Single Parents

Advice on how to help support my friend going through it with her SCUMBAG husband [Warning: Rant!)

I have a really good friend who is a great mom to three beautiful children (all 8 years old and under). Recently her husband of 12+ years has been unfaithful to her and is emotionally abusive telling her that it is her fault, that he has fallen out of love with her and that he wants to leave. He spends the night out and has totally disengaged from his role as husband though he still tries to be an involved father. He also has her in limbo saying he's leaving then trying to act like he is going to stick around which I think is worse than if the punk just left once and for all. My friend seems to be in denial about the situation. She doesn't have any close family around and I feel he takes advantage of this situation. She is unfortunately financially dependent on him at this time too. She works hard as a mom and housewife but doesn't earn an income outside of the home. 

I grew up in a single parent household and don't want to be the one to tell her to leave him because I don't want to feel like I pushed her in any direction (mainly because of the kids) but I think she needs to ditch him pronto. She doesn't want to let go of her "family" but is slowly coming to terms with the reality that her husband can't be a man. I understand people fall in and out of love but I don't think that justifies cheating on your spouse who has never done anything to you. It seems like there may be some other issues involving substance abuse on his part. I just wanted to know if anyone could offer advice on how to support my friend. If she does end up divorcing this jerk, what advice would you offer to her? This situation is really hurtful to me. I really hate to see children affected by this. You can see it on their faces (the older ones anyway) that they can sense something is really off with their parents and it is heartbreaking. :( 

I don't understand how a lot of times men seem to be able to totally disengage from their responsibilities and society treats it like its normal. I have absolutely no respect for any man who acts like this and truly the only reason I haven't cursed this guy out is out of respect for the relationship that I hope he will maintain with their children. Please, any advice or thoughts that you may be able to offer I would appreciate as this has been really bothering me. Should I offer advice? Stay out of the situation altogether? What would you do in this situation? If she does leave him, how can she make sure her and her kids are able to sustain themselves? Thank you in advance. 
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Re: Advice on how to help support my friend going through it with her SCUMBAG husband [Warning: Rant!)

  • Unless she comes to you seeking advice, it's on her shoulders, not yours.  It sounds to me like she hasn't accepted his behavior for what it is and is sticking her head in the sand.  You can't force someone to leave when they are not willing or ready.  It doesnt make sense, i know...i am putting up with a lousy SO myself. As far as her being able to sustain, that's what the courts and alimony and child support are for.  IF she really wants to leave the prick, she needs to lawyer up and file for custody before he does.

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  • I would say she has to come to terms with it first. I had a very good friend who went through something similar. I told him to leave. He told me it wasn't an option. It took time for him to come to terms with leaving. As a friend I stood  beside him. When he was angry with her, I was pissed right beside him. When he made decision to try and make it work, I supported him and gave him whatever advice I could that would make his decision most likely to succeed. He did everything but ultimately decided to leave. After this decision more and more came out about how awful she had really been from the beginning. I would give her time, give her support and try to help her in whatever she needs whether that's to try and make it work or to walk away.

    As a stay at home mom, she might look into providing before/after school care for some sort of income. Her kids may have friends who's parents would be interested. If/when she does leave, she can look into assistance. It's there when you need it, it's just not meant to be a lifestyle. Good luck. I know it's so hard to watch someone you care about go through this.

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  • I would encourage her to visit a lawyer.  Right now she is afraid and paralyzed by that fear.  She needs information to empower her to decide for herself what she wants for her family.

    I would get some referrals from people you know - either lawyers or people who have gone through a divorce.  Get the name of three smart aggressive family law attorneys.  Ask your friend to make a consultation appointment - they are usually low cost or free.  Offer to go with her or offer to babysit the kids in the park while she goes.  

    Let the attorney explain what her rights are, what kind of spousal support she can expect, what kind of child support.  The attorney can tell her what the process would be and how she could protect the children and herself (COBRA for insurance, financial support while she trains for outside work, how the husband would be required to help with day care).

    She needs to have an uninvolved stranger tell her what she is entitled to.  Then she can start making plans - whichever way she wants to go.
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