Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Loyalty in Friendship

Hello Grey Campers!

So...I’m not speaking to my best friend. When I’m very upset about something, I find that it’s best to keep quiet, for fear that I will say something more cutting and cruel than is called for. In order to keep my decidedly sharp tongue at bay, I’m going to share my frustration with you, release a little steam, and, hopefully get a little support.

My best friend, Amber, is currently dating a woman she previously cheated on her ex-girlfriend with. It’s a mouthful, I know, but welcome to the land of lezzie drama. Amber was dating Sydney, and started seeing Cam on the side. You with me? So now, Amber and Sydney are broken up, and, after messing around with a few other women, Amber has ended up back on the Cam train, and wants to give that a try. I don’t judge, so I support her in this relationship, and do my best to be there for her. But the situation has its problems.

1.     Amber and Cam aren’t “girlfriends.” Cam is too afraid to commit to Amber after what happened before, so they are not officially “in” a relationship.
2.     Cam blames Amber for the way that their relationship began (i.e., for the fact that Amber was with another woman when she started seeing Cam).
3.     Cam, as a result of the circumstances of their previous relationship, is having a hard time trusting Amber now, and is sort of back and forth and all over the place as to whether or not she can really “be” with Amber.

To make matters even more fun, Cam is insecure in general. I’m going to be honest, and say that I don’t like Cam very much. She is manipulative, and continuously makes Amber feel guilty about their past, when, as far as I’m concerned, they are equally to blame for the trust issues in their relationship. Cam knew that Amber was in a relationship with Sydney when she started seeing her, and she continued to see Amber for 8 MONTHS! “The other woman” knows what she’s signing up for when she enters a relationship in this capacity, and she plays a part in the deception taking place. So really, she has no right to be angry, or to put all of the fault on the cheater. That’s my opinion.

So, I don’t care for Cam. The thing is, I have never met her. Why not? To put it plainly, Cam is a Mom, and Amber and I are both afraid that if Cam meets me, she won’t approve of Amber’s friendship with me. (I am not a Mom. I’m significantly younger and thinner than Cam [Amber’s younger too], and...let’s just say I have no problem finding a date on a Friday night). I have seen Cam out, she has seen me, but so far, no introductions have been made.

So now, to the part where I stop talking to Amber. Amber and I have only been friends for about six months, but in that time, we have become very close. She’s my closest gay friend for sure, and we talk and text everyday, and tell each other everything. She is one of the most important people in my life. Yesterday, we were texting, and I expressed anxiety about meeting Cam, because I’m afraid that Cam’s insecurity will cause problems in my relationship with Amber. I was looking for some reassurance from Amber, looking for her to give me some sign that, no matter what happens with Cam, she won’t ever ditch me, cast me aside, or stop speaking to me on the say so of an insecure girlfriend. This has happened to me a few times before—a male or female friend of mine will start dating a girl, and the girlfriend will feel threatened by my relationship with my friend, and my friend will then stop speaking to me until he/she breaks up with the insecure girl—and it’s a terrible feeling. I’m never able to regain the closeness I had with the friend, because I feel betrayed, undervalued, and cast aside. I don’t want this to happen with Amber. We’re a great fit, and we each get a lot out of the friendship.

Amber didn’t reassure me; instead, she started talking in circles, saying things like “we’re not even sure she’s going to be insecure about it,” and “we’ll deal with it if it happens.” Finally, I laid out what I needed to hear from her. “I need you to tell me that you’re not going to ditch me if Cam doesn’t like me,” I texted. The response was far from satisfactory.

One day last week, I spent all day (from 10 am to 8 pm) talking and texting back and forth with Amber about Cam, comforting her and supporting her when Cam said she needed space, counseling her when Cam began trying to manipulate and guilt her. I was her shoulder, her ear, and her rock, all over a woman I don’t care for at all. The day before that, I helped Amber plan an elaborate romantic evening for her and Cam. I have always been there for Amber, and always been honest with her, and yet it seems clear now that she would cast me aside for Cam, even though she hasn’t said so in so many words. And that hurts more than you know.

So what do I do? I texted her a couple of times yesterday, a few of hours after our conversation about my meeting Cam, to tell her that I needed to talk to her, and that it was really important. She didn’t respond until this morning. (If I take even an hour responding to Amber’s texts, she gives me shit about it!) She has texted me four times since this morning, but I don’t know what to say. I’m angry at her for something that she hasn’t even done yet, but I know she will.

There’s not a woman in the world who could come into my life and so command my heart that I would give up my friends. Friends are better than family in many ways to me—they are chosen family. I guess I just need to find more people who feel the same way. What about you, Grey people? What do your friends mean to you? Would you ditch a close friend at the say so of your significant other?

I can’t compete with Cam. No matter how much I love Amber, I don’t lick her vagina, and I don’t keep her warm at night. But really I shouldn’t have to compete, should I? I don’t think that friends and lovers shouldn’t occupy the same space in a person’s heart. One should never edge the other out. I love Amber—she’s got her own place in my heart. But I guess I’ll just have to sit here, waiting to see if she’ll make room in hers for me.

Peace and Love and Bugs Named Doug,


  1. First, let me say that i FULLY agree with >>>"as far as I’m concerned, they are equally to blame for the trust issues in their relationship."

    Second, friendship and relationships can be SO tricky to balance. I agree that friendships and romantic relatnshps shouldnt necessarily be placed on a hierarchy. Love your friends AND your partner fully. But the nature of th commitments and actions that come along with the 2 types of love are different. Intimate relatnshps often come with more control issues and "rules" that can force really close friendships to change in order to keep the boundaries and the peace at home. Shit is hard to deal with. Im goin through it now too actually.

  2. As Chanel said, and you stated in your post, they both share the blame. How does Cam place the blame on Amber, when she knowingly got into a relationship with someone who was already in one. She can't point a finger at all.
    As far as the friendship/relationship and both of you being able to have a place in Amber's heart, I agree that it should be that way, but I have found that most times it isn't. I have a friend that I was very close to before she got into a relationship. When she got into this relationship (that lasted 5 years) she pretty much stopped talking to me. Her then girlfriend would tell her that she needs to call me or hang out with me, but she was so wrapped up in her that she couldn't see that. They broke up because the girlfriend cheated, and about a week after that happened, she started calling me and reaching out.
    I am saddened by the fact that it took a breakup for her to reach out to me. Thought that she had learned from that experience, but she is now in a relationship and I haven't heard much from her.
    I hope that this doesn't turn out to be the case for you and Amber. No one wants to be the "rebound" friend.

  3. My bffs and I have been tight for nearly 25 years. We have come through so much, and I do not take them for granted. I support them regardless of what they do, and I'm always there if they need me. And vice versa.

    However, there is only so much I can do when it comes to certain aspects of their relationships. When they hurt, I hurt. I offer advice from my standpoint, but I can't ever truly know what takes place between significant others. One of my bffs is going through some serious shit with her hubby and it's been going on for most of their marriage. She has always cried on my shoulder and I have always done what I could to make her feel better. But the issues between them have never been resolved and they just keep resurfacing like a boil. It pains me to see her hurt because at this point, she's willing to be treated like shit in order to keep her marriage together.

    I had to tell her during this go 'round (#5, I think) that it would be better if she never shared any more details about the issues between her husband and her because it was upsetting me. I think she is strong enough to carry on with out him, but she loves him and wants her marriage to work out (even though he has been CLEAR that he doesn't want it, or her).

    I can't bear to think that a woman I've known for 25 years is as weak as she's demonstrating, and it hurts me that she doesn't want the chance at being with someone who will treat her far better than her husband does. She wants him regardless as to how he treats her, and she's not trying to make sincere changes in her situation. It's a matter of time before the same thing happens again...and again...and again. So I don't want to hear it. She respects my wishes and we don't talk about it...and there's no discomfort. We're still and we'll always be ace boon koons.

    My advice? Feed Amber from a long-handled spoon right now. Be there, but don't always be there. Give her some space; this is something she's going to have to learn the hard way. She's got to choose, and if she's smart, she'll recognize the situation for what it is. But if you think for one second that she'll choose Cam over you, then that's your cue to start backing off. Not away, just not so close.

    Just my $.02.

  4. Chanel: Thanks for the "ditto" on the blame game. It's so frustrating that Cam blames Amber so much. I agree that friendships often have to change in order to accommodate the boundaries of an intimate relationship, but that's a far cry from ceasing to speak to me simply because your girlfriend thinks I'm too young, too attractive, and too close to you, you know?

    Hersandhers: I have been in that situation with friends too, and it royally sucks! You said it perfectly; I don't want to be the "rebound," and I don't deserve it. So I hope she doesn't do it to me, because, as much as I try to be the bigger person, I would have a hard time forgiving that.

    Amaya: Thanks for the long-handled spoon advice. That's a great metaphor. I never texted her back today--I'll just wait until tomorrow :-)

  5. I feel like Cam doesn't get that to become involved with someone after being their 'other woman' isn't smart to begin with. Remember how you got there? Who is to say that the person won't cheat on you as well. She can't blame Amber for the way the relationship came to exist, she fully agreed to it when Amber was unavailable.

    Maybe that's what she likes. To be the side chick, to not have to worry about committing to anyone. She can have her cake and eat it to. Play relationship for a few hours and then go back to being single. Being Amber's side girl isn't why she doesn't trust her, she doesn't trust her because she can't trust her own self to be faithful.

    Most people that are afraid someone will do something to them are only afraid because they're doing that something as well. She's not afraid of committing, she just doesn't want to commit.

    As far as your situation. You and Amber are friends, and as her friend you seem to have her best interest at heart. If she doesn't want to understand that then let her learn the hard way.

    No friend should be competing with their friends girl, I don't care if the girl can give head while standing on her hands. Like the old saying goes, relationships come and go.

    I hope everything works out for you and your friend.

  6. First, I would like to say that I think you have some feelings for Amber beyond friendship... maybe you should consider that.

    Although I am a firm believer that true friendships last long after weak relationships have ended, I do believe that when you are in a relationship, your partner comes first. I don't feel it is right for you to fault her for not reassuring you in the way you are expecting. Sex or not, this is someone she is emotionally invested in and it is better that she not provide you with a guarantee of friendship that she might not be able to fulfill.

    When you put someone in the position of ultimatum, often, you lose.

    You mentioned you have only known her for six months. Although you can get to know a lot about someone in that short amount of time, truth of matter is that you have not been in her life for too long and you might have different expectations of the friendship.

    I have been in relationships where I did not like one of my partners friends, but I would never put my partner in the position of having to choose between us in any form or fashion. If/when we were all together, I would be just as polite, respectful and accepting as I would with anyone else. Further, if I ever had an issue where my partner didn't care for one of my friends, I kept them apart if they could not get along.

    I believe your best course of action would be to remain being a good friend.. be supportive of her and the relationship. If/when you meet Cam, be just as friendly and welcoming as you have been with any of the other friends. Stop putting weight and pressure on the fact that things may go wrong, all you are doing is throwing a wrench into the situation - especially when there may be nothing to worry about in the first place.

  7. Thanks for the perspective, Missextraordinary; I hadn't really thought specifically about what makes Cam tick, and what her motives might be. I just get a bad feeling, you know?!

    Much2inspired: You are very perceptive! I thought about adding more info about me and Amber, but the post was getting long, so I opted to leave it out. My friendship with Amber started out ambiguously. We both had feelings for one another at one point in time, but things didn't really line up, so we moved on, and we're both dating other people now. Nothing sexual has ever happened between us, so we try not to let old feelings get in the way of our friendship, and, for the most part, I think we succeed, but it does seep in sometimes, and we deal with it as it comes. It's one of the pitfalls of having lesbian friends!

    I also agree that your partner should come first in your life, but not to the exclusion of others. I think that friendships actually make romantic relationships stronger, as no one person can ever give you everything you need in life, and when a partner practices what I call "isolating behavior," it sends up red flags for me. So it is partially that being shut out doesn't feel good as a friend, but it's also that Cam's insecurity is often the first sign of "isolating behavior," (which ostensibly means that a partner attempts to cut the other person off from friends and family, and attempts to manipulate and control that person by playing on her emotional vulnerability) and it's important for Amber to have a support system to help her keeps things balanced as she tries to tackle the nuances of sustaining an honest relationship with her former mistress. Do you know where I'm coming from?