Woe Is Me! “My Friend’s Ex‑Girlfriend Made Him Stop Talking to Me. Should I Call Him Anyway?”
Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.
“I had a really close friend, who was in a relationship with another girl for over a year. We never had romantic feelings for each other, but his girlfriend suspected that he was cheating on her with me. She wanted him to stop talking to me, which he didn’t want to do. This led to their breakup. But she would still check if he was in touch with me, and threatened to take an extreme step if he didn’t stop talking to me. So, he did.
The catch is, his mom and my mom are the best of friends. He’s always going to be present in my life, in some way or the other. Right now, it hurts that I not only lost a really good friend, but am also being portrayed as someone who broke a relationship.
I want to talk to him, but I’m scared. Last time I messaged him to check in on him, he seemed a little hostile. But I still worry about him, and miss him. Should I call him?”
–Break up blame game
HK: Your situation seems like a straight-out-of-the-movies “girl best friend” trope, where it is deemed impossible for a guy and a girl to be just platonic, without any sinister or ulterior motives involved. He made the conscious decision to distance himself from you, although it may have stemmed from the “extreme steps” you mentioned. And if he is being hostile to you, I don’t see any point in trying to make amends (again).
I understand the tricky position you are in, and that the family relations will make it difficult for you to fully process the loss of this friendship. But right now, he has chosen to prioritize his former relationship over you, and you should respect that boundary, no matter how much it hurts you to do so. Maybe at a later point in time, you would be able to share a cordial relationship. But for now, I think you should give it some space.
AB: This is not on you: you can’t do anything about your friend’s ex’s insecurity, nor your friend’s current distance. As a society, the idea of a platonic relationship between men and women is anathema to many — we’ve received woes stemming from perspectives like the ex’s, too. Since your friend and you are always going to be present in each other’s lives, my suggestion would be to explain your perspective and feelings about the situation via text or an email, and leave it up to him. That way, you’re still leaving the door open for him, should he choose to reconnect with you.
As of now, his break-up is inextricably linked to you; it’s not your fault, of course, but to avoid being perceived as a catalyst, I’d recommend getting out of the fall-out zone.
AS: This whole situation sounds incredibly tricky to navigate. Your friend’s ex seems to be dealing with her own insecurities, and her threats undoubtedly put your friend in a tough spot. But how he chooses to handle that is on him. It sounds to me like this is an issue between your friend and his ex and you have just somehow been dragged into that mess. If that’s the case, some distance might be best for you too?
I don’t think you need to pay much attention to these rumors of you having broken them up — you know the truth, and your friend knows the truth. At this stage, I don’t think anything you say or do to clarify the situation will change his ex’s mind.
If the loss of your friend is bothering you a lot, then maybe reaching out to clarify things isn’t such a bad idea. If he still comes off as hostile, then at least you’ll know you’ve tried. Though I do think he’s going to need some time to first figure out his situation with his ex, before you two can patch things up. Maybe, that’s something you can acknowledge when you reach out to him?