“Hey, Erica! I will be asking a few questions since I’m just curious for your opinion:
First, do you believe the saying “nice guys, finish last”? Do you think that’s true? Second, I see my ex hanging out with a guy that is completely toxic for her — I mean, he manipulates her and plays mind games with her. I still care about her, despite he being my ex, and we are still good friends. I have talked to her about this and she says he’s like alcohol to her: he’s bad, but she wants him, I guess. I’m worried about her and her mental health, and I want to protect her. Is there anything I can do? Or anything I should do?”
In my personal opinion, nice guys only finish last when they want their partner to orgasm first.
So no, I do not believe nice guys finish last. But I think that there is a difference between nice guys and guys who are passive to the point of not attempting to get what they want. If you are a nice guy—and always wait for someone to pursue you or for someone to spark up the conversation—you will finish last because you didn’t start.
If you’re already a nice guy, learn to be a guy who knows how to ask for what he wants and accept rejection when it comes, not as a personal fatal flaw but as one of the many rejections you’ll experience in your life because that’s how this life thing goes. Everyone has to learn how to accept “no” when it comes, or “I’m sorry, I’m just not into you.” It’s a cute shoe that doesn’t fit, and you can’t become one of Cinderella’s step-sisters (as originally written) and cut your toes off to make it fit.
It’s great that you and your ex are still friends, and it’s even better that you obviously care about her well-being. However, in this situation, you are not going to be able to do much. You can’t make her realize he’s bad for her; it sounds like she already knows. Like a true alcoholic, she has to want to quit. Her friends can help, though—enter YOU.
For people in unhealthy and abusive situations/relationships, the people around them can help by reminding them that they are wonderful people who deserve good things and treatment from their partner. She needs to remember her worth, and hopefully she’ll soon want someone who recognizes that, too. But, my wonderful friend, it is not your job to make this happen. You are obviously upset and frustrated by her situation, but don’t let it consume your own life. You can do as much or as little as you feel to be healthy. From personal experience, I know that it can become something akin to a full-time job when you’re worried about someone’s well-being and want them to get out of an unhealthy relationship. But you’re not in control of this, she is. You can lecture her day and night, create pro/con lists, and reference your sources, but she needs to be the one to want to leave.
Overall, I recommend becoming a genuine support. You are not the knight in shining armor pulling off a daring rescue, you are a friend with genuine and valid concerns. There’s nothing wrong with being honest with that concern, but be careful. You could push her away by being too overbearing, and it’s a delicate balancing act.
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