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Sister's husband has left her

(34 Posts)
Kettlesarethebest Sun 21-Jun-15 22:25:10

Really need some advice for my younger sister.
She has been married for eight years, but together for 20 years and has three children.
The past year has been a difficult one, as our mother has been very unwell, lots of treatment and hospital admissions. My sister lives nearby so has had to deal with most of it. I live 150 miles away, and visit frequently, but obviously I'm not around as often.
During the last couple of months things have settled, and mum has a good care package in place.

My sister had noticed that her dh was being very distant towards her. He did complain just before Christmas that my sister had been neglecting him and the children because of the support our mum needed. He knew it was only a tempory thing and we now have a good care package in place for her.
In fact since the Autumn he has hardly been at home, so she has not had him around. He has a very stressful job in the city, and has been going into work very early in the morning and returning late at night, so hasn't really been there to 'feel neglected'!

A few weeks ago he told her he loved her but wasn't 'in love' with her only more. He has said he has felt this way for a while now! He is now staying with his brother for 'some space'.

He is being an absolute pig to my sister. She is distraught, as this has come out of the blue with no warning signs that he was so unhappy, just the remark of feeling neglected, which my sister acted upon and it has certainly not been a problem since our mum has now a care package.
On top of this he is refusing to talk to her.
She is barely eating, not sleeping and the children are really struggling. I have taken holiday from work to stay with her for the next two weeks.
Apart from helping with the practical stuff, I don't know what else I can do.
I have tried calling bil but he is ignoring my calls.

SilverBirchWithout Sun 21-Jun-15 22:32:34

I think it sounds like there may be an OW. The longer working hours leading up to him going does indicate this, along with the love her but not "in love" comment.

You sound like a great sister, trying to support her. I probably wouldn't suggest this to her until a bit of the initial shock has worn off. But you do need to reassure her over and over again that it is not her fault. Grown men, loving husbands support their DWs when they are helping other family members and don't winge about being neglected.

Sweetsecret Sun 21-Jun-15 22:35:16

I could have written this myself, your sisters story mirrors mine exactly apart from having a poorly mum.
I am nearly three months on, and am doing much better.
just keep with the calls, let her know you are there.
The one thing that got to me that after the initial rallying are round after my break up, people stopped calling and that was when I found it difficult.
She will get through it, it will take a while to get her head round it.
Just ask her what she needs and try the best you can to accommodate, she may just need to call you and rant and cry down the phone.x

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 21-Jun-15 22:39:59

Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

Think finances and how she can protect herself and the DC if needs be.

Sounds horribly other womanish to me.

Leave the BIL alone. You've tried to make contact, he's now abandoned his DC and DW. If he wants to talk he will in the meantime help your DSis work out what she wants. Empower her to be in control.

Kettlesarethebest Sun 21-Jun-15 22:43:43

She has asked him if there is an OW and he has said 'definitely not'!
I have to admit that this is what I am thinking. he has been losing weight, joined a gym, new clothes. He even discussed getting a motorbike at Christmas, completely out of the blue!
I just hope I'm wrong.

Sweetsecret Sun 21-Jun-15 22:54:58

unfortunately they all say "definitely not" she may discover an affair in the next few weeks. I hope for her sake that he is different.x

molyholy Sun 21-Jun-15 22:59:52

If not an OW, then he is the walking cliché of a mid life crisis. Your poor sister. Little did she know that looking after you DM, would lead to this. Maybe it would have happened anyway. What a sap 'I feel neglected'. Arse hole. He should have been being supportive and working less to help more at home so your sister could help your mum, safe in the knowledge that 'd'h was handing things at home. You sound like you are doing all you can to help her and she is lucky to have you. She may not realise it now, but she is better off without that selfish prick. flowers and wine for you both

SlightlyJaded Sun 21-Jun-15 23:02:43

There might not be an OW, but this is text book OW behaviour, and I get amazed if there wasn't.

I think the kindest thing you can do (apart from being a shoulder to cry on) is try to discreetly find out if there is someone else involved. If he has mentally checked out and is all loved up with someone else, it would be awful if your DSis was still clinging on to hope. Try and help get her to a place of anger, strength and resolve.

You sound like a lovely sister.

sykadelic Sun 21-Jun-15 23:19:17

I too smell OW. The not talking to her is so her pain doesn't guilt him into leaving the OW/going back to her. It's also probably so he can focus on this new OW and forget about his responsibilities. For now though, the reason why doesn't really matter.

Your DSis needs to figure out what she's going to do. She needs to assume he's not going to come to his senses and stop thinking only of himself, and instead she needs to focus on herself and her kids. She needs a plan for:
- living situation
-- is she staying in "their" house or is she going to move out? If so, where?
-- is the home owned or rented, is she able to take over the rent/payments?

- financial situation
-- How much does she need on a daily/weekly basis? Does she earn enough for this or does she need help?
-- Does she have tax credits and anything else coming in?
-- how much should she be getting in child support from him?

- children/custody/visitation
-- What kind of visitation schedule is she going to be comfortable with?
-- Is she willing to let him see the kids at his brothers house or does it need to be at "their" house?

I'm sorry she's going through this sad

kickassangel Sun 21-Jun-15 23:22:21

Help her as much as possible to get finances in line. It sounds like a typical OW scenario, and he isn't about to make a generous settlement if he can't even answer the phone. She should see a solicitor, if only to get a clear idea of her position. He should also be in touch about the kids, but that sounds too much to hope for. It sounds like he wants to ride off into the sunset leaving your sister up shit creak.

Also cook her some meals and freeze single portions, or provide some treats she can dig into at 3 am when she's alone.

Cassawoof Mon 22-Jun-15 00:10:38

You sound like a lovely sister. She might find posting herself on here helpful - I did. My H did exactly the same, mid-life crisis, work stresses. It is all about them and their perceived neglect. he will not have thought about how your poor sister was coping with him not being around to support her with all this going on, dealing with your mum and the DCs etc.

Company is important, so phone her up. And anything you can do round the house, especially laundry, folding clothes, all those mundane tasks which are not much fun and the best of times but when you feel devastated really can't be faced. I had my family doing my shopping, and they'd walk in and my dad would go straight to the sink to wash up.

Don't be surprised if she gets short with you a bit. I found it so hard - 42, used to running my house and children and being told by my mum common sense things like a child again, but she knows you mean well.

I hope she is coping. Good luck.

goddessofsmallthings Mon 22-Jun-15 00:52:03

Cherchez la femme and I doubt you/your dsis will have to cherchez far to find her as she most probably occupies an adjoining desk/office.

The best thing you can do for your dsis is go with her to see a solicitor who specialises in divorce/family law so that she can find out exactly where she will stand financially if she divorces him or seeks a legal separation.

Also make sure she's prepared for him to spring a petition for divorce on her while he's having 'some space' as twunts like him have no shame.

Alice1983 Mon 22-Jun-15 00:53:54

Oh that old chestnut...'some space' course wink

AcrossthePond55 Mon 22-Jun-15 01:54:51

I agree with helping her sort out the practicalities. Finances, maintenance, benefits, and a trip to a solicitor to get her legal rights made clear.

Other than that all you can do is listen to her. At this point, don't vilify the bastard too much. She'll be feeling like a fool (she isn't) for ever marrying him and hearing 'he's a prick' or a litany of his faults over the years can make it worse. Agree with whatever she says, but don't add your two cents worth (yet). You'll get your chance later, when she's feeling stronger and her hurt turns to anger.

textfan Mon 22-Jun-15 02:14:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MythicalKings Mon 22-Jun-15 06:18:25

Another vote for an OW.

Help your sister to be strong and take all the precautions mentioned here.

guttedagain Mon 22-Jun-15 06:42:56

I didn't need to read any further than 'the city'. OW. No debate, that one is a definite. It is so common in that environment it is an accepted norm. Sadly I know this first hand.

Best thing your sister could do is take him at his word, close the door behind him and get on with her life. Her next step should be to file for divorce straight away. There is a small window where men in this situation feel guilty, and the guilt makes them agree to a more favourable divorce package. She needs to look after herself and her children first.

butterflygirl15 Mon 22-Jun-15 07:10:46

cheater's script - without a doubt. Get her to solicitor and tbh sti test wouldn't be a bad idea.

Stop phoning him too - there is really no point. Sorry.

GoodArvo Mon 22-Jun-15 07:19:05

On these threads someone always suggests changing the locks, but you can't do that. This is from the CAB website. The website also has other information which could be useful for your sister.

namechangingagainagain Mon 22-Jun-15 07:20:08

When this happened to me my sister was great. She lives a long way away but was always at the end of the phone day or night..... she also sent me a lovely box of goodies....... beauty treats and make up id never buy for myself and chocolates and magazines. I had a 3m old as well as other children and she was the one who focused on me finding myself again. She didnt ever contcat dh and I was glad about that. (There was an ow in my situation too)......

Weebirdie Mon 22-Jun-15 07:22:36

I think something was going on from before your mum needed your sisters help and your BIL has used it as a convenient excuse.

NorahDentressangle Mon 22-Jun-15 07:25:56

I would ask him what regular days he is seeing the DCs, or, by letting him call the shots, she lets him clear off to sort out his life without regard for her or DCs.

Better to just give him little reminders that he is a father. Say Doctor has recommended Dsis has a break away so DH must step up so she can get away.

And the usual see solicitor/ look out financial documents / mortgage details etc.

Kettlesarethebest Mon 22-Jun-15 09:54:07

Thank you so much for the replies.
They both have their names on the mortgage. Dsis has a part-time job but it does not pay much. They have a joint bank account, which has not changed since he left.
I have spoken to dsis when I arrived a couple of days ago about getting legal advice regarding the children, house, money etc but she looked horrified. She is not there yet, and is praying he will come home. I don't think she can even comprehend that he may not, and this is what I am worried about.
He has been seeing the children, only briefly though. He babysat for two hours while she went to work last week, and saw them for a couple of hours yesterday.

butterflygirl15 Mon 22-Jun-15 09:56:11

she really needs legal advice, and to sort out tax credits/maintenance etc. And his contact with the dc should not be in the home.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 22-Jun-15 10:11:26

Your DSis is grieving and in denial. It is a natural response to such a shock but she has the children and you are normally 150 miles away. Her doctor could put her on anti depressants just to help get her through the next few months and enable her to function on a daily basis. It's baby steps, taking one hour then one morning and afternoon at a time.

I don't know whether her H is really at his brother's or whether he has a girlfriend but he feels he is in the driving seat. Making formal arrangements when she is ready will halt the scary sensation that everything's out of control. It won't be her breaking up the family, or slamming the door shut, if she is still hoping that this is a nightmare from which she'll wake up. Though tbh it sounds like he has long since emotionally detached.

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