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When you're in an unhappy relationship, is it okay to go out with a friend of the opposite sex?

By August 23, 2009 - 2:31pm
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My best friend has been divorced for a little over a year and has been living with her boyfriend of a year. Because we are best friends, she tells me all the good and bad in their relationship. He is a great looking guy, but doesn't treat her so well. She is one of the sweetest people I have met, and is always willing to help others. Often, I think she gets taken advantage of by her b-f. He is a game player- wanting her to be at his beck and call, but when she asks for anything she has to wait until he is ready. From what she has told me, and from what I have seen, her needs and feelings get put on the back burner. His personal things and friends come before her. Anyway, a guy that she has known for many years recently divorced and he and my friend ran into each other at the grocery store. His wife had been physically abusive to and had cheated on him. I have met this person, and he is great looking, amazing sweet and very affectionate to my friend. He seems to treat her like she is the only person in the room. She confessed that she and he had been out to dinner a couple of times, but there was no sex or physical contact with the exception of a friendly kiss goodnite. She asked me what I thought about this, and I am kind of at a loss. It's great to see her so happy and being treated good. I only said that she couldn't keep both relationships going. I'm unsure as to why she would stay with her current b-f, but she seems to have a hard time with the idea of breaking things off with him. What should I tell her? Thank you!

Add a Comment5 Comments

Thanks, I hope so too. And I think you're right. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. It seems to me that her and "new guy" are keeping it platonic and getting to know each other better. I think it smart to do this. She really does love "Mr. Ego" though, and she is the fixer type who always wants to do everything for her guy. I just continue to tell her that she is a smart, beautiful woman, and any guy would be lucky to have someone treat him so well. Thanks again! =)

August 26, 2009 - 10:22pm

i think love will prevail. you probably don't need to tell her anything as things tend to fall in to place. besides, she's probably already made all the comparisons in her head and weighing out the pros and cons with each guy. i think the best thing you can do is listen to her and then maybe throw out some encouragement towards what you think is the right thing to do, but nothing too forceful. is she planning to keep both relationships? i think right now she is just testing the waters and might be evaluating who will make her happy in the long run. but i wish her luck and hopefully she picks the right one :)

August 25, 2009 - 10:42pm

Thanks ladies. Each of us knows how much we personally can tolerate, regardless of our friends' opinions. I know it's best just to be a good listener.However, outside of the friendship, what is the best way to handle something like this on personal level- for any woman out there in a situation such as this? I'm sure my friend isn't the first to be in angel/devil on each shoulder dilemma. Do you think it just depends on the person?

August 25, 2009 - 9:21pm

Just to echo what Susan said-- it's not your place to decide what is okay for her to do with her romantic life. If she puts you in an awkward situation by asking you "what do you think?' Just say something that will free you from having to elaborate too much on the question. "Do whatever makes you happy and what you think is best for you". That way she knows that she can count on you as a friend for support but that you are not judging her or turning your back on her.

It's important for us as women to be validated by the closest people in our lives-- that being you in her case. So, although you are not cheering her on to continue a relationship outside of her own, you are also not frowning down upon her actions.

Good luck to you and your friend. I hope she finds the happiness she deserves.

August 25, 2009 - 5:59am
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Hi fitgirl

In this situation I would tell you not to get involved. I know it's hard, since you are good friends, but getting involved means that if she chooses against your advice, your friendship may be threatened.

This is her relationship and I would advise you to keep it that way. Smile and nod and if pushed to give advice, just tell her you aren't sure what to think and keep neutral. If pushed really hard, tell her you are uncomfortable getting involved. A friend will accept that.

I have long learned to not get involved in my girlfriends' romantic woes! She is a grown woman and can either leave her unhappy relationship or stay and work on fixing it. I know you want to be a good friend and being a friendly ear is great - but getting too involved - even as a "friend" - is always treading on thin ice.

I hope this helps.

August 24, 2009 - 2:15pm
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