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Please help me to help my friend

(13 Posts)
nameuschangeus Mon 28-Jan-13 07:41:00

My lovely friend is having trouble in her marriage. Her husband has basically just withdrawn from family life. They have no sex life, everything they do is. separate. She earns more than he does and I think that may be galling to him. She wants him to leave but he refuses. He also refuses to talk or go to counselling. They have 3 dc's and he has one one hand blurted out to the dc's that he's leaving and on the other hand told my friend that he won't go anywhere.

Many moons ago (before dc, so more than 10 years) he was violent towards her when he'd had too much to drink. He is now drinking a lot again and she is worried for obvious reasons.

She has told her family the situation and they are supportive but reminded her 'he is still their father' etc which she knows and wouldn't want to stop contact between them. She wants to be civilised but he won't do anything one way or the other - leave, or seek help, or try harder.

I appreciate its none of my business but I want to support her and be there for her. I've offered to have the children to give them a break and I try to be a sounding board and an ear for her.

Please could you help me with advice on what I could do to help - practical things and places to go for advice and things that people have said or done for you, if you've been there, which helped.

I am worried for get and her dc's but my gut feeling is that you get one life and you should live it. She is only existing in her life at the mo. sad

nameuschangeus Mon 28-Jan-13 07:42:34

Worried for her, not get. Flipping predictive text.

Longtalljosie Mon 28-Jan-13 07:44:05

Has she considered going to counselling by herself?

nameuschangeus Mon 28-Jan-13 08:11:11

I don't think she has to be honest. She has had counselling before for other things (bereavement) so I could suggest it to her, she's not against the idea. What are the benefits, do you know?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 28-Jan-13 09:09:36

I think, if she wants him to leave, she needs legal advice on how to achieve that. A solicitor specialising in Family Law or CAB. The Womens Aid charity may be able to help with the alcohol abuse aspect if she's scared of his reaction. She may find that the only way to get this man out of her life is to start actual divorce proceedings and get the wheels in motion that way. However, he doesn't sound like he's going to leave voluntarily, he could get nasty when backed into a corner and she needs to think/act strategically and keep herself and her children safe.

nameuschangeus Mon 28-Jan-13 09:36:51

I'll mention women's aid to her. I've said about getting a solicitor but I'm not sure she's ready for that yet. I suppose the seed is in her mind now and she has to take each step in her own time.

nameuschangeus Mon 28-Jan-13 09:50:37

Would it be a big mistake for her to leave and take the children?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 28-Jan-13 09:59:21

If she feels that, by staying, they are in danger of either physical or emotional damage then no, it would not be a mistake to leave with the children and deal with everything from a new location. However, legal advice is really important because when you're talking about things like property and finances, it can get very difficult and very expensive if there is a hostile soon-to-be-ex partner sabotaging things.

nameuschangeus Mon 28-Jan-13 10:19:52

She is wavering between staying put and putting up with things because she thinks the children will be better off with two parents and she feels guilty for breaking up their family. She is in a real state sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 28-Jan-13 10:25:04

She thinks her kids will be better off with a nasty drunk of a father and an emotional wreck of a mother ....? Which parenting style is that then? hmm The only person who would be guilty of breaking up the family, it seems, is the nasty drunk..

nameuschangeus Mon 28-Jan-13 21:18:51

To be fair to him he hasn't been violent towards her recently. I know that is not any sort of recommendation but I can understand from her point of view why she's giving him the benefit of the doubt. I'm not sure if I'd be the same but I am not her and I can't judge what I would do as I haven't been there.

She has spoken today on the phone to a counsellor (her employer has one that she can access immediately) who has tried to get her to sit down and talk to him. But from her reaction I think it's gone to far for that.

I think she is steeling herself to 'be the one who breaks up a family'. I have told her that its not just her and that he has to take blame too but she is in a bad place at the mo. I think she knows she has to do it but cannot bear the guilt.

I asked her what would life be like if you did carry on as it is now and she just said 'as it is, me pretending in public everything's alright' sad

She hasn't said but I think she us worried the children will blame her. She knows his family and he will. He's not willing to shoulder any responsibility for the situation.

I've told her to get a solicitor and today her financial adviser has said the same. I've been to cab and found a few bits out for her too, just leaflets etc but I hope they'll help her.

Thanks everybody.

Longtalljosie Tue 29-Jan-13 06:48:06

I think the benefit of going by herself would be that it would help her to come to the conclusion by herself that the situation is unsustainable. Sometimes you can tell people stuff till you're blue in the face but they have to decide.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 29-Jan-13 06:54:54

"To be fair to him he hasn't been violent towards her recently."

A decent man would never have been violent at all. That's how they keep women cowed and on the back foot. Actual violence to begin with and then the fear of aggression is enough to maintain control. Which is what's happening here, I believe. Grossed up with feelings of guilt and this incorrect belief some people have that it's always best to stay together when children are involved and no wonder she feels fixed to the spot. Please don't tell her that she shares the blame in any way because she already thinks that. You need to reassure her that she is 100% in the clear. A victim. Your friend may also benefit from talking to the Womens Aid charity. 0808 2000 247.

Hope she decides to make a fresh start but, if not, you will have to respect that. You can lead a horse to water etc...

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