How to support friend during marriage triubkes(3 Posts)
Ok I don't want to come off as a total shit friend but I am genuinely looking for advice on how I continue to be there for her during her marriage troubles.
For context I am the ony person she has told, I have encouraged her to speak to parents/siblings but she doesn't want to. As far as I know some work colleges know she is having problems due to crying at work and taking time off. Otherwise it's been a pretty constant stream of outpourings to me for the last few months for which I have always been there to listen and support. We were not particularly close (old work friend, odd lunch and texts about mutual interests) but someone I care about nonetheless and have always enjoyed our friendship.
Several months ago she discovered her husband had cheated, found evidence , confronted and admitted by him. Needless to say it's been a very difficult time for my friend who has been in bits, I've been there chatting through everything. I've supported all decisions said I'll always be there whatever happens. As she continued to be treated like shit (husband refused to end the affair) I've given it tough love "protect yourself/you are worth so much more/leave him" pointing out that his behaviour is tantamount to abuse.
She isn't leaving, she continues to be treated like absolute fucking shit by a man who openly cheats on her but won't leave her. She's smart and I appreciate she is entitled to make her own decisions my problem lies with the fact I don't think I can do this "I'll support you whatever" I've run out of things to say. I am the outlet for all the bad things she wants to say to her DH but doesn't, every day she texts me updates of what a dick he is now being. I've ignored texts for a bit I've said it's too much and she needs to direct it at him I've said I don't have a further comment on certain specific issues than what I have already said but I am still the constant sounding board. It's the constant aspect (on holiday, in work, at home unwell) and that I don't feel I have anything else to add. I of course want her happy but its emotionally draining me. (As a side I have my own worries just now but any mention is quickly shot down)
So am I being selfish? Do I keep repeating "whatever makes you happy as long as you protect yourself" do I cut the crap and say LTB and never look back" do I shut the hell up and let her sound off on me?
Also have obviously left out details but I don't believe her to be in any danger.
This woman will run you ragged and drain you dry before moving onto another sucker for sob stories and, no doubt, berate you for your lack of sympathy in the process.
End this sorry state of affairs by telling her firmly and kindly that you value her friendship but her marital issues are getting in the way of you enjoying it and, as you've run out of fresh ideas/advice as to how she can resolve her problems without ltb, you hope that she won't take offence if you ask her to please not burden you with them any more unless there's a significant change in her situation.
You can dress this up any way you want; say that when you're in a 'can do' mood you feel frustrated that you can't be of any practical help to her and that when you're down, her obvious unhappiness makes you feel worse.
Say you've spent sleepless nights worrying about her problems and you've come to the conclusion that the things she's saying to you about her h will be better addressed to him.
Suggest you get together for a girly night out or lunch à deux when you can both enjoy yourselves without making any reference to her h and that it will do her good to
stop fixating take her mind off him for a while.
Be prepared for her to end your friendship but, as I see it, you have far more to gain than you stand to lose by being honest with her.
Goddess your first sentence is incredibly unkind. The poor woman is obviously desperate. Her's isn't a sob story, it's real heart ache.
That said, OP her emotional well being is not your responsibility. You've been a good friend, and you have every right to step back from the situation for your own sake. If you feel that you can be there for her, the approach that I found helpful when I went through something similar was friends who asked why. I didn't want their opinions, I didn't want them to validate my decisions just to keep me happy, I needed them to make me feel strong again.
Ask her questions like:
Why would you accept that?
Why do you want him back?
Make her think for herself. There will come a point where she won't be able to justify why any more.
The other thing I valued beyond measure was having a laugh. I have one friend who regularly dragged me out to the pub for a meal, and just cracked up up the whole time. I actually miss those days. Miserable though they were I don't think I have laughed so much any other time!
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