I'm on a plane coming home to Boston so no chat today. But we'll make up for it next week.
One of my closest male friends, let's call him Nate, who I have known for nearly 20 years, started dating a woman about a year and a half ago who is intimidated by our friendship.
To get some complicating factors out in the open, Nate and I did have a romantic relationship at one point. It did not work out because while there was good chemistry, we just weren't on the same page in terms of life goals, so friendship was the clear option. We also work together on some projects in the arts so we're in contact often, bouncing ideas back and forth.
I am happily married and have always gotten along with Nate's girlfriends. His previous girlfriend and I were very good friends. And I was sad to see them break-up.
He doesn't live close, so I don't see him much, but in the past I would visit him and we'd have great times eating, drinking, and creating art.
New girlfriend, even though they do not live together, has effectively banned me from coming to visit. The last time I did visit, I left early because she made my time there so miserable by bombarding me with rude personal questions and calling him constantly during the few hours he and I were hanging out alone.
I have tried to quell her fears and I've told her that she has nothing to worry about. I've been kind to her. I even let her and Nate stay at my house a couple of times when they've come to visit Boston. I am not sure what more I can do.
Nate is afraid to rock the boat with her because they fight a lot and their relationship has been on and off again for many reasons. Nate can be a difficult boyfriend and I can sympathize with her on that level.
I also feel hurt because I want Nate to stick up for me, and our friendship has really suffered.
He has family in Boston so we occasionally see each other and it's always great, but I feel a lingering hurt and betrayal since I have stood by him for years. Frankly I love him dearly as a friend and would be very sad if he was not in my life.
I'm really at a loss. I don't know if our friendship can ever be repaired while she's in the picture. Should I continue to go out of my way to befriend her? Should she, Nate, and I all sit down to talk this out? Does Nate need to step up? Should I just let this friendship go because it's causing me a lot of pain?Any help would be much appreciated.
– A friend in need, Boston
Do not go out of your way to befriend this woman, AFIN. Just be nice. Nice is enough.
And please, no matter what happens, do not sit down with Nate and his girlfriend and talk about this issue as a threesome. That would be incredibly awkward and unproductive. The last thing this woman wants to do is sit around with you and talk about your needs.
It's time to redefine the terms of your relationship with Nate. He's still a friend, but you're just not as close as you used to be. He's chosen to partner with someone who doesn't want you around much. It's up to Nate to decide what he's willing to live with -- and without.
My advice is to lean on people who can make up for Nate's absence. Call other friends. Make art in a new community. I wish I could tell you that there was a way to fix this, but you can't. You just have to accept that friendships change.
See Nate when you can, but prioritize your own comfort. That's all you can do.
Readers, if you were Nate's girlfriend would you be comfortable with the letter writer? Should Nate be defending the letter writer to the girlfriend? How do you feel about Nate? How can the letter writer deal with the resentment? What's happening here? Discuss.