Ask Gigi: My Friend is Dating My Abusive Ex
Welcome to Ask Gigi, a bi-monthly column in which sex and relationships writer Gigi Engle answers your most intimate questions. Nothing is off-limits! From threesomes to anal, unrequited love to cheating: we want to hear it all.
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Dear Auntie Gigi,
I broke up with my ex boyfriend a few years ago. He was severely emotionally abusive, manipulative and generally treated me like crap for the whole three years we were together. I was miserable and broken down. Everyone in my life eventually found out and got me to leave him. I’m now in a happy relationship with a wonderful guy and I have everything on track. Or so I thought.
the other night, I get a call from one of my best friends. She tells me that she and my ex have been spending a lot of time alone together, that romantic feelings have developed between them, that they slept together the night before... and that she'd like to know how I felt about it becoming a “thing.”
Naturally, I told her that what really bothered me was not that he was my ex, but that the fact that he was emotionally abusive to me didn't stop her from wanting to date him. She went on to defend the whole thing.
What's a girl to do? Live and let live? Is it really a golden rule that you don't date your friends exes?
Ok. Real talk.
You dated your ex a really long time ago so, the fact that he's your ex actually isn't cause for you to get mad at your BFF. You’re over him, there is no love lost and if your friend wanted to date him...that would be no big deal. I think people get way too dramatic about that. It’s not like you were married. You were young and dated someone. It didn’t work out. Whatever.
So, you were right to acknowledge that it wasn’t the “ex-factor” that made you angry. That’s very mature.
Unfortunately, this is NOT a normal situation and is in no way a run-of-the-mill case of “la la la my friend wants to date my ex boyfriend and now I’m annoyed!” Nope.
We’re talking about an abusive ex. He is not some heartthrob, he's someone who behaved horribly towards you and made your life a living hell.
This girl is supposed to be YOUR friend and KNOWS that this asshat was ABUSIVE to her best friend. She was one of the people who encouraged you to get away from him and now she’s going to play house? Uh, what?
That is messed up. Under what circumstances is your friend even SPEAKING to this freak show, let alone dating him? He shouldn’t be anywhere near anyone in your life.
Here is another thing, though. You shouldn’t be upset that she’s betraying your friendship, you should be sad for her. This is next-level pathetic. I can’t even imagine the amount of self-loathing this girl must be weighed down with to do this to herself. It’s one thing to be in an abusive relationship. That is not your fault. You didn’t know, but this girl KNOWS what he’s capable of and wants to be in a romantic relationship. That is twisted, don’t you think?
She is under the false pretense many women tend to slip into where they think they can be the one to change a person. You can never change someone. Especially some sociopathic, abusive nutjob who she’s seen be a sociopathic nutjob.
If she wants to date him, despite knowing all of these things about him...that's on her. She’s clearly being heavily manipulated, and is falling for it. (Something you and she both know this dude is famous for).
It's not right, and it isn't respectful to you. It cheapens your whole experience with abuse.
You told her how you feel. You said what you could say and should say. There doesn't need to be some huge fight or falling out, but you certainly have to distance yourself from the situation. You have to know when it’s time to let go of toxic relationships, even if you’ve been friends forever. Your ex is not the only one who is bad for you anymore.
It's not easy. It’s hard to watch someone screw up their own life. She's dating someone who TERRORIZED you. All at once you want to knock some sense into her for being such an idiot, and punch her for dating your ex boyfriend. It’s a mixture of anger, pity, rejection and frustration. I get it. Those is some conflicting emotions.
Through her actions, she's essentially saying that she has no self-worth, that she doesn't give a f*ck about you went through as an abuse survivor, and she cares more about this guy than she does about you.
So, while the emotions may be running high, and you’re feeling a lot of feelings, I think you have to remove yourself entirely. You have to let this girl go. She’s holding onto a part of your life that is still very painful for you. That is not healthy. You don’t have to tell her to stay away from you. You don’t have to give her an ultimatum. You don’t have to make this some big dramatic thing.
You just have to stop answering every text, don’t make plans with her and let the friendship fade away. If she asks you if you’re distant because of her relationship with your ex, tell her the truth. Say, yes, obviously this is the reason. It appears the friendship has run its course and you need to surround yourself with people who have your best interest at heart and make you feel supported.
Honestly, this was likely the final nail in the coffin. I’m sure this is not the first time this friend has done something shady or put a guy before your friendship. Do some reflecting and I’m certain you will find a pattern. You are growing up and it is time to take the next step into life.
You have a wonderful boyfriend now you loves you, and is kind to you. Focus on that and all the other wonderful, fulfilling aspects of your life. It sucks to let go of a long-time friendship, but she’s drawn a line in the sand that can’t be washed away by any tide.
You have nothing to feel guilty for. You owe her nothing. She’s the one who did this to your friendship and you MUST put yourself FIRST.
Love your favorite internet auntie,