This might be a strange one, sorry. I need some advice regarding increasingly worrying behavior my friend is showing
Some background: we’re both straight guys in our mid-30s, he’s a few years older than me. We’ve been very close friends during childhood and our teenage years, then drifted apart in our 20s. We’ve been in touch over the years, but really only reconnected in the last 12 months. I’ve been back in the town for over a year due to COVID and remote work.
Here’s the thing, he’s been through some really rough times in the last few years – bad ongoing divorce (his wife’s decision), moved back with his parents, can’t find work due to health problems. Understandably, all of this took its toll. Anybody would be affected by all this, however, there’s an aspect of this I find strange (and potentially worrying).
It’s hard for me to describe the change without getting into specifics, but when it comes to women/sex he basically devolved into some "immature, sex crazed 15-year-old" trope. This type of behavior, cringeworthy enough when teenage boys engage in it, is completely out of place and bizarre when coming from a guy approaching his fortieth birthday. And this goes double for him. Back when we were teens he was always so serious and acted very mature for his age. He was never this “immature, sex crazed 15-year-old,” not even when he actually was fifteen. Like, imagine, when the rest of us were boasting about getting laid or whatever (when we were teens) he would be the one saying it’s disrespectful or inappropriate. He was that kid.
And now he’s the one bragging about getting oral sex, or wondering out loud if a girl he will see later is shaved, or offering to send nudes/films of some random girls he was with. He’s constantly boasting of the number of girls he slept with in the last 12 months, etc. It’s definitely not a good look.
At first I let this stuff slide. I am aware that sounds very cowardly, but he was in such a bad place and went through so much I just thought he’s going through some strange, temporary phase. I didn’t egg him on, but I didn’t think it was a right time for a lecture either.
However, now it has been months and he’s still at it. He's even in a relationship with some girl now, but he still constantly brings up his past “conquests” (like every single time we talk). I’ve changed strategies and try to let it slide much less, sometimes I offer firm advice.
Like in the cases above, I might say: “you bring up this girl every time, way too much, maybe it’s time to move on man, let it go” or “who cares if she’s shaved, why do I need to know anyway,” or “Nah, I’m good, by the way, I wouldn’t send that nude to anyone if I was you, you might even get into serious trouble.”
So far I’ve been avoiding the “it’s not appropriate”/“you’re being sexist”/“this is disgusting” route. I realize that this would be the most direct way, just let him know when he’s acting strange. However, I have a very strong feeling that all that will accomplish is push him away. Seems like this guy already lost touch with nearly everyone (who knows, maybe because of this type of behavior). I’m trying to be there for him, maybe we’re not super close now but we once were like brothers, and it sucks to see him like this.
I’m also terrified that there is a small chance he will actually sexually assault someone in some way. He seems oblivious to social cues, observing him interact with women in public I can see he often has no clue when they are uninterested or even evasive. It's like he's acting the part of the womanizer but doesn't have the feel for it (because he never was one to begin with).
I don’t know what else to do, I would like to help him get over this, but don’t know how. I think that consistently and firmly calling him out is the logical next step, but I worry that this will just result in us not speaking anymore. And all that will mean is that I can no longer help him, or even be there to offer advice if he tries something really stupid or dangerous.