I will try not to make this too confusing, but I am afraid no matter how I explain it, it will be just that. I am 39 years old and when I was young I suffered sexual,physical, emotional abuse by a family member. I have been in therapy many years to become a member of society and overcome my issues.

I have very few few friends but the ones I have a cherish. My very best friend is dating a man that worries me. He had two kids with a woman and got divorced. Then he got married again, the second wife’s son sexually abused one of his kids. They separated and the kid is in jail. This man doesn’t want to get therapy for his daughter because he said when he gets divorced, it will affect the outcome.

So he goes online, meets my friend and almost immidiately invites her to spend weekends at his house, with his two kids. They have been dating for a couple of months and he already wants her to move in and told her she doesnt have to work because he will not charge her rent or anything.

I am freaking out, because I am seeing red flags left ,right, and side ways..but she is not. Is it just me? Is it because I am identifying too much with this child who is pretty much going though what I did? I have feeling but I don’t know how to articulate them. I don’t know what to say to my friend. I want to warn her that this not a good thing she is getting into. I just dont know how. I hope you can help me!

A: Just because you’re identifying with the girl who was molested doesn’t mean you are wrong. It’s true that her boyfriend shouldn’t be judged for what his stepson did. But putting his divorce case over the welfare of his daughter doesn’t speak well for his character.

Sadly, what you can do about the situation is limited. Your friend is an adult and free to make her own decisions. She doesn’t see things the way you do. Perhaps she is lonely and that blinds her to the red flags you see. Perhaps this man has truly swept her off her feet. It may even be that he is a decent guy who can’t stand to be alone so makes hurried and, at times, poor choices – and that your friend is the best thing that ever happened to him.

Whatever the case, all you can do is love your friend and let her know that you are concerned. If you try to build a case against her choice of boyfriend, she will only get defensive and you may lose her friendship. Better to be supportive but concerned. If you are wrong, you’ll find out soon enough and you’ll make your apologies. You’ll also be in a better position to observe the daughter and to advocate for her if she needs help. If you’re right, though, you’ll be in a much better position to help your friend pick up the pieces.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Aug 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). My friend’s relationship is swinging red flags. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/08/05/my-friends-relationship-is-swinging-red-flags/

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