Married to the Sob

9 Oct

Dear LetterBalm: My friend “Amy” is a weepy mess. She dates one married man after another. She falls immediately in love and swears that her latest guy is the love of her life who will leave his wife for her. Of course, he never does, she gets her heart broken, and the cycle starts again. Meanwhile, she cries my ear off about wanting to find the right man, get married and settle down. She is so psychologically damaged – her dad walked out on her and her mom when she was a little girl. I think Amy has a low opinion of herself and thinks she doesn’t deserve a good relationship. So, she consistently picks men who aren’t in a position to commit to her. Even though it might threaten our friendship, I’ve got to find the words to reach her and tell her what she doesn’t want to hear.

–Well-Meaning Friend

Your friend is double-dipping into the dating pool. She’s dating men who are already taken, thus dooming her to failure and repeated feelings of worthlessness. Ms. L.B. recommends stern measures. Tell your friend in clear terms what you think of her dating married men and how it means she’ll never find a good guy. Tell her she needs professional help, if she isn’t in therapy already, because she really needs it. Don’t discuss Amy in your circle of friends (she probably is the subject of many a chat already). Talk with her privately over coffee and no distractions. And, don’t let her commandeer the conversation to sob about her latest breakup:

Amy, you’re my friend, and I want you to be happy. So, I’m asking you to listen to what I have to say and don’t interrupt, O.K.? I think you’re smart enough to hear the unvarnished truth, so here it is: When you date married men, you are cheating, plain and simple. You’re cheating the men, their wives and families and, most of all, yourself. Sweetie, I can’t say this strongly enough: Get into therapy. You have consistently said no to counseling, and you desperately need it. You need to overcome your fears and figure out why you undervalue yourself and put your life on hold while you have one destructive relationship after another with a string of married men. I don’t want you crying to me anymore about your latest breakup or how you think this guy is the one or that guy is going to leave his wife. You’re in pain, and the sooner you explore why you do what you do and break your negative patterns, the happier you’ll be. I want nothing more than to see you in a healthy relationship with a man who loves you for yourself, building a life together. Are you ready to start down this path?

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