Since a little more than half a year, I have been in a serious relationship with a very sweet guy. We attend the same faculty at the same university, and go to the same students association (sorority? Fraternity? I’m not sure what to call it) . Now, I am a bit of a private person, and firmly believe that getting into a relationship does not entail having to merge every aspect of your lives together, up to and including your circles of friends: he has his friends and I have mine, and I am perfectly fine with that. The thing is that my boyfriend, sweet as he is, really wants me to be friends with his friends. This would be absolutely fine, too, if it weren’t for the fact that about half of this group makes me feel thoroughly unwelcome whenever I join at their table during drinks – one girl in particular takes the cake, however.
This girl, who I will refer to as A, has made me feel thoroughly unwelcome on two separate occasions. The first time was around my boyfriend’s birthday, some months ago. He and his circle of friends were planning on going to a theme park that I really like, so when my boyfriend pleaded with me to come as well, I almost tripped over myself to say ‘yes’. We were all really looking forward to it, until one evening during drinks, when I had joined my boyfriend’s table at the students association again on a night that A wasn’t present (I was not actively avoiding her, she just happened to not be present for whatever reason). One of his other friends got a text from A, which she then proceeded to show to my boyfriend, who later told me that A had told her friend that she actually didn’t want me to join their trip to the theme park, since I wasn’t ‘part of the group’ and I hadn’t ‘proven myself’ yet. I get that this text was not specifically meant to be read by me, but I felt hurt none the less, and when it turned out that I was scheduled for work that day I was honestly a bit relieved. My boyfriend ended up having a fabulous time though, so all ended up well in the end.
Now, the second time was rather more in-my-face, and involves a barbecue scheduled in the near future. Again, my boyfriend happily invited me, and again I was glad to say yes, until he admitted that A had approached him about not actually wanting me to be part of their group, again on grounds that I ‘have yet to prove’ myself. I felt rather hurt, but also angry this time, because in my opinion A has not really given me a chance to be part of their group in the first place, and I personally feel that her demand for me to prove myself to her is rather preposterous (but perhaps that’s my pride speaking).
My question to you, therefore, and to my fellow Ehellions, is whether I should approach A about this, or leave it with my boyfriend, since she’s his friend – or should I not do anything at all? Should I go to the barbecue, or not go? I’m looking forward to reading what you think. 0629-16
You write that you are in a serious relationship with the guy. To my thinking that means there is a good possibility that the relationship would lead to marriage and in my world, spouses have each others’ backs. Heck, even friends have your back. Your boyfriend doesn’t have your back and here’s why I think that.
A is playing a bitchy, manipulative game of exclusion with no defined “rules” as to who exactly qualifies to be included, or excluded for that matter. It’s all subjective based solely on A’s “feelings”. Your “sweet” boyfriend had no sense of tact or discretion when he chose to reveal to you the contents of A’s text to her about you…mistake #1. You do not write of your boyfriend’s reaction to reading this text in front of you so I conclude his response was lackluster, to say the least. A good friend, a potential spouse would have read the text, handed the phone back to A’s friend and ignored it as being the garbage that it was. He should have flushed it right into the mental trash can as not worthy of being acknowledged in any way. But nope, your boyfriend actually told you what it said because the reality is that these friends of his appear to have more influence in his decisions. I know how my husband would have reacted…he’d have read it quietly, handed the phone back without even looking or saying anything to this “friend” and either ignored the contents of the text as being irrelevant to his plans to invite me to come along or chosen to be with me in a different activity. In other words, the importance of having my back, of presenting a united front in public and being with me trumps the activity of going to a theme park. I am the most important person in my husband’s life and there is no way on earth he would ever let someone else define the parameters by which he relates to me. I know how my best friend would have handled the same situation..she would have read the text, promptly said aloud, “What is this crap?” while flipping the phone back to its owner like it harbored a disease, which would have defined the behavior as being unacceptable to everyone within hearing.
But our boyfriend did none of these things and now the precedent has been set for A to continue with her demands that you somehow must jump through these arbitrary hoops in order to be a guest of your boyfriend. And once again, “sweet” boyfriend tells you of A’s disapproval of your attending the BBQ. You resolved his dilemma once before by backing out of the activity and here you are, again, considering not going to a BBQ because your boyfriend lacks the Spauldings to either stand up to A or man up and tell you he would prefer you not go after all.
As you can now surmise, the problem isn’t A. It’s your boyfriend and how he interacts and responds to the As of this life. There will always be As in life but we can choose to limit how As influence our lives and relationships. Your boyfriend gives a lot of power to the A in his life and he is apparently clueless as to how that negatively affects you, the person he allegedly loves more than others. If you were to deepen the relationship with him and marry him, you can expect a lifetime of living with a man who doesn’t have the inner convictions or strength to have your back in difficult times. If you can live with that, fine, but do so with your eyes wide open.