Dear Leather and Lace (Alison & Tony): I know this sounds bad, but my friend keep stealing my boyfriends, and I’m really upset! I’ve been best friends with Carmella for five years. I love spending time with her, but when we go out together, she steals my boyfriends. I don’t mean that she tries to take them away from me, but every time I’m with a guy for a while and I introduce Carmella to him, the next thing I know my guy wants to be hooked up with her. The first time it happened I’d only been dating the guy a couple of times so I didn’t really think much about it and I was happy for her. Carmella wasn’t really interested in him anyway and felt kind of bad and didn’t want to date him because I met him first. But it’s happened a couple more times since then. I’m getting worried that I can’t ever hang with my friend again if I am dating someone and that’s not good news. I really like Carmella and I really value our friendship but she is bad news for my love life. Do I have to ditch my friendship with Carmella to keep a man?
Alison’s Take: This is a tough one. But I think one way to get around this is simply to keep Carmella away from your dates, until they are truly committed boyfriends. If I have read your email correctly, you’re getting together with your new guy and your girlfriend when you’ve only been dating the guy a short while. It appears that your choice in men is suspect. Any man who would ask for a hookup with your friend when he is supposedly dating you, has the morals of a toad. But timing is also part of the problem.
The other part of the problem is also Carmella herself. It is hard to imagine that every man you meet is so taken with your friend that he wants her and will ditch you, but assuming Carmella has not given your boyfriends any encouragement (and you didn’t say she has), it is possible that she is just what we call a natural man magnet. If that’s the case, she knows it, and you know it, and there is no reason to ditch a good girlfriend for a guy who can’t be loyal for more than a second to the woman he is with, and supposedly dating. In fact, if a man goes after Carmella when she’s not encouraging him, you’ve just quickly discovered she’s weeded out another toad, and you can quickly throw him back into the pond, because he isn’t someone either of you want.
That’s my short answer.
The best way to keep your guys all to yourself is to be a better judge of character, make sure you and the man you pick are “solid” before you introduce him to Carmella, and help Carmella get her own guy, so she is “taken” and therefore, off the market entirely. Then you can double date and enjoy being with your friend with less worry.
Tony’s Take: I see a number of issues here. Perhaps the most telling is the fact you say Carmella has no interest in the boyfriend who wanted to be with her. This indicates a lack of intention to ruin your life on behalf of Carmella, and leaves her blameless in this process. A beautiful flower cannot help but be what it is. That having been said, it also indicates that your good qualities are also Carmella’s good qualities, and the type of men who are attracted to you are also attracted to Carmella. You must then ask yourself: why does Carmella do better when attracting men than I do? The chances are that Carmella is outgoing, that she makes the guy the center of her attention, and that you do not deliver the same experience. Very, very rarely is it physical beauty alone which attracts a guy, but rather the sum total of the experience which you represent. If you are “Debbie Downer,” he’s obviously going to look for more happiness and more liveliness in his life. If he sees it in one of your girlfriends, he will be attracted to that girlfriend.
You want someone who desires you and whom you desire. You expect him to be well groomed, well spoken, and interesting to be with and most importantly, interested in you. In turn, you must be all these things for him. You don’t wait to find a boyfriend to then try and become these things. They must be in place before you try to find the boyfriend.
Since you have a proven winner in a girlfriend, start talking to her about hair, nails, clothes, how she attracts guys, how she keeps guys, and so forth. Consider that in Carmella, you’ve got a proven, ultimate date coach, so use her! And as Alison said, keep Carmella far away from your boyfriends until after you announce your engagement.