Dear Auntie Seraphic,
I read your post about not liking your friend's man the day after I had been told that friends don't want friend's advice, they just want us to listen and support them, and if I want to keep my friends, I'm not allowed to tell them when they are doing something wrong, or try to "fix" them.
I have dated a horrible man, and my friends were just so happy I was finally dating SOMEONE that they didn't want to tell me that his constant insults towards me were not acceptable, even if I excused them because he was not American, and "it's just his culture". After I finally broke up with him, they told me how much they loathed him, and oh how I wished someone had told me earlier!
I have many girlfriends with wonderful men in their lives, and I make sure to tell them this. I also have many with horrible men in their lives... but I don't know how to help them.
I have one very dear friend that I have had since high school, whose life is spiraled out of control, who doesn't even realize it. Our friendship was almost ruined when she confessed her destructive behavior to me, and instead of saying, "That's alright, you can do what you want", I told her she should stop. So I have learned to listen and let her talk because if I say something negative about anything she tells me (like the way boys treat her) she has a ready defense.
Yesterday she told me she had a pregnancy scare and was considering abortion though... and then casually told me about the latest boy to spend the night in her bed. No matter how I tried to change the subject, she would continue to leak the graphic details to me. I have heard this story from her dozens of times over the past year: Meet guy online, text him, tell him they can't have s*x, but can do anything else, have a make out session with him = guy never calls again. She says wants a nice husband who will go to church with her and raise children, and that is why she has to keep on trying.
Every month her stories get more graphic though, as everything the boys ask from her become less shocking and more tempting as she gets more experience. Now she is letting them pressure her into having s*x, because they say they won't commit to her unless she does. My heart breaks for her. I pray for her constantly. I want to be supportive, but it has gotten to the point where listening to her hurts my own sexual purity struggle.
Other friends in our circle have told me there is nothing more to do: I have to let her hit rock bottom and ask for help; trying to fix her won't work, and will just make her resent me. I miss my sweet, generous and funny friend, who used to have a life that didn't revolve around dating endless streams of abusive men. Is there nothing left that I can do, or say to help her?
Dear Desperate Friend,
I am very sorry that you are in this situation. And I am afraid I must agree with the other friends who tell you that there is nothing you can do but walk away and let her hit bottom. She seems hooked on Drama.
If she really cannot change the subject and constantly needs to fill your ears with the graphic details of her s*x life, whether or not you have the courage to tell her flat out to stop, you need some distance. The very fact that your own purity struggle is becoming more difficult because of these stories is a clear warning to you. Your friend is becoming an occasion of sin for you.
From your description, her behaviour has been foolish from first to last. She seems to believe that physical signs of affection are bargaining chips in a game to win a lasting love relationship. This is a truly messed up vision of what relationships between men and women are and should be. (For a thinking adult's take on the whole "How Far Can We Go?" question, I recommend How Far Can We Go? by Leah Perrault and Brett Salkeld.)
Unless she wants help, you can't help your friend. And if you get too caught up in her craziness, you are in danger of becoming what is known as a co-dependent. (For a great book on co-dependency, please read Melodie Beattie's Co-dependent No More.) I very much recommend you get some distance. If you are hooked on her drama, get unhooked. Now.
Pray for her, by all means, but minimize how much time you spend with her, and set a clear boundary that if she persists in talking about subjects that make you uncomfortable, you will not spend any time with her. And perhaps losing you will help her "hit bottom" and smarten up. The most important thing, however, is that you protect your heart from her insanity.
Grace and peace,
Readers: It appalls me that young women, young women who are not prostitutes, are willing to negotiate sexual activity with strangers or near-strangers over the internet. It is so shockingly stupid to tell men that you "can't have sex but can do anything else" that I am almost speechless. Anything else? ANYTHING else?
How did we get to the point where ordinary young women talk like prostitutes? (And I am not dissing poor prostitutes, who are trying to make a living. They turn tricks for cash, not for the much less certain promise of a "relationship".) For heaven's sake, there is such a thing as modesty of speech. If a young woman thinks that a near-stranger would have an iota of respect for her after she said "I can't have sex but I can do anything else", then she simply knows nothing about men.
Update: Reader age poll as of today (see top right). Please take a moment and tell me how old you are.