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To be utterly shocked at my friend leaving her family...

(269 Posts)
threeinmybed Tue 04-Oct-11 15:43:35

I can't believe this is happening, I can't believe I'm posting about this... Been hanging about for a few hours trying to work up the courage and trying to word is post right.
Longtime poster, serial name changer so please bear with me.

My best friend of about 15 years has just upped and left her family. She has a husband and two children (one boy of 3 and a baby girl of 10 months). It happened totally out of the blue, and I did not see it coming at all. I actually work with her DH, who is as shocked as anyone.

We last saw one another on Sunday, for lunch. It was just she and I, and she seemed happy enough but a bit distracted. She said that she and her DH had been going through a rough patch and marriage was just such bloody hard work; she felt too young for all this etc. She asked me if I ever thought about just buggering off somewhere, leaving and never coming back. I laughed and said yes, in my worst moments I did and made a stupid joke out of it. I can't even remember what I said now, it seemed so trivial at the time. She said later on that she'd never seen herself being like this five years ago. I asked if there was anything I could help with, she just brushed it off and said 'nah, I'll get over myself!' like it was a joke and we just carried on chatting.

Yesterday, I was on a team building day at work and I got a text message that said not to worry, but that she was safe and she'd be in touch really soon. I was in the middle of no where so I couldnt call her back. I got home later in the afternoon to find her DH standing at my door, in an absolute state. He said they'd had an argument the night before and that she said she was leaving and not coming back, she wanted a divorce and she couldn't take the kids anymore, not one more second of them. She said she was happy to pay her way for them, but this wasn't the life she wanted and she was sorry.

I should say at this point that she did have PND going back about 8 months ago. But her DH interjected quickly, and she got the treatment she needed. She cited this as well apparently, saying the AD's had helped her see clearly for the first time in years.

When the initial craziness had calmed down, and her DH had gone back home I called my friend, who pretty much confirmed all her DH had said. She said that she was seeing clearly now, she'd not been happy for a while and that being a Mum just wasn't what she wanted. She's happy to pay maintenance for them, but she's not sure about visitation rights etc, maybe when she gets settled she can see the kids at my house? It seems she's been thinking this over for a while. I'm distraught. For her poor family, even myself a bit. I'm cross at myself too. Why didn't I talk to her more on Sunday? Push the issue a bit?

She is staying at her sisters who is a few counties away. Far enough, anyway. I don't know what else to say... I can't think of any other information right now. I couldn't think of anything else to say to her. Please help, I don't actually know what advice to give, or how to help right now. My friend and her DH are a massive part of our lives.

worraliberty Tue 04-Oct-11 15:48:30

Just be there as best you can for both of them

Sadly this happens to families every day, though it's more common for the man to leave.

Hopefully she'll come to her senses with a bit of support.

manicbmc Tue 04-Oct-11 15:49:54

Just because someone is on anti depressants doesn't necessarily mean they are better. It could be her medication wasn't right and she still has PND. I covered mine up for years.

Give her a bit of breathing space. Is it possible for her dh to talk to her sister?

threeinmybed Tue 04-Oct-11 15:50:53

I understand her little boy is hard work. Both of them have admitted it's through lack of consistency on their part though. That said, he is very trying. If he comes over to our house, he will literally do his utmost to wreck the damn place.

I can't imagine her leaving because of that though. I really can't. Surely she must love them?

Crosshair Tue 04-Oct-11 15:51:44

yanbu about being shocked. Im not sure what to think about it all, how sad for the family.

Try and support them both. sad

threeinmybed Tue 04-Oct-11 15:52:22

I know manic, I should be doing just that. I just want to drive up there though and shout and scream at her and shake her. Her kids will never forgive her for this, surely.

My aunt did a similar thing when her children were young, and her daughter (now 28) has still not forgiven her.

gethelp Tue 04-Oct-11 15:53:35

Oh my goodness, what a bomb to throw. I feel for you, this is a dreadful position to be in, you're going to have to be strong here. I don't think you can blame yourself though, it's very unusual for a mother to leave her children like that. Someone I know did it, but changed her mind after a couple of months when she realized how harshly the world was treating her as a result. Good luck.

AuntiePickleBottom Tue 04-Oct-11 15:54:29

i amy get flamed for saying this.

I think she has done the right thing, she left them with there father as she felt she couldn't be a mum to her children.

perhaps after a few days/weeks she comes to her senses and realise that there are 2 young children who need there mum.

festi Tue 04-Oct-11 15:55:13

very sad all round and I can understand why you are devistated also. I dont quite know what to say it will be very difficult for you to be there for everyone in this situation.

I had a very close friend of, well, pretty much all my life, who done a very similar thing. It was very very messy. It turned out I was not the best person to support any of them and I am no loger as close to neither her nor her exp or her child. It will be difficult. I did support her exp and dd emotionaly for a long while but sadly lives have taken a very different direction for us all. I do some times feel very sad for that.

At that stage of conversation on sinday I do not think you could have changed her mind or done any more to support her. it sounds like she has not taken this decission lightly. I would find it difficult to justify to be honest and I think your approach will determine where you friendship goes from here on in. I would give her space just now but let her know you are there for her. Does her xp and child have much support around?

WilsonFrickett Tue 04-Oct-11 15:55:38

It sounds to me like she is overwhelmed, and that could still point to PND. OP, I understand you're upset but I really don't believe anything you could have said would have changed her mind.

threeinmybed Tue 04-Oct-11 15:55:50

When I rang her, she was saying how hard it was being married to her DH, how they were always struggling for money (they both work though, and earn a very decent wage and have a nice lifestyle, I think), how she could never go out for an evening for drinks without dreading waking up in the morning to 2 screaming kids...

FFS they went on holiday this year for 2 weeks whilst his mother looked after the kids, she said it was that that made her realise how much she dislikes being around the children and the responsibility.

gigglepigg Tue 04-Oct-11 15:55:53

she was probably advised on here to Leave The Bastard

and did


HappyFinnish Tue 04-Oct-11 15:58:18

Blimey. I'm reeling from reading this so can imagine how you're feeling. As an initial response, I think she probably isn't right when she says she's 'seeing clearly now'.

It sounds like what you said on Sunday was good, don't worry about that.

I don't think you should try to be giving advice - just be there for your friend and swing with it. Be there and be you, as far as you can. Also, I've always found splits amongst friends hard to deal with, so make sure you keep some space for yourself, if that makes sense.

Thumbwitch Tue 04-Oct-11 15:59:17

HOw very sad. I hope she changes her mind. sad
All you can do is support them all as much as possible and let her talk.

threeinmybed Tue 04-Oct-11 15:59:18

See I think if it was PND, mshe wouldve spent that whole holiday unhappy still. Because PND is a hormonal imbalance, it doesn't matter what you do things are still shit. I suffered with it hugely.

MissPenteuth Tue 04-Oct-11 15:59:20

I'm probably naiive and idealistic but her actions strike me as very selfish when she has a young child and a baby to consider. Leaving a partner is one thing but abandoning children is quite another.

Maybe she is still suffering from PND. Either way, I hope everything settles and she comes around to seeing the children.

LydiaWickham Tue 04-Oct-11 15:59:28

Her DH will need your help now. Does he have childcare in place while he works? Can you help with logisitcs, I assume he'll need details of childminders/nurseries/nannies.

He might need practical help along the lines of food shopping/cooking etc (when my friend's H left she just couldn't think straight about things like that, a few pies she could just throw in the oven made by friends at least meant she could keep the DCs well fed while she processed it all).

As for your friend who has left, at least she's with family if she is depressed and not on her own. They should be able to help her see a little more clearly. Hopefully she'll start to miss her babies after a couple of nights. Is she back at work or still on Mat leave if the youngest is 10 months? It could be she needs to go back to work to get that independence and 'self' back.

Just be there for both of them, have the DCs over to play if they need time to talk. as hard as it is, don't get too involved, this isn't your problem or your fault for not listening. If she wanted to open up to you, she would have done.

threeinmybed Tue 04-Oct-11 16:01:43

I don't know how I feel about her. She needs a friend, I'm sure of that. But I don't know if I'm up to this. I want to slap her. I'm so angry. She'll talk the hind legs off a fucking donkey, but she wouldnt talk to anyone about this? We could have sorted it, surely. Got them couples counselling. I don't bloody know.

Hassled Tue 04-Oct-11 16:01:50

So the baby is only 10 months but she had PND "going back about 8 months ago"? So at 2 months post-birth it was decided (or she decided?) she was "better"? I've no personal experience of PND but my understanding was that it normally runs on a lot longer than that post the baby's birth - so she could well still be really quite depressed.

Can you talk to the sister? At least to do what you can to get the sister to get your friend to see a doctor.

Poor you - and the poor DH.

Hullygully Tue 04-Oct-11 16:03:11

<snort at gigglepig>

threeinmybed Tue 04-Oct-11 16:05:04

She's been back at work a couple of months, just pt. The kids go to nursery when she works, they're going to have to go ft for now until this gets sorted. Which is a massive finincial burden on him, obviously.

Meals are a good idea, tbh I work ft usually so I'll just have to grab something from Waitrose, perhaps? At least it's decent quality.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 04-Oct-11 16:05:33

I think it must be tremendously traumatic for any parent to leave their children - moreso the mother. Fathers leave without stigma really, a mother is forever branded and few understand what would drive a woman to leave their child.

I suppose keeping the door as open as possible, hoping that she'll change her mind, is one way to go? Is her husband getting some guidance from somewhere on how to handle this, regarding telling the children and so on?

ViviPru Tue 04-Oct-11 16:06:49

OP you need to get really REALLY angry about this today and get it all out of your system. Write down all reasons why you're fuming right now on here and really exorcise yourself.

Then you need to take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that this is going to be a slog and you're in it for the long haul. You sound like a great friend and they are both really lucky to have you.

If its not PND (I remain to be convinced) then it sounds a bit like burnout. She does seem to be seeing the negative side of everything which can indicate a depressive illness.

PonceyMcPonce Tue 04-Oct-11 16:08:06

As societ condemns women who leave their children, I cannot help but wonder if the ones that do, are the ones who avoid driving themselves and children into a lake or similar.

A 3yo, a 10mo, a full time job and tricky marriage combined with pnd sounds like recipe for disaster.

If she has not gone far, a trip back to her gp sounds like a good idea to me. To at least cover the pnd concern.

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