Wanna keep your friendship with a friend who's in a bad relationship? Then stay out of it.

Some thoughtful responses to yesterday’s What Would You Do Wednesday; most everybody had the same idea, leave it to a good therapist to help them work it out. One reader suggested speaking to her dad, which actually I recall doing when our girls dated guys who weren’t the best for them. Worked like a charm, something about the father daughter bond indeed.

Personally, I learned a long time ago that getting in the middle of a relationship, while the relationship is still hot and heavy, leaves you, the friend, the third wheel on the outside. As is the case in this situation. Trying to point out to a girlfriend that her man isn’t such a great man rarely goes well, even when the friend asks you to be honest, and to tell them what you really think about their lover. I no longer answer that question with my truth, I usually throw it back to them by asking them a question. Something like; “how do you feel in the relationship?” “Do you feel heard/supported…” stuff like that. As a friend I try to get them thinking about the deeper matters that she may be ignoring because the boyfriend ticks off all the outward boxes that she’s looking at. Often times, people would rather be with the wrong somebody rather than nobody at all. To which I’ve always said to any of my single girlfriends, and my daughters…”it’s better to be alone than it is to be with the wrong person. Keep in mind that while you’re busy with your wrong person, the right one might not be able to happen because you’re not available.”

As for blatantly being in a relationship with somebody who keeps you from realizing your goals, and your potential? Well that ultimately is up to the person who is letting their light be dimmed by their partner. Unless we’re walking a mile in their shoes it’s impossible to know what parts of them-self is being fulfilled by being in the relationship. None of us from the outside looking in can truly understand the inner workings of an intimate relationship, even if to us it seems like there is nothing good happening at all!

At the end of the day, we have to trust our friends, and believe that they know what they need, and they know what they want better than we ever will, and that if they’re not getting that, they will get out. If they’re seemingly okay with a partner who undermines them, who talks over them in public settings, who are we to get in the middle of it and tell them that their choice isn’t good enough for them? Or that their person doesn’t respect them the way we would like to see them be respected? I mean if she’s okay with a man who wants the spotlight to only be on him, then that’s her choice. The only thing we can do as girlfriends is to be sure that IF the shit hits the fan, if he pushes her to the edge where she simply cannot take it any longer and gets up the nerve to leave him, that we’re there for her with open arms. Even if it has been months, maybe years since you last spoke or saw one another because another thing this not so great fiance did, was turn your friend against you. When your friend comes around, be there without judgement, and without a wagging finger letting her know that you told her so. Just be love for her when she finally needs you again.

Because love is patient, love is kind, and love never fails.