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Should my sister see a GP before pressing on with a divorce?

(15 Posts)
Bellbird Tue 16-Oct-12 11:00:38

My younger sister is in her mid-thirties and has just announced that it will be of no surprise that she wants to split from her husband of eight years. Ummm - actually it is a complete SHOCK. I know how one-track minded she is and she will analyse the crap out of the situation on her own.

Mum and Dad always treaded on eggshells around her because she couldn't handle arguments and was sensitive to criticism. She blames her current sadness on her marriage. This has been the most solid partnership she has ever had. They have loads of interests in common, are both into fitness, are firm friends and he is a very accomodating partner. They both lead busy lives, but there's nothing so broken that they cannot fix it.

My only criticism of him is that he is incredibly laidback with her and doesn't often take the initiative to make romantic gestures. I could say the same of lots of blokes!

We saw them together a fortnight previously and they were reasonably coupley. Although they both did say she has been unhappy for some time with her new career. She looked quite pale and was somewhat withdrawn. She had recently left a high profile media job which she quit to concentrate on her work in a gym. She came off the pill at the same time. She now finds life unstimulating and doesn't like the attitude of a couple of snobbier clients. (As I said, she is quite sensitive.) She also spends a lot of time on Twitter rather than chatting to him after work - I think this could easily be resolved.

She is going to try and rush for a divorce. I suggested a third party, but she said that is not the case. The only other factor is I believe there is a lot of internal conflict going on in her head about having kids. She said she will not try for a baby as her concern is that they won't make a great team as parents. I could understand that she is a bit frightened and worries about the in-laws, but her husband is a pillar of strength from what we've seen. I feel that she is digging her heels in and isn't ready in herself just yet.

None of the family live locally to her which is another problem. I think she'd prefer it if her MIL - who is a nurse, was at hand.... ( I managed under similar circumstances, but it was hard work.)

Since she came off the pill, there could be a hormonal imbalance, or she may be a bit depressed (a delayed reaction from quitting her old job). I would like to advise her to see a GP to rule these things out first, but am not sure how to put it to her.. she is very stubborn! Once she has had some professional advice I will happily respect her decision, but from what I can make out, she has come to this conclusion on her own.

redhappy Tue 16-Oct-12 11:08:54

I really don't know what to make of this. I've reread it and I'm still confused.

once she has had some professional advice I will happily respect her decision, but from what I can make out, she has come to this conclusion on her own

It just sounds like you would only respect it if it hadn't been her decision. Why do you think she can't decide for herself if she wants a divorce?

Yorkpud Tue 16-Oct-12 11:16:12

She sounds like she is acting hastily. Have you talked to her husband? I would worry too that she is a bit depressed as it can make you act out of character. Especially, if she then really regrets it in a few months time. Has she tried Relate (couples councelling)? It would be wise to do this even if they ended up splitting up.

Anniegetyourgun Tue 16-Oct-12 11:17:58

She's in her mid-thirties, you say; I think that's just about old enough to make her own mind up, don't you? As family, your job is not to run her life for her but to listen, advise if asked, and pick up the pieces if she makes a boo-boo! By all means suggest a trip to the GP if you think she may be depressed, over-tired or unwell, but it is not a GP's job to tell patients whether they should stay in their marriage.

The thing is, her relationship with her husband is an intensely personal thing, and no-one else has the right to decide whether she should be happy. You do not, after all, know what goes on behind closed doors, and even less what goes on in her heart, unless she chooses to tell you (and is good at explaining). She could be holding an unreasoning grudge against him for some perceived slight, she could be blaming her job-related misery on the nearest person, but then again, maybe she just isn't happy with him and divorce is actually the best thing for her. Only she really knows.

struggling100 Tue 16-Oct-12 11:22:21

You cannot - I repeat, CANNOT - judge this from the outside. You admit that your family live miles away, and even if you saw the couple every day, you could not presume that, just because things are OK between them in public, everything is fine behind closed doors.

It is not up to you to judge whether her partner is good for her or not - nor do you really have the evidence to do so. You certainly can't assess whether her fears about him as a father are grounded or not.

By questioning whether she is in her right mind, you could do huge damage. She will feel undermined and unsupported. Maybe she's depressed, and not thinking straight - but it could also be that he's an emotional bully in private, unbeknownst to you.

It would be better for you to give your sister understanding, unquestioning support, a place to talk and vent, and a chance to open up. Listening - and actually trying to hear what is behind her words - is vital here. She will be very scared, very shaky, and she will need a lot of love - not everyone piling in to tell her what to do.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 16-Oct-12 11:25:15

Stay out of it. Other people's relationships are none of your business and, even though you think you may know her/them, you have no idea what is really going on. If you think she seems depressed or acting out of character, by all means express your concern or suggest a doctor. But don't dismiss her desire to get out of the marriage as a hormonal imbalance or just a case of being stubborn. That would be insulting.

Bellbird Tue 16-Oct-12 11:26:39


My sister makes big decisions all the time. I don't live nearby and don't interfere. I am certainly not trying to manage her life!

This time, I think she is not being her usual self and for once, since the happiness of both her and her husband (who is part of the family) is at stake she may need a bit of professional input from someone who understands these things really well. I am guessing that it is almost impossible to self-diagnose something like a hormonal imbalance or depression.

Dahlen Tue 16-Oct-12 11:45:23

You have to respect her decision or you run the risk of infantilising her and/or causing huge offence, but I understand your concerns.

TBH I think the only thing you can do is offer yourself as a sympathetic ear and hope that in talking to you about it she can work through whatever the real issues are and reach a conclusion that really is right for her.

mumblechum1 Tue 16-Oct-12 11:46:59

No one knows what anyone else's marriage is really like.

Bellbird Tue 16-Oct-12 11:59:41

I agree with all of you that there are a lot of factors to consider when starting a family. She has put it off for a considerable time (before she quit her job) so you have a valid point about the relationship possibly already being wrong in that way. Divorce may well be the best thing in the long term. Although it will be a shame for all of us that know and like him, but she was the one who had to live with him day in, day out, so it is, as you say her business, not mine.

I just worry about her as she isn't in a great place right now, especially with her job. She doesn't look that well. Her husband won't put up much resistance and she will be left feeling very isolated. She wants him as a friend and has made that very clear to me.

My point, which was badly made, is that I feel it would be better, if we all know she'll be ok when they do separate. I just don't know how to suggest her seeing someone without getting an adverse reaction!

MyDonkeysAZombie Tue 16-Oct-12 12:08:57

Okay how about trying to keep the two issues separate?

Obviously reassure her you're there for her however things pan out, divorce or not.

Ask how she is physically, remind her to look after herself. As long as you don't say, "See what the doctor says then decide whether to divorce your husband".

angelpinkcar Tue 16-Oct-12 12:25:09

My sister has also tried to get involved by suggesting councseling etc, even text my STBEXH, outrageous, I know she is trying to help but it doesn't so I would keep out of it , this is from someone who is going through a relationship split, its between them. Keep out and be there if she needs you we all have to make our own decsions and mistakes in life

Bellbird Tue 16-Oct-12 12:25:44

MyDonkeysAZombie. Good advice to keep the issues separate.

I've not contradicted her decision (just so everyone is aware) at all, but felt there was more to it.

I will start off by asking after her health and see where we go from there.

Bellbird Tue 16-Oct-12 13:46:44 update..

Spoken to sister saying I was worried - but she sounded quite upbeat and said she had to rush because she is off to counselling..

Seems that in the last few days she has decided to do this off her own bat. I'm very pleased and will back off to everyone here's relief ...

MyDonkeysAZombie Tue 16-Oct-12 14:07:49

That's good news smile

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