Dear Amy: One of my friends, “Charles,” has just come out of a three-year relationship with his emotionally violent partner, “Anthony.”
Before I realized how violent Anthony had been, I considered us friends, but I’m no longer comfortable with Charles at all.
Usually in this kind of situations where a person’s primary friendship is with one person, the friendship just dissolves naturally when they break up, but Anthony perceives me as his best friend and will probably continue unless I say otherwise.
I do not want to hurt his feelings in his spare time by telling him that I am not comfortable with him anymore (he has a severe depression, and considering that he has lost his relationship, losing a friendship can even easily push him into a dangerous mental state), but it is unlikely that he will stop believing that we are friends unless I tell him directly.
We’ve never talked very much, so it would hardly be likely that it would send the message if we did not talk to him again.
Letting him believe that I still value our friendship, even though I now actively dislike him, seems a lot like the friendship version of leading someone on, but I do not have the first idea of how to tell him that. What should I do?
– Not your best friend
Dear Bestie: Thank you for introducing me to the concept of “recreationally” hurting someone’s feelings. Yikes.
To sum up – “Anthony” has been emotionally violent towards your friend. Even though you and Anthony do not talk that often, you think he sees you as his best friend. You want to abuse him this notion, but you do not want to joke him and you do not want to confront him because you are worried about his mental state.
A middle ground here would be to continue as you are, not to make contact, speak infrequently and let him think what he wants to mean – until more time has passed and you each would have gained some perspective and can back off slowly.
If Anthony is emotionally violent, it is also possible that he would be able to try to control you through a kind of emotional blackmail: “If you leave me, my depression can lead me to spiral into a dangerous state.” But in this case, it looks like you’re delivering Anthony’s manuscript to him.
Anthony is responsible for his own feelings and reactions. If you are determined to express yourself to him, without being unkind or unkind, you should say, “I was very disappointed with the way you treated Charles.” That is it. He can explain, apologize or offer a contrasting view. He can also choose to end the friendship with you.
Dear Amy: I met my dream man. He is the love of my life and my soulmate.
He has recently been arrested for not updating his whereabouts as he is a registered sex offender. He was mistakenly accused and made his time. He will most likely go back to jail for a few months for not updating his address.
I love this man. He’s a good man and he’s good to me. We are both wildly in love and I will support him no matter what.
I have lost friends and a few family members because they are not happy with my choice. They refuse to see his side of the story.
Why can they not just be happy for me? Is it so bad that I support my fiancé?
How do I deal with people judging me for making a choice that makes me happy?
Dear C: Failure to register as a convicted sex offender is a serious crime in any state.
Obviously, the people closest to you are worried about you. Not only are you engaged to a convicted sex offender – but even if he was wrongfully charged and convicted, he is too arrogant or irresponsible to register.
That’s why they can not be happy for you.
Now that your fiance is behind bars, you need your friends and family to be in your corner. Please accept the fact that they can not support this situation. Do your best to rebuild the relationships that have suffered.
Dear Amy: “Furious Stepdad” was upset that various family members would not use his stepson as their real estate agent.
Yikes. Mixing business with family almost never works. I wish you had pointed that out.
Dear disappointed: I suggested that this devoted stepfather could help this young real estate agent in other ways by marketing his business to more receptive clients.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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