Best friend in destructive relationship, now he ignores me. What can I do?

Reply Sat 2 Sep, 2017 07:29 am
This is the first time I ever ask a question online myself.. since I didnt find any relatable situations asked about online..
I will give you some background first. So I got a close friend since about 17 years now, we are both in our thirties if that matters to know. Im a woman and he is a man, he is older than me. So this friend has always had a pattern of destructive relationships. He always finds a girl that has some kind of issues. One was suicidal/depressed, another one had other mental issues, a third got obsessed with him and pretended to be pregnant when he left and stalked him, later telling how it was his fault she miscarried.. another one was a nazi/racist and very antisocial.. so he was then single for years and years.. and our friendship has always survived his relationships in the past, although I sometimes saw less of him during some of them. We've discussed a bit about that he should find someone on his level that can also give to the relationship.. so it's not always him taking care of someone because he feels sorry for them. His background is pretty troubled I guess you could say, he grew up with his grandmother because his mother was busy with other things, among having children with different men. My friend's father was an alcoholic and a criminal and he never knew him much.. he passed away a few years back. And so did his beloved grandmother. My friend has struggled a bit with depression but never saught help.. he just sometimes "disappears" and gains weight.. then he comes out of it and starts training and dieting. He used to be fat when he was younger so I would say he is pretty insecure about his appearence.

So I will get to the point now. A few months ago my friend met a girl online that he fell in love with very quickly (also a pattern of his, he has moved in with girls in the past from the first date).. at first he didn't tell me "everything" about this new girl because he said he knew I wouldn't exactly approve of her.. so after a while he did tell me everything.. so this girl comes from a background of a family with drugabuse.. she herself is also a drugaddict, she dropped out of highschool much because of social anxiety.. and has never worked a day in her life. She is almost 30 years old. She has made a living of being supported by different boyfriends, one she was with for many years.. she also has a selfharm problem where she cuts herself.. she also had eatingdisorders and tried to commit suicide. She has also made porn and has different blogs and accounts where she puts up provocative pictures and videos of herself. She still does that even when she is with my friend. She couldn't cook or clean or had any interests besides makeup and playing videogames.. my friend told me he had to teach her since shes been eating only junkfood for years. But he wants to give her a chance even though she did lie about some of the things in the beginning. She moved in with him after a month and he is now the one supporting her. He eventually got her to agree to contact social services so she could get some money and also go to some sort of daily supportgroup for women.. because of her social anxiety. She is also trying to quit drugs and they sought help for that as well.. even though I don't know what kind of help she is recieving.

My friend told me he knows it will be a lot of work but he knows she wants to change her life around, and who else is going to help her. I suggested he could help her as a friend, not a lover. He has also gotten depressed from the relationship and said he was drained of all energy it takes for him to support her since she is feeling so bad all the time. He did not contact me or any of his close family for several weeks because of this.. I was very worried about him.. and what this is doing to him. Now he is M.I.A. again and I am kind of angry instead. I tried writing to him but he won't respond.. I don't know whether to just let him go..after all this time since I don't want to be dragged into all her problems.. or listen to him only talking about it.. since he knows I don't support it.. he was there for me when my mother died and trough other personal things.. we don't live in the same city and we only see eachother when I visit in my hometown.. so it's not like we ever talked everyday. But I know he considers me his best friend, and so do I with him. But now I don't know anymore. I feel betrayed because he could just ignore me like he does.. and angry.. I think he needs help because he has really outdone himself this time.. getting in this deep. They have known eacother now for about 5 months tops.. any suggestions or helping advice on what I should do?

/ Concerned friend
Reply Sat 2 Sep, 2017 09:31 am
He's needed help since childhood, it sounds like. You have been a good friend to him for over a decade and a half and you have been his sole anchor in life.

But yeah, he's got massive issues, and this is kind of what happens when they go untreated (note: I am not a doctor). He seems to fancy himself as some sort of white knight, but because he's got lousy self-esteem, he picks the bottom of the barrel for his reclamation projects.

Frankly, I'm surprised no one's rolled him or otherwise stole from him by now.

He avoided talking to you for the exact reason you determined - he knows there are problems and he knows you would not approve. So he also knows what he was getting himself into, or at least he should have had a clue. At some point, a person needs to start learning from their behavioral patterns. It seems to me that he is getting lessons just fine, but he is not heeding them at all. He seems to feel the next one will be the one who doesn't screw him over. Yet he continues to seek out relationships with people who will do just that (and it's generally in their own best, selfish interests to do so). He seems to feel he deserves it.

It's also unfair if he has been treating you as a therapist all these years. It's one thing for you to be his kind confidante. But if he is using you as a therapy substitute (and I think he is), then that's preventing him from actually getting the help he needs.

There's a few ways you can go with this, listed in no particular order:
  1. Do what you have done for years, which is let him go and do his self-destructive nonsense and be friends again when he returns.
  2. If you do the above, consider finding ways to either get him into therapy or get him to meet people who aren't so self-destructive. It might help him to see that there are options out there for people who might care for him and, at the same time, not want to screw him over.
  3. Make a conditional break with him where you tell him you're done unless he can get therapy.
  4. Make a clean break with him. Tell him you're completely, 100% done with him.
You can potentially do the first three all at the same time. And then if it doesn't work, go to #4, which is the nuclear option.

I don't envy your position. It's hard to see the people we care about repeat self-destructive patterns, over and over. But they may be using us as props to hold up their difficult lives. If we remove those props, those people might see that things are not fine, they are not all right. Then getting help becomes the only option to them.

I liken him to an addict. He certainly seems to be behaving like one. Usually the best thing you can do with an addict is isolate them except for the one path, the one to rehab and recovery. Not all of them make the right decision, unfortunately.

I hope this guy sees the light before he wastes any more of his life on people who are 100% not worth it.
Reply Sat 2 Sep, 2017 05:18 pm
Thank you for taking the time to answer! I think I might have to add some information, maybe not that it will matter greatly. I am just trying to understand why he is like this and if knowing that why, I could get through to him. We have talked in the past about him finding someone "he doesn'nt feel sorry for" to put it in his words.. and to find someone who is more on his level.

I forgot to mention some things that could better describe how he is as a person.. The nazi girlfriend he had, also cheated on him with his brother.. then the two of them got together instead while my friend continued to be friends/on speaking terms with both of them. How crazy is that? This was a long time ago though.. I know he has other friends than me, who live in the same town and he does hang out with them. But he also spends a lot of time with his computergames where most of his money goes. I have been thinking and trying to encourage him to save up some money or maybe try to better his education since he is very smart.. but all failed attempts. Normaly he gets really interested in something and goes all in, for instance if he wanted to learn how to golf he would buy all the equipment and only the best.. and a few weeks later it would be over and done with.. with the stuff standing in the basement.

I don't see myself as his therapist.. maybe he is sometimes mine, since I do talk to him about my issues if I have any.. not so much about my latest boyfriends though.. I failed to mention that he has in my belief had feelings for me but have never acted on them, more than through talking and expressing some things.. but I have tried to make it clear that it would never lead to anything.. so we have just stayed friends, even though in my head I could imagine him as a boyfriend because of his kindness, but there is no attraction there and I am put off by his lack of drive to better himself.. if that makes any sense. Not that he is not "good enough" that I look down on him or anything. He is a very caring person.

I did think about ending the friendship, such as telling him that I can not be there for him as long as he is in a relationship that is so destructive.. but I will be there if he needs me after. But that is also letting myself down.. because I dont want a friend that ditches me everytime they get a girlfriend.. but he was also the one that got me through my mother dying..and I can not forget that.. I just cant.. so I am kind of stucked.. just waiting to hear anything from him.. it has been almost one month now.. and the last time we spoke (texted) he did tell me everything that was going on with him and her.. and that it has just been caotic.. he didnt mean to ignore me and that he is sorry.. he was depressed and not talking to anyone. He has also mentioned how caring and loving she is to him and that is what he loves about her..

I have told him before to think twice about a person like this.. that it could take years and years, if she even would get to a functional state.. but he says it is not easy for him to catch feelings for girls.. so now he felt like he really wanted to give it a shot.. I am kind of disgusted by the thought that he likes someone to be completely dependent on him.. And told him that he deserves so much better. But its like pouring water on a duck.. nothing sticks. I am amazed by how nothing you say can influence him.. it seems. I feel like suggestion therapy would never work... even though I have mentioned it that he could be of use of talking to a professional.. he would never do it. He doesnt even go to the doctor or the dentist.. he avoids it. Which is worrying me.. but I think you are right.. I need to do something drastic.. to maybe shake him up. But I would like to say that to him in person.. or at least over the phone. But it seems hopeless to get in touch with him. I have thought about contacting his mother or his brother's wife.. or one of his friends.. because I feel like I owe him to do something.. or am I making this a too big of a deal? Maybe he is happy with her and they will work out and everything will be great in the end.. and I am just making it all in my head.. I should be happy for him? :/ Maybe it could last? :/ everyone deserves a chance I guess.. but this just seemed too much..
Reply Sat 2 Sep, 2017 06:21 pm
Maybe they'll work out. Who knows? It is possible that she's a decent person who fell on hard times/got a rough start in life.

I feel ya on him ditching you every time he gets a girlfriend, and that could very well be an unrequited feelings thing.

You're also entitled to not be attracted him, for any reason. A lack of ambition can definitely be a reason to not be attracted to someone.

I understand you're not trying to be his therapist, but I imagine he might be behaving as if you are. And the fact that he doesn't go to doctors, etc. is troubling, that he might think he's invincible or he knows better, or that he doesn't deserve to have anyone take care of him, even a professional.
Reply Sun 3 Sep, 2017 03:11 am
Thank you for your reply. You made me see things from another perspective.. I think I will contact his sister to see if she heard from him, and maybe talk about trying to get him into some therapy.. maybe she could be the messenger if she is still talking to him.

I will give it some more thought before I do, but I think I would feel bad and not be able to let this go if I don't at least try to do something to help. One could argue that I have already tried but as you pointed out, one sometimes have to remove oneself from the situation to make the person see that their actions are not healthy. I did watch a lot of addictprograms on TV.. with the interventions. Smile

Take care and thank you once again!
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