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I need support in giving support.

I have an insanely needy ex-bf, who I have remained friends with since breaking up a year ago, even though we now live very far apart. Psychologically, this guy clings as if he is a drowning man and I am a life preserver (he does this to everyone, not just me), and sometime I am so annoyed that I am ready to hold him underwater and drown him myself!!

Since I know someone is going to ask, he has resisted all kinds of therapy, talking to clergy, etc. -- he doesn't want to change.

HOWEVER, he DOES want to change his weightand improve his health, and he's been doing great. He's lost about 50 pounds, and has about 10 to go. He really should be proud of himself for this! Yet he just cannot stop asking for a compliment -- he never even gives me a chance to compliment him! Every e-mail he tells me how much he weighs. Recently he sent a link to some video and the first thing he asked was how I think he looked. (It was serious TV and I was much more impressed with what he SAID.)

I definitely want to be encouraging, and I want to tell him he's doing great -- because he is! But I'm SO ANNOYED by his constant begging that the words never pass my lips or fingertips. I feel really bad, because I never have any trouble praising and encouraging my PeerTrainer buddies, who in fact log far more about themselves. How do I master my annoyance and find constructive things to say to this guy? I think we are in a vicious circle.

Sat. May 27, 12:30pm

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It sounds like your friend has really low self-esteem. It is too bad that he doesn't want to seek help. However, I don't think you need to feel bad for not giving asked for compliments. Instead compliment when you normally would. The good thing about e-mail is that you can choose the questions you want to answer. It gives you the oportunity to ignore the questions that annoy you. About the interview, compliment him on what he said and just ignore the question about how he looks.

Saturday, May 27, 2006, 12:43 PM

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Cling on

It sounds like he is using his weight loss and your support to stay in your life as much as possible. Speaking from recent experience with a amicable breakup, it became necessary to cut off contact for a period of time to allow the other person to make the break fully. It sounds harsh, I know, but it might be time to reevaluate your friendship to allow him time to move on and not NEED you so much.

Best of luck!

Saturday, May 27, 2006, 2:59 PM

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Maybe he thinks if he looks hot you will get back together...

Sunday, May 28, 2006, 12:35 AM

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I agree- he's just using his weight loss journey to hang on to you. Be ready for him to tell you that he has or will gain the weight back if you withdraw your support. The best suggestion I can think of is to have him try weight watcher's or overeaters anonymous--- but I suspect he will resist because what he really wants is a reason to cling to you.
He IS going to drown you and exhaust you, because it will never be over for him. Even when he gets to his goal weight, he will cling to you for support in keeping it off.
Try some tips from Al-Anon to find a way to cope without becoming an enabler. There must be other communities you can try also, but that's the first one that comes to mind.
Good luck! :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 9:02 AM

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drop him like its hot

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 9:16 AM

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OP here -- really, we're not going to get back together. We now live more than 1000 miles apart and are both in other relationships. Mutual friends from my old town tell me that he's embarrassingly clingy to them, as well, and his desperate lack of self-esteem is making it difficult for them. So, it's not some "getting over it" problem.

I'm just really struggling to be positive rather than mean. I hate it that I can't say anything nice before he starts begging me -- it's like wanting to kick a puppy.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 11:15 AM

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Some people don't help you better yourself in life. It's not a matter of being mean for not wanting to be around that, it's in pursuit of your higher good. If someone is toxic for you, you need to get rid of them. You're not even related to this one, don't live in the same city! Why are you interested in continuing a friendship with him?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 12:56 PM

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I couldn't agree with the 12:56 poster more!

I know it's harsh, but you have to cut off all ties! Just because he is dating doesn't mean he's over you. I have an ex that actually got married because he wanted to prove to me that he was the marrying type.... yah, he lost me with that tactic too- why would I want to suddenly marry a man I had already broken up with because he got married!?

Bottom line is it's alright to be selfish- you owe him nothing, no matter how much or what your history is together. Take care of yourself, not everyone is as nice as you are :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 1:18 PM

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Dump him!
Sometimes you need to get rid of the baggage in your life. He may be nice, he may even be supportive of you, but he is absolutely toxic in your life, and no, you can't "fix" him.
He needs to find another outlet, and since you're not the ONLY friend he has, he'll be fine, even if he acts like he won't.
I also agree he may be trying to impress you, even if he doesn't totally want you back.
BTW, to the poster who's ex got married to prove himself, that is just SO sad!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 2:39 PM

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OP here-

"Annoying" =/ "toxic."
My question is really about how to overcome an annoyance that is really irrational on my part, especially as this person is no longer a huge part of my life, really just someone I exchange a call or e-mail with every couple of weeks.

Some of you responding seem to be extrapolating out to much more intense bad experiences you have had -- you have my sympathy.

As for why I would want to have friends in other cities, I assume you haven't moved much. I have moved over and over and over again --99% of my friends are from other cities! I'm busily making new friends where I am. But you know how the song goes, "Make new friends, but keep the old/One is silver and the other gold."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 5:11 PM

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