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Parallax - Advice

December 6, 2004

Rational Love?

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question! My woman and I have been together awhile and have known each other even longer. Like any other couple we have disagreements, but most of our problems arise from her friends. If they're not trying to get something from her, then they're telling her that I'm doing her wrong. She goes way beyond being a good friend, and they don't do half the things for her that she'll do for them. Everyday we get into it about something. She says things will change, but they haven't. I love her with all my heart and I'm tired of seeing her friends use her. When is it time to say, 'Enough is enough?' Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Last Place,

Clearly this is her issue. It may frustrate you and cause you to find her less attractive but she has the problem. You should imagine a future where you are unable to talk sense into her, because you certainly have already given it a shot. On that basis, decide if you are willing to accept her.

You say you love her with all your heart. If that is true, maybe you'll accept this personality attribute and allow her to develop on her own. Hopefully, over time it may self-correct, but it may take ten years.

Accept her the way she is. Or realize that you cannot, and walk away.

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His view:

Dear Last Place,

The time to say enough is enough is usually before you write in to the advice column. By the time you read this, more time will have passed and still (surprise!) she will not have changed; things will be exactly the same.

The problem with this situation (although at first it seems less critical than, say, a girlfriend with a drinking problem, or a promiscuous nature), is that she has issues choosing her friends. She finds people who need her, and they end up abusing her trust. It is likely that even if you moved her to another country where she had no friends, she'd end up finding a new bunch exactly like the old.

She doesn't respect herself enough to give her own life (and you, as part of that life) the priority it deserves. Unfortunately, if you point that out, it will make you appear self-serving and not impartial.

Breaking up with her will not necessarily help her either, but it might help you. Sometimes loving someone doesn't mean the best thing to do is stay with them. Love often gets in the way of rational decisions.

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