I need some womanly advice...

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kellysouthpaw

I need some womanly advice...

Postby kellysouthpaw » Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:22 am

Figured this would be a good place to get it :)

So a VERY good friend of mine is currently living in Spain with her husband. They've been married for a couple years, and they have one daughter together (who was born 23 weeks premature and passed away at birth).

She just IMed me and said, "I need you" and starts telling me how he just sat her down tonight and said he has never been in love with her and that he "let things go on too far".

I'll keep my personal comments about his cowardice out of this.

My question is: What do I possibly say to console her? I can't even find the words to offer her advice or anything! All I can say is "I'm so sorry this is happening" and that hardly seems sufficient.

Any advice?

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helgecko
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Re: I need some womanly advice...

Postby helgecko » Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:37 am

oh wow. Your poor friend. :(

"let things go on too far"?!
*supresses rage*

Having been in a similar situation to you myself (long story, but a good friend of mine called me from her car one night after finding out all sorts of awful things about the father of her 6 month old son), I know how impossible your situation is, and how utterly useless you feel. I think I probably did something similar to you, just kept saying over and over "oh my god... oh Fi, I'm so sorry" as she spoke to me. I still sometimes wonder if there was more that I could have said or done at the time (for the record, she split with him immediately, and she and little Josh are now much happier for it).

But, I think, at the end of the day, there's not really anything you can do for someone going through something like that other than to be there for them in any way they need or you can provide. Let them say everything they need to say, and assure them they're not insane for thinking the things they're thinking, or for feeling the way they're feeling.

They don't need to hear "oh, I never liked him anyway" or anything like that, because they're still in love with them at that point, and it sounds like you've been hiding something from them all this time.

All you can do is assure them that you love them, offer support and a willingness to listen whenever they need to talk, and, if possible, offer practical help like "do you need somewhere to stay?" (obvs. difficult if she's in Spain). Ask her if she wants you to talk to anyone else for her. She may want someone else to know, but not want to tell them herself.

good luck to both you and her :goodman:
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LauraK
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Re: I need some womanly advice...

Postby LauraK » Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:44 am

Oh my....... :cry:

All you can do is let her know that you love and care about her and will be there for her however you can from so far away.

The first thing I thought was, "well, good. At least he finally got the cajones to tell her the truth, as painful as it is. She can start going forward now.....hard as it may seem at first."

Maybe she'll come to realize that she knew his feelings weren't what they should have been.......all I can say is she's be better off knowing now and getting out, rather than them staying together and one or both of them pretending. The negative feelings would just grow.....

Sending vibes and prayers to your friend, Kelly, and to you as well....
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Re: I need some womanly advice...

Postby helgecko » Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:48 am

Yes, you're absolutely right, Laura.
As painful as breaks can be, it's always better than staying in an unhealthy or unhappy relationship.
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Re: I need some womanly advice...

Postby ASmallTurnip » Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:55 am

Oh my god.

Scheisse. That is one hell of a conversation.

Kelly, I think at this point that there's not much you can say about the emotional betrayal. It's not that there isn't anything to say, but it's probably still unbelievably raw, and she likely hasn't even begunto fully process it. Just as after the death of someone you loved intensely, the layers of grief can often take months or even years to make sense of.

If she were my friend, I would help her by being very, very, very practical. The structural things you can help with, but the best thing you can do for her emotional health is just to listen. You can say to her very gently, "I don't know what to say. But I'm here. I'm always here. I'm thousands of miles away, but my arms are reaching out to you across that wide blue ocean, and I am holding you very tightly. And I am always listening."

But here's where you can really help: you need to tell her to get a lawyer. Whatever happens, she need good, honest legal advice. She needs to make a record of exactly what he said, and when he said it, and she needs to get it notarised if she can. Whether they end up separating or not, it is ESSENTIAL that she protect herself. If her husband is cruel enough to put her through this kind of living hell, there's absolutely no guarantee that he won't behave similarly if it comes to divorce or separation proceedings. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that she get rigorous and totally reliable help on this front.

She probably won't be ready to dig around in the pain right now, but at some point, it would probably help her heal to talk to some sort of counselor or therapist. There's got to be so much raging around her head, especially if she's suffered the additionally traumatic loss of a baby in the past. She's going to need some help sorting it out, and it probably shouldn't be you or any friend that does that. Not that you aren't an incredible, patient friend with lots of excellent knowledge and experience with tough stuff, Kelly. But you don't need to take that emotional burden on, okay? You're going to want to, because she's your friend and you love her, and you're an immensely caring person like that. But she needs an objective outsider to help her find the tools to move on.

She's a lucky friend to have you, Kelly. I wish so much that she didn't have to go through this. But I also know that when she does come through the other side, she will feel more joyful and free than she has during her entire marriage. Life is funny like that. It really is.

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Re: I need some womanly advice...

Postby LauraK » Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:59 am

That's excellent advice, Turnip. Really smart. :)
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kellysouthpaw

Re: I need some womanly advice...

Postby kellysouthpaw » Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:12 am

Aww you guys are just fantastic *group hug smiley here*

I've basically done what you all said - listened very patiently, let her talk. She's going between extremes of, "I need to let him go" to "Maybe we can work things out" and I just let her swing like the pendulum she's being :) She has asked for my advice and I've given it. I've told her that she needs to get her butt back here to the US so she can put some space between her and hubby - experience "normal" life away from him for a couple months, and then see where she stands as far as does she want to even TRY to reconcile with him. My guess is after a couple of months of being back and seeing she IS strong enough to overcome this (she's the strongest woman I know, seriously.), she'll want nothing to do with him...

Who knows if she'll take the advice. I told her she can do what she wants with it, I'll love her just the same either way.

I just feel so helpless, like you all have said, and it kills me because I hate NOT being in control of situations...

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Re: I need some womanly advice...

Postby tvldiva » Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:28 am

I'm so sorry this happened to your friend. Loss of a child is a huge issue with couples. It can either make them a stronger couple or break them apart. Also, people just react differently to this kind of loss.

As for your friends situation, I can only assume things.
One scenario is that he lacks the maturity to handle such a loss. In his mind, he may blame her or even himself for the loss and the only option is to leave.
The other scenario is that he may have had doubts about the marriage and but didn't realize it until this situation came up.
In either case, it sounds like life just got too real for him and he just couldn't handle it. This doesn't mean his a bad guy or cruel, he's just human. :dunno: Of course, it is doubley(is that a word?) crappy for her because now she has to deal with a divorce. :hrmpf:

Only time will tell. Hopefully, they will seek some type of counciling, together or apart. You can tell your friend that as horrible as it is now, be grateful it didn't happen after, say, 20 years. (This comes from personal family history.) Resentment is a horrible emotion and can tear you apart.
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Re: I need some womanly advice...

Postby trefusis » Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:44 am

Oh, kelly. :(

I think that you're right to advise her that she needs to spend some time back in the US if she can - partly for the physical distance and partly to get back a sense of who she is herself, away from all the associations. She may find that difficult, however, if she lost her baby in Spain.

Agree with what Turnip says about the practical advice. It sounds like she needs a mummy right now.
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Re: I need some womanly advice...

Postby Sherry » Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:07 am

I cannot really add any more than has been said by others. They pretty much have said what I would say.

Be there for her, listen, let her get out of her system whatever is on her mind.

Space might be a good thing but then it also doesn't help if she would see that as running away and not dealing with things. Perhaps she needs to remain to sort out things, have closure before she can move on.

Not knowing the couple or the full situation I'd really not like to say either way. You know your friend, help her move in the direction she is comfortable with. Don't let her do something rash or out of character she may regret in the future or that might make things more difficult for her.

Having lived overseas for many years I know its not just a simple case of packing ones bags and running home to get over a broken heart. You build a life elsewhere, a home, friends, a job, its not always so simple as to head off elsewhere for a couple of months. And sometimes just sticking with what you know, are familiar with, working and so on, it can help keep a person focused. I prefer to plough on rather than leave and deal with my problems in my own time. I also think that having work to go to is a good thing. Had I gone home to the UK when my relationship ended it wouldn't have really helped me. Just delayed what I was going to have to deal with which meant I could not move on with life till then. And being able to move on sooner than dragging things out and having to deal with them months late and open up all the hurt again was better for me.

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Re: I need some womanly advice...

Postby mockingbird » Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:26 pm

tvldiva wrote:You can tell your friend that as horrible as it is now, be grateful it didn't happen after, say, 20 years. (This comes from personal family history.) Resentment is a horrible emotion and can tear you apart.


I love tvldiva but I must say, it will not be helpful to tell her to be grateful it didn't happen in 20 years. That kind of thing tends to devalue the pain she's feeling right now. There is never a *good* time for a marriage to end, and while it may even be TRUE that it's better for it to have happened now rather than later, it has a subtext of "so cheer up, count your blessings, it could be worse" and I think right now she needs to feel like her pain is accepted and understood.

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Re: I need some womanly advice...

Postby tvldiva » Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:59 pm

mockingbird wrote:
tvldiva wrote:You can tell your friend that as horrible as it is now, be grateful it didn't happen after, say, 20 years. (This comes from personal family history.) Resentment is a horrible emotion and can tear you apart.


I love tvldiva but I must say, it will not be helpful to tell her to be grateful it didn't happen in 20 years. That kind of thing tends to devalue the pain she's feeling right now. There is never a *good* time for a marriage to end, and while it may even be TRUE that it's better for it to have happened now rather than later, it has a subtext of "so cheer up, count your blessings, it could be worse" and I think right now she needs to feel like her pain is accepted and understood.

Sorry, I didn't mean for my comments to be mentioned to the friend. :worry: I meant it as a way for her to try to understand the situation. It's easier to help someone if you know where they are, emotionally speaking. To be honest, at this early stage, there isn't much you could say. The best thing is just to be her friend and listen. It's awkward but it is a huge comfort for the grieving to have that release.
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kellysouthpaw

Re: I need some womanly advice...

Postby kellysouthpaw » Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:18 pm

Well I got a myspace message from her this morning saying that when he got up to get ready for work he apologized and said that he was drunk and shouldn't have said it.

I think that's just such...crap, honestly. I guess it's raw because I was with a guy for awhile who would do the same thing. Get drunk and then say all sorts of crap and then claim the next day he can't be held accountable because he was drunk. Personally I often wonder if people speak the truth especially when they're drunk because the part of their brain that censors their speech before it's spoken is inhibited with alcohol use but...what do I know :lol:

But I'm biting my tongue and letting her know I'm still here for her. Though from the sound of the message it sounds like she's going to forgive him on very short order.

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Re: I need some womanly advice...

Postby vmh » Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:26 pm

That's such BS. Being drunk is not an excuse. Even if he said it while he was drunk, there's still some truth to what he said. It's up to your friend to do what she wants to do and I would be supportive of that. I think you're doing the right thing. But it's likely that he's going to hurt her again.
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LauraK
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Re: I need some womanly advice...

Postby LauraK » Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:29 pm

She'll forgive him? Ugh....I'm sorry but I have to agree- people's inhibitions are lowered or wiped away completely when they're drunk and that's when they speak the truth.

I'll just send her vibes to be clear-headed.....she has to make her own decisions. Best of luck to her...I don't see how she could ever forget what he said. I see festering wounds and neg feelings in the future.....:(
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