Advice for a woman whose ex-boyfriend is hanging out with her older friends.

Advice on sticky friendship dilemmas.
July 13 2010 10:04 AM

Does My Ex Have Mommy Issues?

He's only 25. Why is he hanging out with my 52-year-old friend?

(Continued from Page 1)

For the record, I applaud your refusal to rush into marriage with a man you've known since, depending on your age, you were listening to the Hanson/the Jonas Brothers. Though I did find myself wondering if, despite her foul mood, Ashleigh was right about the wallpaper. (Floral?)

Sincerely,
Friend or Foe

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Dear Friend or Foe,

I've been dating "Joe," the guy of my dreams (he says I'm the girl of his) for more than two years. I love his family—well, most of his family. His sister "Caitlyn" is very much a drama queen. But I make my best effort to smile and show her the kindness I wish she'd extend to me.

A few months ago, Caitlyn's friend "Jeanine" moved into our apartment complex, and we've struck up a good friendship. Jeanine recently told me that Caitlyn has said very unpleasant things about me. For instance: I'm not the right girl for Joe; that he's "settling" for me; and that I purposely make myself sick to stay thin. (I have a chronic digestive problem.)

I, in turn, confided in Jeanine that Caitlyn has been saying that she's using me and is a scammer, etc. I don't believe what Caitlyn says and neither does Jeanine. But it's all so hurtful! Since Joe and I plan on getting married, I'm stuck with the woman. But Jeanine is now falling out with Caitlyn and doesn't know how to tell her that she doesn't wish to remain friends. How do I keep from getting caught in the crossfire?


Sincerely,
Trying to Keep the Peace

Dear TTKTP,

You may be trying to keep the peace, but—let's be honest—you're not trying all that hard. I know gossiping is fun. But what prevailed on you to inform Jeanine that Caitlyn considers her the next Bernie Madoff? Were you not a little worried that it would all come back at you at some later date in a hailstorm of fury? I'm not surprised to hear that Caitlyn and Jeanine are in the process of falling out. I also won't be surprised to hear that your future sister-in-law confronts you in a mad rage with the fact that you betrayed her trust. (My advice: Deny, deny, deny.)

This is not to defend Caitlyn, who sounds like a "right bitch"—to use my English husband's favorite term of derision. But if you plan on marrying into the family, do yourself a favor and, at least in the future, keep your mouth firmly shut. At the same time, you might gently nudge your fiancé to say some loving things about you to Caitlyn, if only so she grows acclimated to the fact that you're not going anywhere soon.

Bottom line: You're unlikely ever to be comparing tan lines with this woman. But assuming you're still young, you've got a lot of cranberry sauce to get through in the future. (Never mind Christmas pudding and Easter eggs.) Be smart, keep up the friendly demeanor and even phony smile, and don't give Caitlyn any further reasons to hate your guts—other than the fact that you love her brother, whom she possibly loves a little too much.

Sincerely,
Friend or Foe

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