My best friend and roommate, let's call her Ashley, recently started dating this guy, let's call him Cain, and I am very worried about her being with him. For starters, he was very into drugs and even did a little bit of dealing before he met her. This automatically makes it very hard for me to trust him because, even though he says he has quit, I personally know other guys who have said that they quit doing drugs only to get right back into doing them and sometimes even dragging others down in the process. That, or they lie about quitting all together. I'm afraid that he might drag her down with him if he does drugs again.
Cain, who lives about 3 hours out of town, is also very clingy and calls Ashley continuously throughout the day. When she doesn't pick up, he keeps calling until she does - even if it is the middle of the night and we are both trying to sleep. I know that Ashley doesn't appreciate this, either, because she has expressed how annoying it is. When he calls, he asks her about her entire day - what she did at each point in the day and who she was with at the time and he basically asks for the exact times. This leads me to my next point. Cain also is so jealous that he gets angry with Ashley if she even hangs out with any of her guy friends, including the ones she's known for years and would never have romantic relationships with. Ashley has missed a lot of opportunities such as school socials and dances because she's afraid that Cain would not like it if she brought another guy. He's manipulative of her, as well, because of this and I'm afraid it is only going to get worse as their relationship progresses.
I was originally hoping that Ashley would start to see this controlling side of Cain and end things, but a month into knowing him and a few weeks into dating him, they did the HND. She told me that she loves him and feels like she's known him her whole life but I feel like this is just his manipulation talking.
I don't want my best friend to get hurt by this guy. How do I get her to realize that he isn't good for her and she deserves better before it's too late?
Man, that last line says it all, doesn't it? So dire! So dramatic! You'd think that your friend was strapped to a torture table, on a conveyor belt, inching ever closer to a high-powered laser that will dice her up into tiny, sizzling pieces unless she dumps this douchebag, already.
And don't get me wrong, sweet pea: I know it feels that way. It really, really does. We all grind our teeth and tear our hair when a beautiful, wonderful, deserving friend suddenly goes all cow-eyed and dreamy over someone who isn't any good for her. We all cringe at the pain that she's about to experience and despair that she can't see it coming. We all want to pull her out of harm's way.
But pulling your friend out of harm's way is the thing you cannot do. Ashley is going to love who she loves, and it is not in your power to make her realize that the person she loves is an undeserving turd. You cannot change another person's feelings. You cannot make her want the relationship you think she deserves. You cannot stop her from wanting someone who doesn't deserve her. There is no saving her "before it's too late"; it's already too late, because she already loves him, and your letter is all the evidence you need of love's power to send the smartest people careening down the dumbest, most destructive paths.. Your friend's love for this guy has led her to ignore the many signs that he's the baddest sort of bad news—and your love for her has led you right up to the edge of Crazytown, trying to meddle with a relationship that is utterly beyond your control.
And even if you could convince your friend that she doesn't really feel her feelings, it would be deeply wrong of you to try. Your friend needs to make her own choices, and learn her own lessons—even when you fear that the choices will turn out badly and that the lessons will be painful ones. The nature of love, and of life, is that people want what they want, and they won't want anything else until they have an experience that begets better judgment.
None of which is to say that you should remain silent. But you should use your voice carefully, wisely, and with the understanding that the only person who can get Ashley to realize anything is Ashley herself. By all means, admit that this guy's history gives you pause. Tell her how scary it is to see her isolating and limiting herself just because she doesn't want to make him angry. Ask how she feels about the constant phone calls and controlling behavior—and note that I say "ask," because you cannot tell her how to feel about these things—and listen to what the says. And then, having shown your friend that you love and worry about her, please show her that you also respect her by backing way the hell out of this relationship and letting her do what she's going to do.
Because this relationship, unpleasant as it is to watch, has nothing to do with you.
At the end of the day, Ashley and Cain are going to date until one of them breaks it off, and what's going to happen will happen no matter how you feel about it. So, step back onto the right side of the boundary between your life and hers. Wait for her there with open arms and kind words at the ready. Hope for her sake that you turn out to be wrong about how much this is going to hurt. But if you're right, and it ends badly, be kind enough not to tell her "I told you so."
Have you ever cringed over a friend's awful SO? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at email@example.com.
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