Life

Ask Fiona: I can't stand my best friend's boyfriend

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers her perspective on a woman who doesn't trust her friend's boyfriend and a husband who is pushing all of his friends away

MY best friend broke up with her boyfriend at the end of last year but now they're getting back together. She dumped him when she found out he'd been seeing someone else, but now she wants to give him a second chance. I really wish she wouldn't, as I've never liked him. He also clearly doesn't like me because I called him out whenever he treated her badly, which was a lot!

My friend knows how I feel about him and has asked me to promise not to make a scene when I see him again. She says she's in love with him and wants to make it work this time, but if I make this promise, I'm not sure whether I'll be able to keep it.

LS

FIONA SAYS: However much you dislike and distrust this man, your friend has decided he's the one for her. If you don't give him another chance, you'll probably hurt your friend and it may bring a friendship you clearly care about to an end. People can change and, while like you, I'm not optimistic about the outcome, your friend has decided that she wants this relationship to work. As she's investing so much time and effort in this man, you really need to be there for her.

Give her all the support you can; be charming to him, however much you may dislike and distrust him. Don't ever try and get between them, either. The chances are, at some point, things will go wrong – he may start playing around again or he may be unkind to her; who knows what he might do?

The important thing, though, is that you'll still be there to help her pick up the pieces. You don't want to be the ex-friend she's too embarrassed to call when she needs a shoulder to cry on. You may struggle but, if you really care for your friend (and it sounds like you do) then respect her wishes and give her all the support you can.

MY HUSBAND IS PUSHING MY FRIENDS AWAY

My husband doesn't want any friends around us, and it's becoming a serious problem. I've lost three friends already and now he's pushing our church friends away from me too. I've tried to speak to him about it but we just end up arguing.

Please can you advise what I should do before I lose everyone?

AB

FIONA SAYS: Has your husband always been this way or is this something new for him?

If it's a new phenomenon, it sounds like he may be depressed, in which case, please encourage him to see a doctor. If he's always been this way, then there is little point in you trying to change him. Instead, cultivate friends without him – make contact with the three friends you've lost and arrange to see them without your husband being there. Accept invitations to parties and social events, but be prepared to go alone.

Tell your friends that your husband doesn't enjoy social occasions and they'll soon get used to seeing you without him – especially your church friends.

Rather than row with your husband, tell him what you're planning to do. Explain that you accept that he doesn't want to socialise, but that you do.

Tell him you don't want to pressurise him or make him feel uncomfortable, so you'll be meeting people without him in future. It may be that, in time, he decides he wants to join in with other people again. For now, leave him be – he'll be fine.

WHAT DID I DO WRONG?

There's a guy at college I've really fallen for. We went out once but he stood me up on our second date and hasn't spoken to me since.

I don't know what I did wrong and I feel terrible as I really liked him and wanted to get to know him better. When he called to make the second date, he sounded really keen, so I couldn't understand why he never turned up.

You might think I'm stupid for falling for someone so quickly, but there it is. I don't understand how he can treat me like this.

NL

FIONA SAYS: It's hard falling for someone who isn't interested in you, but are you sure that's what actually happened? Is it possible that you misunderstood the arrangements for that second date and he thinks you stood him up?

Or could it be that he got last-minute nerves because he really did like you and, having failed to show, he's now too embarrassed to say anything to you?

Of course it could be that he's a mean and spiteful person who goes around making dates with girls only to deliberately fail to show up to embarrass them.

If that's the case, then face the fact that he's not someone worth caring about and, even if it's hard, try and move on.

Whatever the reason, the next time you see him, smile and say hello. If he did stand you up then he'll think you aren't bothered – which is the best way to treat him. If he was nervous, it may make it easier for him to approach you. If he thinks you stood him up, it will start to create a bridge between you and, after a while, you may be able to ask him what happened.

Whatever the outcome, remember, not all young men are emotionally mature enough to form ongoing relationships. So, next time, try not to fall too hard until you're sure he deserves you.

AM I TOO OLD TO MEET NEW FRIENDS AFTER MY DIVORCE?

My husband and I were together for 28 years and I thought we were lifelong soulmates, so was devastated to find he'd been having an affair with a mutual friend for four years.

It's taken me a long time to move on and my family has been wonderful – especially my daughter. She's supported me all the way and is now trying to encourage me to get out more and get a job. She thinks it will give me more purpose and that I'll make a whole circle of new friends.

I think I am too old at 53 and that no one will want me – but my daughter's really pushing me, even though I've always found it difficult to meet new people.

Is she right?

RK

FIONA SAYS: I'd say you're not too old to find a job and certainly not too old to make new friends and have new experiences. You've been brave in coming to terms with the blow your husband dealt you, but now you need to grasp life and all of its opportunities.

Remember: People you don't know are only old friends you've not met yet.

Getting a job would help to restore your self-confidence. If you feel you need training of some kind go to gov.uk and look for 'Career Skills and Training', where you'll find lots of options to help you move forward.

Often, women don't retire at 60 you won't be getting your state pension for years, so there's plenty of time to start anew. I'd also suggest you consider joining a club of some kind, possibly one for the divorced and separated, where everyone will understand what you are going through. It may take time to get over your loss, so don't expect to want to join everything, but you're still young and have lots of life left. so make the best of it.

If you have a problem and you'd like Fiona's advice, email help@askfiona.net.

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