Am I the Crazy Overprotective Friend or Can a Man Completely Transform in 6 Months?

I have been following your blog for years and it has led me to meet an amazing man who makes me very happy – so thank you for that! I am writing today to ask you about how to help a close friend of mine. She is dating a guy who has a history of not so stellar behavior.

They broke up twice before when he cheated/disappeared to meet his ex on the other side of the country. My friend is gorgeous, smart and very put together while on the other hand this guy in every category is far beneath her. I saw how heartbroken she was after the last two breakups so it surprised me when she sprung it on us a few months back that they got back together.

I have tried to express some of the advice you have given in your blogs because she really deserves to be loved and respected in a relationship, but she tells me that she pushed him before and he is really a good guy and treats her well now.

Am I the crazy overprotective friend to be worried? Is it possible for him to have transformed in 6 months after their last breakup? Each time they dated before it lasted a couple of months but this time they have been together for almost a year now.


Congratulations on your success and happiness, Sadsis. Glad I was able to help.

As for your friend, it’s impossible for me to offer any definitive answer.

After all, she didn’t write to me.

Not only that, but she’s not complaining about her boyfriend’s current behavior. You are.

That doesn’t mean you’re a crazy, overprotective friend. It just means you’re a friend, you want what’s best for her, and you worry that she’s too close to the situation to see it objectively. Your heart is in the right place.

Without any information beyond what you provided, I’d offer this disclaimer: my advice always leans towards the middle. I follow patterns and data and extrapolate them to apply to my readers and clients. Most of the time, I’m right. The rules apply more than the exceptions to the rules. That doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions.

You want what’s best for her, and you worry that she’s too close to the situation to see it objectively.

Hillary had an 86% chance of winning the election. She didn’t win the election. That doesn’t mean the polls were wrong. It means that the other 14% came up.

So if you’re going to pass along any information from me to your friend, let it be this:

She’s hoping that she’s an exception to the rule. Chances are, she won’t be.

Among the best predictors of future divorce are:

So, is it possible that your friend and her guy are going to live happily ever after? In the realm that anything is possible, yes.

She’s going to have to make her own mistakes.

Is it probable they’re going to live happily ever after?

I wouldn’t bet on it.

I’m not sure there’s much you can do except offer cautious words of wisdom and support. She’s going to have to make her own mistakes. But if she’s in her mid-late 30’s, wants kids and you feel really strongly that he’s a bad egg, I might stage an intervention. Then again, I’m not known for being the most tactful guy in the world, so take that for what you will.

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  1. 1

    Yep, we’ve all been there.

    I’ve been that friend for my friends, and they’ve been that friend for me. A friend of mine recently broke up with her boyfriend after being in exactly the same position that Sadsis’s friend is. They had broken up and got back together multiple times because of cheating and trust issues on his part. I think it’s safe to say that no one was very surprised when they broke up for the final time, and multiple people did try to warn her.

    The thing is, warning does very little good in these situations. In the case of my friend, she was intelligent. There was nothing wrong with her reasoning abilities. She knew, or must have known, deep down that this guy was not a good relationship bet. The fact that she was still with him meant that she was overriding this knowledge and choosing to stay with him anyway, so trying to reason with her would not have made the slightest difference. The fact that they managed to keep this going for over a year meant very little too. They were having lots of big fights, and these were just the ones she told me about. The fact that Sadsis’s friend says that her boyfriend has changed and treated her well is not something I would buy into. She could easily be trying to convince herself by convincing other people, or trying to play happy relationships because that is what she wants so desperately – I have seen this so many times with other people.

    Ultimately, Sadsis, you have to let her make her own mistakes. If this guy is as bad as he sounds, she will see that and come to her senses eventually. The best thing you can do is be there to pick up the pieces and offer advice when she seems receptive to it. There are often small windows of time when our friends are willing to listen to us, and that’s when you need to lay it all on the line and be honest about what you think about this guy.

  2. 2

    I have been on both sides of this.  I dated jerks, and got back together with them over and over again, but I had really good friends that stood by me.  They gave me their opinions, but they let me make my own choices, and supported me even when they knew I was going to get hurt.  When it fell apart they never said I told you so, they held me when I cried.   To me a good friend tells you the truth even when it hurts, but stands by your side when you make bad decisions.   I try to be like my friends were with me, although sometimes it infuriates me, I stay calm and I always listen.  My good friend is having a hard time at work with a supervisor, and she called me in tears because her Mother told her that if she was not going to follow her advice, she did not want to discuss it anymore.   That hurt her a lot.  I don’t think that is the correct approach.  As for dating jerks, she has to figure out this guy is a jerk on her own, she’s just not there yet, but she will.  With me it may have taken me awhile, but I got there and when I was done, I was done.    there are so may women like your friend who deal with this crap.    I know she appreciates  your friendship

    1. 2.1


      This. I dated the same arsehole for 5 years (I say “dated,” it was more like purgatory), and I’m sure my friends and loved ones must have wanted to go and bash their heads against a wall repeatedly after each time I would talk to them about him. However, they stuck by me, comforted and supported me in any way they could.

      Eventually, I did see the light, and like you say, when I was done, I was D.O.N.E. Once the scales fell from my eyes, I knew deep within me that I would never fall for his bullshit (or the bs of anyone like him) ever again, and I haven’t. So from that point of view, it was valuable to let me get there on my own.

  3. 3

    Sadly, the friend is going to have to learn the hard way. I see it here in my community all the time; rather than put themselves out there again, relocate if necessary, stay alone until better comes along, some women will accept unacceptable men just to be partnered. Be there when the chips fall, that’s all you can do.

  4. 4

    Am in the same boat as you. One of my friends is living with a man who is a complete workaholic and basically offers very little in the way of emotional connection and support. It’s hard to really say anything as he is never outright abusive, just neglectful and treats her as a roommate he only wants to deal with for a couple of hours a week, max. I slowly see her becoming sadder and bitter, and worse of all she thinks that this is the best she can get, when there are so many men who out there she would be able to have a far better relationship with.

    I have toyed with the idea of saying something, but am reluctant to do so as i think she would not be open to my worries and that it would maybe even drive her away. Like the others above, I offer sympathy and a listening ear whenever she needs to vent, and am waiting for her to draw her own conclusions, as she will only step away from this situation when she has her very own aha moment.

  5. 5

    I have a friend who was in a similar position, but she had a child with the guy.  I wanted to express my concern to her, but I didn’t want to alienate her because I knew she was in for a rough time as was their child, who I adore.  So, I sat down and wrote her the following letter.  She didn’t get upset with me.  In fact, she called me and we had a long talk about it – it was a good talk.  Ultimately, the relationship went south as predicted, but she seemed more prepared for it, and I hope our talk and my support helped her a little.  And us – we are still best friends. 

    “[XXX], I am worried about you, and about [YYY].  I might fumble thus a little – but bare with me.  You have been down this path three times already, and it has ended extremely painfully each time for you.  You say you don’t want to be with him and want to see what he does – you have said the same thing each time.  But, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.  [AAA] is emotionally abusive to you, and his current behavior is just part of the cycle of emotional abuse.  It is hard for me to watch you put yourself in this situation again and going down the same path that has lead you to so much pain in the past. There is a difference between letting him see and care for his child (co-parenting) vs. intergrating him into your life and being a “family.” I listen to you talk and read your texts and despite your saying your aren’t interested, I can tell you are getting sucked back in by his charm and attention.  I understand as I have been in a similar position with [BBB] albeit without a child involved.  As your friend and someone who cares about you and [YYY], I am worried. Love, [ME]”

    1. 5.1

      Cat5- thank you for sharing your letter it was beautiful and succinct. I encapsulates everything a friend truly wants to say in such an open and vulnerable way. ❤️

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