General Etiquette > Dating

Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic

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Fleur:


Hey all,

I'm in a bit of a bind here. The other day, I asked a friend of mine how her on/off boyfriend was doing. She said she hadn't seen, spoken to or heard from him in six weeks. I sort of raised my eyebrows, as a way of indicating I was happy to hear more. She told me more, and HOO BOY! This guy is a prize.

1) He has serious commitment issues. He had a seven year infatuation for a woman in his early twenties (he is now 40) which ended in heartbreak. According to him, his next two long term relationships were devoid of any feeling on his part. He feels that he missed out on dating, so he regularly goes out on the prowl to pick up women, who he then dates briefly, all the while crying to my friend that he can't stand these women.

2) He tells my friend that 'The woman I date must be strong in herself and not rely on alcohol'. He refuses to go on 'conventional' dates with her, ie. dinner or drinks. Instead, he prefers to take her walking, which she does enjoy. But she would also enjoy the odd night with drinks and dinner. No, nada, no luck. Perhaps he's afraid that he'll bump into one of his other women ::)

3) This one is perhaps the worst for me. He chased her cat! Her cat does act up sometimes, but the poor creature is now afraid of him. I was very angry when I heard that one.

I asked her what she saw in him. Her response upset me, she said that she felt very loved by him, and understood. That she had never felt so loved by anyone, and that she was not willing to give up on him easily. She sort of 'bragged' that he had been on eighty dates (speed dates) in two years, followed up on maybe thirty of them, and that she was the only one who had formed any lasting connection with him. I pointed out, as gently as I could, that while he might love her, that he was not in a place to show it or express it right now, and that he surely needed counselling to deal with his 'commitment issues'. That is not what I wanted to say, and this is where I come to my question. Is it acceptable by etiquette to say more. Frankly, I think this man is a (redacted). I don't think he needs counselling, I think he needs a swift boot up the you know where. I actually think my friend is the one who needs counselling to work out why she feels so strongly about someone who treats her so badly. She kept on saying that 'he has feelings for me, he is just afraid of them'. I wanted to refer her to a book which she alreadly has, which is Greg Berendht's 'He's just not that into you'. What do I say to her?

Luci45:
You can't say anything unless she specifically asks for advice.

Well you can, but it won't do any good, and she may resent you so much she won't let you be there for her when she realizes this is not a good relationship.

Venus193:
I think you either need to be direct or you need to suggest that she look at a balance sheet of pros and cons. 

However, it may not do much good because if she ignores the fact that he chases her cat and has made him fear him she is capable of ignoring the ill treatment he dishes out to her.  It doesn't sound like she thinks she's worthy of someone who treats her well.

Anyone who mistreats an animal in my presence gets his walking papers.

Fleur:

--- Quote from: Venus193 on December 18, 2012, 05:41:02 AM ---I think you either need to be direct or you need to suggest that she look at a balance sheet of pros and cons. 

However, it may not do much good because if she ignores the fact that he chases her cat and has made him fear him she is capable of ignoring the ill treatment he dishes out to her.  It doesn't sound like she thinks she's worthy of someone who treats her well.

Anyone who mistreats an animal in my presence gets his walking papers.

--- End quote ---

To the bolded: absolutely! I was shocked by his chasing the cat. I see what you mean about the balance sheet. But yes, I can't believe that she is so blind to how he really is. I haven't even met him, and it is clear that he is a disaster. I suppose I'll just have to not say a lot. There is really nothing to be said.

Venus193:
BTDT, and wore out several T-shirts.

A friend of mine once re-connected with an ex through Facebook and they had a telephone relationship that got pretty sick before she finally woke up to the fact that he was a user of other people.  However, she was in heavy denial for a while, stopped talking about him to me and to a mutual friend because she couldn't handle the truth, and eventually realized we were right when she foolishly sent him something on loan that he not only never returned but possibly disposed of. 

To this day she still hasn't learned that being a doormat is of no benefit to her life.

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