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told vulnerable friend to stay away from volatile relationship. Hope I did the right thing, worried I didn't..

(8 Posts)
kiritekanawa Sun 02-Nov-14 13:10:28

Male friend of me and DH. Country boy living in cities, slightly naive, a bit un-self-aware. Very intelligent, but not totally able to look after himself - various personal habits and aspects of his appearance tend to put off people who don't already know him for the lovely guy he is.

Thus he's lonely, and is longing for a girlfriend. Many women would look at his habits and run a mile. I'd look at him generally and say "lovely guy, intelligent, mature, has sufficient harrowing life experience to be reliable when the going gets tough; but geez, when the going's easy, he needs a massive kick up the arse about housework, eating, exercise, clothes, and ability to discuss more than his favourite subjects".

He's just described to me (over emails) a burgeoning relationship with a nice student (not one of his students, thankfully) nearly 20 years his junior, who sounds like a very troubled soul, volatile, very vulnerable herself, very much at odds with everyone in her life, and seemingly looking for a parent figure who will take her seriously, as opposed to give her guidance on how to change her own (quite immature) behaviour to live a less difficult life.

However, he didn't seem to have thought it through at all... I suspect he's just thinking "nice girlfriend material, and she really likes me!" and not thinking beyond that to what the day-to-day would be like with someone in her current headspace/ at her current level of life experience. He has a track record of having his head in the sand over difficult personal relationships, just ignoring anything he doesn't want to deal with, to quite an extreme level. I cannot see how that could be a good strategy for having a relationship with someone on the path to social/career self-destruction.
From what he described, she feels exploited by or threatened by pretty much all authority/parental figures in her life, at a level that sounds like there are very fundamental issues that need sorting out.

I pointed out that a conventional relationship may well be what they each need, but unless he wants to play father figure to someone who could easily end up feeling very very exploited by him whether he plays father figure or whether he treats her as a rational equal; then it would be more appropriate for him to stand back and be her friend until she has a level of life experience MUCH more closely matching his own.

So i've said "sounds good but stand back for a few years", and poured cold water on his happy idea... i feel like an intrusive bitch.

But someone had to say "this is honestly not a good idea for either of you".
confused

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 02-Nov-14 13:22:57

Well you've said it now. He can either choose to listen or carry on doing his own thing. As an adult - however imperfect - he's allowed to make his own mistakes.

kiritekanawa Sun 02-Nov-14 13:32:53

Yep.

I was motivated by my memory of how damaging a past relationship was, where I was the vulnerable, volatile, much younger one. He needs to get on Mumsnet and get some idea of what adults should take into account when they have relationships. Sadly, that seems unlikely.

DirtyOldTown Sun 02-Nov-14 13:41:23

But the man is an adult! If he's 20 years older than his potential girlfriend he must be pushing 40 at least, more than old enough to choose his own path and make his own mistakes. I think your level of interest in your friend's life is a little odd. Be there to pick up the pieces if necessary, but you sound like an overprotective mum, tbh.

kiritekanawa Sun 02-Nov-14 14:17:44

That was what was worrying me DirtyOldTown

To clarify, there's been a lot of scraping him off the footpath in the last few years, not over relationship but over truly harrowing life events, and DH and I have done almost all of the scraping and re-shaping. Thus, we have a degree of investment that does make us sound like his parents.

However, he is old enough to make his own mistakes - I just don't want him to appear to be taking advantage of a young woman who sounds extremely vulnerable, because the way he'd deal with any difficulty would be to ignore it while eating himself up inside, and that's honestly not what she needs and not what he needs, and it sounds like the probability of destruction is very high.

CarbeDiem Sun 02-Nov-14 14:28:49

You sound like his mother or his life coach. It may or may not be the right move for him to make but it's his life.

kiritekanawa Sun 02-Nov-14 14:52:43

Spose so. As per above, I was also thinking that he doesn't sound very good for her. And she's not really in a headspace where her choices are going to be constructive and well thought-out. So it might be that it's his life and his mistake to make; but it's also her life, but not so much her mistake to make... he has a responsibility as the adult here...

If she got on Mumsnet complaining about being with an avoidant manchild in 6 months' time, we'd all be telling her to LTB and that he was an immature, exploitative old so and so. Actually he's just a bit socially blind.

DirtyOldTown Sun 02-Nov-14 15:09:40

Maybe so, kiri, but she would be posting about her own relationship and her own experiences. Whatever his or her problems may be you are imagining problems before they've even occurred.

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