1. Kids & Family

Tell Me About It: Long-lost buddy may have been abused

Q: I had a college friend until age 35, when he married a girl who was not just entirely uninterested in me and my then-girlfriend (now my spouse), but downright rude to us. Our friendship ended when, after six months of planning, we drove 300 miles, checked into a hotel and called them to go out to dinner as we had arranged and she (and he) blew us off.

Twenty-some years later, I reached out to him through social media. No response.

Four months later, I get an email from him asking me to call him. Turns out he just completed a divorce from said antisocial wife. I said something to the effect of, "Well, she never did like me." Under his breath he said, "Yeah — a lot of my friends have been saying that."

It's sad he let 20 years roll by. I'll keep that acquaintance at arms-length from now on, if I even keep in touch with him.


A: If the friend in question were a woman, and if she had married a man who, as soon as they started dating, stood in the way of all of her existing friendships, alienating and isolating her through a 20-year marriage, and if she had emerged from their eventual divorce by gradually trying to reconnect with these old friends, what would the narrative be?

"She finally got away from her abusive husband, and, her confidence shot, she's trying to reconnect with whatever's left of her old life and self" — right?

Well, if so, you inhabit a culture that's also notoriously blind to women as abusers.

Skilled manipulators can be half your size, bedridden, and still get you talking their talk, walking their walk, thinking it's your idea.

Maybe your buddy quit on you, but there's room to believe he was coerced. Given that he might have paid a wildly disproportionate price for his choices, can't you at least give him a chance before making him pay yours?