My ex-boyfriend and I are supposed to be good friends. We have helped each other through hard times, and I even let him rent a room in my home until he could get on his feet. He recently moved out at my request as he seemingly never planned on leaving and I could not get on with my life. Regardless, we have remained good friends and he still comes over sometimes and helps me with my property, etc. He claims that I am the best friend he has ever had and never wants to lose that relationship.
My neighbors across the street are also friendly with both of us and have lots of “get togethers” at their home with 15-20 people. Last week, when my ex came to help me with some things around my house, the neighbors invited him to a sit-down intimate dinner of six with all single guys and all single girls. He didn’t tell me about the party until the day of, parked in my driveway and went to the party telling me it was a get-together and not mentioning it was an intimate dinner for singles. My neighbors never mentioned it to me either.
I was upset. I felt it was in poor taste seeing that I live here and I help them all the time and my feelings were never even considered. I chalked it up to them not using good judgment, but before my ex went to the party I told him that this was not a good thing to start doing as I have to live here, not him. He walked out my back door and went to the party anyway and said he’d come back and say bye before he went home. Well, he stayed for three hours, and then left without even coming back as promised. I called him while he was still driving home and he said he didn’t know it was a dinner and that he doesn’t even know the names of the two single women at the table. Really??
I know it may sound like I’m jealous, but I’m not. I am over him and he may do as he pleases, but I don’t think he is a friend. I would have never accepted an invitation from the neighbor’s across from his house that he is friendly with and park my car in his driveway and then go anyway when I saw how much it upset him. Basically, I feel that my so-called friend is not my friend. He is self-absorbed and used the opportunity to hurt me. The friendship is over for me, but how do I keep him from coming over to my neighbor’s house for parties like these? I just want him to stay away from me and my neighborhood. Was it in poor judgment for my neighbors to do this? Should he have declined the invitation and kept our friendship intact? — Friends and Neighbors
Yeah, you do sound jealous and that’s probably because you are. Maybe you’re jealous that your ex was having an “intimate” dinner with some single ladies. Maybe you’re jealous that your neighbors invited him to this mixer instead of you. Most likely, it’s a combination of both, and that’s fine. People get jealous. It’s a totally normal and natural emotion, and the better you get at acknowledging it in yourself, the easier it is to move past and continue having healthy relationships/friendships with people. If I were you, I’d practice saying to myself, “Oh, hi there, jealousy. I see you. I hope you aren’t planning to stick around too long because, honey, I’ve got things to do and people to see.” Don’t let jealousy ruin your plans. Don’t let jealousy keep you inside on a lovely night stalking your ex’s car in your driveway, waiting to see whether he’s going to come in to say good-night to you or leave in his car with someone else.
All that said, perhaps instead of calling it quits with your ex in the friendship department, you ought to establish some clear boundaries. After all, if he’s been as helpful around your place as you say he has and you enjoy his company, are you really going to end things because he had the nerve to accept an invitation to a dinner party you were not invited to? That’s a really childish reason to dump a friend. Like, really childish. True, it was rude of him to park his car in your driveway, but if that’s the pattern that’s always been established, it’s understandable why he’d think it would be OK.
It seems to me that the people you should really be hurt by are your neighbors. Obviously, they seem to favor your ex over you. They hosted a party for singles and rather than invite you, a single neighbor who lives right across the street who “helps them all the time,” they chose to include your ex, someone who no longer lives in the neighborhood. That has to sting, and I understand why your feelings would be hurt. But it’s not your ex’s fault. He didn’t ask to be invited instead of you. And if he’s accepted all their other invitations to get-togethers in the past and you’ve always been OK with him being there, and you two are friendly and hang out together a lot, why would he assume you would have a problem with him going to dinner over there? And when he did learn that the news upset you, the party was just about to begin. He was already parked in your driveway! Was he really supposed to call up your neighbors and back out at the last minute when they could see plain as day that he was already there, parked right across the street?!
You know, on second thought, maybe you should stop being friends with this guy. Not because he did anything terribly wrong, but because you clearly are not in an emotional place to have a true friendship with him. Healthy friendships are not as possessive as yours is with him. You need to work out whatever lingering feelings you still have for him before you can move on and be on strictly platonic terms. Maybe that will never happen, I don’t know. But until it does, I’d recommend telling him you need space and that he shouldn’t stop by your home anymore or park in your driveway. Just don’t be surprised if you start seeing his car in your neighbor’s driveway instead and you’re no longer invited to any of their get-togethers in the future. If they’re going to be forced to pick sides, it seems pretty obvious already whose side they’ve chosen…
And no, you can’t keep your ex away from your neighborhood. I’m pretty sure restraining orders are not given out to people who simply accept dinner invitations across the street from their former residences.
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