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Home » Ask the Therapist » Trying to Help a Friend Move on from a Very Unhealthy Relationship

Trying to Help a Friend Move on from a Very Unhealthy Relationship

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Hi, this is about a friend/coworker as a waitstaff a mom with a son, who has been swindled by a known womanizer 4 years ago.

She was married at the time, and loved her son very much very positive and outgoing. But one day one of our regular customer, a guy I knew who left his wife and son to live a singles life, got his eye on her and private messaged her through Facebook. Eventually got her number, texted her often, even sent her a picture of his genitals “by accident”. And throughout this time I’m trying to stop her.

Long story short she cheats on her husband kicks her husband (a nice guy) out of her house and lives with the man and her son 6 yo at the time. Completely cuts me off. After a year of free rent the guy save up enough to buy a house, she will send her son to her ex husband, on the weekends so she can just live a life not caring about her son, go on vacation, go to a hotel, go to clubs etc.

After 4 years of living like that she finally realizes he has been cheating on her all along and PMed me a year ago, told me her story which had many red flags she failed to realize within the 4 years of pretty much being treated like a slut, controlled, abuse, child neglect etc. and now moved in with her ex.

She is very sorry about everything she has done. But with a slightest stress she will go crazy and says she needs him and needs to have sex with him, she doesn’t care about her son etc. She would start a fight with her ex so she can go to mans house, and she did one time spend the night as her ex let her go. Anyways I did “alot” of things for her for a year so she can be normal again, she would threaten me that she will go back to him if I don’t help her do this and that. And now apparently the man just broke up with the girl he was cheating on and now I can’t get a hold of her, calls me annoying. It really tears me apart after so many of my time and support I gave her was in vain. Please help!

Trying to Help a Friend Move on from a Very Unhealthy Relationship

Answered by on -

A.

Sadly, your friend might have been using you. When she needed your help she contacted you. When she didn’t she ignored you. You were her friend of convenience.

As a general rule, treat people the way they treat you. No better and no worse. Based upon your description of events, you had more invested in this relationship than she did. There was a clear imbalance.

We cannot control other people. You can offer your advice but understand that the recipient may or may not take it. That is their prerogative. You can only control your behavior and your reactions in any situation.

It can be difficult to watch people we care about make mistakes. For deeply personal reasons, she chose to live her life the way she did. She made mistakes for which she will have to pay the consequences.

You can’t change history but you can change your future interactions with her and others. In the future, don’t put more effort into a relationship than the other party does. Having this type of boundary will protect you from future disappointments. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Trying to Help a Friend Move on from a Very Unhealthy Relationship

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Trying to Help a Friend Move on from a Very Unhealthy Relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 21, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/03/16/trying-to-help-a-friend-move-on-from-a-very-unhealthy-relationship/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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