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Love Letters

Love Letters: Watching a Friend Take the Wrong Guy Back

Letters should be sent to meregoldstein@gmail.com or loveletters@boston.com. Or use that form. It seems to be working.


Q:

Hello,

My very close friend's boyfriend has cheated on her. They have been together for three years and moved in together last fall and have been discussing marriage.

I've sat consoling her the past few days and giving advice. At first it seemed she would end it. But she wants to forgive him and take him back. He has a history of cheating with past girlfriends and I think the fact that he would do this now, despite the seriousness of their relationship, is bad sign. 

I think she is making mistake. What do I do? I don't want to lose her as a friend. I also feel like it's only a matter of time before it happens again and I'm left to pick up the pieces.

– Confused Friend in Boston

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A: Sometimes we have to watch friends make bad decisions and comfort them when it all falls apart. It's part of the friendship gig. Sure, if it happens over and over again we have every right to set boundaries, but for the most part, we're supposed to be there for our friends and advise them without telling them what to do.

The best way to handle this is to ask questions (as opposed to giving orders) and assert yourself when you want to talk about your own issues. Your friend is a bit self-absorbed right now, so you might have to say, "Hey -- can I talk about my life for a little bit?" That'll help preserve the friendship.

Also know that sometimes we're wrong about our friends' lives. It's very possible that your friend and her boyfriend will have an amazing marriage. It's possible that their relationship will click. Accept that you don't always know what's best for her.

Readers? How do you watch someone make bad relationship choices? How do you preserve the friendship?

– Meredith