- 7 years ago
- Wedding: May 2012
Bees, I’m struggling for a while now with a friend’s decision and walking that line between being the voice to speak up if you have concerns and the fact that it’s her life to do as she wishes.
I’ve known Elizabeth (E) since grad school, over 7 years now. During that time, she hasn’t been in many relationships and has been in very few prior to that. She is a warm, caring individual who does a lot of charity work, is brilliant and very successful in her chosen (difficult) career. I considered her a “lifetime” friend – the type you’ll always keep even though you live in different areas of the country. Right now she lives in my town for her fellowship.
E got into a relationship about 9? months ago. I was so excited for her initially, until I met him. To put it bluntly: I do not like her boyfriend, we’ll call Matthew (M). I’ve tried engaging him in conversation on a variety of topics, but nothing works – he’s not interested in the world around him. (Nor does he do any activities beyond drinking a lot of wine.) He has treated waitress poorly, made inappropriate comments, drinks too much, etc, but done nothing that is abusive. I get that you don’t always like your friend’s SO’s. It’s fantastic when you love them. But this is the first time I’ve actively disliked someone a friend is dating.
Their relationship progressed quickly and within about 6 weeks they were talking about getting married and him moving to her hometown. Although they are in their 30s, they act like high school kids in love, and are all over each other when he visits (he currently lives about 5 hours away, they met on the internet). Young love is exciting of course, but there are levels of PDA that are incredibly uncomfortable and rude for guests dining with you.
But most significantly, she has changed significantly since dating him. She no longer involves herself in charity work, once very courteous person she is incredibly rude/disrespectful now, and has started lying to friends. She has done some very questionable things such as so heavily revising his thesis paper for grad school that I think it’s reached the level of academic dishonesty (and one of her grad degrees is in ethics!), which is personally troubling to me as a professor. She used to be very good with her finances, now she is strugging and spending more than she makes (e.g. she spent over $2.5k on his recent birthday). Finally, she just told me today that he’s moving in with her. Tomorrow. Although she professes to be sure, the delay in telling me suggests she may be uncertain about her decision – she is very religious, and prior to this relationship was strongly opposed to living together with someone. I obviously have nothing against living with someone (I do with FI), but I am concerned whether her morals have changed as well.
The only reason M hasn’t proposed yet I believe is because he can’t afford the size ring he wants to give her. Based on her strong morals, she won’t divorce him for any reason (or back out of an engagement). So for all intents & purposes, once he proposes, I’ve lost her.
Her sister who is engaged, does not like him and spoke up about it. Another friend spoke up and their relationship is not the same – E told the other friend that she is the only one to think that E has changed. That’s not true, I see it as well but I’m sure if I speak up, it’ll ruin it too. On the other hand, not speaking up will equally ruin it because she’s turning into someone else. She has a few people speaking up so maybe I need to be the support for her instead – but I refuse to lie and say that I support their relationship. She’s smart enough to get it, however, if I talk around it. Do I have any option that will let me keep my friend?
ETA: When she told me about her decision, I asked if she wanted to talk about it. She said she knew it was out of character, but she thought about it a lot and was happy with it. She said things that suggested she wanted my “blessing.” I suggested we meet for coffee, because we were chatting online and I could only read her words that didn’t really let me “hear” her (emotions, expressions, etc.) So I have to decide by tomorrow to: 1) “bless”/support her decision, 2) tell her I don’t support it, 3) evade, which will suggest to her I don’t support but at least isn’t saying that out right.