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by Abigail Van Buren

Manipulating Boyfriend Throw Tantrums To Get His Way

DEAR ABBY: "Ron," the guy my best friend, "Stella," is seeing, is a manipulator. My mother was a pro at manipulating and gaslighting, something I recognized after going to therapy as an adult. I know it when I see it.

A month ago, I told Stella what I have observed, and it has escalated to the point that I told her I no longer want to be around him. Ron, who is 40, throws tantrums and threatens to leave when he doesn't get what he wants.

The last time I saw him was at a dinner Stella hosted. I left early after he threw another tantrum. Ron texted me an "apology" that did not address his behavior that night, but something else that happened a week ago. He then tried to guilt-trip me by saying my walking out hurt our friends and that he would stop hanging around because he didn't want them to be hurt like that.

I haven't responded to Ron's "apology" and haven't seen him since. I have seen Stella for lunch once since the incident. Must I accept his apology so everything goes back to how it was, or not see my friend until he is out of her life? -- NOT A FAN OF HIM

DEAR NOT A FAN: You don't "have" to accept Ron's apology any more than you have to accept any other unappetizing "gift" that is offered. But don't stop seeing Stella. From what you have written, she needs a levelheaded friend right now. If Ron acts up again in your presence, leave if he makes you uncomfortable. And while you're at it, tell Stella the reason and ask -- woman to woman -- why she tolerates his childish threats.

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