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to not want to listen to friend going on and on and on about her divorce?

(35 Posts)
oopslateagain Tue 27-Sep-11 15:46:21

Our local school has a regular Sunday boot sale, me and my mum always have a stall there to sell bits & bobs, and my friend S comes too and has a stall. We do it more for the fun of it as we never make much money! S usually comes to my house on Saturday afternoon and goes home Sunday evening. There is one coming up mid-October.

S is currently going through a divorce, 20 years of marriage and her DH had an affair and is now living with the other woman and her DCs. S and I have been friends since our DCs were little, just over 10 years now. She's a lovely person and a good friend. She is very insecure and wants a lot of reassurance over pretty much everything, she has always been like this but it's got a lot worse since she found out about the affair.

I understand that she wants (and needs) to talk about things, but whenever we meet up, she talks about nothing but herself, her problems, what can she do, is she doing the right thing etc etc. TBH by the time she goes home I am exhausted, though we always have a lovely time.

I've just found out that on the weekend of the Sunday boot sale, there is a smaller boot sale at another local school on the Saturday. Mum wants to do a stall there, but if I tell S, she will want to come on Friday evening and stay till Sunday, and TBH I really don't want her to. I have every sympathy with her situation but she absolutely wears me out. I have said to Mum that we can do the Saturday sale but not to mention it to S; I feel awful doing it but don't want her staying here for two nights.

AIBU to do this? I have a feeling I am. sad

Sirzy Tue 27-Sep-11 15:49:46

If she needs to talk about things then its hard/wrong to try to stop her doing so, but I can understand why it is hard to listen to it all the time.

Can you not perhaps take her out on the saturday night for a night out and before hand make a 'rule' that the night out is for her to try to forget about everything else going on and talking about relationships is 'banned'? Then she has the rest of the weekend to talk if needed but also some time for you to both just relax and have fun together?

GetOffOfMyCloud Tue 27-Sep-11 15:50:55

YADBU. She is going through a terrible time at the moment and needs your support.

With your support she can work though it and things will hopefully get back to normal and she will find her feet again in her strange new world.

Without your support she will feel even more neglected and abandoned than I imagine she is feeling right now.

You said you still have a lovely time, and that you have a feeling that YABU so I suggest you swallow your selfishness for a bit, support your friend, and get a hardhat for the flaming I suspect you will get on here very shortly.

AKMD Tue 27-Sep-11 15:52:11

YANBU, there's no need to tell her about the one on Saturday if you're doing the one on Sunday too.

2nd Sirzy's suggestion of giving her a night out to get it off her chest and then banning the subject.

ForYourDreamsAreChina Tue 27-Sep-11 15:57:29

With friends like you......

KittyFane Tue 27-Sep-11 15:59:09

Just invite her to stay Friday over to Saturday- ( you're busy on the Sunday perhaps?) or meet her there on Saturday morning and have the usual Sat-Sun arrangement?
I feel sorry for her- she must be devastated.
I had a friend like this and it was exhausting listening to her constantly talking about herself but I listened to the same thing over and over ... When I had a serious problem years later, she didn't make time for me- I don't see her anymore.
She will recover, just give her time!

oopslateagain Tue 27-Sep-11 15:59:33

GetOff, I hope I'm not being selfish. I listen to her on the phone, I meet up with her, she is always talking about the divorce, her life, what can she do, was it her fault, etc etc. She does need to get it off her chest, I understand that. I am never, never going to stop supporting her!

But there is only so much negative stuff I can take. I feel so 'down' after chatting with her. I have my own problems - health related - and I would love to just talk about normal stuff, but no, it always comes back to the divorce.

Making the whole subject 'off limits' is an interesting idea but not sure it would work! I can't exactly tell her to stop when she's just launched into a long story about how 'he' refused to pick their DD up from school...

Sassybeast Tue 27-Sep-11 16:00:04

How absolutely dreadful of your 'friend' to rely on you for support and a listening ear once in a while hmm
Do you HAVE many friends OP ?

CeliaFate Tue 27-Sep-11 16:00:21

I understand how draining people that talk about themselves all the time can be. I do think yabu though - she is obviously devastated and needs a friendly ear to vent to.
Can you arrange for a night out for a heart to heart, then if she brings it up at the car boot sale say, "X, let's not talk about it today, take your mind off it for a while and distract yourself".

oopslateagain Tue 27-Sep-11 16:00:41

I meant 'off limits' for one night, obviously, as per Sirzy's suggestion, not off limits permanently of course.

oopslateagain Tue 27-Sep-11 16:05:56

Um, can I just point out - the divorce has been going on for over a year now, it should be finalized in the next month or so. She has got over the 'devastated' feelings, she is dating again and keeps ringing me up asking advice about whoever she's planning on dating next!

She talks about the nitty-gritty of the divorce itself, the lawyers, the paperwork. She's not wanting or needing a shoulder to cry on at this point.

Sorry if that wasn't clear at the start.

jumpyjan Tue 27-Sep-11 16:09:11

OP I can sympathise that it must be a bit draining if it is talked about all the time but she obviously really needs and wants to talk about it and needs your support.

Her world has been turned upside down and she needs her friends. Imagine how she would feel if she found out. She is already feeling vulnerable.

You could try and steer the conversation to more positive things - the future etc. Though it sounds like she is not qyite there yet.

Invite her along. you will only feel guilty if you dont.

jumpyjan Tue 27-Sep-11 16:12:10

OP just saw your latest post .... hmmmm that does change things a bit. I thought it had just happened.

shineynewthings Tue 27-Sep-11 16:27:12

YABveryUnreasonable and horrid, sorry.

Divorce is sited as the N0.1 most stressful situation to go through bar death of a child or loved one.

It was a twenty year marriage! She probably lost her entire identity like many women mistakenly do during that time and now she has been cruelly dumped and cast to the side and looking at life as a Single Parent in her middle years.

I would be insecure as hell if something like that happened to me. And I'd hope that my friends wouldn't be pretending to feel my pain and then secretly posting how fed up they are on Mumsnet!

You know so many unhappy people don't talk about their problems because they think they can't keep repeating themselves over and over again and people will get bored. Or expect them to be over it by now. Or pretend to be happy.

As for it was a Year ago. That's no time to get over twenty years of marriage. And the divorce isn't even finalised. She's not had time to move on with her life.

Sorry to be so hard, but honestly I think you need to consider how you might feel if things were reversed. Best thing you can do is tell your friend to get counselling via her doctor so she'll have someone who won't think she talks about her problems too often.

RedRubyBlue Tue 27-Sep-11 16:32:20

My friend did this during her divorce and we told her and she issued us with the code word 'Hippopotomus'.

When she was going on too much about it we had to shout it at her grin

It worked very nicely.

jeckadeck Tue 27-Sep-11 16:39:04

This is very tricky. Bottom line is that people going through these situations can become very self-obsessed and dull as a result of the depression and stress that the life change brings on. I'm always unsure as to where one needs to draw the line. As a good friend I think one should be prepared to listen and indulge a bit of navel gazing to help someone come to terms with their situation. On the other hand I don't think you are doing the other person any favours if you indulge them too much. If they want to get back into the world of dating and rebuild their life they are going to have to learn -- or maybe relearn -- social skills and that means not endlessly talking about themselves and wallowing in negativity. If this person was in the first throes of a divorce I would think that one should clear the decks to listen to it ad nauseam for a bit. But if its been going on for a year then I think gently suggesting that she make space for some other discussion topics/interests isn't unreasonable. As someone mentioned further up maybe set aside some time that you won't discuss the divorce and you will let your hair down a bit (probably the Saturday night) and let her let rip on the Sunday. That was you won't feel so drained, she will start to learn that she's got to move on but can still get things off her chest.

BarbarianMum Tue 27-Sep-11 16:41:26

Sorry but I think you are being U. Friendships need to be equal (in terms of listening etc) over the long-term but in the short-term sometimes it is just your turn to listen. This is one of those times, I think.

Mumwithadragontattoo Tue 27-Sep-11 16:44:40

Friendship has to be a balance. It sounds as if you've been a good friend so far and I can understand you not wanting to always hear the minutiae of the divorce proceedings. YANBU to not mention the extra fair since you're already seeing your friend on the Sunday. I also think a code word is a great idea.

My mum has a tendency towards getting a bee in her bonnet about something (used to be the holiday rota at work before she retired) and then is impossible to get off the subject! Some gentle guidance is a good idea.

dickiedavisthunderthighs Tue 27-Sep-11 16:49:30

Ruby, that's brilliant smile

I think a lot of posters here are being very unfair, and I'd like to see them spend a Saturday afternoon to Sunday night discussing one topic that has no resolution, not to mention being very emotionally draining.

As someone who was once on the receiving end of six months of relentless conversation, including anything from one to four hour phone calls, nights in pubs and restaurants, all about a relationship breakdown I have a lot of sympathy with OP. Even the best friendship has its limits.

OP, why not say "S, I really want to hear everything that's happening with the divorce and how things are progressing and how you're feeling. Let's have a good chat about that, and then how about we spend tonight having fun and not talking bad times and sad things; it's time to look to the future." And then if she starts slipping then you can good naturedly say "Come on S, we're not being maudlin/sad/talking about that tonight." and move the conversation to better things.

oopslateagain Tue 27-Sep-11 16:58:10

dickie you sound like you've been there, done that. You've got it spot on.

She is a great friend, and I hope that I have been a great friend to her. I haven't been 'pretending' to feel her pain, as someone suggested in an earlier post. I really did feel her pain, and I've cried with her and spent nights holding her and talking about what went wrong. We've got through that, and have come out the other side.

Ruby I love that! Hippopotomus is a bit of a mouthful on several wine wine wine's though, isn't it? grin

Sassybeast Tue 27-Sep-11 16:58:14

So in your OP, she wants reassurance about her exs affair, but when criticised, you turn it into her focusing on paperwork?
The paperwork, the lawyers, the uncertainty and the grieving are all part of what makes the divorce process so stressful. Friendship is not conditional. If she had been bereaved or lost her home, would you place a time limit of offering her support? She obviously feels that she CAN talk to you and would probably be pretty devastated to know what you really think.

Hullygully Tue 27-Sep-11 17:04:19

I think it's fair to have Fri night off and save your energies for Sat/Sun.

I know exactly how you feel..

fatlazymummy Tue 27-Sep-11 17:10:14

I also know exactly how the OP feels. I went through it with a friend a few years ago. Our friendship became very one sided and I actually found it very stressful.

Whatmeworry Tue 27-Sep-11 17:22:13

Its not healthy for her to dwell on her woes, you will be doing her a favour by only listening for one night smile

chocolatehobnobs Tue 27-Sep-11 17:28:07

I think some people are being a bit harsh. After all you're not suggesting not seeing her, just limiting the amount of time you are together so that you can willingly listen and support without being badtempered. My mum was like this for about 4 years - it just gets a bit much after a while. I think a night out with the subject of her ex banned is a good plan. But not all in one weekend.

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