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Wedding Woes

Should I raise a red flag? And how?

Dear Prudence,

Earlier this year I had my first relationship, and it went terribly. The person I dated violated my physical and emotional boundaries in order to “experiment” and said they’d hurt themselves if I left. It was difficult to leave, but I did a few months ago. We still attend the same small school, and I’m civil, but a self-destructive part of me misses them, so I’m trying to stay away.

This academic year I’ve befriended a new, younger student, and I’m trying to look after her. But now she’s befriended my ex, and they spend all their time together. When we’ve all been together, I’ve recognized the same behaviors the ex used on me, and I’m increasingly concerned. I’m really worried the ex will trap her the way they trapped me. But I’m having trouble telling whether my concerns are legitimate or they’re out of jealousy or irrational fear. I feel scared, and I don’t know what to do.

—Confused

Re: Should I raise a red flag? And how?

  • LW has a lot of issues

    -S/he is not the keeper of the younger student.

    -S/he is young enough that this is a small pond and life will hopefully move on.

    -Tell the other person one time, "Yeah we dated.   It didn't work out because we were too different and I felt that there were some issues that she needed to resolve on her own without me." 

    If that person is truly effed up she's going to pull others in.  
    mrsconn23VarunaTTcharlotte989875eileenrob
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    LW: Unless you're in a mentoring situation with the other student (and even that has its limits),  it's not your job to "look after" the other student.

    I would limit your involvement to letting her know that you're there to help her if she needs it and giving that help if she asks for it. But leave it at that.
    charlotte989875eileenrobsparklepants41
  • The "trying to look after her" is a really odd comment.

    At any rate.  Like other PPs have mentioned, I think the LW should have ONE conversation with the friend.  The LW should talk about the relationship they had with this person, including the alarming parts, and express concern they are seeing the same patterns.

    It probably won't do any good.  But at least it plants a seed.  At least it lets the friend know she will have an ally and a safe haven, if she finds herself in trouble with this ex.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    eileenrobsparklepants41
  • It sounds like LW could use a bit of help too- someone to talk to.  They’re still affected by the abusive relationship.
    Minor eyeroll at “look after” the “younger” student- is this college? Is LW 20 and she’s 18? But that snark aside, I think it’s fine to warn a friend once about an abusive ex.  
    short+sassycharlotte989875
  • All of this is giving me the shudders and I just want LW to stop worrying about this "young student" and get some therapy.  This all just feels like grooming, on both LW and Ex's side.
    short+sassycharlotte989875sparklepants41mrsconn23
  • VarunaTT said:
    All of this is giving me the shudders and I just want LW to stop worrying about this "young student" and get some therapy.  This all just feels like grooming, on both LW and Ex's side.

    Thank you for better pinpointing what was creeping me out about the "looking after her" comment! 

    I also agree the LW should get some counseling.  I went back to the letter for a timeline and it has only been a few months since the break-up.  It sounds like there was physical and definitely emotional trauma involved in the relationship and they are (understandably) still struggling with that. 

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    mrsconn23
  • LW definitely needs to get some help moving forward from this bad relationship. 

    As for worrying about the friend...I agree with @ShesSoCold that it would be reasonable to mention it to her ONCE that there had been problems in the relationship, and leave it at that. Anything more and the friend will probably just figure that LW is jealous and resentful. While I'm all for caring about your friends and wanting what's best for them, you also can't make their decisions for them.
    image
    short+sassy
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