To not have found this 'joke' funny.(72 Posts)
My best friend has met a new man. Both are in their forties. I've not met him as they don't live in UK. They've known each other for a couple of months.
It all sounds quite 'whirlwind romance'. He's moved into an apartment in her block. If new man is due to visit bff, and I am due to Skype with her, she will rearrange our Skype, so as to spend maximum time with him, and if we are in the middle of a Skype session, and he phones, rather than not answer or get him to call back - she interrupts our conversation and tells me she'll ring me back, in order to speak to him.
This bugs me (or course), as I think she is giving way too much of herself - if she can't spare a regular Skype chat once a week - with her best friend.
She says herself, I was her 'lifeline', during a horrible couple of years and a marriage break-up. At certain points she was at risk of feeling suicidal, and I made an effort to 'be there' so, this treatment is a bit like a kick in the teeth. But, I'm also very glad for her, that she has met someone who seems to make her happy!
New man, sent me a friend request on fb, and I added him (more for bff's sake really). We exchanged a couple of polite messages - that's all really.
Then, this morning he sent me a message asking if my friend had any history of domestic violence, as this happened - and posted a photo of his upper arm, covered in a massive, swollen, dark purple bruise. It looked horrendous.
I was shocked and asked wtf happened - he said "she went Mike Tyson on me! I'm scared for my life, worried about my safety! Is she on medication at all??"
I told him not that I know of apart from some homeopathic stuff. What on earth happened? Anyway - it was also my dd's 4th birthday, and we were just unwrapping presents when I'd got these messages, it totally changed the mood, as I was then worried something awful had happened between friend and New Man. No reply from New Man.
Then, I got a text from friend saying to ignore his messages, 'he was just shittin ya' - I then asked her what was going on. She explained that he had been teaching her to punch and she was punching his arm, but he kept saying it didn't hurt...so she was doing it harder. eek. Friend suggested I play along and answer his message by saying "yeah, she's had a history of mental health issues, and been in an asylum" etc.
Told them both that I didn't think it was that funny, and their 'joke' had disrupted stuff I was doing with dd. Don't involve me in their games about domestic violence when it wasn't an issue, as I'd been really worried, and am too far away to either help or see it's just a stupid joke! They both apologised...
I'm sort of thinking he's a bit of a knob, now. And also thinking she's actually quite self-centred - I've mentioned to her before it was dd's birthday today, and she knows that with the time difference it would have been morning for us. As if on top of prepping for a kids birthday party I have time to bloody well engage in stupid banter about domestic violence and mental health issues (which isn't exactly a laughing matter anyway). Considering their ages I can't believe how childish they were! To cap it all, when friend apologised and asked me to give dd a hug oh her behalf, she spelt her name wrong.
So AIBU to be so UNamused? (I know IABVVU regarding the length of this post - sorry)
Crikey - been reading up on how to spot potentially abusive relationships and one thing that seems to jump out is Narcissism! Is he one...?
Is she one too, is that why they 'click' - or is she a narcissistic 'extension'? Am I?? I think I need to go the the Relationships forum as the more I read the more questions there are. Thank you all.
Got a text from bff this morning - to say she can't talk tomorrow, (no explanation), catch up next week, and to let her know when I can.
Am actually very relieved, as I think we need time for the dust to settle - I think if we talked tomorrow and it turned into a repeat of yesterday she would just withdraw.
"Ok thanks for letting me know. Might be better to wait a few days anyway as I think our convo got a bit heated. Having slept on it, I said some stupid stuff and took the joke way too seriously and would like to just forget all about it. It was bad timing and differences in humour, ridiculous to dwell. Sorry I got so pissed off about it. You're a grown up - New Man makes you happy and treats you well so I need to stop worrying and trust he's a decent guy. Have a good week - will try you next thurs. Love you x
She texted back "Love you too."
It feels rather disingenuous as I'm still worried of course (and she probably knows it) - but think I need to do some damage limitation and play it down as previously suggested, otherwise it will just add to the "You and me against the world" and "no one understands him like I do" romanticism.
You know what - I've never experienced being a friend of a 'friend-in-a-strange-relationship' before. She's been in a few relationships that ended badly but no one with this many red flags before, while in such a vulnerable stage in life. If this was anyone else I would step away and leave them to it - but I can't as I've known her since I was 4yrs old and we're like sisters. Suddenly getting an insight into what it must be like for family members who have to stand by and watch it all unfold.
HighJinx - thanks for sharing your situation.
It must be very hard biting your tongue for nearly three years, I'm already feeling the frustration. Yesterday, I was even tempted to show her this thread, even though that really would set the cat amongst the pigeons. At the moment she thinks it's just me, not being 'cool about it', and disappointingly lacking in humour - ugh, thanks a lot, New Man, if you were intending to shit-stir, you succeeded. If only she could see all the objective replies on here! (But no, I won't).
We're supposed to be talking again on Thursday - Easter Hols and taking advantage of the lack of school runs etc. She's the one who suggested talking later in the week. Agreed, but mixed feelings. I really hope it won't be another attempt to convince me he's wonderful - while in the process telling me more stuff that makes me think otherwise. Can't believe she thought telling me they were tanked up on a bottle of wine each, and couldn't remember how the play-fight started was a reasonable explanation and thought I'd go "Ah I see, well that's alright then."
If anyone told me that they had been the victim of domestic violence I would take their claims seriously regardless of what my opinion of the alleged perpetrator was. It's not something I would expect a relative stranger to joke about.
Exactly! Thank you. Even though I love my friend, and would never think she is an 'abuser' - I had no idea what was going on and it was out of the blue. There was no reason for me to think New Man was lying. The photo was real, and he sounded worried - various posters on this thread think it was genuine enough. Again, if he'd wanted to sew the seeds of mistrust (her thinking I should never have believed him, therefore wondering about my loyalty now) - and showing her that I would reply to him first, before phoning her - again, he succeeded.
Oh and yet another red flag - when they first got together and she was still trying to take things more slowly, but he was really pushing to move the relationship along - asking to meet her son, saying he wanted to take him bowling, enquiring about apartments in her block etc. She said to me that he kept saying "No mindgames...let's just be really honest, I don't want any mindgames." But to me, a person would only make repeated statements about being sick of mindgames, if they've had lots of experience of them and they'd been a big issue at some point before. (Though I do accept it could be on either the giving or receiving end).
MrsKoala - Thank you very much for your support on this thread, it's much appreciated. I shouldn't let this stuff get to me, but obviously it has! thanks.
Don't kick yourself, it is so hard and i think you were quite restrained tbh. I think the guy sounds like a prize plonker at best.
Just try to leave it now if you can. Lots of breezy conversations and let the dust settle. I would let her - and therefore him - think you have forgotten all about it, but i would keep extra vigilant and let her know you are still always there. You will only have one chance to really shoot your bolt and try to convince her he's a wrong'un, and i don't think this is it. Once you do, your relationship will change dramatically if she chooses to stay with Sircocksalot.
Good luck, you sound like a very good friend.
And as for your friend saying that she has a problem with you thinking that she was capable of domestic violence - Wtf?
If anyone told me that they had been the victim of domestic violence I would take their claims seriously regardless of what my opinion of the alleged perpetrator was. It's not something I would expect a relative stranger to joke about.
You have my sympathies.
I am in a similar situation with a dear friend who lives in a different country with an abusive and violent drug using partner.
I can understand why you 'said too much' on the phone. Sometimes I want to scream at my friend until she sees sense. (I don't.) It is horrible to watch the situation escalate and feel helpless to stop it.
I hate visiting her now because he is always there and he makes my skin crawl but if I feel that if I cut contact I would leave her even more vulnerable and exposed. Especially as he is there all the time and I am in contact at best weekly.
After nearly three years all I can do is make sure that my friend knows that I am there for her. I've said my piece, she knows how I feel, she knows I would help and support her as would others. The rest is up to her. It's her life, her choices, and however much I hate the choices she is making I have to accept that they are hers to make.
I didn't mean to go on about my situation. What I wanted to say was that I think that now you have told her your concerns, you have to step back and let her make her own choices. And be there for her.
I told her that I'm not really reassured by that, and I think the relationship is unhealthy (argh - I know MrsKoala, it came out before I could help myself. Very tactless).
Surprise surprise it was exactly the wrong thing to say - I am kicking myself. She got very defensive and said her problem is why did I immediately think she was capable of really committing domestic violence - did I not know her at all? Also that I am now judging them and being disapproving of their relationship. She said OK, it was a silly joke that backfired, they have apologised, and we should all just move forward from it now, instead of me dwelling on it - don't use the incident as a tool to judge him/them.
Bff said that she's really happy with New Man and it's like a haven from all the crap that she's had to deal with, the divorce, and the loneliness over the past couple of years. Yeah it's silly and immature, but right now, it's just what she needs.
I said it's good that she's happy and none of it's my business anyway - and no one knows what will happen, so fair enough. I didn't want this to affect our friendship, so we will just leave it there. I said I will butt out (she said she didn't want me to, but I don't see how I can express my reservations, without upsetting her). I did some of the 'open' questions...and not commenting, but she just talks faster and faster and then changes the subject...
Apparently another thing that happened over the weekend, was he made her jump out of her skin, where he showed her one of those Youtube vids that get you to lean in and a scary face jumps out at you. So it was a silly weekend and he is really into pulling pranks and practical jokes.
Just had a long chat with bff - bit awkward but got straight into it.
She asked if I was alright - I said yeah, though I'm obviously crap at being convincing when not feeling it, as she said "not you're not - OK let me tell you what happened..."
She said she gets these odd bouts of frustration, sometimes, when things aren't going right, or don't happen as planned (which I can imagine, as she is a bit of a go-getter type, can get a bit impatient with inefficiency.) Not sure if it is the stuff that happened over the last couple of years, or hormones, but she said she was wondering if it was getting worse. So she was talking to New Man about it and told him that maybe she should take up boxing lessons and buy some gloves etc. Conversation ensued where New Man said you don't need gloves, it's all about technique, just get a punching bag, or use a cushion or pillow, why waste money on gloves etc.
They went out for dinner that night, had a lovely time, and the wine flowed - she said they ended up getting through two bottles between the two of them. Boxing conversation continued where New Man was telling her it's about angle of the fist etc to do it safely (i.e. so you don't actually damage hand). Neither of them can remember how it started, but he was showing her the punching technique and she was hitting his arm with her fist - about ten times. He apparently wasn't even in pain - they thought nothing of it, went to bed. He woke up next morning with massive purple bruise.
She said they were both completely shocked at the sight and it was funny because he hadn't felt any pain at the time, plus the thought that she had done it was so bizarre. Posting a photo of it, was his idea. He said "I'm going to have some fun with this" and was going to put it up on his fb wall. She said "Don't you dare!", so he decided to just post it to me instead. Bff thinks it was because she talks about me a lot as her 'family', and knows we're close. She said she didn't encourage, but didn't stop him - sort of just rolled her eyes at him and shook her head like a parent does at a mischievous child.
Then went to another room to warn me.
He doesn't know any of her close personal friends from way back - doesn't know me either! Most of her circle over there she's only met relatively recently, as she only moved there a couple of years ago, and initially she was reeling from XH walking out. Then depressed and withdrawn, in day to day survival mode, for ages.
They did meet through mutual friends she made recently though. A couple threw a dinner party and they met at that - clicked, virtually inseparable ever since. Red flag there too (they just keep on coming don't they?!) - when he told the mutual friends that he'd been spending a lot of time texting, skyping, most days with bff - they got really protective of bff, told him he'd better not mess up, she's really lovely, is a great Mum etc. When she spoke to the woman in the couple about it - the woman was at pains to tell her that it really wasn't intended as a 'set-up'!
He sounds really creepy. He scarcely 'knows' you, even as an internet/FB sprite, and he's sending messages joking that your friend is being violent to him. Weird and wrong - lots of alarm bells here. 'Inappropriate' is the least of it, and I'd be very upset indeed with any so-called friend that went along with this 'prank' or thought it was funny.
Honestly, I'd detatch and avoid contact as quickly as possible, if only to drive home the message that you find her new boyfriend's behaviour unacceptable and upsetting.
Omg - looking into domestic violence issues and googled "How does Domestic Violence Start" and came across this answer from Yahoo:
Many battered women dated or knew their abuser less than six months before they became engaged or began living together. He comes on like a whirlwind: "You're the only person I've ever really been able to talk to. I've never felt loved like this before." He needs someone desperately and pressures you to commit to him. Unused to men's wanting commitment, many women believe that this is a sign of his love.
signs: Controlling behavior, Jealousy, Isolation, Hypersensitivity-He is easily insulted, or takes the slightest set-back as a personal attack. He claims his feelings are "hurt" when he's really very mad. He rants and raves about the injustice of things that have happened to him - things that are really just part of living - like being asked to work over-time, getting a traffic ticket, being asked to help around the house.^
The first paragraph is very true of them.
The second, hypersensitivity - he was a bit offended by me apparently seeming to refer to him as merely "OK" in our first exchange on FB! It was a grammatical misunderstanding on his part, anyway - I was changing the subject and said "OK" at the start of a new paragraph, first sentence, not even referring to him - he just thought I was. But actually what's wrong with "OK"?? Seeing as I've never met him and don't know him! It wasn't good enough apparently. Not sure about others as it's only two months in - but controlling behaviour is a possibility, was he is trying to ingratiate himself with me? And the joke could be the first step to isolation.
Oh and he got bff to ask me if I'd ever heard of Bear Grylls. I said yes, why? No answer. Now I realise that my fb profile pic has a pic of me on hols in a sunhat, in sunglasses - scenery behind me...and I suspect it was some in-joke about my appearance. Friend would not have known what he was referring to when he got her to ask me. Is that a bit snide?
Friend just thinks everything is Amazing!
Thank you MrsKoala - OK, keep in non-comittal and reflect the question back...it will be quite strange as this is not our usual thing. I'm usually giving my opinion as a friend, rather than as an impartial counsellor, but might be worth giving it a go.
Thumbwitch - I don't think he ignores his own son as such - they talk on the phone, and seem to get on apparently. But there is something not right there...ex wife has full custody of the kids, so he doesn't have even joint custody. Bff is either in denial about this or overlooking it - as she seems satisfied with his explanation (he went to pieces at the break-up, ex-wife tried to make things as difficult as she could, told the court he had mental health issues - which he did at the time, depression - he was too depressed to fight it and so lost custody - something like that).
I know what you mean about the possibility that he's possibly grooming friends to believe she is an abuser. It has occured to me.
That, and maybe the other possibility of shit-stirring between us - like now he can say it was just a harmless joke, but "Oh look, your so-called best friend didn't get on the phone straight away to you instantly, it looked like she believed you are capable of violence, rather than dismiss it instantly. Also she told me all about what homeopathic meds you take and what for - not very trustworthy is she?" In theory he could do that, right?
So yeah - could be a childish joke, or it could be groundwork for an abusive relationship...
YOu know what worries me more? So many red flags are there - such a quick and intense relationship, he's getting chummy with her DS despite ignoring his own, his own 10yo thought it was ok to throw his mum across the room and the NM told this as a "funny" story - this is my thought, he has set up a situation where he may now hit your BFF, and say "it was in retaliation, you know what she's like, she hit me first, look here are the photos".
It's a next step in the abuse program, IMO - grooming the friends to believe that the woman is the abuser and deserves what she may be about to get.
I could of course be wrong.
Can you ask her the question back in a different way. She does the he said stuff then says 'what do you think?' You say 'hhmmm i'm not sure...what do YOU think?' or 'i don't know, it depends how it makes you feel?' etc then be vague and change the subject and keep changing the subject. Or could you say you aren't comfortable discussing it as you don't know him properly yet?
I'm thinking that I do need to step back and try not to get involved. How do I go about doing that if bff texts me asking "when can we chat?" And then when we do, it's all relationship stuff - he said/she said, etc. and then asks my opinion? I try and be impartial but it's difficult when she tells me the red flag type stuff I listed...
I don't want us to not speak, but it could get a bit awkward if this sort of thing carries on.
Is there way of stepping back without seeming like I'm cutting ties - how do i make it clear I'm there for her, but not comforatble with the weird dynamic??
I should add that she is a little more considerate in recent weeks - after I told her I felt she was giving too much of herself if she couldn't make space for a chat once a week with her best friend (so-called 'lifeline').
Since then she is careful not to rearrange our Skype chats at the last minute - if a better option with New Man comes up, but what she still does, is arrange our calls around New Man's availability in the first place. But that's her choice I guess.
I know - I feel a bit bad about having told him about the homeopathic stuff. I was just shocked at the time - concerned, but in midst of doing something with the kids, and so just tried to answer honestly, as best I could. Not thinking straight.
I didn't get on the phone straight away to bff because I was actually wondering if I should - IF he really had been attacked. There was no reason for me to think he was lying - it was a very real bruise in the photo, and he sounded worried. I didn't know if something had happened and she went nuts with jealousy or something, whether they'd made up and he was secretly messaging me for advice, or if she was rocking in her apartment having a breakdown or something. Hence why I was trying to get out of him more info about what happened.
Oh god, I know it's weird. I'm not comfortable being involved either. Bff has always confided in me though - like I said before, she has had quite a dysfunctional upbringing and her relationships 'guage' is a bit off. She uses me as a sounding board quite often.
We don't have to speak every week - but it's nice to keep in touch with 'family' usually - and we're like each other's family. The weekly chat just fell into a pattern that seems to suit - particularly when she was in midst marriage break-up it was a way of letting her know I was 'there', without being too in her face, just weekly 'check-ins' to catch-up. (Of course then, like now, it's not set in stone.) I have a busy week with two young kids and various school runs back and forth, and with the time difference (she is +8hrs), the only time that I can do it is usually after I pick up youngest dd from school at lunchtime, but before I pick up eldest. This means I have to plan what to feed dd for lunch, something quick like sandwiches or soup etc, and I put the TV on for her. It's not something I want to do more than once a week because I feel like I'm neglecting dd when we chat - but cos of time zones there isn't much choice in times etc. Hence I have felt she hasn't shown the greatest consideration when she rearranges our calls around New Man's calls/visits, who only lives upstairs anyway!
If I were you I'd bite my tounge. She's your friend and her choice of boyfriend is really irrelevant. I have friends who have partners that are total knobs, I shrug it off and just be there. If asked then I'd comment, if not asked I'd keep my opinions to myself.
DD, I don't know.
That story just sounds wrong to me, it's off.
Does he know any more of her close friends, or just you?
BTW, I think you weren't careful enough, I would not have shared information about any of my close friends with someone I barely know- or with anyone else for that matter, but what's done is done.
Thank you MrsKoala - that sounds reasonable advice. I shall try and play it down. Told my DP about it all, and he seems to think that it was a childish joke on their parts, but nothing more sinister than them being in a bit of a self-absorbed bubble. He is of the opinion that however misguided, they were trying to include me in their 'bubble' and however misguided, was trying to break the ice between me and New Man. (Oh how that backfired)
How likely is it though, that if there was a real domestic, and New Man really was 'scared for his life' that a) he would tell anyone, never mind someone he's never met, and her best friend, and b) having decided to tell someone, why would he do it in such close proximity to bff, so that she would be aware of him doing so?
I'm not trying to make excuses for her - it just doesn't make sense, having thought about it.
Going on the stuff about his marriage breakup/kids etc he sounds like an utter tool.
If this had happened the other way round (woman had been hit) would anybody believe the first message was a joke?
I think the whole thing sounds very unhealthy.
I think you are way too involved and query why you even engaged in conversation with virtual stranger without getting straight on the phone to your friend. I think telling him about the homeopathic medicine aimed at release of pent up anger etc was getting yourself too involved.
Step back, let her live her life with him, and be a good friend to pick up the pieces if it goes wrong. They are both being very weird with you.
Do you REALLY have to talk every week?
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