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Need guidance for a friend going through Divorce


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Hi All:


I'm new here, stumbled upon this site in my quest to help my best friend who is going through a divorce. I don't know how to help her, and could use your advice. A little backstory is in order I'm sure.


She is 34, has 2 kids, ages 8 and 10. She's been married for 6 years, but was with her husband for 10 years prior to that. About three years ago, she had an affair with someone she worked with. It was very intense, very emotional. She would tell me how much she loved him, and how he was the very opposite of the man she married. Their affair went on for about a year, until her husband found out. He forced her to get a new job, and take out a restraining order against the guy she was having the affair with. She never explicitly told me, but I could tell just how horrible she felt about all this. But she confided in me that she was going to try and save her marriage for her kids sake.


So she tried to become the good wife again, taking an interest in the things her husband liked, which she never really cared for. She even went so far as to organize a surprise trip to the mountains where they got their wedding vows renewed. Everything seemed good on the surface. But when we hung out, I could tell she wasn't really happy. We'd get together, and her husband would pretty frequently bring up the affair and through her face in it, in front of her friends and whoever was there at the time. I never thought this was too cool, but hey, he had a right to be upset.


So about a year ago, she got pregnant by her husband. They decided that she should get an abortion...which she did, but I know this destroyed her even more. A few months after that, despite my advice, she decided to contact the guy she had an affair with again. Pretty quickly they were talking every day, and though she won't admit it to me, I'm almost positive they resumed their affair again. But surprisingly, she seemed happy again. She was smiling, and had a zest for life that seemed to be missing for the last few years. Or so I thought. Toward the end of the summer, she tried to commit suicide. The attempt failed, and she was put away for a while. When she got out, she did seem to have a new and better perspective on things. She confided in me that she had been seeing the affair guy again, but she had told him that they could only be friends right now, and that she was going to leave her husband.


So about a couple months ago, they told their kids that Mom is moving out, and that they are getting separated. That she was getting her own place. And this is exactly when she's dropped off the face of the Earth. She doesn't return my calls, my texts. I've dropped by her house a couple times but there's never been any answer. She finally told me in a text that she's struggling to survive each day. She's constantly crying, feels awful about what's happening with her kids, and is going to support groups for women going through divorce.


Her and I have been friends for over 10 years. And for most of those years, we've been BFF's. Tied to the hip. I don't know what to do to help her. I'm so worried about her. I've never been married, nor have kids, so I guess I can't relate to what she's going through. But she always told me how she wanted this divorce, how much she hated her husband. So I don't understand why she's having such a difficult time with it if it's something she wanted. I also don't know how I can be there for her if she wont even talk to me. I feel like I have to do something, that by doing nothing I'm turning my back on her when she needs someone the most.


So I guess my question is for those going through or have gone through a divorce. Does any of this behavior sound familiar? Did you shut out the entire world during your divorce? Is it a necessary stage? Is there anything a friend of yours did or didn't do that helped, or made things worse?


Thanks for taking the time to read this, I just want to be there for my friend, but don't know how to do it.

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Well, regardless of how she felt about her husband, there's absolutely no excuse for having an affair, none. She should have divorced her husband if she was unhappy.


As far as what happened after her affair, I don't agree with the husband throwing it in her face, especially in front of friends. So, after having an abortion, and still feeling unhappy, she decides to resume her affair. I don't care what she was going through, that was absolutely wrong of her to do that.


Based on what you've written, if I was her husband, I would have divorced her and taken the kids. We're of course only getting what you know, hell, he could have been an a-hole of a husband and had affairs himself, who knows.


Even if that's the case, it doesn't excuse her behavior.


As far as her being upset about her divorce, that's natural. Divorce is damn hard, and especially so if there's kids involved. They were a couple for a long time, and it's not as easy as just divorcing and moving on with life. That other person becomes a part of your everyday life, and it's difficult to just cut them out without pain.


Now, with that being said, you're her friend and if possible you should be there for her. No judgments, and especially no thoughts on what she did wrong or even what went wrong in her marriage. She knows what mistakes she made and it appears she's having a difficult time getting through it all.


If she won't talk to you then there's really nothing you can do for her. You can send her a text, email, whatever, and just let her know that if she does need someone to talk to that you'll be there for her. Let her know that you love her and will listen to her without making any judgments against her.


I will say that in the early stages of divorce all you really want to do is sleep, because it seems as though that's the only time you find peace in your life. Be patient with her, and keep trying to contact her. I think if she knows you're there for her that she will again resume contact with you.


Hope this helps.

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To understand a failing marriage and the pain it generates would be similar to having a gun pointed at you... only when it happens to you can you fully understand.


When she's ready; be within reach and listen.


Invite her onto ena.

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Welcome to ENA,


You are a good friend to ask for help for her but in the end she must seek help and accept it for herself.


I was cheated on so I know how her husband feels. I felt great anger and wanted to punish her but I chose the high road....unfortunately he didn't. All that is now in the past and needs to stay where it is. They are getting divorced, live apart and her whole life appears to be falling apart around her. This is scary stuff for anyone and Nick is very correct the only peace is sleep if you can manage it.

Right now she is shutting out the world, the world that is looking down on her (in her eyes) for cheating, an abortion, being a bad mother and on and on. She is at or close to rock bottom and the only good thing about that is she cannot fall any farther and a very small improvement is a big thing.


You are her friend but you may represent the past or she simply may not be able to face you just yet. When this happens to a person they feel like a complete failure so who wants to see friends and family when you are at the bottom of a very dark hole...weak, confused and ashamed?


There is a good chance that her bf now that she is going to be free has lost interest in her. There are cheaters out there that love married women because they don't have to worry about a relationship, just the fun with no strings but when it becomes real they bolt and disappear.


Don't pester her but do stay in regular contact so she knows you have not given up on her. Let her know that no matter how she feels, looks or behaves you are her friend and love her. Sending small gifts is a great way to break through the wall she has built to keep everyone out. Find something on Amazon or where ever and buy it and have it delivered to her. You can have a short message put on the gift like "I am here for you always" or "When you are ready I will be here". Don't text her and let her know what you are doing or ask later if she got the gift. Just send it from your heart. Keep the gifts small and inexpensive so she will not feel bad that you spent a lot on her.


She has to be the one to take the wall down since she is the one that built it...


Good luck


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Everyone reacts differently. I did the opposite of the above. Filing for divorce for me was a breath of fresh air and I felt like I finally had my life back, and I actually reached out to friends and reconnected with those I had long since lost contact with. So it's tough to guess what might be going on with someone else. I would just do what others have suggested--to be there if/when she's ready to share.

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It sounds like she has deeper problems than just a bad marriage if she has been suicidal and hospitalized for that. I think you need to encourage her to see her therapist, because that is what she needs most right now if she is severely depressed.


The tears could also be for something else you don't know about, as in, she thought if she'd leave her husband, her other man would come thru and be her new partner, and he may have told her he's not interested in that. Or the other possibility if you drop by and she's never there, is that she is already living with the other man, and trying to disguise that, because judges look unkindly on mothers who leave their children to instantly move in with another man they committed adultery with. So she may be trying to keep what is REALLY going on quiet (living most of the time with the other man) to avoid enraging her husband during the divorce, and only uses that other place that she is claiming to live in when she needs to see her children, otherwise she's shacking up with the other man.


It is extremely common for adulterers to lie, lie, lie when they're going thru a divorce to try to improve the custody situation and to avoid negatively influencing the judge against them since adultery is not viewed favorably by judges or most of society. She's really mucked up her life in a way that shows she is quite selfish, especially if she had a chance to work on her marriage and kept lying and cheating, so I wouldn't feel too sorry for her. She has to take the consequences of her own behavior as an adult, and she clearly behaved badly and in a way that showed a serious lack of consideration for her husband and kids. He might end up with custody since he can prove not only adultery and her dandling after another man rather than paying attention to her children, and prove she is mentally unstable via being committed to a hospital. So she could be very sad knowing she screwed the pooch by getting involved in this affair, essentially losing her children in the process. But she did it anyway, and multiple times by going back to him, so her priorities are obviously the lover over her kids!

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