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How can i help one of my friends??? Need suggestions! A friend is getting divorced

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey guys! I have a question and I really could use some ideas/suggestions on how to really be there for one of my good friends right now. She's going through a really tough time at the moment. She just found out her husband is being unfaithful (again) and I think this time it's ending their marriage. They've been together 9 years and have two little girls. She is obviously just to pieces over this. He told her he doesn't love her anymore and other things. So my question would be- for those of you who have maybe gone through this before (or even if you haven't but just want to share some good advice!) what did friends do during that time to help you that you really appreciated??

What would be the best way for me to lend a shoulder or just be there for her if she needs me. She lives down the street from me, so i'm planning on making dinner for her several nights so she doesn't have to fuss over cooking and everything else. I also told her to feel free to drop her kids off and i'd watch them for her if she needed to get out for a bit and go shopping/etc. I also offered up Colin to help her if she needs anything repaired/fixed around the house. And she has my number if she needs ANYTHING and knows she's welcome anytime day or night at our place if need be.

My question would be- what else can i do to try and be supportive of her and help her through this rough time in her life??? Thanks guys!!
post #2 of 20
You really sound like a great friend, she's lucky to have you at a time like this. Going through a divorce can be difficult, I think girls nights out where you two go out and go shopping or go to a movie or something would really help to cheer her up and take her mind off of what's going on right now.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaireBear View Post
You really sound like a great friend, she's lucky to have you at a time like this. Going through a divorce can be difficult, I think girls nights out where you two go out and go shopping or go to a movie or something would really help to cheer her up and take her mind off of what's going on right now.
Awww i like that idea! i'm sure we could find a kid-friendly movie and resturant too so she doesn't have to worry over a sitter. ANYTHING to cheer her up would be great I'll ask her if she'd like to do that when i see her again. It might just put her in a bit of a better mood for at least a bit and give her something to enjoy
post #4 of 20
Just be there for her. Let her talk about it when she wants to, and don't judge.

Also, it's a good idea to remain neutral about your feelings towards her ex. Don't go off half cocked and call him names and say "I told you so", or tell her he's scum etc. While they are split at the moment, that doesn't mean they will stay that way. Lots of times women end up going back to their husbands because of fear of being alone and because they live in the past of what was, not what is. So if you have talked badly about her husband, she will remember that and may not be so inclined to come to you if there is a problem in the future.

Another thing..just behave normally. Don't hover and coddle her. Just be the friend you were to her.
post #5 of 20
Seems like you are doing a lot of the things that would be recommended - you sound like a very good friend

This will be tough - be more of a listener then anything would be most appreciative. Try to stay neutral. Maybe remind her that she needs to do what is best for the kids involved as it will be tough on them when daddy is not there any more.

Stress that while she might be angry at his actions, she should NEVER poison the kids against him. #1 rule in a divorce is you should never put down the other parent in front of the kids - let them find out how that parent is thru actions - not by words. After all it took both of them to create the kids and the kids are part of both, so when you put down the parent in front of the kids, you are essencially putting down part of that child.

And remind your friend that not all men are like her ex is!
post #6 of 20
Well said, GK.

And Tiger, if we've learned anything about you from your posts here, it's that you already know how to be a terrific friend!
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryEyedTiGeR View Post
Hey guys! I have a question and I really could use some ideas/suggestions on how to really be there for one of my good friends right now. She's going through a really tough time at the moment. She just found out her husband is being unfaithful (again) and I think this time it's ending their marriage. They've been together 9 years and have two little girls. She is obviously just to pieces over this. He told her he doesn't love her anymore and other things. So my question would be- for those of you who have maybe gone through this before (or even if you haven't but just want to share some good advice!) what did friends do during that time to help you that you really appreciated??

What would be the best way for me to lend a shoulder or just be there for her if she needs me. She lives down the street from me, so i'm planning on making dinner for her several nights so she doesn't have to fuss over cooking and everything else. I also told her to feel free to drop her kids off and i'd watch them for her if she needed to get out for a bit and go shopping/etc. I also offered up Colin to help her if she needs anything repaired/fixed around the house. And she has my number if she needs ANYTHING and knows she's welcome anytime day or night at our place if need be.

My question would be- what else can i do to try and be supportive of her and help her through this rough time in her life??? Thanks guys!!
Gosh, girl, you're doin' it! Wish you were MY friend and that I lived near you -- I've just been dumped, too, and got pretty much a resounding silence from everyone around me as "support"! Hope your friend knows what a gem she has in you! The best thing anyone who's been through any kind of trauma needs is support, in the form of listening, being there, help when asked, and good, loyal, trustworthy friendship. You're definitely doing that and then some!
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thankyou soo much everyone for all the tips and advice! I really appreciate it! I really want to be there for her and her little ones right now- she definitely needs the support I'm going to try and stay neutral but just be there for her and anything she might need.
post #9 of 20
A friend of ours went through the same thing a couple of years ago. We could see for a long time their marriage was falling apart, but she thought he would either talk about things if he was really unhappy I think. They also had 2 young boys (youngest was under a year old).

He'd also been unfaithful (never admitted it, but she knows of 2 definite other women), and they'd pretty much grown apart, he loved her more like a sister than a wife.

All she needed was a shoulder to cry on, and people to get her out of the house. We've stayed friends with both of them which is hard, but they both respect the fact that we haven't taken sides and haven't verbally bashed the other.

They are now both in much better relationships - he's engaged, and she's just moved in with a lovely guy with 2 gorgeous girls who left his wife after SHE cheated on HIM. So they both understand the others emotional needs.

It'll take a long time but she'll realise that there's someone out there much better for her, she just needs to take it one day at a time, and a friend like you will help her greatly.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Just be there for her. Let her talk about it when she wants to, and don't judge.

Also, it's a good idea to remain neutral about your feelings towards her ex. Don't go off half cocked and call him names and say "I told you so", or tell her he's scum etc. While they are split at the moment, that doesn't mean they will stay that way. Lots of times women end up going back to their husbands because of fear of being alone and because they live in the past of what was, not what is. So if you have talked badly about her husband, she will remember that and may not be so inclined to come to you if there is a problem in the future.

Another thing..just behave normally. Don't hover and coddle her. Just be the friend you were to her.
i will just add one more thing, to what Natalie said there,
and that is dont let her get you caught up in the hate men thing or gonig out to drink etc, that so many people want to do after a break up, i have seen that cause stress with people that are married or a couple for a long time.

Just saying if she start to want to go out, all the time,and keeps trying to drag you in, it may casuse issues for you and colin.
post #11 of 20
Can't say anything that hasn't already been said, NiKki. You are such an amazing, caring person I can't imagine that you'll do anything "wrong."

Only thing I would add is that divorce really does have a grieving period. I was married for 7 years, and even though I was the one to file, it hurt. I cried, I asked God why, I tried to deny it was ending, all of it. Let your friend grieve the loss of her marriage just as one would the loss of a loved one, because that's really what it is, just the other person hasn't crossed over yet.
post #12 of 20
Nikki, when friends are in need...the very best thing you can do is be there for her and listen.

Alot of times, people don't really need physical things. What they need most of all is a shoulder and an ear. People understimate how good it feels to let someone just talk to you about their woes.

I'm sorry for your friend..that stuff is happening all too much these days
post #13 of 20
When I was going through that, the thing that helped me the most was books. (I didn't have a friend like you around, though.) I read dozens of books on religion, divorce, depression, and self-empowerment. I cried buckets. This is the type of book that helped me the most.

http://www.amazon.com/Marriage-Divor.../dp/1419642146

Your friend is dealing with the worst kind of betrayal, and I imagine it is even harder with children in the picture. The first year is the most difficult, and the holidays are very depressing. Sending lots of best wishes for your friend.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
A friend of ours went through the same thing a couple of years ago. We could see for a long time their marriage was falling apart, but she thought he would either talk about things if he was really unhappy I think. They also had 2 young boys (youngest was under a year old).

He'd also been unfaithful (never admitted it, but she knows of 2 definite other women), and they'd pretty much grown apart, he loved her more like a sister than a wife.

All she needed was a shoulder to cry on, and people to get her out of the house. We've stayed friends with both of them which is hard, but they both respect the fact that we haven't taken sides and haven't verbally bashed the other.

They are now both in much better relationships - he's engaged, and she's just moved in with a lovely guy with 2 gorgeous girls who left his wife after SHE cheated on HIM. So they both understand the others emotional needs.

It'll take a long time but she'll realise that there's someone out there much better for her, she just needs to take it one day at a time, and a friend like you will help her greatly.
Thankyou soo much Sarah for sharing that similar story. It helps! I'm definitely trying to stay neutral and not do any bashing, just be supportive of her. I just hate to see her sooo upset- it is really sad. But like i told her- she is a strong, beautiful woman- i have no doubt that she is going to be just fine once she has time to heal and move on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
i will just add one more thing, to what Natalie said there,
and that is dont let her get you caught up in the hate men thing or gonig out to drink etc, that so many people want to do after a break up, i have seen that cause stress with people that are married or a couple for a long time.

Just saying if she start to want to go out, all the time,and keeps trying to drag you in, it may casuse issues for you and colin.
Thanks for that reminder Bruce- definitely a good one. I think a lot of people get drug down into feeling sad too when the people around them are upset.There will deifnitely not be any drinking....I have a rule about not drinking when i'm upset or angry, so i wouldn't let my friends do it eithor- i just don't think it's a good habit to get into. I was thinking though that maybe we could do something positive instead- like going to work out, or taking up a new hobby, something like that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RicaLynn View Post
Can't say anything that hasn't already been said, NiKki. You are such an amazing, caring person I can't imagine that you'll do anything "wrong."

Only thing I would add is that divorce really does have a grieving period. I was married for 7 years, and even though I was the one to file, it hurt. I cried, I asked God why, I tried to deny it was ending, all of it. Let your friend grieve the loss of her marriage just as one would the loss of a loved one, because that's really what it is, just the other person hasn't crossed over yet.
I didn't think of it as a grieving period- but you know it really is! She's been married 9 years this past week (the same week he moved out- kind of a slap in the face for her on their anniversery). Thankyou for your imput!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trouts mom View Post
Nikki, when friends are in need...the very best thing you can do is be there for her and listen.

Alot of times, people don't really need physical things. What they need most of all is a shoulder and an ear. People understimate how good it feels to let someone just talk to you about their woes.

I'm sorry for your friend..that stuff is happening all too much these days
I think you're right- just being there physically to listen is probably the best medicine. Thanks Nat

Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
When I was going through that, the thing that helped me the most was books. (I didn't have a friend like you around, though.) I read dozens of books on religion, divorce, depression, and self-empowerment. I cried buckets. This is the type of book that helped me the most.

http://www.amazon.com/Marriage-Divor.../dp/1419642146

Your friend is dealing with the worst kind of betrayal, and I imagine it is even harder with children in the picture. The first year is the most difficult, and the holidays are very depressing. Sending lots of best wishes for your friend.
Thanks for the link hon. I'm not sure how big of a reader she is, but a good book is always helpful! I know she loves her trash magazines like i do (cosmo, people) so maybe something a little deeper might help her right now while she's upset and for when she's up late at night and can't sleep.
post #15 of 20
I have a suggestion here, and it worked very well for me... When my ex and I split up, I was going through a heck of a time, and I had another very good male friend... He suggested to me a "plan". His point of view was, no matter what I wanted to do, either get my ex back, or just get past it and show him that I didn't need him, this was the way to go. And, he was right. Basically.. he told me any time I talked to the ex and he said, so what have you been up to... give him a happy go lucky answer like oh, went out to dinner (leaving the who and where blank), went out and did this fun thing, etc, without giving specifics.. and if he asked who, just to say oh, some people I know and change the subject.

Now, the point here was, it showed the ex I didn't need him to have fun and I was having a ton of fun without him. It empowered me. And for the most part (with a few little white lies), it was true.. I was out having fun, it was taking my mind off of him... and by the time he came back (he'd left for another female).. I was over him.

Now, I'm going to give a word of caution, and you can choose to heed it or not, but I've seen it happen and it's happened to me personally... so I just want to toss this out there. I'd be careful of lending your husband to her. She's rebounding, and it's an extremely nice gesture (thereby making your husband "the nice guy" that her husband wasn't). And it's the perfect set up for someone who is emotionally distraught to start focusing on how very nice he is (albeit unintentional). And while I'm sure he's trustworthy, and I'm sure she is as well, sometimes those types of feelings can really get in the way or get out of control. When you're that highly distraught, it's easy to have misdirected emotions. I'd go with him and keep her company to keep her focus on you, and personally I'd just try to maintain their distance. When this type of thing happens it's never intentional, but it does happen. I'm only mentioning it because it really does happen more frequently than people realize. I'm not suggesting that either of them *would* do it, but I'm just tossing it out there so that hopefully if it starts to, you'll recognize the signs, and be able to prevent it. I'm a bit paranoid about this now...

Anyway, it sounds like you're doing all the right stuff.
post #16 of 20
Oh yes, do not lend your DH to her for any reason. DH and I are interested in helping others with relationship problems or to help them find the right person. However, we were warned by others in the same line of helping and by our pastor to NEVER talk to the one in trouble as one on one with the opposite sex.

Its fine to give advice to female-female or male-male but never the opposite. If you need to counsel, you counsel together as a couple. This will take away any kind of temptation that will occur. Many strong marriages will fail if allowed to counsel opposite sex especially in a newly split relationship.

DH and I have a very strong relationship together but we will not counsel opposite sex alone - only as a couple
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsAreBetter View Post
I have a suggestion here, and it worked very well for me... When my ex and I split up, I was going through a heck of a time, and I had another very good male friend... He suggested to me a "plan". His point of view was, no matter what I wanted to do, either get my ex back, or just get past it and show him that I didn't need him, this was the way to go. And, he was right. Basically.. he told me any time I talked to the ex and he said, so what have you been up to... give him a happy go lucky answer like oh, went out to dinner (leaving the who and where blank), went out and did this fun thing, etc, without giving specifics.. and if he asked who, just to say oh, some people I know and change the subject.

Now, the point here was, it showed the ex I didn't need him to have fun and I was having a ton of fun without him. It empowered me. And for the most part (with a few little white lies), it was true.. I was out having fun, it was taking my mind off of him... and by the time he came back (he'd left for another female).. I was over him.

Now, I'm going to give a word of caution, and you can choose to heed it or not, but I've seen it happen and it's happened to me personally... so I just want to toss this out there. I'd be careful of lending your husband to her. She's rebounding, and it's an extremely nice gesture (thereby making your husband "the nice guy" that her husband wasn't). And it's the perfect set up for someone who is emotionally distraught to start focusing on how very nice he is (albeit unintentional). And while I'm sure he's trustworthy, and I'm sure she is as well, sometimes those types of feelings can really get in the way or get out of control. When you're that highly distraught, it's easy to have misdirected emotions. I'd go with him and keep her company to keep her focus on you, and personally I'd just try to maintain their distance. When this type of thing happens it's never intentional, but it does happen. I'm only mentioning it because it really does happen more frequently than people realize. I'm not suggesting that either of them *would* do it, but I'm just tossing it out there so that hopefully if it starts to, you'll recognize the signs, and be able to prevent it. I'm a bit paranoid about this now...

Anyway, it sounds like you're doing all the right stuff.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
Oh yes, do not lend your DH to her for any reason. DH and I are interested in helping others with relationship problems or to help them find the right person. However, we were warned by others in the same line of helping and by our pastor to NEVER talk to the one in trouble as one on one with the opposite sex.

Its fine to give advice to female-female or male-male but never the opposite. If you need to counsel, you counsel together as a couple. This will take away any kind of temptation that will occur. Many strong marriages will fail if allowed to counsel opposite sex especially in a newly split relationship.

DH and I have a very strong relationship together but we will not counsel opposite sex alone - only as a couple

Thanks guys! I didn't even think about that, i was soo worried over her. I'll just forget about that idea then and stick to thinks like just me cooking her dinner and doing stuff for her. Her dad is really close to her, so i'm sure that he'll help out around the house if she needs it. Thanks for the thought!
post #18 of 20
Well, I think it's safe to lend him to her... I'd just go with him, bring a pitcher of margaritas and you two have "girls" day while your DH gets to be the guy. Then they aren't spending one on one time together...but if her dad is willing to help, then that's probably a good thing..

I think the key here is just to get her out of the house doing things, even if it's just a daily walk.. where she can talk about things, but isn't actually sitting at home moping about it. Of course she's going to need to talk about it, but do your best to get her to put a positive spin on it.. it will *really* help her through it, imo.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsAreBetter View Post
Well, I think it's safe to lend him to her... I'd just go with him, bring a pitcher of margaritas and you two have "girls" day while your DH gets to be the guy. Then they aren't spending one on one time together...but if her dad is willing to help, then that's probably a good thing..

I think the key here is just to get her out of the house doing things, even if it's just a daily walk.. where she can talk about things, but isn't actually sitting at home moping about it. Of course she's going to need to talk about it, but do your best to get her to put a positive spin on it.. it will *really* help her through it, imo.
Thanks hon for all the great suggestions!!! Her dad has been helping her around the house,etc and her husband is still going over there sometimes to help too so i think that dpt is all taken care of!

Today one of my coworkers and I went out to lunch with her and we all had a good time just hanging out for a bit on our break I think that helps for her to just do something normal with the girls, like lunch,etc She seemed to be doing well today. Yesterday she said her husband came over for a little bit and watched their kids so she could take a shower/etc. So that's good that he's still involved and helping. I really hope they can work through this, but if not, eithor way she knows we're all there for her. Some of our coworkers are taking her camping this weekend with them (i think her family or husband is going to watch the kids) so that will be great for her to just to get out and have some fun!
post #20 of 20
Yeah, definitely keep her busy doing fun stuff, along with the normal blah stuff. Sounds like you're doing a great job, though!
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