Author Topic: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic  (Read 17976 times)

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Bethalize

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #60 on: December 21, 2012, 08:22:50 AM »
I'm reminded of a quote from "Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat" by Vicki Myron:
"Everone has a pain thermometer that goes from zero to ten. No one will make a change until they reach ten. Nine won't do it. At nine you are still afraid. Only ten will move you, and when you're there, you'll know. No one can make that decision for you."

I think that's very apt in this situation. The OP's friend isn't at 10 yet. And nobody else can tell her she should be - she has to realize it for herself.

Marvellous concept! Thank you for sharing. This ties in nicely with my attitude of not enabling, facilitating or helping cope with a terrible relationship.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #61 on: January 03, 2013, 12:56:50 PM »
That's a good way of putting it.  I think the afraid of being alone factor has a lot to do with the bad relationship.  People will put up with a lot from another person rather than being alone.   

I can't speak for dating our 40's, but some women I know in their 20's settled for the bottom of the barrel.  These were the women who feared being alone as the worst possible thing...I can see how being at an age where there are fewer available partners can heighten the sense that somebody has to hang on to what they have (or think they have).

 

I totally agree. As someone on the other side of 45, and single, and has been that way since I turned 30, I am thankful that I don't fall into this category.  I d@ted one guy for most of my 20's after graduating college, and am thankful today that we broke it off, and kick myself for not doing it sooner!  Hindsight is everything! 

Now, I'm generally happy with my solitary life, most of the time. I will never, ever settle, and if I never meet someone and get married, so be it. If I do, great, but it will defitneily have to be "the" one. In all respects.

I have any number of friends who simply cannot bear the thought of being alone, so they'll d@te or settle for anyone, even if they aren't right for them.  I have a CW who's my age, twice divorced, with two kids.  She's currently seeing someone she met on a religious d@ting site, but a. she's an oversharer so I know that she's not happy with certain aspects, including the scrabble aspect, and b. he's had very little d@ting experience since his divorce about 4-5 years ago.  Knowing her, and having met him, and hearing about him from her, I just don't get how they can be compatible, and I honestly think they are together rather than each being alone. Which is sad, since if it goes to the next level, it will be settling.

Cat-Fu

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #62 on: January 03, 2013, 01:28:30 PM »
Ugh, an advice blogger I enjoy (Captain Awkward) calls these types of guys Darth Vader boyfriends. ("There is still good in him! I felt it!") There really isn't a way to say, "Wow, that guy sucks" without making your friend defensive. The best thing to do is 1) don't feed into the drama that makes the relationship so exciting (lots of non-judgmental hmmms and ohs) 2) ask leading questions ("wow, how did that make you feel?") in hopes that she will come to the conclusion that he isn't really that great of a catch on her own. It stinks, but there's not really a way to stop someone from deluding themselves.  :(
“Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it.” PBS

Lillie82

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #63 on: January 16, 2013, 12:25:16 PM »
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.

This person isn't your friend's boyfriend.  She is deluding herself if she thinks he is.  I would point this out to her, gently, and ask her how she can feel loved and understood by someone who is completely absent from her life.  That alone, without touching the "toxic" stuff, is reason for her to move on.  What is she thinking?

By "toxic," you mean that he manipulates her, treats her badly while giving her just enough attention (or whatever) to keep her dangling so she doesn't move on and she is there if he does need something.

And if you say he's doing that, I'll take your word for it. But it actually sounds like she would be capable of deluding herself without much intentional manipulation or encouragement on his part.

squashedfrog

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #64 on: January 16, 2013, 12:33:48 PM »
Ugh, an advice blogger I enjoy (Captain Awkward) calls these types of guys Darth Vader boyfriends. ("There is still good in him! I felt it!") There really isn't a way to say, "Wow, that guy sucks" without making your friend defensive. The best thing to do is 1) don't feed into the drama that makes the relationship so exciting (lots of non-judgmental hmmms and ohs) 2) ask leading questions ("wow, how did that make you feel?") in hopes that she will come to the conclusion that he isn't really that great of a catch on her own. It stinks, but there's not really a way to stop someone from deluding themselves.  :(

I think Darth Vader boyfriend is one of the best descriptions Ive heard in a while!   Im defo going to use that!

Elegiac

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #65 on: January 22, 2013, 01:06:40 PM »
*Hugs* to your friend.

When I was in my 20s, I was a lot like your friend. I believed that my boyfriend hid the fact that we were dating cause he was shy or something, and that he was always broke cause he had other priorities. Oh, he had other priorities all right - and I was not one of them.

Now that I'm in my 30s, I've learned from my experience, and I am currently with a man who treats me like a princess, is loving, respecting, and whom my friends and family adore as well. This is what I deserved to have in my life all along. Your friend owes it to herself to find someone who will treat her with respect and dignity. A relationship should never be hidden - if he isn't comfortable taking her out, then he ought to be ashamed of himself. Your friend can do better, and will do better. As a side note - anyone who chased my animals would be chased out the door by me, and never welcome back in my home.

peach2play

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #66 on: February 06, 2013, 02:41:08 PM »
POD to those who said you can't tell her anything against him right now because she won't hear you.  What you can do is modify your behavior.  Here's what I did in a very similar situation with my bff (the situation was bf would break up with his current gf on Thursday to go out with my bff on Fri - Sun, then return to other gf.  It ended in almost a huge legal mess but thankfully my bff escaped unscathed and a little wiser):

The first four weeks I was supportive and caring and let her cry on my shoulder.  After the 4th week of that nonsense, and the drama escalating and her needing more and more support, I couldn't take it any more so when she started talking about it, I would answer, "Ok, you've said that, now what are you going to do about it?  That which can not be changed must be endured." and then change the subject.  She would of course bring it right back around to him and I would answer the exact same way. 

After the 12th week of this, I told her she was no longer allowed to mention his name to me or talk to me about it because made, bed, lie.  When she stopped getting her emotional needs met by me, she quickly realized that he was really bad for her.  It ended soon after and really started her on a road to emotional recovery and discovery. 

Good luck and polish your shiney spine.

Cami

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #67 on: February 27, 2013, 03:24:08 PM »
POD to those who said you can't tell her anything against him right now because she won't hear you.  What you can do is modify your behavior.  Here's what I did in a very similar situation with my bff (the situation was bf would break up with his current gf on Thursday to go out with my bff on Fri - Sun, then return to other gf.  It ended in almost a huge legal mess but thankfully my bff escaped unscathed and a little wiser):

The first four weeks I was supportive and caring and let her cry on my shoulder.  After the 4th week of that nonsense, and the drama escalating and her needing more and more support, I couldn't take it any more so when she started talking about it, I would answer, "Ok, you've said that, now what are you going to do about it?  That which can not be changed must be endured." and then change the subject.  She would of course bring it right back around to him and I would answer the exact same way. 

After the 12th week of this, I told her she was no longer allowed to mention his name to me or talk to me about it because made, bed, lie.  When she stopped getting her emotional needs met by me, she quickly realized that he was really bad for her.  It ended soon after and really started her on a road to emotional recovery and discovery. 
Good luck and polish your shiney spine.
I bolded that section above about withdrawing support because in my experience that is often the very best strategy to helping someone detach from their toxic SO.  I've found that when you provide a sounding board and support, that very assistance becomes a crutch to the dysfunctional relationship. Often, when the crutch is pulled away, the person falls on their face and sees the truth.

I learned this lesson with a friend who had an abusive husband. Over time, our relationship became solely about me providing support for her. Which, in times of crisis, is not inappropriate. But I had a lightbulb moment one day. She had called me at zero dark thirty in a panic due to his latest (daily) abusive behavior, I talk to her, calm her down, etc. I am a wreck after this. I call her about 9am to make sure she's okay and she's...Miss Sprightly. Mary Poppins couldn't have been more perky and positive. Meanwhile, I'm an emotional wreck from worrying about her.  Lightbulb -- she was able to transfer all of her worries and fears to me. This shedding allowed her to go back to him each night. I called a halt to it. I told her that I was no longer willing to  listen to her, pick her up at the hospital, etc. In very short order, she had left him. I then went with her to a therapy session and therapist told me that what I'd done is often the catalyst for an abused person or someone in a toxic relationshp to get out of that relationship because, as I'd surmised, by providing what I thought was support to her, i was actually supporting the toxic relationship.

Lillie82

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #68 on: May 25, 2013, 04:34:39 PM »
Just a thought, assuming we haven't beaten this to death, but, is it possible that the OP's friend could have gotten the whole "His feelings for me are so strong that he's afraid of them and that's why he avoids me," idea from movies / TV / romance novels?

I'm not an expert in the genres, but one example that jumps to mind is Lois and Clark, where Lois is very afraid of her feelings for Clark, and asks Perry to assign her to another partner after their first official date goes well.

And there's a classic (well, it's 30 years old now) novel about two high-school-age lesbi@ns, Annie on My Mind: College freshman Liza reminisces about her senior-year romance with Annie and the grief they got from authority figures and classmates who basically thought g@y = mentally ill. But now the two girls are at different colleges and although Annie has written Liza, Liza hasn't answered her or called her all semester. It's supposed to be because she's still working through her feelings about being g@y, but I can't believe it wouldn't have something to do with just adjusting to college, life being different, and the two being far apart. I was reminded of some of the discussions we've had here about how "Several months of no contact = He or She Is Just Not That Into You" (or has dumped you.) Most columns, etc that give advice about rel@tionships say the same. When they do get back in contact, it's not said this way, but it seems like the message, "Our love is so powerful even not being in contact with each other can't stop it."

While the girls both lived in the same city, they didn't exactly avoid each other for any long period of time but went through a stage of fighting a lot about trivial things because of fear of their feelings.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 11:03:24 AM by Lillie82 »