Author Topic: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic  (Read 17556 times)

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Fleur

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2012, 01:44:16 PM »
' She keeps on and on about the fact that he isn't seeing her because he puts her in a special category, that he has feelings for her so strong that he is afraid of them. To me this is sheer delusion, but I don't want to straight out say so because I think it would be unkind and counterproductive.

I don't know your friend, but at some point I think it is more unkind to allow her to continue to believe her delusions.  This whole situation makes me so sad for her.

Yes, you are right. I actually did try to say to her that I didn't think this was going anywhere, but she kept shutting me down and making excuses for him. To be honest, it is a situation of 'none so deaf as won't hear'. And yes, I am very sad for her. I was utterly shocked when she said that this was the closest she had felt to anyone, and that no man had made her feel like that or more that he was worth pursuing. The thing is, as well, is that she is a highly successful professional. If someone was treating her in an equivalently poor way at work, she would have no problem is shutting them down. I actually used to work for her, which is how I know this. (I suppose also that our old dynamic of employer/employee does somewhat hang over our friendship, which perhaps makes me more circumspect in expressing my opinions than I would usually be. She is almost twenty years older than I am.)

DavidH

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2012, 01:47:05 PM »
I take your point about the cat.

I think the challenge is that everything you describe is something she knows about first hand, so it's not like you have any new information to offer her.  If you had additional information, then it would be a kindness to tell her, but it's hard to politely say that your interpretation of it is any better than hers, even though I think you're right. 

I think the most you could do if she brings this up is to ask her if he is so afraid of his feelings that he's pushing her away, what is he doing to resolve this.  If the answer is nothing, then you could maybe ask how does she see it resolving.  Kind of lead her to think it through better. 

Another thing to consider is that maybe this type of relationship makes her comfortable too.  She can indulge in the fantasy of having a relationship, without having to deal with the reality of someone who's around.  It's sad, but not unheard of.

Fleur

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2012, 01:54:06 PM »


^^^

Those are all good points, DavidH. I hadn't thought of the last one, but it is a possibility. Up until she started dating him, she was very attatched to her independence, although I think that she also had a lot of insecurity issues. She had struggled with weight and self image in the past-she went through a phase of trying a new diet every week, and getting really discouraged when they didn't work. She seems to have very clear goals in what she wants in a relationship, but to have no idea that this man is in no place to provide anything near what she wants. As PPs have said, he doesn't even seem to pretend to care for her, and yet she sees all this care and love. Of course, I'm not privy to their actual conversations, so I don't know what he says to her. The whole situation is just very sad.

Just Lori

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2012, 01:56:19 PM »
There's an art to asking leading questions that encourage someone to come to their own conclusions.  I am not particularly adept at this art, but it goes like this:

Are you comfortable being treated as you are?
Do you want more?
How did you feel when he chased your cat?
If he were dating your best friend or someone else you loved, what advice do you think you'd give?
What kind of boyfriend do you think you deserve?
Do you think one day he will wake up and appreciate you?  How long are you willing to wait?  What do you gain and lose by waiting for that day?

I wish we lived in a world where we could just tell our loved ones what to do, and they'd see the wisdom of our ways.  As the mother of teen-aged girls, I've completely given up on that concept.  The leading questions method works well with my girls, as it helps them learn how to draw their own conlusions and make their own decisions. Maybe it will work for your friend.

It is so hard to watch someone you love going down such a heartbreaking path.

TurtleDove

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2012, 01:57:04 PM »
Of course, I'm not privy to their actual conversations, so I don't know what he says to her. The whole situation is just very sad.
If she hasn't heard from him in six weeks, he is saying nothing to her. :-(

onyonryngs

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2012, 02:00:17 PM »
Of course, I'm not privy to their actual conversations, so I don't know what he says to her. The whole situation is just very sad.
If she hasn't heard from him in six weeks, he is saying nothing to her. :-(

I would tell her that to most people, when you haven't talked with your BF in 6 weeks, it means you aren't dating anymore and he's dumped you.  In his view, they are not dating.

Fleur

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #21 on: December 18, 2012, 03:32:36 PM »


Sadly, I don't think that she will take the six weeks of silence for the clear sign that it is. They have gone through 'gaps' in the past, though I'm not sure that they have ever been quite this long. She just harps on the idea that he is afraid of the strength of his feeling for her.

TurtleDove

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2012, 03:51:53 PM »
She just harps on the idea that he is afraid of the strength of his feeling for her.

I feel so sorry for her.  I would perhaps tell her once that she is deluding herself and deserves better and then refuse to discuss him at all.

Deetee

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2012, 03:52:16 PM »
' She keeps on and on about the fact that he isn't seeing her because he puts her in a special category, that he has feelings for her so strong that he is afraid of them. To me this is sheer delusion, but I don't want to straight out say so because I think it would be unkind and counterproductive.

I don't know your friend, but at some point I think it is more unkind to allow her to continue to believe her delusions.  This whole situation makes me so sad for her.

Re:the bolded. I thought she sounded delusional before but now it's ridiculous. "Staying away due to fear of the emotions" just doesn't happen. He's staying away because he doesn't care enough to want to see her.

Say what you want, but she's beyond wishful thinking and into straight out crazytown.

bah12

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2012, 04:20:08 PM »
Honestly, as much of a pill as he seems to be, if he hasn't talked to her in six weeks, I wouldn't bother with trying to make her see anything.  He's already staying away.  What better outcome could you hope for?

Now, if she all of sudden starts planning a wedding, when they aren't even seeing each other, I would understand interfering.  But right now, there's just no point.  She's not asking for advice, you have no information other than what she offered you, and she hasn't seen nor heard from in in six weeks. There isn't a problem that you need to fix, IMO.

The only thing that I might say something about is the cat and you can definitely say something like "wow!  Your cat is frightened of him.  How do you make a dating relationship work with someone that cannot get along with your family and/or pets?  Are you ok with him chasing kitty to the point that she's scared of him?"

angilamae

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2012, 07:03:02 PM »
Honestly, I have been in some messed up relationships but this is far beyond that.  I agree, there is nothing you can say to make her "see the light".  She either will see it or she won't.

Is she trying to contact the guy during this 6 week hiatus or is it just radio silence?  if she is, I think the only thing you can do is to urge her to stop doing that.  Otherwise, you just have to be patient.
I can resist everything except temptation-Oscar Wilde

sweetonsno

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #26 on: December 19, 2012, 12:33:14 AM »
I've been that woman. No, he didn't mistreat my cat or refuse to take me out anywhere, but he was clearly not as dialed in as I was and I made excuses for it. It hurt. A lot. I know that I was prolonging my agony, sort of, but I didn't know how to let go of my feelings. It didn't help to be told that I deserved better. It didn't help to be told that he was a jerk. It didn't help to be told that I was deluding myself. Rationally, I knew that he wasn't into me. I think your friend knows that too. Emotionally, I didn't want to accept it. (I suspect this is where your friend is as well.)

What did help was honesty mixed in with a huge dose of compassion. One of my friends said something very wise: "Knowing that he isn't worth your time doesn't make it any easier to stop wishing that he were." Oh so true. It's likely that she knows the guy's a loser. That is a painful fact. She's trying to talk herself out of that knowledge with some very faulty logic. She's going through a loss. It's not just the guy (who is really no prize), but her idealized version of him and the future she hoped they would have together. She's grieving the loss of feeling like she was the one who changed him (or who could have). She is probably seeing this as her failure and not his.

I don't think you should focus on trying to make her see how awful he is, because that isn't going to help. It's still a loss. Instead, I think you should focus on comforting her for her loss. Tell her that you will be there for her, and then be there for her. Take her out so she doesn't sit around stewing. If she starts talking about him, then acknowledge her feelings, express sympathy, and move on. If she seems really depressed, then you can remind her that while yes, this relationship is over and done, there will be others. This guy not working out does not mean that she will be alone forever. It does not mean that she will never have a wedding, or bear children, or any of that. It's just not going to happen with him.

He sounds like a butt.

cicero

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #27 on: December 19, 2012, 04:50:37 AM »

She keeps on and on about the fact that he isn't seeing her because he puts her in a special category, that he has feelings for her so strong that he is afraid of them.

oh, one of those.

what he said: you are special, I don't want to do the regular things with you.
what he means (and does): i can do whatever i want with other women and it doesn't even count as cheating because I'm not seeing you...

I had a friend who had a "boyfriend" like this. she was madly in love. he wouldn't touch her because she was "special" and he didn't want to "ruin" what they had. so it was OK for him to "do stuff" with other women, becuase that didn't *ruin* what they had. took my friend a long time to get over him. of course, her excuse was that she was in high school when they met. for your friend, i'm not sure if anything will help, but I wouldn't be able to hold myself back from saying "what relationship???"

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Fleur

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #28 on: December 19, 2012, 05:44:58 AM »

She keeps on and on about the fact that he isn't seeing her because he puts her in a special category, that he has feelings for her so strong that he is afraid of them.

oh, one of those.

what he said: you are special, I don't want to do the regular things with you.
what he means (and does): i can do whatever i want with other women and it doesn't even count as cheating because I'm not seeing you...

I had a friend who had a "boyfriend" like this. she was madly in love. he wouldn't touch her because she was "special" and he didn't want to "ruin" what they had. so it was OK for him to "do stuff" with other women, becuase that didn't *ruin* what they had. took my friend a long time to get over him. of course, her excuse was that she was in high school when they met. for your friend, i'm not sure if anything will help, but I wouldn't be able to hold myself back from saying "what relationship???"

No kidding! Yes, what really gets me about this whole sorry situation is my friend's age and that of her 'boyfriend'. They are both in their early forties! Also, another detail that I had forgotten is that he owes her getting on for 500! For that reason alone, she should really chase him down, as he shows no signs of feeling obliged to pay. Really he is a prize all around. I hope he does move away, but not before he pays her what he owes.

Twik

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Re: Polite way to tell a friend: your boyfriend is toxic
« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2012, 09:40:12 AM »
He's not going to pay her what he owes.

The heart makes us do stupid things, and all the good advice in the world won't work, until she's ready to hear it. That doesn't mean you have to encourage her in her dreams, but don't expect that she'll immediately absorb what you say. It'll take a while until she can see clearly again.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."