He abused her and now she wants us to meet up

Dear Suzie, I’ve known my friend since we were 17 years old. She’s like a sister. She gradually became dependant on alcohol and prescription drugs but sought help from a local drug and alcohol unit and successfully gained sobriety. During this time she began having sex with one of the male counsellors at the centre. It later transpired that he was having sex with and had moved into the home of another female client while still having sex and ‘dating’ my friend. She found out about them and was distraught as she believed he was the one. On her request I helped her persue a formal complaint and the counsellor was dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct, that was also the end of their relationship. About 3 months later I learned that they had both sorted out their differences and are now a happy couple and I’m truely pleased that she is happy. But she’s has hinted at us all meeting up and having a night out. I’ve told her that will never happen as what he did was morally and ethically wrong and I strongly disagree with his betrayal of trust and nmanipulative behaviour when she was vulneravle. Consequently I don’t visit her at her house anymore I keep my distance and our friendship although sisterly, lacks the respect I always had for her. How can I get it through to her that I will never condone their relationship. Thanks.

It sounds as if you have! And I strongly support your having done so. It’s really sad that it means your relationship has changed, but relationships usually do. If she was now living with a decent bloke whom you liked and hadn’t exploited her, you’d probably have found that some distance developed. It does, when primary allegiances switch from friends to partners.

If I were you I’d make a strong statement to her that it’s the man and the relationship you disapprove of, and that while the door might be open for her it isn’t for him or them as a couple. That would mean that if – I hope it’s if rather than when, but I have my suspicions as I’m sure you do – he abuses her again she’ll feel able to renew your relationship.

If, that is, you want her to. It sounds as if she is someone who seeks out punishment, whether it’s addictions or abusive relationships. Maybe while she has successfully gained sobriety, you could also look at moving on from having a friend who asked for much and gave – what?

It’s a sad and hard fact of life – just because it’s lasted since you were 17 is no reason why it should go on lasting. You’ve changed, she’s changed. Life has a way of doing that.

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