Candid Corner: Friendship turned into toxic obsession

Q: My friend has been obsessing over me for a while now. He lost his parents and I supported him. Now he wants me to leave my husband for him. How do I deal with this obsession?

Ans: Set your boundaries. You own it to yourself, him and the relationship. Indulging in his obsession will be equally harmful to both. You have to spell out very clearly how much you are capable and willing to do for your friend. You can be of emotional support to someone and also not run off with them. You can be there to grieve but not become their life partner. It is your responsibility to explain this to your friend. Many times, we expect people not to cross our boundaries without telling them where they are.

Speaking about our boundaries is a gift we offer to the relationship. It is a sign that you want this person in your life for longer, you want to build trust and prevent resentment. Your friend might be in a highly emotional state right now and cannot think about the wellbeing of the relationship. It is your responsibility to offer your boundaries to him.

Maybe you have not been able to do it until now because of circumstances. Death makes all of us more vulnerable and it is normal to become highly empathetic with people who experienced loss. Your boundaries have been porous for a good reason.

It is now time to make them healthy again. Start the conversation by expressing how much you care about him and how important the relationship is for you. Then explain that you don’t want to leave your husband and why.

Tell him that the nature of your relationship with your husband is different from the one between you two. It will be a simple but emotionally charged conversation. Be ready to make space for his resentment, it’s for the longsighted good.

The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual wellbeing (www.theintimacycurator.com). (Have a query? Send it on fpjcandidcorner@gmail.com)

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