How can I (35M) become more comfortable with my partner's (34F) close relationship with a same-sex friend who has previously expressed interest in my partner?

2021.11.29 21:12 Cattle-Far How can I (35M) become more comfortable with my partner's (34F) close relationship with a same-sex friend who has previously expressed interest in my partner?

I (35M) am in a heterosexual long-term intimate relationship with my partner Bethany (34F). We've been together for a few years now, and we raise three kids together from prior relationships. Around eleven months ago, Bethany and I became friends with a same-sex couple: Sandy and Wanda, both women in their late twenties, who have been together for at least a year. They share custody of three small kids. They mutually expect to be sexually monogamous and to operate just like any other nuclear family unit. Bethany and I do as well.
I really like both Sandy and Wanda. They're kind, fun, funny, and always make for good conversation. I especially admire the care and love they show for their children, which is really evident. I'm closer with Sandy than with Wanda, but Bethany is much closer than both of them. For context, I probably engage in one or two quick text message exchanges with Sandy each week, but I've never communicated with Wanda one-on-one. I would say Bethany and I get together with Sandy or Wanda or both maybe twice a month.
Bethany is a really wonderful and gregarious person. She is extremely kind and helpful to others. I feel that she has trouble with boundaries in many of her relationships, and I am concerned how often she seems driven by guilt. She's just not the kind of person who can ignore a phone call from a friend no matter what she's doing. I think this is a wonderful personality trait, albeit one that can function as a double-edged sword. Because of all of the above, Bethany is the kind of person who is on her phone calling or texting her friends and family quite frequently. Bethany and Sandy communicate frequently; I'm unsure of the frequency of Bethany's communication with Wanda.
With that context in mind, I noted that Sandy started Facetiming with Bethany pretty frequently about five months ago. This made me raise an eyebrow, as I'd have found it a little uncomfortable had Bethany been Facetiming with a male to whom she was not related, but I put it out of mind because ultimately that comparison was imprecise. But several weeks later, Bethany told me that Sandy and Wanda had a fight because Wanda was uncomfortable with Sandy's frequent Facetiming of Bethany. I told Bethany that I'd noticed the same thing and found it unusual, but said that I'd accepted this communication because what the hell, they're friends. I told her, however, that I understood Wanda's position because I might have felt the same way had Sandy been male. Bethany told me that Wanda's objections were foolishness; she was friends with Sandy and nothing more, and if Wanda had an issue with it "that's insecurity, and that's her problem." The... vigor(?) of Bethany's response surprised me, but I actually don't disagree fundamentally with her position. Bethany assured me a short while later that she and Wanda remained on good terms.
Sandy and Bethany continued communicating over Facetime, text, and phone calls. Bethany never concealed to me the subject of her conversations with Sandy, which were beginning to focus on tension and dissatisfaction between Sandy and Wanda about their relationship. That didn't really phase me because friends sometimes lean on each other during hard times. Sandy and Bethany had sometimes lengthy conversations about Sandy and Wanda's relationship, but relationship drama is a big deal so I understood. And Bethany frequently gives very good advice!
My comfort level began to change after an event in early October. Sandy met up with Bethany and me one night while the two of us were out on a much-needed date night. Bethany and I had recently gone through some rough seas in our relationship, but we were trying to keep communicating because we love each other and wanted to right the ship. After drinking for quite a while, Sandy told me while Bethany was elsewhere that she'd heard about my relationship problems with Bethany, and that she felt it might help our relationship if we invited her to participate in sexual activity between the two of us. Sandy assured me that I would "remain the star" and "remain the man." She said the three-way activity would just be a thing that was "all about us" (meaning all about Bethany and me), but told me that she thought Bethany was beautiful and wanted to join in. I did not want that at all, but I also didn't want to be disrespectful to my friend Sandy or to let my disgust with the idea show. Sandy kept asking me if I was uncomfortable; I lied and said I wasn't because I didn't want to cause a scene or make Sandy feel rejected or hurt. Sandy told me that it might help fix my relationship with Bethany, and I felt scared because I really did want to fix that relationship but I have no interest in sharing Bethany sexually.
I broke away from Sandy when I could do so tactfully and asked Bethany to come speak with me privately. I began by asking her if she'd asked Sandy to discuss anything with me. She denied doing so, and I believe her. I told her what Sandy had said. I also told her (and I'm ashamed of this) that if she did need to introduce a relationship like that to fix our own relationship, that I didn't know how I felt but I would consider it because I loved her. (I can't stress enough how humiliating this is today.) Bethany assured me that she didn't want that, and hadn't discussed anything like that with Sandy.
When we returned to the open area of the bar, I (candidly) tried to avoid Sandy and talk to others. Bethany talked to Sandy, who abruptly stormed off. When I asked Bethany what had happened, she said she'd told Sandy she wasn't interested and that this had evidently made Sandy mad. Neither Bethany nor I told Wanda about any of this; I don't know whether that was the right thing to not do. Bethany told me that Sandy had called the next day and apologized profusely for acting so imprudently. I told Bethany that I felt very uncomfortable about what had happened, and Bethany explained that Sandy was very drunk and should be forgiven. Forgiveness is a virtue, but I feel ambivalent about doing so with Sandy.
A few weeks later, Bethany and I were doing better and communicating well, but the matter with Sandy was still on my mind. In the course of an ordinary conversation, Bethany told me about a conflict Sandy and Wanda were having, in which Wanda had allegedly accused Sandy of having sex with Bethany. Bethany's reaction in telling this story was bewilderment - it was patently untrue (I believe her) and bizarre, she said, and she blamed Wanda for concocting such a conspiracy.
Hearing that worried me a great deal. I told her that I had become concerned about her presence as a sounding board for Sandy in the midst of Sandy's attraction to her. I told her that I now felt very awkward about our friendship with Sandy and Wanda, and that I felt under the circumstances that Sandy might be breaking a lot of boundaries. Bethany was pretty mad at me for saying that, I think. She felt that she had done nothing wrong, and I think she felt blame from me. I assured her I didn't blame her, but that the situation made me uncomfortable and I was concerned that she had been positioned in the center of what was becoming a large domestic dispute between Sandy and Wanda. Bethany kept repeating that she didn't think she needed to lose a friend when she hadn't done anything wrong to deserve it, and also defended herself against the (unraised) allegation that she may have felt attracted reciprocally to Sandy. I told Bethany that I was simply uncomfortable with the entire arrangement, that I trusted her completely, that I knew she wasn't attracted to Sandy, and that I didn't want to see Bethany get hurt in the crossfire. We moved on to other topics, leaving this conversation with strange tension.
Last night, Sandy called Bethany at approximately 10:00PM while Bethany and I were in bed. Bethany told me who was calling and told me that she wanted to just go to sleep, but felt compelled to answer. Bethany answered the call and asked Sandy if she wanted to sleep on our couch. Bethany explained that Sandy told her she'd caught Wanda kissing another woman and was inconsolable. Bethany said she wanted to give Wanda a hug and a blanket and return to bed when she arrived.
I was intensely uncomfortable. Bethany asked me if I was mad, I told her (truthfully) I wasn't but that this situation was "really weird" and I told her I was pretty uncomfortable, but I asked her not to retract the offer as I didn't want to leave Sandy in a bad spot. When Sandy arrived, Bethany went to meet her and she talked with Sandy for about forty minutes in the living room. Bethany called for me to join her and I desperately didn't want to, so I declined. Bethany asked me to a second time, which made me wonder if she needed my help, so I got dressed and went to speak with them. I had a short conversation with the two of them in which I just tried to make small talk and be accommodating while trying to check if Bethany was fine, which she appeared to be. I went to bed and Bethany followed me.
This morning, Bethany asked me to explain how I felt. I summarized it as best I was able: I didn't blame Bethany for anything that had happened, but the entire situation felt "icky," "weird," and "uncomfortable." I felt like Bethany extending all this help given the nature of the disrupted boundaries put me in a weird place. She said she was sorry she made me feel uncomfortable, but that she didn't think she did anything wrong. She told me that she felt it was my responsibility to resolve the dispute with Sandy, and that she'd continue to help Sandy without feeling grief from me for doing so.
Honestly? I don't want to "resolve" anything with Sandy. I don't want to talk about what happened with Sandy. I don't want to talk with Sandy about boundaries. I definitely don't want to talk about my relationship's problems with Sandy given what's happened. I just sort of want to distance myself; I feel like I'm very close to a really ugly situation involving two friends, and I want to keep respectful distance especially given the history, and further given that I haven't known them for years or anything. I haven't told Bethany this part yet because, quite frankly, I'm not sure it's a valid feeling. But in any event, it occurs to me that Bethany deserves to have friendships and render assistance within them, and it's not within my scope of authority to question whether her boundaries are healthy. I also don't dislike Sandy, and I want her to be okay!
What do you all think I should do? I think my options are: (1) resolve the conflict with Sandy so we can all get along; (2) do nothing and try to avoid resentment and trust Bethany can handle the situation; or (3) open up more to Bethany about my hesitation in resolving the conflict. (Bethany seems pretty dug in, so I'm not sure #3 will change anything.) I'm also open to other suggestions.
TLDR; a mutual female friend has expressed prior interest in my girlfriend sexually, it's made me uncomfortable, but my girlfriend wants to maintain a close connection to help the friend through some tough times. How can we all get along?
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