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,” 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.” Keep reading to see where things stand now.
I’ve been staying in a hotel for a while. I know that it’s my apartment, but I feel better knowing where she is and that she’s safe. We’re going to talk later this week and decide where we stand. I’ve tried racking my brain for something that Jane and I could’ve done to worry her. Our phone conversations aren’t that long. Maybe half an hour. Maybe a little longer if something interesting has happened. I don’t think that’s too long to catch up since we don’t see each other during the rest of the week. I get off from work at a reasonable time and Eve and I carpool, so I don’t think it’s an issue. I checked to make sure that I haven’t missed any important dates, but our anniversary isn’t for another six weeks and we already celebrated her birthday in April.
I am going to try to bring up counseling again. I really hope that we can make this work.
Wish me luck.
I’m not going to wish you luck because luck isn’t what you need. What you need is to move on. Eve is a really controlling, insecure woman who will make your life a living hell if you stay with her, let alone marry her. This thing with Jane is just the tip of the iceberg, and she shows literally zero interest in working on this issue with you. She won’t even show up to the counseling sessions you’ve made for fear of being judged and blamed. You know why she fears being judged and blamed? Because she knows she’s wrong and full of shit! And right now she believes she can still control you and control the narrative, but she’d have trouble doing that in a therapist’s office and she knows it. She needs a man who is willing to be torpedoed. She is not going to budge on this Jane issue. It’s a test. And as soon as you get rid of Jane, Eve knows she has you. For life, she can bend you to her will. Where to live, how to spend money, when and how many kids to have, where to vacation, whom you can and cannot spend time with (including your family), what you can eat, what you can wear — all of it will be Eve’s choice, and she’ll know that if she can get you to ditch your longtime childhood friend for no good reason, she’ll be able to get you to do just about anything. Stop being a sucker. Dodge this bullet and move on. Let her be some other poor guy’s problem.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at email@example.com 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 July 31, 2017, 8:58 am
Oh my god seriously, break up with this nutcase. The fact that she didn’t have enough respect for your time to even to call or text you to tell you that she wouldn’t be attending the counselling session… she just STOOD YOU UP… that is just mind-blowingly rude and childish. She’s bad news, and you’re whipped and desperate and seriously dependent if you keep putting up with her bullshit.
Juliecatharine July 31, 2017, 9:20 am
OP please keep going to therapy for your own well being. What Wendy has told you is 100% correct. You’ve taken some really positive steps so far but you’re still bending over backwards for a woman who doesn’t see you as a partner–she sees you as a wind up toy who will do what she wants when she pushes certain buttons. Keep going to therapy to unearth what is making you stick around for this type of treatment. You sound like a really good guy; please share that goodness with a woman worthy of your devotion.
Bondgirl July 31, 2017, 9:30 am
Wendy is so right on this. Eve is full of crap and she knows it too…..Why else would she pull a no-show to counseling? That very clearly shows she has zero interest in working on any relationship issues. You can’t let her win this and cut out one of your best friends from your life just because she wants you to. Especially when there’s no merit to the jealousy. There are plenty of women out there who will wholeheartedly embrace your friendship with Jane and make it a point to become best friends with her too. MOA and go find one of those women.
Cleopatra Jones July 31, 2017, 9:35 am
Sadly, this LW is not going to break up with Jane (’cause we don’t know her like he does), so he is going to stay with her and everything will unfold as Wendy says. He will be absolutely miserable, probably cheat on her, then it will all end in bitter divorce where she will get to play the victim of his infidelity. <–Can you tell that we've seen this scenario before?
LW save yourself all of that drama and end the relationship. We know that you think that none of us know Jane like you do, she would never do any of that. The thing is…she absolutely will. We can all see the pattern and red flags. You’re just choosing to ignore it because your emotions are all tied up in this and you want to believe it will turn out better. It won’t. Jane is emotionally abusive, controlling, and manipulative. And this really only turns out one way.
Please break up with her for good and get yourself into some therapy.
ktfran July 31, 2017, 9:40 am
I actually do think therapy would be good. I wish he would have used the counseling appointments that Eve no-showed to his advantage!
She is totally manipulating you LW. If you do this for me (the this is giving up your long time friend), then everything will be hunky dory. No it won’t! You lose a friend. And as Wendy said, something else will crop up!
Good luck. I really do hope you take the advice given here. If you need some time to work it out and work up the courage, I highly encourage you to go to a counselor. I saw one when I was ending a relationship with my ex-fiance, who was perfectly fine, but not for me. It’s hard! There’s no shame in having help.
Cleopatra Jones July 31, 2017, 10:09 am
Oops, my bad.
In my head I knew it was Eve but my stupid Monday morning fingers typed Jane. 🙂
carolann July 31, 2017, 9:44 am
Wow, this guy is actually staying in a hotel because she asked him to leave?
What a drama queen. At this point she is costing him money too.
She needs her walking papers, she is one trifling, game playing b*tch!
artsygirl July 31, 2017, 11:06 am
Yep – that really stood out for me as well. He needs to kick her to the curb and change the locks ASAP. She is not going to move out so long as she thinks he is willing to put up with her behavior. She now has a place to live rent free while he is paying for his apartment and hotel. She will continue to string him along and because he is so blinded, he will let her.
Kate B. July 31, 2017, 9:44 am
When I commented on your original post, I told you about my friend who is married to a woman like Eve. They tried counseling as well – to a therapist of her choice. She went to exactly one session, because she felt the therapist was taking her husband’s side. The result is as I said: He is waiting for his son to be old enough to understand why his parents broke up. He’s already noticed things are not right, so that time is coming. Eve will not change. This is who she is. Get out now before you end up in a loveless, controlling marriage. Be grateful there are no children. She would only use them as leverage. You sound like a decent guy who is really trying to fix things. Some things can’t be fixed.
Gwyneth July 31, 2017, 11:03 am
Kate B that’s sad. I think I remeber your comment there or someone’s about their friends wife at least , but not the part about breaking up. I think the younger the better, personally. Let the kid have more of their childhood with happy parents
MissDre July 31, 2017, 12:29 pm
Yeah, my parents split when I was so young that I don’t even remember them being together. My brother was much older, and I think it affected him terribly.
Skyblossom July 31, 2017, 12:40 pm
The problem for the father is that the mother is usually given physical custody and if you want to protect the child from the overbearing, over controlling mother he has to be in the home. Men can end up trapped in order to protect a child.
Kate B. August 2, 2017, 10:19 am
Yeah, it is sad. He deserves so much better. The rest of his family can see it. This is why I am opposed to staying together for the kids. The thing is, he himself is a child of divorce. He is the last of five children and he remembers how his parents fought. He once told me that getting divorced was the best thing they ever did. He wants to spare his kid the trauma of a divorce, but in my opinion this is worse. He’s growing up in this house.
Ange July 31, 2017, 5:41 pm
Ha, reminds me of my SIL. She demanded counseling because she was hoping the therapist would tell my brother he was wrong for trying to have SOME say in the relationship. Therapist saw straight through her and suddenly they weren’t going any more because SIL felt ‘ganged up on.’
SpaceySteph July 31, 2017, 9:54 am
“I’m not going to wish you luck, because luck isn’t what you need. What you need is to move on. ”
EXACTLY what I thought when I read that line of the letter. Fuck no, I don’t wish you luck patching this up with her. I will wish you luck extricating yourself from this relationship, though.
Skyblossom July 31, 2017, 10:00 am
She probably asked you to move out because she couldn’t defend her point and she wants to make you miss her. She is hoping that you come running back to do whatever she wants. Absolutely don’t do that. Do not give up your friend over this. She wants a man she can control and she will try as hard as possible to control you. If she can’t at some point she will probably break up with you so that she can find happiness with a man she controls. I would tell her that at this point your relationship isn’t working for you and the only way the two of you can stay together is if you get couples counseling. I know that she already refused to show up. Tell her that if she cares about the relationship she will want it to be happy for both of you. Then give her a deadline to be out of your home if the two of you aren’t in counseling. Being in counseling by that date means that she has shown up and participated in multiple counseling sessions. If after that date she quits counseling then you expect her to move out as soon as she quits. Be firm about your conditions for getting back together and move on if she doesn’t meet them.
Ron July 31, 2017, 10:27 am
Don’t confuse missing your apartment and immediate surroundings with missing Eve. If your next discussion doesn’t go well — and your happiness the rest of your life depends on not caving on your basic principles/friendships — then ask her to vacate your apartment and move back in. She seems off. No telling what she will do to your stuff, or the apartment you are legally responsible for, if her current ploy doesn’t work.
Gwyneth July 31, 2017, 11:07 am
LW you are way too nice. Maybe it’s Janes female energy in your life? (Not to be sexist) maybe eve is the most attractive woman you’ve dated by far? What ever the reason you’re being too kind and forgiving and patient with eve and it will hurt you in the long run if you don’t let her go.
Northern Star July 31, 2017, 11:11 am
“I feel better knowing where she is and that she’s safe.” What does this even mean? She’ll be “safe” on her own. You don’t need to know where she is. She
is a grown-ass adult. Get this woman out of your apartment and out of your life. If you don’t—you only have yourself to blame, really. Everyone has spelled out EXACTLY why this relationship is never going to work.
Hannanas August 1, 2017, 8:41 am
His mindset about her being “safe” struck a chord with me. Maybe I’m projecting (I dated an ‘Eve’ once) but it seemed to me that the LW is afraid of what she might do when alone. Maybe something she’s already suggested to him (like hooking up with someone, hurting herself), adding to her manipulative behavior.
Again, I MIGHT be projecting.
Guy Friday July 31, 2017, 11:11 am
Yeah, I agree with the rest of the responses. This isn’t a scenario where you’ve dismissed her concerns without regard for Eve’s feelings. You cared enough about her to say “Let’s go to counseling. Let’s talk about this. Let’s figure out a way to work past it.” And while you’ve never actually said it, there’s also a strong implication here that if the therapist had called you out and told you that you were wrong, you’d have manned up to it.
But what else can you do in this situation? You have a significant other who doesn’t want to discuss the issue, doesn’t want to seek help to remedy the gulf between you two, and is essentially giving you an ultimatum. I also can’t help but feel like this is the start of the kind of isolation and alienation I’ve seen in domestic violence cases, and that troubles me a great deal. I think you need to return to your apartment and say “Look, as much as I care about you, it’s clear that we have a deal breaker here, and I think we should go our separate ways before the animosity gets any greater.” Give her the opportunity to collect her stuff and leave, and then move on. There are a lot of women who would not be this offended by the open and transparent friendship you describe with Jane.
Smalls July 31, 2017, 11:24 am
LW, Eve is not respecting you. You are making every effort, being very reasonable, and being MORE than fair and generous. She has issues that she is showing you she refuses to work on, she’s not making efforts to save the relationship – she’s just making completely unreasonable demands.
Even if all of this comes from some kind of painful past – it doesn’t excuse her from being unwilling to do the work to get right in your relationship.
She may not be respecting you, but please do respect yourself – ask her to leave your apartment, wish her well, move on, and recover. If she can’t trust you and won’t work on the reasons why, there isn’t a future for the two of you. Maybe it will be a wake up call for her to deal with whatever it is she needs to deal with in her own life.
The recommendation of therapy for yourself is a great one – you sound like a nice guy, and this experience sounds like a rough one. Take care of your own well being!
TheLadyE July 31, 2017, 11:45 am
LW, I know this is all very tough to hear but I also agree that Eve is emotionally manipulating you and this could easily (and perhaps already has) lead to abuse. A good friend of mine is just getting out of an emotionally abusive marriage with a toxic person, and it’s a nightmare. Nothing was ever good enough and she wanted to control everything. I know it’ll be hard but you will be doing your future self a favor to move on now. The fact that she won’t work on it with you in therapy is cause for a screeching halt, plain and simple.
Ashley July 31, 2017, 12:03 pm
Eve doesn’t want you to have ANY feelings for another woman, you need to get that through your head. It doesn’t matter that these feelings are platonic, everything she is throwing at you is TRUE. You have feelings for Jane, friendship feelings. You won’t give her up…because you care about her. You are not wrong. Eve is. Realize what a horrible person she is and move on. Kick her out of your apartment, she does not deserve any more niceties from you. I would seriously be worried about your shit, this woman is capable of being this nutty aren’t you afraid you might go home and find nothing there?
Lucy July 31, 2017, 12:49 pm
Keep standing up for yourself. You’re doing better than a lot of people would in this situation. Give her a deadline a few days out to move out, and then get on with your life. You *will* meet someone new who will respect you instead of trying to control you.
Vathena July 31, 2017, 1:06 pm
LW, I have to give you a LOT of credit for realizing how wrong Eve is to demand you drop your friend. For realizing that it means she doesn’t trust you and wants to control you; for being able to talk about it, and sticking to your word on counseling and taking a break from the relationship. And for NOT cutting Jane out of your life. Bravo. It shows you have way more self-awareness than many LWs.
I think you already know that it means that Eve is not the woman for you. There is nothing that *you* did to make Eve think you had romantic feelings for Jane. There is nothing that *you* can do to convince Eve that you don’t.
Copa July 31, 2017, 2:00 pm
“I’ve tried racking my brain for something that Jane and I could’ve done to worry her.” WEES, and stop blaming yourself! She’s insecure, and that’s on her.
I’ve never been in a relationship where therapy/counseling has come up, but I’d find it pretty insulting if a partner refused to go with me. Asking your partner to go to therapy is acknowledging you have something to work through together and showing that you care enough about them and the relationship to want to fix it. Blowing it off when it’s important to your partner is… well, the opposite.
Through your letters, you seem like a decent, self-aware guy. If you move on, I think you’ll find a decent, self-aware gal who doesn’t try to control you and acknowledges that friendships — even those between two people of the opposite sex — are a normal.
I’ll still wish you luck, but only luck in ending your relationship. Because that always sucks and takes guts.
Scarlet A July 31, 2017, 4:42 pm
>I suggested counseling but she didn’t show up to any of the appointments and I ended up sitting with the woman alone. <
Uh, even if you throw her controlling issues to the side, this is reason enough to break up forever immediately. This is a person who has NO INTEREST in compromising with you, working with you on your relationship, or ever doing anything that's not her way or the highway.
THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!!! (Which is yours but she's living in? Biiiiiitch please.)
dinoceros July 31, 2017, 5:17 pm
A break is a total copout in this situation. You two aren’t compatible, and she appears to have no interest in working things out with you. Get your home back.
AW August 1, 2017, 4:50 pm
I just wanted to pop in and say that I’m sorry you’re going through this. I’m sure that Eve has some really great qualities, and you’re trying to see this as a problem that can be fixed. This is a doozy of a red flag though. Insecurity, mistrust and jealousy on this level are personality traits – not situational issues that can be addressed. I know everyone is just saying MOA as if it’s so obvious. From the outside it is, but we aren’t living with her and experiencing all the good things she brings to your life. Truly though, you should look for someone who has all those good traits AND “allows” you the personal freedom to maintain lifelong friendships without being made to feel guilty. You seem like a nice guy. I think you’ll find her. Best of luck to you.