Friend in trouble, dad’s gf, & long distance love
Written by Sasha (Sasha is on Twitter now! Click her name for her page.)
Haven’t checked in for a while but wanted to say thank you to all of you who have written in with your life and style questions. You’re definitely keeping me on my toes! And thanks to all of you who have written in with your comments about my posts – even if we don’t agree we’re still friends, right?
Four of us girls have been tight knit for the last decade. In the last few years our boyfriends/husbands have become tight as well, so we 8 get together fairly regularly. Unfortunately we think one of the guys is seriously mistreating one of our girls. I need to know how to handle it.
Four years ago K met D at work, and within a couple of months they were living together with a 3rd roommate, say M. We always found D a little suspect- he's very quiet, in a creepy way- but K loved him and it was (is) her first long term relationship ever. She seemed happy so we went with it. Somewhere along the line things went sour, and K has confided small bits and pieces to each of us individually. It wasn't until we talked to each other that we realized how bad it is. Here's what we know for sure:
K and D no longer live with M because she insisted they move out. She said D was a creepy drug addict and that K could do better. Mysteriously, K responded by cutting off all contact with M. We know he uses coke, seemingly without K's knowledge. Either she knows and is in denial or she really doesn't know, but we have never once witnessed a sober D. Although K makes a third of what D makes, she pays all the household bills. When she asks him for help he says he doesn't have any money or he flat out refuses. He calls her a bitch and the fight escalates until he storms off (hopefully), and they don’t talk to each other for weeks (despite also working together). Eventually he buys her flowers and it blows over, and she learns to wait a few months before asking for help again. One weekend on a trip out of town, D got totally wasted and insisted on driving home. K refused to get in the car with him unless she was behind the wheel, so he sped off, without her. He left her there in the middle of butt-f-ck-nowhere in the freezing cold night. And he never went back for her. One of us picked her up and against our wishes, drove her home. That night she defended his actions and has never mentioned it again.
Last summer K retreated from us hardcore. We would send texts, call her at home and at work, she'd chat but never follow through on plans. We resorted to stopping by their house unannounced. One time that I stopped by she came out from the bedroom, visibly wiping tears, and he came up from the basement. He sat there in the kitchen without saying a word, listening to us talk, until I finally left.
In her darkest hour K has mentioned wanting to seek help from a counsellor. But things always get better. Things seemed ok between them around Christmas, when we all found out that K is pregnant. But two weeks ago K and I took off on a spontaneous vacation down south and once she was in shorts I could see the massive disgustingly fresh bruise on her leg, just above her knee. I asked her what happened and she said she ran into a table. She didn't call him once all week. D had flowers waiting for her when we got home.
Now that she's pregnant I'm terrified the added pressure will make D snap. I'm anxious to move in and haul her out of there, but she hasn't asked for help. She hasn't even admitted anything that she wasn't forced to admit. I think her lack of relationship experience makes her naive and gullible to his apologies. I think she thinks she'll mess up the dynamic of the group if they break up. i think she thinks we all like D. She's in denial, obviously. But what can I do to help her? I'm terrified for her, we all are. We've discussed taking her away for a girls weekend and telling her that we're always here to help? PLEASE HELP. J
I have to admit that these types of questions are up there for me in terms of difficulty because the answer is never easy and more importantly the outcome can vary. When I say break up with a cheating asshole, I know the result will be in your favour. You’ll be a happier stronger person for it. But when it comes to something like this, I can tell you to do the ‘right’ thing but I can’t promise things won’t go to sh-t. Know what I mean?
So here’s the deal. I always struggle with the idea of poking your head into someone else’s relationship and waving a judgey finger. I did it once with a good friend, because I thought the guy she was dating was sh-t. I wasn’t wrong that he was sh-t – he was - I was just wrong to express that to her. It wasn’t my place, it wasn’t my relationship. And as I’ve said a number of times -- you can’t MAKE anyone do anything. She loved him and when you love someone you protect their ass no matter what. So here I was, wasting all this time and energy essentially trying to rip two people apart, when in the end, I was the one who got boned.
So J, are you going to spend all this energy and effort only to have your friend totally disregard what you’ve said? Yes, very possible.
But here’s where I think your situation differs from mine and many others. Right now I don’t care if buddy snorts mountains of blow, doesn’t pay the bills or blah blah blah. The red flag here is that there are some signs that she’s in a dangerous relationship and that’s where I start to worry. Other than a bruise though, you really don’t have any proof that he’s abusing her. But you do have reason to be suspicious. Your spidey senses are tingling; chances are your instinct is probably right. If she’s not being physically abused, I’m sure there’s some mental sh-t going down, and as we all know that can be just as damaging. And god, the fact that she’s pregnant right now gives me the major sads because it’s going to make leaving a bijillion times more difficult. And I don’t even want to think about what this child is going to have to experience if K and D don’t get their sh-t together.
So this is what I think you should do. While in theory, the girls’ trip is a good idea, I don’t know if it’s the best option… just yet. It’s a bit too intervention-y and I’m sure she’ll feel ganged up on. It might be best if you just talk to her one-on-one for right now. The goal here is to get real, without coming off judgmental. Tell her how you’ve seen her change, how she’s pulled away and how that happiness she was once filled with seems empty now. Lay it all out there and let her know that you will do anything and everything to support her. Have this conversation with her and then let it settle for a while. A real intense conversation where she can’t make an excuse to leave but you don't point any fingers.
If you don’t see any change after a couple of months then I think its time to have that girl’s getaway. When you’re there, since now it has become intervention-y, point her in the direction of resources that can help her. There are experts in these kinds of situations who can help. And just planting the seed for her to contact someone on her own time might be something she can turn to if she feels for whatever reason that she can’t tell anyone else. This is a good basic link that a reader sent in last week. And look into your local domestic abuse organisations too. Maybe give them a call and see what they say as well? They might be able to guide you on how to stage this discussion with her.
And J, she might push you away further; she might even cut you right out of her life, but that too is an expected reaction for those who are in her position, if that’s really what’s going on. Ultimately though, change has to be her decision.
Dear Sasha, I am writing to you about my parent’s situation which is incredibly bananas but I'm always placed in the middle of it. My parents have been married for over 25 years but have never had a solid marriage...constant fighting, my mom cheated back in the day, and they lived in separate houses for the past 9 years. They have had this off-on thing while separated (but not legally) because my mother has a psychiatric illness and can't seem to decide what she wants in life and has a hard life in general.
She strayed again recently (about a year ago) and this past fall my father decided he had enough of her and told her he doesn't want anything to do with her. Thing is, my father at this same time, has a new lady friend that my mother does not know exists and I'm not to speak a word of it. She's strayed many times, and I wasn't able to tell my Dad what was up so I respect his wishes. I genuinely believe that my father does deserve to be happy after the craziness with my mom but Sasha... it floors me whenever he talks about her. Like, I straight up feel angry and currently don't feel that I want to meet her which is the same way I felt about my mother’s last man friend. As far as I know she's nice. Our last convo he said that my grandma likes her, and they went to visit her again which floored me...like, get out of my family kind of way! I'm starting to accept that given he's introducing her to his parents that it's for real and that him and my mom and done for good, so sooner or later I'm going to have to meet this woman and... she could become a permanent fixture. I'm just not sure what to make of this and why I feel angry and defensive... what normally happens when parents separate and date other people... as in, how do people cope with new step-parents? (I'm turning 25 this year and reside in a different city than both of my parents). Any perspective on this would be very appreciated! FV.
FV, what you’re feeling right now is totally NORMAL! Having some rando adult appear in your family is not only a major adjustment but it’s also a big mind f-ck. Your mom and dad obviously have been fixtures in your life and then, what, you’re supposed to welcome this new person with open arms?
Now, you ask how others cope. It’s split. I know some people who still to this day can’t adjust, and then I know some who were super easy breezy about the situation. When it came to me, I leaned on the side of bratty. When my dad introduced us to his girlfriend I felt so much internal rage –there were days I thought about mapquesting this chick and drop kicking her ass. And then when my mom introduced us to her boyfriend who later became her husband/my stepdad I felt crazy jealous that some other dude was taking up my mommy time. I even made him sleep on the couch for an entire year. Let’s just say you seem to be dealing with it way better than I did.
Now, of course after a while I snapped out of this selfish stage and came to realize that if my parents were miserable and ultimately not compatible, why would I ever stand in the way of their future happiness. They would NEVER do that to me. So FV, you’ve got to keep reminding yourself of this. Your parents deserve happiness; they deserve partners who can be there for them. And frankly, you don’t have a say when it comes to this. They’re grown ups.
By the sounds of it you grew up in a pretty volatile environment so I guess what I’m saying here is don’t make this any harder than it needs to be. Stop resisting the inevitable and try opening yourself up to the fact that your father has found someone new and if he’s happy, you should be happy. It’ll just make everyone’s life easier. Your parents have clearly experienced years of drama (which unfortunately you had to witness), so wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could just enjoy some peace?
FV, that’s not to say you aren’t entitled to feel sad about your parents lost love and that idealized image of the ‘perfect’ family. But you’ve got to get over it.
I think as children we sometimes forget that our parents have their own life to live, so don’t stand in the way of that, FV. And look, it’s going to be so f-cking weird meeting this woman, but you’re just gonna have to roll with it. And dare I say you could end up actually liking his new lady friend? I promise you, it will start to feel less weird as time goes on. It did for me, I love my stepdad. Sure, we make fun of him all the time, but that’s how he knows he finally made it into our inner circle.
Hope this helps and keep me posted! Xx
Hi Sasha, I just started dating a guy about a week and a half ago. We've only been on a couple dates but already I'm crazy about him and he with me. I feel that I've finally met someone who I want to be in a serious relationship with, although I am definitely happy just dating him for a while without getting serious yet, but I would want to get there eventually. However there is a huge problem: At the end of May he is going to Europe for "three months/indefinitely" (his words.) He might even move there for a few years. The thought of this causes a lot of anxiety for me. I've been supportive of it and I am all for him travelling and if he were going for three months, fine, but if he's going for YEARS, not-so fine.
I don't know what to do. I don't want to fall for a guy who is planning on moving across the ocean. And although we're not a serious couple, I feel that we have that potential.
I don't know if it's too soon to talk to him about it or not since we just started dating. Should I just enjoy myself now and risk heartbreak or should I end it before it all goes awry? And is it too early to talk to him about my feelings about it, any my feelings for him? We have both told each other how much we like one another; we talk every day; we hold hands and have gone on amazing dates. I feel that I could fall for him but now I'm afraid to. What should I do? –C
Sorry to break it to you but it sounds like you’ve already fallen for this guy, so even if you wanted to end things with him right now, heartbreak would be inevitable. So with that piece of news out of the way here’s what you should do.
Obviously it’s a major bummer that buddy’s leaving soon but I think you should take the next month and figure out if what you’re feeling for him is actually real. I mean, I’ve fallen for guys quickly too but if they laughed the wrong way, I was out the door. So enjoy this bit of time, have fun and don’t put any added pressure on it. There’s nothing wrong with just having a great time with someone, even if it’s only for a brief period. Sometimes that’s all you need to feel good about yourself, to know what it is to be treated right, and just well, to f-cking love life a bit. Sometimes being in a great relationship doesn’t mean it has to last years for it to mean something. Y’know?
If you guys are in still in the land of bliss come May, then sure, totally drop the ‘what is our future’ bomb. I think that’s fair, especially if he’s being all lovey dovey with you too. If his plans are to come back in three months, then I hope you guys are able to make it work, but if he says three years then I’d take this time to f-ck three years’ worth out of the dude and then say goodbye. Either way, a win-win.
File photo from Alberto E. Rodriguez/Gettyimages.com