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My Friend Cant Get Out Of Love

Question:

My friend, a boy Gene went out with this girl Kristen for 6 months. The girl left him for another boy she met in high school. Gene and Kristen had sex. And now Kristen is having sex with another boy. Me and gene were always friends before he ever met Kristen He cant get over her, and wants to kill himself. He went to already 4 psychiatrists, and its not helping at all. Hes nothing what he use to be, hes not happy or anything. I need serious help, his parents know and they are beginning to care less about him. They kick him out of the house and stuff. I talk to him all the time, and really try to help him. I’m scared for him, and worry a lot. Is there someone else i can get to really help him? please help me help my friend. Thanks

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  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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Answer:

What a good and caring friend you are to Gene! In this world, heartbreak is relatively common, but caring friends aren’t. It’s a true gift you are working to give him; one of the few that really matter. It’s commendable, and it says a lot of good things about your character. I thought it important to point this out at the outset of my response, because despite your best efforts you aren’t in control of this situation, and you can only try to help; you can’t make him get better.

It sounds like Gene is experiencing a double problem these days. The problem that you’ve identified is of course the fact that Gene’s been dumped by his old girlfriend. She has moved on to someone new, but he has apparently not been able to adapt to this change, and is grieving and rather severely depressed given your report. The other problem is that Gene’s home life sounds abusive. It is not normal that parents will turn on their children who are grieving and kick them out of the house. Healthy parents generally want to protect and counsel their children through situations like this one. With both his ex-girlfriend and his parents rejecting him, Gene likely feels very rejected. And as you’ve said, he is feeling suicidal. The situation is urgent.

It seems odd to me that Gene would have seen four separate psychiatrists for this problem. Most people who are hurting so severely either don’t want to see a psychiatrist in the first place, or they latch onto the first psychiatrist they see and at least stick around for a while. Did something go wrong in these four relationships?

You don’t mention what sorts of treatments the psychiatrists may have recommended, or how those treatments went. That would be important information. Given that he is feeling suicidal, Gene would really benefit from seeing mental health professionals for therapy or medication or whatever is appropriate. If it is necessary for him to see five or six psychiatrists and/or therapists before he finds one that he feels comfortable working with, that would be okay. The important thing is that, given him being suicidal, that some capable professional is watching out for him and working to help him recover. Please do encourage him to continue to seek out professional help.

People say all the time that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. This may be a cliché, but it is also very much the truth. In the wake of losing an intimate relationship (and especially so in the wake of losing your first intimate relationship) it can seem like you’ll never love again; that you don’t want anyone else, and that no one else will ever want you. This state of shock and grief can last for months and even years if you are hardcore about it, but eventually, it does pass. You meet (or don’t meet) new partners (depending on your luck and how hard you work at it) and either way, life goes on. Even abusive parents don’t last. Eventually, the day comes when you become an adult, move out on your own, and don’t have to be subject to their abuse anymore. Of course, this really only becomes clear to people after they’ve experienced crises like this and come through them. There is wisdom and perspective that comes with experience. Gene doesn’t have this experience or wisdom yet, so he thinks his world is ending. Really, only a chapter in his life has ended. The book of his life goes on. As a friend, and someone he will talk to, you can help to communicate this message of the temporariness of his painful situation.

Here is a final thought, and it is for you; not for Gene. It is a wonderful thing to want to help another being in pain. But it is important that in doing so that you don’t over-do it. It is quite possible that you could give so much to the cause of helping Gene that you give too much and start to feel resentful. You must also keep in mind that Gene is in a selfish place right now. He is licking his wounds and very focused on his own pain. He very well may take entirely for granted the attention; the caring; the gift you are giving him and he may shove it back in your face if he gets upset at you for pushing him. Be ready for this, and remember to take care of yourself through the process of helping. If you don’t maintain your own steady foundation, you will be unable to support Gene’s weight should he decide to lean on you.

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