He says she’s just a friend

I'm on the West Coast, so we'll resume chat next week.


My boyfriend of 1.5 years has a very close female friend, "Leah," who he's known for three years. I've always felt threatened by her and spent a long time beating myself up for being jealous for no reason. I assumed he and Leah had always been just friends. Leah behaved strangely toward me for a long time – a little snide, a little flaky, and unresponsive to my reaching out to get to know her. She would flake on plans with my boyfriend when she found out I was coming too. Finally my boyfriend asked her why she had been acting weirdly toward him, and she admitted she's uncomfortable around me and "doesn’t like the way I talk to her." She said that our not getting along is normal, since the girl in her spot usually doesn't want to "give up feeling like they know the person more."

Following this, I questioned him more directly and it turns out that for the first eight months of their "friendship," he and Leah were hooking up somewhat regularly. This new information absolutely devastated me. I'm really angry at having been left in the dark for so long, and feel quite sure that she must still harbor some feelings for him. I do not think, given her behavior and their history, that it is appropriate for my boyfriend to maintain his friendship with Leah. He thinks this is over-territorial, insists they're just friends, and has been increasingly angry that I don't trust him. Meanwhile, I feel betrayed by what I see as him putting his friendship with her above his relationship with me. I'm not sure I can deal with having her in my life.

Who's right and how do we get through this? He and I really love each other but his friendship with this girl is driving a huge wedge between us.

– Help please!

You're right — your boyfriend should be prioritizing you over Leah. Based on what you've told us, she wasn't his platonic pal for very long before you became his girlfriend. I'm all for protecting old friendships and trying to keep everyone happy, but Leah isn't some childhood buddy. She's basically an ex who's proven that she puts herself first.

It's difficult to ask significant others to cut people out of their lives, but you should be able to talk about a compromise. Perhaps you'd feel better about your boyfriend's outings with Leah if he made it clear to her that you're always going to be on the invite list. Maybe it'd be better for both of you if he only saw her in groups.

Your boyfriend should be working with you to come up with some appropriate boundaries, because that's what people in good relationships do. If he can't, and he continues to treat you like the enemy, you have to consider what you're trying to save.

Readers? Should he drop Leah? Did he wait too long to tell the letter writer about their history?

– Meredith