The age old question “can men and women be ‘just’ friends” rears it’s ugly head once again. The answer to that is “yes…but with boundaries.” Maintaining a healthy and respectful relationship with a man who has a girlfriend or wife requires specific boundaries to be set by all parties. It sounds like this situation is a combination of insecurities on the part of this other woman, drama being stirred up by your best friend, and a lack of boundaries being set by you.
For a moment, I want you to do the ‘switch shoes’ exercise. Imagine yourself in her position and ask yourself how you would feel if the man you were dating constantly talked about another woman, and hung out with her often? Many women struggle to understand why a man is best friends with another woman, instead of choosing her as their closest confident. This lack of emotional intimacy shakes the foundations of trust in the relationship, as a couple struggles to define itself. Unfortunately this caused your friend’s lady to catch the crazy. In her mind she thought of all the reasons why he comes to you, confides in you, and mentions you each day. Her negative thoughts began to spin out of control until she acted upon them and attacked you via text. Although it was a poor choice, we cannot lay all the blame on her.
It’s time to ask yourself: what part did your best friend play in all of this? How has his behavior produced this outcome? Why did he give this woman you didn’t know your number and not mention it to you? What kind of friend is he being if each time he gets a girlfriend he disappears? Friendship requires respect and balance. As he enters into a new relationship, he should be able to introduce you to the new woman in his life and clearly define his relationship with you to her. He needs to be aware that his choices are adding to the drama, and that this behavior isn’t healthy for all parties involved.
Lastly, you have to work at setting a clear boundary of friendship, and including his girlfriend in that circle. The majority of the times you two hang out, you need to invite her. Whether she decides to join you or not, at least you have shown her that you respect her relationship with your friend, and in turn it will build trust between the three of you. When a friend of the opposite sex enters into a new relationship, you also have to respect the fact that they will spend more time with their significant other, and less time with you. The start of any relationship requires attention and intimate bonding experiences between two people, and they need that space away from others to grow and develop their love.
As for whether or not you should stay his friend or spare yourself the drama, that answer depends upon you. Is he a friend worth keeping in your life? If so, ask yourself how you can work with him and his girlfriend to set respectful boundaries and rebuild the trust in your friendship. I am sure your can do it.
Best of luck,
Rebecca Brody, The Luv Coach
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Rebecca Brody is a certified life empowerment coach with an expertise in love and relationships. She currently has a private practice in New York city and works with clients across the USA. For more musing from The Luv Coach go to www.TheLuvCoach.com.