Advise please: How best to help a messed-up friend? (Long)

Ah, it’s nice to see Courtly Love isn’t extinct after all! (Note to the would be romantics out there: according to the Rules of Courtly Love, if you have sex with your lover, you’ve lost the game. “Love” is passion and yearning and drama, not sex.)

Yep, middle ground it. Your role (should you chose to accept it) is non-judgmental friend who helps by listening and providing reality tests as needed.

Don’t tell her it’s wrong - ask her how she’s going to make it right.

Don’t tell her she’s bad - ask her how she’s staying good.

Don’t tell her she’s in over her head - ask her how she’s handling it.

And so on. If you ask questions that assume she’s capable and smart and good and honorable, and that all of this is indeed handleable, then she might just live up to that.

I lost sight of what your role should be; I personally favor telling her its her problem and you don’t want to deal with it but----in real life, I would try to be supportive of her while keeping a tight rein on her (what I imagine are self-destructive) impulses. Also in real life, I would probably get very tired very quickly of being her confidant as I imagine her conversation is limited to Crush did this, that or the other thing; Crush is so wonderful, etc., etc. That would lead me back to my original impulse: Tell her it’s much too complicated; you love her but you like her husband; your loyalties are too divided but you will support her no matter what she decides but until she does decide, leave you out of it. Of course, I don’t have a lot of friends so my advice is probably not all that good. But you did ask.

Y’know what? Ignore my last post about Hawking. Even if it’s good advice, no one would take it, and it’s not even what you asked. I just think it’s bizarre that Crush’s work is being given so much consideration when it’s totally beside the point.

These are the best posts in the thread.

Yes, my friend has a full time job while all this is going on, too.

But I’m getting side-tracked again, inevitably. I knew that would happen. Okay, I think I have some good advice here, and I’m going to try saying something along the lines of “look, I’m here for you and I’ll listen as much as you need. Objectively, though, I think you need to hear that this is not a healthy situation and you have to do everything in your power to stop it. You can’t and don’t want to end the artistic relationship, fine. But you have to put a stop to the other aspects of the relationship, whatever it takes … take a break from it for a while, decide you are never going to be with Crush in private again, or something. I’ll help if you need support getting through it. Now, I’ve said my piece and that’s it. From now on I’m here to listen, unless you ask for my advice.”

Or something like that, I haven’t worked out the details yet. But rest assured I will pore over the good advice I’ve been given.

Now, to answer a few questions/respond to a few specifics…

Oh yeah, the gossip (or as they say in Indonesian “buah bibir” - lip fruit - and “kabar angin” - wind news) is plenty churned up. She knows that. But, at least she is “innocent” in that they’ve never even kissed.

My friend is genuinely hurting. Crush … well, I think you’re right about him.

She speaks truth. It’s not just “about his career.” It’s about hanging around the house doing nothing for several years. She has tried to help - suggesting a whole range of things he could do either artistic or practical, and she will support him, both literally and figuratively. The guy does NOTHING. Well, he cooked dinner the other night. Her attraction was always to him as a person, which meant as an artist. He’s never made any money at all and his art (unlike Crush) is too esoteric to achieve widespread fame, so her love for him was always about the things that matter. But the love has faded, for sure.

Sorry, it’s the truth. I know it is difficult to believe. By the way, he’s not telling her that. He might as well tell her “the sky is blue.” I won’t try to explain it - it is beside the point, for one thing (I’m asking “given the facts of the situation, what shall I do?” not “hey, do you believe me when I say this?”). Also, to even try to explain it I would have to get to specific. And I know, from previous threads, that there are SDMB members who would recognize, maybe not the individuals, but friends of friends of the individuals.

Sorry, didn’t mean to give that impression, not that it matters. He’s her age and, Java being what it is, has, shall we say, at least one wife.

She’s from Java? :smiley:

As usual, I think WhyNot has great advice. My friend and I don’t see each other that often (she’s busy with her job and a lot of travel for the art stuff) but start a thread after I have a chance to talk with her.

Does your friend know the term “emotional affair?” This is an almost textbook one. There doesn’t have to be any physical contact for a complete breach of the trust of marriage is broken. An excellent book on this subject is "NOT “Just Friends” by Shirley P. Glass.

I think you should tell Laura that she should stay with George for now because Bill is not going to leave Hillary until after the nomination anyway.

Huh…where are all the people recommending that the OP run and tell hubbie? Doesn’t he have a right to know?

Interesting thread, Scumpup. I missed that one.

Hubby knows already. EVERYBODY knows. It is contributing to his moping-around-the-house-do-nothing-depression, I’m quite sure. (Although it isn’t the whole story, he was listless before Laura took up with Crush.)

I feel terrible for the husband, and actually, there is something I can do for him in terms of securing a bit of employment for him.

For what it’s worth, my personal experience is that if you try to tell someone their course of actions may not be appropriate, they will soon begin to resent you and continue on their path, perhaps even more determinedly. Without knowing more details, I would vote for Option #2, the Sympathetic Ear, and then giving advice if it’s asked for.