it.
6napkinburger October 18, 2011, 11:00 am
But I don’t think its totally fair to say that Mary “didn’t really listen, seeing as she’s with him again.” You may think your friend is totally valid and respect her opinion, but not let it dictate whether or not you date him. If I had a friend who was uncomfortable around my BF, but i decided there was some redeeming factor that she didn’t understand, I would still date him, but I’d think it was totally fair that she didn’t want to be around him. I would have “listened.”
Marcie October 18, 2011, 9:19 am
If the friend knows how the LW feels about her bf/FWB or whoever, why is she inviting him over to the LW’s house without asking the LW? I’d be pissed at the friend just because of that. I’d be uncomfortable just because he had asked she LW out before, plus, the LW’s fiance is there! I’m not sure that would make for a fun night.
Flake October 18, 2011, 9:46 am
I agree with you, my friend used to do the same thing to me. When I finally brought that to her attention she said that she hoped that I would get to know him and change my mind.
DDL October 18, 2011, 9:57 am
FireStar October 18, 2011, 9:56 am
Did she ask him over to the LW’s house or was he outside just picking her up? I thought everyone was outside on the porch. No one can come inside your house without your consent – but him on the front porch waiting for the girlfriend to grab her jacket and say her goodbyes? As soon as he shows up then the evening is over and off she goes with him. Acrimoniously divorced parents share custody of children all the time – treat it like that. Don’t allow anyone to disrespect you but don’t tug at the person in the middle so it forces them to pick sides. In this case it is likely she will walk away from him all by herself eventually.
LW October 18, 2011, 10:43 am
Clarifying for the group: The occasion I wrote about had us sitting on the porch visiting (we usually do that, since it’s a great porch and Mary is a smoker), and Douchenozzle came over and ended up hanging out for about forty minutes while fiance and I made polite noises about being tired until they left together.
FireStar October 18, 2011, 11:44 am
Your noises should start being less polite. Especially if it is your best friend – why stand on ceremony? “Alright hon – I’m beat and your ride is here – call you tomorrow? Bye.” No one is offended and your home is your own – as it should be.
Greebo October 18, 2011, 1:51 pm
100 points for “Douchenozzle”.
You have an absolute right to control who is at your house. Likely this guy is using your well-intentioned desire not to make a scene in a very deliberate fashion.
Here’s a thought: if one of us had a significant other who allowed his/her friend/family member to harass, mistreat and intimidate us, likely everyone here would join in a rousing chorus of “dump him” or at least “ultimatum time”. Why is it ok for a friend to ask us to be badly treated, made uncomfortable, harassed, etc.? Worse yet, what if his behavior escalates?
Bekah October 18, 2011, 11:07 am
I don’t know if the friend invited her FWB over to the LW’s house or was just picking her up. BUT if it was the first and not the latter, the LW is perfectly within her right to request her friend to ask permission to bring over other people (not just the FWB) to her house. Sorry, but that is incredibly rude and it is important to stand your ground on such issues.
On the other hand, if you talk to your friend or not it doesn’t matter because she probably knows and if she doesn’t she is in denial. You can support her as much or as little as you want to, it just depends on how much you value her friendship. If you want to keep her as a friend, keep your mouth shut. If your friendship is unhealthy and you want to keep honesty between you, talk, but know you are risking losing a friend. It is really up to you and what you want to get out of your friendship.
cdubs October 18, 2011, 9:30 am
While I agree that she can’t tell her friend who to date, and I agree that telling her how much of a douchebag in general he is will backfire, I do believe the LW is allowed to say something along the lines of ‘He’s said X, Y and Z to me, and it makes me really uncomfortable. I’ve asked him to stop but he doesn’t seem to care. So I would just feel more comfortable if it could just be the 2/3 of us when we hang out at my house.’
Everyone is probably right that the visits to the LW’s house might be less often after that, because I’m sure this will make Mary uncomfortable and feel awkward, but at least hopefully the LW won’t have to tolerate this asshat in her house, which is all she’s trying to do anyway.
Flake October 18, 2011, 9:44 am
I agree that there is no good way of telling your good friend that you can’t stand the guy she’s seeing.
People are saying that part of being a good friend is telling the person the truth, no matter what.
In my opinion, being a good friend sometimes means letting your friend make his/her own choices, even when they are bad, in your opinion. Then, if they made a mistake, you can be a true friend by helping them deal with consequences of their misstep.
It doesn’t matter if the guy is a “real” BF or a FWB. This friend is a grown woman, and she already broke up with him once, so obviously she can make that decision on her own. So yes, LW, you have to decide what is more important to you: keeping the friend or being rid of the FWB.
However, if the guy is ever disrespectful to you, you HAVE to stand your ground and let him know that YOU find such behavior unacceptable.
Shadowflash1522 October 18, 2011, 9:57 am
I’m not big on statements that go “If you really/truly X’d me, you’d Y” (actually, I hate them) but this is one of those times when it’s the only way to say it. If Mary really valued your friendship above her FWB, then she would respect your dislike of him and not inflict him upon you. You can set whatever ground rules you like — it’s your house and therefore your rules — but the reality is that Mary is the only one who can effectively engineer things so your paths don’t cross (or cross minimally).
If she doesn’t value your friendship that much, then respect her decision. And by ‘respect’ I mean it’s ok to MOA from the friendship if you can’t handle playing second fiddle to this loser. I certainly wouldn’t blame you. You can’t tell her who to date, but it’s equally unfair for you to have to tolerate scumbags in your house and your life just because she happens to be infatuated with them. I know it doesn’t sound very supportive of me, and I’ll probably catch a lot of flak for saying it, but I would stand your ground (noncombatively if at all possible) and damn the consequences. You can be neutrally supportive and not be a doormat for your friend’s douchy FWB.
summerkitten26 October 18, 2011, 11:04 am
just voicing my support on this one. i’d give you two thumbs up if i could. SHE chose to date him, not the LW and therefore the LW should not have to put up with disrespectful behavior or discomfort in her own home. out in public is different, but not in her sanctuary
oldie October 18, 2011, 11:41 am
There’s no reason why the friend needs to value LW above her FWB/bf. Certainly the friend can have a guy who is the #1 thing in her life and maintain a friendship with LW. Why do LW and her friend think that maintaining their friendship, requires that they exist as two couples getting together or LW with her friend and friend’s FWB. The solution is to back off a tad from this friendship and keep it on a one-to-one basis, without either of the guys. I don’t get at all that LW can stand being together with the FWB as long as it’s at her friend’s house, but bristles at having him at her house. Getting together is getting together, with the same 3 or 4 individuals present, regardless of whose house is involved. This just smacks of territoriality rather than ‘can’t stand’.
I think LW and her fiance are perfectly valid in not wanting to associate with this guy. But she needs to be clear with her friend. The problem is not that the FWB disrespects friend by flirting with ad dating other women. That is the friend’s responsibility to decide whether or not she can tolerate this. It is what FWB is, afterall. The point she needs to make to her friend is that she doesn’t want to associate with her FWB because he hit on her, which is bad and uncomfortable enough, but as an engaged woman she is absolutely not going to ask her fiance to associate or socialize with a guy who openly flirts with and hits on her. If the friend can’t understand that, then she’s not much of a friend. This takes LW out of the mode of being her friend’s nanny and positions her as simply sticking up for herself.
Shadowflash1522 October 18, 2011, 12:09 pm
You’re right, the friend is not obligated to value the LW above her FWB (I didn’t mean to imply such). But if she doesn’t, then the LW is not required to be ok with it. There seems to be some friendship myth that you always have to tolerate being second best to your friend’s SO, no matter what they do. I disagree with this myth.
I think it’s less territoriality and more that she dislikes feeling uncomfortable in her own home. We all have to tolerate some discomfort when we’re out and about, that’s a perfectly normal part of social interaction, but she shouldn’t have to tolerate feeling violated in her own living room. Plus, she may view him as a potential threat to her space or her things, hence being ok hanging out in public but not at her house.
Lindsay October 18, 2011, 10:10 am
Unless this guy is a really terrible person (like a criminal or something), I think it would be going too far to say that he’s not allowed at your house. You could dislike a friend’s boyfriend for a lot of reasons, and it’s not your place to determine which ones warrant kicking him out. I mean, you could, but be prepared for Mary to not want to be at your house anymore either.
Shadowflash1522 October 18, 2011, 10:16 am
On the contrary, it’s the LW’s house, her possessions, and her person. If she’s uncomfortable with the way FWB handles any of those things, she is completely within her rights to bar him from her property. Being a good friend doesn’t mean letting yourself be manhandled, verbally or physically, by any douche they drag in.
Nick October 18, 2011, 10:12 am
Nicely done, BIW! Good sensible advice.
AndreaMarie October 18, 2011, 10:38 am
Clearly your friend knows this guy is a D-bag. She knows he treats her less than ideally. But like many have already pointed out, that’s HER business. You’ve told her he sucks already and she’s agreed. There is no point of rehashing your negative feelings towards THEIR relationship. This will only cause tension between you and your friend. They’ve broken up before, and this doesn’t seem to have the hallmarks of a lasting relationship, so he’ll be gone soon enough.
However, how he treats YOU is totally your business. And again, clearly she knows how disrespectful he is to you. She even told you that was a factor in their break up. If he continues to treat you poorly you have every right to confront him and her on it. And you can avoid him. Don’t invite him over. Let he meet him outside. Do things one-on-one with her.
Again, I bet you won’t be dealing with him for all too long. They will fade out and she’ll move on.
CatsMeow October 18, 2011, 10:38 am
LW said she asked douche to stop being disrespectful to her, and he did not comply. They have broken up and gotten back together since then. MAYBE it was a condition of getting back together that he treat Mary’s friends with respect (since it was a contributing factor to their breakup)? Maybe he hasn’t done it since the reconciliation? I don’t know for sure… but IF that’s the case, then I think if he shows up at LW’s house again and THEN disrespects her, it’s fully within the LW’s rights to tell HIM that he’s not welcome in her house if he behaves in such a way.
Telling the friend to ban him from the house is going to cause unnecessary drama. She’ll come to her senses and dump him again eventually.
Budj October 18, 2011, 10:46 am
Well-thought advice, but I think there is an easier solution…the LW could bring up the fact that he asked the LW out in front of her fiance the next time he comes over….if I was the fiance that dude would be high-tailing it out of there….really this guy is classless….I’d have little patience with my friend in this situation and it’s your fucking house, LW.
There is “being supportive” and then there is “letting your friend get walked all over”.
CatsMeow October 18, 2011, 10:48 am
Good idea – blame it on the fiance.
Budj October 18, 2011, 10:49 am
Not really blaming….situational leverage.
Budj October 18, 2011, 10:49 am
I’d gladly be the bad guy in this situation and if my friend hated me for it, good riddance…yes…I’m in a tough spot today.
Skyblossom October 18, 2011, 10:59 am
If the fiance becomes a husband and the best friend remains a best friend that could cause tension between them for life. It’s probably best to say we don’t want him in our house because he makes us uncomfortable.
summerkitten26 October 18, 2011, 11:06 am
oops! thought the same thing above before I saw it down here. most definitely agreed, though! LW shouldn’t let her friend’s unhealthy relationship taint her own supportive healthy one.
bagge72 October 18, 2011, 1:12 pm
Something like this is so much easier for guys with FWB. I have a friend who had a FWB, and she was the biggest douche anyone has ever met, so after hanging out with her a couple of times, we all told him what a douche she was, and he agreed. So we all had some drinks, made fun of the things she did, and he went back to banging her, but just stopped bringing her around in social situations so we wouldn’t have to deal with her. We all are still best friends, mentioning this didn’t upset my friend at all, and we still laugh at this girl today. Now if this was an actual girl friend we might not have been so harsh with him about her. The tough part with this LW is finding out if this really is a FWB or if this is more of a boyfriend, because that is what it actually sounds like.
You are definitely right, and I can’t believe the fiance hasn’t said anything yet anyways. Personally if one of my fiance’s friends was fucking a guy that then turned around and asked her out while I was dating her I would be the first to confront him on it… if she actually told me about it haha.
Budjer October 18, 2011, 1:23 pm
Yea – something tells me he doesn’t know….if he did this letter wouldn’t have been written.
bagge72 October 18, 2011, 1:33 pm
Yeah definitely not the to the full extent! He has gotten to witness this guys glory in person, and probably grits his teeth to keep the LW happy.
LW October 19, 2011, 1:02 pm
Clarification again: Fiance knows exactly the extent of Douchenozzle’s behavior, but has agreed that this is purely my battle to fight.
meaghan October 18, 2011, 10:52 am
Have your fiance say something to the FWB for disrespecting you and your relationship. Have him leave you and your friend out of it. I doubt your man will have a problem as he’s defending the woman he loves. I know if my husband heard a man talk to me like that he would never be welcome in our home again. Don’t go out of your way to do this. Wait for the next time he shows up.
She may not like this, but she knows his behavior and honestly shouldn’t expect you to deal with this. If she brings it up simply say you value her friendship greatly, but you an wont allow yourself to be degraded and humiliated to keep it.
I want to point out that there’s is no reason for the friend to have her FWB around her friends. You are not having relations with this man so you are not obligated to deal with him. You are friends with her, not him, and she should know that you do not have to be around or like the friends of hers that you can’t stand.
mf October 18, 2011, 11:55 am
I like the idea of having the fiance directly address the FWB. Maybe that’ll scare the d-bag away and he’ll start avoiding the LW and her fiance.
oldie October 18, 2011, 11:47 am
Anyone else think that the friend keeps trotting her FWB out around her friends is a lame way of trying to convince herself that he is actually a bf, rather than just a FWB. “Look, we’re really a couple, and everyone treats us as a couple, he’s just a little shy about using those specific relationship words.”
6napkinburger October 18, 2011, 11:57 am
I certainly thought it was weird. I’m not very familiar with non -college FWB (and it sounds like these are, as they all have houses), but I thought they were basically glorified booty calls, in that you occassionally hang out with the person in the day light too, though mostly in groups. But I could be wrong, as I’ve had no adult experience with these.
Otherwise it just sounds like “dating”, either non-monogamously, or monogamously. Not every “dating” situation is super serious, which is why they invented the term “casual dating” or “seeing.” (In my opinion, you wouldn’t say “I’ve been seeing a guy for 2 years and we just bought a house together and had our second child and have gone ring shopping;” you’d say “I’ve been with a guy…” or “I’m dating a guy…” or “I’m married to a guy…”)
Calle October 18, 2011, 12:05 pm
While I get the point a lot of people are making, I would be incredibly angry if my friend’s bf asked me out knowing I have a fiancee in front of my friend!!! That is not just creepy but disturbing. LW, your friend is being stupid. This is not just a case of you not liking the boyfriend, this is a case of him crossing the line repeatedly and being disrespectful towards you. If my friend got back together with a guy like this, I would probably lose my respect for her. Your fiancee may also feel more strongly than you know ( I know my boyfriend would lose it if some guy asked me out in front of him while he was dating my friend) but doesn’t want to appear controlling by saying “your friend drives me crazy!” Anyway, I am rambling but my point is she is not much of a friend if she dates a guy who is that inappropriate with you and your fiancee.
rangerchic October 18, 2011, 12:08 pm
I dated a real scumbag once and wish my friends would have told me the truth. I think they tried and skirted the issue but I didn’t pick up on the clues – maybe out of denial. But then again I probably would not have left any sooner – until I was ready to face it and realize on my own what scum he was.
So, I feel the LW should talk to her friend tactfully but realize it probably really won’t do any good. She already went back to him once….
Shadowflash1522 October 18, 2011, 12:23 pm
I think it will do more damage to the friendship in the long run for you to try and tolerate this guy and resent Mary for it the whole time than to put your foot down now. Given enough time and space, any damage to your friendship with Mary will probably heal (especially after asshole boy leaves her again). But if you grow to resent her for forcing him upon you in your own house, it will fester instead. Just a thought.
L October 18, 2011, 3:08 pm
YES. Agree wholeheartedly. It might initially hurt Mary if the LW tells her the truth, but in the long run if the friendship is worth anything, they will rekindle their friendship after this toxic man is out of the picture for good.
amber October 18, 2011, 12:25 pm
i’m very confused as to if this is a ‘relationship’ or a FWB, but i guess that doesn’t really change my advice. say something to the effect of my fiance and i don’t like having your FWB at our house because of the way he disrespected us and our relationship. we’d prefer to only hang out with him in group settings or your home. we feel we need to do this for us. more than likely he won’t be around for long anyway, especially if they’re just FWB.
Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich October 18, 2011, 12:28 pm
I agree that it’s not really anyone’s place to police the people that their friends date… but the LW absolutely should stay strong about not letting this guy into her own home. That’s her private space, and she has a right and a responsibility to police that.
Probably it will offend the friend, but I would be offended as the LW that my friend is bringing someone she knows I dislike into my home.
I’m all for civility and kindness outside of the home, but I get uppity at the thought of douche-bags sniffing around where I live.
AKchic October 18, 2011, 12:44 pm
When the friend and FWB “broke up” the first time, you aired your grievances and feelings in regards to the FWB. Even knowing all of that, she still took him back. She knows your feelings. I think that we now know hers.
For all we know, she may have had a “come to Jesus” meeting with him in regards to his behavior. You didn’t mention any actual issues since they have gotten back together. Maybe he HAS gotten the message?
If he does pull something – stand up for yourself and make it clear that you won’t tolerate it. Walk away and not associate with him at the group. If it’s your home, ask him to leave. Tell your girlfriend that his behavior has upset you and you’re cutting the get together short. Apologize to her in private, but tell her that his behavior is unacceptable and until he can learn to control himself, you won’t be hosting anything with him in attendance.
She made her choice. He may have changed. You need to give him the benefit of the doubt, while at the same time being wary just in case.
bagge72 October 18, 2011, 1:35 pm
Nice work! I like this!
kf October 18, 2011, 12:55 pm
What makes this difficult is that her porch isn’t really “inside” her house; obvously she legally could keep the guy from coming onto the porch but socially it’s more awkward than not inviting him inside the house.
If it were me, and I were the LW hanging out on the porch with Mary and my fiancee, I’d set up a deal with the fiancee where whenever Mary’s FWB showed up, the two of us would politely excuse ourselves and go inside and say “see you later” or whatever. No drama, no glares or sighs or anything. If that’s awkward for Mary, too bad. Sucks that you can’t hang out on the porch whenever you want, but eventually they’ll learn.
bagge72 October 18, 2011, 1:38 pm
You would get glares, and sighs, you just would see them, because your back would be turned. Chances are this would eventually cause a problem, because they would know what you were doing, and starting complaining to each other about you, and your fiance. I’m not saying this is right, but unfortunately people don’t get hints very well, and that really sucks. This would be a great way to handle it in a perfect world.
bagge72 October 18, 2011, 2:24 pm
kf October 18, 2011, 4:59 pm
My fault for not being clear – I’m saying LW and her fiancee should avoid glares, sighs etc., not that Mary and her bf wouldn’t do those things. Just a flat, monotone “we’re going inside”, and go.
I freely admit this is easier to tpye on the internet than do IRL.
bagge72 October 19, 2011, 9:24 am
cporoski October 18, 2011, 1:08 pm
This is not a boyfriend, this is a FWB. I have only ever seen two reasons for a FWB. 1.) boredom 2.) lonliness. Since your friend is going back to this bad dude, he is clearly there because she is lonely. I would not draw a line in the sand but go into this with a soft heart. Try and help her find someone new. With the FWB situation, it only lasts until one of them finds someone better. Both people are always one foot out the door. I am sure that she brings him places because she doesn’t want to be the third or fifth wheel especially since you are engaged. So try and do more girl things, set her up on blind dates or to go out and meet new people. You can bump this guy out of the picture in a good way and not in a negative way.
This would be a different situation if they were serious but frankly, as soon as he gets a better option, he will be gone. He is obviously looking if he is commenting to you. The only other thing to do is wait until he says the next obnoxious thing and make a scene. If you bring up old events then it looks like you are holding on to things. When someone says something I don’t like, in front of a group, i say, “Who do you think you are talking to?” When you say that, they will either say something rude which will make it easy to walk away or he will say sorry and will not want to be called out again. Good luck but I am sure this thing will be over soon.
kf October 18, 2011, 1:34 pm
It actually sounds a lot more like a boyfriend, whose girlfriend is too chicken for whatever reason to actually admit that he’s her boyfriend. Everything you say about FWB relationships is also true in lousy boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, which is what this is.
Ktfran October 18, 2011, 2:11 pm
Actually, I would take a guy for his word. I think he’s labeling it as a FWB relationship because he doesn’t want to be this girls boyfriend. He has one foot out the door looking for someone better. The reason it seems like they’re actually dating is because he likes the comfort of having someone at his beck and call, but he won’t call her his girlfriend. He’s doing this so she can’t get mad when he flirts with or asks someone else out. He has worked out a perfect situation for himself and is playing on this girl’s insecurities. As long as this girl puts up with it, he won’t change.
I 100% empathize with this girl and the position she has put the LW in. I’ve been in this girl’s situation . . . although I only went through it once and I did not and will not go back a second time. It took me well over a year of therapy to realize what was happening and the toll this relationship took on my mental health. So much in fact, that I’m terrified of repeating the same mistakes and don’t want to date again until I’m completely happy with myself. I really lost myself there for a while. Luckily, my best friend, who knew exactly what I was doing to myself but realized I needed to figure it out for myself, was there for me during and after.
cporoski October 18, 2011, 3:54 pm
You have a good point. but I think KTfran is right. THe friend is acting like it is a relationship but the guy has made it a FWB. Title or not, a guy acting like this is not acting like he is in a relationship. I think being this way in front of the FWB is clearly showing that they aren’t in a relationship.
Ktfran October 18, 2011, 4:46 pm
That’s why I really liked your advice cporoski. I think what you suggested is a great way to get this girl away from this guy. She’ll eventually come around, but just telling her what he’s doing won’t help. She has to realize it on her own.
bagge72 October 18, 2011, 1:27 pm
LW I would say if you don’t want to make your friend mad, and have her potentially stop talking to you, then I wouldn’t talk to your friend about it, and I would definitely go with Billie’s advice here. She definitely touches on what you should do in that situation very well. Like somebody said, it does seem that girls tend to choose guys over there friends. I personally think that this isn’t an FWB (at least not to your friend) and you should probably plan on this guy being around for a couple of years treating your friend badly, and not caring about her friends at all. Just start limiting you time with both of them, and hope she gets the hint.
Though if this guy is still acting like a complete ass to you, and your fiance, you do have every right to stand up to him, and tell him to his face (don’t tell her at some other time. tell him right then and there) that he is acting like an ass, and that you aren’t going to take it. If this truly is a FWB situation, your friend would then see how this guy treats you, and either stop bringing him around or dump him completely, and if he is more than that to her, then again start limiting your time with them, and hope Mary gets the picture.
Budj October 18, 2011, 1:42 pm
The girl will turn it around on the LW….girls that get involved with these things (we are talking repeat offenses with the same guy…not a one-mistake relationship) typically cling and filter everything to protect the image of the guy…even alienating their friends.
AKchic October 18, 2011, 1:51 pm
Which makes you wonder if the guy is doing it on purpose to alienate the girl from her friends so he has all the control in this very messed up “relationship”. No matter what, this girl is probably going to end up hurt, high and dry at the end of the day, and she will need her friends to help her rebuild her life and self-esteem. It does suck that she has put them in that position, but at the end of the day, don’t we all deserve a second chance with our friends, and all deserve our dignity, self-respect and self-esteem back?
This guy is exploiting her obvious lonliness and despair at not being coupled properly or engaged like other friends and is using her. I hope she is able to find a better guy, but if she doesn’t, the strength to walk away.
bagge72 October 18, 2011, 1:57 pm
Oh definitely, I wasn’t saying she she should stop being friends with Mary. I definitely think when ever Mary is done with this guy she is going to need the LW to act as normal as possible with her, and maybe the fiance to hook her up with a nice guy, because they finish last (that’s because you stop looking once you have found them)!
bagge72 October 18, 2011, 1:54 pm
Yeah unfortunately it is almost stereotypical, because it happens so often with these types.
Budjer October 18, 2011, 3:04 pm
Yea – also my bad with not specifying guys fall into this trap too….not just a girl thing.
L October 18, 2011, 3:24 pm
Whoa. Correct me if I’m wrong but what you’re saying is that the LW should just cut Mary off and “hope she gets the hint”?? She’s just supposed to stand by while she watches a guy treat her friend like garbage?? Just walk away?? There is NO WAY I could EVER do that to a friend. If I see that a man is treating her like crap, I will call either her or him (or both!) out on it. If a guy who is DATING MY FRIEND asks me out IN FRONT OF HER, I would first kick him in the gonads and then give him a piece of my mind, then have a heart-to-heart with my friend. She might give me the silent treatment at first, but we would eventually patch things up, as all good friends would do. No one can tell their friends who they should or shouldn’t date, but a friend should stick up for the other when they see something that isn’t right. Sitting idly by and just hoping she gets it will accomplish nothing.
bagge72 October 18, 2011, 3:50 pm
You’re wrong, it doesn’t say any of that in my post. I hope that corrects it, amiright…. er um I hope this works here.
I basically said she should go with BIC’s advice except for the part where I said “you should probably plan on this guy being around for a couple of years treating your friend badly, and not caring about her friends at all.” which was to point out that this happens way to often, because people put up with someone treating them badly, because they think they are in love. In think they call what I was TRYING to do is being a wise acker? That was a very nice dramatization of how bad the situation is though.
You say all of these things like “a friend should stick up for the other when they see something that isn’t right.” I’m pretty sure the LW already expressed how she felt about this guy, and her friend decided to get back with him, I’m not sure how many times you think she needs to tell her this (also her friend saw this stuff with her own two eyes, and admitted it). Also we have no idea if this guy still acts this way now that they are back together, or if the LW is still harboring feelings from the first time. Also you say you would have kicked this guy in the nuts if he asked you out right in front of her, well the thing is the LW didn’t react the same you would, and this was a long time ago, and it is to late to go back, and start making drama about it now. The LW’s friend is a grown women, and after the LW telling her how much of a douche this guy is, if she still decides to willing put herself in this situation, then yes if makes the LW uncomfortable she needs to not hanging out with them so much.
L October 18, 2011, 8:11 pm
Thanks for clarifying, bagge72. Sorry I took your post in the wrong way — girls choosing jerky boyfriends over best friends is a touchy subject for me. “Oh I’ve been friends with you for what, 10 years? And I’ve known this creepy dude for 3 months….hmm…I’ll pick creepy dude.” It drives me CRAZY when that happens.
Landygirl October 18, 2011, 2:38 pm
It’s sad that women (and men) will put up with men (and women) like this to avoid being alone.
L October 18, 2011, 3:14 pm
Agreed. It’s also sad how sometimes women have to walk on eggshells just so they don’t piss their girlfriends off when they want to tell them that their man is a douche.
6napkinburger October 18, 2011, 3:19 pm
With enough articles and books like this
it’s not entirely surprising.