Trying to support a friend through divorce-help

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-10-2012
Trying to support a friend through divorce-help
6
Sun, 11-11-2012 - 12:11am

A very good friend of mine is going through a divorce. I care for her, her husband and her children very much. Because of that, I want to be there for her, especially for her kids. But her behavior and attitude is really disturbing and I'm wondering if anyone else has gone through this before w/a friend or with their spouse. She and her husband have been married 9 years and have two young children. I found out in Sept. that they are separated as of that month. Basically she was not happy anymore. She is dating someone that she met in August. She told me it was mutual-her husband was also dating other people, but I'm not sure how accurate this is. First, she wants me to meet her new man and she's telling me how he buys her all these things, more adventurous sexually than her husband. It's just hard for me to hear this because I think she should focus on ending her marriage first and making sure she can support herself and her children instead of getting involved w/another man. Am I being a stick in the mud because I don't want to meet this guy? I'm still getting used to the idea of her and her husband (who I would consider a friend) not being together, it would be so strange for me to see her w/someone else. She's talking about them moving in together, her just bought her a puppy (already has 2 dogs!) just seems too much too soon. Sometimes I wonder if she is manic or has borderline personality disorder...I don't know, I know divorce is hard but this seems so out of character, or at least of the friend I thought I knew.

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Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010

  What you thin she should do is not valid.  She is moving on.  The divorce will take care of itself.  Be a friend listen, bite your tongue make no value judgements.  There is no way to predict the future.  This new guy may be transitional or not.  She is enjoying her time with him.  She was unhappy and is moving to make her own happiness.  Go ahead and meet this new guy.  Just keep in mind what is happiness to her is what is important. 

dragowoman

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

Well you don't really know what was going on in her marriage--they could have been unhappy for a while so that's why she is getting right into dating, but for the record, I do think it's moving pretty fast.  What I would be concerned about is them moving in when she has kids to think about.  Most single mothers would date a guy for at least 6 months before even introducing them to the kids, never mind moving in.  Only if you think she would listen to you, then you might voice some concern about the kids, like what if they get attached to him & things don't work out, etc.--maybe it would be better to date him for a longer time first.  But there are some people who just won't listen to advice and if she's that kind, she'll just get mad at you &  not listen to you anyway.

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004

Hi,

Being a friend of both spouses puts you in a very awkward position as you are now experiencing.

Here's what I know about any breakup:

1)There's always two sides to the story. Often, you only hear one side and not the other. 

2)It's true that the person who leaves is often "gone" emotionally many weeks, months, or years before they leave physically. So, your friend may have "left" her marriage months ago and just now got around to moving out.

Advice: Yes, you can try to be a "good friend" and listen, but you're not obligated to accept her choices or agree with them. In fact, I encourage you to set  healthy boundaries with her, i.e. "I care about you and your family, but I don't want to hear about your sex life, and I am not in a place where I can meet you new love interest right now." Repeat as needed.

Truth: The divorce may end your friendship and it won't be your fault. Your friend is looking for validation and justification for her choices right now. It's only natural she'd turn to you and seek approval. If you are not comfortable giving that, you need to set that boundary and let the chips fall where they may. As in divorce, it may not be possible to friends with her (or him) during this process. 

Good luck. When people divorce they don't realize they tear at the entire fabric of their lives: family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, etc. It's not just about the couple; it's about a whole community.

Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-10-2012

Thank you all for your comments and advice! It definitely gives me food for thought.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-14-2005

You mentioned that she was a "very good" friend of yours. If this is indeed the case, my advice would be to put your judgements to the side and do your best to go with the flow, even if it's not easy. Bottomline is your friend is making these decisions for her life and she will make them with or without you. If you value your friendship, then make your friendship the priority and not your personal feelings about her decisions. It sounds like she is being foolish, but hey, it's only through mistakes that we grow and learn...so do the best you can in being there for her through this next chapter in her life that I'm sure she will be doing a lot of learning and growing in. Just be glad you are the spectator!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2012

As the others have said she may have checked out emotionally a while ago.

As long as you can support her as a friend whether she is making what you think is a good decision or not, it is her life. Try being happy for her when she is happy, and be there for her when she is sad.

Being friends, to me, means accepting for who they are, and celebrating them in their good times, and being there with tissue during the bad times.

MoCyn