It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Just Friends with Jane,” again, the man whose girlfriend, “Eve,” requested that he stop talking to his longtime female friend from childhood, “Jane.” Jane is like his sister, he said; he talks to her on the phone every Sunday and occasionally sees a new superhero movie with her (which Eve is invited to as well). “Eve says that I’m disrespecting her by continuing to associate with Jane and that she feels like an outsider when the three of us are together. Before all this, I was ready to propose, but now I’m having doubts. If I marry Eve, then maybe she’ll feel more secure in our relationship, but if she doesn’t, then I might never be allowed to see my friend again.”
He updated us once before, and despite our advice in the original column to leave Eve (L’Eve?), he seemed committed to making it work. Here’s update #2:
I actually didn’t tell Jane that Eve had asked me to leave. I didn’t want her to tell me what you and the other people on your column were saying. Eve said that I didn’t care about her or our relationship and that I was pushing her away because I wanted to see other people. I told her that I didn’t want to see other people and suggested counseling again. But Eve refused to do counseling and said that I was trying to shift the blame for all our problems on her. I told her that I would let her talk first with the therapist first and tell her side, but she said that the counselor would already be on my side because she hadn’t gone to the other appointment.
I offered to find a different therapist and she refused again, so I gave her a time limit to do counseling or move out. She chose neither and said that we could deal with our issues privately. I said that we obviously couldn’t since things seemed to be getting worse the more time passed. She said that she wasn’t going and I said that we were done and that I wanted her out by the weekend. She left the room without another word and later sent me a text saying that she was going to live with her friend.
I tried to be firm, but I think that if she had called my bluff again, then I would have crumbled. I’m not proud of this, but I was going to try to talk to her again when she came to get her stuff, but she sent her co-worker instead. He said that she was too hurt by our break-up and that she wanted a clean break.
I know it’s for the best, but I still can’t help but feel like I could have done more to make her feel secure in our relationship. Jane said that Eve will come back once she realizes how much I love her and that she could still talk to her for me. I turned her down. I think that sending Jane to smooth things over would make things worse.
I am going to take a break from dating for a while.
Bullet dodged, my friend, bullet dodged.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at [email protected] with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
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MissDre August 11, 2017, 8:07 am
WWS. You’re not missing out anything. Eve is crazy and has a lot of issues that she refuses to work on. Don’t worry, you’ll find the right girl.
I think it’s admirable that you want to make sure the woman you’re with is happy in the relationship, but you can’t do that at the expense of your own happiness. Perhaps you should talk to your counsellor about setting boundaries in future relationships.
juliecatharine August 11, 2017, 8:10 am
LW I know you feel like crap right now but truly, this was not a healthy relationship and you would have been desperately unhappy had it continued. Please get some counseling for yourself. I’m really concerned that you don’t see Eve for what she is–deeply manipulative and controlling. There is nothing you could have done to make her feel secure–you could have become her puppet and she would still have the same issues. She wasn’t willing to put the work in by even attempting therapy with you–you were twisting yourself into knots trying to accommodate her insanity and she wouldn’t even go to one appointment. I hope you find peace in your decision to break up because truly, it was the best thing.
LisforLeslie August 11, 2017, 8:12 am
You could not have made her feel more secure. That’s like saying you could have made her taller. She didn’t want to do the work and it was clear that this was only going to get worse. You’d likely be accused of cheating with any woman who came into your life.
You made the right choice. Give yourself time to process; I hope you find a healthier partner in the future.
Skyblossom August 11, 2017, 8:16 am
” I still can’t help but feel like I could have done more to make her feel secure in our relationship”
It feels like that because you think rationally and because you don’t have her insecurity. Her insecurity, her lack of trust, was something deep within her that you couldn’t touch no matter what you did. You could have cut every friend out of your life and she would still have felt insecure. You could quit your job and spend all day, every day with her and she would still have been insecure. She has an emotional problem and she is the only one who can fix it. You tried to help by going to counseling. That was the only thing you could do to help her feel more secure but she refused it. She refused to do the work needed to make herself emotionally healthy enough to be in a stable relationship.
Her choice was to try to control your life and that didn’t work.
SpaceySteph August 11, 2017, 8:22 am
Oh thank goodness!
I know it hurts now but you’re going to be better off in the long run. A better relationship and a better partner is out there for you, LW!
Cleopatra Jones August 11, 2017, 8:36 am
Wait, did I read that right?
Eve went to live with her male co-worker? !? Talk about the irony of the situation. LW please let that sink in. She spent months bitching and moaning about Jane, and the first thing she did when you wouldn’t bend to her will was to run to her male co-worker for solace.
Either Eve is cheating on you, and using your alleged cheating as a deflect OR she’s a manipulative emotional abuser. Possibly both. Count yourself lucky that you dodged that bullet. Please please stay in therapy so you can work through the after effects of the relationship with Eve.
Skyblossom August 11, 2017, 8:52 am
I totally missed that. You’re right. What a double standard or she has been cheating with her co-worker and so assumed he was doing the same with Jane.
bondgirl August 11, 2017, 8:53 am
Ohhh I agree with your assumption. Projection much!?
Northern Star August 11, 2017, 9:18 am
That’s EXACTLY what I was thinking! What a bitch.
juliecatharine August 11, 2017, 10:43 am
I thought the same. I think she’s a controlling, projecting, cheater who the LW is well rid of.
saneinca August 12, 2017, 6:19 pm
Jane sure sounds like a control freak and impossible as a partner, but no need to jump to conclusions that she is a cheat.
I am sure there are a lot of feelings involved on both sides which is why LW is so hesitant to break up. Ultimately though, no matter how much some couples love each other, they just don’t have trust in their partners to make it work.
LW, I am sure you don’t feel that way now, but you are better off in the long run than living a life isolated from everyone that Jane doesn’t like. Live free. You will have a difficult life if you stay with her. And it will only get worse as you both grow older.
saneinca August 12, 2017, 6:29 pm
Hmm. Got the names mixed up. Please substitute Eve for Jane.
Cleopatra Jones August 13, 2017, 9:49 am
At the core of Eve’s argument, she’s saying that men and women can NOT be platonic friends, so if she’s not cheating with co-worker why is he picking up her stuff from LW’s house?
How many times have you or anyone else that you know, asked an almost stranger to go to your exes’ house to pick up your stuff after a semi-contentious break up? And if you did ask, what were the chances they would do it? Most guys that I know would have laughed in your face, and walked away. No guy who doesn’t have an emotional investment in the situation would willing step into that foolishness.
Not only that but the co-worker relayed Eve’s feelings about the situation to the LW, again suggesting a kind of intimacy with Eve and the situation. So if she’s not into platonic male/female friendships, why does he know so much about her feelings and the break-up? If she’s dumping all of this on a random co-worker then she seriously needs help because she does NOT understand boundaries.
Honestly, she may not be physically cheating with co-worker but she’s is definitely emotionally cheating with him. So either way, she is cheater.
saneinca August 13, 2017, 4:47 pm
CJ, If you remember the original mail, the LW did say Eve has other male friends. And presumably so does the LW. Having a co-worker who may also be a friend, does not make Eve a cheat.
So Eve does not object to male/female friendships per se, only to LW’s friendship with Jane. She probably thinks it is her female intuition that causes her to object to this friendship. We know it is most likely a desire to control all aspects of LW’s life including LW’s friendships.
Miss MJ August 11, 2017, 9:11 am
I think Eve moved in with a friend and the male co-worker was just sent to get her stuff (probably after a long manipulative sob story by Eve, who is trying to make the LW feel bad and while setting up her next mark if that doesn’t work).
In any event, good for you, LW. I know it hurts because you loved Eve, but she didn’t love you, at least like you deserve. If she did, she’d have been willing to work on her issues, not used her insecurity to manipulate you. Don’t reach out to her. Go no contact, immediately. I promise in a few months, you’ll see the situation more clearly and be glad things ended when they did.
P.S. Don’t send Jane to talk to Eve, either. It’s not Jane’s place, Eve’s actions aren’t Jane’s problem, and it will just feed into Eve’s game, anyway. You guys just move on with your lives and let it be.
LisforLeslie August 11, 2017, 9:39 am
Oh god – I missed that. Jane should not get involved in this. It will blow up in both your faces. Eve is not mature enough for that discussion. Eve may miss you terribly, but you can be sure that she will always question whether or not you and Jane got together after you and Eve broke up. If Eve comes crawling back, I don’t think you should take her back.
Cleopatra Jones August 11, 2017, 10:17 am
At any rate, he should absolutely stay away from her because she’s got a shit load of problems that only her and a well trained therapist can fix.
Vathena August 11, 2017, 10:03 am
Good for you, LW. You are strong and you made the right decision. There is nothing, nothing, NOTHING that you could have done to change Eve’s personality in your relationship. IMO, you went way above and beyond what anyone should have to do to maintain a relationship that has not even progressed to marriage/children. (you should be falling to your knees and thanking your lucky stars you didn’t get Eve pregnant, btw) Go no contact for your own sanity.
I’d bet anything that Eve was either already cheating on you or will be in a new relationship within a couple of months. People like that can’t deal with being single.
Monkeysmommy August 11, 2017, 10:39 am
You may feel bad now, but dude, you did the right thing. Eve will never get better or change. And it wouldn’t shock me if she was banging the male coworker she sent over and projecting on you.
Amanda August 11, 2017, 10:50 am
Oh, LW. I can strongly relate. I was involved with an emotional abuser. They screw your head all up and make you believe you could have tried harder. You did everything you could. Let the dust settle. When it does, and you’re able to see clearly, you will be relieved that this is over.
Copa August 11, 2017, 12:18 pm
I was so curious how this situation would turn out, so I’m glad for another update. Like everyone is saying, bullet dodged! I know it still sucks — you can love someone even when they’re a toxic presence in your life — but this is for the best. I second what others are saying about staying in therapy for the time being, and omg don’t have Jane talk to Eve — that will make everything worse, and you don’t WANT Eve coming back.
Ron August 11, 2017, 12:19 pm
I read the tone and words of the update to mean that Eve was staying with a female friend and just sent a male co-worker to pick up her things.
You are well rid of her. She’s a very sick puppy and refuses to seek help for her emotional ills. Neither you nor Jane should ever have any further contact with her. Ignore on all media. It is a good thing that she didn’t come in person to collect her stuff.
I think it is good that you are taking a vacation from dating while working with your therapist. It sounds like you still can’t let go of Eve. I think this is partly not being able to admit that you fell so hard for someone who is such a manipulative, controlling, very sick puppy. How could she be that emotionally off if you fell so hard? That’s what you need to work out with your therapist. Also, as said above, how you set and enforce boundaries to protect your essential self from being remade by an unreasonably jealous and controlling gf. You need your own standard on how you will allow yourself to be treated. It sounds like you have them, since you didn’t cave on Jane, despite tremendous pressure, but you feel unreasonably guilty about enforcing your standards and boundaries. You are allowed to stick up for yourself. A gf who refuses to accept that is not a gf you should want to have.
And just starkly NO on your last piece of guilt/wishful thinking: marrying Eve would not have changed a thing. She would have learned that she can control you and things would have only gotten worse for you.
bagge72 August 11, 2017, 12:46 pm
If a female coworker came up to me and asked me to move out her stuff from her ex boyfriends apartment, I’d run. That’s not something you as a coworker to do for you… unless she knows he is in love with her, and will do it for her…
Cleopatra Jones August 11, 2017, 1:28 pm
Right. That’s not something a co-worker would/should do. I couldn’t even imagine asking my male co-workers something like that. I think she’s either cheating on him already, or she’s lining up co-worker for her next relationship.
Kate B. August 11, 2017, 1:42 pm
Or taking a dig at the LW: “Look, here’s a man who cares about me!” So glad he broke free. Now, if only my friend would do the same.
RedroverRedrover August 12, 2017, 1:32 pm
I don’t know, it depends. When I was in my 20s there were a whole bunch of us who started at the same time and we were pretty close. Some of them helped me move, helped me buy a new car, etc. We hung out outside of work, though, so I guess they were “friends” as well as being “coworkers”. I guess I called them “work friends”, but I spent a lot of time with them.
Cleopatra Jones August 12, 2017, 7:49 pm
I think that at 20-ish that’s kind of what people do because it’s their first foray into the work world. But once you’ve hit about 25/26, most people are no longer combining work friends with personal friends.
I’m not sure how old the LW is but he definitely doesn’t sound like a he’s new to the professional world. And I’d say, given Eve’s outright manipulation of the LW, it’s not a huge leap to think that she’s manipulating other males that she comes into contact with.
Ron August 12, 2017, 8:46 pm
My closest work friends were when I was mid-30s. We still get together occasionally. Had other close work friends later, but never the same large group of friends. Some of us were mid-30s in that group but others were mid-20s. Not in touch with the younger crew now.
dinoceros August 13, 2017, 9:31 am
I think it depends on the people and the organization. I’m in my 30s and I have several very close friends at work. We hang out outside of work a lot, and if I needed help, they’re the folks I’m closest with in my city. Most of my friends are in similar situations. Maybe it also depends on where you are? I have moved several times since college. My friends who have stayed in their hometown or in their college town seem more likely to just have friends outside of work, mostly because they felt they didn’t “need” more friends, whereas when you’re new in town, you’re pretty open to being friends with work friends.
Lucy August 11, 2017, 1:08 pm
Moneypenny August 11, 2017, 1:22 pm
Holy moly. Eve is nuts. There is nothing you could have done to help her- she saw what she wanted to see and the only person who can help her is herself at this point. And I don’t see that happening.
Definitely take a break after all of this.
dinoceros August 11, 2017, 2:43 pm
No need to stay with someone who has jealousy issues when you could just find someone who … doesn’t. You are correct that sending Jane to smooth things over would be bad — in fact, the worst possible choice, I believe. You made the right choice and it’s easy to assume that feeling sad or missing someone means you did not, but that’s not what it means. It simply means that you are sad to lose the relationship and to not spend time with the person anymore. It’s a good thing Eve sent a co-worker because it sounds like it kept you from going back on your decision.
Sue Jones August 11, 2017, 3:39 pm
I know it hurts but like Wendy said, you just avoided a lifetime of misery if you were married to Eve. You will move on and heal! You seem like a kind and reasonable person and will find someone great to eventually marry.
Hannanas August 11, 2017, 4:34 pm
Stay strong, LW
Surviver August 11, 2017, 8:45 pm
I think non of you have ever experienced emotional abuse and don’t even know what you are talking about.
dinoceros August 12, 2017, 10:05 am
Be careful making assumptions about strangers because I think you’ll be found to be mistaken. Everybody here is supporting him for his decision to break up with her. Do you think that’s the wrong response?
LadyClegane August 12, 2017, 1:23 am
LW, your pain is totally understandable, but try to change your thinking. Let’s say you’re in an alternate world and while you love Eve, you’re only friends in this other world. Then imagine Eve is telling you about her fiance who wants her to drop her closest good friend because he doesn’t trust her not to fall into bed with a man if he’s nearby…even though they’re not attracted to each other! Wouldn’t you be mad at that guy? Worried for Eve? Sometimes we need to treat ourselves with the love and respect we give others. Just take some time and try to learn to look after yourself like you did Eve.
Morecoffeeplease August 12, 2017, 10:34 am
LW, you did everything right – don’t question it so much. Eve is a very controlling and insecure/jealous person and in the long run this does not make for a good relationship. I know it is hard now, but this was the best decision. There is the most amazing woman out there for you…one who loves you and who will adore hanging out with Jane and will respect your friendship.
Janelle August 12, 2017, 12:16 pm
I really wan to find a nicer way to say this but I just can’t. Get some balls. Have some self respect.
Caroline August 12, 2017, 3:11 pm
LW as well as taking a break you need to seriously think about going back to that therapist. Your thinking around what you could do and what was your responsibility (and Jane’s!) to fix sounds very unhealthy and you are a prime target for more controlling people unless you unpick this.
Anon from LA August 12, 2017, 5:20 pm
I’m sorry you had to go through this. Sometimes you can do everything right and a relationship still doesn’t work out. I know you loved (maybe still love) Eve, but there was nothing more you could do to make Eve feel secure. A person like this will never feel secure in a relationship until they learn–on their own, of their own volition–to feel secure in themselves.
Lucy August 14, 2017, 3:00 pm
Don’t know if LW is still reading comments, but someone sent me this today.