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Hello everyone,

I am asking for advice regarding a problem a friend of mine is having. I am out of suggestions for him and would like input from everyone on here.

He has been married for 12 years. They are both in their 30's with 3 children.

His wife has recently told him that she is very unhappy in the marriage and wants out. She claims that at the beginning of their marriage she was very affectionate and he was cold to her so slowly her love faded. She insists that no counseling or bible passage will make her love for him come back. She is very adamant about this and insists nothing will change her mind.

 

He is a good father and from what I've seen a good provider. They've gone on numerous vacations alone together and as a family. (Recently she has gone away with some girlfriends, alone) They have an expensive home, nice vehicles, he is not abusive a drunk or a cheater. He works 3 jobs and in his words " do everything for my family first, and regard myself second to them" He is still very much in love with his wife.

 

She has recently gone in for an estimate of a procedure called body sculpting--including breast lift and/or implants, lyposuction/tummy tuck and some facial surgery as well. Which she expects him to help pay for.

 

She insists that she is not looking for another man, yet has stated that she feels she can have everything (material goods) she has with her husband and some passion too. --Which she feels is lacking as she does not find herself attracted to him any longer--Her question to him has been " why can't I have everything I want ? "

 

He says that she is very cheerful when they are out with the kids or visiting with friends and family but as soon as they are home she is sulking and miserable. Hardly speaks to him-- civil but distant.

 

He is still living at home but not sleeping in the same room. He feels that while he is still in the home there is some hope he can change her mind.

 

He grew up without a father figure and worries about not being with his kids 24/7. He is also very concerned that if they divorce his children will suffer as they are accustomed to a certain lifestyle.

 

Any thoughts or suggestions for my friend? I appreciate your help.

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I am sorry to hear about your friend's situation muneca.

 

1) He should see if she is open to counselling. Even if she does not want the marriage, divorce counselling is very helpful.

 

2) If she is not open to marriage counselling, he should proceed with the seperation (and ultimately divorce). Tell her he loves her, but also feels he deserves that in return.

 

3) He should NOT pay for her "body sculpting". Plain and simple. If she is so sure she can find someone with "material goods" and passion...I am sure HE can pay for it. Or maybe she can learn that she can make it on her own and work and pay for it herself. It could be character building in a way (character building through breast augmentation lol )

 

4) He should talk with his children and get them a counsellor for the present, and the next couple years or more as they need them.

 

5) He should get a lawyer as soon as possible.

 

6) He should not allow her to string him along. After a decided on seperation period, he should file the papers.

 

7) And of course...remain a good father to his children.

 

8 ) Have faith in his ability to heal, move on and make the best of life. And that good things await. Life will be different, but it can be wonderful all over again.

 

If she sees your friend as nothing but a provider of material goods, he deserves much better. Because if he is your friend, I am sure he has MUCH more going for him and a list of great qualities to add to "being a provider".

 

Too muneca's friend - be strong, have faith. It's a devastating blow, but be there for your children and don't lose yourself in the process. Remain true to yourself.

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Thanks Raykay, appreciate the input.

 

In all fairness I need to add that she also works very hard and is a good mother.

 

I am sure she is, I did not mean to imply she was not. I just think she should pay for her own "augmentations". Why should he if he is not even going to be the one benefitting from them

 

And being a good mother will work well...as they both will have the interest of the children at heart during this

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Chances are if she is saying nothing will change her mind then nothing will. I uttered almost the exact same phrase when divorcing and it was 100% true.

 

It's absolutely ridiculous that she expects him to pay for this body sculpting thing though. What he should be doing is talking with her about seperation counseling. It's somewhere they can discuss the issues with a neutral third party and help make everything much smoother. He should talk to a lawyer as well, so that at least he is aware of the general divorce process for his state and how things would likely go.

 

It's also a good idea to get the kids into counseling themselves if they are of appropriate ages.

 

Outside of that I suggest he see a counsellor for himself. I wish I had something more hopeful to say, but if his wife has decided that she is closed to any form of therapy for them then I really don't think there is much he can do to save the marriage.

 

Marriage is a partnership and when one partner has turned off like that there is nothing the other can do to fix it.

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I mostly agree with RayKay. Plus, he doesn't have to follow her agenda on this. Nor does he have to assume that she should get primary custody of the kids. He can ask for primary custody himself, or for shared physical and legal custody.

 

I think he would be wise to take a certain amount of control for himself. If she really has no interest in repairing the relationship, and he has tried his best to convince her that he is sincere, then he should take her at her word.

 

He should tell her he is prepared to give her a divorce; that they should each get a lawyer but should also try a mediator to try and get a a divorce in the most amicable way possible. And he should tell her that he is not prepared to pay for her make-over.

 

It is important that he does not agree to any demands in order to cause as little trouble as possible, or in hopes that, if he is amenable, she may change her mind. There is no reason why he has to be bitter or vindictive but he should also look out for his best interests as well as those of the children

 

It may be that if she realizes she is about to lose him, the marriage and a good lifestyle that she may change her mind. Especially if she realizes that she may not get everything her own way.

 

However - I think, with due respect to RayKay, that it could be taken as insulting to tell him to continue to be a good father to his children. Let's assume that that is a given, just as we would expect that she will continue to be a good mother if she were not to have primary custody.

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DN...I did not mean it to sound like I was "telling" him to be a good father...since it is apparent from munecas post, it was more of a "keep up the good work as they will REALLY need you right now".

 

Also on that note, it is amazing how many good parents during a divorce use their children as pawns and 'mediators'....sometimes we get blinded when our emotions are high.

 

I never assumed he would not be a good father, I just said it in the same spirit I also told him to take care of HIMSELF.

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DN...I did not mean it to sound like I was "telling" him to be a good father...since it is apparent from munecas post, it was more of a "keep up the good work as they will REALLY need you right now".

 

Also on that note, it is amazing how many good parents during a divorce use their children as pawns and 'mediators'....sometimes we get blinded when our emotions are high.

 

I never assumed he would not be a good father, I just said it in the same spirit I also told him to take care of HIMSELF.

 

I agree with the spirit of what you say - but people can be very sensitive to comments about how they parent. If anybody suggested, now matter how kindly meant, that I should continue to be a good father to my children, I know I would resent the implication that I might think of being anything else.

 

I also agree that people can be blind to the best interests of their children during a divorce - I assume by 'people' you mean both fathers and mothers. But it is becoming more and more accepted, especially in family courts, that it is in their best interests that both parents be actively, consistently and on a more or less equal basis, involved in their children's lives.

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I agree with the spirit of what you say - but people can be very sensitive to comments about how they parent. If anybody suggested, now matter how kindly meant, that I should continue to be a good father to my children, I know I would resent the implication that I might think of being anything else.

 

I also agree that people can be blind to the best interests of their children during a divorce - I assume by 'people' you mean both fathers and mothers. But it is becoming more and more accepted, especially in family courts, that it is in their best interests that both parents be actively, consistently and on a more or less equal basis, involved in their children's lives.

 

Understood, but I certainly did not mean it that way. I don't think my recommendation to be there and think of your kids whether to a mother or father is unusual. But I certainly did not not mean to imply he was not, and would not intend on being so.

 

Of course I mean both sexes when I say "people".

 

I know, I have been exposed to many divorces through the years and attitudes have changed , since my parents too are divorced as well.

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I always hear about the health of the kids. BLAH! Kids are soo overrated.

We are teaching them to be pansies.

I would worry more about the husbands mental health than the kids.

Certainly drawing off my own experiences I suspect I would be more traumatized as a rejected spouse than as a son of a marriage turned disaster.

 

I'd say that using your kids as a pawn and talking cruelly about their parents and so on is not exactly teaching them to be "tough".

 

Its not about teaching them to be pansies, its about allowing them to not feel bad about loving BOTH their parents, and about being allowed to be kids.

 

I have seen some pretty "messed up" kids...where they were used as game pieces. One couple I know, one parent withheld the kids as punishment from the other parent and so on. Or got their kids to relay bad comments to the other...I'd say thats pretty traumatizing.

 

Yes his mental health is important, which is why people have recommended counselling for him as well.

 

Kids don't choose their parents to divorce...there is no need to treat them as "overrated".

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There is another issue of which he should be aware regarding his three jobs.

 

A friend of mine was married with four school age children. His wife refused to work. They had lost their house when he lost his job due to a recession. In order to be able to put a down payment on another, once he had a decent job, he took a job as a security guard on weekends (both days). This was supposed to last for just over a year until they had the down payment.

 

Shortly before he had enough money, she left him, sued for divorce and was given custody. His child support payments were predicated on his last year's income, including the money he earned on weekends. His explanation that this was supposed to be a temporary measure were overruled as irrelevant. He got a couple of promotions at his job but she went to court for more money based on his new income.

 

Because he was required to keep up that level of support he had to work every Saturday and Sunday for the next fifteen years.

 

This happened in Ontario, Canada and the law may be different where your friend is. But he would be wise to check with his lawyer.

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It may be too late for your friend. Seems his willingness to do anything and everything to make his wife happy has backfired in the even bigger picture. She wants the world, he will try to make it happen.

 

From here, what can he do tactically? I would say quit giving into all her wants, but again . . .she seems to have taken him for granted. If he wants to give her a taste of what it would be like, he ought to have HER move out for a trial separation. Why? Because she'll be cut off from the kids and she can try to sample the life she wants to have. If he's not there to give, give, give, who will she get it from? Some other sucker? I may be jumping the gun here, but she seems like a typical spoiled child. That's all I can think of right now, hope it at least generates some ideas.

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Not to weaken anything I have said - but I would also like to re-emphasise my point that he should make very effort to persuade her to go to counselling - especially since he loves her.

 

The fact that she is wanting all this body image change may be because she is having some sort of 'mid-life' crisis and has lost her confidence that she is still an attractive woman. If she can get past that, and it is the major issue that she has, there may be a chance to salvage the marriage.

 

But I wouldn't bet on it.

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All good advice and I suspect from waht you have posted there may not be too much hope for the marriage. I would advise though that before charging down the divorce path that they consider a trial seperation.

 

Once you start down the path of divorce it can be very difficult to stop, it has a way of snowballing and the involvement of legal representatives tends to by its nature become quickly adversarial.

 

The last couple of years of my marriage were very much like what you describe here. Years later and in hindsight we both feel that we probably could have worked things out had we not moved so quickly to file divorce proceedings.

 

I'd advise him to pack up and move out for a few months. Explain clearly to the kids what is going on. Treat it like a final seperation and ensure she gets a feel for her emotional and financial situation as a divorced mother of 3 kids.

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His wife has recently told him that she is very unhappy in the marriage and wants out.

 

(Recently she has gone away with some girlfriends, alone)

 

She has recently gone in for an estimate of a procedure called body sculpting--including breast lift and/or implants, lyposuction/tummy tuck and some facial surgery as well. Which she expects him to help pay for.

 

His wife 'recently' did a lot of things... Do we know timescale?

 

You say that she wants 'passion' as well? Could it be that she recently sampled 'passion' on her little holiday with her friends, and found someone new/wants a change?

 

Thoughts please.

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His wife 'recently' did a lot of things... Do we know timescale?

 

You say that she wants 'passion' as well? Could it be that she recently sampled 'passion' on her little holiday with her friends, and found someone new/wants a change?

 

Thoughts please.

 

I'm actually more curious over the age of the youngest child. Often once a women comes up for some breath after the intense baby/toddler years have passed they find that they are still unhappy in the marriage and that their unhappy feelings weren't just due to the hard work that it is parenting very young children. It's a prime time for divorce in a lot of marriages.

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I'll answer some of the questions.

The youngest child is 2.

Recently refers to within the last 6 months.

I think she is 31...I know she is under 35.

 

Another thing I should mention is that he was her first and only boyfriend, dated him since she was 16 until they married. So the mid life crisis thing is something I had thought of too.

 

He will be reading your responses later today. Thank you everyone for your advice and if you have any more please add.

 

Thanks again.

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Okay. As soon as I read he was her first/only boyfriend and they have been together since she was 16.....it fell into place. That and her children are "older" as Minty indicated above.

 

I imagine she is going through what many of us - male and female - go through in their late teens and twenties when we realize we don't really know the world, or ourselves. Not sure how long she has been having children for, but it may be the first time she can feel remotely like an individual again....I am not too sure.

 

Unfortunately, it sounds like your friend is in the situation many people here come to with..."he/she does not want the commitment anymore", "he/she is not sure what they want, and want to find themself". Just in your friends situation they are married, with children. My father did a similar thing to my mother..when I was 7 years old, had a 5 year old brother and my mom was pregnant with my sister (7 months along) after several bouts with cheating on her, he decided he was not ready for marriage and commitment and a family anymore ( ). I am not saying she is like that (does not want family) just saying that people are strange, sometimes its "too late" they realize they are not wanting what they have.

 

I think she is also taking what she has for granted in a sense. I don't know where it came from, but she is definitely not thinking long term, and she is not honouring the commitment SHE made to the relationship & the marriage. I really hope she goes to counselling.

 

I think right now she feels the grass is greener....and really that is not surprising as she has never experienced a relationship with anyone other than your friend. It's one of the main reasons high school relationships rarely can make it long term, because the decisions you make then, the person you are then, is not the same person you are down the road...and unless you grow TOGETHER AND INDIVIDUALLY (which is hard to do at those ages) it won't work. She is resenting him for the way he was when HE was very young too, and turning the blame around..I am sorry, but that is just not very good reason.

 

I am sure she is a hard worker, a great mother, but right now she should be working on her marriage...if she has no inclination to, which it sounds like she does not, your friend needs to take the steps he needs to take to protect himself. It takes two people to make a relationship work - but only one to break it up. And you can't force someone who already says their mind is made up. Maybe time will let her realize what she has lost and the issue can be readdressed then, but for now he needs to take care of himself, and they need to both work out something with the kids. It's going to be a long road, and I feel a lot of empathy for him...but if she is unwilling to work it through or take a stab at it, he needs to deal with the cards he has been given right now the best he can.

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I suggest that he stop attempting to change her mind as far as the divorce is concerned. She needs to learn her lesson and the only way she is going to do that is to do it for herself. They actually need to serperate, and he needs to cut her off financially. I mean that it is no longer his job to support her wants. He can provide for the kids and extra money if she needs it but thats it. She actually needs to picture of what it will be like when he is no longer around and how different her life will actually be.

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I totally agree with Day_Walker.

 

If she is irresponsible enough to get married early, have a family, and a partner who provides everything she wants, and then throw it all away, then why does she even deserve financial support?

 

That aside, she definitely needs to see that her quality of life; and her kids' quality of life - would decline without her husband to support her.

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