New boyfriend, now I never see her

Last updated 05:00 26/07/2012

It's a common enough dilemma, a long-time single friend gets a boyfriend and suddenly your phone stops ringing. You don't see her for months. Have you been dumped for her fella?

Send your questions to, and remember to include a nickname if you don't want to be identified.

I feel a bit silly writing to you about this, but I have a problem with my best friend's boyfriend. This seems like a thing that would only bother teenagers but I am in my mid-40s.

My friend and I have known each other for more than 20 years and have seen each other through good times and bad times. We have managed to stay close during different times in our lives, such as when she was overseas for several years, and supported each other through trials and tribulations of life.

My husband and I took her under our wing when her marriage broke up and got her back on her feet again.

She has been single for several years but was in a good place, so we were very happy when she started talking about a guy she had met through her work.

We couldn't wait to meet him; we were so happy that she had found someone who seemed to appreciate her.

He seemed fine when we met him, but he certainly wasn't that keen on hanging out with us.Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting him to become my new best mate, but I thought he could show a bit of interest.

That was about six months ago and I have gone from seeing my friend every week to maybe seeing her three or four times since January. She is happy, I think, which is good, but I miss her. She never brings her boyfriend to see us and always has an excuse for why he is not there. She has completely changed her appearance and her hobbies to suit him and I feel like she almost looks down on us now.

Things have been a bit tough for us this year with health and money issues, but I have always tried to make time for her and do nice things for her like cook her meals etc. I feel a bit used, to be honest. I want her to be happy, I really do, and I know it's not about me, but how can I reconnect with her again?

Am I missing a great big sign that says she doesn't need my friendship any more?

Feeling used and lonely

Dear Used and Lonely
It must be very hard for you to make sense of this change in your friendship and you are clearly missing the closeness you once shared.  Hard as it is, I would encourage you to stay connected with your friend. 

There are a couple of possible reasons for the distancing.  The first is that your friend is just so absorbed in her new relationship she doesn't have so much interest or energy to maintain her friendships.  She is caught up in all the new experiences with her man and in forming that relationship she may be making some significant changes to how she wants to live her life.
The other possibility is a bit more worrying.  There are men who are so controlling in their relationships that they gradually isolate their partners from friends and existing interests.  In the guise of love and care, they start controlling what their partner wears, how they look, where they go and who they socialise with.  In the early stages this can be experienced as very attentive and exciting to have someone take so much interest and it may take time for the more sinister aspects of this level of control to show. 
In either case your friendship is needed and you have a long history of being through tough times. Do you think it would work to book a coffee date and let her know you are missing her? 

You may want to gently check out how important the friendship is to her and to let her know you would like to find a way to retain the friendship.  If it is the first scenario and you are just down the priority list due to her new love interest you may just need to be patient and accept her interests are elsewhere for a while. 

As  hurtful as it may be, some friendships do run a natural course and if she is really happy and safe in her new relationship you may need to consider it will not regain the closeness you had, but it seems a bit early for this conclusion. 

Do be alert to sensing her feeling like she has to involve her new man in everything, or seeking his permission.  Comments like 'but x doesn't like me doing...." are warning bells, and you may need to very gently stay friends and let her know you are concerned there may be some aspects of the new relationship that may not be ok.
You could also check out if there are other ways to stay in touch - maybe texting or Facebook could work for you both?
It is reasonable to feel sad and miss the lovely friendship you have enjoyed. 

I would encourage you and your husband to broaden your own support network and make sure you do have other friends to enjoy while you try and reconnect with your old friend.

For more advice and information on counselling, visit Relationships Aotearoa online or join them on Facebook.

We'd love to hear your take on this week's issue. Before you comment below, though, remember that this is a real-life situation. This reader has bravely shared their personal life with you; please show them respect by refraining from hurtful or abusive comments.

- Stuff

Post a comment
Jaime   #1   06:08 am Jul 26 2012

Why do you want to reconnect with someone so shallow who's obviously used you? Don't let her continue to use you, either, when the relationship ends and she's crying on your shoulder and eating your food. Forget about her and put your time and resources into true friends.

MJ   #2   08:23 am Jul 26 2012

Am in almost this exact same situation. I have no advice to share, and can only say I sympathise with the hurt. The writer has given some good calm practical advice though, and I think I might take some of it myself. Good luck!

Hard Arse   #3   08:42 am Jul 26 2012

When two people get together and start a relationship both people change, living habits, social habits, clothing etc etc, I suggest getting over it and act your age.. do the one on one thing with her or just build a bridge.

Fiora   #4   08:59 am Jul 26 2012

My three best friends all got married and I was dumped overnight. I was so hurt. Within ten years, they'd all got divorced and I was uddenly getting phone calls from them. But by this time, I'd made new 9permanently-single friends.

jonster   #5   09:11 am Jul 26 2012

The advice you got covered it all. I'd point out both men and women can be controlling in relationships as an addition to the advice you received. I have seen two friends whisked away by controlling women. One, at his partner's behest moved out of town, but he retained some contact and still does. The other is gone. Once his partner latched on everything happened on her agenda and when her children came along, those not fitting the picture, like those without children and/or not fitting the new social style of their upmarket suburb, were dumped. She plainly stated this to my partner so it is not paranoia. I say this as a warning of the reality you may face. As advised, try and keep up the limited contact but you may in the end have to read that writing on the wall.

sparky   #6   09:13 am Jul 26 2012

Hey, Just give your friend time. If she is happy then play it cool you never know whats round the corner especially once the "honey moon phase" wears off. I have had a friend do the same. My friend is happy so I have just learn't to make new friendships with other people. Be there for her, and you make the "dates" to catch up for awhile. See how it goes.

Robert   #7   09:28 am Jul 26 2012

My best friend dumped me too, but under very different circumstances eg. I was an idiot. I wish I could fix it but I do not know how.

scorned   #8   09:35 am Jul 26 2012

A common pattern unfortunately. A few years back when I was a lot younger and more naïve I thought I met the guy of my dreams, but like the respondent to this question states he slowly controlled what I did, who and who I wasn’t allowed to see, forbid me to go travelling the list went on. I lost a lot of friends because of this guy and felt miserable over my regrets about what he stopped me from enjoying. Ive learnt now in a relationship it is important to have your own interests and your own friends but its also great if you can share these two things together as well.

Roberta   #9   09:37 am Jul 26 2012

I'm in a similar situation - I recently met an old friends new girlfriend for the first time and she made it very clear she didn't like me or want to know me. I think she is unsure how I fit in to his life and I therefore make her feel a bit insecure. We are all in our 40's.

I've decide to just back off and wait and see if he contacts me but it does make me sad as he's the closest I have to a brother.

I'm a positive person therefore I'm sure things will all work out fine eventually.

Lucas04   #10   09:46 am Jul 26 2012

"controlling what their partner wears, how they look, where they go and who they socialise with" ... sounds like what most women do to their men, but nobody seems to consider this a 'worrying trend'.

Maybe the 'friend' is just re-inventing herself, and that's it. There really might not be much more to it except for the fact that she's having fun, and has managed to escape the life that she had before. That life included the author.

I haven't seen some of my best friends in months, but when we do get time to catch up, it's great. I'd say the author needs her friend more than her friends needs her now - and that realisation that the author isn't needed is simply hurting the ego a bit.

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