minoanmiss: Minoan women talking amongst themselves (Ladies Chatting)
minoanmiss ([personal profile] minoanmiss) wrote in [community profile] agonyaunt2017-07-26 02:44 am

Annie's Mailbox: Fiancee Disapproves Of Female Facebook Friends

Dear Annie: I'm a middle-aged man who has been divorced for four years. I am currently a caregiver for my mother, so I don't get out much. I've taken to many social media sites as a way to meet people with similar interests and have developed several relationships, purely platonic, with women I've met online. I also started an on-again, off-again romance with
an old flame. We live two hours apart. Six months ago, we decided to become exclusive and work on a future together.

The problem started when one of my female Facebook friends posted on my page and my girlfriend wanted to know who she was. From there, the floodgates opened. When I told her that many of my Facebook friends are women, she flipped out and said it was inappropriate for a guy in a committed relationship to have female Facebook friends. I tried to reassure her that she had nothing to worry about, and frankly, I resent being told who my friends can be. After several days of this endless argument, I tried to be more sensitive to her needs and unfriended several of these women, hoping that would be the end of it. It wasn't.

The other day, I greeted a lady friend with the nickname "Sunshine." It's a name I use frequently, and it has no romantic overtones. We've been fighting about it ever since. She says she should be the only female friend I need. When I suggest this is about her insecurities, she says I'm seeking attention from other women.

She's a great girl, but I'm having serious reservations about committing to someone who is determined to find smoke so she can accuse me of starting fires. I have no history of cheating and zero interest. Any advice? ¡ª Faithful and Upset

Dear Faithful: We agree that your girlfriend seems insecure and controlling and will likely demand that you give up all of your female friends at some point. However, we believe she also is responding to the apparent fact that the majority of your friends are women. Your girlfriend attributes it to your desire for female attention. Please examine your behavior and ask yourself whether she has a point.
lilysea: Serious (Default)

[personal profile] lilysea 2017-07-26 08:46 am (UTC)(link)
I think a man having female Facebook friends is 100% okay, subject to the following caveats:

1. If one of the man's ex-partners was abusive, the girlfriend has a right to ask that the man not be friends with [man's abusive ex] on Facebook.

2. If a particular woman is the girlfriend's abusive ex, the girlfriend has a right to ask that the man not be friends with [girlfriend's abusive ex] on Facebook.

3. It's also okay to ask that the boyfriend not friend the girlfriend's family members on Facebook if she's not ok with that for whatever reason.

4. Exchanging flirty *private* messages on Messenger *may* constitute emotional infidelity, if one or both of the people messaging think there is a chance it could lead to actual physical intimacy. This isn't cut and dried, but it is an okay topic for discussion between partners.

5. Flirty public banter on Facebook that is clearly not serious should not be a problem. As an example, some of my straight male friends exchange flirty public banter with each other on Facebook - they clearly have no intention of progressing to physical intimacy, they're just expressing mutual admiration and/or good-natured teasing.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-07-26 11:19 am (UTC)(link)
I can think of one partial exception to #1, and that's if there's a child involved and if one or both parents are using FB as a place to put photos and news of the child. Staying in touch with an abusive ex is generally not healthy, but adding in a child makes it not about the relationship with the ex. Children under 13 aren't allowed to make their own accounts on FB (or other social media sites), even with parental permission, due to US laws.

If there's a child in case #2, that's more complicated, but as the girlfriend would be the other parent in that case, the decision really should be hers. Well, unless the abusive ex is a close relative of the guy's such as a sibling.
kutsuwamushi: (feminism)

[personal profile] kutsuwamushi 2017-07-26 10:24 am (UTC)(link)
I hate the idea that mixed gender friendships can't exist. It reminds me too much of the friendzone--which treats male friendships with women as a means to an end because women aren't interesting enough to be actual friends with.

It's complicated by the fact that many men believe the same thing; it isn't as though men never say they're just friends with a woman who they're pursuing. But that's by far not all men, and it's unfair and controlling to demand that someone end a friendship because of the fear of infidelity. It's also not kind to the women on the other end.

I wouldn't stay with someone who demanded that I end friendships unless it was over an issue like abuse.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-07-26 11:35 am (UTC)(link)
I really don't like the idea of someone ordering someone else to end a friendship.

I have, though, over the years, known a lot of guys who sincerely thought that they had to chop parts of their lives and/or personalities off to maintain relationships. Cases where the girlfriend disapproves of a particular hobby (usually tabletop RPGs back in the 1990s) or isn't interested in anyone who isn't a practicing Christian, things like that.

In the early 1990s, I got something like $80 worth of RPG books for about $20 from a guy who was giving up playing because his new girlfriend said he had to stop and get rid of all his stuff.

People do really weird things to hold onto relationships that they maybe ought to be thinking hard about getting out of.

A slightly different situation-- I had a male friend who was all set to give up RPGs permanently because he thought his fiancee might disapprove. He didn't ask her, and he'd been spending several hours a week playing while he was in grad school. She knew he had and simply assumed that they'd find a way for him to keep playing after they married and he moved to the state where she lived (she had a job that could support both of them; he had just finished grad school).
lilysea: Serious (Default)

[personal profile] lilysea 2017-07-26 02:12 pm (UTC)(link)
In the early 1990s, I got something like $80 worth of RPG books for about $20 from a guy who was giving up playing because his new girlfriend said he had to stop and get rid of all his stuff.

That's tragic! :(

"Your mate John's behaviour skeeves me out, so if John is going to be in your roleplaying group, can you please have roleplaying games at [location that is not the house we share as a couple]"

is a reasonable request;

"Give up roleplaying games" is not.
jadelennox: Waelwulf is the beloved of Moradin (Playmobil figurine) (religion: waelwulf)

[personal profile] jadelennox 2017-07-26 03:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Even "your roleplaying games is an expensive habit we can't afford / is something you prioritize over childcare / makes you act like a wanker for three days after every gaming session, and if you won't or can't fix that, then it's RPGs or me" is a reasonable request. But "give up RPGs" or "give up friends of my sex" are not.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-07-26 11:40 am (UTC)(link)
I think the never interact with other women thing is as big a red flag for serious trouble down the road as the never interact with other men thing would be. It's just that we have cultural assumptions about men being untrustworthy around women, so we're kind of culturally primed to think that women have to police their boyfriends and husbands to keep them out of trouble.

Is it that hard to find someone to date/marry that people pay this sort of price eagerly?
redbird: congnitive hazard, one of those drawings that can't work in three dimensions (cognitive hazard)

[personal profile] redbird 2017-07-26 12:07 pm (UTC)(link)
I think the key point here is "determined to find smoke so she can accuse me of starting fires": these are two people who don't trust each other. from what LW writes, he shouldn't trust her, but my advice would have been to either break it off now, or try to figure out if she's being controlling in other areas, and if not, sit down with a good counselor and see if they can build trust.

That said, what kind of person advises "your girlfriend is secure and controlling, so give in to her unreasonable demand this time"?
shirou: (cloud)

[personal profile] shirou 2017-07-26 01:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Is this a generational thing? I've never encountered (irl) the idea that one shouldn't have friends of the opposite gender. I have friends of both gender, as does -- I think -- everyone I know.
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)

[personal profile] fairestcat 2017-07-26 03:14 pm (UTC)(link)
It's definitely in part a generational thing. Not a strict cut-off, but in my experience the younger someone is the more likely they are to have opposite gender friends and a mixed gender friend group.

It was certainly the norm in my high school, but I get the impression from people older than me (37) that was not necessarily the case for them.
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)

[personal profile] rosefox 2017-07-26 04:45 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm 39 and both my parents had plenty of friends of various genders, so I think some part of it must be cultural as well as generational.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-07-26 06:23 pm (UTC)(link)
It's part generational and part cultural. The more socially conservative the environment in which one lives, the more separation of the sexes is expected.

Back in the 1990s, my grandfather was diagnosed with brain tumors and only a few months to live. I had time off to visit, but I couldn't (and still can't) drive. My husband couldn't get time off from work. It was three hours by car or sixteen by bus, so a male friend who had time off right then offered to drive me up for an overnight. My grandparents were deeply uncomfortable with it until the guy mentioned that he played cards (the Babylon 5 collectible card game, but we didn't mention that part) with my husband. Suddenly it was okay because he was Scott's friend rather than mine.

It hadn't occurred to me or to my friend that that would be an issue.
xenacryst: Frozen: young Elsa and Anna making magic (Frozen sisters)

[personal profile] xenacryst 2017-07-26 05:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Welp. That'd pretty much completely end my social life, online and off. Actually, especially offline, given that 90% of the circus community is female (and a significant portion of the rest is gay, trans, etc.). Facebook might be the safest, though many of the male-identifying folks I know there don't use the service nearly as much as others. I find Annie's implication that having a majority female friends circle is, essentially, "playing the field" a rather narrow and, frankly, demeaning and offensive notion. Apparently the fiancee believes this, too, in spades.

So yes, lotta red flags here. I think that, in most cases (agree with some of the thoughts earlier), trying to have your SO cut off their existing friendships is a recipe for disaster - that kind of behavior doesn't have rules and doesn't know a boundary, so there's always going to be something that the SO is doing "wrong." Fiancee might be insecure, but policing friendships like this is not the way to address that.