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One of my best friends has been in an on-and-off relationship with her boyfriend for a whole year now. As their relationship kept going, it grew into a very emotionally abusive relationship. He's always been clingy, jealous, very unclear about his feelings about everything, and unable to adapt to changes in her life as well as his. I can't say she's a saint either. At first, she was just easily bored, but eventually she became more and more insecure, clingy, paranoid, and has always had problems making her feelings clear to him. Their fights were always yelling to be point of helplessness and confusion - throwing petty remarks and pointing each other's faults instead of resolving the actually issue. She's always told me how unhappy she was with him, but always told me that she loves him and when they're broken up, how she misses him and wants to be his friend, ETC. ETC.


Now, I'm not against people having an on-and-off relationship - I believe that distance can make the heart grow fonder and make things more clearer if you use that time for that; however, it bothers the living sh#$ out of me when I see someone - one of my dearest friends, let herself go through something so emotional staining - hoping for change that has been promised time and time again, pretending that the past didn't happen, thinking that no one is going to love her the way he does (which is what he told her during one of their break-ups).


For a long time, I just give my input and advice - the same, "You deserve someone that makes you happy. He doesn't understand how to be in a relationship. He hasn't changed - and is probably not. If you're going to get back together with him, you need to give each other time to figure things out and feel secure on your own, without him. ETC." And all she says is, "You're right, I know. I know you're right. I'm lonely. I know. ETC ETC." I supported her through thick and thin, but now... I feel like an enabler. Nothing has changed. She's with him again - and I don't know how to let her "do her" (a mutual friend's wording), knowing that it hasn't worked in the past.


So I'm trying this new thing to me called tough love - I'm ignoring her. I know, it's not mature and she has been trying to contact me (really really pissed off and according to her, worried), but I honestly don't know what to say to her anymore, or just have a normal conversation without her problems with her boyfriend in the equation. I don't want to say that wrong things due to the fact that she's really sensitive and I'm naturally honest. I really want to figure out what I should do or say at this point. I feel wrong about being by her side and backing her while she's still with him. But a mutual friend of ours has brought to light that that's what friends do. I don't regret what I've already done, I just don't want make a move I regret.

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Why does it have to be one extreme or the other? If she is a good friend, be her friend and distance yourself from the boyfriend drama. Gently but firmly explain to her that you cannot deal with her relationship woes any longer, that you feel your friendship is suffering because of them.


Of course, not everyone is capable of doing this, it is entirely your decision. I have been in a similar situation, me being your friend, and I experienced both the action you are considering taking and the action detailed above. The latter is still in my life, the former is not. With hindsight, despite how close we once were, the former and I were and still are (we have mutual friends) completely opposite personalities with different life goals.

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Yes, they are extremes, but we've been very close and how do you not tell one of your best friends your problems? She's the type of who has a very people she trusts and even the people she does trust, there still a sense of distrust - which personally I know eventually results in loneliness and at times, self-destruction. She's a very clingy person because she doesn't trust easily. And knowing all this, I still ignore her? I know she has good friends - the problem is that she knows, yet doubts, so I'm not worried that the possibility of losing me as a friend is going to make her life hell.


I'm also looking out for myself - I strongly believe that you can help someone else out, unless you can deal with yourself. I can't deal with her emotion baggage, plus the stress of the direction of my career. To me, it doesn't do his any good if she struggles not to tell me about her boyfriend problems, and I pretend like she's not dating home or something, just ignoring his presence in her life.

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