So a really close friend of mine has been with her partner for nearly 2 years now and has recently confided in me about some toxic behaviours on his part. However, she keeps making excuses for these behaviours and he keeps promising to change and seek help but doesn’t actually put these promises into action. On top of this they are having a lot of issues with visas as he isn’t an Australian citizen and she has kind of put her career on hold to live closer to him away from her family and friends.
I want to be a supportive friend as she believes he can change and I know relationships take a lot of work and are never perfect. I’m wondering if it is my place to say something to her? What would be the best way to go about it? Has anybody else been in a similar situation?
@goldenrose This whole situation screams red flags to be, to be honest! It’s great that your friend has felt so confident and safe to be able to confide in you about personal things like this. I think as a friend who is concerned about her and her safety, you should speak up if you sense something isn’t quite right! Sure relationships are never perfect and there can be some lows to the highs – but toxic behaviour has no place in any kind of relationship, intimate or otherwise.
If your friend has been able to confide to you, I think she would welcome and advice you have to give. I would try softly suggesting she should evaluate whether the relationship is making her happy, if she is safe and if her needs are being met. Perhaps suggest couple’s therapy, so they can talk about their relationship through with a professional, third party.
I’ve definitely had friends who have been in toxic relationships before and – it’s hard to see the red flags with rose coloured glasses on. Sometimes you don’t realise you’re being hurt, and need someone to tell you things might not be safe or in your best interest.
I hope your friend does what’s best for them!
Thank you @tea! That is some really good advice. I never even thought about couples therapy.
That is very true, it is hard to the red flags when you are in that situation!
I’ve recently been spending a lot of time with a friend who has come out of a very long relationship with someone who was attacking her looks, her personality and was gaslighting her. Because it was really subtle comments – she didn’t realise it was happening at first but then it all started adding up. She said that her friends telling her that his behaviour was emotionally abusive really helped her to see it for what it was. We were very gentle in our language with her and careful to frame it so she didn’t feel like she was being silly or naive for staying in this relationship.
In my experience when you love someone (or are afraid of being without them) you can find yourself excusing all sorts of toxic behaviour. It’s my friends that have been the ones to point out that actually things aren’t okay and I am still grateful for this.
I think it’s good to go about it by starting the conversation off with something like “you’re my friend and I am going to be honest with you because I care for you.. please tell me if I overstep or say something that doesn’t sit right with you…” I have found both being on the giving and receiving end of these conversations that it’s important to ask the questions such as “how many broken promises are you willing to take”, “how long are you willing to put your career on hold for” are helpful in getting the person to see what they might be sacrificing for something that’s not good.
That’s always a tough one @goldenrose! But, from what you’ve described it sounds like your friend might benefit from you checking in with her about the relationship.
I’m with @stephaniaaaah – coming from a gentle, calm place will really help the conversation. I think by focusing on your concern for your friend, rather than just her partner, might help her see where you are coming from as well.
I hope the conversation goes well!
Thank you @stephaniaaaah! That is some really good advice. I heard a really good analogy/metaphor similar to what you were describing about the subtle comments; it was something to the effect of ‘if you put a frog in boiling hot water it will jump straight out but if you put it into cold water and gradually turn up the heat until it is boiling it will stay in and that’s what being in a toxic relationship is like’. I found that quiet interesting and useful.
I haven’t had the conversation with her yet as I haven’t caught up with her face-to-face and I feel like it would be best to ease into it over a few drinks.