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Time to help friend recalibrate her creep-o-meter

These repeated clues that he's a creep go overlooked too long

Q: A good friend of mine has been through very tough times (her boyfriend cheated on her while she was pregnant with his child) but in the last year has been doing well with a new man. She lives in his house, he helps pay bills and is a great father figure to her 2-year-old son.

She definitely has some dependence issues, but they appeared to have a great relationship. However, over the last two months this man has repeatedly sent sexually explicit text messages and pictures of himself to three women in our group of friends. The messages always come late at night and he always says not to tell her about it. No one has responded to the messages, but he doesn't stop. We want to tell our friend but are worried she will believe whatever he tells her and will never talk to us again. How should we handle this?

Pittsburgh

A: I don't know which makes me want to cry harder, that you think a sexual predator can be a "great" father figure, or a co-dependent can have a "great" relationship.

I don't have to decide, though, because I'm sobbing over the 2-year-old, whose parental figures include a sexual predator and a co-dependent.

You're right to worry your friend will cut you all off. Instead of alerting her immediately to the first illicit text — not exactly harmless flirtation — her three friends chose instead to compare notes. Obviously you can't undo this, but for future brushes with creepy advances, please bring the news immediately to the wronged party herself.

Even if you'd done this, though, you'd still have risked her withdrawal. People in denial often isolate themselves from truth-tellers, and from the steep climb to health that the truth represents.

Nevertheless. There's a toddler here who still has a chance, and a friend who's about to be the last to know she's sleeping with a creep. The friend among the three of you who is closest to her needs to approach her one-on-one, armed with: proof, in case she demands it; readiness to help her relocate; and numbers for reputable local counselors. If you don't know of any, call toll-free 1-800-799-7233. It's a longshot, but should she find the strength to hear and face the truth, she'll need to get her creep filter fixed.

Adults-only invite is not disrespectful to those with kids

Q: My niece is getting married in 16 months. Her parents (my sister and brother-in-law) announced that no children under 14 were invited. This effectively eliminates the six cousins, who are 7 to 13. Furthermore, the three siblings who have these children are all divorced. We do not want to attend a wedding without our children. Should we say anything?

Dissed

A: Yes. You should say, out loud to yourself, until you believe it: "We have not been dissed. We have not been dissed. We have not been dissed."

Some people have picnics, some have cocktail parties. Just because this is a wedding doesn't mean the couple has to throw a picnic. They want a cocktail party. That's their prerogative.

If you don't want to attend, then that's your prerogative. However, it's also in your power to choose not to take offense. You have 16 months (and three exes) to help you all arrange care for your kids.

Time to help friend recalibrate her creep-o-meter 09/09/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 9, 2008 6:22pm]

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