The Teen Doctor

Answers to your questions about adolescents

Should I Choose A Friend Or A Boyfriend?

I'm Having Friend Conflict Over A Boyfriend

Dear Dr. G.,

This is my very first time asking someone online about an inner conflict I just can’t rap my head around. I’ve read some of your articles trying to find one relating to my problem in order to find answers but I haven’t found one that really fits me.

I’m currently in a very happy relationship that makes me feel complete in many levels. Nonetheless, there’s the bits and pieces of drama that I have to deal with from time to time. I’m dating what used to be my best friend's ex and the minute I told her she stopped talking to me. It’s going to be almost two months of her not speaking to me. I have to admit, it was very hard to not see her and hear from her the first weeks, but now I feel like I’ve just lost someone who didn’t really value a friendship I felt very strong about. To top this off, my other best friend sided with her, U, and now I’ve lost two of my very good girl friends over someone I’m madly in love with. College is around the corner, and I thought that dating the person wouldn’t be such a big deal considering that this sounds a lot like freshmen year of high school drama. I though we were all mature enough to move on with this situation but, apparently both of these girls won’t speak to me again until I break up with my partner. To make matters worse, my boyfriend is still friends with U. It’s very disappointing to see a friend give you their back, yet talk to your partner. In some ways it guess it makes sense since U and my boyfriend have been friends for about 2 years, however, would I be too controlling if I ask my partner to end the friendship they have because of the feeling of betrayal I sense from U? It’s hard not to be hurt when you find friends being fake, and it’s so hard to see my partner speak and hang out with someone who hurt me and still hurts me. I don’t know how to decide what to do. I need guidance from someone with more experience in these issues because I really don’t want to make ugly mistakes and argue with my boyfriend. Even though we’ve dated for a short amount of time, I can see a clear and beautiful future for us and I don’t like things like this getting in the way of good moments. Nevertheless, I can’t help my feelings of anger and disappointment when I see him hanging out with someone who I cared about a lot and gave me their back.

Thank you for reading,

A Torn Teen

Dear Teen,

You are in the midst of a very confusing and stressful situation and it is so clear why you are both distressed and unsure of what to do. In general, when we are feeling emotional, in love etc. we have a hard time making good and rational decisions. We often let our emotional mind take over to the exclusion of our rational mind.

Here is my advice to you:

First sit down and take several deep breaths. You may want to read what I am going to say a few times until it makes sense so I hope that you have a little time. I am aware that you have very deep feelings for this boyfriend but you are very young and you are in a state of transition with college ahead. I do NOT think that you should ask your boyfriend to end his relationship with your former friend. I am not a fan of cut-offs (ending relationships abruptly).

I suggest instead that you consider extricating yourself from the relationship with your boyfriend in a calm and gracious manner. There is no need to end things with him and never speak to him again. Contrary to popular opinion you can remain friends with him.

I further suggest that you attempt to repair your relationships with your girlfriends. Friendships serve us well throughout life and act as both a source of joy and as a buffer against life's struggles. Talk to your friends and listen carefully when they tell you why they are angry with you. This may be a wonderful opportunity to learn about yourself through the eyes of your female friends.

If you were older and at a different stage of your life my advice might very well have been very different but at this stage in your life I suggest that you take care of your friendships rather than getting lost in the arms of a boyfriend.

Please let me know what you think. I hope that this advice helps to see you through a tough situation.Good luck.

Dr. G.

See my website for more articles like this:

http://drbarbaragreenberg.com/

Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of adolescents and their well-intentioned but exhausted parents.

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