So I need to entrance a thrall to do my every bidding.
No, seriously. I’m asking for advice. Recently a friend of mine has discovered his girlfriend of 4 years acting strangely. The story goes that she met a woman, (40s - 50s) and throughout the course of the past 6 months, have grown to be spending an inordinate amount of time with this particular woman. To the extent that she would be skipping classes and time away from my friend in order to go out with this woman.
The background story is this. Both the girl and boy (They’re young, still in University) are Asians and come from pretty conservative religious families. The boy has a tight family, a rather functional loving unit. The girl on the other hand has a rather absentee and demanding mother. They met a long time ago and have been going out ever since. I’ve known the guy through my life and he’s a pretty decent guy. No wild parties, alcoholism or known repressive behavour. Really diligent studious type. I know the girl a little as well, at least enough to know that she highly unlikely to have major psychological problems. (Given my friend has been dating her for 4 years and nothing remotely has come up in that time)
Yet, since the arrival of this woman, the girl has suddenly developed strange behaviours. She’ll oftentimes be a little spaced, staring blankly into nowhere and then returning as if nothing has happened. Where once she was talkative and jokey to the rest of us, she was silent and moody. My friend being a little worried, sneak a peek at her emails and what he saw shocked him.
The woman has been giving her advice on relationships and careers and futures. My friend wouldn’t give me exact details but it goes along the lines of that the girl has little to worry about because the woman will take care of her. That guys are trouble and only out for one thing. (My friend is the kind of guy that would probably end up as a terrific father, really decent chap. I don’t think he falls under the classification of a jerk or an asshole) Most of the emails are written as if it was between two lovers in an illicit affair. The girl is stll only about 20, old enough to be the woman’s daughter.
My friend broke off the relationship and is currently confused and hurt as to what to do. He doesn’t know if he wants to try and “save” his ex, given that he is completely out of his depth here. He knows nothing about brainwashing, cult behaviours or any of this sort of thing. He’s just hurt.
I’m not so much worried about him as I am about her though and was wondering if any of you learned individuals knew anything about how this sort of psychology works, whether or not we have something to be worried about and what can we do if we should even do anything.
Yep, a sexual relationship is most likely here, and really may not be a problem. I suppose the older woman could be a bad influence (turning the younger girl into a moody, cynical whatever), but then she could just be like every other university student who becomes a moody, cynical whatever. Hell, Bill is STILL that way. Some might say he is messed up, but really he just needs a good snuggle (from a woman, just to clarify).
All thoughts about “saving” exes need to be taken and crammed. Fuck 'em. (Only, you know, not literally.) What he needs to do is have a rebound fling or two, preferably without illusions about what they are, and eventually find himself with a memory that’s not really painful anymore, but more of an amusing anecdote about the weird shit that sometimes happens when college girls “discover” things about themselves.
Sure, it’s possible that it’s really Madam Svengali Succubus who’s sucking out girl’s lifeforce, but I’m with everyone else and our mutual friend Occam who recommends a good shave.
If its one woman, and she’s not trying to lure the girl into a group of some kind, then I think its unlikely to be a cult or brainwashing. I think (and I may be totally wrong) that brainwashing generally involves peer pressure from a group of people. The fact that you say she has “an absentee and demanding mother”, and the new woman is old enough to be her mother, suggests that this is a mix of discovering her true sexuality or bi-sexuality, and her beign confused about role models vs lovers.
Ask yourself, if it was an older man, rather than an older woman, would the situation still seem like brainwashing, or just a predatory older guy taking advantage of a younger, slightly confused girl? If it still seems like more than just a new and mildly creepy relationship, then maybe its worth worrying about. But I suspect its just the new sexuality aspect that’s throwing you off.
I’m surprised no one has mentioned the (to me, at least) obvious:
The girl identifies with the older woman as a mother figure. As her mother is somewhat controlling, she’s ceding control to this older woman.
Sexual tension + religious, conservative upbringing = MASSIVE GUILT. Even if there’s no actual sex or lesbian love, any open-mindedness the older woman is introducing to the girl will incur a tremendous amount of guilt about those new feelings; by the same token, any “boys are trouble” talk will emphasize the conservative side, and the girl will regret any sexual experiences she has had.
The girl is at a tremendously impressionable stage. She is a lump of fresh clay, a blank sheet of paper, an empty hard drive just waiting for its first Linux install. The older woman is old enough to know this; she’s on a power trip. She is taking advantage of the younger girl.
I think what the older woman is doing is highly immoral, but the girl will recover. She will be just fine, but the truth is, even if this older woman had never entered her life, the ages 18-22 are a time when cognitive development changes the most; if you aren’t a very different person at 23 than you were at 17, there’s something wrong with you. Unfortunately, that means that relationships begun as a teenager need a lot of work and maturity to survive through to the 20’s.
So the guy should move on, and never look back. Remember the good times, keep a special place in his heart, and never talk to the girl again. If she calls him back, keep the conversation to the light topics (“nice weather we’re having”) with an eye on ending the conversation as quickly as possible and forgetting about it soon afterwards. (Or just hang up.)
Yeah, no need to get involved. Not only is it most likely going to turn out to be a painful lesson for the girl, but probably for the guy as well. 'Course, whatever advice you give him will probably be ignored, but hey, that’s life.