This scenario is all too familiar for a lot of grown women. Your friend is in a frustrationship with a douchebag who isn’t stepping up for her. The douche is messaging, trying to get some alone time with you. He knows you two are close, so why would he contact her friend? Why not target a woman not known to her? Why would any male specifically target his partner’s good friend?
Men are insecure, we all know that. My personal theory is that with age women become more confident, while men grow more unsure of themselves. This becomes more apparent at middle age when all humans come in touch with their own mortality, hormonal changes, challenges to the ego, body changes, and loss of attractiveness to the opposite sex. It is a difficult period for both men and women, and we all have to face ourselves in the mirror. A funny thing happens to men at this time. One morning they wake up and look down to notice that their tiny little Jimmy did not rise to greet them. Wtf does this mean? It happens again a few weeks later. He walks into the bathroom, looks down, and there’s more hair than ever on the bathroom floor. The hairline is receding, and months afterward he notices the ladies are no longer chasing, suddenly no one sees him as a catch, girls compare him to dad, and fewer and fewer women are seeking his attention.
It is a difficult time for most men, but emotionally insecure men have a harder time dealing with this. If his manhood was derived from the attention he previously got from the opposite sex, and if that attention is now declining, then where is his manhood? If women aren’t willing to validate him, admire him, or worse, if they now challenge his perception of himself, an aging man can become hostile, bitter, vengeful. We have all seen that aspect of manhood. I could write chapters on this subject, but for the purpose of this post, it is enough to say that when men try to pit two women against each other, target their partner’s friend, or seek the attention of inappropriate women, they are operating from a place of deep insecurity.
As a grown woman I know that any attention he could pay me is a waste of my time, no one wants attention like that. This has happened to me more times than I care to remember, and it has always resulted in the loss of a very good friend. Most women cannot handle the truth, but what happens more often is that the douchebag twists the situation around to cover his ass, making it look like two women are fighting over him, and he gets to pound his fists on his chest, playing the part of a wanted man.
Knowing my friend’s situation, I know that he fails to step up to her level. To be clear, she isn’t seeking commitment from him at all, nor is she angling to get his attention. My friend exceeds him in personal character, career, social standing. She simply wants him to communicate like a grown-up, state what he wants, instead of playing guessing games. She doesn’t see herself getting serious with him at all, she has downgraded him a long time ago to a summer fling.
Has this ever happened to you? If I was a brainless twit, I might be flattered by a douchebag’s attention. But I know he isn’t worth a cheap drink in a plastic cup. Thus far I have ignored his requests to hang out. I simply do not answer his messages. I don’t want to answer him because any attention paid to an attention seeker is still attention, and I want to show him that this door is closed.
This is not the first time this has happened. I have had friends’ husbands contact me during their divorce declaring they are serious about me. What are men thinking? That I would date a friend’s used goods? That their wife’s friend would jump at an opportunity to date a man being disposed? In the past when I have questioned their motives, all men declared that I should see them as an opportunity. And when I have challenged their delusion, they used my disinterest against me by going back to the wife claiming her friend wants him. This sounds like a ridiculous scenario but I have seen it personally at least a dozen times. This topic has come up in the Goddess private forum, and many women have experienced being placed into a triangle with a good friend and a man they absolutely do not want.
So what are men thinking when they seek the attention of their partner’s friend? I think that men often target friends to make their partner feel insecure, but also to get two women to fight over him, or at least create drama over him. He creates the delusion that two women want him, when in fact neither is taking him seriously. What a way for a man to feel like a man.
Why would this particular douche want my friend to feel insecure? Because he can’t do anything for her except provide a little company that she could easily get from anyone else. Because she has always insisted on an open relationship, as she is serious about finding a more satisfying relationship with someone else. Because she is open and honest, has told him where she stands, and that she isn’t looking for anything more. Is his attempt at triangulation working? I am not falling for it at all. At this age I know that an insecure male can’t do anything for either of us.
But when I was much younger I used to fall in this trap as do many less experienced women. No, I never pursued a friend’s mate. But I was inexperienced enough to engage with the douchebag or narcissist, to communicate my lack of interest. I falsely believed that if I expressed why his attention was wrong, he would understand and back off. This is always a big mistake, because any communication at all will be used against you. The insecure male would always twist the story around, act as if I had initiated something with him, and his partner would get hurt, which is all part of his plan to extract attention from her. And in every case, the douche would then cause drama between two friends and get off on the fact that there are two women causing a ruckus over him which was never the case.
Psychologists call this behavior triangulation. I won’t go into it here, it is a widely known concept used by narcissists and emotional manipulators to make women vie for them. Even when women are too mature to fight over him, he will still extract a little boost for himself, knowing that he at least emotionally wounded one of them. Any display of pain or grief over the situation strokes his ego.
The situation with my friend has not gone that far, but the unwanted attention I have gotten in the past from friends’ spouses and significant others has taught me how to deal with them. These are not men. I call them emotional midgets. We all get insecure sometime, but these people seek to build their manhood from attention they get from women. This can work when he is young, sexually relevant, and a viable candidate. But after a certain age, women stop pursuing men. When men are psychologically healthy, they learn to cope, accept and adapt to their new reality. When men are not healthy, they seek to trigger women into extracting attention from them. Creating competition or conflict between two friends is a sure way to extract a bit of manhood from a situation.
There are thousands of ways that both sexes manipulate each other to validate themselves. Triangulation is just one of them. Unfortunately, many women unwittingly fall for this, and end up serving only his ego. If you are in a situation where you are receiving inappropriate attention from a friend’s partner, understand that you are not dealing with a genuine man. Any attention you get from him is just bait.
If you find yourself triangulated, the worst thing that you can do is engage him in conversation. He wants your engagement, he wants your attention regardless if it is positive or negative. His weak ego feeds off attention, so it doesn’t matter whether you eagerly pursue him or express disgust- he just got your attention. The best thing to do is no engagement at all. Do not answer texts, do not respond to invitations at all.
Whether you tell your friend depends on her level of maturity and her level of emotional involvement with him. That’s your call. But know that a lot of women protect insecure men rather than expose them, and there is a high likelihood she will choose him. She might even choose to protect her own ego rather than face the emotional discomfort of facing the friend her partner pretends to prefer.
Emotional manipulation is a trademark of an unevolved person. This is something children do as they learn to relate and find their place in the world. This is not the level that healthy grownups relate to each other. Unfortunately, it takes many uncomfortable situations and losses of friendships to learn that this is not a man by any stretch of the imagination. That attention is toxic and accepting it will only harm you. Extract yourself from the situation quietly and without drama. Remember, he is just waiting for the drama to start. Don’t feed his ego.