OT: friend troubles...VERY long

My best friend of 7 years has decided that she wants to get a divorce. They’ve been married for 5 years and together for 7 years. They have no children and to everyone’s knowlege…they’ve never fussed and fought or anything like that. There have been a few occassions over the past two or three years (maybe three times) that she has expressed frustration with their marriage but it always seemed like normal marriage stuff to me (he doesn’t compliment me…I wish he were more romantic/expressive…etc.). Everytime it’s happened…within a week or two she has bounced back and everything has been fine. She’s quite flighty but overall a highly intelligent, very friendly, christian, big hearted woman. I love her dearly and she and she is the Godmother to my 3 yr old dd.

A few weeks back she starting talking about having babies and I questioned whether it was a good idea considering they times that she’s expressed concern about their relationship (I was married for 3.5 years, had a baby and found myself divorced w/i a year…I know what kind of strain it can put on a not so solid marriage). She assurred me that everything was great and that things were solid. All of a sudden, about a month later she’s told her husband she doesn’t want to be with him. I do know that she has met a guy at school (she’s working on her PhD) that has all of those “qualities” that she doesn’t find in her husband–he also has a bad boy kind of look/attitude (and a german accent) which she was always attracted to when we were in our late teens/early twenties before she met her husband and got married. This is the second time that I know of that she has found someone to be attractive and found herself mentally caught up in the idea of the person. I KNOW the problem is this guy coupled w/ the fact that she seems to always be looking for something/someone to provide something that’ll make her happy. The guy she is married to now is sweet, smart, attractive, makes six figures and allows her to be a career student and not work. She drives a nice new car and lives in a rather exclusive neighborhood in our area. Many people would LOVE to have what she has. She’s telling everyone now that they don’t have a “connection” and that she’s been unhappy for five years and lying to all of us (him, me, her family…). Everyone is very upset over all of this–her family has spoken to her, several friends have expressed concern to her and I’ve spoken to her husband and he’s gone through everything he can think of to try to change her mind. I had remained very neutral to the situation for the past couple of weeks b/c I was once in a bad marriage (drinking and abuse) and I know what it’s like to be unhappy and want to get away…on the other hand I feel strongly that she’s looking for greener grass where there isn’t any and I don’t want to see her make a big mistake. I had only been neutral until a couple of days ago when I finally told her that I thought she was making a mistake and was honest with her about my concerns. She quietly let me go (we were on the phone) and I’ve only spoken to her twice since then via email. I emailed her later after our phone call to let her know I love her and that it’s hard to see her hurting…I told her I only want to see her happy and that I’ll support whatever decision she makes but that I didn’t feel I was being much of a best friend if I wasn’t honest. I found out the next day from her husband that she told him I called and “yelled” at her and she emailed me to say that I hurt her feelings and she thought I was immature b/c I used the phrase “screw it”. She did say in the email that she loved me (we say that alot…we are really close friends…closer than my own sister and I) and that she was going up to the monastary for the weekend to talk to one of her monk friends (she did part of her thesis on monastic literature). I called her four times the next day and left messages in several places…I knew she wouldn’t leave until the afteroon. Finally I emailed her Sat. morning to tell her that I was worried b/c I could reach her and hoped everything was okay. I told her I knew she was under a lot of pressure but I didn’t want her to shut me out (I apologize for “hurting her feelings” in the response I sent to her email about going to the monastary). It hurt my feelings to hear that she was lying to us all for the past 5 years (she said she knew she was a great actor and it made her feel awful to know she’d been putting on a face for all of us…I still don’t know if I believe she was capable of that…I know she was happy…) and now it feels like she’s avoiding me. She emailed me back to say she didn’t want to talk to anyone right now and that she’d call me after church today…it’s 9:00 pm our time and still no word. I’ve left two more messages for her.
I love my friend dearly and can’t stand the thought that our friendship might be “in danger” b/c I hurt her feelings…I thought we were so much stronger than that. I don’t know what to do to help her–part of me wants to just leave her alone while the other part of me doesn’t want her to go through this alone…it hurts me to not talk to her b/c we normally talk so much. I don’t know whether to email all of these feelings to her or just let it go. I don’t want to bombard her but I hate what it happening–it’s like she’s just suddenly given up on what was a great thing…even her husband is in shock…he’s offered to do everything from counseling to separation to whatever…she says thats no way to live.
I’m so sorry to unload all of this on you guys but I just don’t know what to do…it really feels like my best friend has lost her mind and now I’m loosing mine…

any suggestions…?

I think I would let her know that no matter what, you’re there for her, nonjudgementally. Ask her to let you know that she’s ok and let her know that you’re giving her some space if that’s what she wants.

There’s really no way to know what’s been going on in her heart and head all these years unless she’s chosen to share them. She may not have even shared them with herself.

I wish I had a definitive suggestion for you. Remember, though, that she may be feeling embarrassed and confused right now and wants to sort things out.

People who have been good friends for so long will stay good friends, even if their paths veer in different directions from time to time.

:heart: :heart:

thank you Ingrid…it means a lot that anyone would take time to read such a long post!!
This is really just tearing me up. I wrote her a letter a few minutes ago but I feel like it’s very whiney and hurt sounding and I don’t want to come across that way.
Thanks for your reply. :heart:

:thinking: Sounds like she definitely needs her space in terms of her marital relationship right now, to at least take time to focus on her needs. That can be healthy in the long run, and maybe all is not lost in the relationship. I broke up with Sheldon more than once in the first few years of our relationship, when I was still figuring out how to communicate and get my needs met. It’s so important to figure that out. Now, I’m happy to say, I can communicate and also get my needs met successfully, it took training and skill.

I credit John Gray’s books with my relationship being as strong as it is. I just found a few days ago that he’s got a free “Online TV” series which you can watch online any time, it’s SOOOOO awesome. Your friend might find it validating and useful. I recommend it to anyone, just really smart relationship insight/perspective. Check it out.

Good luck Cristy, it can be hard to be a good friend. It sounds like you’re doing all you can!

I’m sorry that your friend is going through all this, and that she’s trying to shut you out. I’ve never been in your situation, but I would try to be there for my friend as much as possible, even if I don’t agree with what she’s doing. It wounds as if she is making quick decisions, without thinking too much about the long run… If she does divorce her DH to be with this other guy, I would think that it might be rocky at times, especially if she’s being turbulent with her seemingly stable DH. when that times comes, she’s going to need a friend more than ever. Don’t let her shut you out, no matter how hard she tries. She will need a friend, always, even if she can’t see that right now… Best of luck with the situation.

Thank you guys and thanks for the book recommendation Amy…I’ll recommend anything I can at this point. They are going to therapy, they are in their third week. The therapist wants to see them separately instead of together this week…it doesn’t sound like he’s been a lot of help though from my conversations with both of them. I appreciate everyone’s input…for myself…for right now…I don’t think I can even communicate my feelings to her out of concern that I’d say the wrong thing. Communication is sooooo very important and it does take time to learn…I’m going to wait until tomorrow evening before I try to contact her again. Maybe by then either she’ll be ready to talk or I’ll be in a better frame of mind.

Good luck connecting with your friend Cristy, it must be so hard to feel off kilter at this time.

I’ve added the John Gray link to my signature. I’ve been wanting to share this resourse with folks.

I’m praying for your friends. Happiness in a relationship is the greatest blessing, I think everyone deserves it. :pray:


I am sorry you are stuck in the middle of this
I am greaful that your friend is not going through what my Best friend ofrom college is going through
she seems to have fallen head first into a S*xual addiction as her way of reaching for more positive attention than her hard working and adoring husband could give (I am not saying he was perfect, but still)

be there for as many of the people inviolved as you can
Support the innocent (at least there are no kids for this one)

and keep your SELF intact, do not lose yourself in this chaos of their life
take care of your own life first

BTDT in my own way


It is great that you 2 are such good friends and that you are concerned
about her. She needs to work things out for herself though and she knows
where to find you when she is ready to talk. It may be that others are also telling her what they think of the situation and she is having conflicting advice and emotions and needs to sort out her thoughts.
She may also start resenting you and others if she feels she is being judged so I would send her a card or flowers or something just with a brief note saying that you care and leave it up to her to contact you
when she feels ready.

I think that some times in your life its normal to loose your mind… and at that moments it is good to have a friend. Be a friend for her, she needs you now. Maybe you are better friends in a year, maybe not, but right now you need to be her trashbin, I think.

You are doing all the right things. She’s got a lot on her mind–and like Ingrid said, she may not have shared these feelings in the past because she didn’t know what she was feeling. She needs some time to think and I think you should just drop her an email telling her how much you love her and how much she means to you and that when she needs to talk, you will be there. She’ll come around when she’s ready.

:heart: Hugs to you and your friend. This hits close to home and puts a tear in my eye… :heart:

Cristy, you are being a good friend to her in every way! You’re being honest about your feelings and opinions, which I know she will appreciate once she is able to sort out her own emotions, and you’re also showing her the unconditional support she needs. It’s obvious that you love her very much and want what’s best for her… she’ll remember your honesty and support down the line and it will make your friendship stronger, I’m sure of it. :heart:

just let your friend know that you are there for her no matter what- and then prepare yourself for being there, even if her decision is not one that you would make for her if you could. Unfortunately, this is one thing that she will have to ultimately do all by herself- make the decision if she is going to leave her husband or not. Nobody else can do it for her.

My husband and I went through a VERY rough time a few years ago, and ended up spending over a year in counseling. It can be a slow and frustrating process- just as it takes a long time to form the relationship and the bad habits (non-communication, etc), it can take a long time to fix what’s wrong.

You are being a good friend. She is lucky to have someone in her corner, who is so concerned about her. :heart:

The only thing I can think of right now is to knit her a prayer shawl. I think it would help you give her the distance she needs right now, while still being able to focus on her. For some reason, that seems really appropriate to me.

I second nicole’s suggestion, it sounds like a lovely idea!

Personally I think this is a great idea.

Your friend sounds like she is in a lot of turmoil and really doesn’t know which way she wants to turn. None of us know what really goes on inside another persons head, and it is possible that she did keep up a charade because she thought it was the right thing to do.

In a way I can sympathise with your friend, from my own experiences. Making her something while focussing your attention on that will likely bring you much pleasure and will indeed give her the space she needs.

Thanks Wynnie and Mulene for agreeing… I sorta kinda thought it might be a dumb idea, but it was the first {and only} thing that popped into my head.

I wish, Nicole, that I had knit and that I had had your very suggestion for a similar tricky situation with a friend some years ago. Alas, I tried to give non judgemental advice and ended up losing her as a friend completely.

Had I backed off, focussed on making something for her but told her I was there if she needed me, I think I’d probably still have her as a friend. That is why your suggestion seemed very appropriate to me :slight_smile:

Not at all a dumb idea - it’s perfect, actually! The recipient is religious, but going through a tough time… and if you need to give a friend space, but still want to help them, filling a shawl with prayers and good wishes for that person seems the best way to help them heal on their terms.

Thank you guys, I appreciate everyone’s suggestions…I actually started a pair of socks for her last night that I hope to finish rather quickly. She likes socks a lot and I thought maybe it’d be a way to let her know I care. I did email her and tell her that it was a little frustrating to not hear from her and that I understand that she has a lot going on and that I am here when she needs me–in the meantime I won’t call. I still haven’t talked to her and I called a few more times this morning before sending her the email. I’m okay with her divorce if that’s what she wants–I’m just really upset that she’s avoiding me. I appreciate everyone’s advice and prayers and kind thoughts–I would have never imagined this would hurt me so much too. :slight_smile: I love all of you…