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Author Topic: Opinions please
Kaybie87
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Member # 28172

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This afternoon my girlfriend and I had a non-fight over the phone. She said somet hings, I disagreed, I shouted, she disagreed. Then she said she had to go, I said I was going to take a nap. We hung up

A bit of background:
The relationship between my girlfriend and I is... unconventional. We've known each other since we were about 9, been best friends for years and became closer than close in the past year. Recently we added sex to the equation. Having said that, neither of us are in a hurry to define our relationship. We tell each other everything, we are allowed to see other people, we don't have a problem with jealousy.

Back to the non-fight. The disagreement was based on the behaviour that she has been engaging in that I don't agree with. My girlfriend's current attitude to life is F*** society and its arbitrary and unfair rules, life is for experience, etc, etc. To an extent I agree with her, if you disagree with something you should make sure to think about why you disagree. Do you think its wrong or is it simply a way of thinking that you have gotten used to?

On the other hand I think that this attitude has become another way for her to absolve herself from responsibility for the consequences of her actions. She is addicted to cigarettes, drinks alcohol up to 5 days of the week. She recently started taking Concerta to help her stay awake and study(she has a very heavy class load this semester)and I think she's become dependent on it. She is COMPLETELY broke and owes some people small amounts of money. She has been occasionally sleeping with a guy who is much older than her (I would estimate mid thirties, she's 19) who teaches her dance class, I am not sure if he is technically a professor or not. This guy buys her alcohol and cigarettes I thought he was leaving at the end of the semester, but apparently he's not.

My girlfriend: "I have a confession"
Me: "I don't even know if I want to hear this"
G: " (name of guy) is staying"
Me: "Oh, ok, why is that a confession?"
G: "Coz it's a bit hookerish"
Me: "Huh, he's not paying you for sex"
G: "Yeah he is"
Me: "What? Booze and cigarettes?"
G: "No, money"
Me: "What?"

At this point I kind of lost it. I can deal with the cigarettes, the alcohol, I can even ignore the drug taking for now. But this? I mean it was bad enough he was buying things for her, now apparently he's giving her money. I don't know how tru this all is coz my girlfriend is also, guess what? A bit of a pathological liar, but even so. She admitted she wasnt proud of herself, I said why the hell would you do it then? Some things are more important than money. She said that she wasnt ashamed because of her own views, she was ashamed because society says its wrong and society just isnt a good enough reason. I couldnt argue with her anymore at this point. I was so frustrated.

This whole conversation reminded me of a time in high school when she was severely depressed and told me she was going to kill herself. It was purely an attention ploy but even so, someone who threatens to kill themself for attention is still in need of real help. After trying to reason with her I told a school official because I didn't want to responsible for her death. I then stopped spending time with her becaue it was too intense, too much drama and I didn't feel I could help her anymore. I remember being so frustrated because she could not understand me at all then. It was like I was speaking a foreign language. I feel the same way know.

I guess my question is, how can I make her see that her behaviour is destructive? She is constantly calling me and crying because of her problems and then blames everyone else for them. She refuses to understand me when I tell her she's creating them for herself. She refuses to learn from her disasters. Normally I would just start distancing myself from her, I don't think I should have to associate myself with people whose behaviour I disagree with so strongly. In this case however that's not possible. She is all I have in this country (I am originally from Africa and have no family here) and we have become dependent on each other.

Any help you guys can give me would be greatly appreciated. If you can be bothered to read this looooong post [Smile]

--------------------
"too often, I have been the Lover
cursed to Love the F*****
and f*** the lover over " Raquel Ramirez, The women I have been

Posts: 17 | From: Ohio | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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quote:
Normally I would just start distancing myself from her, I don't think I should have to associate myself with people whose behaviour I disagree with so strongly. In this case however that's not possible. She is all I have in this country (I am originally from Africa and have no family here) and we have become dependent on each other.
Thing is, it IS possible. And it's troubling that you state what is difficult to be impossible.

NO relationship is going to be healthy when one partner literally has no one else for support at all.

So, I'd suggest that, regardless of any of this, you start getting out there and making some friends, getting some people in your life with whom you don't have a dependency. It's going to make YOU a lot happier, and it's going to make figuring out what to do in a situation like this a lot easier, both by virtue of having wider perspective and by virtue of feeling less bound to your partner in any sort of desparation.

It's pretty clear your partner has some really serious problems here: drug dependencies, pathologically lying, racking up debts, prostitution.

In the past, you've done the smart thing and notified someone she was going off the deep end: is there someone you can do that with now? because that's really what I'd suggest. All of this stuff combined is just much too much for a partner to try and manage or fix in their partner, and it almost sounds like the dynamic between you might also involve an element of her TRYING to worry you, test you or scare you, so it's possible that your involvement is actually enabling some of this, even though it's obvious that's not what you intend.

I'd also suggest that you seek out some counseling for yourself. You've made clear you know you're in a partnership that isn't really much of a partnership at all, you've made clear that your partner isn't responsive to you at all and is clearly really too wraopped up in herself to even have a partner. And yet, you can't see your way out of this, even if you got to the point where it became clear (and I'd suggest that may be now) that this is a one-way ticket to Crummyville for you. That's nearly as problematic, troubling and self-destructive as what she's doing.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68006 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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quote:
She said that she wasnt ashamed because of her own views, she was ashamed because society says its wrong and society just isnt a good enough reason.
Per this, too?

Come ON. Look, in many ways, I'm this far from an anarchist. I was raised to be really progressive, and I'm usually the most radical person in the room wherever I go.

But that's just a pile of bullocks.

I'm sure this guy's job agreement likely does NOT support him having sex with a student. And an older adult who plies sex out of a young adult women with cash, booze and fags? is not DOING so out of respect for them. Even if society was all hunky-dory with arrangements like this, it still wouldn't make it so that he saw her as an equal or as a whole person.

A whole person is worth more than a few bucks and a beer.

And if she's all anti-culture, then she wouldn't feel shame in this case anyway. her own logic there is completely cockeyed. I'm willing to bet the shame she's feeling, really, is more about the fact that she's willing to stoop where she's stooping JUST to feel a thrill of risk, to feel rebellious, to to up her own level of crisis because she doesn't know how to dig herself out.

(Or, because it really does NOT generally feel liberating to have money and booze tossed at you in exchange for sex.)

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68006 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kaybie87
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Member # 28172

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Wow! Thanks for the perspective. I guess I never really thought that I could be exhibiting/perpetuating/encouraging/participatingin the same negative behaviour in a friendship as I would in a relationship (because I think that I do look at it more as a friendship than a relationship)

I think I want to talk to her and lay out clearly how I feel about this. We've never had a proper discussion about it because I usually prefer not to talk about it. I am very wary of being judgemental. Whether or not she understands where I am coming from I am definitely talking steps to make our relationship healthier, difficult as that is going to be.

PS As for there being anyone who I can hand over the responsibility to or at least share it with, there isn't. We are both very isolated in this country. She does not have a good relationship with her family here and her family back home are going through severe financial and emotional problems of their own, so its just me. That's probably part of the reason why I feel I cannot distance myself from her, she does not have anyone else either. Whew! The more I write about this the more I realise how unhealthy all this is...

[ 04-29-2006, 06:48 PM: Message edited by: Kaybie87 ]

--------------------
"too often, I have been the Lover
cursed to Love the F*****
and f*** the lover over " Raquel Ramirez, The women I have been

Posts: 17 | From: Ohio | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Well, but it's clearly NOT just you. She has other sexual partners, after all, right?

It's often easier for women to seek out sex rather than friendship, sadly. Rather, it's just as easy to seek out one as the other, but one often gets quicker results when sex is what's being offered. Friendships take time to cultivate, and our friends aren't going to tend to support us destroying ourselves the same way someone who is getting liad because of our destructiveness will.

So, she seems to do just fine with the seeking: but why would she seek out friends? As it stands, right now, she gets an easier ride by choosing to only be with people with sexual or romantic interest in her, because for at least some of them, that means whatever she chooses to do is going to be more "allowed" because someone is benefitting from her disorder and destructiveness, you know?

Point is? You BOTH can seek out friendships. You really can. If you're really rural -- are you? -- a lot of queer personals sites, for instance, offer the option of seeking friends, and a lot of the time, there are quite a few people using those services seeking just that, especially given how hard finding queer community can be.

Happy to help with other creative ways to cultivate more community, too, if you like.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68006 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kaybie87
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Member # 28172

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I've had a lot of time to think about the whole Friends thing since I got here, making friends has never been easy for me but I'm getting better at it.
The thing is though, that I don't think making friends is really the issue here. We both have other friends but, like you said, it takes time to cultivate strong friendships and I am not, nor will I ever be as close to these people as I am to her.
I don't think that it is friends that are missing rather than a support structure for both of us. I think things would be different nif we had somebody older, somebody who is responsible for us in this country. That is something that, if its possible to cultivate (which I'm not sure it is) takes years.

When it comes to making good friends here I feel like most people don't want the responsibility. Its very easy to find someone to do fun things with but I need more than that

--------------------
"too often, I have been the Lover
cursed to Love the F*****
and f*** the lover over " Raquel Ramirez, The women I have been

Posts: 17 | From: Ohio | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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quote:
When it comes to making good friends here I feel like most people don't want the responsibility. Its very easy to find someone to do fun things with but I need more than that
Well, have you asked anyone you've been just doing fun things with for that expressly? Sometimes, all you need to do is ask.

quote:
I am not, nor will I ever be as close to these people as I am to her.
Obviously. You two are lifelong friends. However, at this point, since you are also romantically involved, and she is profoundly troubled, if you give folks a real chance, it may well be that in time, you find people who are better suited to truly be your friend in a more balanced way, and in a way where you can be more honest and get more of what YOU need FROM a friend.

You're 19 or so, yes? Which means that, really, at this point, there's no finding someone to be responsible for you. By all means, there may be older mentors out there for you, but not older caretakers.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ecofem
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Kaybie, I'm guessing that you're a first year international student at an American college? Meeting people and making friends certainly can be hard when cultural differences are hurdles.

I've both studied abroad (I am right now actually) and have worked with international students (as friends and for work) coming to US universities. There are people who would really value a friendship with you and appreciate your different perspectives. It's just knowing where to look!

How is your school's international office? The staff is there for you, to help you with everything from setting up a bank account to making friends. I would advise making an appointment to discuss things, or ask them to recommend a counselor experienced with helping international students. They also often have a list of "friendship families" who are interested in getting to know international students and helping them feel more at home. They might do stuff from inviting you over occasionally for dinner or taking you to a museum to giving you an extra set of linens.

Do you have an academic advisor? What about an RA? They'd be people to talk to, too. As for making friends, are you in any campus clubs or organizations? I would say that extracurricular activities and residence hall gatherings are two big ways American students make friendships who share similar interests (or residences.)

If you're finding people in your classes to be uninterested in you (or clueless as to how hard it is to be in a different culture, away from your support network), I'd check out language or cultural clubs, where the people are interested in the global community. Or asking the international office about students planning to go abroad your home country or region, so you can help each other.

Then again, my assumptions may be totally wrong. But, as Miz Scarlet said, we're here to help you find ways to develop new friendships, whatever your situation may be. [Smile]

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Kaybie87
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Your assumptions were pretty spot on actually. [Smile]

We have a pretty amazing international student advisor to whom I go when I need his help. However he is more helpful when it comes to solid, work/school-related issues. I don't really see myself getting much out of talking to him about personal issues, beyond the usual advice of course.

I'm hoping to transfer to another college next semester. That sounds a little crazy considering how I just made a huge change less than a year ago. However, having traveled and looked around some, I have come to the conclusion that many of my problems come from this particular school. I've spent quite a bit of time at the school I'm hoping to transfer to and when I'm there I find it so much easier to connect to people. I already have friends there, its a bigger school and I'm pretty sure I'll be happy there. Having said that I know that I can't rely purely on a change of location to solve my problems. I'm going to have to make some changes of my own.

This summer I'm going to be interning in South Carolina. I'm really looking forward to that change too. I think it will help me become less dependent on my girlfriend since we won't be able to hang out much if at all over the 3 months.

I have met quite a few people, young and old and made friends to an extent. I just find that whenever I need something from them, even if it's just emotional support, they disappear. I find this especially hard to understand coming from a culture where people take responsibility for one another, even when you are not immediate family.

Thanks again for your input. It feels so good to have someone to talk to all this about. I'm very close to my mom but don't really want to tell her too much about the problems I'm having because shes so far away and worries so much about me anyway

--------------------
"too often, I have been the Lover
cursed to Love the F*****
and f*** the lover over " Raquel Ramirez, The women I have been

Posts: 17 | From: Ohio | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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