While reading Monday’s Annie’s Mailbox, and the reader comments down below, I discovered that my situation with Richard is far more common than I thought:
Not only is letter writer #1 a woman with a platonic guy friend who is now being pushed out and yelled at by the guy’s girlfriend, but readers are sharing their own such experiences in the comments.
One commenter, nanchan, has gone through this twice, and her theory is that guys will put up with a lot more crap from their women as long as they keep getting laid on a regular basis.
It’s actually comforting in a way to know that I’m not the only one who’s been through this–and that it seems to have gone no better for others than for me. That the only thing the female friend can do is let him make his choice, because she can’t force him to stop his girlfriend/wife from controlling his life. In other words, it’s not me.
And the common consensus in the comments is that no, it’s not right, it’s abusive, for a woman to hold so tightly to her man that she chases his friends away. Nanchan also notes that the common assumption, that the female friend must be distorting the situation because she wants the guy for herself, “feeds people like Lacey.” Some quotes:
Naturally, when I first met Lacey, I was friendly. But there was something about her that put me off.
Almost as soon as Luke started seeing her, she got him into partying all night and doing hard drugs and began alienating him from his friends and family.
Despite our efforts to tell him that he was heading down a dark path, he ended up getting fired. Then he stopped contacting me.
After I hadn’t heard from him for two months, Luke called and said he missed our friendship and wanted to talk things out. He sounded like a broken man. I was thrilled that he was coming around.
But shortly after he called, I got a nasty text from Lacey demanding that I stop speaking to Luke and saying he’s her man and she doesn’t want any other woman around him.
I was startled and angered by her rudeness and told her that Luke is my friend and I have every right to talk to him. I told her to calm down and grow up. (Letter Writer)
Lacey is isolating Luke from friends and family, which is descriptive of an abusive relationship, and it doesn’t help that he is using drugs. (The Annies)
It’s too bad about Luke that he is placing all his love and allegiance to a control freak like Lacey, but there’s nothing you can do. Luke is a full-fledged adult.
…I can see why you responded to Lacey the way you did, and frankly, I don’t think it would have made any difference. If you had acted totally supportive of Lacey, I am positive she would have still been suspicious of you.
Lacy is immature, selfish, controlling and very insecure. If you had gotten into a tug-of-war over Luke’s affections, you certainly would have lost. (JustWinBaby)
Oh dear. I went through a similar thing this past year and I know exactly how you feel. In my case, the friend was a coworker.
He was the nicest guy in the world, but he had a girlfriend who was just this side of hell. The real problem was (as JustWinBaby put it) she was so insecure that she never let that poor guy alone.
She called him at least 5 times a day (during meetings, lunch, etc) and had him on a leash that was about an inch long. Forget after work activities, she wouldn’t let him do anything with us without her along….
Then she started texting me. After text two of threats to me, I texted back that the next text would be a call to the police on my end. She texted back, I called the cops, the cops went to her work and confronted her in front of her boss and coworkers. The texts stopped….
I came to realize the following (based on his situation and a similar one I had with another guy friend’s girlfriend a few years back) 1. Most men will tolerate a LOT of crap from women if they are getting regular sex.
I’m sorry, that sounds like a sexist statement, but I really believe it’s true. Many men will tolerate MORE abuse than a woman would if the sexes were reversed simply because they are getting laid.
2. Women like Lacey are deathly afraid of ANY woman who is in the orbit of their man and will stop at nothing to keep their hooks in. This includes belittling the friends of their man, and harassing them.
Their men won’t notice or will pretend not to notice so that they can continue to keep the peace and get laid….
So, how can a girl FRIEND help? Here’s my suggestions for the LW.
1. Keep tabs on Luke through external sources for now. He won’t give you his new cell phone number and yes, his girlfriend likely blocked you from his email accounts.
My coworker’s girlfriend read all his email and answered as if she was HIM. You will not get through to him but you can, discreetly, from time to time, ask mutual friends how he is doing….
With the friend I went through this with a couple of years ago (I’ve written about him here before), the situation with his abusive girlfriend changed the entire dynamic of our relationship and we are still in recovery from her and her crap.
He broke up with her almost 3 years ago, and it’s really just been in the last six months that we’ve gotten back to be close. I don’t think I’ll ever be as close to him as I was. Sad but true. (nanchan)
While I’m at it, I take exception to the line from your post “assuming the LW is being accurate (and isn’t distorting the situation to make Lacey look bad because she was secretly in love with Luke),”
That type of mentality is EXACTLY what feeds people like “Lacey”. They ASSUME (as do many posters BTL) that any woman who is friends with a man only does so because she wants to be that man’s woman. NOT SO!
In both situations I went through (the one a few years ago and the one this past summer), I worked with the guys. I liked them both as friends and valued their professional contributions.
Do we talk about stuff other than business? Sure!
One of these guys is the one who I wrote about a few days ago as being “emotionally incested” by his mother. He and I are close like brother and sister: we come from the same part of the country, have similar interests. But we would NEVER date each other.
You know, we get a lot of posts here from women who think any time a man goes to lunch with another woman he works with it must be because he’s having an affair with her.
THOSE posters have a lot more in common with people like Lacey than they will want to admit. It is JUST as controlling as a man telling a woman the same thing and just as WRONG.
It is only when we start to realize that abuse goes both ways and that all abuse needs to be addressed that we can start to effectively handle it. (nanchan)
Also see my post Isolation of Abuse Victims.