My best friend’s boyfriend recently broke up with her. He said that while he loved her, he wasn't in love with her anymore.
She was devastated. I tried to help her through it, as she’s previously helped me. But her constant needs have become unbearable.
She refuses to admit that he may not come back, and contacts his friends asking what they think.
She’s in constant contact with me. If I’m unavailable for several hours because of work and my own life, she gets very insecure and sad.
He’s all she talks about. She gets mad if I mention my own happiness with my new boyfriend.
I've tried to be supportive, and I've tried forcing her to take space from me. What can I do to ensure that she gets better? We live in different cities so can only communicate through phone, text, and social media.
Don’t answer every text, especially when at work; answer her calls only once daily, and don’t respond to other outreach. State upfront that you’re in a very busy work period. Trust me, she’ll lean on someone else.
Her heartbreak’s recent, but it’ll ebb. Unless you believe she’s unstable and may harm herself - if so, contact her parents and/or someone who lives near her - you’re not responsible for her.
When you do connect, ask about other things – e.g. her job. Do NOT talk about your happiness with your new boyfriend. It’s hurtful, and unnecessary at this time.
If she later shows little interest in your life, she’s less of a best friend than you thought.
My wife and I have been married for five years, second time for me (widowed) and third for her (divorced). We're in our 60s.
Shortly after we met, she admitted to a gambling addiction and counselling for it. The counselling soon stopped, the gambling resumed.
She snuck gambling funds from our joint bank account, causing me to distrust her.
With massive debt on credit cards and a line of credit, she asked me to re-mortgage the house so she could get the lower interest rate to pay off the high-interest debt.
She agreed to make regular payments to repay it. Payments soon stopped and gambling resumed.
After maxing out her credit again, she agreed to having her salary garnished to pay off her debts, but no further counselling.
Frighteningly, after she finishes the repayment program, she can re-apply for credit.
Last year, I was treated for, and survived, cancer. During recovery, I developed alcohol abuse. It further deteriorated our relationship. A month ago, I stopped drinking, started receiving counselling and attending Alcoholics’ Anonymous meetings.
We’ve drifted apart emotionally and physically. We sleep in separate rooms and do nothing together except attend her family functions.
She refuses to participate in marriage counselling to deal with the relationship issues, nor therapy sessions for her gambling.
How can we fix this?
There are no easy fixes here. Unless she stops gambling permanently, your relationship and your finances will always be at risk. The same applies if you resume drinking, since it gives her a (false) excuse to carry on her destructive behaviour.
Keep up your counselling plus your sobriety program, and consider whether you have the emotional strength to endure more of her gambling crises. You also have your health to consider as there’s a link between stress and being vulnerable to illness.
You may have to part ways and legally disengage from her debts, in order to save yourself.
FEEDBACK Regarding wives "losing" their libido and their husbands complaining about it (Sept. 26):
Reader – “As a woman, 55, and married 32 years, I know that it’s true that many women do lose their libido… whether through declining hormones, fatigue over the stresses of childcare, elder care, work, and homecare.
“Meanwhile, men can go from zero to ready for action in a second. Most men don't realize that for women, foreplay is about so much more - it’s about taking on more help in the home, turning OFF the TV, telephones, and developing REAL intimacy with their partner.
“We women need to do the same! Partners need to put each other's needs first, even above their children's needs because children move out quicker than you realize and you’re just a couple again. Keep that bond strong, especially as you will need it during the teenage years!”
Been there, and still loving my husband
Tip of the day:
Enabling a friend to wallow in denial about a break-up isn’t healthy support.