Friend keeps going back for more
Dear Annie: Recently, an old friend got back in touch with me. He had gotten a divorce, and I wanted to be a friend to him because he was going through a lot of grieving. His ex-wife had alcohol issues and was abusing her bipolar medication. She also, prior to their marriage falling apart, got gastric bypass surgery and, after the procedure, began having extramarital affairs. He caught them and found out who one of them was one day.
The situation came to a head when she came home drunk and barely could speak. There was a big fight, and he put her in rehab. This led to their divorce. Then, when she got out, she looked up an old boyfriend and ran to live with him. When that relationship fell apart, she went back home to her parents, only to start dating a guy she met in Alcoholics Anonymous. They quickly married, and that marriage only lasted a year and a month.
One day, I saw on social media that my friend was beginning to talk to his ex again, and before I knew it, he was back in her life. I was shocked because we had talked at great length about everything and how he hated her. Even more upsetting is that, during the time we were talking, my friend had to go on dialysis for kidney failure.
I thought for sure that, if anything, he would choose to move closer to his family in New Jersey, but instead, he has moved in with his ex-mother-in-law, and his ex-wife lives there.
He says he is planning on saving money to make a life there. I really don’t know what to believe. She said she accidentally read one of my text messages to him — yeah, right; wasn’t born yesterday — and that their relationship now is about kindness and forgiveness. She lies about everything on social media.
She talks about dying to be thin and likes to make a spectacle of her lost weight and how she lost too much, but then will post other pictures saying she looks good for 55. She says she’s always been a good mother, but she ran around for the last five years without being much of a mother.
My friend says he won’t leave Florida because his boys live there. They are like 31, 29 and 27 — big boys who certainly can take care of themselves. I just have been in such shock over all of this that I had to leave the friendship. It just seems too codependent on his behalf, and she is somewhat of a narcissist.
She lives for attention yet doesn’t have a good opinion of herself. She lies about the truth, but that could be part of her illness — who knows? Do you think this is normal, and how would you have handled this if this was your friend? — Just Don’t Get It
Dear Just Don’t Get It: “Normal” is defined in the dictionary as conforming to a typical standard. No, this is not normal behavior, but I use that word with caution.
He clearly loves his ex-wife and is having a difficult time letting her go. If she really has changed and is sober, if they have gone to marriage counseling and he has forgiven her, then I’m not here to judge his decision as not normal, and you shouldn’t be either.
In fact, I commend him. The disease of alcoholism can ruin families and cause all sorts of terrible behavior. He was looking to you to be a friend when he was dealing with a difficult time.
I also respect his decision to want to be close to his adult children. Although they are grown and can take care of themselves, that doesn’t mean he can’t be close to them as friends now. If I were you, I might take a look at myself and see why I judged him and his ex-wife so harshly.
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