How to support a long-time waiting friend?

posted 1 year ago in Waiting
Post # 17
2806 posts
Sugar bee

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misstomorris :  We see it on the Bee all the time. Even people who say they’re looking for advice and want to know how to reach their goals of marriage and family aren’t always willing to follow through when the advice is hard. 

Based on everything you’ve written, your friend will not be getting engaged or married with her current boyfriend (nor should she want to with his irresponsibility and iinfidelity). However, you tried to talk to her after her conversation with him, and it sounds like she shut you down. If someone isn’t willing to listen or see the truth, they won’t. She’s likely engaged in the sunk cost fallacy and doesn’t seem to value herself enough to stand up for what she deserves. 

It’s sad, and I’m sure it’s hard to see her suffering, but at the end of the day, you’ll only push her away if you try to force her to see what’s staring her in the face. 

If you brings it up again, I would be honest, straight forward and to the point, and then if she becomes angry or shuts you down, let her know you won’t voice your opinion again unless she asks because you’ve said your piece. 

Post # 18
2059 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

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misstomorris :  I have a best friend from high school who always picked guys that weren’t that into her. Each “relationship” dragged on for years before it ended. No amount of reasoning with her helped at all. Instead she got angry and frustrated and shut down and refused all my advice. I pointed out she was wasting her valuable time, that if she wanted marriage and kids she was running out of time. I said it all. Nothing helped. 

In the end her picking men to date that didn’t lead to anything made her bitter and jealous of me in a way that she couldn’t contain. She literally couldn’t help but act out even though at the same time she was being mean to me she was desperately trying to hold onto the friendship. She got possessive of me and claimed I didn’t have time for her. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding and shit all over it anyway she could. Luckily I saw it and stayed away from her that day. 

What I’m trying to say is, telling your friend she is wasting her own time wont get you anywhere. She is going to have to figure this out in her own. You are going to have to set a boundary to keep yourself sane in this friendship. I suggest the following. She just told you she is now happy with her relationship and the timeline they came up with. So the next time she initiates a conversation where she is venting about him not committing you interrupt her and you say, ” You said you two talked and that you were happy with the outcome. If that isn’t the case and you aren’t happy then you need to speak to him. You and I have gone in this circle many times and for my mental health I can’t do it again with you. I love you as a friend but at this point you are choosing to stay even though your needs aren’t being met. Until you are willing to do something about your situation I can’t keep hearing about it. When  you are ready to take action I am here. Until then you need to find someone else to vent to about this” 

Then each time she tries to vent you shut it down. “I’m sorry you are going through this but I’m not able to have this conversation again” 

Hopefully your friendship will endure what she is going through but  you will have to pull away for a while and let her figure it out. Being a good friend doesn’t mean you need to endure a constant tirade from her about this. Boundaries

Post # 19
5179 posts
Bee Keeper

Your friend isnt intelligent enough to realize that you don’t stay with someone who cheats on you twice, and definitely don’t marry them. 

There’s only so much you can do, but I would encourage her to go to therapy to find out why shes willing to accept crumbs in a relationship. I’d be radically honest with her and tell her that she’s looking pathetic and desperate pining for this dirtbag, and I wouldn’t worry about hurting her feelings. Thanks to that great boyfriend of her feelings have learned to deal with hurt. You just have to hope that she hears your honesty.

Post # 20
4905 posts
Honey bee

I would stop trying to reason and I would stop being her one stop pity shop.

I learned the hard way that trying to get people to see their relationships for what they really are is a fool’s errand that just ends in resentment and hurt feelings.  They have to decide for themselves to change it or leave it.  However, that also doesn’t mean that you have to placate her and cushion her fall every single time.  She’s a big girl and you’re not her mommy.

She starts bemoaning her lack of a ring or complains about the status her relationship, etc…

“I’m sorry you’re hurting.  But we’ve been over this numerous times and I’m not sure what else I can say because nothing changes.  You have to decide how long you want to stay like this.”  And then move on.  “Do you want to catch a movie?  How about we go grab some ice cream?  Let’s see if we can find a groupon for mani/pedis.”

Post # 21
265 posts
Helper bee

It’s always rough to watch a friend struggle, especially when the friend goes through the same patterns. You have a few options here:

1) Do nothing and continue the friendship as is, frustrations and all.

2) Accept that this is your friends pattern. Accept the chance of her boyfriend changing is super small, and that she won’t leave him. Rather than meet the whole situation with frustration, acceptance will allow for you to see her with compassion.

3) Tell her how you feel, honestly. That she’s the one in her own way. Know that it most likely will cause a falling out.

4) The next time she complains about his lack of commitment, explain that the conversation sounds very familiar because it’s a constant point of discussion. You can say that you feel as though you’re all tapped out on advice/don’t have the capacity to do the emotional labor at this point. Maybe even recommend working with a professional through this.

Hope it works out.

Post # 22
1648 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2020

Honestly, this guy is doing her a favor by not committing. He is fiscally irresponsible and a 2 time cheater. She should leave him rather than waiting for him. If you want to give her constructive advice, it should be based on why she should leave, not how she can get him to commit. Tell her that he’s more likely to give her an STD than a marriage. Give her brutal honesty if she asks for it. When she comes crying to you 5 years later with no ring, you don’t want to be the friend who had  stood by and did nothing. 

Post # 24
3108 posts
Sugar bee

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misstomorris :  Too bad she won’t get on this site. 

I agree with PP’s to not say anything else about it unless she asks for advice. You’ll have to be careful if you don’t want to ruin the friendship.

Post # 25
2943 posts
Sugar bee

I have a friend like this – constantly makes the worst decisions when it comes to men. Once in awhile I can’t hold back anymore and I will tell her my true thoughts, but it never makes a damn difference–she’s gonna do what she’s gonna do. It’s so frustrating. Anyway no real advice…just solidarity!

Post # 26
694 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2021 - Dracut, Massachusetts

My friend used to be like this. She dated this dumbass for SEVEN YEARS. He cheated on her multiple times with multiple girls. He’s a scumbag to the max. I feel bad for the woman who married him and had his baby. Anyway, I told her so so so so many times to dump him and that they would never marry and to move on and find someone who appreciates her.

My mother always would say “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” which I think applies in your situation too. In the end she ended up learning her lesson and dumping him and got therapy. The kid’s whole family are scummy. She had lived with the brother and the brother’s wife for a while and they basically held her hostage while demanding she pay for half their rent, when really, it should have been split in 1/3rds. Her name was on the lease and they didn’t pay when they left, so they screwed her. She ended up paying it so it wouldn’t hurt her credit any worse. Not only that but she stupidly cosigned for their car. It was repo’d. They destroyed her credit. I guess they got it back, but they’re behind in payments as usual. I had advised against ALL of this, but it was like in one ear out the other. I know her heart is always been in the right place, but for the wrong people. She’s since grew up and as a person since therapy, but people just have to fall down hard before they can learn to get back up and become stronger. She’s now married to a good guy, nice family, and they’re trying for a baby in spring!

Post # 27
55 posts
Worker bee

Hi former waiting bee but I popped back in to reply.

Reaffirm her self worth! Her self esteem has probably taken a hit. Do fun things with her to get back the woman she used to be!

Don’t avoid the topic of weddings/engagements. That just sucks and makes the waiting person feel awkward. Bring it up when appropriate.

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