I started dating my best friend’s brother
Q. I have officially seen my best friend’s older brother for four months now. We were together for about six months a year ago, but I cut it off at that point because it was starting to feel more serious to me and I just wasn’t ready to tell my friend about it. I felt devious and disgusting to finally hide things from him with him.
Recently, I told him everything. I can see a future with him because his actions match his words and we just click. We have been spending a lot of time together since the COVID-19 hit, but I still make time to see my best friend often. She gets distant and shuts me off if I talk about her brother and the relationship – or if he even posts a photo of us, she takes offense. (Eg I sent her a lunch and he posted about it and she sent it to me asking me why I hadn’t sent her lunch.) That really puts me in conflict. I love them both so much and I don’t want to lose either of them.
How do you get that to him? She’s the kind of person who is stubborn and really represses how she feels, so a real conversation about everything could be very difficult. I’m trying to do the right thing here, but it will be difficult if she constantly makes me feel like I have to choose between the two. I feel like each of them has a hold on each of my arms and they’re constantly pulling me in every direction. How can I handle this?
A. If you are sure that a great conversation with your friend would be counterproductive and cause more conflict, do your best to be as honest as possible during these individual times of negativity and jealousy.
She asked why you didn’t send her lunch. Hope you said, “Because we’re not dating. I also hope you reminded her that you are celebrating your friendship with her. All the time. These times will be different from those with his brother. Maybe they’re harder to post on social media.
Go for extreme clarity. Like in “Maybe you’re kidding when you mention I’m sending you lunch, but I hope you know it can’t be a competition.” I want to be able to show one of you how much I care without making the other feel looked down upon.
Remember, this relationship is not new to you. You met this person a year ago, so it’s more about picking up where you left off and getting serious. If you’ve really told your friend everything, she’s just starting to understand this news and your story (and by the way, because of COVID-19, it might be a weird time for her to have to deal with whatever).
She also understands that this Is change your relationship with her. Please don’t pretend you don’t. Talking about loved ones now takes on a whole new tone. It’s not all bad, but it’s different. She might not want to hear certain things about her brother. Give him time to get used to this new dynamic.
Don’t assume the worst of anyone while they are adjusting. Ask him what his limits are and be clear about yours.
It’s time to sit her ass up and say, “OK, is that the initial disappointment or the fact that we’re a couple that put a wrinkle in your panties?” My guess would be the last. The big brother always got what he wanted and NOW HE STOLE MY BEST FRIEND. You’ve entered a sibling rivalry that will force you to choose sides, unless you can get him to discuss it with you.
Maybe she just needs more time to adjust, but I would give her space and also avoid talking too much about her brother at the moment. When you’re together, be her friend. If she isn’t fun to be around, you don’t have to be with her. Be kind and understanding, but don’t take bullshit. If she really is your best friend, she will come.
“I’m trying to do the right thing here, but it will be difficult if she constantly makes me feel like I have to choose between the two.” Say this and drop the chips. You can’t control his reaction. Is she single? I can’t think of another reason why someone would be so picky about this.
Everyone is entitled to their feelings. Your friend is probably feeling a little weird that you are dating her brother. If talking about her brother makes her uncomfortable, limit those discussions. Tell her that you feel her uncomfortable trying not to talk about him too much, but that she can ask you anything and that you’ll be honest when she does. Hope she just needs some time to get used to the situation.
“How can I get this to him?” He’s the kind of person who’s stubborn and really represses how she feels … “ She has a problem, you don’t. All you have to do is be yourself. Trying to accommodate him means that you diminish your relationship with your boyfriend. Plus, just ignoring her will exhaust her due to her own drama and eventually she will give up. Best friends don’t have to be forever. If she can’t be happy that you find happiness, then she isn’t a best friend. It’s time to upgrade.
Watch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast on loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to [email protected].