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Struggling with a friend

I just had a fight over the phone with a friend and am really struggling with how I should continue with our friendship.

A little background first. I know I'll get mocked for this, but we met on a message board and for several years our only form of contact was talking on the phone, but we did chat several times a week for long periods.

We live about 4 hours away from each other and have met up in person a few times over the years, but the primary form of communication remains the phone.

Lately we have been going through a rough spot and I find myself arguing, yelling and getting very upset when interacting with him. I find myself wanting distance from him and could see myself drifting away from this friendship, even though I am fond of him and when things are good they are great.

Tonight uncovered some things that really disturbed me about the way he views our friendship and I wanted all the kind posters of the DL to give any advice/flame away if need be.

He basically admitted that he sees me as being blissful happy and that he is supremely unhappy in his life. All of my needs are being met by my other "real life" friends and therefore our relationship should be about him, and not me. I should be listening to his problems, comforting him, etc.

Honestly it sounded more like he wanted a therapist and not a friendship. I realize being a good friend involves listening and comforting, but it must go both ways. I got the sense he feels that it doesn't need to go both ways because I have this "perfect life" (I don't; far from it).

I have a lot invested in this friendship, and I would honestly miss it if it was gone, but I've become so drained and stressed out from it I feel like it's not healthy anymore.

I told him I felt the friendship was broken and needed fixing. He shot back that if I left him he would kill himself, which I told him was a selfish thing to say and amounted to emotional blackmail.

Any thoughts, advice, similar situations?

by Anonymousreply 4408/18/2013

He's crazy. Save yourself tons of trouble and dump him.

by Anonymousreply 108/16/2013

If these things were happening after 3 months I would have no problem saying, "punch and delete."

How can you do that after being friends with someone for over 5 years though? My natural instinct is to and make things better, but I'm losing faith that that is possible.

by Anonymousreply 208/16/2013

Tell him you think you both need a break. No communicating at all for a month. No email, twitter, phone, nada. If he won't accept that, get tough. Change your phone number.

by Anonymousreply 308/16/2013

God, this can only lead to gunplay and tears.

by Anonymousreply 408/16/2013

This friendship is over.

It happens.

by Anonymousreply 508/16/2013

OP @ Link

by Anonymousreply 608/16/2013

LOL R6. What is that clip from?

by Anonymousreply 708/16/2013

The clip is from Desperate Living.

by Anonymousreply 808/16/2013

{quote] ... I realize being a good friend involves listening and comforting, but it must go both ways. I got the sense he feels that it doesn't need to go both ways... [/quote]

How does the relationship not go both ways? Is he selfish, uncaring, or dismissive of your needs?

He sounds like he's in a bad emotional place, and desperately needs people in his life. Can you fulfill his needs, living 4 hours away?

by Anonymousreply 908/16/2013

[R7}: It is from[italic] Desperate Living[/quote]

by Anonymousreply 1008/16/2013

R9- He told me flat out tonight that he doesn't think I have any needs. He said, "All of your needs are being met by other friends. My needs are not. This (our friendship) should be about me."

That's when I told him it sounded like he wanted me to be his therapist and not his friend.

He is in a bad emotional place and desperately needs people in his life. I want to be in his life, but as a friend. I'm not a doctor or a psychologist, or trained guidance counselor. I can only be a friend, and only expect that of him in return.

I definitely can't fulfill all his needs being so far away, but I feel like he is putting more of a burden on me lately to play every role in his life.

by Anonymousreply 1108/16/2013

I recently learned a great term for how to handle these types relationships and its "editing your life". Like in a movie or a book you have a story line you wish to fulfill towards your happiness and if you are feeling weighed down by someone this badly you might consider the edit. Friendships are a two way street. It seems he benefits more from it than you do. You must ask yourself what you are receiving from this friendship? It seems he could be taking advantage of your good will. To threaten he would kill himself if you were to end the relationship is pure manipulation. It is designed to make you feel guilty. If he does this to you, he would do it to others.

I went through a friendship like this too through meeting online but he got too needy and controlling. I tried to reason with him several times, that it was not a healthy approach to a good friendship. After a while, I wasn't getting through to him and felt I did all I could do to correct it. I ended it cold turkey one day and never looked back. I got the suicide threats too but refused to be manipulated. As a caring person. toxic people will try to attach to you like glue. Cut the ties to those people in your life. You will be better off. Good luck.

by Anonymousreply 1208/16/2013

[/italic] There.

by Anonymousreply 1308/16/2013

Thanks for the great response R12. I feel like I'm going through exactly what you did. I appreciate the advice.

I know it's just manipulation that he threatened suicide, but would have been able to deal with the guilt if he had killed himself? I know he's been suicidal in the past and I really don't want anything to happen to him, but I don't want him to just hold the suicide threat over my head whenever he feels like I'm not towing the line.

by Anonymousreply 1408/16/2013

OP, You must realize that you are not really helping your "friend," because you cannot. You are not a trained therapist, nor even a life coach. He has so many problems because he views friendship as one sided, so everyone runs away from him. Perhaps he's mimicking family patterns, and has never learned life's basic lessons. Still emotional blackmail is a very dangerous sign.

Take control by giving him a choice. Either he proves to you that he's actually willing to help himself, by joining a therapy group at the very least, or you tell him that you've got a personal crises to deal with and need to cut ties now. Don't let him string you along with false promises. I've had to cut off many users in my life, because I couldn't take the stress. Good luck, and don't allow him to make you fell guilty.

by Anonymousreply 1508/16/2013

OP, how about writing him a letter that very concisely expresses your position? Leave out all the excess stuff--the complaints like "And there was that time at the rodeo when you rode all the dogies and left none for me?" and so on. Just two or there paragraphs that very simply state your objections to how he treats you. Tell him that unless there's a change in him, you two are quits. Tell him also that one more suicide threat and he's finished.

The point of a letter as opposed to a phone call is that he can't bat away what you say with angry bullshit. It also gives him time and space to think it through.

It probably won't work, because he sounds too selfish to listen. But if anything will give you a solution, a letter will. Just remember--keep it very, very, very concise. The more you say, the more he has to play with.

by Anonymousreply 1608/16/2013

OP, you sound like a nice guy.

Have you ever suggested to him that he needs a therapist? It sounds like he's taking advantage of your good nature as well as manipulating you. I've had this happen more than once, and when I finally mentioned to the person that they needed professional help, one became angry and ended the friendship after telling me off (another actually did go to a therapist and the third pulled back from dumping all of their problems on me and crying on my shoulder all the time...both of these friendships are still intact).

I know it's hard, but (as another poster has suggested) you should seriously consider taking a break from this guy if he won't get help and he's stressing you out. He sounds incredibly selfish and from what you've said, doesn't sound interested in your friendship....just what you can do for him.

by Anonymousreply 1708/16/2013

He has recently started to see a therapist regularly (I believe). I don't know if it's really helping though.

I don't want to go into details, but I know that he had a rough childhood that involved some abuse, etc. I try to be sensitive to this, but he is very much stuck in the past and always blames his present situation on his upbringing. (Perhaps this is valid, like I said I'm not a psychologist, but even when I say something like try living in the present, he will respond that it's easier said than done.)

by Anonymousreply 1808/16/2013

R18, I've been in your exact same situation, repeatedly. It got so bad in a few cases that I was afraid to answer the phone, as this was before caller ID.

The best thing that I did for my own well-being, was to cut them out of my life, as it was literally making me physically sick. Difficult emotionally, because each had done me many favors in the past. None ever got better either, as I found out through third parties.

Would your friend read any self-help books? Not all are "wastes of paper." There are those who've been through horrendous situations and made it through to the other side, in a better place.

You also should suggest that he write his own life story, as a blog. He then might be able to connect with the many others who've experienced severe childhood trauma.

by Anonymousreply 1908/16/2013

Punch and delete.

by Anonymousreply 2008/16/2013

I don't know if he would read any self-help books. As far as I know he doesn't read all that much in general; he has a very short attention span and has trouble sitting through a movie in one sitting, let alone having the patience to get through a book.

Over the past 6 months he's been developing some recurring questions, but he doesn't seem to want to explore the answers. "Why does everyone leave me?" "Life is so unfair." Constant worrying about the future, including crazy hypothetical things or things out of his control, like China invading or wars starting.

I'm not a doom and gloom kind of guy so it's hard for me to relate or even take these kinds of fears seriously.

His levels of self-pity have also been skyrocketing. Now I have begun to call him out on it (which irritates him), and he always denies it too. Recently I told him to stop throwing a pity party and replied, "I never do." Two seconds later he said in all seriousness, "I have had the worst possible live ever!" I mean, come on!

I wish I could snap my fingers and make him feel better, but this is more than I'm equipped to handle.

by Anonymousreply 2108/16/2013

R21, Tell him that he doesn't have to read the entire book, he can just pick out a few paragraphs to skim. Those who've been through childhood traumas are most likely to focus on doom and gloom in their life and in the world. That's why I think the current crop of dystopian movies are so unhealthy.

He doesn't have temporary blues but very serious depression and mental illness, just like the other acquaintances that I had to cut out of my life. DL's standard suggestions of exercising, volunteering, getting a pet, eating more healthy food, will not work.

Some people in this mental state recover enough to live a semi-normal life. Many do not. All chase away potential friends, until they learn to be a better actor, and stop discussing their problems non-stop. Not everyone can successfully accomplish this goal.

Sadly, he's not even healthy enough to follow through with any of your very constructive suggestions. Do you think AA would help? I'm not saying that he's an alcoholic but I've heard it's like group therapy. Some cities have mental health support groups, not saying that he'd actually be willing to consistently attend anything at all.

by Anonymousreply 2208/16/2013

HE'S NOT A FRIEND, YOU FUCKING LOON. He is a nonentity you know from a series of Internet chatroom mediated discussions.

You have a huge hole in your soul and mind if you think this is an actual relationship.

You do realize you are mentally ill, right?

by Anonymousreply 2308/16/2013

I think a group therapy, where he could find others who experienced similar traumas, would be very helpful actually.

R23, I met him on a message board over 5 years ago, but our communication was never based on that site. Like I said, we talk on the phone (not text) frequently throughout the week.

We have met in person several times as well- I even had him over for Thanksgiving one year. He has met all of my "real life" friends.

I get that we are long distance friends, and that is certainly a different relationship than the friends you see in person every week. I have no illusions about what the relationship is. But it is definitely not a catfish situation or a "fake" friendship. We've met. He's real. There is genuine friendship there that unfortunate has gone south.

by Anonymousreply 2408/16/2013

R23, OP has a good heart and was raised to help others whenever he could. Now he can't, and is feeling manipulated.

by Anonymousreply 2508/16/2013

Nowhere in your post do you mention his cock size, girthiness, or low hangers.

So, fuck you.

I'd suggest you appreciate your time together as something that added to your life. Even if it ends, you had some good times.

It's too icky for you; drop him.

by Anonymousreply 2608/16/2013

Funny how people always seem to find each other online.

by Anonymousreply 2708/16/2013

Or as my great grandmother once said, "Anybody tells you he's going to kill himself over you, honey, just hand him the knife".

by Anonymousreply 2808/16/2013

OP, he's not your friend. If your life is so empty that he substitutes in your mind for a friend, there's something wrong.

This is hard because apparently he's been filling a void in your life and keeping you from feeling lonely, but you've got to back off.

You're going to be better off.

Everyone is giving you the same advice as I am. Either you take that advice, or you shut up and stop posting here and annoying everyone. Those are your options

by Anonymousreply 2908/16/2013

I disagree with the posters saying he is not a friend. It sounds as if OP has taken steps to enrich this friendship past the online nature. I see nothing wrong with such a relationship.

What I wonder is why and how you two decided to strike up a friendship. What role did he play in your life in the beginning, OP? Do you actually monopolize the friendship? Are you the focal point of it? Because it seems like that's the case and now your friend is getting restless with that arrangement.

Think carefully before you answer my questions. Be honest. Have you been taking advantage of an unbalanced, needy person all these years?

by Anonymousreply 3008/16/2013

Punch. Delete.

by Anonymousreply 3108/16/2013

R23, I totally agree with you. OP, get professional help.

by Anonymousreply 3308/16/2013

R30- We met on a theater message board and both shared that interest. I was working in a bar at the time and coming home very late. His job at the time also ended at night and we began private messaging on the site after we found we had some things in common (movies, theater).

The relationship developed from there. We were never tired coming home from our jobs and the phone calls began as a way to unwind late at night. We chatted about work, hobbies, family. It was fun. We began chatting probably four or five nights a week and we both really opened up to each other. He shared lots about his past, the abuse, etc. Really personal stuff and I was touched that he trusted me enough to share such information.

I live in New York and he is right outside Boston, so it only seemed natural for us to eventually meet up, which we have done several times.

He has some siblings in his area, but other than that he's not close to many people and has told me that I'm one of his closest friends. I have a pretty tight group of friends and a decently active social life in New York so I admit that we weren't playing the same role in each others lives.

For me I was just looking for someone to chat with about movies (we are both Oscar fans), tv shows, etc. I wasn't looking to "fill a void" or anything. He seemed like a nice guy, and sometimes we would life for hours. (He can quote the Golden Girls like no one I have EVER met before.)

I never felt like I was monopolizing the friendship- in fact I preferred to keep things on the lighter side. I did listen when he was having a bad day and needed to talk about his past and the problems it was creating in his future. Over the past year, when another close friend cut off contact with him rather suddenly, he has gotten worse. Now it's all about the doom and gloom.

I truly don't think I've taken advantage of him, even realizing that he was needy.

by Anonymousreply 3408/16/2013

Not your problem if he kills himself - even if he leaves a detailed suicide note enumerating all the ways that it is your fault that he killed himself.

by Anonymousreply 3508/16/2013

No mocking - you both just seem WAY too needy. Get friends in 3D - it's difficult, but not impossible, not for anybody.

by Anonymousreply 3608/16/2013

OP, If he's interested in theater, why not suggest a low-cost basic acting class? Tell him not to worry, 100% emotionally healthy people make lousy actors. It's those who are trying to deal with a dark past or deep unhappiness, and can learn to express that emotion on cue, that are equated with talent.

by Anonymousreply 3708/16/2013

[quote]I get that we are long distance friends, and that is certainly a different relationship than the friends you see in person every week. I have no illusions about what the relationship is. But it is definitely not a catfish situation or a "fake" friendship. We've met. He's real.

He may be real, but your relationship -- or at least your perception of it -- is not. Yes, I am speaking from experience. You are, at best, glorified pen pals. You may have shared *things* each other (thoughts, feelings, etc.), but you haven't shared any *experiences* together. I'm sorry, but you cannot forge a bona fide relationship over the phone, the Internet, the U.S. Postal Service, or any other medium that doesn't include vastly more in-person conduct than "virtual." It is irrelevant how much you may think you "have in common." If the chemistry's not there -- whether it be as friends or lovers -- then it's *not* *there*. Period. You can't force it or will it into happening if it's not.

Also, I think you're leaving out a number of parts of this scenario. You live in NYC, but you couldn't find ANYONE into "The Golden Girls" except on a message board? Seriously?? Also, I could understand why both of you would be so emotionally overinvested in such a "relationship" if you both lived in Bumfucke and had no access to friendships with other gay men, but you live in two of the biggest cities in the country! And you're wasting all your time ON THE PHONE with someone so transparently, desperately depressed and needy?

I agree with everyone else: punch and delete: Again: I'm speaking from experience. I had something somewhat similar happen years ago, also with someone I met online. In our case, our long conversations took place over e-mail, not the phone. It wasn't until after we'd met in person -- twice -- and he confessed that he was "in love with me," after we'd spent all of five days in each other's presence, that I knew he was completely fucked up. I'd ignored all the earlier warning signs, including his obsession with sex (he'd had over 2000 different partners by the age of 35) and his continual comparisons between me and "the one that got away" (an ex of his who dumped him), but finally realized absurd the situation was. I sent him a Dear John e-mail of sorts, screened calls for several weeks (and eventually changed my number because he kept calling me whenever he got drunk), and ultimately blocked him from both my Facebook and Twitter. I felt bad, but I also knew there was no other way. I'd suggest you do the same.

by Anonymousreply 3808/17/2013

This is not a friendship

by Anonymousreply 3908/17/2013

OP, I'm afraid everyone who is telling you to end the friendship is correct. Your situation was eerily similar to an online friendship I had for several years. I mourned the end of my friendship with person, but it turned out to be the best thing for me. I cut off all contact for a year, then broke down and sent an e-mail (just to make sure he was still alive). It has been several years since I last heard from the person. I've never gone through a divorce, but I imagine that is exactly what it felt like. It is going to be very difficult but you have to end your relationship.

by Anonymousreply 4008/17/2013

R40, I think deep down I knew that cutting the cord was the correct thing to do, but maybe I didn't want to face having to do it. I appreciate all the responses and am now accepting what I need to do it. I agree with everyone that the friendship must end.

I do disagree with people that say this wasn't a friendship at all. I will absolutely feel sadness and mourn the loss of this, even though it's the right thing to do.

by Anonymousreply 4108/17/2013

Best of luck OP.

by Anonymousreply 4208/17/2013

You need to take care of you .. Sometimes friendships lose their altitude. That is not a bad thing. Just life. People change and sometimes the friendships just don't fit anymore. We have all been there... He will be hurt and angry but he will heal.. and you will heal too. If you are really going to cut ties, don't flip flop with it. Make it real and make it stick. The worse thing you can do is get caught in a back and forth, on again off again friendship. Remember the only control others have over you is the control you give them. Good luck.

by Anonymousreply 4308/17/2013

I had a similar experience recently, OP. A friend, met on the internet, but also later in real life. He always had to be the focus. We both have our mood disorders, but mine weren't worth mentioning while his were worth obsessing over.

What everyone else said. Cut him/her off. CHO.

by Anonymousreply 4408/18/2013
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