Red flags, bad dates and help for perpetually poor choices

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“All seemed well until the guy started withdrawing a bit, saying he was sure he had gotten herpes and could “feel the disease in his body.” It was seriously kinda crazy.”

Q:

I seemed to have a good rapport with a guy I was talking to online, and we decided to meet. Long story short, it ended in a consensual blowie in the car. All seemed well until the guy started saying he was sure he had gotten herpes from me and could “feel the disease in his body.”

It was seriously kinda crazy. When I thought the discussion had waned, he brought it up again and again.

Now it’s a few weeks later, and he’s asking for a second date. He lives with his parents and could be looking for an excuse to get out of the house for the night. Should I consider it?

Dear Sore for More:

An old saying comes to mind. When people show you who they are, believe them. You did nothing wrong, but he gave himself permission to freak out. You are right that there are red flags flying.

He may be the kind of person who gets attention via meltdowns, possibly from his parents. Right now, it’s not your problem. But if the idea of it bothers you, it will bother you more if you start seriously dating him.

Going forward, if your new friend creates diseases out of thin air, what will he do when he’s under real pressure? Are you prepared to talk him down every time the chips are down?

If he balances the co-dependence and paranoia with irresistible positive qualities, you might decide it’s worth it, but it’s never a bad idea to acknowledge the issues in advance.

If he balances the co-dependence and paranoia with irresistible positive qualities, you might decide it’s worth it, but it’s never a bad idea to acknowledge the issues in advance.

Q: 

I have a friend who dates all the wrong people. If it’s a horrible choice, my friend is there. Closeted 18-year-old at work? Tried it. Emotional attachment but sexual incompatibility? Keeps going back for more. Getting back with the ex who wanted him as a sex slave? Twice so far.

My question is, how do I support him? He seems to have a moment of clarity, then refuses to be honest with himself.

I am his only shoulder to cry on, but I’m also the one who has to deal with the aftermath of his decisions. Help me help him!

Dear The Help:

Friends are there for each other, but the best ones can also be those who stop helping. We all picked up pieces of a broken heart, empowered someone to stay away from a toxic ex, or lent an ear when emotions are in the way of good decisions.

Still, repeat occurrences can put pieces back together with Scotch tape when they need super glue. This might keep him from the kind of help he may really need – that of a professional – and it sets you both up to follow the pattern again when it falls apart.

Next time, encourage your friend to seek out a pro who can help in a more permanent way.

Try something like, “This feels like it keeps happening, and I’m at a loss. Do you think a therapist could help you address it for good?”

Q Advice is for entertainment, not professional counseling. Send your burning Qs to [email protected].

This column also appeared in Q ATLus Magazine. Read the issue online here:

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