Relationship could turn abusive


Dear Edward,

Our friend started dating a new guy a couple of months ago. At first we all thought it was great for her. He treated her well and seemed to be a really nice guy. Lately things have changed a lot. We hardly ever see her anymore and the few times we have been able to hang out with her she had to get permission from him to go out. She is a very smart girl and she knows the warning signs. The way he acts towards her we are sure it is only a matter of time until he starts hitting her. What should we do?

~The worried gang

Dear Worried,

It is sad to say your fears are not unfounded. Control in a relationship can be the first step towards something much worse. As an outsider, common sense shows us the danger she could be in. Unfortunately, common sense isn’t very common anymore.

I would suggest first talking to your friend, but it probably won’t do you much good. Sometimes, showing concern for a friend in a new relationship can be misinterpreted. She may think you are jealous of her new-found happiness.

You may also want to pick up some pamphlets on domestic abuse from a woman’s shelter or the social services office. This way you can show her the warning signs you are seeing in black and white.

The problem with that approach is that she probably won’t be seeing any of those signs. If she truly believes he loves her and says she is in love with him, she will be basically remain blind to anything other than what she wants to see.

The only option left is to find someone she will listen to. This means you may have to have a talk with her parents and share your concerns with them. I know that sounds a bit over the top and you’ll probably feel like a neighborhood tattletale. Worse yet, it still won’t give you your friend back.

Be prepared. If you truly are concerned about her safety and you go to her parents to have them do something about it, she isn’t going to like you very much. Actually, if she thinks this is love, complete rage toward all of you is probably what she’ll feel. Hopefully after a while she will calm down and see your actions for what they really were-but it might be a long while.

The bottom line is that your friend’s safety is more important than how much she likes you. We all want to be able to be there for our friends and we don’t want them mad at us. But If you truly care about her, you have to let that go. Let her be mad, let her hate you if she wants, but do what you can to make sure she isn’t in danger.