How to deal with cheater and homewrecker friends

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Love or Money

Relationships being tricky is a universal truth. And for those harder-to-navigate connections, Lifestyle is picking love dilemmas—whether romantic, platonic, filial, professional or even digital—and matching them with experts who can share their insights that could hopefully guide readers in untangling their web of love complications.

For this edition, we turned to dating coach Vanessa Antonio for advice. Antonio started her company, Singles Event Manila, 10 years ago out of “selfish intentions.” Unhappy with her seemingly limited choices, the then-NBSB (no boyfriend since birth) turned to researches from social scientists and psychologists to understand better the science of dating. Later on, she became the first Filipina to get certified as a matchmaker from Matchmaking Institute in New York.

(The interview has been edited for conciseness.)

How do I get out of the “meme zone”?

It will be a waste not to use technology to bring people together. So it’s a good start that you’re exchanging memes. But based on our experience, after organizing over a hundred online and in-person dating events, nothing beats in-person interaction because you will not be able to know if you have chemistry until you’ve met.

Literally, looking at each other in the eyes, you get to see the vibe, the energy, which does not translate in texting or messaging. So one of you has to initiate an in-person date. If the word “date” is too intimidating, even if “date” just really means getting to know each other, then this is where studying your person comes in: To increase the likelihood of them saying yes, you have to invite them to engage in an activity that they want, not what you want.

If you see them posting about a place, take charge and initiate: “Hey, I’m familiar with that café. Why don’t we meet there on Wednesday?” or “I know a place where we could play board games. Game ka?”

When you meet in person, that is how you’ll be able to communicate your interest. That’s where you can flirt better or explore if there is a possible romantic connection.

It’s so easy to send reels and memes to 100 people. But the question is, is intention genuine? Do they really like you or maybe you’re just one of the 100 people that they’re sending memes to. Maybe they just have a lot of time on their hands.

Once they start investing their time, that is something that they can’t get back. So that’s a win for you if they say yes to in-person meetings.

What’s good about exchanging memes and reels is it’s possible that you see each other eye to eye when it comes to humor and are maybe on the same intellectual level, because it’s hard to get each other’s jokes when you are not on the same wavelength. So it’s a good sign.

Vanessa Antonio
Vanessa Antonio—@datingcoachvee INSTAGRAM

But, ultimately, it cannot turn into a genuine relationship if you’re just online. You have to be able to see that person, see their eyes and ultimately smell them if it’s a match. Nothing beats in-person.

Should you feel happy for cheater or homewrecker friends?

That is a very tricky topic because we all have people whom we love and yet we’re not very proud of the relationship that they have, because maybe they’re in a transition or they’re really engaging in something that your values are not in line with.

Generally, my answer would be that you don’t have to feel happy for them. But, I think, if you have a good relationship with that person—like, for example, you’re best friends or siblings—you have the responsibility to make them feel heard.

The fact that they’re opening up means they trust you. So whether you agree or not with what they’re doing, they have to feel that at least you’ve listened to what they’re saying. Be curious: You will learn a lot about your family member or your best friend if you listen to them on why they choose who they choose, instead of judging them. And if they ask you what you think about it, then tell them the truth.

You have to consider that you have a responsibility over the relationship that you have with them. It doesn’t mean that because they’re doing badly in that dimension of their life or they’re making bad choices when it comes to romantic relationships that they’re going to be a bad friend or a bad sibling. It’s just that they’re marupok (fragile) when it comes to their love life.

It’s not your responsibility to make decisions for them. If that’s an adult, then they know what they’re doing. It’s their life choice. You can make them feel heard and supported, without necessarily supporting the relationship choice that they have made.

If they don’t open up about it, and you feel that you have to talk to them about it, just always give them the benefit of the doubt.

The way I would frame it is like this: “Hey, you know that I care for you, and I care about your image and reputation. This is what I’m hearing. And whether this is right or wrong, I want you to know that I want the best for you.”

You can help them with the pros and cons, but it’s not your business to meddle, like tell on them to break up the relationship.

You don’t want to ruin the relationship that you have with that person just because of their relationship with other people. So always approach with curiosity instead of judgment. INQ

Do you have love questions or want to weigh in on the topics discussed by our relationship experts? Email [email protected]

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