What to do when your girlfriend treats you differently in front of her friends?

Portpher asks: I am in a serious relationship and I don’t understand my girlfriend. She seems not to care about my feelings. Every time she’s with her friends she behaves in a different way – she seems not to care about the relationship – but when we are together things are fine. What can I do?

Hi Portpher –



I have an answer for you, and it might sound a little simplistic, but it’s because you say you’re in “a serious relationship.”


Now if you were just starting to date a girl, maybe someone in school and it’s the first romance for either of you, and this was happening, I’d say that’s pretty normal, and you shouldn’t worry about it. That teenagers are very focused on their friendships, and for now, that’s her most important relationship, so just live with it.


But again, you say this is serious between you two. Which means there’s only one answer – you have to talk with her about it. The sooner the better.


The question isn’t whether she likes or loves you; the issue is that you deserve to be treated well and respectfully, and she’s not doing that. She’s actually doing the opposite. And if this relationship is going to move forward at all, she needs to make a decision about how she wants her friends to see you two.   If she acts like you’re not important to her, then that’s what they’ll see; if she acts like you’re something great and worthy and relevant, then that’s the message they’ll get instead.


She may not realize that she’s doing this. So that’s even more reason for you to point it out to her. But what I want you to own, most importantly, is the way that it makes you feel. Because that’s a huge part of any serious relationship – working to make the other person feel good and respected and loved.


My human friend Handsome insults me all the time. He calls me all sorts of names, especially “knucklehead,” and even yells at me sometimes (like when I start barking at squirrels when I’m right next to his ear). But every friend and acquaintance he has knows he loves and treasures me. He shows it in every act and gesture.


You deserve that too.


Go get it!


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