DEAR KELLY: I’m totally caught between my best friend and my boyfriend. He hates her and she hates him. Recently, she and I got in a little fight and he told me to cut the friendship. He pointed out all the times we’ve had arguments or all the complaining I have done to him about her.
So I did, and now I miss her and I miss the friendship we had. We were more like sisters than best friends. Even though we fought (always over stupid things), we would forgive each other and things would be good. When I told her I no longer wanted to be her friend, my boyfriend took my phone and blocked her from everything. When she saw that, she got so mad. Her mom called my mom and said that they were so sad that I would let a boy come between us when we’ve been friends since we were in the first grade.
When my mom told me that unfriending her on everything was ridiculous, I agreed but when I went to add her she had blocked me, too. I can’t text her and we haven’t talked in more than four months. When I told my boyfriend I wanted to ask her to coffee to figure this out, he got mad. He told me that I have been so much better since ending the friendship and that if I become friends with her, he doesn’t think he can stay with me.
Kelly, she doesn’t really hurt me when we fight because it’s never been for this long before. I always knew we would talk it through and be best friends again. But now I don’t know and it’s stressing me so much. I miss her so much, but I love my boyfriend and I don’t want to lose him. She’s said some mean things about him (and vice versa) on Twitter. I think I’m the total victim. Please tell me what to do.
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DEAR CAUGHT: Let’s keep it real. There are true victims of the world, then there are unfortunate situations that cause you stress but where you played a part (if even a small part) in all that happened. You are not the “total victim” – you are in the middle. Or caught. Or stuck between two people you care about. Or regretful for what has happened. But to call yourself a victim is not owning your part of this sticky and unfortunate situation. You can’t learn from your mistakes if you can’t acknowledge you made them. And if you don’t learn from it, odds are you will repeat it. That’s exactly how people develop unhealthy life patterns.
Owning your problem means going beyond admitting there is a problem to accepting your part in resolving the problem. It means taking responsibility for the part you played and being careful of blaming others or making excuses for what happened.
Based on what you shared, it seems like you let your boyfriend end a friendship you didn’t want to end. Then he took your phone and blocked her from communicating with you. While I’m guessing he has a side to the story, that seems controlling and overstepping. Shouldn’t that be your decision? Aren’t they your social media accounts? Where was your voice when he made the decision to cut her completely out of your life? And if you want to meet her for coffee, why allow him to tell you no or to make you choose between the two of them? Owning your part means looking at the role you are allowing him to play in your life decisions and why you are giving him a say-so in who you are friends with.
Trying to get them to play nice is not your job. If they can’t get along, they can figure it out. You should be able to spend time with them separately. Speak up. Tell them that you care about both of them and you will maintain a relationship with both of them. If your boyfriend can’t handle this decision and breaks up, he might be doing you a favor. Let him walk away and take some time to look at where you are in your life. Be single for a while and get your voice back. If your bestie refuses to talk with you after you reach out to her or she insists you break up with him first, the friendship may need to be put on hold until she can accept your decision. She doesn’t have to accept him, but she should have to accept your decision.
How does your boyfriend get along with other friends? Your family? If the only person to have an issue with him is your best friend, then this might just be a case of two people who don’t get along. If there are others – family or friends – who don’t approve of him or see red flags in him or the relationship, you might want to listen to their concerns. You may have love blinders on and not seeing the same things they are.
Even if your boyfriend and your friend can’t resolve their issues and be friends, the key is to make sure you are still a good friend in the process. Your life is big enough to find time for both of them if they are willing to let you make decisions for yourself and not try to cut out important people who matter to you.