A friend recently found out the guy she was seeing already has a GF...
June 16, 2015 3:34 PM   Subscribe

A female friend of mine (straight, mid-20s), L, swiped right on some guy's profile (J) on Tinder and he swiped right on hers. They started texting. They went out three times. She then discovered that he was already in a relationship with another girl, M. She ended things, but is considering resuming it, if he ends his current relationship. I think this is a huge mistake, but how can I help?

The long version is that she discovered a photo of J with a girl (M) on Facebook and one of the comments was "what a cute couple!", then she did some digging and found M's Instagram. This investigation happened while J was away for the weekend and culminated in discovering that he was away with M. My friend confronted him via text.

She told him he was wrong to make himself available on Tinder while he was in a relationship, that he should have broken things off with the girlfriend before going on Tinder, etc.

That was mostly the end of that... but J has recently told L that he's decided to "take a break" from his relationship. And now L is considering dating him if/when he ends things with the girlfriend. (M, btw, remains blissfully unaware that J has been cheating on her and my friend doesn't want to do anything about that -- which I agree with: it's the J's responsibility to inform M or not.)

L is very intelligent so that she's even considering resuming a fledgling relationship with this guy is mind-boggling to me. They went out three times. They haven't slept together. No one is in love. No one thinks the other is their soulmate. Her main argument for considering it is that he's obviously learned his lesson and he knows what he did is wrong.

My arguments are largely "how do you even know they're on a break? How can you trust anything he says? Why waste your time with J when there are literally a million other guys in the city?"

My friend is young and I know that if she had more experience in this area, she'd see that this is a baaaaad idea. But she probably has to go through this and get hurt in order to understand this, despite ALL of her friends telling her it's a bad idea.

As such, I have mostly resigned myself to just being there for her as she learns this difficult lesson, but if you have any advice as to how I could possibly get through to her on the "BAD IDEA!" thing, that would be great. Also welcome: how I can quietly support her without driving myself nuts by holding my tongue, that would be awesome.
posted by sockermas to Human Relations (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You get to tell her it's a terrible idea once, and then you have to zip it. And then don't say "I told you so" 6 months from now when she finds out he's cheating on her.

If you must vent, it has to be to someone who doesn't know her and never will, like your dad or a friend in another state.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:48 PM on June 16, 2015 [28 favorites]


Contributing to an "everyone is opposed to our forbidden love!" vibe can be disastrously counterproductive so having said your piece I would just let her bad idea run its course.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:49 PM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


So you and all her friends have told her that this is a bad idea and she's still into it? Some people have to learn that fire is hot by plunging their hand into a raging inferno. Try not to be overly involved in her life and decisions. At one point or another, we all have to stand by and see people we care about make terrible decisions. It's part of life. Try not to get caught up in her drama. She wants a burned hand. Let her have it.
posted by quince at 3:49 PM on June 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


>My arguments are largely "how do you even know they're on a break? How can you trust anything he says? Why waste your time with J when there are literally a million other guys in the city?"

Yeah, that's pretty much it in a nutshell: if he's cheating on his current GF, it follows logically this pattern may repeat itself at her expense. It should be obvious to her, but you are allowed to point that out exactly ONCE, when both of you are sober. She's an adult and she gets to make her own choices about taking her chances with him.

Bonus to you: You are also allowed to say, "if you date this guy against my friendly advice, don't tell me about it or cry on my shoulder when he cheats on you, too." Lots of sour grapes in that approach though - makes you look bitter rather than helpful.

We all make bad choices from time to time, and this may be one of hers. Not much you can do or even say about it and remain her friend.
posted by mosk at 3:56 PM on June 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Your 20s are all about learning these lessons and sadly, you can't learn them for other people. Some of us just have to find out the hard way.
posted by Jubey at 4:00 PM on June 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


But she probably has to go through this and get hurt in order to understand this, despite ALL of her friends telling her it's a bad idea.

There's probably dozens of choices each one of y'all make in your life that someone with better experience can come to you and say "this is a bad idea and things will go poorly for you" and you won't care or consider the advice because you honestly believe that whatever risks you're taking are worth it for whatever end result you're hoping for.

If she's an intelligent person whose friends have communicated to her a relatively simple idea, you can assume she understands and is willing to take the risk and unless her health and/or safety are at stake, the best you can do is be supportive and not give her any shit about it. If you keep pushing, you risk damaging the friendship over some rando which leaves everyone involved in a worse position than how they started off, especially if it will end the same way regardless of how much you push.
posted by griphus at 4:02 PM on June 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Butt out. Let her learn this lesson on her own. If you interfere, she will automatically associate you with this incident forevermore and it could ruin your friendship. Ask me how I know!
posted by Hermione Granger at 4:12 PM on June 16, 2015


There's one simple rule: if they cheat to be with you, they WILL eventually cheat on you.
posted by stormyteal at 4:28 PM on June 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


I agree that you are allowed to speak your piece once - and then butt out. And no "I told you so" when it all comes crashing down, as it inevitably will. I believe that it's one of those lessons of single life that most people have to learn through firsthand experience -- if he or she cheats on their SO with you, they're going to cheat on YOU with someone else down the line.

Usually, this only has to happen once or twice. You touch the stove, find out that it's hot and your hand hurts, and you don't do it again. Only break out the lecturing and advice to seek therapy if your friend makes dating guys with girlfriends a repeating, drama-soaked habit.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:29 PM on June 16, 2015


Why are you involved in this at all? It has nothing to do with you.

Get away from people who suck you in to their drama. Asking for advice about a relationship problem once in awhile is one thing. Getting into the weeds like this is quite another. You should take a few steps back and get involved in something else that is not this. What your friends do with their love lives is not really your business.
posted by sockermom at 4:31 PM on June 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


They went out three times. They haven't slept together. No one is in love. No one thinks the other is their soulmate.

Well then, what's the harm if things do go as you have cautioned her? She gets to learn a lesson when the stakes are low. Just leave it be.

Sure, she might waste some of her time with this guy, but best to learn some lessons when you are young. And if things do work out after all, you will have alienated your friend over this.

It seems like you are really invested in having your friend see things your way.
posted by yohko at 4:54 PM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


My friend is young and I know that if she had more experience in this area, she'd see that this is a baaaaad idea.

Well, this will be one way for her to earn that experience on her own.

The situation will resolve itself one way or another. You can't speed it along to its natural conclusion any faster. You aren't going to be able to get through to her if the Instagram-detecting didn't do it.
posted by RainyJay at 4:55 PM on June 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hi, reporter from mid-40s friendships here.

The older you get the more you learn friendship is not about patrolling your friends' choices.

It is sometimes about sharing an observation, once. Sometimes it is about deciding someone's behavior is so outside your comfort zone you need to step back from the friendship. Rarely it can be a bit more. But my friends have married, made career steps and missteps, divorced, been super weird for a year after divorce...what's more, we've all had turns making our own mistakes. It's how we've each learned.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:00 PM on June 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


eh, MYOB is my advice. It could be a disaster (but then how bad can it be?), and it could be fine. Pressuring her about it is likely to only make her more stubborn. He doesn't sound like prince charming, but I'm sure I wouldn't have won any prizes in my twenties either. Not everyone who cheats is a serial cheater and she should be allowed to make her own judgement about whether he can reform.
posted by frumiousb at 5:07 PM on June 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I will add that it's also ok to set boundaries with your friend re: talking about her drama. Friendships get a lot more interesting when they are not centered around such things. Or you discover that is all the friendship is based upon and you move on.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 5:21 PM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


You get to tell her it's a terrible idea once, and then you have to zip it. And then don't say "I told you so" 6 months from now when she finds out he's cheating on her.

I would also like to add that if you follow the above advice, you get to keep your friend at the end of it. If you don't take this advice (ie, tell her multiple times, or give into the temptation to say "I told you so") then not only will it do no good, but you probably will end up with no friend.
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:53 PM on June 16, 2015


"Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement."
posted by rhizome at 6:41 PM on June 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


You could try reframing it for her.....

"Friend, you are not unworthy or a poor judge of character. Rather, the problem here is that women are never told from a young age to protect themselves from liars who use them. Instead, those men are made to seem challenging and charming by TV, movies, books, and especially popular music. He's proved he's a liar and he has used both you and his current GF. This guy is unworthy, and you should seek to see him and people like him as not worth your time or effort. It's none of my business, though. I'm not judging you."
posted by jbenben at 8:06 PM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Her main argument for considering it is that he's obviously learned his lesson and he knows what he did is wrong.

He has learned nothing of the sort. He's telling L exactly what he wants to hear. My bet is that he's going to continue seeing M, but start to cover his tracks much much better from both women from this point forward.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 5:45 AM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


You can’t learn a lesson for someone else. If you could; being a teenager would be super easy because you’d just listen to your grandparents.

It sounds like you’ve said your piece, I’d leave it alone.
posted by French Fry at 7:14 AM on June 17, 2015


Thanks everyone.

To clarify:

- I've already told her it's a bad idea. She was originally of the same mind (especially after discovering the Instagram account), and I was surprised to learn she had changed her mind.

- I've also already told her that I've said my piece and that I'm there for her and that I will never tell her I told her so.

- She's not dragging me into her "drama". This is something that's happening in her life right now and she's excited about it and she's talking to her friends (including me) about it. I absolutely know I can ask her to not discuss it with me, but I'd rather avoid the option if possible.

That said, it seems as though there really isn't a magic bullet in phrasing something to let her know it's a bad idea. She's got to learn for herself, which I knew -- I just needed the confirmation. (Although I do like the reframing idea and I may bring that up in a related way at some point down the road.)

Thanks again, everyone.
posted by sockermas at 2:09 PM on June 19, 2015


« Older Google Sheets keeps doubling my row height when I...   |   Should I take my five year old daughter to a Red... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.