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help friend see relationship is bad for him


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Guest Anonymous

I have been best friends with the same 3 people for 11 years. One of them has been dating someone for the past 3 years who we believe is not good for him. She has severe unmanaged anxiety and depression that she has not gotten treatment for. This has resulted in our friend leaving plans early, being very limited in plans they do make, and basically just holing up in their apartment alone. (We have been invited over ONCE in 6 months). 
 

Most recently, my wedding was last month and my husband and I had our friend as a groomsman. We had everyone tested negative for Covid beforehand and everyone in the bridal party was vaccinated and boosted (as well as 98% of our guests). They ended up leaving early unexpectedly, and because of this one of my three best friends is not present in the majority of my memories from the wedding. 
 

They never reached out to apologize or explain - we finally talked about it yesterday and his girlfriend admitted she had a panic attack during the wedding and needed to leave due to suddenly feeling panicked about Covid. 
 

I don’t know how to express to my friend that he needs to move on from this relationship and it is not only hurting him, but also now his friends. It is pretty clear that his girlfriends method of treating her anxiety so far has been avoiding the triggers and not actually taking steps to treat it. I don’t know how we will remain friends into the future, as in the 3 years they’ve been dating it’s been progressively more strained and he’s been distant. 
 

Just very sad and looking for some advice 

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You don’t. That is not only a sure fire way to make sure he never speaks to you again, it is also not your place His life, his choices. Plus, you do not know everything about this relationship, you just think you do. Instead, get used to the fact that this is his life and you can keep him for a friend or not, that you can control.

I would like to add that even usually healthy-minded people have huge anxiety over Covid, regardless of the situation. 

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I'm so sorry your friend's choice in partner is inconveniencing you and ruined your wedding photos.  That's not at all a reason to get involved nor are her mental health issues.  

The only times I would ever get involved in someone else's relationship is if there was actual abuse or danger to their children.  True life/death type emergencies and crises. 

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Guest Anonymous
4 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I'm so sorry your friend's choice in partner is inconveniencing you and ruined your wedding photos.  That's not at all a reason to get involved nor are her mental health issues.  

The only times I would ever get involved in someone else's relationship is if there was actual abuse or danger to their children.  True life/death type emergencies and crises. 

Wow judgemental much? It’s not about “inconveniencing me or our wedding photos” it’s about consistently missing out on opportunities to make memories with the people we have gone through life together with - and the impact of that on my friend whose relationships outside of his girlfriend have been suffering for the past 3 years. 

Edited by conflicted57
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9 minutes ago, Guest Anonymous said:

Wow judgemental much? It’s not about “inconveniencing me or our wedding photos” it’s about consistently missing out on opportunities to make memories with the people we have gone through life together with - and the impact of that on my friend whose relationships outside of his girlfriend have been suffering for the past 3 years. 

LOLLLL.  I was basically quoting you -that as a result of his girlfriend having a panic attack (which I can relate to and I have no mental health issues - I was terrified three days ago in a medical waiting room of a woman who took her mask off to FaceTime) - he wasn't in your photos.  Ruined your photos.  Is harder to make plans with.  You see these things as important -maybe he doesn't as much. 

"They ended up leaving early unexpectedly, and because of this one of my three best friends is not present in the majority of my memories from the wedding. "

Your memories.  Not his.  Would you have preferred his memories to be having to take her to an ER had he made her stay so he could say cheese for the photographer.  You can have memories -in your imagination -he showed up for as long as he could.  

Maybe he doesn't see the importance of wedding photos or socializing right now or the "opportunities" you think are important.  That's about you. You should have told him it was mandatory for him to be there for all the photos.  Then he could have considered in advance whether his partner would be able to make it through the wedding and either not attend or not bring her. 

 

And "This has resulted in our friend leaving plans early, being very limited in plans they do make, and basically just holing up in their apartment alone. (We have been invited over ONCE in 6 months)."

This also is about you.  You have not been invited in months, you can't make certain plans with him right now (and you assume it's all about his partner -perhaps he's a bit burnt out from all the socializing and being involved in your wedding plans -that can take a toll). 

 He is prioritizing his partner right now.  As much as to you it's important to maintain freindships by socializing regularly and being in wedding photos and being there for opportunities to get together, he doesn't.  He's entitled to his priorities just like yours were to have a wedding with a gathering of enough people that covid tests were needed.  His partner has anxiety issues and as some others posted many without anxiety issues get really scared of being exposed to covid.  There are many false negative covid tests and the test of course is only a snapshot.  

So I ask you - judgmental much?  Please don't ask for opinions if you actually do not want them, thanks.

Edited by Batya33
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Guest Anonymous
1 hour ago, Guest Anonymous said:

we finally talked about it yesterday and his girlfriend admitted she had a panic attack during the wedding and needed to leave due to suddenly feeling panicked about Covid. 
 

I don’t know how to express to my friend that he needs to move on from this relationship and it is not only hurting him, but also now his friends.

Stay out of it. He picked her and stayed with her .

It's not your call to tell him who to date. He doesn't need your approval. He may expect that you respect him and his choices. If you dislike her, don't hang out with them.

So they left early? People do that at weddings/parties if they don't feel well.

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We grow out of people sometimes. That’s inevitable. All you can do is let your friend know that you see a lot of changes in him and let him decide what’s best for him. 

This is a practice in respect for someone else’s autonomy. You do not get to go in and decide on an intervention or ambush on his significant other. 

I’d process more why this bothers you so much. Stay focused on your new life ahead with your spouse and let new friendships in.

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Guest Anonymous

OP here - I guess I did a poor job of explaining that We have all noticed changes in him and withdrawal from friends increasing over 3 years that is unlike what we all have known of him over our 11 years of friendship. I chose the most recent and dramatic scenario and feel the need to explain that this is a pattern that has been ongoing. From my understanding, the above is a warning sign of a toxic relationship and I care about my friend. Are we just supposed to sit back and wait for physical abuse proof or something before saying anything?  This isn’t just me being upset about my wedding. 

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19 minutes ago, Guest Anonymous said:

OP here - I guess I did a poor job of explaining that We have all noticed changes in him and withdrawal from friends increasing over 3 years that is unlike what we all have known of him over our 11 years of friendship. I chose the most recent and dramatic scenario and feel the need to explain that this is a pattern that has been ongoing. From my understanding, the above is a warning sign of a toxic relationship and I care about my friend. Are we just supposed to sit back and wait for physical abuse proof or something before saying anything?  This isn’t just me being upset about my wedding. 

Well, I suggested letting him know the drastic changes you’ve seen. Give him tangible and reliable sources for support for survivors/victims of domestic abuse and show yourself as a true friend by respecting his wishes. He may scoff at you or laugh at your efforts but it’s not about you being right. It’s about you being a good friend and showing that regardless of the circumstances you’re there.

Outright telling or dictating to him that he needs to move on from his partner is one step further you can take but it appears hugely controlling and inappropriate. If you feel so strongly about all this why haven’t you pulled him aside in private or met with him one on one to chat about this. 

Avoid gossiping with other friends about this or making it a public affair. It’s extremely disrespectful to your friend if it’s becoming a village mob or 2:1 approach. This is really about you and the way you feel.

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43 minutes ago, Guest Anonymous said:

have all noticed changes in him and withdrawal from friends increasing over 3 years that is unlike what we all have known of him over our 11 years of friendship

Ok. Then talk to him about him, not his GF. Leave his GF and your assessment of "toxic relationship" out of it.

If you think he is having mental health problems or withdrawing or under stress, mention your concern about him as a person and do not try to play relationship police or bring up his GF.

If he is your friend and you want to help him, discuss that. If you mention that you dislike his GF, or worse, imply that she's "toxic" it will just push him further away from you and into her arms.

Also what's up with "We". Don't gang up on him. This is not an intervention.

Have you considered that he has outgrown you? And simply doesn't want to hang around joined at the hip? Maybe he finds your attitude distasteful meaning you're snubbing his GF.

Maybe he's happy with his GF. Especially since they've been together 3 years. The hyperbole about "proof of physical abuse"  is a bit much because he doesn't feel like hanging out with you that much anymore and ducked out of your wedding early.

Focus on your new marriage and stay out of his relationship.

Edited by Wiseman2
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I agree with above replies.

You have seen a 'change' in him since he's been involved with his GF.  Yeah, that can happen.

People change.  Experiences change people.  And what you all had for the past 11 years has changed now.

Whatever THEY have going on is no one else's business.  And I see this as HE is a big boy now and can decide for himself what he does or doesn't favour etc.

Okay, so his visits are not as long & heads out earlier than he used to. So, they left your wedding early.  Been there. 

A few years ago, my anxiety was extreme and I ended up leaving my grandfathers b-day early. Mom understood, never questioned me. ( anxiety is overwhelming when it hits and we try to override it with meds or coping skills.. but it is not nice) 😕 

As mentioned, you can try & explain your side & your concerns on IF your friend has changed, to him... See what he has to say. But, you also need to consider his life choices and let some things be. He's an adult and involved, expect things will change with that.

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I feel sorry for his girlfriend honestly. She probably has tried to help her anxiety. You know anxiety is very hard to treat and manage. It’s even worse because you know as a person with anxiety it’s getting in the way of daily life. 
 

He’s staying because he loves her and is devoted to her. His own depression and issues are probably not a result of her. I would be so angry the years I dated someone whom has schizophrenia years ago, by the way was the love of my life at the time. If people said to drop him because he has social anxiety and has a hard time coming to social gatherings. 
 

You obviously don’t get it! Otherwise you wouldn’t be thinking she’s such a burden. 
 

Not everyone needs a little happy homemaker. Life just doesn’t work that way. 
 

Now if she was verbally assaulting him or hitting him. Then that’s need of concern. 

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I agree you don’t wait until there is actual physical or emotional abuse but as an outsider who is not a mental health professional then I would say unless he shares with you that she threatened physical violence or similar then no you don’t interfere in this situation which has nothing to do with abuse.
 Like others said he may very well be choosing to prioritize his partner and is fine with missing out on social opportunities and staying for an entire wedding when his partner is not feeling well. 

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Personally I think you should mind your own business.  Who he chooses to stay with is HIS choice.  He doesn't need to go through all of his friends for approval of who he wants to date.  He's with her for 3 years, that's not bad.  Something must be working for them.   Mind your own business and focus on your own marriage and building a happy life for yourself.  No doubt they can take care of themselves.

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10 hours ago, Guest Anonymous said:

OP here - I guess I did a poor job of explaining that We have all noticed changes in him and withdrawal from friends increasing over 3 years that is unlike what we all have known of him over our 11 years of friendship. I chose the most recent and dramatic scenario and feel the need to explain that this is a pattern that has been ongoing. From my understanding, the above is a warning sign of a toxic relationship and I care about my friend. Are we just supposed to sit back and wait for physical abuse proof or something before saying anything?  This isn’t just me being upset about my wedding. 

My heart goes out to you, and I'm so sorry you've been missing the friend you've known and loved for so many years. It can hurt when friendships diverge. But over time, most of them do, to one degree or another--but not necessarily permanently.

Think of the natural odds of each of us keeping every friend joined exactly in place over the course of time and throughout life changes over an expanding calendar.

When it's not some version of a Yoko Ono problem, it's being knee deep in diapers, or elder care, or job changes, or travel, or health issues, the list goes on.

But the good news is, after you live long enough, you'll see a pattern of those who've meant the most to you (or WILL mean more to you than in the past) cycling back into your life over time.

Stuff resolves, or beneficial changes counter older problems, or children grow up, or whatever the barrier has been, it changes.

If you believe that this friend is suffering some kind of hidden abuse from his partner, you might have a case for intervention. But if you respect your friend as an adult capable of making his own decisions, then you'll need to demonstrate that respect by honoring his choices and toughing out this divergence until such time that HE chooses to remedy it.

If you badmouth the GF, you may burn that bridge, so I wouldn't go there.

Head high, and write more if it helps. 

 

 

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OP, I think if you plan on talking to him, you need to keep the focus on your friendship with him and leave her out of it. 

Explain that you have missed him and are concerned that the friendship isn't what it once was. He is a big boy, I'm assuming, and probably is well aware of the toll this relationship is having on him and his social life. He won't need you to point that out. But, he is making the choice to stay with her. It is not up to you to tell him he needs to end it. That would be over-stepping a boundary, and rather infantilizing. He isn't oblivious. He's an adult capable of making his own decisions, even if you don't agree with them.

If he continues to choose this relationship and prioritize it over all else, well, you might have to accept that he doesn't value your friendship the same way you do anymore. I went through this with a best friend of many years. It was painful but I could not stand by as she continued to put her no-good man ahead of everything and everyone else. It's now been maybe 5 years since we last spoke, and I'm okay with that. We grew apart and our respective priorities meant our friendship was not sustaintable anymore. It happens. 

Edited by MissCanuck
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Guest Anonymous
15 hours ago, Guest Anonymous said:

his girlfriends method of treating her anxiety so far has been avoiding the triggers and not actually taking steps to treat it.

You seem like a big trigger for her (or anyone's) anxiety with your arrogance and lack of appropriate boundaries.

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3 hours ago, MissCanuck said:

I went through this with a best friend of many years. It was painful but I could not stand by as she continued to put her no-good man ahead of everything and everyone else. It's now been maybe 5 years since we last spoke, and I'm okay with that. We grew apart and our respective priorities meant our friendship was not sustaintable anymore. It happens. 

Me too -very frustrating and painful.  And people make excuses like "I can't make it because [partner] made plans for us with her [distant cousin]" but in reality it's an excuse -an easy way out.
 

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On 1/23/2022 at 9:31 AM, Guest Anonymous said:

 

I don’t know how to express to my friend that he needs to move on from this relationship and it is not only hurting him, but also now his friends.

 

But when all is said and done, you and your friends aren't going to grow old together and take care of him.  Whether you like it or not he's entitled to choose his life partner.  After all, you've have secured yours.

We've all been there, where we don't approve of someone's choice in a mate.  I have yet to see any successful interventions.  If it's truly a toxic match, it will either run its course or they'll stay together and remove themselves from the circle of friends who don't approve.  The best you can do is be there to support them at the same time recognizing that it's your place to keep your hands off of two grown adults capable of making their own choices. 

Unless he's in grave danger . .   but you didn't share that.

I had a good friend who dated a sociopath that everyone hated.  He drug her down mercilessly.  At some point suicidal. I voiced my concerns, tried to be supportive and when I recognized it was out of my control, I had no choice to back off.  Ultimately it changed the shape of our friendship permanently and though it's been over for a couple years, she's never been the same and we aren't as close as we used to be.  I also acknowledge that it's not my life or my choice.  Because of the differences I've distanced myself from her somewhat. It still makes me sad.  But she's a grown woman and not a child.

 

Edited by reinventmyself
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It sounds as though he is friends with both you and your husband which means it suits you both to still have him in your life in the same capacity as before ….. but that’s YOUR life and YOUR expectation of him. You can’t seem to accept that he is entitled to have a life away from you with someone of his own choosing. 

You really have no place to tell him that he needs to move on from this girl  …. all because her anxiety inconveniences you or has changed the dynamic of your friendship …. but life changes ….. and never more so than we find someone we want to settle down with.  
 

The bottom line is, he has every right to put his girlfriend’s priorities above yours. Seems to me you expect it to be the other way around. 

 

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On 1/23/2022 at 5:45 PM, Guest Anonymous said:

 it’s about consistently missing out on opportunities to make memories with the people we have gone through life together with - and the impact of that on my friend whose relationships outside of his girlfriend have been suffering for the past 3 years. 

That’s because he is making new memories with someone who is far more important to him than you …. and, yes, she IS more important to him than you …. in the same way that your husband is more important to you than him (hopefully). Why not concentrate on making new memories with your husband instead of trying to hang on to the way things were. You’re all beginning to settle down now. The dynamics of your friendship will inevitably change.

You’re attitude towards this friendship seems somewhat unhealthy. You are beginning a new chapter in your life. Why not enjoy that instead of worrying about his relationship, which is really none of your business anyway. You’ve been able to carve out a life for yourself and get married, accept that he should be allowed the same. He doesn’t have to be at your heel for the rest of his life. 
 

To start talking about abuse because he chooses to spend more time with her than you is unnecessary. Unless you have evidence of this then it is totally unjustified and you have simply thrown that out there because you don’t like her. 

 

Edited by Blue68
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On 1/24/2022 at 6:31 AM, Guest Anonymous said:

I have been best friends with the same 3 people for 11 years. One of them has been dating someone for the past 3 years who we believe is not good for him. She has severe unmanaged anxiety and depression that she has not gotten treatment for.

Some men have rescue syndrome, he might be one of them. They wanna feel like they're rescuing someone and they want to be needed etc... 

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On 1/23/2022 at 9:31 AM, Guest Anonymous said:

They never reached out to apologize or explain - we finally talked about it yesterday and his girlfriend admitted she had a panic attack during the wedding and needed to leave due to suddenly feeling panicked about Covid. 
I don’t know how to express to my friend that he needs to move on from this relationship and it is not only hurting him, but also now his friends. It is pretty clear that his girlfriends method of treating her anxiety so far has been avoiding the triggers and not actually taking steps to treat it. I don’t know how we will remain friends into the future, as in the 3 years they’ve been dating it’s been progressively more strained and he’s been distant. 

This will sound harsh, but you need to mind your own business. Why would you try to meddle in their relationship. If they've been together three years, why are you trying to break them up? What do you have to gain from this? What makes you think that you know anything about his relationship? Why are you so posessive over him that you can't see that this is his primary person now?

Do you have a history with this guy or something? Is she really beautiful or something? You sound like you might be a bit jealous of their dynamic, and it's hard not to wonder if there's not something more going on, even subconsciously. Not asking you to answer that here, just maybe mull it over when considering your motivations for wanting to wreck their relationship. 


And why are you concerned about this when you should be enjoying newlywed marital bliss? That to me is the most worrying part about this whole post...the fact that you just got married and yet are pouring energy into breaking up your friends relationship is not a good look, or a good sign. 

Yes, it's rude that they didn't apologize, but maybe they were trying to slip out and hoping you were too busy enjoying your wedding to worry about it.  

Look at it logically: two of the last three years we've been in a pandemic! The first year they were probably in honeymoon mode, when couples often retreat into their own little love bubbles. As others have mentioned, her covid concerns are understandable. I'm triple vaccinated and my partner got covid and I didn't last month so I'm probably pretty unlikely to get this variant. I don't have an anxiety disorder, and yet I still would feel uncomfortable at a wedding right now. 
 

Edited by CookiesandCandy
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