QUESTION: This has been bugging me for a while now and I don’t know how to deal with it. I’m dating an older man, and our relationship is going really well. But it really bothers me that his best friend is a woman, and not just that—it’s a woman that he used to date. She’s about my age (me and my older man are 19 years apart) and he insists that they’re just friends and nothing more. But I tried, and I still can’t come to terms with it. Am I overreacting? Do I just have to suck it up? What am I supposed to do about this?
CHELSEA SAYS: Having been in a similar situation myself, I totally get where you’re coming from. This is a common problem in relationships that always brings up the same age-old question: can a man and a woman really be “just friends?”
I suppose it’s a little hypocritical for me to tell you that his best friend shouldn’t be a woman, because a lot of my very close friends are guys. I do think it’s possible for men and women to be friends—it’s very likely that your older man and this other woman tried dating once, but there was obviously something that didn’t work in their relationship. Do you know why they broke up? I dated an older man once and we just realized that we were more like buddies than a couple, so we broke up and today, we’re very good friends. But even though I was drawn to him once upon a time, I don’t feel the slightest bit attracted to him today.
It’s hard to say whether or not you’re overreacting without knowing your older man or ex firsthand—it’s a lot easier to read the relationship between people when you see them together.
When I was in this situation, I ended up being right about my boyfriend—he was having an affair with his ex. But relax, I’m not telling you that to freak you out. I’m telling you that because there are a few red flags that I missed in my relationship that I think you can use. For example, does your older man’s best friend make an effort to get to know you? If she’s open to being friends with you, you probably have nothing to worry about. But if she avoids you like the plague and she hasn’t made the effort to talk to you or get to know you, there’s probably a good reason for that.
Does your older man get really defensive when you bring up the topic? If every time you mention it, he gets really angry or tries to tell you that you’re being crazy and overreacting, he might be deflecting the attention from him to you because he’s hiding something.
At the end of the day, you have to trust your gut feeling—a woman’s intuition is a very powerful thing. If you really don’t think your older man is being faithful, then why stay in a relationship with a man you don’t trust? Plus, (and this might be painful to hear) if he isn’t willing to distance himself from her after knowing that it makes you THAT uncomfortable, there probably isn’t much long-term potential with this relationship.
TRENT SAYS: If only that kind of friendship was exclusive to “traditional” relationships. But it’s not. Even some sugar daddies keep in contact with their ex-sugar babies. And the ripples of discontent can be felt far and wide.
The sugar daddy/sugar baby relationship can be quite tenuous. If you’re in a relationship that has emotional and commitment boundaries, pragmatic Trent would probably say you have to suck it up. However, I can see how and why he being friends with an ex would be hurtful. While you may have an exclusive arrangement with him, what’s to say that couldn’t be taken away from you? After all, he slipped out of his ex-sugar baby’s hands and into yours.
I’m dubious of a sugar daddy who claims he can be “just friends” with an ex. You’re probably too young to remember the movie When Harry Met Sally. But I think it’s true—sex always gets in the way of a friendship.
I don’t know your sugar daddy. Maybe he’s entirely trustworthy and on the up-and-up. Regardless, you’re the sugar baby and your sugar daddy is supposed to spend his time adoring you. That’s part of the joy of being a sugar baby. That being said, you have two options: either suck it up, or confront him and see how deep the relationship is.
But, if I was going to be more sensitive to your situation, I would say you don’t need to suck it up on any level. Like any relationship, you owe it to yourself to talk to him and tell him how it makes you feel, and that his actions are getting in the way of the sugar baby/sugar daddy relationship. And make sure he knows you’re not happy. Ask him if it’s more important for him to hurt you by having a friendship with an ex that’s just a friend than it is to have you happy in the relationship. A sugar daddy, a good one at least, doesn’t like it when his sugar baby isn’t happy.