My friend's partner is chipping away at her confidence

posted 2 years ago in Relationships
Post # 16
Member
164 posts
Blushing bee

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zenith :  REALLY? Who on earth doesn’t like kissing the person they are supposedly in love with?

Which type of a partner would ever consider telling their partner they are fat and not to wear a swimsuit?

Which type of a partner would ever get angry at their loved one asking why they haven’t messaged back?

And which type of a partner would sleep in a separate room after having marriage chats with the person they have spent 11 years with?

Not a loving, caring, understanding, kind partner that’s for sure. The whole post indicates huge red flags. No one should be treated that way male or female. 

Post # 17
Member
2250 posts
Buzzing bee

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happybridetobe1988 :  maybe an unpopular opinion here (surprise, surprise), but your friend is almost 40 years old. She is a grown woman. She has tolerated this for 11 years and continues to allow herself to be treated this way. She can say all the terrible things about him she wants, talk about how poorly he treats her, and maybe even eventually get to the point of saying she wishes she never met him (exaggerating on my behalf, but you get it). BUT the second you express discontent for him, she will the FIRST one at his defense. She will choose his feelings over yours. In her defensiveness, your friendship may even be damaged as her pride will be hurt from being called out on her failure to be a strong woman and leave a man who doesn’t treat her right. But she will defend his honor to the death either way—you can see this because she’s tolerated him for over a decade without even having a solid commitment. She has likely internalized his poor view of her, and will take the blame for everything.

 

She knows she’s being treated poorly. The woman isn’t blind or stupid. She just has to want and know that she deserves better for herself. It’d be a different story if maybe she was a teen or In he early 20s still developing self esteem, but again, she’s almost 40 years old—way past developmental years.

 

Considering your friend’s age and time in this shitty relationship, I’d just stay out of it. If it gets to the point where it is emotionally exhausting for you, pull away from the friendship a bit. Because I truly believe that if you intervene in any ay, things will get messy.

Post # 18
Member
75 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2019 - New England

I think when your friend confides in you regarding some of her partner’s disturbing behavior, she is seeking feedback and validation. Being with somebody like that (especially for ELEVEN years!!) can throw you so off balance that you don’t know which way is up anymore. She is probably telling you these things with a hope (even if it’s subconscious) that you will validate her feelings that this isn’t right.

With that in mind, I do think it’s okay to reach out to your friend. That said, I think you need to be careful about how you do it. Confronting her with a statement, even a well-intentioned one, such as “I’m worried about how he treats you” might cause her to shut down on you and back away as she may not be ready to hear that yet. If I were you, I would approach this situation by asking her very gentle questions when she confides in you. When she says “Even SO says I’m fat” I would follow up with some gentle, non-judgmental questions like, “Oh, really? What did he say? How did that come up?” etc. If she’s receptive to these kind of inocuous questions, then you could start to dig deeper, “How did that make you feel when he said?” and go from there. By actively listening and asking some facilitating questions, you might help her come to some realizations on her own, which I personally think is always better than telling someone outright that you think their SO is a jerk (at least at first). If she ever asks you your opinion, I think you can be honest and maybe tell her some of the things you’ve seen/things she’s told you about that concern you. I wouldn’t tell her that you think she should leave him. At least not right away. 

Generally, I’d say you want her to lead the discussion with you as a facilitator. Be non-judgmental, open, and sensitive without just throwing her partner in the mud. You want her to feel like she can talk to you so that when/if she’s actually ready to acknowledge that this isn’t right, she considers you a supportive and open-minded friend that she can turn to. 

Post # 19
Member
5803 posts
Bee Keeper

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zenith :  There’s a huge difference between busy and pissy. I’m not in constant contact with my D H and we often take separate holidays (different vaca times at work and long distance loved ones)….but surely if he’s reaching out to me while he’s away I can spare him 30 seconds out of my precious day to text him back without being a bitch about it. Surely being decent and civil is a bare minimum requirement for any relationship? 

All I’m seeing is someone who acts cold and sneering at his partner. Yes it’s true she’s stayed with him for 11 years without being married- and if they were both fine with that this wouldn’t be an issue. But if she even dares bring it up,  he’s punitively going silent on her and sleeping in the guest room, incapable of having a rational adult conversation and using negative reinforcement to discourage her from bringing up again an issue that’s bothering her. 

When the friend says if her partner was there at the pool he’d be mortified at her showing off her fat self, that is just truly awful. He has a condescending way about him and a cruel streak. 

OP, it’s your friend you have to focus on  here, not her relationship. Douche-dude is a lost cause, so the real issue here is why is she allowing herself to be treated this way. Years of living with someone cold and demeaning has likely eroded her self esteem to the point where she’s lost her fighting spirit and her own self worth and has become a passive passenger in her own relationship. I would speak with her as gently as possible and voice your concerns for her, likely she’s not ready to leave this horrible relationship, but if you can urge her toward individual counselling to help her get her self-worth back, this may be the catalyst she needs to find herself again and get out of this toxic relationship. 

Post # 20
Member
1452 posts
Bumble bee

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do because your friend is consciously CHOOSING to be with him.  It doesn’t matter how you feel, how much she’s suffering, that she deserves better, etc.  She still wants this for herself.  From what you’ve described, yes things are bad but it’s unfortunately not bad ENOUGH for her to actually want to do anything about her situation.  As shitty as he’s treating her and it’s something you yourself (and most other women) would never settle for in a man, your friend accepts this and it’s good enough for her.

 

Post # 21
Member
6794 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

Your friend’s SO sounds like an asshole- let’s just get that out of the way.

However- I think her self esteem has probably been pretty low for a long time. That is why she’s remained with him for so long. She could have dumped him at any point in the last 11 years (especially 4 years ago when he was sleeping in another room just because she asked about marriage after 7 years together- a reasonable conversation to have at that point) and maybe she still would’ve had a chance to find someone else, get married, and have children. Instead, she’s stuck around with someone who clearly doesn’t want to marry her, is comfortable being mean to her (including in front of other people) and has likely wasted her chance to marry and be a mother.

I would speak with her and let her know I was concerned but beyond that, I wouldn’t do anything other than encourage her to get some therapy. She sounds like she needs it.

Post # 22
Member
4971 posts
Honey bee

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zenith :  Girl leans in to kiss asshat she calls boyfriend.  He backs away and makes a sound of disgust. She is embarrassed, as this demonstrates that he has no fondness for her and it occurred right in front of her friend. So instead she tells her friend that asshat doesn’t like kisses. This is known as saving face. This is not known as “doing things you know your so doesn’t like”.

 

Post # 23
Member
194 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2023

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sunburn :  We aren’t in their relationship and have no clue what is going on. She isn’t married, doesn’t have kids with him and has stayed for over a decade, not anyone else’s business. 

Post # 24
Member
9995 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

He’s not chipping away at her confidence. Any confidence or self-esteem she had is pretty much gone and has been for a long time. She’s wasted her life on this guy. And I think she’s way, way past the point where a friendly chat is going to do any good. 

Post # 25
Member
14 posts
Newbee

It sounds like he’s made his unwillingness to marry her pretty clear, that she’s been well aware of his position for at least the past four years, and that she’s decided she’d rather stay in an unmarried relationship with him than take her chances with finding someone else to marry and potentially have children with. It’s probably something she’s struggled to come to terms with, and the decision to stay was probably difficult. If that’s the case, I doubt she’d appreciate you second-guessing it.

The only thing that really concerns me here is calling her fat, and if I were you, I’d want more information about what exactly was said. Did he literally say, “You’re too fat to ever wear a bathing suit”? Did he suggest that she lose weight in a nicer way, and her insecurity went overboard? Did she ask him whether this swimsuit made her butt look big, and she didn’t like his answer? The fact that she believes he’s disgusted by her appearance in a swimsuit isn’t good, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate that he did anything wrong. If she’s at a healthy weight and he’s putting her down for no reason, that’s one thing. If she’s overweight and he politely suggested she lose a few pounds, that’s something else.

As for the other stuff – kissing, texting, etc. – everyone has their own preferences, and you’re only getting one side of the story. If he was doing it just to be a jerk, then you might ask her why she’s ok with it. But if he’d told her beforehand that he’d be too busy to text that day, and she’s known for years that he doesn’t like being kissed, then I don’t see the issue. I wouldn’t go in with guns blazing based on the belief that she’s being abused, because there’s just way too much you don’t know here. Either way, whether the good aspects of the relationship outweigh the bad is ultimately her decision, and after eleven years, I doubt anything you say is going to change her mind.

Post # 26
Member
1250 posts
Bumble bee

Public Service Announcement: THERE REALLY ARE PEOPLE WHO DO NOT LIKE KISSING. i understand that kissing is, for most people, a very intimate way to feel connected to your partner, and it may seem impossible to imagine your relationship without it…but many healthy romantic relationships exist without kissing too. there are lots of people in asexual relationships who don’t kiss but are totally in love. those relationships are just as valid. 🙂

(note: this guy is a douche, and he handled the kiss situation rudely,…which seems on brand for him…i have no idea how he truly feels about being kissed/kissing. i just wanted to pop in with that info because several PPs comments made me feel a little uncomfy re: attitudes towards kissing) 

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TeachingBee2628 : i get the feeling you weren’t really asking, but…me. i hate kissing, yet supposedly(?) love my husband. :-/

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