Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Don't want this d-bag to ruin my special day

Dear ESB,

One of my dearest friends is in an abusive relationship. He is patronizing, condescending and rude. He's selfish and puts her and all women down. He once told her that she mooches off of him, despite her working full time and going to school at night. He is not a wallflower, so being around him is like being forced to be tortured (made fun of, judged, interrogated, just generally made to feel awful about yourself). On top of all this, my good friend's mother recently passed away. What makes me truly think he is abusive (verbally so far) is that he makes her feel guilty for being sad about losing her mom (whom she was extremely close to), as if he is put-out for "having to deal with her grief all the time." She lives in another city than all of her close friends, and they live together. I feel like he uses this death and her lack of close-in-proximity-friends to further isolate her. It's a terrible, terrible situation, and between all my girlfriends, we are just trying to be supportive and hope time will work this out.

The problem with time is that my wedding is coming up, and my friend is a bridesmaid. I don't want to see her boyfriend ever again in my whole entire life (he said some really offensive things to me, and it is known that I don't approve, but I also feel like he is SUCH a jerk that he'd be like "Oh I'm coming to ruin your wedding because you don't like me!"). I can't imagine my rehearsal dinner, with only a few close friends and family and their dates... which includes HIM. The problem is that he is so obnoxious, he's bound to offend me, my family, my friend, just basically make someone cry or really offend someone by being the overall bigot he is - he cannot just sit there and be pleasant and cordial. The wedding is in my hometown, and he won't know anyone except her (and a few other bridesmaids), and obviously I want my gals to focus on bridesmaidsy stuff - getting nails done, drinking champagne, etc., and I just KNOW she's going to be obsessed with his whereabouts, making sure he's ok in this town he doesn't know, and I wouldn't put it past them for him to just BE around. She'll also skip out of the reception early to just be with him, and I want all my best friends to be with me on my night. 

She is so weak and vulnerable right now, I feel like if I tell her my concerns, she will back out of my wedding and maybe even lose each other as friends and she'll feel even more isolated. I absolutely adore this girl, despite her terrible taste in men. I feel very protective. I also turn to her for good life advice and just overall good times. I cannot imagine my life or my wedding without her. I feel selfish, but I chose all my bridesmaids so carefully, and I want them all to be there enjoying MY day with me. I want to be there for her, but I also want my special day to be not ruined by this dude. As in... he needs to not be there. HELP. Please!

-Bride With Good Intentions (I swear hate this d-bag for good reasons!!)


You have to tell her HE'S NOT INVITED. And tell her why.

It would be awful if your friend pulled away from you and missed your wedding, but she may have to hit rock bottom before she gets her shit together and leaves the asshole.

Photo by Craig McDean via Fashion Gone Rogue


  1. How does your FH feel about this amazing catch of a man? If he comes is there a chance that your gal pal will see the light if he is offensive and rude in front of so many people?

  2. EXACTLY what ESB said. you can't force your friend to change, but you can stop enabling her codependent behavior (and still be caring and supportive). in fact, a weekend away from Mr. Wonderful may be just what she needs to see the light. after spending some quality time with people that truly have her best interests at heart, and seeing all the other couples (including you guys !) she may start to think "hmmm ... so this is what a healthy, meaningful relationships / partnerships are supposed to look like. I need to change MY life."


  3. What 17 beats said. And make sure you tell her that you love her, no matter who she's dating.

  4. Exactly what I was thinking, 17 Beats. She needs some light shed onto her to realize what a problematic relationship she's in.

    It's not always as easy to get out of relationships like these as some people think it is. But if you do get involved, you as her friend are really going to have to be there for her regardless that it's your wedding day if it has to come down to it. Either that, or your bridesmaids who are also her friend will have to step in.

    I hope that everything works out for the best for your friend. And be careful not to bombard her if you decide to tell her your thoughts and feelings. It can be overwhelming when people are approached about situations like these and cause them to just stay right where they are and shut out everyone even more. Approach it with as much caution as possible.

  5. Lady.
    You are in a very unique position to change her life.
    Since it's your affair, you do have THE RIGHT to tell her.

    believe me, she needs telling.

    She's only concerned about him and his well-being because it all comes back on her. He's steamrolling her life, and she's so focused on not getting hurt by him that she's ignoring the obvious warning signs.

    So make the signs a little harder to ignore, and as an amazing, calm, collected woman, tell her.

    Look, this was me 1.5 months ago: http://www.eastsidebride.com/2011/08/hey-esb-remember-me.html

    i wanted someone to tell me sooo badly.

  6. I felt extremely trapped in a terribly abusive relationship for far too long. I had good friends who supported me after the it ended but I had/have a little hurt/anger harbouring for them because they never gave me a good talking to, never said how bad it looked from the outside until it was over. Yes, I am an adult who is responsible for her own grown-up life decisions and I know full well that I shouldn’t expect any hand-holding. But these are my friends. And you are her friend. Good friend. Maid of honour friend. Talk to her. Explain everything you told us, possibly more. Calmly, without blame. Explain it all. Then listen. I’m sure she knows how bad it is, somewhere in there, and maybe all she needs is a quiet, judgment-free time to ask for help. If not, the door is open for further discussion.

    Totally biased due to my experiences but the main point is talk.
    Just talk to her.

  7. What Allyson said. This is your chance to help her see the truth. Tell her exactly why the A-hole isn't invited.

  8. OMG Please just hire a hit man!
    What an awful dude

  9. you have to tell her and be honest with her. my friend who was in a similar situation still thanks me to this day that i spoke up about the abuse when everyone else tip toed around the issue. it will be hard at first but i think in her heart she knows that he's a jerk, she just doesn't know how to deal with it. good luck!

  10. My feedback is to talk to her and express your concerns. Let her know that you are concerned that he will negatively impact the wedding and that you prefer he not be there. After all that, if she doesn’t feel she can come to the wedding without him, but still wants to come—let her bring him. I think that not letting her come if she brings her boyfriend won’t necessarily be the wake-up call others are hoping for and will further isolate her from you and other support systems who will be at the wedding. I am a survivor of dating violence and have been doing the work for 10 years. Leaving takes time, and these well intentioned interventions (that have an ultimatum) often fail and leave the victim of abuse feeling more alone than they were before. Below is a list of advice from seeitandstopit.org on how to help:

    - Do identify the unhealthy behaviors.
    Keep track of things you have noticed about the relationship and her boyfriend. Identify the changes you have seen in your friend's behavior.

    -Do offer your unconditional friendship and support.
    If it's uncomfortable to discuss the relationship itself, start by helping her feel good about themselves. Talk to her about her strengths. By rebuilding her confidence it easier to visualize being out of the relationship.

    - Do be clear that you are there to listen, and not to judge.
    There is an important balance between expressing concern and telling someone what to do. Encourage her to express their feelings and make her own decisions.

    - Do tell your friend it's not her fault.
    Stress that she does not deserve the abuse and that abuse is NEVER acceptable. Remind her often that you are there for support whenever necessary.

    - Do accept what she tells you.
    Skepticism will drive her away.

    - Do acknowledge the scariness of the situation.
    It is scary and difficult to talk about it. Be prepared with good information.

    - Don't criticize your friend or her partner.
    Even if you disagree with her choices. This may isolate your friend even more by making her feel that no one approves, or that she has to hide their relationship.

    - Don't directly confront her boyfriend.
    Avoid all contact whatsoever.

    - Don't blame your friend for the abuse.
    The victim should never feel as though the abuse is her fault.

    - Don't rush.
    Leaving an abusive situation usually takes time and isn't something to rush. Be there and be patient, so your friend can emerge from the problem on her own timetable.

    - Don't try to make her do something.
    Don't force your friend do something she may feel uncomfortable doing. She needs to make her own decisions. It's okay to be persuasive, but never to get angry.

  11. she's your best friend and bridesmaid- but is it worth having YOUR day ruined over an asshole? yeah, sucks if she can't make it. but you'll have so many other people there who want to see you happy and enjoy your day.

    worst case- she'll not only skip but be PISSED- just let it roll off your shoulders. be sure to fix it AFTER the honeymoon.

  12. I think that we can agree that you are 100% right, and maybe just need the little push from readers that your friend needs from you. Be upfront. Let her know. Seeing that she is so vulnerable, it is probably extremely hard for her to pack up and get out. If you offer her a weekend away, d-bag free, it may be just the break she needs to make a clean break.

    Gently nudge her to pack more than pantyhose, foundation, and stickyboob bras for this wedding getaway. (As all bridesmaids should have stickyboob bras, even if the dress doesn't require it.)

  13. I am so impressed by all these constructive comments. I would add that at the beginning of this difficult conversation, you start with, "I love you" before launching in. Just so she knows, you know?

  14. I just want to throw in that there's the very real reality that she may not be able to even comprehend what a weekend away would mean.

    to her, it means glaring looks and nonstop calls from fucktard while she's away, and a hell of a lot of trouble when she gets back.

    you must always offer. but she has to be in her right mind to get out.
    "she may have to hit rock bottom before she gets her shit together and leaves the asshole."

    sad, lady. :(
    the saddest.

  15. esb, thanks for posting letters like this. it's pretty fucking awesome to see all these smart ladies (and rob) offering loving advice to those who really need it.

  16. Oh man, this is timely. I've been grappling with writing you, esb, about an issue like this for a week (the abusive boyfriend wants my help picking her ring - um, hell no). thank you, ladies, for offering this advice forward. I hope BWGI can follow your advice - and that I can, too.

  17. Incredible help. Thank you, everyone.

  18. I would be very wary of straight-up not inviting him- tell her that you're worried how he'll act and give examples of his d-baggery to back it up, but guys like that do try to isolate their women from friends, and evidence that "so and so hates me" leads to "if you love me, you'll stay away from her". And that sh-t works, and will only hurt your friend in the long run.

    Is there someone/several someones you can trust to try to monopolize the guy's time as much as possible? Like, go up and talk to him about his hobbies or something to keep him busy for at least an hour or something, keep him out of everyone's hair?

  19. i wonder what happened?