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My Friend's Partner Limits Our Time Together

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by avatar Shelia 4 weeks ago.

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  • #750873 Reply
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    Shelia

    One of my closest friends is a gay man in his 40s; let’s call him Jim. I am a single (by choice) woman in my 40s. A couple of years ago, Jim began dating/living with a man in his 20s. Let’s call him Bobby. Bobby moved into Jim’s house immediately upon dating. Bobby has never supported himself and works a minimum wage job while Jim puts him through community college. Since then, I have watched Jim spend thousands of dollars on his partner, who appears to be very self-centered and materialistic. Clothes, trips, a brand new sports car, etc. I have not said a word.

    I don’t see Jim often anymore, and when we do get together, Bobby comes along, appears bored while posting selfies, and then rushes Jim home before he’s ready to leave. Bobby makes little attempt to join in the conversation and interrupts if he sees something on social media that he finds funny or important. I have seen Jim alone without Bobby only three times in the past two years, and each time Bobby texted Jim constantly asking when he was coming home. Jim and I text almost daily about current events and other shared interests, so our friendship is the same as always; we just rarely see each other in person anymore.

    Recently, Jim confessed to me that Bobby doesn’t like him spending time with me. Many times when Jim suggested they invite me along somewhere, Bobby said no, so I wasn’t invited. My response to Jim was that he should do what makes him happy and that if there’s something I can do to change Bobby’s issue with me, let me know. He replied that the same thing happens with another friend of his. This other friend is a single woman in her late 50s. I suspect that Bobby is trying to control Jim’s drinking. However, they have other couple friends who they drink and socialize with all the time. Jim is successful and career-focused, as am I. I haven’t been into the party scene since college, and the other woman is nearly homebound and certainly not into the party scene.

    This friendship is important to me. Does anyone have any suggestions for what I can say or do to see my friend more often? Has anyone been through something like this? My instinct is to just keep quiet and wait it out.

    #750876 Reply
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    brise

    Maybe you can invite Jim for a dinner party with Bobby. And if he declines, then say a word (you wrote you never said a word). Gently tell him that you are sad to never being able to meet him, that you miss him, you are worried for him. And if he says that Bobby doesn’t want to see you, or him to see you, then state that it is controlling and it makes you sad to see him in this kind of abusive dynamics.
    But really, you can’t help here. Jim is an adult. If a friend tells me he can’t see me because his partner doesn’t want to, then it is over. He can make his choices and still has a self-arbitre. If he covers his partner with gift, well, he is a sugar daddy. All this doesn’t reflect so well on his character.
    So after a last try, I would stop the communication with Jim. Why would you speak everyday with a “friend” who refuses – for some reason he attributes to someone else – to see you? Friendships are sometimes over, they end with times, sometimes because of bad partners.
    I guess, by the way, that Bobby simply finds you and the other friend boring. You have nothing in common probably with a man in his twenties who can obtain what he wants from his partner and is materialistic. This reflects too critically on him.

    #750900 Reply
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    anonymousse
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    Jim is an adult who makes his own choices. Clearly, Jim chooses to be with Bobby. He pays for Bobby’s lifestyle. Bobby is much younger and into a different type of socializing than you are. Maybe that’s one reason Jim likes Bobby, he helps him feel young and hip. I don’t know, that’s pure speculation, but a pretty common reason to date/fund someone else’s lifestyle. People do crazy things to avoid being lonely, or for the one they love.

    If you voice your concerns, you run the risk of alienating yourself from Jim further. That said, if you feel he’s being taken advantage of, or otherwise controlled, by all means, tell him. But I’d just keep telling him you miss him and want to see him for dinner, etc. people often change their priorities when they start a relationship.

    #750903 Reply
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    JD

    Yes, Jim is making this choice. Be it because he is weak or because he wants to. Frankly my ex would often make excuses when he didn’t want to go out and say I didn’t want him to. I didn’t care nor was even aware he had been offered plans. I would never tell someone I am with what they can and cannot do. Some of his friends thought I was a bitch (well I kind of am but not about that) until they somehow found out though conversation one day that I never knew about any of this. It wasn’t really an asshole thing, just an easy excuse for him. For all you know Jim is doing just that. Either way you need to discuss it with Jim and if he doesn’t want to change it then just accept that. It doesn’t sound like a huge loss as you even mentioned you don’t see him often.

    #750906 Reply
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    Shelia

    To be clear, if I invite them to something, they both will come. I am invited to birthday and holiday parties. I am referring to the usual weekend socializing we used to do. We used to hang out at each other’s houses a couple of times a month, but that no longer occurs. Jim has never done any socializing without Bobby. They are a glued-at-the-hip type of couple.

    #750928 Reply
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    brise

    So it seems more normal, like many couples who are glued together, the friendship downgrades and you can’t help it, you have to accept that, at least now, their priorities are their partner and they put the friendships aside. It says something about him, he is not such a great friend. Make new friends, don’t fixate on this issue.

    #750929 Reply
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    LisforLeslie

    It’s Jim’s choice to be glued at the hip. He gets something out of this relationship and he either accepts Bobby’s bratty behavior or he doesn’t. If you want to say something to Jim – then say that you miss him or that you would like to see him more. That’s it. The rest is up to him. Never speak ill about Bobby. It will destroy your relationship with Jim.

    It doesn’t sound like Jim is unhappy with this arrangement.

    #750955 Reply
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    Shelia

    Thanks to all for the responses. Jim has codependency issues for sure, and he is aware of this and that he feels like he has to buy affection. We have had those conversations in the past before Bobby. He knows this is a pattern he keeps repeating. I have never known him to be single. Prior to this relationship, he was in a 7-year relationship. Also a younger man and also the financial lopsidedness.

    This diminished time spent together is fairly new, and could very well be that Bobby finds the other older friend and me boring. I find it very amusing that I have reached the boring stage of my life. 😀

    And you are all absolutely correct that it’s Jim’s choice to do all of these things. He’s terrified of going against Bobby’s wishes because he doesn’t want to lose Bobby. It’s hard to watch this dynamic, but I know that it is not my place to say anything–nor would it do any good.

    #750957 Reply
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    Ange

    I would keep the communication lines open as much as possible, it’s one of the few ways to keep Jim from being in Bobby’s grasp entirely. As we would say to a woman with a controlling partner the more you keep things up with Jim the less ammunition Bobby has to manipulate him away from anyone who might talk sense into him.

    A friend of mine had an awful husband like that. He would give her curfews when she went out, tell her who she could be friends with, decide whether she could drink, all that nonsense. He HATED me at first but after years and years of me not saying anything bad about him (to him anyway lol) he came around and we all became friends in a fashion and he relaxed. Eventually after getting back out in the world again she realised she was selling herself short and left the guy. It took ages and she had to get there herself but the first thing she said was she appreciated that I wasn’t one extra person in her life always haranguing her and telling her what to do. You don’t have to comment on their relationship or your feelings about Bobby, the best you can do is continue to be his friend and hope he sees the difference between his partner and someone who cares for him without an agenda.

    #750963 Reply
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    LisforLeslie

    @Sheila. You know how this is likely going to end. Maybe the next time see if Jim is willing to go to therapy. Jim’s got a few issues.

    And I don’t think the issue is being boring -I think the other guy is jealous that you have history. You have inside jokes and memories. Or he just hates older women.

    #750981 Reply
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    Shelia

    Ange, I agree completely. I have been very careful to be positive and friendly with Bobby. Neither has any idea how I really feel. I don’t think Bobby dislikes me.

    LisforLeslie,
    This is not going to end well. And even then, I will never speak negatively of Bobby. I am definitely not boring! That’s why I found that so amusing. However, I do not have anything in common with an extremely young-acting, self-absorbed man who spends the bulk of his time posting selfies on Instagram. He doesn’t have any friends of his own, but maybe he will meet some at college.

    Jim and I discussed therapy, but he jumped from the last relationship to this one. One moved out as the other moved in. Therapy was pushed aside and he instead immediately launched into a redecorating project to Bobby’s tastes. No time for therapy!

    Any time that I’ve texted Jim to suggest meeting for lunch or dinner or drinks, he says yes. Maybe I should stay on top of being the one to initiate hanging out. That’s an easy enough solution and maybe if I’m lucky, Bobby will stay home. (That will not happen; he will come along and then rush Jim home early.)

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