Identifying the issue and creating a game plan to move forward

Hi Brooke! Wow, thank you so much for putting together SCS! I am SO excited to work on the program throughout the year, I can’t even tell you. I have an interesting situation in my life that I would love to run by you. It is pretty complex, so I figure it is best to break it down on a timeline and just highlight the important things rather than getting lost in the details. I hope this doesn’t get too confusing. Bear with me, I promise that by the time you get to the end of the time line I will have my specific questions prepared. I changed the names on the off chance anyone could be on here reading this, so never mind the “Friends” references 🙂

Beginning/Background Information: Tim and I went to high school together. We were best friends and did everything together. He tried to tell me numerous times that he was in love with me, but I was always dating other people and I never reciprocated the same feelings. Tim never dated anyone, or even kissed a girl until his 20’s. (We’ll get to that). Tim also grew up next-door to my current boyfriend, Sean, and they have been friends since they were about 2 years old. Sean did not go to the same high school as us.

2006: After graduating high school Tim and I drifted apart for a little bit. During that time he had moved in to living with Sean. At the time, Sean was dating a girl named Rachel, and also sleeping with her best friend, Monica. I started to come back around to hanging out with Tim and he introduced me to everyone in the group. At this time, everyone told me not to be friends with Monica. They said she’s too clingy, she has to “be everyone’s best friend”, she invites herself everywhere, etc…just not someone to be friends with.

2007: Sean broke up with Rachel, but continued to sleep with Monica. Monica and I became closer throughout the last year because we ran in the same circle of friends, but I personally did not feel invested in the friendship. My loyalty was with Tim, and he didn’t care for Monica either, so I just kind of dealt with the fact that she was going to be around. Sometime in 2007, Sean and I started to date. Tim was so upset with both of us (because he was in love with me, that he didn’t talk to us for quite some time). Monica was also upset with me, but if I’m being honest, I couldn’t have cared less. Once Sean and I started to date, there wasn’t really a reason for Monica to hang around anymore. Her best friend had moved on and none of us wanted her there. We told her to leave us alone, that no one liked her, to stop inviting herself places. We even had “Monica-Free Friday’s” where we did activities that she wasn’t allowed to attend. We could not have sent a clearer message that she wasn’t wanted around.

2008: Monica continued to invite herself places, and to keep in contact with a few people in the group that just didn’t know how to say “no”. We all kind of just tolerated her presence and continued to let her know she wasn’t wanted. Overtime, Monica and Tim began to sleep together, even though Tim had previously expressed his hatred toward Monica. None of us understood how he could have flipped a switch so easily. Our only way to rationalize this was that Monica was the first girl to ever throw herself at Tim. He was a 20-something virgin who (admittedly) had low self esteem, and never had the confidence to ask a girl out. Monica throwing herself at him seemed like a desperate attempt to stay in the group, and her taking advantage of his low self-esteem/confidence.

2009-2010: Not much happened during these years. Monica and Tim continued to date, and so did Sean and I. We all became tolerant of Tim and Monica together, but still, there were certain times where Monica just was not allowed.

2011: Sean and I moved across the country together for my job. Throughout the course of the year, Monica would still attempt to keep in touch with me through texts, phone calls, Facebook, etc…but I made little to no effort. I didn’t, and still do not consider her a friend. However, the things that she would update me on would be things like how her and Tim went on a camping trip with Sean’s family, or how she and Tim went to Sean’s Aunt & Uncle’s house for dinner, or that she went to lunch with Sean’s friends. (Remember, Sean and Tim have known each other since there were 2, so Tim is like a member of Sean’s family.) She would tell me how much she loved so and so, members of Sean’s family and how they were going to get together.

2012-2015: Basically, over these years Monica has cultivated relationships with Sean’s family. To the point where I would say she has even better relationships with Sean’s family than I do. This has been a major issue for me, but I haven’t and don’t feel like I can say anything to anyone about it because Sean’s family loves her. I have severely cut back on any interaction that I have with Monica at this point. I do not tell her when I am in town visiting, I do not answer her texts/phone calls, I do not invite them to come out and visit us where we live now. Nothing. However, she stills attempts to reach out to me. She asks when she can come visit, or when can the 4 of us go on vacation together. She tries to find anything to connect with me on and use that as a way to “reel me back in” so to speak. It’s almost as if she isn’t accepting the fact that I simply just do not want to be friends.

Today/My Feelings: This issue has been eating me alive over the years. I’ve been going to therapy weekly for 2 years specifically to just talk about this issue and I just can’t get past it. I have, however, been able to pinpoint some specific feelings that I have about certain things. So rather than just saying “I’m upset” I can clarify what exactly makes me upset.

1) I feel like Monica manipulated and took advantage of Tim’s insecurities and now she is capitalizing on that.
2) I feel like Monica should have left when Sean and Rachel broke up, or at least when Sean and I started to date. Sean made it crystal clear that he did not like her, he did not want her in his life, and to leave him alone. I feel she purposefully cultivated these relationships with Sean’s family to stay in his life.
3) This entire situation feels “unjust” to me. She doesn’t deserve her relationship with Tim, she doesn’t deserve the relationships with Sean’s family, and I feel she’s conned everyone into believing she a genuine/good person, which I do not believe in anyway that she is.
4) I cannot believe that she doesn’t know that her developing relationships with Sean’s family is extremely inappropriate. Especially waiting until AFTER we moved, where Sean couldn’t physically be present to act as a “buffer” between her and his family, and given their past and his expressed feelings that he doesn’t want her in his life.
5) She doesn’t know when to back off. I could not be any more clear that I do not want to be friends with her.

FINALLY, my questions for you:

1) How can I identify what the heck I am dealing with here?! Is this a boundary issue? Is this a manual issue? I have done The Model on each separate thought that I have about this, and when I do that I do feel good for a while, but then I get stuck in a thought loop with my old thoughts and get right back to my old feelings, and then I’m right back to square one. Do I just keep doing The Model over and over again until I can really let it go?

2) Because Tim and Sean are best friends, and Monica now has relationships with Sean’s family I can’t simply “cut her off”, which is what I would want in an ideal world. I am going to have to be around this girl, and my approach of ignoring her when I see her hasn’t worked over the last 10 years. I don’t know how to be kind to this girl with out sending the wrong message. I don’t want her to interpret any amount of kindness as an open invitation to being friends. I am at a loss for how to act or behave around this girl – is there anything I can do to figure this out?

I hope you’re still with me at the end of this, and I appreciate ANYTHING you have to say about it! Thanks so much Brooke!