My boyfriend's best friend is coming between us. Am I allowed to kill her?
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Dear Miss Information,
I'm a single guy in his early thirties. My best friend is a very attractive married woman. We've been "BFF"s for eleven years, and long ago worked through the awkward "unrequited love" stage. She knows I'm still sexually attracted to her, and I know this is not a mutual attraction. Despite this, we remain thick as thieves.
She and her husband have recently started exploring mutually-agreed-upon extramarital sexual encounters. In the past, she's talked openly with me about her sex life with her husband, and it never made me uncomfortable. In fact, I find it gratifying that we can have those conversations. But this extramarital talk is hurting me and making me very jealous.
I want to bring this up to her, but I feel incredibly stupid being jealous of these other men when I'm not jealous of her husband. These guys don't mean anything to her or to her husband, so why do they mean anything to me? What the hell is going on in my brain and do I have any right to bring my feelings into the conversation?
— BFF WTF?
Dear BFF WTF?
What is going on in your brain is a gumbo of small fixations, sugar cravings, and theme songs from '80s cartoons. (That's entirely a projection of my own mental state, but I assume it's universal.) While I'm continuing on my wild speculation tour, I will guess that these guys bother you precisely because they don't mean anything to her or her husband. Her husband may not be a threat to you because you've met him, you know them as a couple, and you're used to his presence in her life. These other guys, though, are faceless shadows, and it's much easier to resent faceless shadows.
You may also feel envious that she is sleeping with these dudes while you, her close friend, remain fully clothed and sitting on a bar stool. "She's with him because she loves him" is easier to swallow than "She's hooking up with the bro with the hair gel, but not me." For what it's worth, you're not crazy; jealousies are unpredictable, and the brain is a strange place.
You do have a right to bring your feelings up, but you don't have a right to expect her to change her behavior. If this arrangement is working for her and her husband, your input is unlikely to derail that. The best thing you can do, without making it too awkward, is to respectfully ask that she doesn't discuss these flings with you. Keep it light: "Hey, so it's kind of weird to hear about these hook-ups you're having, and I'm not sure why. Is it cool if we don't discuss them? Can I have your fries?" She should respect that, especially given your history of sexual tension. You can't control what she does in her spare time, but you can control how much of it gets brought into your relationship.
Dear Miss Information,
My boyfriend and I have been together for two years. It's been great, except for one thing: his female best friend. From the get-go, we've never gotten along, even though we've tried. They hang out a lot, and because she and I are not on friendly terms, when the three of us hang out, it's rather awkward. The two of them talk and talk, and I'm sitting there wondering why I even bothered joining them.
She is married, and has a house. Her husband never really hangs out with them, so they go off and mostly just drink. It's almost as if she puts her marriage to the side to relive her high-school/college partying days, and I find that unacceptable. I know there is nothing going on between them, but there's a lot I wish could change.
My boyfriend and I have recently decided we're moving in together, and we're currently discussing the possibility of marriage. I love him with all my heart, but this problem doesn't seem like it's going to go away or fix itself, and it's giving me a huge headache.
— Fed Up
Dear Fed Up,
You've probably been to a party where you don't know anyone. The person who invited you is busy working the room, so you roll up your sleeves and push yourself into social-skills hyperdrive. Four hours later, you've broken three glasses, had twelve boring conversations, and have eaten the hell out of the hors d'oeuvre plate. When you wake up the next day, you make a mental note: "___ is a great friend, but she makes a shitty host."
Your boyfriend is being a shitty host. He's not being considerate enough to bridge the gap between his old friend and you. You don't need to be spoon-fed, but it is nice to have someone make an effort to bring you into the conversation. He may not be aware that he's leaving you out, but if tension exists between you and this girl while the three of you are hanging out, he can and should help alleviate it.
On another note, you say you and his friend never got along, but why? It could be a garden-variety personality clash — in which case, fine. You don't have to like everybody. But it could also be fueled by jealousy. If you are each holding his hand and glaring at each other over your beers, take note: that is mean-girl politics, and it sucks. If you see even a trace of this, pull yourself out of it. Girls don't have to compete with each other for male affection; honestly, it demeans everybody involved.
An unspoken-tension situation like this requires some concessions from everybody. First, talk to your boyfriend, and tell him how alienated you feel when the three of you are out. He should make adjustments for whomever he is with, to make sure everyone feels included. If you want to go for Advanced Placement Being-the-Bigger-Person, invite his friend to do something, just the two of you. You may never become close, but spending time together may give you a new appreciation for one another, or at least soften the grudges. You may also decide that the stress isn't worth it, and hang out with your friends while he's drinking with his.
This is more an issue of communication with your boyfriend than it is an issue with the girl. It may be important to him that he has this direct line to his high-school days, and he's entitled to that. But you can both figure out a way to keep his past from interfering with your future.