How do I tell my girlfriend that she is in an unhealthy relationship?

in ASK VICE With the help of psychologists, experts and experience experts, we answer your life questions.

Hi VICE,

One of my best girlfriends-Let me call her Elisa, currently at Relationship Which seems somewhat lopsided to me. know the wordtoxicIt is used a lot and often, so I won’t talk about it, but I have a few questions.

I’ve noticed the dynamics of their relationship little by little over the past two years. Leaning partner Elisa, I call Robert here to belittle it where everyone is. I also never saw Elisa without Robert. I’ve often heard Robert say things like “you don’t understand” to her, or make decisions that are undesirable for both of them.

When this happens, Elisa crouches and smiles in disbelief, or shrugs without really saying anything. I don’t know if they do it when they’re alone, but that It seems unhealthy.

Elsa and I have known each other for a few years. We’ve always seen each other a lot, we went out together until the sun came up and we called each other all the time too. That’s how it was when Elisa and Robert first met, when everything was still great. Now we see and hear each other less and less. When I asked Elisa now, she said she already had other plans with Robert, or that “Robert would rather be alone.”

Just to be clear, I’m not hated. I am aware of the dynamics because I have had similar experiences in the past. But when I talk to Elisa about it, she downplays the situation. I don’t want our friendship to be strained anymore, but I also don’t want Elisa to wake up one day and say, “But why didn’t the fuck tell me what you were thinking?”

So, how do I discuss the situation without getting into a boring discussion? Are there ways to say hurtful things without feeling like a stab in the back?

Thank you,

a.

Welcome ,

Your attentive feedback means that you are a good friend, especially when you gather information before you act. It’s also a good idea to refuse to use the term “toxic” to describe this relationship. You will also experience this as a sharp judgment if it is used to describe you. You seem to realize that relationships are complex and that dysfunctional behaviors can come and go over time.

However, the fact that your girlfriend is being insulted in public by her partner is a worrying situation. According to a clinical psychologist and sexologist Dania Piras Frequently underestimating a partner is a biblical example of dysfunctional behavior that occurs in relationships for a variety of reasons.

Based on your description, Piras said, it could be “a male-female relationship that remains, unfortunately, a gender gap and patriarchal views.” This situation may also be the result of “the fact that both partners grew up in an environment that was much underestimated,” says Piras. Unfortunately, not everyone who encounters this kind of power realizes this dynamic, especially if they are in love or under social or cultural pressure.

In any case, the relationship between Elisa and Robert will continue for the time being, so what we can deal with right now is your personal discomfort with the situation. The question to ask yourself, according to Piras, is: What do you want to achieve? What do you really want to say?

If you have just started dating someone, it is natural to focus on that person and keep other relationships in mind. This is especially true in many monogamous relationships that “tend to follow the unconscious rules that are part of” monochromePeras continues. “Priority is given to partner, friends come later, they are a little on the sidelines.”

At the same time, her partner’s jealousy can contribute to feelings of alienation towards your girlfriend. Regardless of gender and sexual orientation, you may”feel threatened “Because of the intimacy we share with someone else,” Piras said. However, this is a subtle issue, so you shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

“If your girlfriend isn’t uncomfortable or doesn’t ask you for help, you can’t expect to be able to freely share your thoughts in the conversation,” Piras says. Focus on expressing your personal feelings honestly. “There is a difference between judging other people’s relationships – ‘He treats you badly, you should leave him’ – and expressing how we feel about something.”

According to Byras, you can start the conversation with: “Since I’ve been with Robert, I feel a bit left out. I miss the relationship we had, and I’d like to see you a lot. what do you think? What do you think of this?’

You can also try to get to know Robert better. Approaching him can narrow the distance between you and your sweetheart and allow you to assess the situation more thoroughly. Finally, if you still feel that your relationship with Elisa is problematic, you can start talking about your own experiences and gently ask some questions.

The most rewarding approach to this type of conversation comes from honesty and integrity. “It takes a strong sense of self and a reasonable degree of distance to be able to talk about your own experiences without suggesting that the other person is,” Peras continues. “You have to remember that not to put up walls.

For example, you could say, “If Robert belittles you in front of everyone, I feel uncomfortable because I think you should be treated with respect. How do you feel when these things happen? I see you’re not responding, are you okay with it?” Piras suggests.

The dumbest thing you can do in this situation is start the conversation with the expectation that you will be heard right away or that your girlfriend will react a certain way. You need to remember that Elisa is “a person who can think for himself, who independently experiences her emotions, desires, and points of view,” says Piras. So, even if you think you’ve gone through a similar situation, be aware of the “risk of bias, the tendency to strip your own experience and make it universal to everyone”.

In the end, your girlfriend will only listen and accept help when she’s ready. If Elisa continues to refuse to show any vulnerability or act defensively, you can just say, “Sorry, but I had to share this. Know that I’m always there for you if you have any issues. Getting this message across is half the battle.”

This article originally appeared Italy Vice.

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