How to deal with a jealous friend

brena asks: My friend told my boyfriend she was in love with him, and that if she broke up with her boyfriend, he would be her backup plan (at that time my boyfriend and I were not together). Now we are together again, but it looks like she is jealous over us: she is always calling him to do things for her that I don’t ask him to do for me. His mother baked a cake and told him that I was to get the biggest slice, but instead the girl took out the bigger slice and ate it! I was so upset! I don’t trust her because she made my life hell when I was 15 (she made me talk to her 19-year-old cousin and they lied about his age, and he broke my heart! And she knew he was cheating on me, but because she was afraid of him she did not tell me). I once thought she was a nice person, but I don’t know what to think anymore. Because of this my boyfriend keeps reminding me about my past with her cousin, and it hurts so bad that sometimes I cry.

Hi Brena –


Now I know that there are at least two sides to every story, and I’m sure this girl has her viewpoint.  But I have to say that, from everything you’re telling me, she doesn’t sound like much of a friend at all!  The incident about her cousin sounds pretty innocent (I don’t notice most humans telling people the ages of the people they introduce them to – “Hi this is my cousin Donny, and he’s 32” sounds weird, you know? – and you even say that she didn’t tell you about his cheating because she was afraid of him).  But this other stuff is really weird.

Let me make sure I got it straight.  When you and your boyfriend were broken up, she told him he was her “backup plan.”  In other words, he was the guy she’d go out with if anything happened with her current relationship.  Now why would someone say such a thing?  What effect did she want to have on your boyfriend?  To get him to wait for her, out of hope that her relationship would fail?  It doesn’t speak well of her feelings for your boyfriend (semi-asking him to stay single for her sake), and definitely not for her relationship with the guy she was with at the time (I hate to think how I’d feel if I heard Handsome tell another dog “You’re the one I’ll adopt if Shirelle and I stop getting along!”).  And where are you in this story?  Did she know you and this guy might get back together?  So was this an insult to you too?

Then there’s this current stuff – her asking him to do favors for her all the time, and even eating your piece of cake!  (Oh you can just imagine how I react if some other dog eats out of my bowl!  It ain’t pretty!!!)  It really sounds like she’s jealous of you, and wants the things you have.  And I don’t mean just your boyfriend!

You see, it’s the cake that bothers me.  If it was just about the boy, I’d think maybe she’s just crazy about him and wants his attention and is hoping that someday you two will break up so she can have him.  That’s not my idea of perfect morality, but it’s understandable I guess.  But that cake… It almost sounds like one of those creepy movies where a girl starts by befriending her friend’s boyfriend, but by halfway through she’s pretending to be her friend, dressing in her clothes and talking in her voice, and the next thing you know she wants the friend’s identity all to herself and she’s sneaking up on her with a big knife and…

Okay, so it’s not THAT bad!  But she does sound a little obsessive.  And while you don’t need to go as ballistic as I do about dogs eating out of my bowl, it might be a really good idea for you and your boyfriend to take a little vacation from her for a bit.  Let her hang out with other people, and get attached to them.  You can even try to be nice about it, just say “Hey, we’ve been hanging out so much together lately, and especially because of my boyfriend being upset about your cousin, I think we need to not hang out for a little while.  How about we have dinner in a month, but for now take this time off?”  She probably won’t like it, but the facts that a) she has to know she’s being a bit troublesome, and b) you’re saying you’ll still be friends – these should make her feel fairly good about it.

Then, likely, one of two things will happen.  First, she might just freak out on you.  Call you names, accuse you of things you haven’t done, start texting your boyfriend all the time.  If that happens, you’ll know she’s really not a friend at all, and be able to let go of her completely.

But second, she might feel a little sad, and a little embarrassed, and start hanging out with other friends… and in a month, be a better friend to you than she’s been lately.  And if that’s the case, what it means is that she just was someone who always looked at you with so much affection and respect that she got envious.  And that’s really a true compliment to you, and to the friendship that you could develop later on.

And hey, plus, if you ever do choose to break up with your boyfriend, isn’t it nice to know that he won’t have to be lonely?!




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