Complaining About “Friend Stealing” Is a Clear Tell for Possessiveness

It's an illustration of a gnarled hand about to steal a bag of coins
Image by Pixabay / CC 0

It should have come as no surprise that she would be absolutely terrible as a metamour.

Because she had one of the most clear tells for possessiveness that I’ve ever seen: She was always accusing people of “stealing” her friends.

I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt here, wanting to get along with her, since we had a shared partner in common. One who at the time I adored.

But the way she described events were often suspect. As was the fact that viewed friendship as zero sum (i.e., a system in which people can’t really share resources but instead when one person gains something, another person loses).

“He was my friend,” she said, “and then she had to come along and make friends with him. Where do I fit in?”

I tried to follow up with her on this. “Well, couldn’t all three of you hang out together?” or “When was the last time you called him to try to make plans?”

But she’d just make a sour lemon face and change the subject.

I sidled over to the friend in question, the one that had been allegedly stolen and asked him about the situation. “What the hell?” he said. “I’ve been trying to make plans with her for ages, but she keeps shooting me down. I haven’t been ‘stolen’ at all. I want to hang out. What is her deal?”

Even now, I’m not exactly sure… perhaps it was a kind of story she told herself, a self-fulfilling prophecy. That she would always be the odd woman out no matter the situation.

In any event, I watched over the months and years that I knew her as she continued to follow this script. A friend was only her friend so long as they were friends with no one else. Then, they were “stolen.”

Absolutely mind-boggling beliefs, especially in a person who had been polyamorous for nearly a decade.

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