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Watching people make the same mistakes over and over again when it comes to relationships


DawnM
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is hard.  

I have had a few friends through the years, and a family member or two, make the same mistakes over and over again when it comes to who they date or marry.  

Right now I am thinking particularly of a man at church.  Nice, nice, nice man.  Very attractive, good father, etc.....it is a LONG story as to what happened with his wife, but she seems to be going through some mid-life crisis and needs validation from other men.  I will just leave it at that.

He is now dating someone and I cringe.  She too has some deep issues.  

Both of the women are beautiful.  But they have issues.  In my limited knowledge of him, he seems to be a rescuer.   Sigh.  I have known this type before.  It never ends well for them.

I want so badly to say something, but I don't know him well enough and it isn't my place.  Even my husband commented about her, and he usually doesn't pick up on that stuff.

I am sure you all have people like this in your lives (making the wrong choice for whatever reason, over and over again.)  

Tell me yours so I stop focusing on this one.

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Sorry. That's a difficult spot to be in. I know you're not necessarily asking for advice, but I'm wondering if you know him well enough to offer him advice or at least find a way to say something that will make him stop and think. 

We have a friend whose wife left him, and he's asked for our relationship advice on various women. If he wouldn't have asked for advice, I might have tried to raise some questions in the same way that I'd try to do that with my adult children. Questions such as, "How do you see this working out with your children?" or "Do you feel that she will be supportive of your career? children? hobbies? etc. etc."  Of course, you need to ask in a detached, nonchalant type of way so that he doesn't become defensive. Sometimes just asking questions about the other person is enough to make someone think. Even asking about how she likes to spend her spare time can just seem like a way to show interest in her, but can help to point out glaring differences. Could you have dinner with them or something where you might be able to steer the conversation into areas that they should be figuring out? 

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46 minutes ago, mom@shiloh said:

Sorry. That's a difficult spot to be in. I know you're not necessarily asking for advice, but I'm wondering if you know him well enough to offer him advice or at least find a way to say something that will make him stop and think. 

We have a friend whose wife left him, and he's asked for our relationship advice on various women. If he wouldn't have asked for advice, I might have tried to raise some questions in the same way that I'd try to do that with my adult children. Questions such as, "How do you see this working out with your children?" or "Do you feel that she will be supportive of your career? children? hobbies? etc. etc."  Of course, you need to ask in a detached, nonchalant type of way so that he doesn't become defensive. Sometimes just asking questions about the other person is enough to make someone think. Even asking about how she likes to spend her spare time can just seem like a way to show interest in her, but can help to point out glaring differences. Could you have dinner with them or something where you might be able to steer the conversation into areas that they should be figuring out? 

 

Honestly, I don't think he sees it right now, and would probably answer that this new person IS supportive of him, however, IMO, she is supportive to get what she wants out of it.  

There are some things about the kids I am trying to help him navigate, so there could be a way to work it in at some point, but right now, I am helping with the kids.  I can't go into great detail, but it has to do with custody and schooling and a child struggling with the entire situation who could benefit from some therapy/counseling.

Edited by DawnM
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I know a man who keeps falling for beautiful yet controlling women, then after they bear him several children and are older than they used to be, finds himself with a not-beautiful controlling woman. Which I guess isn't nearly as much fun. So he leaves her for another beautiful controlling woman.

I know his life has been a mess at times, his childhood was unusually difficult, and he lost a child in a horrific way. I think he likes it when a drop-dead gorgeous woman comes in and tells him exactly what to do to put his life back together. Never lasts for long, though.

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I have a relative who has a great fear of being controlled financially.  She was controlled financially as a high school student with a parent refusing to contribute towards her care because she did not do things like he wanted (in a controlling way).  

Right now she is in a long-term relationship with a man who has never officially worked beyond one season a year since they have been together.  He is a hard worker though, he has helped her renovate 3 houses, and will spend hours a day doing this kind of work.  He does cook for her and he will clean.  But he is uninterested or incapable of having a boss and having a job where he shows up at a certain time and does certain things at certain times.  

He is not a drain or a taker, but he doesn’t have things like a car or health insurance. 

I am sure it is a mystery to people who know her as an adult, but it is a different kind of sad situation to those of us who see how it makes sense from her upbringing.  

The thing is, in a way she doesn’t have equal relationships, but then she will be frustrated and stressed by how certain things fall to her.  

And sometimes I will think — I don’t work outside the home either..... but somehow it is different.  

But I also do things like pay bills and take care of paperwork.  Both of her major relationships have been with someone who either can’t accomplish getting a drivers license or only accomplished it with extensive handholding (she dated a house painter who needed to drive for work, but could not really handle figuring out how to get a drivers license).  (Edit:  he let a drivers license expire and didn’t do anything about it for a little while, and then I think he needed it for work, and then my relative had to go with him and help him gather paperwork and things like that.)

For the house painter — a great guy and a hard worker.  Very good to my relative.  Very good to their dog, and a responsible pet owner.  No bank account.  No lease — he paid people to sleep in extra rooms, or he might sleep in a house he was working on if the owners were staying in a hotel or traveling during the remodel (he also worked on a lot of remodels, and did house renovation stuff with my relative).  I think he did this a lot, for months at a time.  He did have a car and sometimes lived out of his car.  He and my relative never lived together, but I know he would shower at her house at times when he was living without plumbing.  (Edit:  I just remembered, he would say he was a house painter, but he was also a really good carpenter, and he would have big carpentry projects and then also paint on the side.  I think with painting he would get paid immediately, and then with the carpentry projects he might only get paid when the work was complete, and then he would be broke and take some painting jobs, when he also needed to be finishing a carpentry job..... he had a hard time managing his time and money.)

Edited by Lecka
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2 hours ago, DawnM said:

 

Honestly, I don't think he sees it right now, and would probably answer that this new person IS supportive of him, however, IMO, she is supportive to get what she wants out of it.  

There are some things about the kids I am trying to help him navigate, so there could be a way to work it in at some point, but right now, I am helping with the kids.  I can't go into great detail, but it has to do with custody and schooling and a child struggling with the entire situation who could benefit from some therapy/counseling.

In that context could you reccomend some counseling? Somehwere where he can learn healthy boundaries/communication skills, etc?Someone other than you to raise some red flags, lol. 

I ALWAYS reccomend counseling after/during a divorce. I think it can make a huge difference between becomign htat person that has serial failed relationships or learning from your mistakes and doing better. (and I say that as someone that was divorced and did counseling). I usually couch it in terms of, "It would help you figure out how best to help the kids through this, and give you an adult to bounce ideas off of, without worrying whose "side" they are on, etc". 

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Yeah, this is hard, I've known a few people like that.  And people do it with other stuff too, like money management, they keep making the same mistakes.

With relationships, I think sometimes from the outside you look and just go "how can you not see the issue here?"  My BIL has recently divorced and now seems to be having a sort of midlife crises. Or the mom of the little girl I babysit who seems to date men in serial, but it never works out.  She always seems to be on the lookout for a better situation - not in a taking advantage way, but in a not satisfied way.  She had her oldest daughter really young, 17 and really is a hard worker and a good mom.  But she ends up living with these guys, and I can see that it's just kind of hard for her two daughters to have these people rotate in and out.  

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4 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

In that context could you reccomend some counseling? Somehwere where he can learn healthy boundaries/communication skills, etc?Someone other than you to raise some red flags, lol. 

I ALWAYS reccomend counseling after/during a divorce. I think it can make a huge difference between becomign htat person that has serial failed relationships or learning from your mistakes and doing better. (and I say that as someone that was divorced and did counseling). I usually couch it in terms of, "It would help you figure out how best to help the kids through this, and give you an adult to bounce ideas off of, without worrying whose "side" they are on, etc". 

 

Maybe.  I don't really feel I am in a position to recommend it for him and his relationship.  I feel  like I can really only recommend it for the son right now.  I am honestly not sure a therapist would say anything IF he doesn't recognize an issue and doesn't say anything.  The only way it would happen is if the kids bring it up or see anything.

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3 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

Yeah, this is hard, I've known a few people like that.  And people do it with other stuff too, like money management, they keep making the same mistakes.

With relationships, I think sometimes from the outside you look and just go "how can you not see the issue here?"  My BIL has recently divorced and now seems to be having a sort of midlife crises. Or the mom of the little girl I babysit who seems to date men in serial, but it never works out.  She always seems to be on the lookout for a better situation - not in a taking advantage way, but in a not satisfied way.  She had her oldest daughter really young, 17 and really is a hard worker and a good mom.  But she ends up living with these guys, and I can see that it's just kind of hard for her two daughters to have these people rotate in and out.  

 

Oh gracious.....money mistakes.....don't even get me started on friends that continue in that cycle!  

 

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I know a couple of women who are SO focused on the perfect romance. They date - some good guys, some not go good - but the moment the spark is gone, they're done. They're like, why are things not perfect. Boohoo. And then that's it. They end it. They say they're better off. It's like... maybe? But it's hard to watch.

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1 hour ago, DawnM said:

 

Maybe.  I don't really feel I am in a position to recommend it for him and his relationship.  I feel  like I can really only recommend it for the son right now.  I am honestly not sure a therapist would say anything IF he doesn't recognize an issue and doesn't say anything.  The only way it would happen is if the kids bring it up or see anything.

I definitely wouldnt' frame it as, "you really should see a counselor because you suck at picking women", lol. But more as a "I know divorce is hard on families, and trying to navigate how to handle things with the kids in the best way possible is hard too - have you considered meeting with a professional to get some guidance on how to handle coparenting with the ex without losing your mind, how to make things easier on the kids, etc?"

Therapists can be good about asking questions such as, "oh, you're dating again? Tell me about that!" and drawing out info ?

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Oh yes. Everyone used to joke that my mother needed a t-shirt that said "Don't ask me to marry you- I say yes!"

She married the 4th husband when I was 17 and I moved out. For me, it was a literal feeling of throwing up my hands, not my problem anymore. Our lives had been a succession of losers moving in and out.

It's the same thing every time. We ran into problems because I put a stop to the cycle and wouldn't let her introduce random 'friends' to my children.

She won't listen to anyone, not even counselors. She loves to give advice and judge other people's relationships. 

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I have an extended family member who is in his 40s, never married, who has dated a lot of fantastic women over the years. Gotten close to marriage several times, apparently. But he eventually breaks up with them. I remember some 20 years ago talking to him about a girl he had a recently broken up with and he said (jokingly, I suppose) that she had a mole behind her ear. I think there was some truth to it though. He said something once about not finding the right girl and I had to bite my tongue. It's definitely not that he's not finding the right girl. I bet there have been a dozen who could have been the right one. At this point no one wants to set him up with anyone anymore.

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2 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

I definitely wouldnt' frame it as, "you really should see a counselor because you suck at picking women", lol. But more as a "I know divorce is hard on families, and trying to navigate how to handle things with the kids in the best way possible is hard too - have you considered meeting with a professional to get some guidance on how to handle coparenting with the ex without losing your mind, how to make things easier on the kids, etc?"

Therapists can be good about asking questions such as, "oh, you're dating again? Tell me about that!" and drawing out info ?

 

Right.  There are just a couple of added complications I am not willing to post publicly that, without that knowledge, a therapist might not know how to advise.  

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