Today's letter is not as funny as yesterday's letter. But that's to be expected. Let's get to it.
Q: I've been stewing over this issue for a few days now, but it's getting to the point where I have to make a decision ASAP. I'm in a strange situation; let me explain.
A few months ago, when my best friend from home was on spring break from college, she came back to visit with her boyfriend and one of her closest friends from school (let's call him George). George and I hit it off immediately and soon began dating. We were still finishing college at the time and he was going to school in Ohio while I was here in Boston. After graduation, he went back to his parents' house for the summer, in Los Angeles. We didn't want to be in a long distance relationship, but that's the way things turned out. To compromise, however, we have been in an open relationship. I have been to Los Angeles twice this summer to see him (both times on my own dollar), and before the summer, he had come to visit me several times because he spent a fair amount of time in New York. At the end of the summer we are breaking up because he is moving to Europe to go to graduate school, and we didn't want to even attempt the strain of a long distance open relationship between continents. Of course we'll continue to care for each other and talk, but not as much as we do now, in hopes that we can remain on good terms to keep the option of a future relationship open.
However, the distance is not the problem. The most recent time I was in Los Angeles, George was in the bathroom and received a text message. I told him, and he asked me to respond to it. While I was in his text messages, I happened to see that my best friend who had introduced us had texted him a day or two before, saying that she was excited about setting him up with her roommate when he visits her (since graduation, she has moved to Chicago, and George is going to visit her for a few days on his way to Europe). I then saw that George and the roommate (who he has never met) have been texting rather suggestively, and it seems clear that they are planning on hooking up while he is in Chicago. (My point here is that I was NOT snooping; seeing the texts was an accident.)
At this point, I don't know what to do. I don't know why my best friend would try to set my boyfriend up with someone else, even if we are in an open relationship. I was under the assumption that we wouldn't make an effort to hook up with other people, but if it happened, it would be OK. The fact that they were planning this while I was visiting him makes me totally furious. However, if I talk to George about it, he will get angry and think I'm being jealous and annoying, and while jealousy is a small part of it, I mostly just feel marginalized that the two people I am closest to seem to be conspiring against me. In a perfect world, I would talk to my best friend and ask her why she would do this and not mention it to George, but she and George talk about everything together, and I'm sure she would tell him that I brought it up. Also, both of them are in pretty bad emotional places right now -- my best friend just got dumped and George doesn't want to go to Europe -- and I don't want to make them even more upset and angry.
What should I do? I'm breaking up with George, so practically this issue doesn't matter, but in principle it does. My best friend shouldn't try to set up my boyfriend with someone else, and my boyfriend shouldn't be lining up someone to sleep with when he visits Chicago. I'm at a loss between doing what is easy (not saying anything) and doing what is right, but I'm afraid it might unnecessarily hurt my relationship with George.
– On the Fence, Brookline
A: OTF, my head is spinning. You've been in an open relationship for just a few months with a guy who lives across the country and has plans to move abroad. And you're surprised he's lining up a fling in Chicago?
You just said you're breaking up with George. I hope that's true. Your letter seems a bit wishy-washy, which is understandable, but itís time to let George go.
George doesnít sound like a bad guy -- but heís in no position to commit to you. As long as heís around, youíre not going to pursue other options. Your ďopen relationshipĒ is more open for him than it is for you. Letís try to make that break-up with George real, OK? Iím not saying thereís no potential for the future, but thereís little potential now. Thatís what weíre worried about here Ė the now.
If youíre on the fence about anyone, it should be your friend. You feel betrayed because of the set-up. Thatís fair. You must tell your friend how you feel -- that it stung to find out George was being set up with someone new without your knowledge. I know you donít want your feelings of betrayal to get back to George, but really, who cares what George thinks?
Iím not so sure your friend was wrong to initiate a set-up for George. There was no real rule broken. But itís time to find out whether your friend can be a friend to both of you, or if you need some space from your friend, too.
Please be empathetic when you talk to this friend. Balancing friendships with two people in a couple is complicated. Often, youíre the bad guy for no good reason. Maybe George asked to be set up. Maybe George asked your friend to keep the set-up a secret from you. Maybe your friend feels awful about having to keep you out of the loop. Maybe your friend would set you up with someone, too. You have no idea how your friend feels until you have an honest conversation.
Take George out of the equation. Try not to consider what heís doing and what he thinks. Heís about to become your ex -- not an evil ex, but an ex nonetheless.
You canít save your relationship right now, but try to save your friendship if you can.
Readers? Did anyone do anything wrong here? Is the letter writer making George more important than he actually is? How should the writer deal with George/the friend? Share here.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.