Partner, Times, FLU discussed on Slate's Dear Prudence
Pack airbags. This one's called overloaded friend. Dear prudence I have a friend who is a therapist she has the fiance who is mentally ill. A compulsive user of porn and we'd major depression unemployed in his mid forties and has done nothing with his life. She has loads of job opportunities coming her way she's been a single mom of two special needs kids who are now in their teens. She knows this guy isn't right for her but he's so nice and she does just doesn't want to hurt with him. I cannot understand how she sees clients all day then visit him in the hospital and try to keep her focus on her kids and take care ever self now. She's having health problems. She's a dear friend in means. Well what can I say or do I feel. It's almost cruel of her to expect this guy to ever step up. They've we've been together three years and before her he never had a relationship lasts longer than two months. His family's overjoyed that they are together. I'm guessing so that she can take over his care. I know oh she sired of doing it all alone but that is not a reason to stay with someone. He can barely take care of himself. What are your thoughts so my biggest question here was that line about visiting him in the hospital yeah It was not clear what he was in. The hospital for I I don't know if he got the flu and had to stay overnight I don't know if he's like chronically ill and is being treated for something really serious. I don't know if it was like after mental health breakdown and I don't know I didn't know Oh porn or we could do either of those things and if so Yeah look into that. An actually did edit that because it was originally addicted to porn and we'd okay and I a really was just like let's set aside whether or not a person can become addicted to pornography which is a bold claim But yeah so. It's very clear this guy does not sound great. I wouldn't want to date him now and I can totally understand why the letter writer is not into this dudes deal. What's your experience with friends who date people you wish they wouldn't date I feel like I've been that person for other people we'll And it you can't say anything you lose always in my opinion not that I've like shut out those friends In fact I kind they would have said something earlier but you run the risk of it backfiring on you but your friend definitely sounds like someone who clearly from Caroline a work And just what the position. She's been in with her kids. She sounds like someone who is comfortable in this caretaking role and is is attracted to people who Are In need. That's why she does what she does. Probably she's good at helping others. But I think maybe the the way in he's like. Hey how are you taking care of yourself you know. Do you have enough time alone can I. Let's do some together. Let's go see a movie. Let's whatever And sort of just checking in with her about like if she has energy any energy left for herself. Because who's GonNa take care of her. It does sound like the hospitalization station is as a result of This person's mental illness and the job. That doesn't sound like a relationship. It just sounds like another job yet so so what I would say. Yeah I very much on the same page there. I feel like she's dated him for three years. She knows what his deal is and You know I I agree. I would probably not feel thrilled if I had a friend who was like really remarkable always helping other people and had a partner who didn't seem to like give back to to her but I just don't think you're going to get anywhere by saying I think you should dump him I think he's a loser. I think the thing to focus on is to ask like what what do you need you know. Is there anything that I can do to help. especially with the health stuff Certainly like if she brings up fears or anxieties around. Like I'm worried he's not gonNA step up. You can be Honest and say things like you know honest but diplomatic like yes. It seems like normally he does not do a lot to help and support you. How does that feel Mike I also think that sometimes by the amount of information that this person knows about their friends like the maybe she's kind of giving giving you clues and almost giving you permission to just straight up. Say I think you need to get out of this relationship because knowing this much like okay the porn use the we'd use the depression like I don't know unless it's a lot of infringes on on your part I would say like this could be. You could go a little little boulder with it. It's been three years. Maybe I doesn't feel like it's GonNa Backfire on you if you say you're you're so wonderful and you've got all all these things going for you and I feel like this person isn't right for you right now isn't who you need to be with right now Because sometimes we just sort of list off these things that are wrong on with our relationship so that eventually our best friends will be like. Yeah what are you doing though. Yeah and so. I think there's room for that conversation once. Like I think if she because sometimes people also kind of do that they'll complain and complain about their partner and they'll say yeah and you repeat the last three things they said about their partner and all of a sudden how dare you like. He's he's okay now I see where you stand you never support me. Yeah so You know again like be careful but I think yeah if if it feels it's like she's really frustrated upset. You can say like hey based on what you've told me you know this this and this I I'm not like maybe don't say stuff like he's never done anything with his life because that is a big enough value judgment that she might get real defensive Kim young but just say like yeah it seems like these things have been really hard for you and they bother you a lot. Do you think thank you would maybe be happier if you weren't relationship with him and again you know she may go to. Yeah I think about it sometimes but I'm not really ready to and that's going to be her choice and you kind of just need to let her do that She may say God you know when you put it like this I I kind of want to break up with him but I don't know how in which case you could help She might I'd say Yep he's Not Everybody's ideal boyfriend but he makes me really happy and I'm comfortable with the issues that we have in which case you can say I love you so so much. Let's get coffee sometime. You know like you're so much more diplomatic and I feel like I would be. I survived a lot of friends. Lousy point have you has. It gotten easier. Do they stay together. Sometimes people do some people. Don't WanNa get too specific because I don't want any of my friends during which ones they are and I have also been the person who's done a little of like the look. I know this is not going to last forever guys. I appreciate your all bearing with me. I'm getting something out of this and it's important. Don't let it run. Its core. Just be friendly. That's all I ask Again unless somebody is being pretty abusive. I just think there's a limit to how much you can intervene. Yeah And sometimes people are in relationships where they get that to the outside. It doesn't look appealing but they do get something out of it. Maybe he's amazing bed you know. Oh there's always that I mean. He's that's implicit in this letter. I think but I also I think that it's for sure it's how your friend is being treated anche. Maybe he can't be the superman that you hope that she finds but it's if she if she if she's being brought down by him that's a problem if she is being drained by him. That's a problem if obviously if there's abuse that's a problem mm-hmm but otherwise. Yeah think there's you have to be. You're you're so diplomatic. I'm not as diplomatic but you have to ride that line. I mean I it's also also just like in life you will. There are often relationships with really accomplished. Remarkable women and kind of bummer couch potato guys and you have to pick and choose the Times that you want to intervene. Because it's just you're gonNA run into this again. I was in a marriage like that and It ran its course and all my friends were like. No that makes sense. You know it wasn't celebratory nor was it like I told you so They were good listeners. And and I think you just have to be a really good listener. So that's GonNa Payoff to sort of. Just be there. And and you know you gotTa do psychotherapy thing where you say nothing. And then slowly insert one question in the span of an hour. That like is the silver bullet question right right right like especially if she's describing her daddy like okay so you helped your clients then you help your kids and then you helped. Your boyfriend was their time three that anyone helped you. Exactly you know like your friends a smart lady. She will get there Yeah and that doesn't necessarily mean she'll dump him immediately thereafter but just any way in which you can kind of help her identify ways in which she might need to take a little time to herself. It's going to be good And for what it's worth I think too I you know when you're listing reasons that this guy is kind of a bummer. I I would not say that. Like has a mental illness in the same category as like you know. Spends all his time smoking weed in watching porn again. Yeah that's not to say that a I guess I just mean like everyone's dealing with something choices are different than like things that are outside of your control A person can have a mental illness and be a remarkable partner or they can have needs that are like challenging but it doesn't make them a bad person So just be careful about how you frame that focus more. I think on the things that he chooses to do or not do around. Yeah Yeah Yeah..