Friend Won’t Act on Advice
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Dear Christine,

I’m single, almost 40, and loving every minute of it. My problem isn’t about me; it’s about my close friend. For two years, she’s been living with a verbally abusive man who cheats on her. Every time he calls her fat, stupid or lazy, I tell her to leave him. Every time he sleeps around, I tell her to leave. I’ve assured her I’ll help her with everything from a place to stay until she finds a new home to using my credit card to secure a U-Haul. (He’s ruined her credit rating.) Despite knowing all of this, she doesn’t leave.

As sad as her situation is, the thing that’s killing me—and our friendship—is that we don’t talk about anything else anymore. We just revisit the same old sob stories of their horrific union. I wish I could help her, but her victim routine is sucking the life out of the friendship.

  
 
Should I cut her loose or stand by her for God only knows how many more years of abuse? -- EXHAUSTED FRIEND – BRANDON, MANITOBA

Dear Exhausted,

You’re a good friend. But you can’t save her from herself. And you shouldn’t have to be trapped in a one-sided friendship.

The next time you see her, tell her you no longer wish to discuss her common-law. In return for her compliance, you can agree to stop coaxing her to leave him. Tell her that there are things happening in your life—and there should be other things in her life—to talk about besides this abusive man.

My friend Jeff once passed on some words of wisdom. These can be the last words you say on the subject: “The first time…you’re a victim. The second time…you’re a volunteer.” Leave her with those words to think about, along with the knowledge that you will still be her friend as long as the topic is left off limits. Also, assure her that you’ll still help her if she should leave him.

Perhaps talking about other things—happy things—will help her muster up the courage to leave him. Or she may dump you because you won’t live in the abuse with her. Either way, the ball will be in her court. Then you can sit back and see if she still wants your friendship or if she only wanted you as a shoulder to cry on.



Dear Christine,

I was in what I thought was a great relationship until…my girlfriend broke up with me because someone told her I was cheating on her.

I wasn’t. And I never have.

When I told her as much, she didn’t believe me.
R I’ve tried everything to prove my dedication to her. I don’t know what else to do—or if I should even try. Should I keep trying to get her back or leave it alone? -- LEONARD – CHATHAM, ONTARIO

Dear Leonard,

What more can you do? You told the truth; she didn’t believe you.

Sounds like she’s insecure and needs constant validation and apology. Well, you shouldn’t have to kiss up when you’ve done nothing wrong. You don’t need someone who is so insecure that she allows rumours to determine the entire fate of your relationship.

If, by some chance, you did get back together, her belief that you cheated will always loom over the relationship.

Also, I hate to point this out, but her refusal to let you prove your case suggests she may have been looking for an out.

Whether this is about her lack of self-confidence or her lack of confidence in you, you’re better off without her.


Have a question, a thought, or a story to share (anonymity guaranteed)? Email Christine at single@keynotebooks.com


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