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.