All You Need is Love?


Dear Maryanne:


One of my best friends has been unhealthily obsessed with the same guy for almost four years (we’re now seniors in college). They have hooked up intermittently over this time but have never been on a date or spent any platonic time together. He has never displayed any actual interest in her or her feelings despite it being incredibly obvious that she is very attached.

She refuses to show interest in any other person.??My friend responds to this guy’s booty call messages every single time, running over to his place even at 3am in the pouring rain. She is obsessed to the point of letting it completely control her mood.  We’re at a breaking point and have no idea what to do. Please help!


-A, J, and S


Thank you so much for writing this letter. I think it’s fantastic that you’re so worried about your girlfriend and that she has friends like you looking out for her. I want to try to help you by shifting your perspective a little bit and hopefully giving you some insight into what might be going on with your friend.

My top concern would be your girlfriend’s safety, and if she has given any hint at all that she is thinking about harming herself or is dangerously depressed, please get some professional help on campus, as it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If this isn’t a concern and you’re more just worried about the fact that she drops everything in her life to run after him, then you have to consider that there are two ways to look at this situation:  Your way, and her way.  Getting these two perspectives more in line with each other is going to be difficult but necessary, if you ever hope to see eye to eye.

From your point of view, you must be wondering why she would allow herself to be so used and disrespected for so long by someone who is never going to want a serious relationship with her.  It’s possible that the situation she’s put herself in now is similar in dynamic to one that she had in her childhood. Relationship dynamics are imprinted quite clearly, and if she has confided in any of you about her past, you may already know about some similar experiences in her childhood. It’s possible that she’s recreating a dynamic that she’s carried with her for her whole life.

If you don’t know much about her background, or what you’ve heard doesn’t seem to indicate a recreation of a past dynamic, a try investigating a little and see what you come up with. In the very likely case that you find our history is repeating itself, the best thing you can do is help out with books and other reading materials that can help show her what is going on. I’d be happy to provide a list of books you can try –  a great place to start would be my own book, Hindsight: What You Need to Know Before You Drop Your Drawers.

Even if she understands what’s going on, however, there is no guarantee that it will turn her around. Each of us has to wake up from our own self-destructive patterns in our own time, in our own way. The best you can do is continue to be great friends to her, point her in the right direction as much as you can, and trust that God’s light shines on her the same as it shines on you.

To get an idea of a healthy, mutual respectful relationship, check out my interview on Spiritual Partnership with Gary Zukav and Linka Francis:

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