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Question
Posted by: ME | 2010/05/25

Broach the subject?

Hi - I have a best friend (for the past 30 years) who is living overseas (I have visited her there four times) and I heard through the ''grapevine'' while I was visiting family in one of the Indian Ocean islands two weeks ago where her ex-husband now lives (she lives in another country), that their 21 year-old son has just been imprisoned for what I believe is his third incidence of violence / abuse towards his ex-girlfriend. My friend''s ex-husband told one of my family members who then asked me whether my friend had told me and was surprised when I told them that she hadn''t as they know we are very close. Her ex-husband who I also know very well and saw about three times didn''t mention it to me (maybe he thought that my friend would have) and neither has she mentioned it to me - we e-mail each other about three times per week. I have not told either of them that I have heard that their son is in jail and to be honest, I am a bit disappointed and hurt that my so-called best friend has not told me herself - she also did not mention the first two incidents to me, I''m sure out of embarrassment and which I understand. In one of her e-mails to me she asked whether I saw her ex while I was over there, which I mentioned I had. My question is: Should I just wait for her to tell me (if and when she does) and then mention that I had heard through the grapevine but didn''t tell her as I thought she obviously didn''t want me to know. OR, should I broach the subject and mention hat I have heard through the grapevine (and not via her ex) and am disappointed and hurt that with us being best friends, she couldn''t actually mention it to me herself. Your advice would be appreciated - thank-you for your time.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Does this really need to be a problem ? When something like this happens in the family, other family members tend to feel deeply ashamed and would not usually prefer to share the information with even their closest friends if they can avoid doing so. And with the geographical distances involved, both of them may have hope that you wouldn't find out about this any other way.
They would be woried that you might think less of them and their family on learning about how badly their boy has behaved, and it's not as though you could actually help in any particular way, is it ?
Why not wait and see what happens. You mention his imprisonment as having "just" happened, so its no as though she has kept it secret for decades. And if you mention where you went and who you visited, she may recognize that someone might have told you, and raise the topic herself.

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4
Our users say:
Posted by: Tinkie | 2010/05/25

Leave it - if she wanted to tell you she would have.... let her do it when she is ready...

Reply to Tinkie
Posted by: pathetic | 2010/05/25

and always remember that you being hurt is a much higher priority in your life than her son rotting in jail

Reply to pathetic
Posted by: Maria | 2010/05/25

It''s a difficult question to answer if you don''t know the people involved. Perhaps your friendship is where she goes to escape from this harsh reality in her life, and that''s why she didn''t tell you? She must be going through a tough time, and I don''t think you should tell her that you are hurt. Perhaps just tell her that you''ve heard about the trouble her son is in, and if she wants to talk about it you will be there for her. Then drop it, the ball will be in her court.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/05/25

Does this really need to be a problem ? When something like this happens in the family, other family members tend to feel deeply ashamed and would not usually prefer to share the information with even their closest friends if they can avoid doing so. And with the geographical distances involved, both of them may have hope that you wouldn't find out about this any other way.
They would be woried that you might think less of them and their family on learning about how badly their boy has behaved, and it's not as though you could actually help in any particular way, is it ?
Why not wait and see what happens. You mention his imprisonment as having "just" happened, so its no as though she has kept it secret for decades. And if you mention where you went and who you visited, she may recognize that someone might have told you, and raise the topic herself.

Reply to cybershrink

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