Dear Dr. NerdLove:
I have known my best friend (40/m) for most of my life. He and his family have stepped up and supported me through so many difficult times; he is my daughter’s godfather and helped me raise her when I was a single parent. We live in a communal house, and just bought a new property in a rural community.
He is a wonderful person, but since we have moved, he has taken to wistfully talking about wanting a serious relationship. This often comes in the form of comments about how his future wife is missing from various situations. But occasionally, it is him objectifying random women. It makes me so uncomfortable, and angry when it is in front of my daughter, that I don’t really know how to react in the moment without word vomiting the abridged contents of a gender studies course at him. He wants biological children, and has an aversion to dating divorcees.
I feel bad for him, but I am also exhausted listening to him go on about it. I don’t even know how to help him, because he puts in no effort to meet people or leave the house. He was too shy to introduce himself to the sweet old lady next door, when her mail was accidentally delivered to our house. He thrust the envelope at her and fled back to our house. He has been pressuring me to go out and meet people and then bring them back home to meet him. Unless I happen to make friends at the library, this is a near zero possibility.
We are all introverts. Everyone plays board games and video games together. This man has played World of Warcraft religiously for longer than kiddo has been alive and has never made an in game friend that I didn’t introduce him to. When we go to social events, like conventions, video game tournaments, and movies, he won’t talk to anyone outside of people we know. He has a good (all men) friends group that he socializes with weekly online, and that’s it outside of the house.
I worry about him even inviting a woman home, though. In our computer room, his desk is a nasty gamer hole. Kiddo gags when she looks at his keyboard. His room is no better. I am afraid to witness him attempting to take a woman up to his floor mattress bed, or her horror when she realizes he has never used his toothbrush. The secondhand embarrassment would be awful.
I don’t know how to tactfully say, “Hey bestie, this comes from a place of love, but clean your room and brush your teeth. AND I can’t find the love of your life for you. Just talk to people when we go out, without commenting on their bodies like a total creep.” I don’t think I can handle him going on about his imaginary future wife much longer.
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