• Handling Breakups

A woman bemoans the loss of a male best friend to his girlfriend

Published: January 24, 2017 | By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
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The male best friend ends an 8-year friendship under pressure from his girlfriend.


Hi Irene,

There are many elements to my dilemma, but I’ll try to keep it as clear and concise as possible. One of my best friends lives 1,000 miles away. We see each other once a year and communicate almost every day via text. This has been the case for over eight years, until recently. His girlfriend didn’t like that he was talking to me so often and told him to stop. Not wanting to lose her, he did stop, however we still shared our annual visit (which includes other friends besides the two of us.)

He told me how important our friendship is but that his relationship is just as important. I told him that unlike his girlfriend, I would never make him choose between us and I respect that they need space. I do not agree with this, but I felt I had no other option. I haven’t heard much from him since that discussion five months ago.

Since then, I have gotten engaged. After not receiving any kind of congratulations or “happy birthday” (it happened on my birthday), I texted him and told him how much it would mean to me if he were to come to my wedding. His reply was, “Maybe. Is the invite extended to Laurie too?” I said I’d give him a plus 1, which got no response.

A couple of months after that I wished him a happy birthday again – no reply. I love him dearly, but I am furious with him. Today, our brief text conversation was as follows:

Me: Hey, what’s your address?

Him: Why?

Me: wedding invite.

Him: (sends me his address)

Me: Thanks – and that was that.

I’ve had a very tough year and my engagement has been the only upside. My friend knows this but doesn’t seem to care. Should I let him and our 8+-year friendship go? I don’t want to, and he says he doesn’t either, but I don’t know what else I could say or do. We have never had a romance between us, however many of our friends and relatives say that he has always had a thing for me, despite him almost always having a girlfriend. I don’t know how to factor in that possible feeling of his, but I thought it was worth mentioning.


Hi Fran,

To communicate almost daily with someone for eight years suggests an emotionally intense and intimate connection. I’m sure you can see how this might feel threatening to a new girlfriend. Whether it was her idea, his or both, your guy friend resolved the dilemma by cutting off his long-distance friendship.

People have different feelings about their partners having intense relationships outside the marriage, especially if someone suspects that their partner “has a thing” for that friend. You might feel the same way she does if your fiancé had a close emotional connection with someone else. People often have to make choices and compromises to preserve primary romantic relationships.

Since your efforts to engage him have met with five months of silence, you need to back off and allow him the space he’s asked for. With time, I hope your anger is tempered by understanding his commitment to his girlfriend. You may find that this decision turns out positively for you, too, by drawing you closer to your fiancé.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

Previously on The Friendship Blog:

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Category: HANDLING BREAKUPS, Relationships with ex-friends

Comments (4)

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  1. Denise says:

    Even though communication has really dropped of and he’s been quiet for a few months, he could only be doing this to accommodate his GF. Maybe he’d like to still text every day, but his GF is making him uncomfortable or guilty. I have a strong feeling he’d love to continue your friendship while his GF accepts the friendship. If the GF feels like part of the friendship by reading all texts and knowing of and/or attending get-togethers, she might not feel threatened. What about his history with being faithful? Maybe he’s got a perfect history, but she’s been cheated on before him.

    I do think the GF is overreacting and being too controlling if neither has trust issues in their past. Telling a GF or BF or spouse who they can be friends with should come with a solid reason because no one likes that and it could lead to resentment.

    So a lot of possibilities and in the meantime, all you can fairly do is be open to his friendship, giving him space, and somehow include the girlfriend to show there’s no reason to worry.

  2. Sandra says:

    I agree with Amy F and Irene. It seems this relationship has run its course, and your friend has definitely put up some strong boundaries. Given that you’re engaged and he has a girlfriend, it would be best to go your separate ways. You’ve extended the olive branch — but he’s been quiet in return. I think you need to let it go and focus on your own future.

    I wouldn’t send this friend an invitation to your wedding, either, given the situation. Instead, invite friends who will be excited to share your special day with you and your fiancé.

  3. Tanja says:

    A friendship that long, when it ends is pretty hard. I can relate. I had a friend that I knew in high school. He, my sister and I were very close. He was at my wedding. He had many different girlfriends throughout. He brought one to my wedding and only a few months later they parted ways. In any case, when I had my first child, he broke off our friendship of 15 yrs. He was still friends with my sister. I had said some things to him that were not very nice because he had said something that I got offended by, which was not his intent. Anyway, I apologized and he did magic at kids birthday parties at the time, so I got him a gig at my friends kids birthday, which he took the money and did but then left again right after. My sister tried to talk to him. But, he clearly said he did not want me as a friend. My sister believes that it is because he always liked me and that men and women can never truly be friends, ever, unless they marry and love their best friend.

    I agree with that. When I first met my husband, I have to say, he was still in communication with his friend/ex girlfriend. I also knew her and I liked her. We hung out a few times because I was friends or trying to be with her, not because of my husband, we weren’t even dating at the time, it was through another mutual friend. Anyway, when I did start dating my husband and she was still calling and they were still hanging out. I did not like it, but I liked her just fine. It really had nothing to do with her. It was just not something I was comfortable with. I remember once my husband, boyfriend at the time said that he was going to her house because she had called him and said that her grandma died and she was really upset. I sympathized but then thought, why does she need him as her shoulder to cry on? So, I told him then and there that I am not comfortable with that and I am sorry for her loss, but I asked if he could write her a kind email instead but not really see her anymore. My husband, agreed and said I want to be with you, I want to marry you and if that is what you want to feel secure, I will do it. So, we wrote a really thoughtful email. If she persisted in seeing him, I told him to ask if I could also come as well. Well, she did not, she thanked him for his kind words and I think she knew it was done. It doesn’t have to be bitter, it can only be sweet. We tried.

    But, I understand how his girlfriend may feel, especially if she is at the stage of wanting marriage and children and feeling insecure about the whole thing and not sure if that will happen with him. Etc.

    This is a good thing, it will bring you closer to the man you are marrying. Unfortunately, I have learning that life is not like the movies, where you see a couple and one of the couple is friends with the opposite sex outside of marriage. The truth is, that rarely happens. And, if you have kids on top of that and your “friend” does not, the friendship will break. You and your husband will look for other married couples to hang with. When you have kids, you will again break off friendships with people that do not and look for friendships where you can have playdates with your kids and have couple friends that also have kids around the same age. That will change again once kids start school and husband and you get busy with work and kids are busy with school friends, then you will start to make friendships that are more your own because you meet them through work or fitness clubs or something for you. It is also around that mark, the 39 or 49 mark as well, where you get use to your partner, more cheating on a spouse occurs or feeling stuck etc. As long as you communicate it, then that is great and marriage can still run smoothly but differently, but you focus and up until that point focus as been on husband and kids, then like I said around 39 mark, or once kids are older and more independent, focus is back on you and individual friendships and maybe sex drive higher as well and wanting to feel desired again etc….. Lot to take it, but this is good, focus on your partner and then kids will be next.

  4. Amy F says:

    By telling him “unlike your girlfriend, I wouldn’t make you choose” you might be see as insulting her in a passive-aggressive way, saying, I’m better than she is. A better approach might have been, “I support your relationship and would love to get to know your girlfriend better.”
    When one person in a relationship wants firmer boundaries than the other, the one who wants the stricter boundaries must be respected if the relationship is going to last. Additionally, real time friends/partners most often carry more importance than virtual ones. Think eye to eye communication vs face in a screen. Put your energy into your face to face relationships.
    Go with the flow, give him the space he’s asking for with his words and actions. You don’t have to make grand gestures to end a relationship that seems to be paused.

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