To not want to see my friend after this revelation.....(106 Posts)
I have a friend that I have known for 14 years now. When we were younger we were really close but then as life got in the way we didn't see each other as often. These days we meet up for a good old chat every few months and go out for a meal etc and I'm due to be seeing her this Monday.
My sister just phoned me, who is also friends with his girl, and told me that this afternoon our friend confided that she has started seeing a married man who also has children - the youngest of which is only a baby of 5 months old My friend, despite being 32 has never had a serious relationship, she goes from disaster to disaster, she lets men lie to her and use her, she goes for the wrong type all the time, sleeps with men because she thinks they will then like her etc etc - I'm sure you get the picture. But I never, ever, ever thought she would go this far.
My sister was really upset as she has not long broke up with the father of her children (after 10 years together) because it transpired he was having an affair. Our friend can't understand why my sister is so upset and sees no problem with what she is doing. Apparently our friend is convinced this is something special and has "never felt anything like it..." She was complaining to my sister that she never gets to see this guy because the baby is taking up all his time.
Now, I'm absolutely dreading seeing her. I'm upset on my sisters behalf but also, I'm currently pregnant and I know I will sitting there, listening to her talk about it like it isn't an issue, whilst imagining that it could be me at home with the new born whilst the husband is out cheating. I don't know how I'm going to be able to stay friendly or calm with her....
I'm tempted to just text her and cancel.
I know we shouldn't be judgemental, but I really don't think I can sit there and listen to her or face her.
I think you've hit the nail on the head there - she likes the drama/attention more than she likes being happy/contented/calm. Until that's fixed, she won't stop being self-destructive. She can't recognise you or your baby, because the existence of other people is almost a threat to her sense of self, which is paper-thin and fragile.
I have started to wonder what it is about me that has a 'need to be needed' by her. I have been thinking about it a lot. In a weird way, she and I are reacting in opposite ways to similar triggers. We both had mothers who were overbearing and not very overtly loving (though in both cases, I think they did care a lot as parents, just in a really weird way). We both fear rejection and abandonment. Only she deals with it by looking for constant affirmation and drama, and I look for situations where I am able to give care as a way of 'deserving' love. Though mine looks externally healthy and altruistic and lovely, it is actually not very healthy, which is why those more positive friends I have are such a help to me, and so much more rewarding!!
It would be funny if we were talking about the same person
What you said is right about continually being drawn into their dramas. She thrives on the attention she gets from it all, she loves it when people hug her and say ,"there, there" because it fulfils another need in her. She likes to be the centre of sympathy, she wants people to feel sorry for her and that's what we all find so hard. Your example of take, take, take is exactly right. Like I said, despite having problems with my health and my baby's health during my pregnancy so far she has never asked me about it, if something isn't part of her drama, she isn't interested. I dared to mention the baby yesterday....she just looked at me and then changed the subject. She is a very strange character. She can't be happy for anyone, she's jealous of most people and sees the negative in everything. She shows no interest in others but expects everyone to jump to attention when she needs them. It's just so difficult because I do feel really sorry for her - the whole situation is just really sad. As much as I do pull away from her at times because I don't like being used in the way she uses people, I could never fully cut her out of my life because I need to know that she at least has someone.
Writerwannabe - I think we have a VERY similar friend!!
I have come to accept that my relationship with her will always be one-sided, and that she will always take, take, take. She is just built that way. I get frustrated by it at times, I must admit. But I also know she is genuinely vulnerable and cannot behave in a different way. She is very child-like in some ways.
At one point, our friendship was headed towards a point where I felt I was simply enabling her self-destructive behaviour. I felt 'part of the problem': by being always there, I was allowing her to write me into a narrative of constant trauma and drama. It sounds as though you may be in a similar position? So I have tried to set some boundaries to what I will give - for example, I sometimes won't call her back for an hour if I am at work, and I always try to tell her the truth, as gently and tactfully as I can in a way that I hope will be supportive rather than critical. If she does something that is off-the-scale emotionally, she knows I will question it. This has helped to set the relationship on a more normal footing.
I have also surrounded myself with positive people who make me feel good. It is easier to be 'giving' towards one friend, but very draining when you are surrounded by people like that.
I meant to say as is the basis of our friendship
You're right. I'm pretty sure now I won't hear off her again for months and months on end - I'll be here when she needs me - as is the basis of 'friendship '. She'll dip out my life again and only reappear when it has all gone wrong and she needs support. That's just how she functions.
All you can do is to be there for her when she needs you. And she WILL need you. Next time she collapses emotionally, maybe suggest (very gently, and with all your natural tact!) that she seems to be stuck in a pattern of repeat relationships with horrible men, that you think it may be because she has some issues with self-esteem, and that you think talking to someone about this might help her to develop healthier relationships in future. Keep badgering about it.
There is little else you can do, to be honest. I found it tremendously frustrating - like watching a car crash in slow motion, powerless to do anything at all to prevent it.
I'm patiently waiting for it all to go wrong - but I will be in for a long wait.
About 5 years ago she was dating an absolute twat (controlling, neglectful, emotionally abusive) and I was dating an absolute wanker (liar and a cheat)- we were both so unhappy and would be crying on each other's shoulders etc. We finally saw the light and decided to break up with them at the same time, found the strength together to do it etc, and we did. Fast forward to now, I'm married with a baby on the way and (current guy aside) she is still dwelling on the relationship with the guy from 5 years ago. She still talks to him, still sees him, still re- hashes over everything etc. He still treats her horrendously, says vile things to her, still controls her etc but she occasionally goes back for sex or to give him an ego massage (whichever one he fancies more) because she is clinging on to the tiny -- non existent-- hope that he will turn round, tell her he loves her, how losing her was the worst thing that has ever happened and then they'll live happily ever after. She can never move on and she goes back to old boyfriends over and over again, letting herself get hurt again, because she just needs that attention. She needs to feel like she matters to somebody, even if it is a complete illusion.
It scares me how vulnerable and naive she is sometimes - men see her coming, they can immediately sense that 'neediness' in her and then they use it to their advantage. Manipulation of the weak. It drives me insane.
I asked her how many know she is seeing this current guy and she said only me and my sister (although obviously she wasn't planning on telling me). I asked why she hadn't told anyone else, I.e me or her close friends and she said its because she knew what we'd all say. She isn't scared of our judgement as such, she just knows that we are all tired of her making the same mistakes over and over and over again. It's got to the point where nobody knows what to do or say to help her anymore - nothing sinks in with her. She just continues with this self destructive behaviour and can't see anything for what it is. I just want to shake her
One of my best friends had an affair with a married man recently. It was absolutely HORRENDOUS for everyone concerned.
I know that there is not a lot of sympathy for the 'other women' on Mumsnet, and I completely understand that because many people on here have been so deeply, deeply hurt by infidelity. Personally, I could never, ever have an affair: I believe strongly that you should end one relationship before starting any other.
However, I do think that women who do this are often damaged themselves. My friend has psychological problems, and had just come out of an abusive relationship. She had an affair because she was convinced at some level that she wasn't worthy of a 'real' relationship. It started out as a 'bit of fun', and then feelings inevitably got involved, and before too long she was in tears on a daily basis because he wouldn't leave his wife for her, and would only show up for sex. To make matters worse, she fell pregnant and had to have an abortion - and he wasn't able to be there for her. It was me who had to sit with her through the whole night afterwards. The strain took its toll on him as well, as he needed medication for anxiety and was really quite ill before the thing ground to a very unedifying conclusion that involved my friend ringing me at 2am literally screaming with misery.
I am not making excuses for them. They were both incredibly stupid, and incredibly weak. They not only inflicted horrible suffering on themselves, but I can't even put into words how his wife, the true victim of the whole situation, suffered. It was awful, awful, awful. And I don't think this is by any means an unusual case of an affair.
I told my friend in no uncertain terms at the start of this relationship that I thought it was a terrible thing to do, and that I was extremely concerned that she was opening herself up to a world of misery and unhappiness. It didn't make her stop. I pleaded with her to end it over and over again. But I didn't withdraw my support from her, because I knew that underneath the affair, she would need her friends more than she had ever needed them before.
Exactly Melon - I told her that she had some huge mistakes in her past when it comes to men but this just tops the lot. I said its one thing to put up with a guy who treats her badly if that's what she is prepared to do, but when it gets to the point that other people are being hurt by her actions then she has gone too far. I asked how she can enough bring herself to look at him, knowing he has a partner and 2 children at home, one of which is a newborn, and feel anything but disgust at him for being such a lying cheat? She just shrugged her shoulders. She is just convinced that she is special to him and he finds it such an emotional turmoil....he's the victim in her eyes. The fact he has blocked her from seeing his a Facebook Account says it all, I bet he won't want her seeing the happy family Christmas photos that go up seeing as he has told her what an unhappy life he is living She has said she won't see him again but I am 95% certain she will. Last weekend he went to Newcastle with 'The Lads' and my friend is pretty convinced he spent the night with another girl. The shocking thing is that each weekend he has come down to where my friend lives (not for the purpose of seeing her, but for work) he has colleagues and friends with him and he is openly with my friend in front of them, they all go out together, they know he is spending the night with her etc - the fact he isn't even ashamed enough to hide it from his colleagues and that they and his friends are not shocked by his behaviour just implies to me that having affairs/ONS is something this guy does on a regular occasion. Except obviously, what he has with my friend is 'special' and she has never felt anything like it before.....
Sometimes it's a friend's job to tell them when they're out of line, I think this is one of those times. If she chooses not to listen that's her bad
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I tolerate her because of how long I have known her and because I know she doesn't really have any friends
You don't like her. Cut the "friendship" because you come across as a cold, superior, judgmental bitch I'm afraid. As you keep referring to her poor childhood your attitude will just reinforce her feelings of worthlessness (*she is like a little girl just looking for someone to love her.*)
I feel sorry for your "friend", she needs a good dose of self esteem. Not going to get it from you or her fella is she?
I used to have a friend like this. I never told her what I thought of her when she moved from guy to his best friend, to another guy then his best friend, cheating, etc. etc. I got pregnant and she never spoke to me again! i have always regretted saying "well if your happy..."
I have another friend who is lovely, but is a bit misguided in the men department and has been the OW. She knows damn well that I will tell her the truth, but I think she relies on that- we still have a good friendship!
neun - I absolutely agree that she needs Counselling. Every issue she has stems from the awful way she was parented. She has never felt loved or wanted by her parents, even now they pretty much ignore her, and I think she just looks for 'love' and attention in any way she can get it. It really is self destruction - I honestly can't see her life changing unless she gets some kind of help. When she was crying today as I was giving her the harsh truth it was just awful to see - she knows exactly what kind of guy he is and she knows how stupid she is being but she will just let it continue. Every man she has ever been with has treated her like shit and she just lets them. She never stands up to them, she never leaves them, the type of behaviours she is accepting of just baffles me. Like I said it all stems back to her childhood, in a lot of ways she is like a little girl just looking for someone to love her.
I think you did very well OP from your posts. It is no use condoning such destructive behaviour.
Where have I ever said I was going to 'throw her away' ? I just didn't think I could face her over dinner And like I have said, she definitely isn't a best friend
What she needs is a huge dose of self realisation that she deserves so, so much better!! I explained to her how hurt and upset my sister was about the situation and that in my sister's eyes, by our friend carrying on like this and condoning affairs in this manner, then she is saying that what happened to my sister was ok and that what her bastard ex did to her and the children is acceptable. My friend said she just 'didn't think' when she was telling my sister about it. She has since apologised to my sister but I think there is definite tension.
I feel sorry for her, not nearly as sorry as the wife but sorry all the same. It takes completely tattered self esteem to keep getting caught in this trap. It often seems to happen in the manner you describe, flitting from one shitty relationship to another. Your friend needs tonnes and tonnes of counselling to address her issues. I read the thread recently about women ending up with shit heads I don't have a link but it highlighted some very destructive behaviour on the part of some posters. My friend had an affair with a married man. We were very young, underage come to think of it. In her case it was pure naivety but it had a huge negative impact on her.
I would still be her friend.
God knows people make all kinds of mistakes and have low points in life. If you can throw her away so easily, you're obviously not much of a friend.
I know I've made awful mistakes - but when do you need support from friends more than ever? When you're not thinking straight.
I couldn't ever do that to my best friends, whatever choices they make in life. I love them like sisters.
That's awful Persimmon
I asked my friend if she'd really been complaining to my sister that she doesn't get to see this guy enough because he has to stay home in the week to help with his new baby. She smiled coyly and her guilty expression said it all. I just couldn't believe it. I was probably quite harsh to her at times but I couldn't just sit there and condone it and giggle about it like teenagers. To be fair though, 90% of the discussion was not me judging her as such but me just trying to get her to see that she is just being lied to, being used and being taken for a mug by a 'professional cheat' Deep down though she knows exactly what game he is playing, I could see it in her face, that's what makes it even more sad. She told me she is lonely and although she knows what she is doing is wrong, she enjoys the attention.
Some pretty judgemental "friends" on here.
A couple of my friends have had affairs and I was shocked at how they changed from intelligent, pretty moral people in the blink of an eye because it suited them, they really fancied the guy, etc. One even said she hoped her boyfriend's baby would die. I found it sickening tbh. I totally get that marriages break down but you don't have to have a hand in it.
Poor love- she's got some proper issues there. I've had friends who did this kind of thing, and there isn't a right or a wrong answer for how to react. I was very clear on how I thought the cheating fuckers they'd found were deceitful shitbags, and "the best case scenario is you get to be a stepmum to some kids who will hate you for being the Other Woman and he'll be out using these lines on someone else". After that, I alternated between trying to support her to make less shit decisions in a gentle way and restraining myself from shaking her!
Watching people make mistakes may not be as painful as living it, but it's still no fun to watch.
I haven't read the full 4 pages, but I really don't think who she shags is your business to judge. For all you know husband and wife could have an arrangement where either of them are allowed sex outside of the relationship (granted, seems unlikely in this case).
If you don't want to hear about it, then don't engage in conversation about it. Looks like your respective moral codes don't match - is that enough to end the friendship?
I would just tell her you don't agree and do not want to hear anything about it.
I don't think it's worth losing a friendship over. Hopefully she'll accept your feelings and that'll be that.
If she was an amazing friend aside from this then maybe you could just never talk about, but she's not. Cull!
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