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Depressing thoughts on marriage

June 1st, 2015 at 11:22 am

I had lunch today with a friend whose unhappily married. She hates her husband and honestly he's not a nice person.

She's got a lifestyle most people would envy. I certainly do. I think it's a great life, fun, exciting, and pretty good. BUT since I know some (probably not all) the gory details of her marriage it's hard to envy it.

I mean she has three lovely kids. She has help with them in the morning and evenings and they go to daycare/school full and part-time while she stays at home. She lives in a gorgeous house but it looks like a pristine museum. She vacations everywhere but usually with her husband's family.

So her life to anyone looking in seems perfect. Stay at home mom with tons of hired help. No financial worries and everything you could want.

But she's sad. Her husband is mean and belittles her. She hates him and wants to leave, but feels trapped both financially and the kids. I want to tell her to leave him but I don't think she should or can.

The kids are young and she needs the help and the financial support mostly. I mean if she left him her quality of life would likely go down. Am I terrible friend for suggesting to stick it out for awhile?

I don't know what to say. I think he is very mean and abusive to her. But at the same time, if she leaves he'll have the kids without her around. So there are both pros and cons to everything.

This is not just a financial decision honestly. He works a lot so she doesn't see him that much except nights and weekends. She has help with the kids going to school and bed time. She has a nice house, car, and stuff for kids. But he can be such a jackass.

I want to be a supportive friend and I do listen. But when she wonders about leaving him I haven't said she should. Or when she says she does I say great. BUT aren't we obligated to say she should leave such an asshole? I mean I've read the demeaning texts and emails he sends her. But what will happen?

I find it depressing that so many people stay married for purely financial reasons. And at the same time it seems like society likes it that way.

17 Responses to “Depressing thoughts on marriage”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    How do you know he would get the kids? It also seems he would be the perfect person to seek alimony from. And financial support from the kids. I personally would suggest counseling for her at a minimum and together as a couple, before I would suggest divorce. But sometimes divorce is the answer. Not that this makes it acceptable, it could be that HE is very unhappy and this is why he treats her this way.

  2. Ima saver Says:

    I would certainly encourage her to leave him. She has an unhappy life now and it can only get better in time if she leaves. The husband usually uses the kids as a threat, but in the long run, he doesn't really want them full time. The kids will probably be happier too in the end.

  3. Stephanie Says:

    If the husband is mean and belittles your friend in front of the children, your friend needs to consider what she is teaching her children. Is it ok to treat someone like that? Is it ok to allow yourself to be treated like that? She may not be in a position to leave now but if she really wanted out, she could work on it. But in the end, you can't convince her to do something she doesn't want to do. You can just be a good friend that listens and responds when she asks for or needs help. I wish her well.

  4. ceejay74 Says:

    All great points. It sounds like consulting with a lawyer would be the best thing, to talk about custody, alimony and child support options. But it's really up to her. At least she has someone to talk to about it, which is all you can offer but is really valuable.

  5. NJDebbie Says:

    I would rather live in a cardboard box with my dignity intact!

  6. My English Castle Says:

    Have you suggested counseling? I'd try a counselor before a lawyer. And, because I'm a worrier, I'd start squirreling cash away.

  7. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    CCF she's been in counseling over 2 years. He refuses to see a therapist as a couple or alone. He's told her it's her problem to work out. She's said her therapist has said she needs to determine what she wants to do and wants out of life then make plans accordingly. She'll get alimony and child support but she worries how he'll treat the kids on the weekends if he's alone with them without her. He'll be overly strict and pushy without her supervision. Financially she thinks they'll be okay, but she isn't sure.

    Imasaver he doesn't use the kids as a threat. She just thinks without her as a buffer he'll be overly strict and stern with the kids. She feels that she makes life easier.

    Stephanie I think that too especially since her 7 year old daughter says things like she hates her dad. He yells a lot and makes a lot of demands. It's more they have tutors and he constantly is critisizing my friend for her parenting or "lack" of parenting. That she's not pushing the kids enough.

    Ceejay she has talked to a lawyer and she told me he told her she'd lose the kids for sure on weekends. He's not beating the kids, he's just demanding.

    NJdebbie, I think she's incredibly strong to stay with the critisizm and verbal abuse.

    Englishcastle i did suggest hiding money and she said she didn't know where to get the cash from. I said take out ATM money but she said he might notice.

  8. Petunia in a Flower Garden Says:

    LAL, is she seeing the right kind of counselor, someone who works with abuse victims? (I dislike this term but it's the best I can come up with.) Abuse comes in many forms - it's not just physical. Counselors who aren't educated in this area make well meaning but unhelpful suggestions. A gal can really waste a lot of time/life with poor counseling.

    Many women live in this situation, for many reasons. It sounds like your friend is choosing her hard - because staying with him is hard, but leaving him could be equally as hard - because if she did leave him she doesn't really know how he'll react. Some abusers become vindictive and punitive if a spouse leaves. She may want to take the MOSAIC threat assessment test if she hasn't already. It will give her some information.

    If she continues to stay, I hope she'll stay well. Your being a friend to her, even if it might feel to you like she should just move on already, is one of the best things that you can do to help her.

  9. CB in the City Says:

    I have a friend who is in a very similar situation. She is choosing to stay until her kids are independent. He does not physically abuse her, so she is safe in that way. She seems to be indifferent to his verbal abuse and makes a life on her own. In this situation there is no big money, so she isn't staying for that. She just thinks this arrangement will be the least harm to her children. Once they are grown, she will fly.

    I was also in a similar situation, but the end was forced when my ex had an affair and wanted to marry the other woman. My life is so much better without him, but the kids paid the price in a disrupted childhood. There is no good answer, unfortunately.

    Be a friend to her; listen, and help her keep her self-esteem up. That kind of bullying is corrosive -- it's very important that she continues to hear that she is a good person, and that she is loved.

  10. SecretarySaving Says:

    I had a similar situation to CB in the City and agree with what she wrote about being a good fiend and listening.

    Why doesn't your friend cut back on some of the help and apply herself more when it comes to rearing the children, she might find that really rewarding and that would consume her time instead of worrying about him if she changed her focus.

    We all have to make our own choices in life.

  11. My English Castle Says:

    I (ahem) know someone who used their debit card for groceries and regularly got an extra $20 or $50. It's so hard on the kids either way. Wishing her strength and clarity.

  12. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Petunia I don't know what sort of counselor but I thought at least she's seeing one. I don't know that moving on is best since she'll share custody of the kids and the kids are young she's right.

    CB I think it's that situation. Where she's staying because it's hard right now with the kids being 7, 5, and 3. When they get older she'll reevaluate she said. But right now it's too much on her place. I told her that she needs to look for as much help and support as possible.

    Secretary, she does a lot with the three kids. He doesn't help except to work and critisize. Fortunately that's at night after the kids go to bed since he works long hours. So morning to night it's her and three kids and the help is to help getting to school and dinner/bedtime.

    Mycastle, I told her to buy gift cards and sell them maybe from the grocery store? I said I would buy them off her of for cash and i'm sure a lot of other friends would do $20 gift cards. No debit but only CC card. But if she bought gift cards maybe she could resell them?

  13. PatientSaver Says:

    You said you found it depressing that so many people stay together for financial reasons, but you also said if she left him her quality of life would go down. Realistically, finances have to be considered. Especially if you have kids. She's going to make up her own mind either way; as a friend, I would say offer your opinion if she seeks it, but otherwise, simply listening in a supportive way may be all that she wants right now.

  14. Jenn Says:

    I may be hard-hearted, but this situation reminds me of people that hate their jobs but feel like they can't leave because they're paid so much.

    Complaining and feeling sorry for herself will get her nowhere. She should either make the decision to stay or to go, depending on what's most important to her. And then appreciate the good things (the ones that were most important to her) about that decision.

  15. Miz Pat Says:

    I know this. I spent years married to a person who abused me because I thought it was my duty as a Christian. Now I feel I wasted my life catering to someone who uses people.

    This man has put her life on hold. Take it off hold and live before she just plain despairs.

  16. LittleMissSplendid Says:

    I am no expert on marriage or kids so I can't say what is best for your friend. However, has she ever considered the possibility that he might leave her? I'm certainly aware of that happening in awful marriages like this one. If he chose to leave her for who cares what reason, then what will she do? Has she been socking any money away? Does she have an education or skill that could land her a job? Is there anywhere she (and possibly the kids) could stay while she gets on her feet? What I'm getting at is if her plan is just to try and stick it out because she thinks its best then she needs to prepare for all possibilities, even if they seem unlikely.

  17. Tabs Says:

    I think I would advise her to leave. This is not healthy at all. Even if she ultimately decides she can't, I think just even working on an exit strategy, including her own rainy day fund, would at least ease her mind a bit.

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