Update: in a Bind - Shared Living

Updated on December 28, 2016
T.H. asks from New York, NY
9 answers

I'm taking this time to say thank you to those of you who took the time to respond with sharing your wisdom, insight and understanding with me. Greatly appreciated.

I received info on a few shelters and drove to them prior to my children being dismissed from school last week and decided to wait it out. The location and surroundings of the shelters sat uneasy with me so I followed my instinct.

The young lady (whom I'm staying with) and I, had a talk the same day about the situation. I expressed what I needed to and this is what she expressed. "My children and I aren't a burden and that she enjoys having us here. She stated that she loves me and that it would hurt her if we lost our friendship over this. She also stated that she knows that I'll do what it takes to get where I'm looking to be."

With that, the great news is that we'll be moving out in about 3 weeks. My children and I have begun looking at houses for rent and we'll have the full 3 months rent to put down. I'm very happy about moving forward to that place and putting closure on this chapter.

I've also decided that it's not in my best interest to continue in the friendship. I've learned so much about her. She is thoughtful, and giving, which are her strengths. I know that she strives to do things right. But I've also seen her pain, her emotional instability and how it impacts her children and those around her. She's very inappropriate when dealing with her boyfriend as her children and his children have heard them engaging in sexual activity while they were home. She takes no accountability for her part the disrespectful ways that she has. The emotional neglect towards her children is very obvious. Being her for 3 months, I've only witnessed her hug them once. Even my son said that he should've taken a pic because it's so rare. She needs help but when I look back at the years of advice I've given her about getting therapy, removing toxic boyfriends/relationships, etc, out of her life, she never seems to have the strength to. Truthfully, a relative of hers once told me that she likes the drama and the attention in her life.

I do love her, but I don't like who she has become. There's nothing I can do about it. I know that I'm making the right decision to remove myself from her life because it's too much of a burden to be present in the life of someone who doesn't want to help themselves get to a better and healthier place in mind and in heart. I don't want to be a crutch or someone whose help is continuously taken in vain. I also have to think about the impact she'll have on my children if I fail to be proactive in this.

Have any of you ever ended a friendship? If so, what approach did you take in doing so? I think that a letter may be appropriate?

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Since Im making breakfast, I want to quickly say before I elaborate later, that I would never, ever leave this home without expressing my utmost gratitude for what my friend has done for me and mine! I would never crap where I slept. So please, THAT is not an issue.

WildWoman, I'll never be a taker. I'm a natural-giver, just like my friend is. That's why I make sure to help whenever needed through buying house-supplies, food, toiletries and helping with her children. Oh and I've given her money and gifts too. I've never been falsely accused of taking from anyone!

B, thank you. I agree with that. I too feel bad for the children.

Diane, awesome, awesome advice that I'll be sure to take! I don't want to be cruel. I think my hurt and disappointment has turned to frustration. I've lost some sleep over this because I do love her and want the best but it's almost as if she's learned nothing from her past hurt to do better this time. But anyway, I'll continue to be there. I'm not going to paint a picture of having used her when I haven't. I've opened my doors to people in the past too and I definitely want her eldest to remain in our lives even more so than anything else because he's a good boy and he has formed a good relationship with my son.

Margie, boundaries will be set indeed. Moving forward and upward.

Savannah, why are you so mad? You dont know me so your opinion will never matter. #saveyourbreath

Doris Day, I won't discuss it at all. Onward and upward.

Thanks Ladies for wishing me and minevwell. We're very excited.

More Answers

D.B.

answers from Boston on

I am so glad that you have found a place to move to where you and your children will feel safe and stable. If you can make it another 3 weeks in an environment you dislike but don't think is unsafe, great. It's one less adjustment for the kids.

I think there are friendships that last forever, and some that last for a while and run their course. There are books we read that will treasure and will re-read, and others we're done with. There are jobs we work at that we love and stay with, and others that no longer apply.

I think you do need to be very grateful for this woman taking you in when you were at a low point, and who, despite her many flaws, gave you a chance to get on your feet. I hope that you thank her profusely and, as you continue to get on your feet financially, you send her a check for some additional payback of what she did for you for heat, electricity, groceries, whatever. I really think that writing a letter is a bad idea. You are not breaking up with a husband or a life partner, first of all. Secondly, if she thrives on drama as you suspect, why fuel it with more drama? It would be a slap in the face for all she has done for you, and there's no way for her to take it as anything but "I used you, I'm done with you, I'm casting you aside." I know that's not what you mean, but it's how it will come across.

What you do is the following:
1) pay it forward. You make your home or your efforts or whatever available to someone who needs you. And you let her know that you are there for her if she's ever in desperate straits like you were. If she's in a bad relationship, the time may come when she will need support to get out of it, whether she stays in her house or not. Maybe one of her kids will need a quiet and drama-free place to stay if things turn ugly at her house. So you stay open to those possibilities. If you can't help her in person, you can help her get to services that can help her, but I think closing the door and saying "You're on your own with your crazy life, dearie" is just too cruel after what she has done for you. She doesn't know she's a negative influence on you, and it's possible that she disagrees just as much with your parenting style as you do with hers. Maybe it hasn't been so wonderful for her to have you all under her roof either - so while you don't have to hash it out with her, you would probably benefit from being open to that possibility too. I'm sure I'm irritating as hell to some people but they just haven't told me about it.
2) Let the friendship drift away without launching a torpedo at it. She'll move on with her life, and you'll move on with yours. You'll see each other less frequently. Maybe you can all go to a part or the movies or for dinner now and then. Maybe you treat her once of twice to thank her for what she has spent on you when you couldn't pay your own way. You spend a few hours together in an activity, without being under her roof or where she's having sex with her boyfriend. Whether she hugs her kids is not your concern. If she's beating them or doing something else abusive, then you report it to CPS. Otherwise, you let your get-togethers become less frequent.

Good luck in your new place and I wish you all good things!

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W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

Part of being a true friend? Is accepting the person - warts and all.

Your friend has cared for you when you were stuck. When YOU made the decision to leave one state for another without ANY JOB or ANYTHING - she took you and your children in. Now that you see her warts? You can't handle it? Oh okay.

Did you stop to think that MAYBE you could influence her to help her become a "better" person? Instead you choose to leave after you've taken from her what you needed/wanted. Great.

Good luck!

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

Good news on finding a place and having a plan for moving forward now. Must come as a big relief.

If it were me, I'd just focus on yourself and your kids right now. Don't stress about this friendship. You've just made a big change in your life, moving yourself and kids someplace new, and starting over. Why add to the drama.

Being a friend doesn't mean you have to fix your friend. Or being there unconditionally. You should have boundaries. You say you love her but don't like or respect her. What was your friendship based on? You say you're both givers. Friendships should be about enjoying each other's company and being uplifted by the person because you respect and like them. Did you really not know any of this about her before moving in?

Once you're settled just redefine your boundaries. If you don't want to hear about her relationships, then don't make yourself so available to listen to it. Maybe you'll be a let's go shopping or to a movie friend. Sounds like you're just too involved in her personal affairs. Go back to a level you're more comfortable with. Friends can say no to each other, and it should be ok.

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S.S.

answers from Atlanta on

It's great that you have found a place and have a new goal.

It's sad that you have decided to end the friendship after seeing parts of her you didn't like. There are parts of Tyler I don't like. No one is perfect.

Is her behavior towards her children good? No. Why not stick it out and show her how to be a better mother? I see you as a taker, as WW stated.You got what you wanted. Now you have? Screw you. it's not in my best interests to continue our friendship! YOUR WORDS!!!

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

Friendships tend not to end with a letter or any sort of defined shutting down event.
They fizzle and go out.
Basically - once you move out, you sincerely thank her for putting you and your family up for several months and helping you out when you needed it - and then become busy to the point where you seldom have time for her again.
Maybe send her a Christmas card once a year.
Until SHE realizes she has a problem and wants to actually do something about it - there's nothing anyone can do for her.
I really feel sad for her kids - they are the ones who suffer the most from her life style.

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N.K.

answers from Miami on

Congrats on finding a solution that will enable you and your kids to become independent, through renting a home. I hope you find the perfect home that makes you all feel safe and happy. As to the friend, it seems she only has the drama when at home, right? Perhaps you can meet up on occasion for coffee or something brief, outside the home, where she won't be stressed and upset and you don't feel so frustrated about her and her home situation. A walk in the park together may be good, she can let off some steam and become more energized. Maybe she just needs to find a way to vent her anger and frustration, rather than smacking her kids and flying off the handle.

You can always maintain a Facebook friendship too, in case she needs your help and support further down the line when she is ready to accept that she DOES need to change. This is no different than having an alcoholic friend you constantly take to rehab and bail out when they get a DUI. You eventually tire of all the help you provide and they keep drinking, while you are feeling frustrated that it's an endless cycle. The only person who can make them stop drinking and sober up is THEM. In the meantime, you stay in the background, listen to them, continue to advise and hope for the best.

You don't have to live with this woman and her toxic situation, but you can certainly offer emotional support and invite her son into your home to spend time with your son. This will be healthy for the boy and maybe it will also relieve some of her stress if there's one less kid to watch. You will also keep the friendship, while providing the boy with your son's friendship. Consider some weekend sleepovers once you get your new home. It will be healthy for all involved. Again, congratulations and best of luck.

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N.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I have. When I lived in a city in college I became friends with a wonderful lady, mom of kids the same age as my daughter.

This woman was a model mom, kept an immaculate home, kids always had excellent manners, and just all around nice person. She was 6 years older than me and was really raised in a different era than I was. She was raised to be a model homemaker and mother, to never have to work, and all that.

She had been married but was divorced. She was a sweet and wonderful person. Until she drank a couple of drinks. We would go out sometimes and go dancing at local nightclubs. When she drank she got aroused and anyone would do. She would go in the parking lot with this one, have some fun, come back in, go in the bathroom with someone else and come back out in a bit, and over and over. I was getting a bad reputation just by being associated with her. I didn't even drink!!! Or sleep around.

She was incredibly lonely and looking for fulfillment in the wrong places. She never married again and is still single and lonely as far as I know. I moved away to get away from her. The distance proved to be hard on our friendship, I never had gas money to go visit her and go out. So our friendship died a natural death. I hear about her now and then and I do have fond memories of our times not at clubs. She was a great role model for me and a good friend to me. But her promiscuity was too much and an embarrassment.

I didn't have an "This is the last day of our friendship" sort of thing. I made moves where it would be difficult to be around her and geography and distance made the rest easier.

You are going to be moving and will have a lot of new things going on. You can use those things as an excuse. Keep her as a FB friend and allow the friendship to wither away into FB friend status. There isn't any need to have a conversation with her that says "Hey, thanks for the help but I don't like you on the inside, you're not someone I want to spend time with".

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D..

answers from Miami on

Just be prepared, if you tell her that the friendship is over, for her to accuse you of using her, for conveniently "forgetting" that you have done a lot for her, and for her to be an absolute beotch to you.

That being said, if I were you, I would not have any discussion with her. Leave and don't look back. If she calls, chat a little (don't give her your new address!) and then get off the phone. Make it so that phone calls are farther and farther apart, and you don't actually get together with her after some time.

I really think that it will be better if you don't have the conversation. It serves no purpose to have the conversation.

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D.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

You state you're a giver. But you are turning your back on this friend who has taken you in. I see you as a TAKER. You are saying she's "toxic" but you put up with it for how long so you could get what YOU wanted? Yes. I say TAKER.

If you are hell bent on ending this relationship? Don't wait the 3 weeks. Do it TODAY. Tell her to her face that you don't like how toxic she is. Tell her to her face. She deserves to HEAR IT FROM YOU.

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