In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:
This fall, he abruptly ended our relationship for the final time because he met a freshman girl he wanted to date. Within a week of ending our FWB relationship, they were dating. He won’t introduce his girlfriend to any of his friends. He spends a lot of time in his room alone. They eat dinner separately. He won’t talk about her. It’s a pretty bizarre situation –they spend no time together (I am friends with his roommates who are just as perplexed as I am).
Most everyone involved (friends of mine and friends of the girl’s and friends of his) are perturbed and worried about this relationship on her behalf. It’s clear that this freshman is flattered to be noticed and has wanted a boyfriend for some time. She is sweet, naïve, and very very quiet. She’s very much the “more into it” party in the relationship.
My question now is what do I do? Do I tell her what happened and that she should look out? Do I just hope for the best? Do I confront Jay? I feel a lot of responsibility to keep someone out of the nightmare I went through, but I don’t want to seem jealous and controlling. Nor do I want to seem like I am trying to sabotage his relationships out of spite or jealousy. — Worried For The Frosh
Morgan December 14, 2011, 3:04 pm
Weird, I knew a guy who was just like this, and his name was Jay.
LW, I’ll type up a more full response later when I have more time.
Morgan December 14, 2011, 4:07 pm
Okay, sorry, things had been super slow all day and then I had to do ten things at once.
So here’s the deal. Jay? Probably a pretty crappy human being. When a guy won’t get meals or be seen in public with his girlfriend, its usually because he wants as few people as possible to know she exists, because it leaves him free to be less than faithful. This is solely based on my experiences in college, so there could be another explanation, but I saw it enough to suspect it might be the case. And then in your case, the hot and cold act and the threat of violence? He’s probably not the best guy to be involved with. And yet, you kept going back, despite not even being in a relationship with him. This suggests three things to me: a)he has a magic penis b) You actually did have feelings for him or c) after his crappy behavior, he was pro at turning on the charm, maybe a little manipulative even. First two-all the more reason not to get involved, because she’ll think you’re just jealous or miss the sex. The third-even better reason not to get involved, because it puts him in a position to keep manipulating you.
It sucks that you are good friends with Jay’s room mates, so you’re by default still at least part of his life.DO NOT MAKE YOURSELF AN EVEN BIGGER PART OF HIS LIFE. Look, you had a bad experience with this guy, but unless you think this girl is in immediate, physical danger, there isn’t really anything you can do. You don’t want to get yourself even more tangled up with this guy and his life.
You are friends with his room mates. The most I would do if I were you is confide in one of his room mates about what happened between you two, if they don’t already know. Because of your history with him, she’s not going to believe it coming from you, and even if she did, he’s in a position to dismiss it as “crazy jealous girl.”
Melanie December 14, 2011, 3:06 pm
If “He won’t introduce his girlfriend to any of his friends”; then how do you know she’s “sweet, naive, and very very quiet. She’s very much the “more into it” party in the relationship.”?
bittergaymark December 14, 2011, 6:02 pm
Yeah, for somebody who is worried that somebody else is far too secretive about his new girlfriend, you sure do seem to know a lot of details.
Just drop it. It’s none of your business. Really, it isn’t.
You aren’t REALLY trying to save this girl, instead you are pissed that he has found somebody else, I think. Much of your damning details aren’t all that damning. He ended your FWB relationship because he wanted to START dating somebody else? Heck, that is all very up front and very above board. Even I have kept an older FWB relationship going a while during the first few dates with somebody new…
I’d love to know WHY he threatened to hit you. I’ll catch hell for this, but there is a method to my madness here. Heck, a guy from my past could sincerely claim that I threatened to OUT him to his family. And yes, it would be completely true. Of course the one part he’s leaving out is that I did so only AFTER he threatened to out me to my family… At any rate, the reason I am so suspicious here is so much of your letter simply doesn’t jibe well with me.
They eat separately… (Gasp!) He spends a lot of time in his room… (Double gasp!) He chooses NOT to gossip about his relationship with her to other who will clearly (no doubt) faithfully report all the details back to you…
Seriously. What is going on here? Stop caring so much about this guy’s life. He ended it. It really wasn’t much to begin with. Move on already… You sound very Glenn Close through out your entire letter. Which is ironic as the thesis of the piece is about what a creep “Jay” is, but really, the one who seems the most creepy is you. And what’s especially creepy is you want to justify your creepy actions under the guise of nobility…
Walk way, LW. Just walk away…
cporoski December 15, 2011, 6:18 am
there is a glenn close vibe here. and even if what she had to say was true and she would be saving this girl alot of pain, there is no way this girl would listen.
mcj2011 December 15, 2011, 10:20 am
you got that right BGM!
milli December 14, 2011, 3:07 pm
You already are jealous. Don’t be also controlling and just let them be.
iseeshiny December 14, 2011, 3:17 pm
1) No. Cut off contact as much as possible with Jay.
2) For a girl who didn’t want a relationship with this guy you sure gave him a lot of power in the not-relationship and let him get away with more than I’d let a real boyfriend get away with. I would do a little soul-searching to figure out why that is.
iseeshiny December 14, 2011, 3:17 pm
Oops, sorry, didn’t mean that as a reply.
atraditionalist December 15, 2011, 8:14 am
I was thinking this too – it’s not a relationship and yet you constantly let him mistreat you because you felt so…casual about him? You were into this guy and for whatever reason you told him you just wanted sex. And now you’re jealous because he only just had sex with you and has decided to date someone else.
If he’s such a creeper why do you keep talking about him with his friends? Drop it. Move on.
amber December 14, 2011, 3:13 pm
As bizzare as it may seem to you, it’s not your relationship. Do you want to warn her that he threatened to hit you twice? If his friends and her friends already notice this issue, she has plenty of people looking out for her. And they are both adults, even if she is young, and as you say naive. I’m guessing you’re getting that she’s more in to him and naive from her friends? There’s no need to introduce more drama in to the situation. Stay away and be glad you’re not dealing with him anymore.
Public Pearl December 14, 2011, 3:14 pm
Not your business. Stay out of it.
Budj December 14, 2011, 3:22 pm
How do you know she isn’t the one secluding him? Definitely not your business. If both of their friends are monitoring the situation then you don’t need to poke your nose in it. Not to mention you will just be labeled the crazy ex-FWB accusing him of being an abuser…whether he actually is or not.
Also, you told this guy you didn’t want to date him….yet he stayed in a FWB situation with you. He or you should have called it off at the point because, to me, it’s obvious his perceived emotional swings were due to blurring the line of FWB and wanting a relationship with you. Something you made perfectly clear that he couldn’t have….he moved on.
artsygirl December 14, 2011, 3:24 pm
What will come out of you speaking to this girl? Chances are if she is as excited about the relationship as you indicated she will probably dismiss any comments you make or will think you are intentionally out to get Jay back. It sounds like your relationship with Jay was not healthy, but how can you be sure that it isn’t healthy for them? Yes, it sounds weird but it is most definitely not your place to step in unless you know about abuse.
runnerchic December 14, 2011, 3:25 pm
As much as you want to “warn” this new girl I think it’s stemming more from you being hurt for being placed aside. Their relationship and how it functions is none of your business. If she is in no immediate danger (violence) there is no reason for you to meddle in their business. Even if you did try to warn her she would probably blow it off as a “jealous ex-lover.” Just let them go, the relationship will run it’s course. It’s not your relationship – none of your business.
Yammy December 14, 2011, 3:26 pm
What should you do? Mind your own business. Any attempt to “help” the poor defenseless freshman will be interpreted as you being jealous and controlling. I’m not even going to get into the many holes in your story as they are ultimately irrelevant. Stay out of it. You rejected him, he moved on, you should move on as well.
bethany December 14, 2011, 3:32 pm
Unless you know for a fact that she’s in physical danger, or are asked your opinion by one of the parties directly involved in the relationship, stay out of it.
You’re not good friends with either of them, so really, why are you putting yourself in the middle of this mess? Regardless of what your intent is, you’re going to come across as jealous and they won’t listen to you anyway.
MYOB and MOA.
Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com December 14, 2011, 3:34 pm
One of the (negative) side effects of college life is that you have front row seats to EVERYONE’s business. In the post-college life, when you break-up, you walk away and that’s (usually) the end. In college, that isn’t possible.
Nonetheless, I agree with the other commenters who recommend that you simply stay out of it. For many reasons, but not least of which is that it will do no good. Not only is it unlikely that she will listen, YOU will come across as mean-spirited, a bully, a jealous ex, a condescending upperclassman, or all of those.
Take the high ground here by detaching from it entirely. You have no responsibility to anyone except yourself and your own friends. Were he a criminal or a murderer, yes, there would be a warning to give (um, to the police). But in this case, I think just stand clear.
Plus, I’m thinking surely there’s a cute freshman GUY to perhaps shift your focus?? After all, college has its perks. And what’s good for the goose is….
Seattle _lili December 14, 2011, 3:40 pm
Hmm. While I think the LW may be coming from a place of mixed feelings more related to HER relationship with J than the relationship J has with his new girl I too wonder about what the appropriate level of concern is in situations where you feel the need to protect someone?
Its easy to say its none of your business, but sometimes people are just that empathetic that it does a number on them to just know about the situation. So I guess i’m wondering how does one cut back on this feeling and adhere to not my business, not my concern mentality?
moonflowers December 15, 2011, 6:31 pm
I have this problem too. In fact, I just had a near-miss with a smooth suave seducer commitmentphobe type who’s left a trail of broken hearts behind him and I want to shout his damn name off a rooftop or fly a banner behind a plane with a warning for all of my sisters who might be his next victim.
But the real deal? Sometimes people just won’t take your advice. They feel insulted when you offer it instead of appreciative, and then when something bad does happen and they’re in trouble, they’re definitely not going to want to eat crow and say you were right. You’d be mighty tempted to do the whole “I told you so,” but that’s not good either. It just doesn’t end well, as much as it comes from your most noble and altruistic intentions.
I’ve learned the hard way not to offer help unless previously asked, or to at least ask if they need my help before I offer it and to take refusals seriously. Otherwise I’m setting myself up for the no-win situation described above.
Bagge72 December 14, 2011, 3:43 pm
I think it is weird that you want to warn this crazy little freshman about how bad this guy is, but you would still be with him if he didn’t break it off with you. I think there are other reasons you don’t want them to work out as a couple, but I guess you didn’t really ask that at all. So I think you need to stay out of there business, and let them be.
ReginaRey December 14, 2011, 3:43 pm
I get where you’re coming from LW, and you’re not wrong for feeling like you should help in some way. But, frustratingly, there’s no real “good” you can do here.
I’m currently in a similar-ish situation. A friend of mine, who used to be a much better friend years ago, is not in the healthiest of relationships. There’s no abuse, mind you, but they’re clearly not right for each other. I see it, the rest of our social circle sees it, but we all choose to stay silent. I choose to stay silent, for the most part, because…I had a fling with her boyfriend years ago before they met and began dating.
Doesn’t matter that I’m not into him anymore. Doesn’t matter that I’m not attracted to him. Doesn’t matter that my intentions in telling her the unhealthy things we’ve all seen would be pure and good and not motivated by selfish desires……anything I do is going to be interpreted negatively. She’s going to think that I’m jealous. Or that I’m meddling where I don’t belong. Or a thousand other things.
So I say nothing. Because I don’t need the drama, and because frankly, most unhealthy relationships will end themselves, eventually. And you know what? The ending will be much more final if it doesn’t come from exterior influences…if the couple has no one to blame but themselves, well that makes the breakup that much more legitimate in their minds. They can’t place blame on you!
Let it ride. This girl has people looking out for her. This relationship, unhealthy though it could be, will probably erase some of that naivete and teach her some valuable life lessons. Unless there’s proven abuse going on…watch and wait, LW.
Seattle _lili December 14, 2011, 4:06 pm
Good advice RR, and I too am going through something similar (no physical abuse but a unhealthy relationship all around) however I am getting increasingly frustrated because in this case she is trying to end it, but he isn’t letting go…despite the fact that he is married. Hey it didn’t stop him from entering INTO the relationship, so why would it stop him from ‘not accepting her breakup’…My unwavering advice to her has been the same since she decided to end it with him. Cut off all contact. Period. The End. However she keeps hoping he will just ‘get the message and stop’ but after reading The Gift of Fear (thanks for the recommendation LOVE the book !) I don’t necessarily agree. What frustrates me to no end is that while she doesn’t heed my advice, she is still telling me about his escalations in attempts to contact and his refusal to accept the breakup. Hearing all this ties my stomach and knots an I have seriously talked about nothing else to my other-unrelated-friends for the past two weeks…so i guess i’m wondering how does a good friend accept the fact that her friend is in harms way, but not be wracked with worry about it?
I debated telling her she can no longer talk to me about him and his behavior, but I fear that since its a secret affair and i’m one of the few who even knew about the situation that she will be more alone after i draw this boundary…but I do need to protect myself first and foremost right?
ReginaRey December 14, 2011, 4:16 pm
Wow, this is a tough situation. So glad you read The Gift of Fear, btw! It’s awesome.
My best advice is as you mentioned, tell her that “I’m here for you, but I’ve given all of the advice and guidance I can think to give about this. I understand your need to talk about it, but I’m not sure I’m the best person to help you anymore.” Then, perhaps guide her toward someone who CAN help her – a therapist, abuse hotlines, anything.
I agree that you don’t want to cut her off and then isolate her, making her easier prey for this guy, but you do need to preserve your sanity. I think your best course of action is getting her to seek guidance from a more professional outlet. Definitely emphasize that she’s doing the right thing by wanting to cut contact and by trying to move on, but that she may need more help than you can offer her to make it happen.
I feel for you, and I hope this works out well for her.
Seattle _lili December 14, 2011, 4:41 pm
Thanks for the quick response 🙂 I think she does have a counselor and I will just have to keep repeating what you and Caitie advised! The thing that further complicates this issue is he is a person highly involved in our friend circle and a person I was friends with until I realized that he fits the definition of a narcissist and felt disrespected by him to the point that I am happy to cut him out completely. Anyone who doesn’t hear the word No is dangerous in my book ( and in Gift of Fear too!)
Eeesh, the drama going on in my life-that I have no control over and did not create- is exhausting.
caitie_didn't December 14, 2011, 4:20 pm
yikes! that sounds like seriously bad news. You do need to protect yourself first….but, it’s so hard to leave a friend in a sketchy situation.
Maybe say something along the lines of “I’ve made my opinions of so and so clear, and told you what I would do in this situation. You are capable of making your own decisions, but hearing about his behaviour is extremely frustrating for me and I’d appreciate if you not talk about it anymore. I am your friend, and I will always be here for you including if you feel like you are in danger, but it’s driving me crazy to hear about all the sketchy things he is doing”. Something that makes it clear that you don’t want to hear her complain about his behaviour if she’s not willing to change her actions, but so that she knows she can still count on you. I don’t know.
Seattle _lili December 14, 2011, 4:46 pm
Thanks for agreeing! Yeah I have this case of extreme empathy and a often unwelcome and automatic need to protect my friends issue I am working on…She def brings it out of me more than most thought because of how incredibly naive and trusting she is. Everyone has good intentions always and people never want to hurt one another in her world…eye roll.
AKchic December 14, 2011, 4:55 pm
She needs to be talking to a professional. And documenting everything. Keep phone records, texts, emails, IM logs, etc. She needs to completely stop the contact on her part. It will be hard because it’s habit to answer someone. It’s respectful to reply. But, she needs to stop. Save anything he sends, but she needs to stop replying. If he escalates or sends threats, then she needs to contact the police, and maybe even get a restraining order.
Yes, it would be embarassing, but she needs to remember that she also had a hand in this mess. She didn’t need to engage in the relationship at the beginning. Now she needs to do whatever it takes to get herself OUT of the relationship, and he is manipulating things to ensure that SHE doesn’t look bad either. By keeping control and keeping her in it. He doesn’t really have that power unless she allows him to have it.
Seattle _lili December 14, 2011, 5:55 pm
Thanks AKchic for the good advice. I’ll pass along the message and hope it sticks, but I’m afraid she’ll prolly downplay the situation and go..oh he hasn’t contacted since yesterday see he’s gotten the message…and my personal favorite ‘we had such an epic love that its hard for him to move on, it just takes time.’ Uh huh, and yet he couldn’t leave the wife for your ‘epic love.’ So how’s the weather in La la Land sister? <—sorry mean I know. Its just how frustrated I am.
AKchic December 14, 2011, 8:15 pm
*laugh* 24 hours isn’t “time”. If his contacts are less than 72 hours apart, and/or multiple times in a row (in an attempt to frustrate the person into answering the phone/replying to the email/text/IM), then it’s manipulation. It’s seen as a “see, she can’t get over me, and she’s just trying to play ‘hard to get’ to tease me, so I’m doing her a favor by opening communications first”. They actually think they are being the bigger person by opening the lines of communication, not being the stalker who can’t drop a dead relationship.
She is trying to rationalize something that isn’t rational. She’s trying to save face. Her own. For her own sanity/mentality. She doesn’t want to admit (to herself, or anyone else) that she’s really scared, and what she did was a bad idea, and that if it were anyone else, she’d be disgusted by the entire thing. So, she hypes it up with the whole “epic love” line. The more grandiose a rationalization, the worse a person feels about it deep down.
Seattle _lili December 14, 2011, 10:06 pm
I am buying a lottery ticket. I am on a psychic spree. EXACT quote from an email she sent 45 min ago…I haven’t heard anything from him yet today so I am hoping that means he is tapering off. . .
Whats the powerball worth these days?!! And if I win I promise to send everyone tootsie rolls!
AKchic December 14, 2011, 3:43 pm
His and her friends are already monitoring it. If you have no mutual friends, then stay the hell out of it. Period. He was getting abusive (emotionally since he threatened you with harm but didn’t physically commit it) and you didn’t even have the sense to get yourself out of it – you let him walk away from it. Stay out of whatever it is he’s doing, even if he’s doing it to another girl. She needs to learn from her own mistakes, just like you need to evaluate yourself and figure out why you care what the hell he’s doing now.
Are you just steaming that you finally realize what happened and that YOU didn’t end it like a rational person should have? If so, recognize that it’s done and over with, irregardless of who actually walked away.
JK December 14, 2011, 3:45 pm
I love the “Most everyone involved (friends of mine and friends of the girl’s and friends of his)”. The only truly involved people here are the ex FWB and his new GF. Not their friends, not LW and definitely not LWs friends!!!
LW, as pointed out above by others, you need to stay out of this. If you need to find a new guy to do so, so be it.
ele4phant December 14, 2011, 3:48 pm
I don’t think you are necessarily still jealous or interested in Jay. However, if Jay never threatened you until the end of your time together, I am inclined to give him the benefit of doubt. People behave poorly when they are hurt; it doesn’t necessarily mean he ever intended to actually cause you harm.
And while the relationship seems weird, a lot of college relationships are very insular. That alone is not cause for harm.
I guess my advice is to stay out of it for now. If you are genuinely concerned for her, does your campus have a domestic abuse hotline or women’s center? They may be a good forum for you to go to and help you evaluate what or if you should do anything.
GatorGirl December 14, 2011, 3:49 pm
Stay the heck out of it!
The only instance I would say get involved is if you hear him abusing her or see physical signs of abuse. And by get involved I mean call campus PD, local PD, 911, what ever- but do not go in there yourself or send his friends to get in the middle. I was in an abusive relationship and when his friends tried to stop him he would get more violent and seclude me even more.
Beckaleigh December 14, 2011, 3:57 pm
He may have had feelings for you at one point, but you rejected him. Then, he hurt you and had the potential to physically abuse you. Yet, he was the one to end the relationship for the final time?
I’d have a better time handling that you are truly concerned for this girl if you ended things with this guy because of his behavior. But, he ended it, and it probably hurt you. So, if you do say something you will come off as being jealous (which you probably are).
caitie_didn't December 14, 2011, 3:58 pm
Once upon a time, I was involved with a guy with whom I shared a lot of mutual friends. He certainly was not abusive, but he was manipulative in the sense that he viewed all girls as objects to be “won”…basically, he was only in it for the thrill of the chase and once he had you, he’d say all the right things to your face, but be chasing one, two or three other girls behind your back. While we were “together” but non-exclusive (although everyone in our mutual friend group knew we were an item), he started putting the moves on another girl while maintaining face with me, and one of our mutual friends told me about it.
This is quite different than the LW’s situation: firstly, I knew and trusted the girl that told me as she was a very close friend. So I knew her desire to tell me was primarily motivated by concern for me AND I trusted her to tell the truth. Secondly, I had heard rumours about this type of behaviour from him before, so this didn’t totally come out of left field. Eventually, the truth would have come out, but because my friend warned me I was able to save some of my pride and call him on his shitty, shitty behaviour (which he proceeded to deny despite plenty of evidence to the contrary). The moral of the story is that he was not a very nice person, but also that in THIS situation, I was really glad that someone told me what was happening. So “mind your own business” is *usually* good advice in situations like these, but not always.
I still think this LW should mind her own business though.
KBobK December 14, 2011, 4:00 pm
My question now is what do I do?
Do I tell her what happened and that she should look out?
Do I just hope for the best?
Don’t hope for anything, it’s none of your business.
Do I confront Jay?
heidikins December 14, 2011, 4:07 pm
So, you want to warn his GIRLFRIEND that he is acting differently than he did towards you, his strictly FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS person? Shocking, you would think that he would behave exactly the same in both those situations.
Stay out of it.
*HmC* December 14, 2011, 4:13 pm
What’s with all the people that write in wanting to warn the new girls away from their exes? This is a tough cold world and we are all responsible for learning to make our way in it. Sometimes that means getting clobbered by love/dating. If you’re not willing to get clobbered, then you shouldn’t be dating. And you know what? This new girl and this guy probably won’t work out. Most couples don’t. You live, you learn, you grow, and that’s a good thing.
LW, this new girl is taking her chances getting to know someone new, just like everyone does when they date someone. Unless there are some serious and proven abuse issues (which honestly, I don’t know whether or not there is here… I’m not sure if you thinking he was going to hit you qualifies?…) then just butt out. Occupy yourself with your own love life, or hobby, or schoolwork, or friendships. You can’t protect people from getting hurt, and your butting in would likely be very ill-received anyway.
theattack December 14, 2011, 5:28 pm
Yes, threatening to hurt someone is abuse. It’s causing them to live in fear of you. In Tennessee and probably in other states, that situation qualifies for an Order of Protection (if the people are of certain relationships to each other).
*HmC* December 14, 2011, 6:32 pm
Fair enough, if everything went down just as LW described, then I agree that would be a form of abuse. But I think that given the context of this situation, it doesn’t make sense for the LW to “warn” the new girl, unless she believes the girl is in serious, imminent danger. And even then, I think she should probably have someone do it that is in a better position to be taken seriously.
LTC039 December 14, 2011, 4:38 pm
My advice: If you truly believe her safety is in danger, then yes, by all means do something about it. If that’s not the case, let it be. Eventually the relationship will fall apart (whether on her end or his) & she’ll learn from it. But as of now, it’s not your place to intervene. We’ve all been in shitty relationships that, at that time, we would not have ended just because someone else told us we needed to. We had to learn ourselves. While the girl seems naive, quiet, & sweet, she needs to learn things on her own.
It’s nice of you to want to do something to help, but I feel the exact opposite will occur if you get involved. I’ll reiterate that if you are 100% sure her safety is in jeopardy, then that would be the cue to get involved.
leilani December 14, 2011, 4:56 pm
What would you do if you had a boyfriend, and some girl approached you and said “I used to screw your boyfriend, and he threatened to hit me twice (but never did)”? I would guess a whole lotta nothing. She doesn’t know you, and what you have to say isn’t particularly damning. They probably won’t work out, but she’ll probably figure out any of his Great Big Terrible Faults on her own.
va-in-ny December 14, 2011, 5:06 pm
Nope. Walk away.
WatersEdge December 14, 2011, 5:18 pm
Hmm. This guy asked you out, he liked you, he told you he loved you during sex. So basically he wanted you to be his girlfriend. You told him you didn’t want exclusivity, but you continued to screw him. Is it any wonder that he started to pull away, come back, pull away, and say hurtful things? That’s exactly what a girl would do in that situation, too. You were fucking with his head, big time. That tends to bring out the worst in people. I do not condone threatening violence, but he did not actually commit any violence toward you, so I’m gonna put that aside.
What exactly do you want to tell her about? “Hey, if you mess with this guy’s head and send him mixed signals, he will probably take a one-way trip to Crazytown and get super weird and emotional.” How your ex-hookup conducts himself in a relationship is no business of yours. Furthermore, you have absolutely no way of judging what kind of boyfriend he is to her, or to anyone. A guy who jerked me around like you did to this guy might want to warn my now-husband that I pulled a Crazytown on him too… But my husband is loving and supportive and does not evoke the crazy in me.
Long story short, a lot of people behave badly when they are in love with and sleeping with someone who does not love them back. Leave him alone and stop fucking with his life.
PS- Bitter Gay Mark, never let it be said that I let a female LW off the hook just because I am a female, too.
Sistine December 14, 2011, 7:08 pm
Thank you for saying this!
CatsMeow December 14, 2011, 5:44 pm
I don’t see this as motivated solely by jealousy. The LW very well may have good intentions.
This guy threatened her with physical violence. There’s no excuse for that. None whatsoever. I don’t care how hurt his feelings were. He also sounds fairly manipulative. And now he has not only moved on to someone who is less likely to see through his BS and therefore easier to control, but he’s also isolating her to a fair extent. The LW isn’t the only one concerned.
LW, if you are truly concerned about this girl’s safety, then give her a heads up. She will not believe you. She’ll tell Jay what you said, and there are chances he will retaliate. Be prepared for that.
It’s none of your business, that’s true – because it’s their relationship and only they know the true details of what goes on between them. But just because what you could tell her might be misconstrued as jealousy or butting in doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t say anything. I would want to know if my boyfriend had threatened other girls. I might not take it at face value, especially if the source of information was someone I could write off as a “jealous ex”, but it would at least be a heads up. That way if he showed me any warning signs, or red flags, or indicators of potential for violence, I’d be more ready to SEE them (not brush them off) and accept them.
I come from a smallish town where everybody knows everybody, and my ex and I went to the same high school so we had friends in common. It turns out, he beat the SHIT out of his ex and she filed an order of protection against him. NOT ONE PERSON – not his friends, or her friends (one of whom was my co-worker) – thought to warn me. And yes, he beat the shit out of me too.
Don’t assume someone else will help this girl. That’s like the bystander effect, where tons of people witness an emergency but no one calls 911 because they think someone else will do it.
So, LW – IF you are doing this TRULY out of concern and not jealousy, then yes – go for it. But be prepared for negative consequences.
And for the commenters who think that just because the LW stayed in the FWB relationship after physical harm was threated means that it didn’t happen or it wasn’t serious? That’s BS. People “stay” for lots of reasons. It’s always clearer in hindsight what SHOULD have been done. This LW may very well want to use what she learned from her own bad experience to help someone else. If I find out my abusive ex gets involved with someone else, I will definitely say something. She can take the information and do what she wants with it.
And as an aside, LW – “I love you” said during sex usually doesn’t count. 🙂 But good for you for making your intentions with this guy known!
theattack December 14, 2011, 6:28 pm
Thank you. This is a perfect response.
ele4phant December 15, 2011, 1:46 am
I agree that the LW is not necessarily jealous of the new GF and likely has well intentioned motives, but I do think if it is she who brings up the subject directly with the new girl, it will likely be perceived as jealously.
A lot of other commenters have given great suggestions about broaching the subject through an intermediary source. That’s probably the way to go if she genuinely is concerned about the safety of the new girlfriend.
EricaLnyy December 14, 2011, 5:53 pm
um. alright these types of letters really make me crazy.
you don’t know this girl, were never even in an actual romantic relationship with “Jay”, and he was pretty mean to you. you owe him nothing. you owe this girl nothing. every girl has to experience a relationship in which they get hurt. it shapes who we are.
leave them alone. it has nothing to do with you. this girl will learn from her mistake.
and even if you decide not to listen to everyone who’s telling you to leave it alone and you go ahead and say something to her anyway… i promise she won’t believe you.
theattack December 14, 2011, 6:26 pm
Not every girl has to be threatened to be hit.
theattack December 14, 2011, 6:26 pm
First of all, I want to say that threatening someone is actual abuse. It causes a person to live in fear.
Second, I would say that there’s no clear cut answer for you here, LW. It’s not at all wrong to tell her about what happened, but know that it will not go well. She will not believe you, and you will just look crazy. But if you feel that you have a moral obligation to do it, go right ahead. Nothing terrible is going to come of it if you do.
Splash December 15, 2011, 11:07 am
While I’d agree normally, we don’t know the scenarios of the threats. I am sure he probably did not just walk in her door one day and say “I want to hit you!” That being said, I will wait to pull the abuser card until it’s really warranted.
Now, constant threats of violence are abuse. However, the scenario the LW lays out doesn’t really qualify in that way. She says he threatened twice, not constantly. Additionally, how scared could she be when she felt safe enough to tell him she did not want a relationship and only wanted to be FWB? If I was that scared of someone to call the situation a “nightmare” and want to tell the new g/f about how terrible he is, I certainly would be too scared to tell him to his face that I did not want a relationship with him!
theattack December 15, 2011, 5:11 pm
You’re making a lot of assumptions here. First, there is not a scenario where him threatening to hit her is not abusive, unless she was attacking him first. Abuse does not have to be repeated to be abuse. And for god’s sake, if someone sees one sign of it, they should leave immediately before getting wrapped into the whole cycle of abuse that will take years to leave. He threatened to hit her, and that is one instance of abuse, which is one instance too much.
You’re also making a terrible assumption that she would stay in the relationship out of fear if it was actually an issue for her. People react to things differently. Plus, this assumption is completely counter to what we always advise people to do. Most people believe that a person should leave if there is any instance of abuse or threat of it, but not many women are strong enough to do this. When one actually is, you are questioning her because she actually did do the right thing and get out.
I’m not going to lie. Your comment disturbs me. I hope you think about this some.
sarolabelle December 14, 2011, 6:37 pm
See as it is you never talk to the guy anymore, I would just forget about him and his girlfriend. Trust me, you will feel better about yourself when you don’t go breaking young girl’s hearts. Go about your life and focus on other things.
twiglet December 14, 2011, 7:18 pm
Everyone assuming this LW is jealous- why? she could have had him if she wanted him.Since when did it become a crime for us women to want to look out for each other? She obviously has deep unease about this guy.L.W, if he’s as tricky as you imply (but don’t state clearly, which is why you are getting jumped on) you maybe should give her a heads-up- wait and see, though. He is young and may have learned and changed.But if you see signs in her that she is being oppressed, then do warn her.She probably won’t listen now, but it might help her get out if he does act badly in the future.
savannah December 14, 2011, 7:46 pm
Whats with all of this ‘she (new GF) need to learn from her own mistakes’ crap? I’m sorry, if my new BF is abusive then please ex’s or ex-FWB come out of the woodwork and give the girl a clue.
Splash December 15, 2011, 11:03 am
I’m not seeing the “he was abusive” thing though. Yes, he threatened – but ultimately he did not do anything! He did not hit the LW.
savannah December 16, 2011, 9:46 am
Oh I know, I don’t think it was abuse either. I’m just saying lots of comments that were entertaining that idea still gave that advice which..yuk.
Something More December 16, 2011, 10:12 am
So, Splash, you are one of those – “as long as he didn’t hit her, he didn’t do anything wrong” types? Ummkay.
Elle December 14, 2011, 7:50 pm
LW, I understand your dilemma. 6 months after I separated from my ex-h, he met another girl. I was still trying to recover from the shock and the pain of the abuse, while he was already in a new relationship. I found out (how else?) via Facebook. My very first instinct was to tell this girl “RUN!”. She was really a girl, about 8 years younger than him.
I chose not to tell her though. First reason – Through our limited interaction (we still had divorce paperwork to be done), I learned from my ex that she was hating me. I was surprised, since she and I never met, and I also didn’t have time/interest to form any opinion on her, but then again, who knows what stories he told her about me. I’m sure he skipped the “and then I hit her” parts. So I knew that anything I would tell her, she would think I was telling her because I wanted to break them apart because I was jealous. (For the record, I dumped him.)
Second reason (this was is completely selfish) – I was happy he had someone else to focus his attention to. Really, honestly, I was relieved. He was quite a nag.
Because of my experience, I really wish I could interview the previous girlfriend of any guy I’m thinking about dating (just one, I don’t have time to review their entire dating history lol). Because, honestly, when you start dating someone outside of your circle of friends/acquaintances, you only hear one part of the story – his, and even then, it’s a truncated version. (I have lots of stories here too!)
If you really want to help this girl, I think it’s best you talk to one of your mutual friends. He/she can tell the new girlfriend about what you want to talk to her about. Make sure the new gf knows why you want to talk to her. But don’t make her feel pressured in any way. And then the choice is hers to make. There is a big chance that, given what your exFWB told her about you, that she won’t want to talk to you. But even is she never talks to you, eventually, she will figure it out. We all do. And unfortunately, we all have to make our own mistakes (this was kind of the third reason). We can’t have people protecting us all the time.
AKchic December 14, 2011, 8:26 pm
Oh honey, you have hit the nail on the head with the “I learned from my ex that she was hating me. I was surprised, since she and I never met, and I also didn’t have time/interest to form any opinion on her, but then again, who knows what stories he told her about me. I’m sure he skipped the “and then I hit her” parts. So I knew that anything I would tell her, she would think I was telling her because I wanted to break them apart because I was jealous.” thing.
Many abusers do this. They will immediately start the pity party to the new girlfriend. Why? 1) It engenders sympathy. 2) The new girlfriend is sympathetic to the “abuses” the guy has suffered and will want to ‘prove’ that not all women are ‘like that’ and act super sweet, which starts a pattern that she will soon have to adapt to and adopt forever. 3) It automatically poisons the exes because they were “evil” or “bad news” or “crazy” and “mistreated” the boyfriend. Anything the exes say is to be treated as suspect.
Then, the boyfriend (ex-husband, whatever) tells his ex(es) that the new girlfriend hates you (them). That he told the new girlfriend EVERYTHING and that she feels that the relationship failing was all YOUR fault (just like he does, of course), and that is vindication enough for him, and that he’s happy, so you need to stop trying to make HIM miserable. He hates you, she hates you, leave them alone. Go play your mind games elsewhere. (note that not once was a mind game mentioned anywhere – this in itself is a mind game, meant to throw you off and make you rethink EVERYTHING)
Because you’ve been told the new girlfriend hates you, you don’t want to risk contacting her to warn her about the abuse you suffered, his history of abusive relationships, or her risk; because you fear rejection (and at this point, let’s face it, you’re still fragile in the psyche department). His stories about you will keep her from believing you even if you did contact her (he’s probably labeled you as the jealous harpy who lied, faked abuse, and probably hit HIM, but he didn’t report it out of embarassment).
That is actually pretty typical. And I can tell you that from being both the new girlfriend, transitioning to the wife, then transitioning to the ex-wife, and then shoe on the other foot, the one wanting to warn the new girlfriends.
pamplemousse December 14, 2011, 9:09 pm
I agree with the commenters who’ve pointed out that saying anything will just make you look jealous and intrusive. I suggest you do what I do when I see strangers being treated questionably by their significant others in public. Find a discreet way to give her a card for the local women’s center/abuse hotline (maybe slip it into her student mailbox or under her dorm room door), and leave it at that.
yMaryn December 14, 2011, 9:20 pm
First I would try to talk to one of his roomates, maybe ask them if they think he’s been treating her as bad as you. If not, then back out. If the answer is yes or they don’t know, give them a heads up, tell them that he threatened you and that you are worried about her and see if they will do something.
My thought is, if you are SUPER worried, talk to her. Tell her what happened. She will probably think you are a jealous ex UNLESS something like that has already happened to her. She may have dismissed some bad behaviour on his part and now see it as a red flag. But if nothing has happened she will probably think you are crazy.
the other guy December 14, 2011, 9:39 pm
Leave both the ex and his GF alone, your whole letter comes off as the person with the anger issues.
We don’t know the circumstances around his ‘threats’ and the facts seem to be that he loved you, wanted more from the relationship but you were only interested in using him for sex. He then finally breaks it off with you for a woman who doesn’t just want sex from him… and you think he is the one with issues??
Allison December 14, 2011, 10:15 pm
You know, I went through and read it again, and you’re right. As someone who wanted a relationship and was rejected, I don’t find it surprising that he went back and forth between being friendly and pushing her away. Obviously, actual threats are problematic, but nothing else points to him being that bad of a guy…
Allison December 14, 2011, 10:12 pm
I understand the concern, but I don’t think it’s your place. He sounds like a jerk, but it’s really hard to judge sometimes how someone will act with one person as compared to another. It’s evident in all sorts of relationships. A guy who’s nice to you may cheat on his next girlfriend. Or a guy who doesn’t want commitment may end up marrying his next significant other. As for the girl, I was the sort of person that people called “quiet, nice and innocent” when I was younger, solely because I wasn’t really loud in large groups. It always weirded me out that people drew these conclusions that I was naive or whatever based on the fact that they, being people I barely knew, didn’t hear me talk much. Anyway, I’m not saying you are doing that, but I think realizing that she’s not a child and that you don’t know what their relationship is really like might make you feel better about backing off. If you’re that concerned, then make sure her friends (since you seem so intertwined in everyone’s social circles) know about your experience.
Splash December 15, 2011, 11:00 am
I guess i am confused as to what exact “nightmare” you went through. You had a FWB who was into you, you rejected him so he started to pull away and “was mean” when he was pulling away because you did not want a relationship with him and he threatened to hit you twice but didn’t.
Confused. Maybe he had mood swings as a reaction to your rejection when he wanted more, but I’m not really getting an abusive vibe from your description of him – especially since you state that this was strictly a FWB situation. It seems like you were expecting him to treat you as if you were in a relationship even though you said you did not want an actual relationship with this man.
Ultimately, you don’t really have anything to go to this freshman with…it is not your relationship with him, and he does not have the same type of relationship with the freshman that you had with him. I’m not sure what you would be “warning” her about either? “He was mean to me when I rejected him?” “He threatened to hit me twice but didn’t, but I thought he could do it so watch out for him”? I don’t know…I think you are contemplating sticking your nose in something you have no place in. Realize that where you are coming from with your FWB relationship with this guy is not the same place the guy’s relationship with the freshman is coming from.
Something More December 15, 2011, 11:13 am
I don’t think LW is jealous of the new beau. Believe it or not, people can just want to do the right thing, because well… it’s the right thing to do. They were FWB. Cool, whatever. He got feelings that she didn’t reciprocate and he became a manipulative asshole. I agree with whoever said before that threatening physical abuse is abuse. It’s emotional abuse. Designed to make the recipient of such threats afraid.
LW, while you don’t specifically know if this type of behavior is currently occurring, the other factors regarding his relationship concern me. My question is – Do the others that are concerned for this girl also know about the threats of physical abuse to you? Sometimes when in relationships, things like this can be omitted to others, but referred to here because of the anonymity. If his roommates are not aware of his past behaviors, fill them in. They are in more of a place to keep an eye on things. Also, I would try to send her a note via Facebook or something. In all honesty, depending on the type of girl she is, she might throw the jealous ex thing back at you. But she might not. If you can phrase in such a way that she knows sending the note is uncomfortable for you, but that you have her best interests at heart, I think that would be best. Even if she ignores it, at least she’s read it and after an argument if he acts this way, it’s in the back of her mind.
Letter Writer December 15, 2011, 2:08 pm
Well my first instinct is to rush to defend myself because my letter was definitely misconstrued. As strange as it may be to believe, I really did have the best intentions in mind. I was nothing but straightforward and civil towards Jay throughout our relationship and bear no blame for “jerking him around.” Jay has many issues stemming from his childhood and past abuse that are very difficult for him to handle and they manifest themselves in many problems. Finally since we (the new GF “Annie,” Jay, and myself) have the same pool of friends, the hellish situation surrounding the long and drawn out end of our FWB relationship was bound to come out at some point. Most of our friends knew what was going on, and it was a horrific situation towards the end with lots of side-taking, betraying, lying, and etc. This was almost entirely hidden from me until the point when Jay ended things (I had previously ended things twice and he once). That was our fourth “breakup.” Things were really really rocky. I should also mention that anyone who has ever been in an emotionally draining/manipulative/crazy/borderline abusive relationship knows that they are difficult to end when they are easy and when there are good days. I bear some of the blame for what happened, but not all of it by far.
After I sent the letter, I ended up hanging out with a group of people that included Annie. We really hit it off and she ended up confiding in me some of the problems she was having feeling comfortable dating Jay and had just broken things off. In the interest of full disclosure I mentioned only that we had a past, and that there were many reasons it was better that it was over between us. I did not go into detail, because contrary to commenter belief, I don’t want to be a relationship-wrecking bitch. She really appreciated it and we ended up becoming friends. Jay has since tried to rekindle our FWB relationship. Not doing that again.
Something More December 16, 2011, 9:39 am
I’m glad that everything work out, LW. People on here sometimes like to jump to the most drama-filled conclusions, but sometimes it’s as simple as just wanting to be a good person and doing the right thing. Thankfully Annie saw the light, so to speak, and got out of her relationship with only minor confiding on your part. Good news all around 🙂