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What can I say to my friend to help her re: her H?

(6 Posts)
Splinterbottom Thu 21-Jul-11 21:32:28

Sorry for the length of this post.

My closest friend has been with her H for 12 years and there have always been problems, I thought things had got better in the last few years, but now they are worse again and I don?t know how to help. I know she doesn?t MN, and I really need to talk to someone and I think there are women on here who have been in similar situations to my friend and got out.

In the early years she left him a couple of times but she always went back. He shouted at her a lot and belittled her, and made her think she was rubbish. He also stole money from her. At the time I tried to persuade her to leave him for good, and that backfired as it just pushed her closer to him and I barely saw her for months on end, by the time she got in contact again she was heavily pregnant with their DD. They now have 2 children.

Since then I?ve let her know that I?m always there for her and I?ve made an effort with her H so that she and the children aren?t isolated (she has no close family around). He can be very friendly and charming. Now out of the blue a couple of months ago he told her that he was leaving, no explanation other than that he didn?t love/fancy her any more. He started sleeping in the spare room and told her that she and the children were no longer his responsibility. He has not had anything to do with the children since, won?t hug them or tuck them in at night. He has told her that he has developed a strong friendship with another woman but there is nothing ?going on?. He stays out for nights at a time and someone is buying him expensive gifts. My friend genuinely believes he is not cheating on her and is perplexed as to who is putting him up / giving him money.

My friend has since confided in me that throughout this time he has stolen any money she has left lying around their home ? benefit money as he won?t work or look after the children, and she can?t afford childcare as she?ll get no financial help on childcare while there is a non-working parent at home ? money meant to go on rent/food etc. She has also said that he often shouts at their children over nothing, especially the eldest, and scares her. Her daughter has told her she wants daddy to leave.

TBH, I was thinking that, as distraught as my friend is over him splitting up with her, it was a blessing in disguise. Now he is saying he thinks he?s had a wobble and might want to get back together with her, if she can change her ways from being the bitch who?s made him miserable for the last three years. She?s rung me beating herself up for being such a bitch to him without realising it, and obsessing about how to change so they can work it out and he?ll take her back.

I just don?t know what to do. If I tell her to run for the hills she won?t listen to me and I?m worried it?ll drive her back to him again. I?m so worried for her and especially for the children, who are wonderful. Maybe the right thing to do is nothing which is why it helps to rant here rather than bottling it up or shouting at my friend in frustration when what she needs most at the moment is my support. Please help. I can't stay on here tonight but I'll check tomorrow before I ring her back. If anyone has any words of wisdom for things I can say to her or how to approach this I'd be very grateful. Thanks.

Splinterbottom Thu 21-Jul-11 21:34:00

Sorry for all the ?s. I typed this in word first as it's such an essay and it's converted all the apostrophes etc - hope it's still legible.

Terraviva Thu 21-Jul-11 21:52:57

Oh my god! How horrendous. I have no idea how I'd handle this, but it would break my heart to see a friend in this situation. I wish I had something more useful to contribute, but all I can say is how much I feel for you and your poor friend.

I hope you get some great advice on here x

Terraviva Fri 22-Jul-11 16:48:14


oldwomaninashoe Fri 22-Jul-11 17:14:45

I'm sorry but I think there is little you can do or say, apart from ask her to think very hard about the effect this is having on the children. He has been literally stealing the food from their mouths, has he not?

She will not leave him and take everything he dishes out at her until she decides in her own time that enough is enough and she will not tolerate any more.

I would tell her that you are there for her and will always be there for her, but you have given her advice in the past that she has not taken so are loathed to do it now!

Make her realise she is the author of her own destiny! (if you can) while she has someone sympathising with her over her situation, she will let it continue.
She has obviously not reached her breaking point yet, just tell her you will be there for her when she does.

Splinterbottom Fri 22-Jul-11 20:31:17

Thanks Terraviva and oldwomaninashoe, it's good to talk to someone about this. I find it so frustrating and upsetting. I've tried to talk to her about having choices and it being her choice to stay - she's the author of her own destiny as you put it - but it's like she just has to take everything he does to her and the children because she loves him.

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