Third-wheeling is a real thing, but most often the uncomfortable person is the third wheel.
When you are hanging out with a couple, especially if they are very affectionate, it can get extremely uncomfortable for the single person. But sometimes the script flips and the single person is actually making a member of the couple feel like the third wheel.
Such was Redditor Jumpy-Data-9194’s situation, when her boyfriend’s best friend kept coming around on romantic dates. She experienced a combination of jealousy and frustration at always feeling like the odd man out in this situation.
After losing her temper a bit and being criticized, she went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for objective feedback from strangers.
“AITA for telling my boyfriend I’m tired of him always bringing his friend around??”
Our original poster, or OP, set the scene for how uncomfortable she gets around this friend.
“I’ve been dating my boyfriend for a year. He has this friend who’s a girl, not that it really matters, it’s just the situation all together pissing me off. Even if it was a guy I’d be bothered the same way.”
“So he’s very close with her to the point that sometimes I feel like I’m third-wheeling them. I feel like I’m in one of those 3 people friend groups and I’m the outcast while the two other friends are closer.”
“She’ll always invite herself even to our own romantic couple dates. At first I tried to be patient with it and not make a huge deal out of it but lately it’s getting too much.”
“I mean I’ve always expressed some discomfort to my bf about it but he says we’ll see what we’ll do. But he does nothing.”
And then she really crossed the line on an anniversary.
“We were celebrating our one year anniversary last weekend and she called him mid dinner and said she’s coming over (we were having dinner at his house).”
“He told her it’s our anniversary and it’s better to hangout another time and she insisted and said she won’t be a bother and will show up anyway because she’s too bored to be alone.”
“She hung up on him after that and 10 minutes alter she showed up. During those 10 minutes I was really upset and talked to him about this and how it can’t keep happening.”
“He said he’ll see what he can do about it and not to worry. So she came and decided she wanted to watch a movie.”
“Then she started treating me like a maid telling me if I could cook something so she could eat as well because she didn’t like the food we had prepared for our anniversary and made a joke that we didn’t think of her while preparing the food.”
“To avoid a fight I let myself act like a maid for her ( I shouldn’t have). The next day we all arranged to go have drinks.”
And finally OP lost her temper.
“During the whole time our she kept complaining about how much she hates public places (she chose the place we went to) and how she hates people, she always pointed out how disgusted she is by couples and she’s glad we’re not the classic lovey dovey couple and she can enjoy being out with us.”
“Then I accidentally slipped and told her that ‘it’s because you never leave us the option of having lovey dovey time alone.'”
“She took offense to it and confronted me by saying that if I don’t like it I should be the one to leave. I told my boyfriend that I’m tired of him bringing her around so she can boss me around and always have a negative energy about everything.”
“She called me an AH and my bf partly agreed with her saying I shouldn’t take it too far. Once we got home I told my bf that I’ve been telling him how it’s bothering me for ages yet he does nothing to fix this situation.”
“He says I’m right but I shouldn’t be mean to her because she’s upset now and she just wants to be friendly. That made me feel a bit guilty and I wanna know AITA???”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors wanted OP to get away from this situation as fast as possible.
“She is absolutely trying to sabotage them. My theory is bf really always liked/loved his friend but she always kept him in the friendzone.”
“Then once OP’s bf got into a serious relationship with OP, the friend got jealous an didn’t like that she suddenly had to share his attention.”
“She’s probably going to lead him on and once OP & bf break up she’ll suddenly lose interest and want him as a friend again, all the while playing dumb.”-MinuteAstronomer2894
“Op listen to this. He’s ignored you constantly. He was ok with ruining your anniversary by turning you into a maid.”
“He’s emotionally in a relationship with her and she knows he’ll always take her side over yours.”
“You need someone who is available to you. I’m not saying he can’t have friends, but you are not a priority in his life.”-Murderbunny13
“I feel like I wrote this AITA. Op, I had the exact same thing happen. Exact same – she’s always invite herself over, make comments about not including her.”
“On top of it, she constantly put down my interests and the things I liked, and used my BF for what he could give her.”
“We once all decided to go see a musician in the city that we liked, and she demanded to be picked up despite the fact both of us were taking the bus so we could drink.”
“It was the one time he didn’t cave to her demands.”
“Eventually, I left him over it. He never stood up to her; he always told me I just didn’t get her personality or her humor.”
“At the beginning, I even put it on me, asking him to ask her to cool it. Told him he could tell her I was too sensitive or whatever, as long as she just was more aware of what she said. Nope.”
“It broke us up – in her head, they were the couple and I was the intruder. He’s left other friend circles because of her duplicity, which should have been a warning to me, but I was a dunce.”
“If he’s anything like my bf, he will never give boundaries. Get out now – it will only get worse. You’ll wonder why you’re not good enough, or wonder if you’re really the problem, or what you did.”
“And it will not be you. I wish you the best, cuz this coulda been a page out of my journal from 10 years ago.”-RedRixen83
“I think it’s the opposite. She doesn’t want to date him but she doesn’t want to stop being the special girl in his life either.”
“So she hangs around and sabotages his relationships because she feels more entitled to his attention than the gf but she doesn’t actually want to be the gf.”
“But you’re right about the bf being spineless part. Him being the best friend to her is more important than OP’s feelings because he enjoys the attention he gets from both women.”-bentohouse
Most people agreed that OP showed a callous lack of care for his girlfriend.
“I mean, she might just be incapable of letting go and still not be romantically interested. It’s not uncommon for people to be overly attached to friends to the point of jealousy but not have romantic interests.”
“Hell, she could just want him to be single along with her so that they can hang out more.”
“OP should definitely get out of the situation, and is the only remotely rational person in this toxic situation, but it might not be a love triangle. NTA by the way.”-atg4096
“Then stop fighting. You have a couple of choices: accept this relationship the way it is, or don’t. He is not going to change obviously, because he has not made any effort to after multiple discussions.”
“If you accept it as is, that means you let go of your resentment and fully let go. Somehow, I don’t think that is the best plan for you.”
“My suggestion? Take a break. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but remove yourself from this situation so you have time to think and re-evaluate.”
“I have a feeling that your bf will start dating his friend once you’re not in the picture.”
“Your bf doesn’t want to tell her to stop because he likes the attention and the thought of two women fighting over him. NTA of course”-IthurielSpear
“Speaking from experience: RUN. He isn’t going to change. He’s had AMPLE opportunities to step up and stand up for you, and hasn’t done it.”
“He says he loves you, but if he did, he would take your wants, needs, and boundaries into account, and he’d care about the mental stress this is putting you under.”
“She is ABSOLUTELY trying to break you up. Whether she wants to date him herself, or she’s just jealous that she isn’t getting all the attention, she is ACTIVELY sabotaging your relationship, and HE’S HELPING HER to do so.”
“NTA, but lovely, you deserve so much better than a man who doesn’t give a shit about you. His actions are showing you what he truly cares about.”
“Care about yourself, get out, and find someone who isn’t a spineless jerk who’d rather kowtow to his friend than be with his girlfriend.”-lilmxfi
“I understand completely. I had a similar situation with my ex and his friend (who was male). The friend wasn’t around all the time, but when he was, I became the 3rd wheel.”
“They’d even walk into places together making me walk behind them.”
“And his friend would constantly try to talk about what a ‘great wife’ I was because I wasn’t ‘clingy’ or ‘demanding.'”
“I also had the problem of trying to tell my ex what was bothering me. He would agree that I was right and that things needed to change.”
“But the next day everything would just go back to normal like we never talked.”
“If he’s not listening, you only have 2 options: find a way to make him understand (which may require couples therapy) or move on.”
“He won’t change the situation on his own. He’s obviously comfortable with things the way they are. NTA.”-[deleted]
And some were wondering if he was just enjoying the attention.
“NTA. Sounds like she’s in love with your boyfriend. This is just ridiculous. Honestly, I think you need to walk away from this relationship.”
“You’ve expressed your feelings of discomfort and all he does is dismiss them. This proves he isn’t a guy you can rely on.”-Fit-Bear
“NTA. Kinda sounds like she has feelings for your BF and is including herself in your relationship to sabotage it, and your BF is quite spineless to actually confront her about it.”
“I think you should be very clear with both of them about how uncomfortable the situation is for you, and maybe consider breaking up.”-quirkyusername75
“NTA. He needs to set boundaries with his friend and he needs to prioritize you, your happiness, and your relationship at least some of the time.”
“If he’s not willing to do those things (kinda seems like he isn’t), and you talked to him and said that the current situation isn’t allowing you to be happy in your relationship (which it sounds like you’ve already done), then it’s time to consider leaving.”
“Be honest with yourself, what are you getting out of this relationship? Does his presence in your life bring you happiness right now?”
“Does he support you emotionally? Does he act like a partner in your relationship (helping out where he’s able)?”
“And then ask what he’s getting from you in return. Is there an imbalance? Or is the answer not much in both cases?”
“There are a few other things to consider, like if you don’t get any one on one time, you aren’t developing as a couple.”
“And, if nothing changed in the next year, would you look back and be glad that you stayed, or would you feel like you had wasted a year that you could have invested in moving on to something else?”
“I think it’s important to talk with your boyfriend if you decide to go and let him know that you don’t feel respected or valued when he doesn’t stand up to his friend.”
“Explain that the friend is getting in the way of you being together and that you can’t stay in a situation where your needs and happiness come after someone outside that relationship.”
“I honestly don’t think he’ll change from the sound of things, but it’s worth giving him one last chance. Don’t make it an ultimatum, it’s not you or her.”
“Just tell him calmly that you can’t stay with the way things are and if things aren’t going to change in a big way immediately, then you have too much respect for yourself not to walk away.”-Useful-Penalty-5760
“Narcissists love dangling their affection or wealth in front of multiple people and making them compete. Donald Trump does this routinely with staff.”
“The BF if he does not care and chooses to enable this is very likely a narcissist and she should break up with him and tell him and everyone that its because he’s a loser who abuses his girlfriend.”
“It will drive him crazy, narcissists can’t stand looking bad publicly and he will no recourse because she is gone.”
“That is how narcissists should be treated, honesty without any concerns about their feelings.”-Excellent_Draw_1594
OP now has a choice to make.
Will she stand up for herself or will things go on the way they have been?
Hopefully OP heeds the advice of her fellow Redditors.