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    Old 02-09-2005, 10:11 AM   #1
    goody2shuz
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    What's a Friend to Do?

    Goody's had a friend who I met in college that is just one of those forever friends that one is blessed with. She's been married for almost 19 years, most of which have been filled with financial difficulties. Her husband has been out of work more times than in.....and for the most part it is her salary that supports their family. I was her maid of honor and they truly loved and were commited to this marriage. Her parents, however, did not attend because of their inability to accept that her husband to be lacked a college degree. Still, they married and have strong Christian beliefs that God will provide.

    Within the first few years of marriage, money was tight. I recall on one visit opening up the fridge and discovering the shelves empty as well as the cupboards while she had an infant son. We shopped filling them as she cried and I made her promise to never let things get that bad before calling on wme. She's since moved out of state and we talk by phone and have been fortunate enough to visit each other every few years. Our frienship is the sort that we have this gift of a sixth sense in which we know just when the other is in trouble and are haunted to call just when the other is in need of support. My daughters have witnessed this and are amazed to see that two people can be so connected in life. Well that sixth sense kicked in this week when it had been sometime since I've heard from my friend....I'm talking months. The last time we spoke her husband was once again out of work and it wasn't unlike her not to call when things were bad but this was a long time. My sixth sense kicked in and I called discovering that her cell phone was disconnected. It took 3-4 calls and messages to her home before she got back to me and she shared with me how her husband was out of work for 6 months & once again she was so stressed about how to pay the bills...had to cash in her retirement in order to pay the mortgage after already using her sons college fund to pay bills last time he was out of work. In the past when I sensed things were tight I would send $100 for her birthday knowing that she would pay a bill but as an excuse to do so. She won't ask for money and truthfully I don't see it as a way of helping her out so throughout the years I have paid her airfare and donated a timeshare week for a vacation as a way of supporting her through these rough times. Her husband is so convinced that God will provide and tells my friend that she lacks the faith...meanwhile she is losing sleep over where the money is going to come to pay the next bill. She has begged her husband to find employment to help bring in some money...but there is no job good enough in salary, or the position VP of an business organization is just about his. She's been told money will come and it hasn't time & time again. Last night I advised her that while her husbands strong faith that God will provide is okay but the truth of the matter is that God helps those who help themselves. She says she's been telling her husband this for years and he dismisses it saying that everything will be alright. Last night she said she's had it and she decided with me that if he doesn't come through with money by next week that she will be giving him an ultimatum to have a job, any job, 2 jobs, perhaps 3 that will bring in the money they so desperately need or he has to go. I told her I would check in with her Friday to see how things are going.

    Well this morning I got a call from her husband. He went on to tell me all the things my friend explained to me about his thinking, his faith, and how God will provide and that he needed my help to convince his wife of this.....that all their marriage she has wanted what I have and what my husband and I have in terms of vacations, luxuries etc. and that basically she wants him to be something he will never be. I explained to him that he was so wrong about that.....that perhaps that was what he measured himself up to but that all my friend wanted was a paycheck and security knowing that the bills would be paid on a day to day basis. He continued saying that that wasn't the case and that my friend wanted my lifestyle and that it was always a problem and would I help him out. I told him that for 19 years I have watched my friend support the family and all the time him telling her to have faith that God would provide while she did and he sat back waiting for God to do all the work rather than doing anything and everything to get money to pay the bills himself. I also told him I admired his faith and hoped that the position he has always wanted came to be but that in the interim he needed to go out and work at Home Depot, McDonalds or anything until that time came. He went on to explain that my friend also didn't understand his need to be there for his mother who is single and needed financial support....(for many years even back to that time there was an empty fridge he insisted on sending his mom checks until my friend put her foot down & said no more ).
    I told him how ridiculous it was for him to feel he needed to support his mom when he had a family of his own that needed supporting and that the Bible is very clear on this when it says..."A man shall leave his MOTHER and cling to his wife."

    Anyway.....needless to say he didn't like the way the conversation was going and I said that if the purpose of his call was to talk sense into my friend I had no other sense to make of the matter than to advise him to go out and be a man and bring in a paycheck to show that he is not leaving the entire burden on her as he has their entire marriage. I told him that I loved them both and was truly concerned about my friends health and the amount of stress this was putting on her.....he said that she was panicking unnecessarily and would I tell her so. I told him I would do no such thing.....after someone cashes in retirement and college education in order to keep their home is certianly a time to panic and that he was best looking into getting a job if he wanted to keep her from panic. He hung up & told me he had lots of work to do that he needed to get back to and the conversation ended.

    My question is....should I inform my friend of this conversation???? I'm so torn, part of me feels that it may just make things worse in their marriage but part of me thinks she needs to hear it because he's thinking that she is living out unrealistic dreams when all she wants is security in knowing her bills will be paid. And a big red flag went up in the sense that I was thinking that he may wish to alienate her from me because for some reason he feels threatened by the fact that with my help she may come to her senses...I did reassure him that I wanted their marriage to succeed and that my friend was really at her wits end and considering separation and that if he just went out and got a job it would give her the security at least in knowing that the entire burden wasn't just on her. So, what do you think??? Any replies would be appreciated......Goody

    Last edited by goody2shuz; 02-19-2005 at 09:15 AM.

     
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    Old 02-09-2005, 10:25 AM   #2
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    Re: What's a Friend to Do?

    Hi Goody

    YUCK. Tough position to be in. I know she is your friend and you love her, but getting involved in someone else's mess is never a good idea. I have lost a dear friend because I got involved in their issues.
    My best advise is to love her, support her and be there for her, but don't get involved. You will be the one they both blame if something goes wrong, and you will be the one that looses. Just my 2 cents. I have always believed in this theory: "You can't tend your own garden if you tending someone else's."

     
    Old 02-09-2005, 10:29 AM   #3
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    Re: What's a Friend to Do?

    Hello Goody!

    Im sorry to hear of the pickle with your friend. Telling her of this conversation is up to you. Is your gut telling you to tell her or to keep it to yourself. I know men know us women talk. So i'd assume he knows your going to tell her, and possibily hope it benefits him by causing an argument between the two of you.

    More so, this is something your friend needs to deal with for sure. This man sounds like he has NO motivation what so ever to get a good job and keep it. Especially since she's been married to him for 19yrs now and hasnt really put her foot down about him helping out w/the income.

    It sounds like your doing what you can, but unless she can sit his lazy behind down and tell him "get a real job!!" then she's going to have to sleep in the bed she makes.

    Good luck.

     
    Old 02-09-2005, 10:47 AM   #4
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    Re: What's a Friend to Do?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dream0n83
    Hello Goody!
    Im sorry to hear of the pickle with your friend. Telling her of this conversation is up to you. Is your gut telling you to tell her or to keep it to yourself. I know men know us women talk. So i'd assume he knows your going to tell her, and possibily hope it benefits him by causing an argument between the two of you.
    My gut is telling me that he had a definite motive here. When she called me last night she was in the bathroom whispering and he did come in at one point and asked who she was talking to. And then the phone call today...he never has called me and to say that my friend was always expecting him to provide her with things that I have like vacations and material things that he could never measure up to while he doesn't work....just took it as a controlling thing for him to do is all I'm thinking. Sorta like saying, back off and leave us alone. I haven't given my friend any advice in terms of what to do other than counselling and it was she that came up with the ultimatum. Perhaps you're right...he may be thinking I'll call her and he can manipulate it into something else. But on the otherhand he may bring our phonecall up to her and say things that are totally untrue...it's really strange but I just don't want my friend to be alienated....she can't talk to her family about this because they'll just say "we told you so" and I'm the only one she really can talk to. The only real friend she made where she lives just died..it just stinks and I hate being so far away from her.

    Thanks for the advice..I'm going to call her Friday to see how she's doing and if she brings anything up in regard to his phone call to me perhaps we'll talk about it. For now I'll just let sleeping dogs lie.....Goody

    Last edited by goody2shuz; 02-19-2005 at 09:17 AM.

     
    Old 02-09-2005, 10:50 AM   #5
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    Re: What's a Friend to Do?

    Yep - I agree. He is trying to cause havoc between the two of you. Don't let him do it.

     
    Old 02-09-2005, 03:07 PM   #6
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    Re: What's a Friend to Do?

    Ok Goody, nothing I can say can compare to what you've been able to offer me in the past, but can I throw in my thoughts anyway??


    You said she is already prepared to give him an ultimatium. So if you do not wish to tell her of the convo with him, a viable alternative may be to continue to support her line of thinking when she starts talking about his needing to get a job, etc. She sounds like she's already reaching the point she needs to be at.

    But the bad news is, if I were her, I would want you to tell me. SHE's your friend, not him (other than thru the marriage). And it was no more wrong of him to call you and talk to you about it, than it would be for you to tell her about it.
    I think she very well may need to hear this. When I think of my one friend who told me all the things about that guy that he wasn't man enough to tell me, I know they were all things I needed to hear. And I truely don't know where I would be had she not told me.
    I know, very different situations, but in the end it's about a person just needs to know certain things. And who better to hear it from than a friend you can trust.
    I've thought about it long and hard and if I was married and my husband called that friend of mine, I am certain I would want her to tell me about it. I think I would be quite hurt if I found out down the road that they had a conversation about me and I was just left in the dark about the whole thing. I actually count on her honesty and upfrontness with me.


    Ok, that's just me. I, of course, don't know you're friend, so she may feel differently. Hope I didn't just leave you with more thoughts of the situation. I can understand your bind from both angles.
    But, Goody, I hope it all works out the best possible way!

     
    Old 02-09-2005, 03:32 PM   #7
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    Re: What's a Friend to Do?

    Well, Goody, I too am sorry your friend is going through this. My father is what I would call an "old world hispanic" as well, Mexican-American. although he made a good living, he did not believe in frills and such. He had a good, professional career, but I didn't have a car until I was 26 and bought it myself. I didn't have nice new clothes like all the other girls in school. BUT...we did always have food in the refrigerator and my father took a great deal of pride in being the provider for the family. He was not really great in the emotional support area, but providing for his family was his main priority. I believe hispanic people are very simple. They don't believe in living "fancy." In fact, my father never allowed me to call him daddy. I could call him father, dad, pop, papa, but never daddy. I called him that once and he yelled at me never to call him that. I think because he thought that's what rich white girls called their fathers, and I was neither rich nor white, and he didn't want me thinking I was. So to a degree, I can understand that perhaps he does have real concern that his wife is wanting to live "fancy." But sitting on his duff not working while his wife struggles to make ends meet? No, I don't comprehend that at all. Spiritual hispanics can be very faithful. We hold to our faith so that it's a very deep part of our everyday life. But we also know that God doesn't dump things in our laps. My father always made sure we got a good education. We lived in a middle class suburban neighborhood, mainly for the schools. My dad always made sure I was in the most advanced classes I could be in, I studied hard, I got the best grades I could. He went to work at 12 and worked hard all his life. A work ethic is also a strong part of hispanic culture, but working for family, not for luxuries. I can't tell you where this guy's head is at exactly, but it sounds to me like he's more than likely using his faith and his wife's so-called ladder climbing as an excuse to stay out of work. A proud hispanic man who really cared about his family would never allow his wife to bring home the bacon while he stayed home. But clearly there are very strong socio-economic and cultural differences between these two people. And these differences are putting a great deal of stress on your friend. I dont' think it's really necessary to tell your friend about the phone call he made to you. I think just a simple "it doesn't look like he's going to change his ways" will do. I agree, the only thing you can really do is support and love her all you can, and let her know that she deserves the life she wants, for herself and her kids, and you will be there for her no matter what she decides. Good luck to her and to you.

     
    Old 02-09-2005, 04:28 PM   #8
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    Re: What's a Friend to Do?

    Thanks, Lisa & Nini for your great advice

    Lisa....I know that I should let her know, part of me thinks that perhaps she knew of his phone call to me because yesterday she did tell me that if I ever called her abd he answered would I talk some sense into him. I asked her if she would mind and if he knew that she had shared this info with me and she said yes and to say anything i felt in my heart to say if the opportunity ever came up. Now as a friend when she has shared what she is going through I have only supported her ideas if I saw them as something that needed to be done. Last night was the first time she felt that an ultimatum was necessary and I agreed. For the most part I have advised her to see her pastor at the church who could intervene and talk some sense into her husband reagrding his wacky idea of wiating for God to do something to turn things around.

    Somehow I think she will bring something up next time I call....either because they had an altercation after our conversation last night and she pulled me into it by saying that I understand what she is requiring of him or HE will bring up the conversation I HAD WITH HIM TODAY and she will ask me about it. I'm gonna wait until Friday and see if she brings it up and meanwhile gain some perspective....thinking things over for a few days allows us to usually do what is best.

    I think he just wants things a certain way before he'll work a job....he's a real believer of working for hispanic rights and Christian works that he would do so for free as he sees that as his real mission in life. If you were to meet him in person he could convince you that his way of thinking is right...that serving God should come first and making money is a sin. He firmly believes that no one should have more than they need....and that's the way he lives. So....I can almost see why my friend loves him so much....we wish everyone in the world could think this way but in the real world one can't survive living like this. So my friend works her but off to keep a roof over their heads adn food on the table while he lives the way God directs him to live. Only thing is that he is blinded to the fact that by doing this he is neglecting to support his wife & son. My friend even said that he would sell their house before turning his back on his convictions. He grew up living hand to mouth and doesn't expect much. To my friend, the work they put into affording a nice home is everything to her. She will be devastated if she were to have to sell their home in order to make ends meet. So.....that's where the ultimatum comes in. The way she sees it, if he doesn't bring in any money not having him around will be one less mouth to feed and he'll have to see in reality he will have to get a job in order to support himself and see that as the minimum he should be doing. Makes perfect sense to me

    So...Goody will see how things go until we speak next....it always seems that we are able to say things to each other that no one else would ever tell us. We care enough and I know in my heart that nothing would ever ruin our friendship. That's one thing I am sure of Thanks again girls....Goody

    Last edited by goody2shuz; 02-19-2005 at 09:20 AM.

     
    Old 02-09-2005, 06:49 PM   #9
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    Re: What's a Friend to Do?

    Goody, since you are going to call her Friday, simply mention that he called you. (She will find that out later anyway when she gets their long distance bill.) Let her draw out of you what she wants to know about his call. If she asks you for the details, you shouldn’t feel like you made things worse in their marriage.

    Concerning her need to hear he's thinking that she is living out unrealistic dreams, she must understand his value system all too well after 19 years of marriage. What's the point of telling her old news?

     
    Old 02-09-2005, 07:35 PM   #10
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    Re: What's a Friend to Do?

    Heartland.....Thanks for the post, Tom & I were talking about it and he really thinks her husband's motives were to get me to talk some sense into my friend. I tend to disagree...thinking it was a message for me to sort of back off and not interfere. I'll know more when I do speak to my friend...if she has knowledge of his phone call before my even saying anything, then I may be wrong in his motives.....and that would make Tom right. He may just have wanted to explain himself and the way he thinks.....but Heartland, I can't shake the way he brought up how his wife expects over 19 years him to be like Tom....he even went on to say that in the end when Tom & him stand before God he will be seen more favorably in the eyes of the Lord. It's as if because Tom and I have been fortunate that we will not be in God's favor.


    I know my friend extremely well and never, no matter how well things went for Tom & I, did she seem envious to the point that I would believe she would use this in battles with her husband. The only thing I see her wanting is stability in knowing that her husband is gainfully employed. I'm thinking that today he was expressing his personal feelings of inferiority as compared to Tom which he measures himself by. But I expressed to him how very wrong he was to think that his wife expected to have the things that I have...but rather she needed to know that he would share in the financial burden that she has been carrying pretty much on her own for most of their marriage.

    So on Friday I will call and I am sure the conversation will unfold to the point that somehow this all comes up. It will probably make more sense and I do know that our friendship is strong enough to not be disturbed by what happened today. Thanks, Heartland, for helping me sort it out.....Goody

     
    Old 02-09-2005, 09:10 PM   #11
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    Re: What's a Friend to Do?

    Goody, I suspect Tom & you are both right about his motives. Is this the friend you referred to in your marriage thread as “My best friend lacks the security and material things I have and has the most romantic husband....she tells me she would trade the romance anyday for the security...”? If so, I can imagine your friend gently using Tom as a role model upon occasion over the years. Since everyone likes Tom, I think she expected her dh to take it positively but he didn’t get the right message.

    In any case, I can’t imagine any husband calling you and singling out Tom in that manner unless your friend said more than you think about Tom. Why would he bring up Tom unless she compared the two in some manner? Deep frustration can make anyone, even your friend, say things we would never expect. So does deep frustration rather than envy seem plausible to you, Goody?

    As you must realize, the more you do to help your friend in this situation, the more her husband will resent you and Tom. I hope you are good at walking a tight rope. Good luck, my friend.

    BTW… I gave up posting until after supper for Lent (and maybe longer). Posting here is very addictive for me and I must learn to cut back if that is possible.

     
    Old 02-09-2005, 09:21 PM   #12
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    Re: What's a Friend to Do?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by heartlandguy
    BTW… I gave up posting until after supper for Lent (and maybe longer). Posting here is very addictive for me and I must learn to cut back if that is possible.
    No, no, we need you here Heatland!

     
    Old 02-10-2005, 05:42 AM   #13
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    Re: What's a Friend to Do?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by heartlandguy
    Goody, I suspect Tom & you are both right about his motives. Is this the friend you referred to in your marriage thread as “My best friend lacks the security and material things I have and has the most romantic husband....she tells me she would trade the romance anyday for the security...”? If so, I can imagine your friend gently using Tom as a role model upon occasion over the years. Since everyone likes Tom, I think she expected her dh to take it positively but he didn’t get the right message.
    Yes...Heartland, this is the same best friend I referred to in my thread.....and yes, it has crossed my mind that she has used Tom gently when discussing her need for security (which by the way, wouldn't bother me because I can see how deeply frustrating this all can be for her)


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by heartlandguy
    In any case, I can’t imagine any husband calling you and singling out Tom in that manner unless your friend said more than you think about Tom. Why would he bring up Tom unless she compared the two in some manner? Deep frustration can make anyone, even your friend, say things we would never expect. So does deep frustration rather than envy seem plausible to you, Goody?
    Yes, it does seem plausible, and as I said it really doesn't bother me if she did.....however, I'm not so convinced that this is what motivated his phone call to me. After a good night's sleep, I'm leaning more towards my friend out of frustration, directing him to call me because in going over my last conversation the other night with her, she was telling me how she just can't seem to make her husband see how unrealistic his thinking is....and she did say kiddingly that if he answered the phone perhaps I could mention how God doesn't just hand over things like he's thinking so that he can see that she is not the only one who feels he's not doing the right thing by not getting a job that wil bring in money while waiting for the one God has lined up for him.
    I asked her if he knew that she had shared all that is going on with me and if in fact I can feel free to talk to him if the occasion did arise and if she thought this may make things worse. She told me that things just couldn't be any worse and then the phone call comes in...either he responded as a plea coming from her or from a conversation that followed my conversation with her. Either way....he was clear to me that his way of thinking was not going to change, and that he felt the problems in his marriage were a direct result of his wife always wanting something, a way of life, that he could never measure up to. I reassurred him numerous times that although she may want certain things such as vacations and the such...that these things were not nearly as important as her need of security that comes from her husband being gainfully employed and bringing in some type of income in order to make ends meet and prevent them from losing the house they had.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by heartlandguy
    As you must realize, the more you do to help your friend in this situation, the more her husband will resent you and Tom. I hope you are good at walking a tight rope. Good luck, my friend.
    Perhaps...but I refuse to allow anyone to control a situation in which someone is left to live in misery and not be able to talk to a friend. I once allowed that to happen in my life and this very friend was the only one who didn't back off....she stuck by my side not telling me what to do, but just letting me know that she was there no matter what. And I intend to do the same for her.....


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by heartlandguy
    BTW… I gave up posting until after supper for Lent (and maybe longer). Posting here is very addictive for me and I must learn to cut back if that is possible.
    I hear you, my friend You pulled me in too, but I see it as my part time job in which I am doing something I enjoy trying not to allow it to interfere with the things I hold dearest to my heart...my family. To me it is another way to serve God...by helping others in their time of need. I use to do that as a nurse (which I terribly miss due to back problems that have developed) and now can do so here.....I see it as a good thing as does my family when they see how much I enjoy it. But you are right...it can be addictive and it does have me at times faling behind on the laundry But laundry will always be there....helping others I see as being so much more important

    Thanks...Heartland....I will keep you posted as to how things go with my friend....Goody

     
    Old 02-10-2005, 06:27 AM   #14
    Ruth6:11
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    Re: What's a Friend to Do?

    Just a thought that occurred to me while I read your original post...

    My opinion is that he was trying to get you to offer to help him out financially. Hence the guilt trip about your friend "wanting what you have".

    I do agree that it wouldn't hurt to mention the call. Like hearlandguy mentioned, she'll probably see the charge on the long distance bill anyway.
    You could say something like, "I'm sure you'll see Louis' call to me on your next phone bill - I sure was surprised he really called me".

    It's hard to have a friend (and yours is on such a rather metaphysical level) in a situation like yours. I think you've done a great thing by letting her know that you're there for her, but have not enabled her either.

     
    Old 02-10-2005, 07:44 AM   #15
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    Re: What's a Friend to Do?

    You have been a Wonderful friend, you have known your friend for 19 years and witnessed first hand her struggles with her lazy husband.

    I wouldn't feel torn to tell her the truth of your converstation with her husband, he has run out of exuses with her, so now he is using YOU, her bestfriend as a motive for yet another exuse why he shouldn't get a real job, any job to support his family. He is so used to the fact that his wife is supporting him, he doesn't want to LOSE his security and lifestyle that HE has become accustomed to.

     
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