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home : columns : dear harriette May 13, 2021

3/27/2021 2:21:00 PM
New friend too curious about old flame

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have recently become good friends with a girl whose boyfriend and I used to date. We all went to the same college, so it isn't a strange coincidence that we know each other, but the thing is, I have a feeling that it still makes her uncomfortable. Sometimes we'll be chatting, and she'll ask me random questions about my past relationship with her boyfriend. She'll ask me about the things we used to argue about or if he was ever unfaithful to me. I have completely moved on from that relationship, and now I'm very happy with someone else, but I just wonder if she has some type of hidden agenda with me. I really like her, and I don't want to make things weird. My other friends think it's strange that she would even want to know the details of my short-lived relationship with her long-term boyfriend. What do you think? -- Friends or Foes

DEAR FRIENDS OR FOES: You have to establish boundaries with this new friend. Tell her you can understand that she would be curious about the relationship you had with her current boyfriend, but there is nothing to tell. You dated briefly a long time ago, and you haven't looked back since. You do not want to talk about your past relationship because there's really nothing to talk about. Don't answer if she asks again.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I don't enjoy spending time with my boyfriend's friends. My boyfriend is much older than me, and while I love him dearly, I knew immediately when we began dating that we had nothing in common. He grew up being fed from a silver spoon; he's a trust fund baby who wanted for nothing. I grew up with nothing. I love the fact that we come from completely different backgrounds and have been able to show each other so much.

My boyfriend is so humble and kind that you would never guess he was raised as a spoiled rich kid, but his friends embody everything that I've always resented about the rich. They have no respect for the working class. They have nothing better to discuss than the newest sports cars and real estate. He spends so much time with them that if I were never around them, I would probably rarely see my own boyfriend. I don't want to tell my boyfriend that I don't like his friends because I fear that would be the beginning of the end. What should I do? -- Rich Friends

DEAR RICH FRIENDS: Relationships are rarely just between two people. Normally they include others -- especially friends and family. The fact that your boyfriend loves spending time with people you can't stand means something. Can you live with it? You have to think about that. Over time, many couples reconfigure their friend groups. Is that something you two might do? You won't find out if you don't talk to him about your feelings and concerns. Don't judge his friends. Just share your discomfort and let him know that you want to figure out a way for both of you to have your friends, create new friends and build a life together that includes people who respect you both. This is something that you will figure out over time -- if you can bridge the divide of age and class. Honestly, this is one of the toughest challenges in a relationship. You must talk it through and figure out what values you share and how you two decide to go forward. Otherwise, it will be one-sided and unsatisfying.

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