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How can I support friend going through separation?

(21 Posts)
Bumbandit Fri 28-Mar-14 09:38:47

I have a dear, beautiful, clever, resourceful and deeply caring friend whose husband has finally moved out after years of delaying. Our kids get on like a house on fire and I really love her to bits so they've been over to ours a lot when going home was just... difficult. This was honestly not a charity gig, I love having her over and enjoy the kids playing together - we have all become very close.

She says she is pleased that he's finally gone - for all sorts of reasons he's been a dreadful partner and parent. Things she told me about him scared me.

But I am aware that separation is probably one of those things where, if you haven't been there, you won't quite 'get' what its like and that feelings may change from day to day.What advice can you give me about how to be there for her and her kids now? I feel like a know-nothing idiot!

JeanSeberg Fri 28-Mar-14 12:13:31

You sound like a great friend, just carry on doing more of the same!

Can you also arrange some nights outs/weekends away together without the kids?

Perhaps a joint holiday together in the summer?

Bumbandit Fri 28-Mar-14 13:02:20

Good plan! Will do!

Handywoman Fri 28-Mar-14 20:32:03

Keep doing more of the same and just let her talk, talk, talk some more. And when you think she can't possibly want to talk any more, let her talk some more!

You sound like a truly fab friend!

Minime85 Fri 28-Mar-14 20:50:24

don't disappear after initial break up. stay being the really good friend it sounds like you are. I really wanted my closest friends and work colleagues who knew to treat me like normal. to still tell me what was going on in their lives etc.

take her to the cinema. buy her chocolate and sweets. buy her wine!

you sound like a lovely friend. smile

Bumbandit Fri 28-Mar-14 20:55:09

Thanks Handywoman. It isn't hard being friends with such a lovely woman, really. And if listening is what's mainly required, I can manage that. I know f all about what it must feel like, but you don't know much to listen.

Would it be kind or too sore to buy her a present for her home now he's gone? Something that makes her feel loved when she looks at it. Or would meals brought over be nicer? I always feel totally trashed when I have been through a bit thing. Or do I just keep it low key?

All I can say is how could he be such an IDIOT as to not treat her like a queen? Gorgeous, thoughtful, funny and such a sweet, kind heart. WHAT an idiot...

Bumbandit Fri 28-Mar-14 21:02:16

Sorry, that should be 'you don't have to know much to listen' and 'been through a big thing'. Damn predictive texting!

HappyGoLuckyGirl Fri 28-Mar-14 21:05:24

You sound lovely.

I'm going through a split at the minute with the father of my child and I have no one like you.

My best friend is hundreds of miles away. sad

I think if you continue being there for her then she will appreciate it. And the gift sounds lovely. Something to remind her of how great she is.

Bumbandit Fri 28-Mar-14 21:11:54

I am sorry to hear that HappyGoLucky there is no substitute for friends being physically THERE. Skype and phone are ok, but they don't give great hugs!

What I was thinking for a gift is that she's been trying to get him to go for years, and always said the worst part of her day was putting the key in the lock and walking through the front door. So I thought maybe a really colourful mat or a lovely flower in a pot for her doorstep, or maybe something nice for the hall, so when she started walking in she would remember that it doesn't have to be like that any more. Home can start to become a happy place now with light and colour in it.

Or would I just make her cry?

lavenderhoney Fri 28-Mar-14 21:17:19

You sound lovely, your friend is very lucky. I'm going through it all now, and my best friend is on the other side of the world. Supportive yes, but its not the same. They did pop over for dinner recently, but it only made me realise how much I missed someone nearby.

Just keep doing what you are doing, and maybe ask her as well, what she would like in a friend as time goes by.

Bumbandit Fri 28-Mar-14 21:34:06

Oh shit, you too Lavender? God that must be all kinds of ways tough.

lavenderhoney Fri 28-Mar-14 22:10:16

Bumbandit, not as tough as living with him wink come onto my thread and hold my handsmile

But yeah, its not an experience I relish. Everyone thinks I'm doing great. I'm so not. I feel like I'm in a book or film and it doesn't have a happy endingsad

Plus, when you are alone, and have only new friends, like me, you are all brittle and joke about it. Because otherwise these lovely new friends will run away. And I already have had the glares if their dh talks to me at pick up. Like I want more trouble! No, no, they can keep their comfy dh'ssmile

Op, have a dinner party and invite people who are single, with dc, bad some marrieds. Doesn't matter if too many women. ( experience) Bung on some dance music and have a party.

DaisiesDandelions Sat 29-Mar-14 00:38:31

My husband is moving out in two days. I am already dreaming of buying some nice mugs and painting the bathroom a bright colour (not that I'll be able to afford it) so I think the happy house gift is a good idea.
I am another who only has people to talk to online.

HappyGoLuckyGirl Sat 29-Mar-14 07:37:31

Your idea of a plant or colourful rug is awesome.

I bet she would love it.

notnowImreading Sat 29-Mar-14 08:10:52

I agree with the comment about sticking around for her later and continuing to let her talk about it. I'm nearly a year post-split now and although I feel a million times better, the fact that one of my friends still asks me about it and isn't afraid to talk about my husband is such a relief. My parents could not have been more supportive but are so desperate for me to be okay that it's hard to talk to them when I have a down day.

Don't start badgering her about internet dating after three months (or any length of time, actually). This happens to me a lot and it makes me feel sick at the thought of it.

notnowImreading Sat 29-Mar-14 08:13:59

Oh, and let her talk to your husband. It's amazing how quickly your world becomes entirely populated by women when you have been used to having male couply friends. It is nice to hear a normal male voice without there being any agenda. I was quite hurt by the fact that I was suddenly expected not to want to see all these blokes who had been part of my life for years.

Bumbandit Sat 29-Mar-14 09:08:47

Sorry to go so quiet on you folks. I am sick! I really appreciate all your responses - they should help me be more sensitive. I have been worried about putting my foot in it because she's just so raw right now.

Ok so, happy home present, the odd adult night out, invites on holidaysbor short breaks, lots of listening, for the long as well as the short term. and time with my DH (that's easy they already go to.play group together whilst I do the shopping).

(But who on earth would stop.you.talking to their husband? What do they think.you are going to do to him- stick him in a big bag marked 'Swag' and run off???)

Now What about the practical stuff? A 'call a friend' card for when she is ill to take care of DC? Are there particular court appearances or days when a hand to hold would have been good? Or points when you were so knackered you could barely make a meal? Suggestions please!

notnowImreading Sat 29-Mar-14 12:08:28

No, nothing so overt - it's just that couples' evenings such as 'why don't you both come over for a couple of beers and a barbecue?' become girls' lunches and 'why don't we get the girls together for afternoon tea?' It's lovely until you realise you haven't spoken to a man socially for ten months; then you feel weird.

Bumbandit Sat 29-Mar-14 17:34:02

Ah, I see Notnow. I thought you meant all your female friends had become paranoid about losing their men to your (no doubt very considerable) charms.

notnowImreading Sat 29-Mar-14 17:58:10

Nah, I'm no threat.

notnowImreading Sat 29-Mar-14 17:58:27

But thanks grin

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