A guy asks Eli and Josie how to tell his female friend that the guy she’s into is using her.
Dear Sexes: How do we tell a friend that the guy she’s “feeling” is a total loser, and he’s using her? They dated for a while, but then he got back with his ex, starting a cycle of breakup, hookup, back with girlfriend. He admits to nothing, but he’s incredibly overprotective of her and is the first one to show up when she has a problem, but she can’t see he’s just using her for sex (he denies), and won’t fully commit. We can’t tell if the problem is more him or her, and I’m at my wit’s end with what to do.
She Said: Tell you friend your feelings about the guy one time, when she’s not feeling shitty about herself and when things are calm. Simply state how you feel, be kind, and ask her how she’s feeling.
To be a good friend, we do sometimes need to challenge those closest to us to do better for themselves. If a situation is bad for them, it’s good to say, “I support you, but I’m worried about x, y, and z factors here.” But if you harp on it, you’re showing her that you think she’s not able to take care of herself.
I think Eli gives excellent advice below, but I will add this: We often think that women need 100% commitment to be happy, and that guys will do everything they can not to give it. But it could be that this situation works for her. Maybe she doesn’t want a boyfriend 100% of the time, or 100% of the way. Maybe she wants to know there’s someone there for her, and someone to have sex with, without the pressures of 100% commitment.
And it could be that she says she wants 100% from him, but in truth she’s putting up some boundaries or barriers to this in her own way. Even as your good friend, you can’t know what she’s doing inside that relationship. You simply have to state your feelings once, with a lot of support, and then let her do her thing without judging her.
He Said: Who’s “we”? You and what army? And do ALL of this girl’s friends think this dude is bad news? Jealousy is not a factor at all, right?
It sounds like both your girl friend and this dude are guilty of questionable decision making. If he’s really just using your friend for sex, preying on her when she’s vulnerable, and doesn’t want to commit to anything more, then he does sound a bit shady. But if your friend isn’t demanding more from him, that’s her prerogative. Maybe she’ll regret her choices in the future. Maybe she won’t. But that’s for her to sort out. As a friend, you can try and get her to see what you see – that this dude’s no good for her. But your friend might resent you, if she’s not ready to hear what you have to say.
There’s also the possibility that you’re wrong. There may be much more to their friendship/relationship than you know. How can you be sure it’s just about the sex? If he’s there for her when she’s down, he might be providing emotional support—just like a good friend is supposed to do.
If I were you, I would take a step back, and be patient. Trust your friend to be able to figure things out for herself (in due time). Eventually, if this dude really is no good, his true colors will shine through. And your friend will wise up, and make better/different choices. All in good time. All in good time.
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