Auntie SparkNotes: My Friend Flirts With My Boyfriend
My crush of five months – let’s call him ‘Tyler’ – became my boyfriend two weeks ago, much to my elation. He’s charming, funny and we both like each other a lot. Neither of us had been in a relationship before, so it’s all very new to us.
The issue is a complicated one.
A close ‘friend’ of mine, Emily, has been flirting with Tyler constantly. She tells him these private little jokes and talks about how he is one of her best friends. She had been flirting with him before we got together even though she knew I really liked him — and about two months ago, Emily admitted to me that she liked Tyler too, and he had told her over Facebook that he liked her, but she didn’t want to go out with him because she didn’t want to hurt my feelings. My worry now is that she still likes him, or, even worse, he still likes her. She says she likes another guy, but she seems to like a new guy every week.
Yesterday, I told Tyler about how I felt. He replied, “That’s just what Emily’s like.” (Which is true. She flirts with pretty much every guy she meets, she leads guys on knowingly, and she had a bad reputation at her old school.) But to my dismay, Tyler told Emily what I said, and she inboxed me on Facebook, saying, “How could you think I was flirting with Tyler?! We are just mucking around in a funny friends-only way.”
I am feeling frustrated, upset and hurt. I feel as though Emily is trying to wedge between us and mess with me. And I’m annoyed because I don’t trust her anymore, but Tyler still does. I REALLY like Tyler and trust him 100% and I don’t want to lose him.
Am I overreacting? Am I being controlling? Or is what Emily doing wrong?
Oh, Sparkler. Forget overreacting, forget controlling, and—at least for the moment—forget about Emily altogether. Because in all the focus on her various misdeeds, you seem to have completely missed the part where your boyfriend is a giant flaming wanker of the first degree.
Because let's be real: if Tyler had your back, then Emily's desperate, classless behavior would be just that: desperate and classless. And you, firm in the knowledge that your guy was utterly loyal and devoted to you, would be shrugging it off and shaking your head at how sad the whole thing is.
But he didn't have your back. You did the honest, up-front thing by confiding in him that Emily had you feeling insecure... and in return, he kicked you right in the softest of your soft targets by turning around and tattling to her about everything you'd said.
Which is, not to put too fine a point on it, an absolutely repulsive betrayal of your trust.
And this isn't to say that he did it on purpose; you're both inexperienced, you've both made mistakes, and it's not impossible that Tyler just unwittingly managed to stumble into the ne plus ultra of boneheaded dumbass moves to pull on someone you care about. But on the other hand, what he did was so expertly manipulative that I can't not point out the possibility that he knew exactly was he was doing—and that he's playing both sides, on purpose, because he likes the attention and gets off on the idea of two girls fighting over him.
I know, I know: this is the last thing you want to hear, and I wish I didn't have to say it. But it is something you should think about, hard, before you go around declaring your utter faith in his integrity.
As for Emily, you're not wrong, per se; it sounds like she is, indeed, acting in a way that's totally tacky and not at all respectful of your relationship. (Not to mention the balls-out brazenness it must have taken for her to pull the "Who, me?" act when she caught wind of your feelings. I mean, it wasn't all that long ago that she told you, point-blank, that she and Tyler were in like with each other, and that the only reason they weren't together was out of pity for you... which makes the answer to "How could you think I was flirting with Tyler?" a fairly resounding DUH.) And all things considered, you'd probably do well to quietly, discreetly distance yourself from her—not because of the possibility that she likes your boyfriend, but because of the certainty that she's not a very good friend.
But as tempting as it is to blame her for the rift in your relationship, she's not the one at fault. It's your mistrust of Tyler that sparked this problem, and it's his catastrophic mishandling of the situation that turned it into a five-alarm blaze. He's the one you need to talk to. And what you need to tell him is that you trust him... which is why you felt shocked and betrayed when he blew up your confidence, behind your back, with the one person he knew you felt vulnerable about. (You also need to tell him, if you haven't already, exactly what she told you about their mutual crush. If she was telling the truth, he should understand your concerns; if she wasn't, he should know that his trusted friend is telling you lies designed to make you paranoid.)
And remember this: when it comes to moving forward, Emily matters not at all. It's you and your guy who'll determine whether you make it. Because while not even the most determined temptress can drive a wedge between a couple who's truly committed, a true commitment requires trust, and trustworthiness, on both sides.
Has your SO ever formed an alliance with your frenemy? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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