Friend in need

My best friend is going through a crisis right now. Her live-in boyfriend is cheating on her, and being pretty obvious about it – he’s “dating” this other woman in public. I’m sure the OW knows nothing about my friend.

Anyway, I went through a cheating BF about a year ago, so it’s still pretty fresh for me. She feels since I “get it” that I am a good sounding board. Of course, my first bit of advice would be run like hell, you deserve better, I’ve refrained from taking sides or offering my opinion. I feel she needs to talk through it and make her own decisions based on what’s best for them – NOT based on what happened to me.

She’s pretty much had proof for about a month now. She hasn’t had a conversation with him yet. She’s been heading towards leaving, but just when she gets her mind mostly made up she thinks she’s making a mistake and drops it.

In the meantime she is driving ME crazy. She texts me dozens of times a day and calls me twice a day, to tell me what he’s doing or giving me “thought updates”. I love her dearly and want to be a good friend, but I don’t know how much more I can take. I know she needs to make a decision, but she isn’t and frankly, this is really bringing up bad memories and feelings for me too.

I don’t want to lose her as a friend, but I’m sick of this. I dread hearing my phone ring, and have started turning down shopping, movies with her. How do I get out of being the third wheel here?

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8 thoughts on “Friend in need

  1. theattack says:

    [I kind of disagree with the others that she has all the information and should make a decision by now. First, she hasn’t even talked to him yet. That won’t provide any information that might make her want to stay, but it could convince her to leave (ie: he has kids with this woman). More importantly though, it sounds like she’s trying to figure out what her own values are and what she’s willing to tolerate. I think she needs someone to be blunt with her and ask her some serious questions: – Do you want to be with a man who you can’t trust now, and will likely never trust again? Could you have children with someone you can’t trust? Could you share finances with him in a marriage, not knowing if he was spending money on another woman? How can you ever have condom-less sex or oral sex with him, not knowing if he’s passing along an STD? Can you really put your mouth on him not knowing where he’s been that day?

    Don’t worry about being unbiased. She’s got enough of a desire to stay in herself that she doesn’t need any extra help there. She needs someone to be real with her.

  2. Dennis Hong says:

    [A friend of mine has the perfect expression for situations like this:

    “Shit or get off the pot.”

    Of course, you may want to find a more tactful way to get the message across, but I think your friend needs to hear this, because waffling isn’t going to solve anything at this point. She already has all the information she needs to make a decision, and no amount of additional thinking is going to uncover any new insights. So, she either needs to 1) leave him, in which case you’ll probably need to be there to support her post-breakup, or 2) decide to stick with him, in which case she shouldn’t be texting and calling you all the time with her thought updates.

    Either way, I think she needs to decide one way or another asap, so maybe that’s what you need to convey to her.

  3. karlos says:

    [Yeah, it seems pussyfooting around won’t help anything at this point.

    If there’s proof, your friend won’t accomplish anything by not acting. At this point any action on her part would be more helpful, screaming profanities at her boyfriend seems like a good start.

  4. Dave Jag says:

    [It is possible that she may love the drama of her situation much more than she loves her boyfriend, so she is prolonging it just to keep herself in the spotlight. No need for you to have to watch that same show day after day. You are correct… the ONLY right thing for her to do is to move on and find a BF who respects her. When she does that, be there to support her. As long as she’s just dickin’ around with the situation, find someone else to hang with or you’ll end up saying something you’ll regret.

  5. lilredbmw says:

    [I call this “victim mentality.” I have a friend in a VERY similar situation. Her husband has betrayed her and she has caught him. So she knows. But she stays. And everyone says, “Oh, you poor thing…how could he? I am sooo sorry for you!” And she soaks it up. I think she needs the attention. Your friend might have this victim mentality. I would say, don’t coddle her and feel sorry for her. Instead, find ways to empower her and help her move forward. And, honestly, it might come to a point where you have to just sit down with her and give it to her straight. Sometimes the truth hurts, but as a friend you owe it to her(and yourself) to speak up.

  6. Maracuya says:

    [I think you should put your foot down. Like Dennis said, if it’s been a month and she’s so miserable/loathes him, then she has 2 choices: to get out or confront him and see if it can be worked out (my thoughts: uh, no, he’s dating another woman right in front of you!)

    And I would not be shy about telling her that it brings up some bad memories for you. You gotta take care of yourself.

  7. Matt Sanchelli says:

    [She definitely has to confront her BF about this.

    I had a friend who was in a relationship who kept on telling me things that should have been said to the significant other. Every time this person would tell me something new I’d reply beginning with, “I’m not the person you need to be telling this to. Tell [insert name here] what you’re thinking.”

    This is a some-what similar situation. All of the facts, all of these thoughts, need to be discussed with her boyfriend, not you.

    I am inclined to agree that your friend may be “feeding” off the attention of the drama; but could also be someone who avoids confrontation. Maybe she knows that if she brings this up to her guy the conversation will not end in a good way…with the relationship ending (which it seems that she doesn’t want it to).

    Perhaps she’s concerned that he’ll end things with her and choose this other girl if she begins to create drama in the relationship. Pretending there isn’t a problem and not confronting him about it could be her way of trying to “keep the peace” and maintain her relationship with him instead of pushing him away by starting what will probably turn into an argument.

    All in all, she has to talk her this guy, not you. Since you seem to really care for this friend, let her know you’ll be there for her but you can’t go on just getting updates about the situation that she refuses to take control of. That it is hurting you to know she is being put through this; worse so that she has the power to walk away and she isn’t.

  8. Claudia says:

    [It could be she is feeding off the drama and playing the victim. That is a very real issue. It could just as easily be that deep down she doesn’t believe she deserves better. And that leaving could very well mean finding something even worse. Which could very well be coming from him (or reinforced at least), especially if she is a conflict avoider. So be very careful in jumping to the conclusion that she’s playing the victim.

    What matters right now is what it’s doing to you. You’re ability to be a good friend while it’s driving you crazy is going to be severely limited. So you need to tell her how you feel. Focusing on how you want to help, but your ability is limited because of how you feel. Without “you are driving me crazy” or anything else that will make her just feel worse. Best way is to write out what you are going to say first.

    You also need to set some boundaries, have her write down in a notebook instead of texting you and then limiting the calls to once a day or week. Whatever you are comfortable with. Perhaps what she really needs is a professional sounding board.

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