I need some relationship advice. I've been seeing this guy, who I'm keeping anonymous for his privacy and he has a lot of drama going on in his life. Recently something happened to him where he sent me some text messages saying that his two (I believe now) former friends (who's names I don't want to give out at this moment) had a friend of theirs do something to him that he won't tell me. Apparently from what he told me they were apart of. The worst part is I tried my best to calm him down because when he gets upset he really gets upset but he said something about me being attached to my friends and how I don't want to be with him. Now I'm currently enrolled in a community college and he lives about 30 to 40 minutes away from me. To see him I have to drive 30 miles both to and from his house and I'm currently unemployed so I don't have a source of income to go towards gas money. I love him very much and I try to visit him when I can but I'm completely out of ideas and I don't know what to do in order to make him be more confident with himself and bring up his self-esteem. Any advice.
Thanks for reading this.
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You sound like a lovely, caring person, but there is only so much you can do. The problem here is that this guy you are seeing won’t tell you what the problem is, so how are you supposed to help?
This sounds like a total overreaction on his part, and, as you say, he overreacts to things very easily. My first instinct, then, is that this person might be suffering from Asperger’s syndrome, an illness that seems to affect a lot of people these days, or possibly some other form of mild autism or ADHD. If that’s the case, there can be many causes for this, ranging from genetics to childhood trauma to diet. But I’m in no position to make a diagnosis, especially since I’m not a doctor. It’s just a guess on my part.
The questions I have are whether this sort of behavior has happened before and what is this “drama” he is suffering from? If he suffers from some sort of behavior problem and is undergoing a stressful home life, then perpetrating some sort of cruel act upon him (if his accusations against these other people are true) would be especially cruel and heartless and you should be there to support him. If, on the other hand, this “drama” is largely exaggerated by him in its seriousness and the “offense” against him really minor, then you are dealing with a drama queen and might want to reconsider spending too much effort on him.
As with you, I cannot determine the case here, so I cannot advise you on how to proceed in detail.
In a follow-up email I sent to you about this (concerned as I was that some sort of violence might have happened) you replied, “Nothing violent [happened]. I met these 2 friends of his before and they seemed very nice. He's pretty sensitive to things and he gets jealous easily. Like I said he's not telling me anything.” This indicates to me that the “drama queen scenario” is the most likely.
At present, you’re just in the dating mode of the relationship, and it doesn’t sound like it has gotten terribly serious, though you must like the guy or you wouldn’t be concerned. He must have some worthwhile traits. Therefore, here’s your next step: tell him that you want to help him and be there for him, but if he doesn’t tell you openly what the problem is then you can’t be of any help.
If he continues to clam up, tell him that you’re there for him when he decides to talk, and then go about your business. That is, refuse to listen to his drama until he tells you the full story. If he never tells you, my guess is that it was all over nothing and he’s just seeking attention by whining because he feels slighted somehow by your other friends. He needs to grow up. If he DOES tell you, then once you have the information you need, you can better judge the next step. Or, if you would like more advice, write to me again once you have the details and we’ll do a follow-up.
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Thanks for replying to me. Since the last replied to me he has calmed down and he said that it was an online friend that came to him and said that they couldn't be friends anymore for what reason I don't know and frankly he doesn't know either, prior to this incident they were online friends that would roleplay over Skype. He looked into the problem and determined that these 2 former friends of him must have been apart of it, as said before. He has told me that this sort of thing (him getting really upset from something happening from someone) has happened more than once, I believe 3 or 4 times. He says that when he gets close to someone they "turn on him," and hurt him emotionally. So I try to be as patient as possible with him when he goes through something like this but it's getting rather old. Besides me he has one other person that he sees that lives relatively closer to him but he doesn't see him as much, another that lives 17 minutes away but his car is in the shop, and someone that lives farther away from him than me that is more of a friend-with-benefit kind of thing. So when he was friends with these two people they were closer than all of us and now that he isn't friends with them anymore he doesn't really have someone to see him regularly.
Now what you said about him wanting attention from me is something that he does, intentionally I don't know since he has a few issues. He sends me messages saying like "Why am I always so miserable?" and those types of messages really bother me because not only does it put a damper on my day it seems like he might be in a state where he continues to be miserable (I can't really say for sure because we are still learning about each other). Now I told him that I don't like it when people intentionally start drama to get attention and he says that he doesn't intentionally start drama and I believe him since he's a good guy underneath his exterior. I believe i mentioned before he's a bit clingy and I don't really like people who are clingy but I try to compromise with him but it seems like it's getting to me.
Hope to hear back from you soon,
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Hi, again, Lucius,
There is a certain personality type that Papabear has come across many times in his life. It is the person who is basically a nice guy or girl but who has serious self-esteem issues and is quick to take offense when anyone says something the least bit critical. Those who meet people like this at first like them (because they tend to be sweet and gentle) but if they say anything that is less than complimentary, they get such a backlash of drama and “why are you treating me like this?” crap that it is very off-putting.
This personality type is always miserable, as you say, and the reason is that they are creating their own misery. They become so pathetic and whiny that they lose friends, which then creates an endless feedback loop of misery, drama, reinforced misery, and so on that is inescapable until they realize they are doing it to themselves.
Is he a good guy underneath? Sure, probably. But he is a high-maintenance type of person, the type who needs constant reinforcement and praise and validation, an endless pit of need that can be very tiresome. If you don’t mind that sort of thing, if you don’t mind constantly having to reassure this person that they are a great guy, if you have that sort of time and energy in your life, then you could probably maintain a friendship. If you do it long enough and are patient enough, you might even eventually break him out of this self-pitying loop he is in, but I warn you it could take years, if ever.
Of course, it is easy for me to write things like “you create your own misery, so buck up.” But I know it’s not so simple. I myself struggle with depression and sometimes need friends to cheer me up. It could be that he suffers from clinical depression, in which case he might benefit from therapy.
I suppose what I am saying is this: your friend is high maintenance and, whether justified somewhat or not, is causing a lot of his own misery and that is probably driving away people who could have been his friends. You need to decide, then, whether you feel his friendship is worth a lot of work and emotional support on your part, or whether you just don’t have the energy and emotional investment to continue trying to help him.
If you decide to back off, I wouldn’t blame you. It can be very hard to be that kind of friend and it doesn’t make you a bad person if you don’t feel you can do it. After all, you have to take care of your own sanity, too. BUT, if you believe you can do it and care a lot about this guy, then it would be super awesome of you to be there for him.
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