#onlinedating | My friend always picks bad, abusive, cheating guys. How can I steer her right? Ask Ellie | #bumble | #tinder | #pof

Q: My friend of many years has repeatedly gotten into relationships with “bad” men.

They cheated on her, were nasty to her during alcohol binges, and physically and/or emotionally abused her.

She’d swear that she’ll “never make that mistake again.” Months later she’ll have met “the most wonderful, loving man” … etc.

She never learns. Soon she’s ranting about that guy, too.

My friend’s 39. She’s clever at technology and quickly navigated online dating early on. She’s swift at enticing a guy to meet her.

Whether it’s a hookup or a hot sexual connection, she keeps landing in the same miserable situation of being cast aside by someone who’s been playing elsewhere all along.

I’ve known her since we were kids. I care about her. How can I help my friend get out of this rut that always has her ending up angry and hurting?

A: Your friend’s stuck in repeated scenarios of emotional and sometimes physical distress.

Some situations are clearly dangerous, including dating barely known men during COVID-19. Her anger, desperation and bad choices can land her in severe harm.

She needs psychological counselling as soon as possible. It can be found online with virtual meetings during the pandemic.

Urge her to do the research to choose an experienced psychologist who can diagnose the source of her behaviour.

Once she sees and understands her own pattern (unsuccessful at finding a healthy relationship), she’ll hopefully be receptive to counselling on how to change it.

Till then, she’ll continue to rush into bad choices with potentially worse outcomes. Tell her how upset you’ll be if she doesn’t save herself.

Q: I’m 41, single, self-employed and lonely.

Many of my women friends have children and are preoccupied with them on weekends when I’m free.

Some family members won’t get together with me because their children are at school, exposed to potential COVID contacts. My older relatives are self-isolating.



I appreciate their concern and caution, but it still leaves me on my own.

I’m busy enough with a home-based business during the week, but weekends on my own are tough. I read, take long walks, and stream so many series I can’t always keep them straight.

But I’m almost always alone, with my thoughts and feelings trapped in my own head.

I’m healthy, nice-looking, and would love a relationship. But I can’t see myself starting something with a stranger online when the risks of the virus are so serious.

Yet some people are meeting and dating. Am I making myself more miserable by holing up at home for months ahead until this pandemic is over or there’s a safe vaccine being distributed?

A: Hang in, you have lots still going for you: a business (luckier than many), friends and family you can still talk to and see virtually.

You’ve apparently also got your health, mobility, and a home base of your own. Very lucky.

This is actually a time when you can make new friends online. I didn’t say “dates” because you’re not ready to meet strangers in person.

But you can read profiles on dating apps and try online conversations designed to make new “friends for now.” You can search for chat groups about specific interests and build a new contact network.

The pandemic will end when a safe vaccine gets distributed. That’s months ahead, not years. You’ll make it through. And the journey can still be positive and hopeful if you look/plan forward instead of sadly inward.

Ellie’s tip of the day

Repeatedly choosing dangerous relationship partners is a desperate cry for help.

Ellie Tesher is an advice columnist for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: ellie@thestar.ca.

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