I’m close friends with a young woman who’s dating her on-again, off-again high school boyfriend of six years. After they’d split for a year when he cheated on her, she dated others, including me for a month.
She wasn't ready for a commitment, so broke it off with me. Her ex swore he’d changed and she went back to him.
My job’s forced me to move across the country but she keeps up close contact and shares her relationship problems.
Her boyfriend treats her like garbage. He’s verbally abusive to my friend, and breaks things when he gets angry.
She wants to get married, but he doesn't want to commit "until he’s debt-free” (currently owing $90,000). At 26, he won’t move in with her and leave his parents’ home.
My friend said she wishes she’d stuck it out with me, but she still loves him, though it's no longer "romantic love."
If I lived there, I could probably convince her to come back to me. But she’s very close to her family and doesn't want to take the chance of moving here.
I still deeply care for her.
What Can I DO?
Tell her how you feel about her. She likely knows, but it’s time to put it out there more clearly.
Yes, she’ll likely resist, since she’s not that independent and decisive. She’s still young, hanging onto a bad boyfriend, and needing the comfort of her family.
However, go a step further and say that you’re ready to visit back and forth for awhile. If you click, joining you eventually doesn’t mean leaving her family forever.
She’ll visit them periodically, they’ll visit her, and there’s easy contact online.
Be prepared that she’ll still resist.
But she’ll know you’re there when she wakes up one day to realize she’s taking far greater risks by staying with this guy. Tell her so.
I’m a successful woman, mid-30s. Last year I ended an extremely toxic on-off relationship. He was a slob and dependent financially. He proposed marriage. I turned him down.
Shortly after, I had a rebound "fling" with a much younger man. It left me feeling very raw and despondent. I decided not to date until I felt more emotionally stable.
I haven’t dated at all for a year. I’ve tried online dating - all the men either have issues or are completely unsuitable.
I feel I’m setting myself up to be alone forever. I don't even know if it's normal to not want to date. Do I have some deep-seated problem that needs treatment?
You may have some deep-seated problems, or poor judgement, when it comes to picking boyfriends.
Either way, you’re hiding from the opportunity – and need – to get past these two crummy relationships.
Not dating isn’t the answer. Nor is online dating and hoping you meet someone “suitable.”
Get to counselling (which isn’t only for deep-seated psychological problems). Examine whatever attracted you to the two past boyfriends, air with a professional what male qualities attract you, and whom you think is suitable for you.
Through that process you’ll become aware of whatever perceptions you formed growing up, that led you to choose the first “toxic” relationship, and whatever current insecurities were evident in the fling that ended up devastating you.
With better self-understanding, you’ll be able to date again, make better choices in dates, and end early on any relationships that appear negative.
This is the normal, healthy approach to dating that you’ll then be able to handle.
FEEDBACK Regarding ways to combat friends’ cell phone rudeness (Oct. 13):
Reader #1 – “We have a game to keep people away from their cellphones during social engagements.
“When out for dinner, before the meal starts, everyone has to place their phone facedown on the table.
“The first person to turn their phone over has to pick up the bill. Simple but effective!”
Reader #2 – “At the second interruption with the cell phone, your writer should’ve immediately stood up to leave.
“Of course, the friend would’ve looked up in surprise and asked where she’s going.
“The victim of her rudeness should’ve stated, "I can see that you didn't really have time to visit with me…”
“There’s no excuse for this rude behaviour. If no one takes a stand, it’ll continue.”
Reader #3 – “I might consider bringing a book and starting to read when the other person starts texting.”
Tip of the day:
If you love someone, say so, rather than just listen to their problems with someone else.