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 Post subject: How to support family friends undergoing divorce?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:15 pm 
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Some dear family friends of my husband and I are undergoing a separation, and we're really struggling to find the right ways to support them. To complicate matters even further, the wife of this couple is among my best friends, the husband is also a friend, and she's been dating another woman for at least the last four weeks (possibly even starting before she and her husband decided to separate) in front of her husband, in their house, without actually telling him (she, in fact, hasn't told really anyone unless they outright ask.) As in, girlfriend frequently stays the night in family friend's house with husband still there, there's open cuddling on the couch, etc. etc. And of course there's a small child involved. The whole thing has the potential (certainty?) to become very nasty.

This is our first friend-divorce, and certainly my first close-friend divorce experience. Does anyone know of good resources - books to read, online communities/websites, etc - for people trying to support friends going through divorce? I am at a complete loss, particularly with how to handle the dating-while-still-going-through-separation part. I see all kinds of red flags with this new relationship (aside from the obvious ones) and I don't know how to tell one of my best friends AND make her feel supported at the same time. : /

(ETA - I know that there's an existing divorce support thread, but I didn't want to detract from that conversation - if this post seems like it should be included in the other thread, I'm very happy to post it there.)


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 Post subject: Re: How to support family friends undergoing divorce?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:51 pm 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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Here's what I'd suggest, as somebody who was more or less the husband in that situation a while ago: Don't push opinions or suggestions on them unless they ask (unless somebody's going to do something dumb like take up heavy drinking or heroin-- you can suggest they not do that), don't take sides, smile and nod a lot, hug as appropriate, shake your head sadly as appropriate.

Not taking sides may be difficult, but it sounds like you want to keep both of them as friends. Keep in mind that may be very very difficult. Be prepared to back off for a while. Other mutual friends may take sides, and that's going to be tough to resist. You can always say "They are both my friends, and I'm not taking sides" and withdraw from conversation.

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 Post subject: Re: How to support family friends undergoing divorce?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:41 pm 
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Queen Bitch of Self-Righteous Veganville
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Well first, you have to pick a side.

I've only had to go through one friend divorce, and that wasn't a hard choice because a) the woman wasn't a very good friend to me and b) if we had to choose between inviting the guy or inviting the woman and her new boyfriend, we chose the guy. She left him and he took it really badly so they couldn't really be in the same room and since she had someone, it didn't seem right that he should have to sit at home alone while we were all partying.

When my MIL and FIL split up, she cheated on him. It was gross and bisque-y but she hadn't been happy for a long time so I supported her venture into a new life. I don't know if I could support bringing your new love into the home you still share and being kissy-faced right in front of the dude, though. That just seems cold and tactless. And yes, it's gonna blow up. Telling her that she should, you know, not forking do that doesn't mean you're not supportive, it means you maybe don't want her to totally burn the bridge between her and her husband. And I don't mean romantically, I just mean when he finds out/realizes that woman who's always at his house is getting sexy with his wife, he is going to be really upset.

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 Post subject: Re: How to support family friends undergoing divorce?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:06 pm 
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Mispronounces Daiya
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I've gone through a divorce myself and have had friends in the same boat - I think it's important to be honest and supportive. If this friend is as close as you say she is, she should be able to see that you're trying to help her avoid a bad situation down the line. Without knowing them, it sounds like she has a lot of anger toward her husband to be behaving the way that she is, and might need to talk about that. I'd also suggest that they both seek counseling (seperately), not even to stay together, but just to deal with all the... stuff... that can come up.


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 Post subject: Re: How to support family friends undergoing divorce?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:47 pm 
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Sorry for the belated reply - we got sucked into the holidays. Really good advice/insight, as I might expect from folks here, and greatly appreciated. Very, very helpful.


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