"How do I deal with thinking my friend is in a bad relationship? They nearly broke up but are getting back together and I’m scared she will get hurt again, but want to be supportive."
- Question submitted by Anonymous
I was once off-and-on seeing someone who was not at all interested in a relationship. I was cool with it, took the ‘we’re sleeping together sometimes’ role and did not give her anything relationshippy. HOWEVER, I did WANNA date the shit out of her, so I was bummed out, but didn’t think I was allowed to be, and neither of us were getting what we wanted. I talked to one of my BFFLs who said, “Dannielle. You get one year. ONE YEAR. You can’t do this back and forth shit forever, it’s not fair to anyone.”
I took what she said with a grain of salt at the time because guess what… no one ever listens to anyone when they’re in the middle of a THING with a PERSON. We just don’t. We can’t wrap our minds around the right thing to do because we’re wrapped up in a REAL LIVE HUMAN BEING. That’s the end all be all truth of everything. We get caught up, y’all.
I will tell you, though, there were a number of friends who didn’t tell me to get my shit together. They would listen to me, they would offer advice, and they’d say, “I don’t know, I don’t feel like it should be this hard, if you want to be together, be together, and you should be with someone who wants to be with you.” They didn’t tell me what to do, but they did give a gentle suggestion that helped me find my own way. AND when we rounded the bend of one-year and things were 100% over, I thought about what my BFFL said. She was absolutely right.
Yeaaaaahhh, this is that whole You-Can-See-It-Clearly-From-The-Outside thing, and it’s a tricky little bugger. I think this scenario has gradients and nuances and COMPLEXITIES, if you will, so here is what I say:
1) If the relationship is bad for her in the sense that she is being emotionally or physically abused, this conversation ends here, you close your laptop, you tell her that you are concerned for her well-being, and if she doesn’t listen you speak to someone else in her life and sit her down again with more support.
2) Your question doesn’t seem to imply that the above scenario is what’s up, so now we move to What-Do-You-Do-For-Her-Because-Jesus-Christ-Why-Is-She-Doing-This? …You listen. You tell her your concerns once, maybe twice, possibly three times over the span of a few months, and then… you listen. She will know good and goddamn well that you are concerned but more than this she needs to know that you are there for her. This is the only way she will be comfortable enough to open up if and when shit starts to hit the fan again, and hopefully end it once and for all.
3) What-Do-You-Do-For-YOU-Because-Jesus-Christ-Why-Is-She-Doing-This? …You do what you can. You can’t be expected to pick her up over and over and over again if she keeps running back into this wall. Be as patient as you can, but when you feel yourself wearing thin, tell her. Say, “I love you and I want you to be happy, but I am watching you walk back into this same wall over and over again… and I can’t keep comforting you if you keep turning back around and doing the same thing.” It’s tough, but it’s true, and you really can’t comfort a person forever.
4) As much as you can, let it be what it will. You are probably right. She will probably get hurt again. But… maybe she won’t. One of my closest friends is married to a person who cheated on her SPECTACULARLY within their first year of dating. They got married a year later and we were all like Oh no oh no oh nooooooo…. and they’ve been married for a billion years. So, like… sometimes you just never can tell.
(PS: Dannielle, you should know by now that I AM ALWAYS RIGHT.)
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