Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence Uncensored: Great Friend, Lousy Boyfriend

Every week, Danny M. Lavery and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: great friend, lousy boyfriend.

Nicole Cliffe: This guy sounds like a louse.

The cheating is one thing, the belittling and lying bother me most.

Daniel Lavery: yeah that definitely stood out

Nicole Cliffe: He also sounds like he has been a great friend to her

for a long time

This is very tricky and sad

Daniel Lavery: yes, hugely

but I think there’s a reason it’s starting to damage your opinion of him

Nicole Cliffe: He did NOT take it well when she did the right thing

Daniel Lavery: and I think that if you love him and want him to do the right thing you need to tell him just how serious and consistent a pattern this is

Nicole Cliffe: It sounds like she’s tried a few times

Daniel Lavery: yeah he seemed to want to frame it as like “You just don’t get how tough it is to be single! Relationships are difficult”

Nicole Cliffe: more than once

But a serious “hey, this is actually impacting OUR relationship, which I value so highly”

Might have an impact

Daniel Lavery: that’s true

Nicole Cliffe: “I’ve voiced concerns before but I feel I owe it to you to be very honest”

“I can’t really separate how you treat these men from my otherwise high opinion of you, and you’re unhappy, and you need to talk to someone.”

Daniel Lavery: I once had to end a friendship with someone based on the way he treated his partners, even though by the time I felt I couldn’t keep him in my life he was single

it was really, really painful and uncomfortable

Nicole Cliffe: That sounds tremendously bad and necessary

Daniel Lavery: and it was really jarring because he had also always been a really good friend to me and I hadn’t seen that side of him until I had known him for years

Nicole Cliffe: He is clearly great at compartmentalizations

Daniel Lavery: yes!

Nicole Cliffe: oh that SUCKS, to have what you thought of as a lovely history

Daniel Lavery: so I just really relate to that sense of bewilderment, “I don’t get it, he’s never like this when I see him, he’s always been there for me, how is this both true at the same time”

Nicole Cliffe: This guy is not currently able to be a good or safe partner

there are possibly-abusive flags here

I think he needs professional help

Daniel Lavery: yeah and maybe if he really takes this seriously, starts seeing a therapist, addressing his issues, you can find a way forward

Nicole Cliffe: Yes. I do not think he will take this advice, sadly

but you are right to give it

Daniel Lavery: but I think you’re a little past “just don’t tell me about your dating life”

Nicole Cliffe: oh for SURE

Daniel Lavery: that would be great advice if like, he dated people you found really boring or something

or was just constantly waffling on whether to dump someone fine but uninteresting and you were sick of hearing about something he was clearly never going to do

Nicole Cliffe: his dating life is very very bad. We overuse “toxic” but she is describing someone who could do something terrible to another person, who has done terrible things already

Daniel Lavery: but like…”just don’t tell me when you lie to and manipulate your boyfriends” is not going to make that nagging feeling of guilt and anger and disappointment go away

Nicole Cliffe: yes!! We all have friends who are bad at picking partners

this is not that

and I could not tolerate hearing him whine about being single

one more day

I wish I had clearer solutions but I am glad she wrote to you

Daniel Lavery: oh yeah that would be so upsetting

Nicole Cliffe: bc it means she is FED UP

Daniel Lavery: if he’s complaining about being single and you’re secretly relieved because you’re worried about his partners

Nicole Cliffe: That’s not sustainable

Daniel Lavery: even though this hasn’t directly affected you in the sense that he doesn’t treat you this way

Nicole Cliffe: That’s destroying your relationship

Daniel Lavery: it does affect your trust and respect for him

and in that sense it’s hurting you too

Nicole Cliffe: Very much so

Maybe he can hear that

maybe not

but the situation cannot stay this way

Daniel Lavery: agreed

i think we’re great

Nicole Cliffe: Both in general and in terms of this answer, agreed