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Author Topic: Worried about someone else's relationship...
ennaburning
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Member # 110000

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My boyfriend and I have been together for three years, and so I'm very close with his family. Recently, his brother (age 16) started seeing a girl (age 15) we all like a lot, and they've been dating for three weeks. At a family event of the boys', this girl pulled me aside, and we talked about our boyfriends and how nice the family was, etc., when she asked if I could give her some advice, and had me promise not to tell my boyfriend or anyone. I did, and she told me that recently, while she was making out with her boyfriend, she had said something along the lines of "Don't you think we're going to fast?" And asked if they could stop for the moment, and then he pushed her down, and kept going while physically forcing/holding her there (obviously NOT okay at all). She was asking if he was "always that forceful" about things he wanted and if it was normal for him, and I *started* to tell her that that was definitely not okay and she had to do/say something (or break up with him, just wow... not that I said that) but we were interrupted and didn't get a chance to talk again.
I couldn't keep it off my mind and was really concerned, and told my boyfriend later, who was really upset about it as well. We're not quite sure what to do, but I'm really uncomfortable with not doing or saying anything, but am not sure it's my place to do so? My boyfriend offered to talk to his brother or possibly ask his father to, but we're both worried the brother will be angry and not take it seriously, and I don't want the girlfriend to know I betrayed her trust. Any ideas on what I should do? Thanks in advance for any input.

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Heather
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How about starting by first asking the girlfriend for permission to talk to the brother?

I would start there, rather than figuring out what is okay to do with or without her permission again, like by telling your boyfriend without it (which I totally understand you reacting by doing, but obviously is not ideal). You can find that out by asking her.

You can also disclose to her who you told and apologize for that, making clear you felt worried and scared and acted from there, but are sorry you did not think to do that without asking first.

It sounds like, too, she picked you to talk to, so getting in contact with her again period would be a good idea. If you are open to helping and clearly you are, which is great, she already chose you as the person she wanted it from. It seems to me that in this for now, if you are up for it, you are probably her best proxy here.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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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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Heather
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And hey, biggest of props and thanks to you for not being a passive bystander.

Way too many people are, and it is one of the biggest reasons abuse is so prevalent in our world. People like you changing that pattern by doing something instead of nothing make all the difference in the world, to one person like this girl, but to the whole world, really.

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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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ennaburning
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Thank you for your quick reply. I realize that would be ideal, but I live about a half hour away from where my boyfriend's family and this girl live (they all go to high school together). I'm only there once or twice a week, and don't know this girl very well in the first place (we've only met a couple times, though we get along very well) or even have her phone number, so I'm not sure that would be possible. :/
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Heather
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But your boyfriend will see her, no? And he could give her your phone number and say something like, "Enna said to give this to you in case you need it." That would probably mean a lot to her anyway, and he would not have to say anything more than that.

But however any of you can swing it, I would strongly vote for not taking any action without her permission the crux of what was wring about what she disclosed to you was that someone, her boyfriend, was taking her control of herself away. You do not want to do that to her, too, you know?

So, If you are going to be involved, I would take steps to get involved, but with her, not everyone else about her. Giving your phone number may have her call you all by herself, or the next times you are there, you can do what you can to get in touch with her. And then you can ask her what she wants to do.

The only alternative to that that I can think of as sound, but as a less great choice, is for your boyfriend or his Dad to make some time and initiate some serious talks with the brother about sex and relationships, but without disclosing what they know from someone who did not choose to tell it to them.

That would be another way, but I personally think letting the girlfriend lead with this is the very, very best route. Especially since this is ultimately supposed to be for her and to help her.

--------------------
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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ennaburning
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Member # 110000

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Thank you for the advice, I think I'll try talking to her next weekend since I think we're both going over there. I'm an introvert and really prefer to avoid confrontation/awkward social situations if possible, but I think you're right and I think it'd be worse if I didn't say anything. Thanks again! This has been stressing me out all evening and your answer helped me think it through.
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