How Do I Keep My Guy Friends When I Get A Boyfriend?

Dear Heather,

Ever since my boyfriend and I started dating, I’ve felt a bit out of it with my friends. We have the same friends and we hang out with them all the time and we all used to get along awesomely. But ever since me and him committed to a relationship with each other, they seem a bit more distant towards me. Not him, just me. I don’t know whether this is because he is the guy and they don’t want to get in trouble by talking to me in the playful way they used to – but surely I deserve to be treated the same as I used to be.

However, I have the feeling that it’s because of one good friend in particular. He used to really like me and we hung out all the time, though I made it clear from the start that I didn’t want a relationship with him. He still fell for me though and a month later, I ended up dating my boyfriend (his friend). We both made extra effort to make sure he was okay with us dating before we started and he said he was fine with it, but it seems like everyone is feeling awkward about it. I don’t get it and I don’t know what to do, but I want my friendships to carry on how they were going. How do I keep my guy friends now that I have a boyfriend?

It looks like you’re in the midst of learning one of the hard truths of being in a relationship: sometimes when you start dating someone, your friends start acting differently and your friendships can change. It happens all the time, especially when those friends are members of the opposite sex. Since it sounds like you guys were once a group of friends and two of you paired off, it’s not surprising that the other friends are acting weirdly. Things have shifted and changed, even if you never intended for that to happen.

It sounds to me like your guy friends don’t really know how to act around you now that you’re dating one of their friends – that would explain why they’re only weird around you, not your boyfriend. If they used to be playful and flirty with you before, they most likely feel like they can’t be that way with you now, out of respect to your boyfriend… and so they don’t really know another way to be around you. Right now, they’re probably trying not to be flirty and trying not to make their friend (your BF) mad. They feel awkward and it’s a little understandable.

As for the one guy friend who has a crush on you? It’s great that he supported you guys dating – he’s obviously trying to be a good friend – but no matter what he says, he still may feel hurt and rejected. This would explain why he’s being awkward around you too. He’s watching one of his good friends date the girl he likes. That must be really difficult for him!

But the fact that it’s hard for your friends doesn’t make it hurt any less. It stinks when friends start acting weird just because you started someone dating someone. In this case, your guy friends may just need some time to adjust to the change in your group friend dynamic. To get them used to it, just keep hanging out with them and acting like nothing has changed. Don’t feel the need to hide your relationship or anything like that unless you think it makes them really uncomfortable and you want to do that. You can’t force them to accept that you guys are dating, it’s something they’re going to need to do on their own.

If things get worse, talk to them! Tell them you feel like things are different and you don’t like it. Let them know how much they mean to you as friends and that you don’t want to lose them. Tell them you’re still the same old girl, you just have a boyfriend now and you don’t want to be treated any differently than before. As for the dude with a crush on you? It was really thoughtful of you and your BF to go out of your way and ask him if he was okay with you guys dating. You can’t not date the people you like because someone else likes you – you need to do what makes you happy. Hopefully he’ll get over you and move on soon.

If things never improve, then it’s time for you to move on and find better friends. It’s understandable for your guy friends to feel a little awkward and weird around you at first, but if they were your true friends, they’d be happy for you and find a way to continue the friendship even though you have a boyfriend. If they can’t do that, you deserve better.

take care,
Heather

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How to deal when your BFF won’t stop talking about her BF

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