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To tell my friend what I really think about her relationship

(26 Posts)
ViviPru Wed 14-Sep-11 12:57:00

I never ever interfere with friends lives or relationships, pass comment or judge (I jet my judgey kicks here) even if they ask me to.

I'm finding myself tempted to do so with my best female friend. She moved abroad to work 18 months ago and is lonely. She's currently looking into opportunities to move back to the UK. Shortly before she went she started seeing someone who lives in the UK and has seen him once or twice a month since. He sounds seriously great, but she confessed to me that she doesn't think she loves him, he's more into it than her and thinks she might only be perpetuating it as she's scared of how lonely she'd be if she finished with him.

He relationship history would sound familiar to many - always hung up on the wrong man, not realising what she's got till its gone, not thinking she's good enough etc etc. She's also one of those who has a mental checklist and no man ever really measures up. She's fixated on some kind of fairytale of perfection that she admits is impossible. Last time I visited her she made me feel very sad when she said very resignedly "I've come to terms with the fact I'm probably never going to have a proper relationship" This would be ok were it not for saying in the second breath that all she really wants out of life is to settle down with someone she loves and start a family. She's 32.

The guy she's seeing is keen to work towards them both living in the same country, and is prepared to move abroad to accommodate her. I think she's not given the relationship a chance, and she's not explored the possibilities of it having only spend time together on occasional visits. I'm not suggesting she should settle for someone who isn't right just to fulfil a desire to start a family, but I don't think she's able to recognise what is and isn't right anyway. According to her and our mutual friends who've met him, he's kind, intelligent, funny, independent, financially stable, into all the same things as her, good looking (I've seen the photos - he is) and an animal lover (V. important IMO)

I invited them both to visit in a couple of weeks, and she's just told me he can't make it because of work, but I suspect she's either not extended the firm invite to him or invented his excuse. I genuinely don't think he wouldn't want to come, thus far he's gone out of his way to attend things with her (I think in order to cement their relationship) and when we first talked about it, she said he was really up for it as he does the same sport as my DP and they could go off and do it together. I'm a bit gutted because I thought it would be a good chance for her to spend time with him outside of their usual perimeters, and see him in a different context. Whenever she visits, she often comments how lucky I am to have such a great DP, I was hoping that if she visited with this guy, she'd realise how lucky SHE is too.

I'll probably default to my usual state and not say anything to her about how I really feel, but I'm starting to really worry about her.

Would you comment? Should I?

ViviPru Wed 14-Sep-11 12:59:27

get not jet- gah

squeakytoy Wed 14-Sep-11 13:00:03

He might seem the perfect man for her, to you. But obviously he isnt "the one" for her. So the best thing is to say nothing. She is only 32... plenty of time for her yet!! grin

Backtobedlam Wed 14-Sep-11 13:04:42

Tbh I'd stay out of it. No matter what you think and whether you're right or not, she won't thank you for interfering. If she asks for your opinion by all means give it, and be honest with her, but other than that I'd just be there to support her with whatever she decides to do

Stormwater Wed 14-Sep-11 13:06:32

I think you should let her decide who is right for her, and keep yer beak out! Whilst being a good friend and supporting whatever she chooses. You sound lovely, but a tad over-involved perhaps?

booyhoo Wed 14-Sep-11 13:07:19

hmm, i have a similar thing going on except that in my scenario i am your friend.

my best friend is urging me to give things a chance but my gut is telling me this just isn't right.

i undertsand youwanting to help hr be happy but she is the one that is seeing him, she knows better than you if it is rightfor her.

thatbeing said, i am not making ny decisions aboutmy own relationship yet.

PeneloPeePitstop Wed 14-Sep-11 13:09:00

Her reasons may not be as straightforward as a 'mental checklist'.
I was once seeing a bloke my parents thought was Mr Perfect, but there was zero spark.

AgentZigzag Wed 14-Sep-11 13:09:40

I wasn't too keen on DH when I first met him grin

We're still going strong after 11 years.

I wouldn't say anything, unless she asks you what you think outright.

ViviPru Wed 14-Sep-11 13:12:27

Yes, Stormwater I recognise I am a bit overinvolved in this one, which feels very unnatural to me. As I said, I can honestly say I never EVER interfere in friends lives. The only reason I'm so involved in this situation is confides in me all about it in great detail, and last time I saw her she was so miserable about her life. I just provided a sounding board.

When I came away I wondered if I should have been a bit more frank with her.

General consensus seems to be stay out of it.

SnakeOnCrack Wed 14-Sep-11 13:15:57

same here, I wasn't all that into my soon to be husband when I first started seeing him, but am totally in love over 12 years later! Maybe she DOES need to give him a chance.

booyhoo Wed 14-Sep-11 13:16:25

i would personally stay out of it. sincemy friend has voiced her opinion on my relationship i have been feeling slightly pressurised into keeping it going so as not to disappoint her which is really not a reason tostay in a relationship.

a realationship between 2 people should only be engineered by those two people and sould be allowed to develop according to only those 2 people's feelings,nobody else's feelings matter. sorry if that is harsh buteven if she is making a mistake, she has to learn that for herself. as herfriendyou can only b there for her, no matterhow it pansout.

booyhoo Wed 14-Sep-11 13:17:39

apologies for crap spellingandpunctuation. mylatop is being obstructive today.

ViviPru Wed 14-Sep-11 13:21:34

ha thats ok. I'm trying to remember if she's actually said "ViviPru what do you think? What shall I do?" I suspect she did, but I probably just diplomatically said something understanding and encouraging that didn't actually reveal my true feelings.

booyhoo Wed 14-Sep-11 13:25:53

she probably knows your true feelings tbh. i have another great friend who kept shctum throughout my 2 year rlationsip with my ex, she was patient and supportive and listened to me wen i was having problems buti knew deep down whatshe thought of him and i knew deep dwn she was right. itwas onlywhen i left him that she talked franklywith me ndi knewexactly what she was goingto say before se said it.

Doodlez Wed 14-Sep-11 13:28:30

Blimey, I wish you were my best friend! You sound ace!

ViviPru Wed 14-Sep-11 13:35:19

haha that's nice doodlez smile

I'm starting to realise why all my friends use me as their personal sounding board - I'm just telling them what they want to hear....

I've recently been wondering if I'm not honest enough with them, for example a friend recently made a glaringly obvious bad lifestyle choice, and beforehand she directly asked for my opinion as it was related to our shared professions. Again I rolled out the ole understanding and encouraging things that didn't actually reveal my true feelings, she went ahead and did it, then returned 6 months later considerably out of pocket and having had a pretty cruddy time. As I'd predicted. I wondered if I should have said more beforehand? This sort of thing happens quite often...

NoMoreWasabi Wed 14-Sep-11 13:40:39

Actually I take a different approach. As a good friend if you think she may genuinely be making a big mistake then I think you owe it to her to gently raise it. I'm not suggesting that you go in all guns blazing but maybe explore with her what she is looking for and then discuss how Mr Right Now does or doesn't meet them, perhaps suggesting giving a little more time if you think that is the issue.

LadyDangermouse Wed 14-Sep-11 13:47:39

"I'm not suggesting she should settle for someone who isn't right"

That is EXACTLY what any suggestions from you will sound like to your friend.

"but I don't think she's able to recognise what is and isn't right anyway."

She is 32 years old -- she is entitled to make up her own mind.

When I was 36 I had a BF who was keener on me than I was on him. He started putting pressure on me to either (a) move in together or (b) go the whole hog for marriage + babies etc.

I knew instinctively he was NOT the one. I was content to keep him dangling on a string for "dating" only for a while, but I knew deep down I did not want anything serious or long term.

Certain people in my family still tell me to this day he was "the one" when I bemoan my still single status (ooh, woops -- am I about to get kicked off mumsnet? eeek!).

Later on I met a chap when I was 40 who I thought was 'the one' but unfortunately he did not feel the same about me.

I am now 43 and still single -- but at least the decisions have been mine.

I would HATE it if friends or family had pushed me into "accepting" the man I was dating when I was 36 as "the best you will get".

ViviPru Wed 14-Sep-11 13:49:48

Thanks LDM that's a really helpful insight.

BTW the only way I think she can't recognise what's right for her is that she's stated that to be the case herself!

loudee Wed 14-Sep-11 15:47:53

I used to be very indecisive about relationships; did I really like who I was dating? was he the one? etc. I would talk to friends about it a lot (poor souls) and was always asking 'what would you do?'.

Once they'd told me their opinion I sometimes felt a bit awkward if I did the opposite, especially if down the line the horrible break up that they predicted happened word for word. My friends would never say 'I told you so' but it did make me feel a bit silly.

The most helpful things anyone ever said to me was 'well, who says you have to be in a relationship? Who says you have to be with a man to have a baby? Are you as perfect as you expect a man to be?' I know these points raise different questions and points for discussion but having it spelt out like that made me relax about relationships because I realised I didn't need to control where it was all going ... As such I learned to calm down about it all and trust my own judgement a lot more and not be so hideously demanding of the men I dated!! blush

Maybe you could try something similar? Asking questions instead of listening to worries/trying to advise so that she can start to work out what she really wants herself?

You sound like a great friend grin

ViviPru Wed 14-Sep-11 16:07:50

Good advice Loudee I do try and ask questions, but sometimes its hard to think of helpful ones that won't sound leading. Seeing as you said you found it helpful, I'll definitely try.

If I'm being honest, I'm just a bit disappointed I'm not going to get to meet him on this occasion as I thought it would help me to understand where she's coming from.

And I really hope none of this comes across as I think she HAS to be in a relationship, the only reason I'm keen for a relationship to work out for her is because that's what she has claimed she wants. If anything, it would probably be healthier if she finished with this one altogether sad . He's so kind to animals too sad

loudee Wed 14-Sep-11 16:22:50

Yes I agree it is hard to not ask leading questions, I'm not sure I'm that great at it myself!

You don't sound as though you think she has to be in a relationship, I think I'm trying to say that is there any chance she says she wants to be in a relationship because she feels she should rather than really wanting it? I hope that makes sense. Obviously only going on my personal experience I thought I wanted a relationship because I was 'at the right age' but kept finding fault with men because really I actually wanted to be footloose and fancy free. I'd almost talked myself into the idea so much that I needed someone I ask me almost difficult questions so I could just stop for a second and work out what I was doing!

(He sounds utter perfection btw haha)

freesiaLiliy Wed 14-Sep-11 16:44:47

I don't think if she's a good friend it would do any harm to have a friendly conversataion with her when you next have a girly night and she starts to tell you stuff to say 'BF you need to consider what you really want here, mr right or mr right now!' if she's just not that into him then don't push for him to become part of her wider life, however encourage her to get to know him a bit better, if the spark is there she will realise it herself, if not it will die a natural death. It would be nice for you to have her happy and with someone you and DP could relate to also, but she will have to figure this one out herself, mind you my bf used to tell me off for being too bloody fussy when it came to fella's years ago and sometimes (in a nice) way would give me a kick up the arse when i went into 'oh poor me, I'll never find mr right' mode. it worked! grin

ViviPru Wed 14-Sep-11 16:52:15

That's actually really struck a chord, loudee she is a massively independent free spirit (hence the upping sticks and working abroad) has done lots of travelling and is having similar problems in her career as her relationships. She's completely torn between giving up the lifestyle she loves and her urges to settle down.

I repeatedly advise that she needs to work out where she wants her life to be (literally and metaphorically) and work backwards from that and that will help her make decisions, she says she knows I'm right but can't decide what she even wants

You've made me see this in a new light, rather than lament the fact that he's not coming, I'm going to think about the sort of questions I can pose her when she comes and spend time really helping her work out what she wants out of life.

I don't sit around pondering my friends' problems all day long btw!

ViviPru Wed 14-Sep-11 16:54:27

see, freesiaLiliy, that's just it I think I'm often too reluctant to give my pals the kick up the arse they need

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