Ask Demetria: Um... Your Ex is Not Your Friend

friends-with-your-ex Dear Demetria:

My ex and I remained friends after our breakup. He has a girlfriend now, but he’s constantly telling me he wants to be with me and the only reason he’s with her is because we’re not together. I think he told me he’s thinking about marrying her to get a reaction from me. How do I get him to see I’m fine with being friends? —S.M.

You’re not friends with your ex. A friend doesn’t “constantly” tell you that he wants to be in a relationship with you even when you’re both single, and especially not when he’s in a relationship. Friends also don’t ignore your boundaries. You’ve said “no” several times, and he continues to push up on you despite you trying to shut him down. That’s ignoring what you want and pushing his own agenda. Your ex is your ex. And he’s very shady.

But this uncomfortable situation isn’t all on him. You’re participating in this by continuing to engage him, and you need to take accountability for that. You know that he is in a relationship, you know that he is being continually disrespectful to his girlfriend—and to you—and yet you continue to speak to him. You’re saying no, but every time you’ve answered the phone or responded to a text after he’s pushed up on you, your actions are saying, “well, maybe.” He keeps approaching you about wanting to be with you because he’s going by what you do, not what you say.

Surely there are many things that you like about your ex, which is why you have continued to communicate with him under the guise of friendship. It sounds like he may still have feelings for you, and he moved on to another relationship before they were fully resolved. Let’s “keep it 100”: One of the reasons you continue to speak to him, despite your protests, is that the attention and the interest are flattering to your ego.

Who doesn’t like to hear from someone they cared for that they miss you, made a mistake and want a second chance with you? And you probably like the idea that he’s saying in so many words that he’s not all that satisfied with the woman who came after you, and he perceives you as better than she.

You’re not interested, otherwise you wouldn’t keep telling him no. But you like that he is, or you wouldn’t keep talking to him. You don’t want him, but you want him to want you. That’s all ego, and you shouldn’t let it get the best of you or continue to fuel this drama, because, really, that’s what this is.


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Ask Demetria: My BF Tells His Best Friend Too Much!

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 4.58.26 AM“My boyfriend has a woman friend who knows every move we make. They talk constantly, and she knows everything he does before I get an update. They grew up together and are super close. Is this just friends being friends or suspect?” —B.A.

I can’t give you a definitive answer based on the information given. I do know that when you’re in a relationship, things go much more smoothly if your partner gets first dibs on major information. Thinking of quitting a job? Tell your partner first. Earned a promotion? Partner first. Starting a new business? Partner first. If you can’t get first dibs on information about your partner on a consistent basis, are you really a partner?

In the best-case scenario, he hasn’t adjusted to being in a relationship, or he’s unaware of some of the basics that come with the “boyfriend” title. The most glaring is that you don’t speak all your business, especially about your relationship, to other people. Another is that your partner gets major news before any of your friends of any gender.

Let’s hope for the best here and have a conversation about the amount of time spent with his female friend and the boundaries that he’s crossing by telling your relationship business to her. That she feels comfortable telling you what she knows first makes it seem like there are three people in the relationship, and that makes you uncomfortable, too. Ask him to set boundaries on the information he shares and pull back on the time he spends talking to her or with her. This is a reasonable request of a person in a relationship.

In the worst-case scenario, this reminds me of the old Biz Markie song “Just a Friend,” in which there’s a whole lot more to the story, and it doesn’t end well for you.

Let me preface what I’m about to say with this: I do believe that men and women can be platonic friends, but sometimes there is more to a so-called friendship than what meets the clichéd eye.

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AskFM UPDATE: The Complete Gala Girl Saga

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 4.42.22 PMEarlier this week, a woman wrote into Ask. FM with this: “I had huge fight with my boyfriend over the phone and told him I wouldn’t go to his annual work gala that night. After I said it, I regretted it and felt bad so I made steps to make things right. I got dressed for the event and finally went to his place. I get there, and his female friend, who always smiles and chats with me like she is my friend, is with him all dolled up. I tell him, ‘I’m sorry, and I’m ready to go.’ He says he would rather take her since she is reliable. She didn’t even offer to stay.

“This is his big work gala. Why take just any woman? It means something. Pictures of the event are on social media. My man is posing with some lady for the world to see. I am humiliated and mad at both of them. What should I do?”

My answer (read the full version here):

You got what you deserved. You acted like a brat by pulling out of an event at the last minute because you were mad, and you wanted to ruin your boyfriend’s night. You knew what a big deal this event was and that people who matter to you would see those pictures, and yet you canceled anyway. Your concern about how important the event is feels hollow after you discarded it like it was nothing to you.

Pulling out of an event on the day of is bad enough. It’s worse that it was a work event. One of the core rules for operating in a healthy relationship is “do not embarrass your partner on the job,” which you attempted to do. That’s a big violation.

I’m not surprised he chose to go with her. When you changed your mind, you didn’t even call him to apologize and discuss. You assumed that he would be at the house in a panic, and you expected to whisk in and save the day after you'd attempted to ruin it. You were caught off-guard when you discovered he had made other plans that showed you were replaceable.

You created a bad situation, and he made the best possible moves under the circumstances.


Some readers thought I was hard on the woman we quickly named "gala girl".

One commented, "For all we know she had a really legit reason to be pissed and bail but has such a good heart and decided at the last minute she would forgive and go. It's too unclear."

Other readers wren't buying that theory. They thought that if she had a legit reason to pull out, she would have said so.

A few more folks raised their eyebrows about the swiftness in which the girlfriend was replaced. "Her boyfriend just happened to have someone ready to go that fast?" one reader asked. "What a coincidence." You could practiclaly hear the 'hmmmm" after her statement.

I figured we'd never really know what happened... until the "female friend" in the story wrote in to give her side of the story:

"Small world. A friend sent me your IG link... Dude is a good friend to my man and I. He has a new job this year and works ridiculous hours to impress, hence the fights. He was stressed about the gala because his big boss would be there. When his GF cancelled, he told my man and I that he was ready to hire an escort.

I offered to go with him and my man said "okay" as long as I made it up to him :-) All in good spirits.

I know my friend's girl. We double date sometimes. I didn't offer to stay when she showed up becase her man carried furniture for me when I moved and picked me up from the airport at 2 AM. He also introduced me to my wonderful man. I was only going to help him out. I feel her though.

Sounds like the friend is really a friend, especially the way she mentioned her man over and over and over(LOL) to make it clear there was nothing inappropriate going on. That the female friend was in a relationship was a detail I wished the gilfriend would have mentioned  And it sounds like ol' boy was more stressed for a date more than anyone could have guessed. An escort?! The female bestie was definitely a better option than that.

So the story is done now, right? Not quite.


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