Is my boyfriend’s friendship with another woman a red flag?

Hi Evie, I recently found messages from my boyfriend’s female best friend that make me very uncomfortable. For context, they’ve been best friends for years. That’s why I’ve never had an issue with them hanging out or texting frequently. She was in a relationship until the beginning of this year and has now been single for a while. At first, their friendship carried on as normal, but recently I’ve noticed that she’s messaging more and wanting to see my boyfriend more often. Then I found messages where she told him that he is the best thing in her life and she doesn’t know what she’d do without him. He pretty much said the same in return. I also noticed that they’re messaging late at night and with a lot of heart emojis (my boyfriend told me he finds using emojis childish but clearly not with her!). I confronted him about these conversations and he got defensive. He doesn’t see anything wrong with it and told me I’m being insecure. Am I? My gut tells me they’re falling for each other, but neither will admit it. I’m confused and hurt. We’ve been together for 5 years and I genuinely thought he was the one until all this happened. – Anonymous 

Dear Anonymous,

Woman to woman – your gut feeling is probably correct! That being said, romantic relationships intertwined with close friendships can be incredibly challenging, especially when boundaries become blurred. Your feelings of discomfort and betrayal are completely valid, and it’s crucial to address these emotions head-on.

Firstly, let’s acknowledge the red flags in your situation. Messages exchanged late at night, with heart emojis and declarations of being the “best thing in her life,” are not typical of a platonic friendship, especially given your boyfriend’s dismissive attitude towards using emojis with you. This shift in behavior suggests that their dynamic may be changing in a way that affects your relationship.

Your boyfriend’s defensiveness when confronted is another red flag. When someone is genuinely innocent and their intentions are pure, they usually react with understanding and a willingness to reassure their partner. Dismissing your feelings as insecurity without addressing the root cause is not a supportive or empathetic response.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Trust Your Instincts: Your gut feeling is telling you something important. It’s easy to brush off these feelings as mere jealousy, but often, our instincts pick up on subtle cues that our conscious mind might miss.
  2. Establish Boundaries: Clearly communicate your boundaries and expectations in the relationship. It’s essential to have an open and honest conversation with your boyfriend about what makes you uncomfortable and why. Use “I” statements to express your feelings without sounding accusatory, such as, “I feel hurt and disrespected when I see messages with heart emojis and late-night texts.”
  3. Seek Clarity: Ask your boyfriend to explain the nature of his relationship with his best friend. If he values your relationship, he should be willing to discuss this openly and make necessary adjustments to reassure you.
  4. Observe Actions: Words can be deceptive, but actions are usually telling. Pay attention to how he responds to your concerns. Does he make an effort to set boundaries with his friend? Does he take your feelings into account, or does he continue dismissing them?
  5. Self-Respect: Remember, your emotional well-being is paramount. If your boyfriend continues to invalidate your feelings and prioritizes his friendship over your relationship, it might be time to reassess your partnership. A healthy relationship should not leave you feeling insecure and sidelined.
  6. Consider the Bigger Picture: After discussing your feelings and observing his actions, reflect on whether this relationship aligns with your values and long-term happiness. Being with someone who genuinely respects and supports you is crucial for a fulfilling relationship.

Ultimately, you deserve a partner who values your feelings and is willing to make you a priority. If after honest communication and effort you still feel uncomfortable and hurt, it might be time to consider if this relationship is truly right for you.

Best wishes, 

Evie 

Do you have a question for Evie? If you would like advice from Evie, fill out the form here or send your problem to askevie@ideapod.com. 

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Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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