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justanotheruser's avatar

How do I get my friends to butt out of my relationships?

Asked by justanotheruser (53 points ) February 24th, 2014

This is almost too complicated to get into. Long story short: I’m a female in my mid-twenties who recently broke up with a partner of two years. He and I had a rough year last, death in the family, change of jobs, financial highs and lows. We decided to split at the beginning of this year but have recently started seeing each other about once a week and are wondering if we made the right choice to split so suddenly. We genuinely love one another. Neither one of us is blameless in our breakup but we’re both good people with good heads on our shoulders. That counts for something, I think.

Two close, old friends of mine have always hated him and have an opinion on every aspect of our relationship. Luckily, the rest of our circle is a little more neutral. Admittedly, this is somewhat my fault. I over-confided in them when I was furious with him and of course, they now see him in a very negative light.

I’ve asked them to please leave me alone about the fact that I’m seeing him again. (they don’t even live in the same area as me anymore, by the way so it’s not like it affects them at all). I’ve spoken to my therapist about this and she agrees that I need to make my own decisions without any outside influences, even if they are trying to be ‘helpful’. I’m a smart woman and can figure it out on my own. They say he’s being “manipulative”, and yes, he has been in the past, but I think it’s really inappropriate that they see fit to get involved at all.

Help!

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16 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

By not telling them anything about your relationships. Don’t give them any information to work on.

justanotheruser's avatar

@talljasperman I realize that now but I can’t undo the past. What can I say to them in the here and now to make them understand that they are behaving inappropriately?

I know I need to work on boundary-setting and I shouldn’t have involved them in the first place. It’s getting to the point where I’m getting really angry and feeling like they’re in bed with us sometimes!

I spoke to one of them about it tonight and asked if she would please leave me in peace about it and she acted like he put me up to saying everything and like I’m not even smart enough to make my own choices. She doesn’t have a great track record with men either, by the way.

Also I’m upset that they wheedled this out of me by accusing me of being “secretive” when I wasn’t telling them about it. Well, I didn’t want to tell them because I didn’t want their damned opinions!

talljasperman's avatar

@justanotheruser I know how it feels to have someone interfering in my love life from nosey cops to cock blocking mom, scaring off the cute girls from dating me my first job, by threatening that she would be her mother in law… As friends and family goes that it their jobs to be nosey, they are our sober second thought, like the Canadian senate. If you really don’t want them interfering you will have to ask them one at a time, not to interfere with your love life.

Buttonstc's avatar

By your own admission, the reason they are “involved at all” is not just their nosiness. You played a part by over-sharing with them. If that is really the case, they’re most likely trying to protect you from yourself, so to speak.

No, strictly speaking, it doesn’t affect their lives in and of itself. But it was affecting their lives because of your extreme unhappiness when you were with him before. They forsee the same thing happening again.

They have absolutely no clue that their well meaning advice is now considered inappropriate by you.

And let’s face it, rarely does a leopard change his spots. If he was manipulative then, why not now.

If you truly do not want any input from them then I think you have to tell them honestly what you’ve stated here.

Apologize for over involving them last time and ONLY THEN just tell them that you need to find your own way this time around. Just request that the subject be totally off limits when they’re with you or speaking with you.

But please be more humble and apologetic rather than irritated about it. After all, they wouldn’t have all this negative info about him had you not given it to them.

And in the future, if they being up the subject of your relationship again, just gently remind them of your agreement that it be off limits.

But just remember: NO BACKSIES.

You can’t go bending their ear about him the next time you’re fed up with whatever happens between you and him.

If you’re going to burn this bridge now, you can’t go trying to rebuild it. Keep anything about your relationship with him out of any and all future conversations.

You can’t keep changing your mind about it and expect them to be mind readers.

justanotheruser's avatar

His and mine relationship was complicated by a lot of external factors. Death, finances, illness, and a shitty crime that was committed against us. I only wish I was joking and I think a lot of relationships would be affected by so many things in such a short period. Yes, he and I both have a lot of thinking, self-reflection, and talking things through to do. And maybe we’ll decide that we shouldn’t be together. Or maybe we will. We still love each other like crazy and like each other quite a bit. I do think one good thing that came from the breakup is that we no longer live together, which is really for the best. I love seeing him but I also enjoy having my own space. And I’ve come to realize that part of figuratively having my own space is setting better boundaries with the people in my life—with him (obviously) but also with my friends.

The real conclusion I’ve come to is that even if our relationship seems like a trainwreck at the moment (Okay that’s a hyperbole but go with it), it’s OUR trainwreck and he and I are the conductors, not bystanders with big mouths. :-p

Cruiser's avatar

Your friends have been in the front row watching the drama of your breakup unfold and I would venture to guess it was high drama and not pretty to watch. They remember the things he did to you and are trying to remind you of these past actions and words of your partner.

Do not fault your friends if things don’t work out again as you will be sure to get a healthy dose of “I told you so”!

justanotheruser's avatar

@Cruiser “I told you so” is a pretty shitty stance to take on a friend’s misfortune.

filmfann's avatar

I have had several relationships where we both truly loved each other, but we weren’t a good match, and it would not have gone well if we stayed together. I am still close to them, but I always remember that we drove each other crazy.
This is your relationship, not theirs.
Tell your friends that, and ask them to butt out.

Buttonstc's avatar

. And I’ve come to realize that part of figuratively having my own space is setting better boundaries with the people in my life—with him (obviously) but also with my friends.
========================

But your friends will have no way of knowing this unless you specifically tell them.

And while your new insights have you wanting to become the conductor, I guarantee you they have little idea thats what you want because, according to you, the last time around you were a “big mouth”.

You need to apologize to them for it and set the boundaries. And then stick to them.

I suggest you wait to have this talk with them until you’ve cooled down a bit. Right now you are very irritated with them when they’re just trying to be good friends to you.

They won’t know your needs for them have changed until you tell them. They aren’t mind readers.

I think part of your irritation comes from expecting them to suddenly change just because you have. You really do need to set boundaries CLEARLY.

If they then persist in meddling, even after tactful reminders that anything about your relationship is off limits, THEN you can be ticked off.

Right now they’re just being the same supportive friends looking out for you as they were before. You invited them in. And now you have to find a polite way to show them the exit, if that’s what you truly want.

But I just read the reply of @filmfann and you might want to give that some thought as well. Its a valid point. Only you can know how much it might apply to you.

pleiades's avatar

Did you truly, “over confide in them” your friends? Or did you mold an opinion of your boyfriend at the time and your friends are just being real with you? This doesn’t make any sense. Why wouldn’t you want your friends to know about your relationships? With all that being said, I know your friends have your best interest in you. A general rule of thumb… If the one you are wanting to be in a relationship with doesn’t get a long with your friends, it’s not going to bode over well in the future. Sorry, there are just too many holidays, celebrations that’ll have tension in them if you all celebrate together.

With all that being said, you need to sit them down, and tell them straight up how you feel about it all. Then they will give you their opinion as well. You owe it to them to listen to them too if you could tell them all about your troubles, they should have the right to tell you what they think as well.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

I totally agree with what has been said and I am definitely not excusing their nosiness. BUT let’s for a moment look at the other side of things. Sometimes it’s good to step back from the issue and look at the whole thing from another perspective. When we are so absorbed in something we may be overlooking a few important points. I realize you are an intelligent and able person, but just sometimes it is useful to hear an outsider’s views. Someone who is not directly involved may see things from a clearer perspective. Listen to what they have to say and then sweetly yet firmly, thank them and tell them – ” case closed, no more of this!”

livelaughlove21's avatar

“Or did you mold an opinion of your boyfriend at the time and your friends are just being real with you?”

Bingo. I have a feeling that your story to us is different than reality. You can’t expect your friends to watch you be hurt by this guy and then all of a sudden approve of him just because you decided to get back with him.

If you don’t care what your friends think, maybe you should find new friends that don’t give a shit if you make harmful decisions.

justanotheruser's avatar

Also, it bears mentioning that the breakup was civilized and not an overly ugly affair like some of you are imagining. We both acknowledged that we had done some hurtful things to each other, yes but it wasn’t a hostile situation.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Wow, this one brings back memories…. Friends, especially girls, get jealous of the time you spend with someone else, even if you’re happy.

What I realized in my early 20’s was that for me, nosy buttinsky friends were a real problem and since they wouldn’t listen to me and respect my privacy and relationship, I kind of let them fade away.

antimatter's avatar

Just tell them to but out…

justanotheruser's avatar

I just can’t believe the level of drama they’re causing over something that has nothing to do with them. I’ve been trying to get in touch with the one because we haven’t even had a chance to talk about it and she won’t pick up or return my calls. I’m sorry but this is a form of bullying me and I don’t think it’s cool at all. This is the type of behavior you would expect from high schoolers not from women in their 20s.

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