Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Her Boyfriend's Female Friends

The problem is: she chooses the wrong boyfriends. She chooses men who come with lots of female friends. In one case a boyfriend ended up marrying his closest female friend.

So she writes to Carolyn Hax who suggests that perhaps the woman, who labels herself Pain and More Pain (PAMP) might explore her pattern with a therapist. Generally, this is bad advice. But, Hax adds that PAMP might also jettison the boyfriend. This is better advice.

A man who has a ton of female friends is saying something. He is saying that he is a ladies’ man, not a man’s man. In all likelihood this means that he is less than a worldbeater in the business world. Having many female friends and few male friends should be a red flag. It might mean that the man is a feminist.

It might also mean that one or more of these female friends will be trying to undermine their relationship, in order to turn a male friend into a boyfriend. If he was already a boyfriend, that makes the situation even more peculiar.

Evidently, PAMP is choosing men for their empathy and their deeply sensitive natures. In short, she is choosing losers. She says nothing about the man’s occupation, and this should be a clear sign that she needs to hide something. Assuming that she is an adult, she ought to look at the man in terms of what he does or does not do in the world, how he does or does not function in the world. To see it all merely in terms of sentiment is a major error.

Here is her note:

My boyfriend came to our (hetero) relationship with a lot of female friends. I'm uncomfortable with my partners having close female friendships, based on a prior history of dating people who were emotionally unavailable to me and were super-close with a female friend. One of those exes went on to marry his bestie, which still stings.

I expressed my discomfort to my boyfriend. He wants me to be happy, so he adjusted his behavior and engages less with female friends one-on-one. Meanwhile, I'm really trying hard to get better when his friendships put him in one-on-one situations with female friends . . . but it still really bothers me.

Our relationship is good. I do not want to assume the worst of him because he is a man. I worry that expressing my feelings with the result of changing his behavior is controlling, and that he is missing out on friendships he used to be more present in.

I also cannot make my discomfort go away, so I'm really uncomfortable with the idea of saying, "Go back to hanging out with your lady friends, no prob."

Can't wait to get spitfire roasted in the comments over this, but nevertheless: Any advice?

— Pain and More Pain

As noted, she might ask why she keeps choosing a certain kind of man, but in truth she would do better to begin by ending the relationship. If it all makes her feel uncomfortable, she should trust her judgment and move on.

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