Hello, Carolyn: One of my best girlfriends (we’re in our 40s and 50s) has started dating a former lover of mine.
Because I’m a private person, my friends possibly knew of him – I’m single – but didn’t press for details.
It was too painful for him because I reminded him of her. That doesn’t mean I get to edit peoples sign’s, Christmas card’s or mailboxe’s.
The second is because although some are great to hang out with, I know more about these friends than my sisters do. They treat me well, but their girlfriends, not so much. So in a way it is protectiveness – not just of my siblings, but of my relationships with my friends. (Okay, I did once secretly Sharpie out a calamitous apostrophe on a friend’s knickknack. You have a right to want a certain outcome, but you don’t have a right to make decisions for other people to bend an outcome your way.
She and her boyfriend, both 30, are hard workers, but she’s had a career of mainly temp jobs, without much cushion for savings.
My husband feels uneasy about this because we’ve never financially assisted his daughter, and we already pay for my daughter’s health insurance and phone/internet.
One is because my older sister dated a man I was friends with for five years before they met.
So, two questions: Do I have to crack my own shell of privacy and tell my friend I had a thing with a guy she’s now dating? If I wait to see if it becomes serious, then it’s an even harder conversation.
I feel really uncomfortable about each of the say/don’t-say options. These lose-lose decisions always feel the hardest, obviously, because you don’t see any courses of action you like but inaction leaves you stuck in the limbo of facing an unwanted choice. But there’s usually a good decision – or a merely less-bad one – to be found by breaking a situation down to its most basic facts.
And do I share with her some of the thoughtless and disrespectful things he’s done? Here, you have two certainties at the foundation of everything: Your privacy is yours, and your friend’s relationship is hers.
You rightly point out that choosing to say nothing will loom larger and get weirder as their relationship progresses.
That means speaking up might feel like butting into their business but is actually more respectful of their relationship – and your privacy – than silence.