Online friends in a seemingly toxic relationship, I don't know what to do

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Online friends in a seemingly toxic relationship, I don't know what to do

Unread postby pensiveguy » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:45 pm


I have two online friends, K and D. K lives in England, D lives in Italy. They met in a Discord server that I now run for LGBT+ people (although K is male and D is female), and after a while we found out they had decided they were together: it was amazing and everyone was happy for them! A few weeks ago, they met up in England for a week and had a great time together: the pics and smiles proved it, and it looked like they really loved each other.

Today, I've turned into the third party for both of them as they confessed some things to me that have made me very worried. I think K is being possessive because of his previous relationships ending in catastrophe/betrayal. I got a message from him asking me to tell D he loved her in all small letters: he always writes in proper grammar, so I was immediately alarmed. He asked if I was his friend, and I said yes but asked him what happened. I told D, and she said to tell him she loved him too, so I did. He said "it doesn't feel like it"; "i feel like she hates me". I'm going to directly quote him now:
"I just feel like I am so insignificant to her. She never makes time for me. I'm always her last choice. I am not with her. So her friends are more important to her than I am. She never has time for me. She just goes out every night until 2am with her friends."
This is untrue. I asked D about it, and she told me that every time she sees her friends, he gets upset. When she told him she only has her friends in Italy irl, he "got mad". Apparently he gets upset every time she tries to have fun with her friends: if he was there she would have much more time for him: and they still text and voice-chat each other every day. She hasn't been cheating or anything, and she told me she loves him but doesn't know what to do, since she feels like he doesn't trust her anymore. We don't think he has a therapist (he used to).

I think it's possessiveness because of his old relationships but I just don't know what I can do. I don't want to say anything to either of them (especially K) at this point because I'm afraid I'll screw things up. I need help: I'm dealing with other problems of other people and my own problems too, but this is the one I really have no idea what to do next on. Please help..

EDIT: D tells me the situation is getting better, so this is no longer as urgent: but with everything she told me I'm 100% sure the same thing will happen again and am still very worried

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Re: Online friends in a seemingly toxic relationship, I don't know what to do

Unread postby Karyn » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:17 pm

Hey, pensiveguy.

This whole situation sounds pretty stressful: it's tough to see people you care about in conflict or unhappy (especially when someone's behaviour raises some red flags like K's has) and it's natural to want to do what you can to solve the problem. However, as much as you want to help, this is really up to them to figure out. It sounds like there is some big stuff they need to discuss, and they may ultimately have to have a chat about whether this relationship as it stands is a good fit for them, but it is not your responsibility to make sure they have those conversations. You can suggest that they talk to each other directly instead of coming to you, and you can mention that K might be helped by seeking out a therapist, but other than that there isn't much you can do.

If even that feels like too much to handle? It's absolutely more than okay to say that you just can't be their go-between anymore. That can be a really difficult thing to say to someone who's hurting and looking to you for help and advice, but again, you're not obligated to fix anything for anyone else, and you have to be able to take care of yourself before you can be useful as a support for someone else.
"Where there is power, there is resistance." -Michel Foucault

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Re: Online friends in a seemingly toxic relationship, I don't know what to do

Unread postby Iwanthelp » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:20 am

Yikes that sucks. Kind of feels like the guy is using the go-between dynamic to pressure her more tbh. (Why is he firing off a 'look at my sad lowercase letters' spiel and going on about how inattentive she supposedly is to a mod/mutual friend in the first place?)

Stopping the go-between role sounds pretty sound, you might also want to look at the Lundy Bancroft pdf ... o-that.pdf or link it to your friend depending on how well you think that would go over. (She might just get defensive instead but at the very least giving it a read yourself would be good for the worst case scenario)

My personal take on the whole 'person in friendgroup is being screwy and controlling' is that they will cause more upheaval and discord down the line, whether that's just people picking the wrong side and going 'x didnt do that' or worse. I'd look at the possibility you'll have to do some uncomfortable mod work in the future or ultimately remove this guy.

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