In November 2005, shortly after my 21st birthday, I was given the order to vacate my on-base dormitory room, paving the way for me to move into my first-ever apartment. It was good times living in that loft apartment in Downtown Valdosta, Georgia. Back then, I had a colleague that always came over to “hang out”…as in play my PS2, surf on my Internet, or watch my cable…sometimes to occasionally eat my food. On one of those days he came over, I asked him: “Man, you’re married to one of the finest women on base. Why are you hanging out at my spot?” I’ll never forget his answer. He said “It’s my mother-in-law. She’s driving me crazy. When I was single, my greatest enemy was my girlfriend’s girlfriends but now that I’m married, it’s my wife’s mother”. That brings me to the third contribution in The Single Guy’s Perspective series: the girlfriend’s girlfriend.
For a single guy who is dating or involved in a budding romance with a woman, one of the things he must contend with is that particular woman’s friends. For the most part, a woman’s friends usually aren’t a major hindrance to the progress of the relationship or dating situation. Typically, when you meet them and present yourself as safe, respectable, and wholesome, they’re usually your biggest fans. However, for some women, there is that one friend. You can easily scope them out if you read the signs. She’s usually bitterly single and extremely close—like thisclose—to the woman the guy is dating. This particular woman usually gives the appearance that she’s a fan of your budding romance with her friend but underneath that façade is a hidden agenda. In some cases, she’s the living embodiment of “misery loves company”.
My example takes me back to the Spring of 2006. I was still on an Air Force assignment in Valdosta. I met and started dating a woman who was a student at the local university in the town. She and I hit it off well in the beginning: we had really good chemistry. Those first several weeks were spectacular. We seemingly went out every Friday and Saturday night…movies, bowling, roller skating. We even had a weekly routine where we ate lunch together every Wednesday at this spot called Two Friends Café. Now that I think of it, we got really close really fast: when she wasn’t busy with her studies and I wasn’t busy with Air Force stuff, we were usually together. Everything seemed really good with her and I until that evening she invited me over to her dorm for a game night. I remember it well…mostly because I detailed it in Triumphs & Tribulations VI. It was 8 of us there: me, her, another couple, one of her female classmates, two other guys, and her roommate. Over the course of our early dating, she had told me that her roommate was her longtime best friend…or as she put it “almost like a sister”. She said they did all kinds of things together in their free time outside of school…shopping, salons, clubs, girls’ getaways, and the like. I heard a lot about her but that night was the first time I had ever met her. It was her first words to me that made me somewhat uncomfortable: “so you’re the guy who’s stolen my girlfriend away from me”. It didn’t seem as if she was saying it in a joking tone or sarcastic manner but I shrugged it off. A couple of weeks later, me and the woman I was dating had made plans for a weekend trip to the Golden Isles. Apparently, she told her friend and the next time I was in her presence, she mentioned not being invited on the weekend trip to the beach. I kinda ignored it, thinking she was just joking as she laughed as she said it. But, the more me and the woman I was dating progressed, the more I was on the receiving end of snide remarks from her roommate/best friend. Then came a turning point: the Silver Flag TDY. It was a last-minute notice…like I get notified at 10pm to be ready for a 5:30am bus. In the rush of that situation, I didn’t even think of the courtesy call to let her know I was out of pocket for a week and that we’d have to cancel the plans we had for that upcoming weekend to go to Atlanta. It didn’t register into my head until we got to Tyndall AFB. And that’s when I found myself in a Sprint black hole with absolutely no cell signal. I had to use my wingman’s cell phone to call and let her know I was “field training”. She didn’t seem upset and I told her I’d call her as soon as I got back the following week. After Silver Flag, we return back to Valdosta and I call…no answer. I shot a couple of texts…no answer. I think I called like 15 times over 4 days, left voicemails and texts…got no response. It was like I was getting the silent treatment. When we did finally talk, she said that her friend told her to make me sweat it out a few days. For me, that was the final straw. All the remarks I had taken from her friend over those three months, I could easily shake those off. But for her friend to tell her to ignore my calls and texts…that was out of bounds. So I told her that I felt like her friend was sabotaging what we had going on. I told her that I felt like her friend was jealous that we were spending so much time together…time that would’ve otherwise been spent doing all those girly things they did before I arrived on the scene. She disagreed but saw that I was upset so she suggested we all sit down to talk it out. I was pointed in my questions to her friend and I backed them up with every instance in which I felt like she was trying to sabotage my dating situation, whether it was in words or actions. It didn’t take too long before a pretty heated exchange ensued. She went damn near ballistic on me and in my calmest tone, I basically told her that I would never intentionally try to come between them and their friendship but I did expect her to respect our growing situation. I may have stretched it a little bit by using the word “hater”. That’s when she accused me of being like a “typical military guy”, following that up by saying “See girl, he’s doing the same thing [military guy she once dated] did to me…they ain’t good for $#!+”. At this point, I felt disrespected on two ends: (1) some chick who didn’t even know me outside of my first name accusing me of being just like somebody else because we wore the same uniform and (2) the woman I was dating just sat there and let her say all of that and she didn’t do a damn about it. That was the beginning of the end for that dating situation. We inevitably arrived at a “me or her” moment. She chose her friend and that was the end of that situation…never spoke to her again for the rest of my assignment in Valdosta. I saw her in public a few times and guess who she was always with: her girlfriend. I suppose her friend got what she really wanted. It wasn’t until 4 years later that me and her crossed paths again…I was waiting on a MARTA platform during a trip to Atlanta and she asked me if my name was Juan. We conversed for a few and she apologized for what happened when we were in our early 20s, admitting that her friend pretty much didn’t like that we were dating so seriously at the time while she was all alone. And ladies and gentlemen, there you have it: the reason why the girlfriend’s girlfriend sabotaged the dating situation.
LESSON LEARNED. Before that experience in the Spring of 2006, I had never had an issue with the friends of women I dated or became seriously involved with. Even as a 21-year-old, I understood that a woman had close friends before me and that she’d have close friends while she was with me and possibly after me, if things between us fell apart. But after seeing how destructive a certain type of friend could be, I look at the friends of women I date or become involved with very differently. I ask questions about friends early. I’m far more observant of what a woman may say about her friends or what her friends do and say in my interactions with them. Luckily for me—so far at least—the type of situation I experienced in 2006 hasn’t manifested itself into my dating and relationship life since but should it happen, I’d definitely aim to squash it at the outset. I’m big on being straight up…far more fearless in my words as I approach 30 than I was back when I was getting used to being 21. If I get a sense that I may have an issue with somebody in the life of the woman I’m dating, I’m letting her know my concerns. It’s a risky move but hopefully, a middle ground could be reached and we go on to great times. If not, I’m taking the high road. The very last thing I want to do is come between a woman and somebody important in her life—rather it be a friend, a sibling, a parent, or whomever. I’ve come to realize that the drama isn’t worth it.