• Resolving Problems

Reluctant to let go of a friend with a different lifestyle

Published: August 22, 2016 | By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
A young woman can’t decide whether her friend’s “different lifestyle” is reason to give up on the friendship.


Hi Friendship Doctor!

I have a complicated situation that has been bothering me for some time now.

It all started when I became friends with a new group of girls who were very boho, open minded into drugs and so on…

I became particularly good friends with one girl; let’s call her Ruth.

Ruth’s boyfriend and me and my boyfriend all ended up becoming really close friends and for a while. They were our best couple friends until the girl’s boyfriend asked us to swing with them.

We were not at all interested; and were also a little turned off by all the drug use but wanted to remain friends and try and put it under the rug.

A few months down the road his girlfriend approached me when we were having a night out with the girls and asked me if I had ever experimented with girls and when I said no she started kissing me in the bathroom… it was pretty bad.

It took me a few months to confess this to my boyfriend as I didn’t want drama but couldn’t keep a secret from my partner because I didn’t want to sacrifice his trust. I also didn’t know if he would care or not since there is the stigma of “girls kissing girls is hot.” Well, he cared and considered it a breach of trust big time.

Fast forward to almost one year later and we gave it distance; but then I started hanging out with her again, thinking we had all gotten over it.

It was then that he told me that he was not over it and that us hanging out really bothered him and that he didn’t want my friend in our life…

The problem is she doesn’t know this and keeps inviting me to events that she is hosting and for coffee; and at one point she was a really good friend…

I feel sad that this friendship has to end; especially since we had so much in common but I also understand where my boyfriend is coming from.

It’s also hard because she is friends with a group of friends that I now feel isolated from.

Please help!!

Signed, Rachel


Hi Rachel,

You now know Ruth well enough by now to know that she uses drugs, is open to sexual relationships with both women and men, and doesn’t seem adverse to “swinging” with other couples.

What you haven’t mentioned:

1) Do you find this her lifestyle acceptable or unsettling?

2) Were you comfortable with sexual overtures she’s made to you in the past? Would you entertain them in the future?

3) Are you able to say “No” to Ruth and set boundaries that are comfortable to you in your relationship with her?

4) Are you comfortable with the company Ruth keeps? Do you consider these people suitable friends for you?

5) Do you want to preserve your relationship with your boyfriend?

You say that this “complicated situation” has been bothering you for some time but your letter suggests you are still ambivalent about whether or not to end the friendship.

My opinion: Given the downsides, you need to clarify exactly what is attracting you to this complicated friendship. It might be helpful to speak to a counselor who can help you in that regard.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Comments (4)

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  1. Meorge says:

    If a guy who was a friend had groped and kissed you when you didn’t want him to, would you still want to be friends with him? I doubt it. Why is it diffierent if it’s a girl who made unwanted advances? I’m not seeing why you would even want to be friends with such a person, especially with the drug use, which it seems pretty clear you’re not comfortable with. You also don’t make clear if this drug use is illegal where you live; if it is, it’s more than just a “lifestyle choice.” Longterm friendships are usually based on common views and interests. People like your “friend” who are into alternative lifestyles such as swinging and using drugs rarely remain comfortable with those who are not; they seem to feel a constant need to draw others into their activities. You seem to have a problem deciding where your boundaries are. Do YOU like being around druggies? Do YOU like being around people who don’t respect that you’re in a relationship? Do YOU feel that your boyfriend is being overly controlling? The reality is that you need have a strong backbone or other people are going to run your life and make these decisions for you. As long as you’re feeling unhappy and conflicted, then the situation is not working for you. I hope you find your way to your strength and what is right for YOU, not someone around you.

  2. Amy F says:

    Good communication is a highly underrated skill. Be open with yourself about what you want, your boyfriend and your friend. Set boundaries that are comfortable to YOU and then stick with them.

  3. Ben says:

    One thing that hasn’t been discussed is whether the open lines of communication have improved with your boyfriend. Any breach of trust is hard to overcome so I hope that you or he can feel secure enough to share right away should any questionable thing happen.

  4. Jacqueline says:

    I think what is really bothering you is that her values are not the same as yours.

    It is understandable that your boyfriend is upset about what happened in the bathroom. Makes no difference whether it would have been a man, it was still an unwanted overture.

    It seems like you have a choice to make. Have you discussed with your boyfriend about the possibility of just you and her continuing with the friendship, not including the boyfriends? How would you feel if he said he could not accept it?

    Have you thought about writing down the pros and cons of this friendship? You took a break of a year from each other, but would you constantly worry she will approach you sexually again? Would you feel comfortable, as Irene stated, about discussing with her boundaries, what makes you uncomfortable?

    Perhaps once you clarify how you feel with Ruth, you will not feel so isolated from your mutual group of friends.

    I feel for you. Not an easy decision to make. But, as long as you do what feels right for you, you cannot make a mistake.

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