My friend dates awful people [advice]

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My friend dates awful people [advice] Empty My friend dates awful people [advice]

Post by Stumbles on Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:58 pm

Hello wise ones! I have a wonderful friend who is fiercely intelligent and a generally lovely human being in all regards. Her boyfriends however...she has not had a good track record to put it mildly. Here's a big ol' wall o' text for ya.

Well, her current beau and I initially got along all right. He added me on facebook after we all hung out a few times. Well, the guy, whom we shall now call Fartface, confides in me that he and my friend, let's call her Audrey, are having problems. He is saying that since her past boyfriends have messed her up emotionally that Audrey is having trust issues with him. I say, well yeah, Audrey has dated some stinkers that left her in a really bad place and she has struggled with depression and doesn't have insurance so she might be a little anxious and just needs extra care. He's all, "Oh. Of course!"

Well cue a week or so later Audrey said she and Fartface broke up but he is insisting that they should still be friends. She is unsure. I tell her she could give it a try or just do the nuclear option and see how she feels in six months or something. She said she isn't sure if she would still want to be friends in six months. I let her do her thing since we are all adults, dammit!

A few weeks go by and I get a facebook message from Audrey. She says that she is angry and doesn't even care anymore. She goes on a rant how Fartface had an emotional affair and a physical affair with two different people. They were trying to work things out so they were in that hazy sorta broke up but not and Fartface had sex with this girl and the girl got weirdly angry at Audrey. Drama bomb!

I tell her to DTMFA and that he is awful and she is wonderful and doesn't have to put up with such nonsense. She agrees. I un-friend the dude on facebook without a word to him and go about my life.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell, Audrey and Fartface got back together shortly after her confession to me. I shake my head but still love and support my friend. I never even bring up Fartface whenever she is in town and we catch up over lunch or whatever. Yeah, we live in different cities but she hops to my city every three or so weekends.

Yesterday, months after this all went down, I got a friend request from Fartface and a facebook message. It got my hackles up immediately. Here's the text in it's full glory:
So, I'm probably not your favorite person in the world, and probably for good reason, but I would rather be your friend than not, because you are one of few people out there who seems to legitimately care about [name redacted] , and it doesn't do her any good feeling awkward if we are around each other. God knows she has enough friends that don't get along already. Time to at least attempt to mend bridges.
Um, this sets off my manipulation senses. I have said NOTHING to this guy or talked shit on him to Audrey since her facebook rant. Why is he messaging me? And what is this nonsense of me being one of the few people out there who cares about her? Pardon my french, but that is fucking bullshit. She has many friends who love and care about her in addition to her family. I hope he isn't saying that shit to her. As I said earlier, she does suffer from depression and has Jerkbrain moments.

I'm at a loss. This relationship sounds unhealthy. I don't want to make Audrey feel alienated. We reside in different cities so I can't be there for her physically. I haven't responded to Fartface because I will go off on him and that would probably just make things worse for Audrey. Should I tell her about the message and my concerns? Or am I just seeing something that's not there because of my bias towards Fartface?
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Post by eselle28 on Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:30 pm

I think that with regard to Audrey, your current strategy is the right one. You're extending friendship and support to her, and you're doing it without mentioning her boyfriend at all. If and when she wants to talk about him, she can be the one to bring it up.

As for the message, my suggestion would be to ignore it completely. Don't respond to it, don't accept his friend request, and don't bother Audrey about it. The most generous interpretation I have is that he's committed himself to his relationship with Audrey and thinks that reconnecting with her friends will help with that. The least generous interpretation I have is that he's setting up a situation where you either welcome him back into the fold or go to Audrey about the message, creating more conflict and possibly disrupting your friendship with her. If you just brush it off and continue to behave as you did before, you can avoid either of those outcomes.

As a general matter, since this seems to be a pattern: Conserve your ammo. I've both been in your shoes and in Audrey's, and friends' opinions about relationships carry a lot more weight if they're saved for the really big things. Also, if in the future she replaces this boyfriend with another one, it's okay not to put him on Facebook or get super close to him. There's a lot of space between being hostile and unfriendly and actually trying to be friends with someone's significant other.
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Post by Caffeinated on Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:40 pm

eselle28 wrote:There's a lot of space between being hostile and unfriendly and actually trying to be friends with someone's significant other.

Yes! Sometimes our friends pick people to date who are... confusing at best. It's ok to just be polite but nothing more.
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Post by OneTrueGuest on Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:30 am

I dunno. I'm not really sure what to make of this, honestly, and I'm not sure I have the right answer at all. But what you said about whether Fartface is manipulating her on his end, whether he's saying the kind of shit he said to you to her makes me almost think you SHOULD friend him and fake a kind of tentative friendship. Only so he can't isolate her from her friends who don't like him. She needs friends around that don't like him, honestly. She needs people to support her and also keep an eye out for her. If you never see this guy, maybe it makes sense to "friend" him so that you aren't an enemy. So that he doesn't try to poison her against you. So that you can then subsequently be there for her.

But I dunno. The others make good points too. I'm definitely not saying be best friends. But maybe it is a good idea to friend him. And maybe send a message of, "I see your point, let's see what we can do." It can be a complete lie, but it might be a good lie for your friend's sake.

I could also be wrong. Ultimately you know the situation best, use your instincts.

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Post by nonA on Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:20 pm

Thing that stands out to me is that this depressed person with limited treatment (extrapolating from the lack of insurance), and who seems to have her own propensity for drama, probably isn't giving her boyfriend the most objective view of her life.  That's going to color a lot of what he thinks about the other people she knows.  Meanwhile, if her boy wanted to drive her away from the rest of her friends, he'd probably be whispering poison directly into her ear.  Trying to turn one friend against the rest of her friends seems pointlessly convoluted.

Boy does sound like he's more than a little naively optimistic and biting off more than he can chew.  (Again, mental illness and lack of regular access to a properly qualified professional.  That can't be fixed by just loving her extra hard.)  You can accept the olive branch and then unfriend him when they break up again.  You can ignore it and figure that it'll be a moot point down the line.  I'm curious, though; aside from the fact that friend duty required you to badmouth him in the aftermath of the breakup, what makes you suspect that he's up to no good?


Last edited by nonA on Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:29 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by reboot on Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:28 pm

Seeing as you refer to him as Fartface and do not like him much I would just ignore the friend request. Just because he is dating your friend does not mean he has to be a part of your life.
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Post by Caffeinated on Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:54 pm

Another thing occurred to me about this situation. Just to be clear, Stumbles, you're not now and have never been interested in Audrey in a romantic and/or sexual way, right? Because the existence of that kind of situation, past or present, can add wrinkles and complications.
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Post by Stumbles on Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:00 pm

Thanks for the input!
nonA wrote:what makes you suspect that he's up to no good?
When he was talking to me about his relationship issues, he made it seem it was all Audrey. Of course he wouldn't say to me that he was sleeping with people on the side without telling Audrey to me. It's hard to put down in words. My gut just says he is a little iffy. I fully own that I am biased as all hell.

reboot wrote:Seeing as you refer to him as Fartface and do not like him much I would just ignore the friend request.

I am sooo mature, I know. My name calling skills never evolved past first grade. Yeah, I am definitely not gonna add him. If/when Fartface comes into conversation with Audrey, I'm gonna tell her flat out he's not my cuppa tea but as long as she is happy I am happy.

Caffeinated wrote:Just to be clear, Stumbles, you're not now and have never been interested in Audrey in a romantic and/or sexual way, right?
There's never been no sexual tension between us. I probably do give off that vibe with my female friends. I am fiercely loyal to them (I'm fiercely loyal to my male friends as well).
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Post by celette482 on Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:47 am

Hey, non-romantic female friendships can be really fierce. I know I've... not driven off but been less than encouraging of close friends' boyfriends I didn't like. I've never been wrong (aka the ones who last more than a few months/are actually decent people I like, the ones who are on their way to the curb/are abusive asshats I don't). It might be that I'm reflecting what she's actually thinking under the butterflies (ie she's got reservations but kissing feels great! and I'm not kissing him so all I get is reservations) OR it could be that I know her well and recognize people who wouldn't be a good fit for her OR it could be that these guys are objectively awful and I'm just not being swayed by that whole kissing thing again.

Point is, I trust my friends', especially my close friends', assessments of dates and wouldn't stick it out with a guy they didn't like. This doesn't really tell you what to do (I think you're doing what needs doing already) but I just wanted to let you know that I don't think you're out of line or even strange to be feeling this way.

We can't make our friends' break up with their terrible partners, but we don't *have* to be friends with their terrible partners either. Captain Awkward has a lot of posts on how to deal with a friend who has a partner you don't like (the darth vader boyfriend). If you are going to be stuck in social situations with partner we don't like, you might check there for some suggestions on how to handle that (the first one that comes to mind is ask for some partner-free time so that you can actually maintain this friendship!)
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