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My best friend has "settled" for something and it makes me sad/annoyed.

(8 Posts)
ameliagrey Wed 31-Aug-11 09:02:42

My BF of over 30 years is in a relationship - married over 20 years- which is not happy. She had counselling for 5 years during which time she learned to deal with her DH's moods and abusive ( emotionally) behaviour. They used to have furious rows often, where they both screamed and threw things at each other. her DH BTW is highly educated and has a very senior role but I can't say what as he could be identified.

Her counsellor ( unethically IMO) over stepped the boundaries and implored her to leave him.
Myself and two other close friends were saying the same thing.

Their marriage survives because he works away and only comes home every couple of weeks etc., and meanwhile she doesn't have to work , has no children, ( out of choice) and has loads of money to spend. Though she is not "flash" with it and lives very simply overall.

They have no intimacy between them at all and this has been the case for years and years- not even kissing.

She used to offload several times a week when things were bad, but now she has gone into an acceptance phase.

She has said emphatically that she is not staying for the money- she saw lawyers in the past and they made it clear she would get a good settlement and as they have a lot of £££ she would be fine.

But I look at her, and think back to what she wanted for herself when we met in our 20s, and now she is in her 50s and stuck in this.

I feel she is worth so much more, yet she has settled. I find it hard not to say what I am thinking, and cannot see why she stays.

ameliagrey Wed 31-Aug-11 09:08:03

I know BTW that you might all say "It's her life, her choice"- true it is. I know that. But they do still row and she does offload still- though not so often- but for whatever reason, she stays.

I suppose what I am asking is, if she were your BF would you talk to her about it, or simply wait until she asks- or doesn't for advice or opinions?

GirlWithALlamaTattoo Wed 31-Aug-11 09:15:57

If she's choosing to stay, I think you need to respect that choice and keep your opinions to yourself; you can't support her at all if she's not speaking to you. It's difficult to see a friend make choices that look bad, but we have the right to make bad decisions. Be there for her, it's all you can do, and it's extremely valuable.

honeyandsalt Wed 31-Aug-11 09:31:09

She may have clammed up because she feels you are judging her harshly for staying.

Not quite sure what to suggest about that but if you can point her to this board maybe she could vent in the "support for those in emotionally abusive relationships" thread? Stress it's anon.

Also you could tell her if she needs to talk that you're there for her and on her side.

It is lovely that you're concerned for her, but make sure you draw your boundaries within your own head of what you can and cannot do. You can listen, question, and support her. You can't tell her what to do with her life, you cannot fix her relationship, and you cannot make her leave him. I think you'll find this whole situation much easier to deal with once you really accept that, and that when she rants about him her action may simply be the rant, she won't do anything else, accept that she's just offloading & not neccesarily after advice, and that advice you offer may not be taken. So make a peace with that.

ameliagrey Wed 31-Aug-11 09:39:54

Thanks both of you.

No she hasn't clammed up anyway- it's because things are marginally better , because for 4 years he has lived elsewhere except at weekends.

I need to detach myself which is hard, because I se her getting older, ending up as a woman who has never had great sex or real love, and it seems such as waste.
But if she doesn't want this for herself, I suppose I shouldn't lose sleep over it.

honeyandsalt Wed 31-Aug-11 09:43:41

It's not that you shouldn't care, rather that being anxious about things outside your control isn't healthy.

CailinDana Wed 31-Aug-11 09:53:01

I can totally understand your anxiety but I have to agree with the others that you have to accept your friend's choice as best you can and just be there for her. Only she can decide to leave and you putting pressure on her will only have the effect of making her feel judged and misunderstood. It is easier and simpler, often, to just leave things as they are. For her leaving her husband might seem like an absolutely impossible task. It might be that she values her vows too highly to break them. Whatever the reason, I think you need to go to her, say you respect the decision that she's made, that you're there for her to talk and you're going to say no more about it. You might be surprised and find that as soon as the pressure's off she comes to the decision to leave on her own.

You are clearly a lovely caring friend and she is lucky to have you.

HairyGrotter Wed 31-Aug-11 10:07:43

It's horrible to watch someone you care about stay in something not working and detrimental to their wellbeing, but all you can do is be there for her when she needs it.

My friend married her DH who is horrendous to her, but we all had to step back and accept her choice, she is miserable but our group just support her and cheer her on when needed. We can only be there for our friends. Heartbreaking to watch though

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