Caught in the middle

Published: August 8, 2009 | Last Updated: August 8, 2009 By | Reply Continue Reading


Dear Irene:

I have two friends who have been together for 15 years and they are now going through a breakup. Being friends with each of them, they are both coming to me. How do I continue helping both parties without getting overly involved and having them get mad at me? They are both using me to try to get information about the other and they are both lying to me! They are mad at each other and ignore what I say anyway.

There is a restraining order preventing them from talking to each other. One is an alcoholic who is trying to quit and who has very bad anger issues. He’s trying to get help for himself and so far is doing well.

What is the best way to handle this without getting into the middle or causing trouble with both parties—or setting him back to drinking?



Dear Karen:

This entanglement sounds complicated—both legally and emotionally. It’s never a good idea to get in the middle of a couple who are having a disagreement even if they try to put you there.

Be firm and tell them you can’t remain involved in a relationship with them under these circumstances. Set a ground rule that if you do get together with either one, you need to remain neutral and you don’t want to talk or hear about their relationship. If they can’t abide by that, you need to step back and completely disengage yourself.

If your male friend begins drinking again, it is unfortunate but it is his responsibility—not yours. You didn’t cause their problems and you are in no position to solve them.


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