Reader Q & A: By love possessed

Published: February 4, 2009 | Last Updated: February 4, 2009 By | Reply Continue Reading

QUESTION:

Dear Irene,

I have a friend who is a few years younger than me. I love her to death but she is causing me to feel bad about not being with her 24/7. She and I used to have the best time together; we laughed and watched movies and all sorts of stuff together. She had a really tough year, with her first two boyfriends being big jerks to her.

 

I want to be there for her, but now, a year later, she is not talking to anybody but me, not even her family. On top of that she is locked in her room and not making eye contact with anyone. She cancels plans with other friends just in case I want to hang out with her and when I say I can’t or I’m not up to it, she gets mad at me and usually doesn’t speak to me for days.

 

I am applying to colleges and she is insisting that I go to an in-state college so in two years, when she gets out of school, we can have an apartment together. When I tell her I want to live in a dorm, she says she doesn’t want me to. I am thinking of going to college four states away and I don’t know how to tell her because of the argument I know will follow.

 

She tells me that she doesn’t want to be my friend for not sleeping over at her house every weekend. If I want to hang out with my other friends, she tries to get me to cancel my plans. I know I have to stick up for myself more, but I care a lot about her and I am not sure how to find a happy middle to me being a rug she walks all over. Do you have any advice?

 

Signed,

Stephanie

 

ANSWER:

Dear Stephanie,

This relationship doesn’t sound healthy for you or your friend. I presume that she is still a teenager, who has become overly attached, possessive, and dependent on you—maybe because you are a few years older. She is demanding exclusivity in your relationship because she doesn’t seem to feel comfortable alone or with other friends.

 

If she really is as emotionally volatile and is "locked in her room," as you describe, she may need professional help. You should speak to someone in her family, in confidence, and admit that this problem is more than you can handle at this stage in your life. It seems like it is.

 

Although you may not be aware of it, you have been encouraging her dependency by acquiescing to her unreasonable demands. You need to gradually begin to create more distance between you and your friend, and to set some limits. Moreover, you need to examine your own motives for allowing this to happen. It sounds like this relationship is dominating your life when you should have other interests and involvements. You certainly shouldn’t let this friendship dictate your college plans. It wouldn’t be good for either of you.

 

I know this situation is tricky and I wish you luck and grace in resolving it.

My best,
Irene

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