Ask Amy

Friendship changes when best bud has girlfriend

Q. I am a 21-year-old guy and best friends with an old buddy from high school. We used to be very close and talked about everything.

He started dating a woman who was giving us a lot of headaches because she was sleeping with people in our group of friends and lying about it. He went full gusto into the relationship and ended up completely abandoning me.

I told myself to tough it out because I knew the girlfriend wouldn’t last. Fast forward a few months. He apologized for tossing me to the curb and said it wouldn’t happen again. We moved on. Recently though, we met a new woman, and I could tell there was a similar attraction.


This woman, however, was engaged. “Perfect,” I thought, but three days later she was suddenly no longer engaged, and my friend had a new girlfriend.

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Now we only hang out when his girlfriend is busy. I don’t want to wait around for this new relationship to end. My friend also becomes somewhat of a tool around her.

Is it fair for me to feel slightly insulted, and am I being reasonable in telling him to get his act together and balance the friendship?


A. Many people your age struggle to make a friendship transition. It’s a challenge to be expected to automatically move to the back seat as main squeezes (and later spouses and kids) assume a central role in a friend’s life.

However, this transition is more easily made when both parties honor the friendship and continue to make time for each other. This is achievable, except when one person is a tool and the other is feeling judgy and wounded.


Try to communicate with him about this. But rather than expecting anything radically different from him in the future, you should now assume that this friendship is now a friendshift.

Q. I have been married for more than 30 years. We have had a happy and content relationship, but about eight years ago I discovered my wife has been e-mailing an old boyfriend.

She said he got in touch with her through her work e-mail. On her part, it seems innocent, but I find it strange that they only communicate through work e-mail. She will send me copies of their correspondence, but I can see a relationship developing (possibly just social) over time.

She will write him quickly after something happens at home — good or bad.

I have explained to her that he is most likely not letting his wife know they are in touch. I have also asked if she would feel comfortable if I were doing the same thing with an ex. This has led to many arguments and tension. To me, nothing good can come from this, but she says it is social and she has written nothing inappropriate, although I feel some of his statements could have a double meaning.


We agreed to ask for your opinion.


A. Your wife has been honest about this contact with an ex, despite your suspicions and jealousy and the tension it causes in your marriage. Her choice to continue conveys a lack of respect for your sensitivities. However, ultimately you cannot control whom she is in touch with — even if you don’t like it. You can only control your reaction.

Tell your wife that you don’t like the way these e-mails make you feel, and then stop reading them.

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