My friend has been in a relationship for over a year with this guy that she's moved in with and everything. He says he wants to marry her, but he ignores her otherwise -- she has to beg him to hug her, and they can go for weeks without touching. That's not what she wants or needs -- that's what she's said -- but she's stuck in the living situation because she doesn't have enough money to move out on her own.
I think she deserves a guy who will treat her the way she needs to be treated -- with respect, affection, and love -- and that she should just become roommates with her boyfriend until she can find another place to live. I mean, he's obviously not treating her right, you know? I feel like she should at least tell her boyfriend he needs to get his act together or she'll move on and find someone better, because if he really wants to marry her, he'll do something to make her happier -- and right now she's not happy at all.
But all of this stuff is just MY perspective. I don't know if I'm being overly judgmental of the boyfriend because it's one of my best friends we're talking about, or if I'm exaggerating the situation because I have a history of terrible relationships, or what.
I guess what I'm asking is: How do I proceed with this friend? Do I encourage her to do anything? Remain neutral? How can I sit there and watch her boyfriend treat her in a manner that I personally think is pretty sh*tty, and then watch her take it?
Posts: 68 | From: United States | Registered: Sep 2011
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What you're describing to me certainly sounds like an unfortunate situation. You've said your friend wants and needs more from this guy to be happy, so she clearly knows this isn't a great relationship right now. At the same time, financial issues can make it really tough to just move out even if she might want to.
Does any of what's described here sound familiar, from what you've heard your friend say? Blinders Off:Getting a Good Look at Abuse and Assault Some of what you mention makes me wonder if he's being abusive to her; I think intentional withholding of affection can be part of (or precursor to) other forms of emotional abuse.
Ultimately, you can't make your friend leave this guy. I think the best thing you can do is listen to her if she needs to vent and ask her if there are specific things you can do to support her. If this is an abuse situation, know that often abusers are really good at setting up an "us vs. the world" dynamic where your friend might feel an urge to defend her boyfriend against you if you are pointing out his behavior really directly/harshly (even if she has complained to you about it before). So I think if you are unsure if this is abuse or just a relationship that isn't fulfilling for your friend, it's important to focus on giving her emotional support and respecting the choices she makes. If she asks for help getting out, you can help her with that specifically, but otherwise I'd avoid telling her things like "you need to leave!" and focusing on "how can I support you?" and "wow, it's really not ok for him to treat you like that."
Posts: 934 | From: San Francisco | Registered: Jan 2013
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