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I feel like I've lost my friend to her EA boyfriend - long, sorry!

(7 Posts)
maggiethemagpie Mon 27-Jul-15 17:02:45

This thread is about a friendship, but one that is being affected by a relationship. My friend lets call her Jane, who I knew from Uni days, left a failing marriage in another country that she'd been living in for 10 years and moved back to the UK.
She didn't know anyone apart from family and a few old friends, was depressed, had to move back in with her parents etc. I was really there for her and helped her to pick herself up and then she moved to another city quite far away to stay with another old friend and get her life back on track.

She was doing so well - new job, friends, life, happy again - until she met this man we'll call him Tom. Tom was very intense, very quick. Within a few weeks they'd virtually moved in together and he was saying she'd 'saved' him. They've been together around 8 months now.

I met him at new year and he was very different to what I was expecting. had a bad, instant gut reaction that there was something not quite right about him. I don't have gut reactions very often but when I do they are always right. Still I thought maybe he's just shy and gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Now I only see my friend every few months or so as she lives a way away. On one of these visits we stayed at her friend's house and Tom got very angry with Jane, as she did not come back when she was supposed to as I stayed an extra night so she stayed with me. He started sending angry texts blaming her for his horrible night on his own, and then he phoned and she put him on loudspeaker and we all heard him shouting at her, saying 'I need you, come back home' in an angry voice over and over.

She confided that he had been very controlling of her and she'd tried to leave several times but gone back. We all told her to get the hell out of there, and she resolved to leave him once and for all. The next day, she did and he tried to be sweet and get her back, when that didn't work he then phoned up threatening to kill himself - he then said a bit later he wasn't going to do it but felt like it.

Anyway the next day she woke up, had a massive change of heart went back to him and sent me a text telling me that she loved him and they were going to work it all out. I decided not to talk about it again, or to intervene, unless she brought it up first.

My friend was supposed to come and visit me a few weeks ago, it was her suggestion but at the last minute she baled saying she couldn't afford it however I think it was probably Tom putting her off.

Last weekend, a few months since I last saw them, I went to a festival with Jane, tom and some of Jane's friends. It soon became apparent that not much had changed. The first night, she told me she 'had to make sure he was happy'. She barely left his side, at night time I was staying up and he wanted to go to bed. He went into the tent, she said 'I'll only be ten minutes' he then said those fateful words 'Jane, I need you' and she went back into the tent to be with him, left me sat there, didn't even say goodnight to me. She just 'obeyed' him. It was shocking to see.

The next day, more of the same. He was constantly telling her what to do, she kicked back a few times but mainly gave in. I remember her telling him 'I know you have to have it your way'.

Now tents have very thin walls, and I was not deliberately eavesdropping but being next to them I could not help hearing them bicker and argue. He spoke to her like a child, bossing her around all the time I could not bear to hear it.

The only time I mentioned anything was when I said to her 'looks like you sorted it out between yourselves then' and she said 'yeah...sort of' not very convincingly.

I barely saw my friend all weekend, I mean I saw her but didn't really spend quality time with her or have any proper conversations. She was by his side all the time, I actually ended up making friends with her other friends and spending more time with them. Whenever I wanted to do anything, he came first, she had to do what he wanted to do. Because I was there the weekend they nearly split up, I think he sees me as a threat and it's true I don't like him, I can't stand the man and my initial gut reaction was, as always right. he's a selfish arsehole, in his world no one matters but him.

I came away with a really bad feeling from the whole weekend. I have tried to help my friend but she clearly doesn't want to be helped. She is choosing to stay with this control freak who throws his toys out of the pram every time he doesn't get his way, so it must be like going out with a giant toddler. I dont' think she will leave him now as she is clearly getting something out of it. I know she has been depressed recently, as she told me, which after being depressed in her bad marriage which she escaped and was supposed to be starting a new life, is just really sad. I have no idea if her ex husband was EA but I would not be surprised.

What makes people stay with control freaks like this? I can't imagine anything worse than being told what to do all the time.

I don't want to turn my back on my friend but I can't bear to be around her when she is with this man, and always playing second fiddle to him. I've accepted I can't really be friends like we were with him in the way, and part of me just wants to move on and leave them to it, is that wrong?

tigermoll Mon 27-Jul-15 17:22:18

I reckon it's very, very important that you don't drop out of her life -- abusers seek to isolate their victims, and that is just what is happening to your friend. Don't issue ultimata along the lines of "I can't keep being your friend while you're still with him "

woowoo22 Mon 27-Jul-15 18:08:16

I have been in the position of your pal OP. Keep being there for her, one day she'll realise what a fucker she is.

Any time I went away ex H would pick a fight before/during/after me going and eventually it became easier not to go. Took a lot for me to get rid of him.

woowoo22 Mon 27-Jul-15 18:08:36

*he is!!!

sensiblesometimes Mon 27-Jul-15 18:15:12

Keep the communication open between you, so she knows she can trust/ rely on you , eventually she might open up to you and ask for help ....hopefully soon

maggiethemagpie Mon 27-Jul-15 18:57:04

I'm not going to close the door on my friend, but I am disappointed with her that she couldn't make any time for me, everything is always about him. I just feel like I didn't see her all weekend, as he was always in the way!
Plus she let me down about coming to see me when she said she would. I have no proof that it was due to him but strongly suspect it was based on his past behaviour. Also she stopped replying to my messages trying to firm up the arrangements for the weekend and book a spa, so I guessed she would not be coming and then she admitted she wasn't and had been putting off telling me. I was annoyed at her for that, why shouldn't I be?

I've been there a lot for my friend in the past, but now that Tom has taken over the show I feel like there's not much left in it for me now. I feel sorry for her that she's with this wanker but she's not doing much to help herself and I tried to help her last time and she went back to him so not much more I can do at the moment.

So I really do feel like leaving them to it for a while, not forever of course, and if she asks for help in the future I will, but whilst she wants to be with him and put him first there's not much in it for me I'm afraid. I've helped her a lot in the past but everyone has a limit.

woowoo22 Mon 27-Jul-15 19:19:17

She's in an abusive relationship. She's not herself right now, nor thinking straight.

Your call if you want to be there for her or not of course.

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