DEAR STRAIGHT TALK: My roommate and best friend is torn between two lovers. She finds her boyfriend, "Raf," dull so she is cheating on him with "Sevan," who is less serious about her. I'm pretty shocked by her lack of ethics and tell her to break up with both of them, but she never does! Raf visits frequently and is seriously in love with her. It kills me to see this lie carried out under his nose. These are jealous, passionate men, and I worry about what might happen if he finds out. I don't want to lose my best friend over this, but I can't look Raf in the eye anymore. She expects me to go along with everything. What should I do?
-- "Sarah," Glendale
Breele, 19, Dana Point: I was involved in a similar situation. My best friend had a boyfriend plus a secret guy on the side she was madly in love with. I was very caught up in the lies, manipulations and tension. Due to the tension, the boyfriend was constantly over at our place and the three of us did a lot together -- which I hated it because it was such a lie. I first tried to detach, saying, "No thanks, you guys go do that without me." But then THEY wouldn't go out, either! They would also both text me constantly when we weren't together. I told her a million times how badly she was treating her boyfriend. Finally, I told her how badly she was treating HERSELF. I told her I couldn't look HER in the eye anymore and that if she didn't change the situation, I was leaving. That worked.
Katelyn, 18, Huntington Beach: Get out now. She's the only one who can resolve this. Let her know you're there for her, but at the same time, don't let her use you. Also, you may be tempted to tell Raf or confront Sevan yourself, but it's not your job. I would only step forward if it's to protect her from threats, bullying or outright assaults. My sister was in a bad relationship and I learned the hard way that I couldn't do anything except advise her -- and even then, at a distance.
Nicole, 22, Santa Rosa: Step back. Your friend needs to figure this out on her own and being judgmental won't help. If this means spending less time with her, do it.
Carlos, 18, Fairfax, Va.: A friend was stuck in a love triangle and I helped her look at the different outcomes from choosing one or neither guy. Sit your friend down and explain how if she truly cares about these two guys she needs to distance herself from them so she can figure out what she wants. Yes, this does mean breaking up with Raf. The reason she's going back and forth between these guys is because it's comfortable and she's not allowing herself to explore other possibilities.
DEAR SARAH: I hope some of these ideas resonate with you. Breele's approach to tell your friend you can't look HER in the eye places the responsibility where it belongs. The other place it belongs is with YOU. You must detach from this madness. And fast. These situations are not only emotionally draining, they are often dangerous. According to the National Violence Statistics.org website, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury for women. Each day an average of three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. If you feel unsafe, don't hesitate to call 911 or the National Dating Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
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