Is This Petty? When Your Boyfriend’s Best Female Friend Is Living With Him
I met up with a friend from college this week for small bites and drinks. I hadn’t seen her since almost a year before and there was much to catch up on, particularly when it came to our love lives. Last time I’d seen her, I was just a week or two away from getting married and she she was dating a guy in another state. As we made one another aware of how things had changed in the span of nearly a year, she told me how she is dating a new guy she met while out with a few girlfriends, and they’ve been together for a few months. He seems to be really into her, and in fact, likes her more than she likes him. As she told me, “That’s how I prefer it to be.”
But in her efforts to get re-acclimated to being in a relationship with someone again, she says it’s been a struggle to remind herself that she has to be aware of someone else and their feelings now. She can’t necessarily just do whatever, whenever. So she’s had moments where they’ve butt heads over her sense of independence. But the one thing I was surprised to find that she didn’t think much of, and that he was attempting to be understanding of, was the fact that her best friend, a man, is currently living with her. He’s been staying in her place while he looks for new lodging.
“And he’s ok with that?” I asked her about her new boyfriend.
“Yeah! I mean, I told him, it’s just temporary and when I was looking for a new apartment, he did the same thing for me,” she said of her best friend. “Plus, he’s like a brother. It’s nothing like that.”
I know the best friend in question and also know that they likely wouldn’t take things anywhere past friendship, but I couldn’t help but wonder how I would feel if someone I was dating had a friend of the opposite sex crashing in their living room. Would I be understanding? Would most people?
In some cases, people do try to go in things with an open mind. But what happens when the friend gets way too comfortable playing roommate?
A woman wrote to The Guardian last year seeking advice on how to deal with her boyfriend of six month’s troubled friend whom he lives with as she gets her life (and drinking habit) together. She walks around the apartment naked, she’s bossy and when the woman seeking advice would call out such shenanigans, her boyfriend would get defensive. The friend’s presence had made it nearly impossible for the girlfriend to feel comfortable coming over.
“She is massively territorial, and I have only stayed in his house once when she was there,” the woman wrote. “The atmosphere was horrendous and I left. I believe they are hugely codependent (as do family and the few friends he has left), but he can’t see it and is very defensive of her. I really like him and thought we had something, but it seems he’ll never be free from her. It may sound as if we are teenagers, but we are in our mid-40s.”
My friend is almost 30, but can you imagine dealing with this when you’re in your mid-40s?
While I wouldn’t necessarily be OK with this, I guess, in a way, it’s a matter of trust. If you trust your partner when they say there is nothing inappropriate happening, then you can either believe it until you see otherwise, or hit the road before you have to deal with any of it. But even if there was nothing remotely romantic happening, it’s already hard enough to find privacy and have alone time with your partner when they live with someone else. Now the roommate is a best friend, of the opposite sex? It’s awkward and can be an inconvenience if people don’t know when to get gone.
Still, keeping in mind my college friend, I think we can all tell when some friendships are healthy (and certain situations are short-term), and when they’re not and walk the line of co-dependency. Her situation is nothing like the latter, while the aforementioned Guardian one sounds like it is. However, if the friend is respectful of your relationship and knows how to give the both of you space when you need it, then there isn’t much to be up in arms about if you feel you can trust your partner and their judgment. But if their roommate and friend is a nuisance who is lacking integral self-awareness, the situation might be more of a headache than it’s worth. Either way, it wouldn’t hurt to ask your partner or their roommate what the plan is in terms of the long-term. Because if there’s no exit strategy in place, it will be a third-wheel situation you didn’t sign up for…
But as always, that’s just my opinion. What say you? Is it petty to be bothered by your partner’s BFF, who is of the opposite sex, living with them? Or is it an inappropriate living situation?