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Friends dealing with separation

Gesundheit

Senior Lairian
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Jan 19, 2013
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It seems that we hit a certain age when everyone is getting married, and then, a few years later, things start falling apart for some people. My husband and I are solid in our relationship, so I'm a little concerned that our "success" (as the books call it) might make my friends feel bad about their "failed" relationships? On the other hand, I think it would upset a lot of people if my husband and I did mess up our relationship, since they say it makes them happy to see that "SOME people manage to stay together".

To be clear, I don't feel guilty about having a healthy marriage. I'm just rambling to figure out how to be supportive of my friends, and how to be there for them, especially when I can't actually BE there. I've counseling to make sure some destructive cycles are broken before any new serious relationship begins, and talking to friends (even good, close friends) doesn't quite cut it. I'll own that I'm a good listener, but that doesn't mean I'm qualified to dole out advice.

I'm also not trying to shoulder the weight of the world or take on responsibilities that are not my own. It's enough that I hurt when my friends hurt. Anyone care to share experiences or anything? I'm most interested in knowing what NOT to do, even if it seems obvious. I love my friends too much to cause them any further headaches, even out of honest ignorance. We're all learning as we go.
 

Sphynx Asylum Dad

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I'm right there with you! @KansasSphynxMom and I have a pretty good thing going here (14years and counting) and we are both "helpers"- we both have an uncanny penchant for trying to help friends in need. Lol. We are both great listeners, and often ready with advice, we are probably both in the wrong professions! Lol.
 

MollysMom

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I know what you mean... we are now in our thirties, and all of our friends have been married between 2-6 years now. I keep waiting to see who is going to be the ones splitting up. None have yet, but with statistics it is inevitable. Ben and I have been together almost 8 years and are getting married in September. I find that the biggest source of fighting with our friends is that they have kids. Who does more for the kids, who did it "last time", which one of them is more tired.

I think the biggest thing when helping a friend through a break up is not to reference your own situation. It feels preachy to hear, "Well, when we fight, we NEVER do this or that". Listen to why their marriage has failed, and remember that it is only one half of the story. Try to identify when they are just venting, and when they actually want your input. Sometimes you just want someone to listen and sympathize and say that you are right.

I think I would offer any help that I can with moving, selling items, or babysitting. If you are not there, send flowers or a funny card to let them know you are thinking about them.

That all being said, you can't support negative or self-destructive behaviours. If you find that someone is self-medicating with alcohol or drugs, or sinking into depression, reach out to their families to let them know.
 

Catzzzmeow

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Hubby and I feel like that old couple on a soap opera that always seems to weather the storm and watch others self destruct. We are in our late 40's and have been together 29 years...married 22. Many friends now are single and in some ways I think it is healthier for some, but personally I think society makes it so easy to end a marriage, many really never work at it. Not sure what advice I can give except do not let anyone make you pick sides when a couple breaks up. It is their choice and you should not be made to feel guilty if you decide to remain friends with both or just one of them. Never let their problem become yours. People can exhaust you being needy and wanting your attention especially on the phone. Know your limits and know when to cut things short. You need to set the tone even if you feel bad doing it, it can drain you emotionally and you and your husband deserve positive vibes in your life. Celebrate your success each and every chance you get.

Patti
 

cfc

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Dec 15, 2014
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I personally think that your thinking about it WAY to much. Relax and enjoy life, don't worry about the what ifs!!!
 

Cleopatra Beers

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Bob and I celebrated our 40th anniversary this year. I have had lots of the same thoughts over the years as we watched other people's marriages have severe problems and often dissolve. I have had people act like I was arrogant because I have had a good marriage, and one girl even said that I had it "easy," because Bob and I had been married for "so long!" I found that when friends' marriages break up, the best thing I can do is to just be there with a sympathetic ear. Most people don't seem to be too upset about my successful marriage, and if they do mention it, I gently remind them that both people in the marriage have to work hard to make it successful. It is hard to watch other relationships dissolve, but I refuse to feel guilty or apologize for having a successful marriage.
 

NinaGato

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@Cleopatra Beers
I like how you said that both the people gave to be equally invested in the relationship. I think that is a key question to ask yourself and your partner.
 

deanna

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Dec 11, 2014
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im the last person to give advice on marriage issues but i would like to give you a little insight on my opinion. iv'e been with my husband for 5 years married for 2. Right now we are doing really solid in our relationship but in the past year it was a huge struggle i really didn't think we would have made it to 2015. We see a marriage counselor every two weeks she gave me great insight of the world of being married and relationships in general. i have two kids that are 11 months apart as someone said before me, it was always the struggle of whom was doing whats best for the kids and who had the right mindset. when i talked to my counselor no one was right or wrong it was always miscommunication. we really had to learn how to understand each other and our love language ( meaning what each person needs to feel loved in the relationship for an example: to get more compliments or receiving gifts) i learned that my husband feels more loved when i did acts of service while he learned that when he used words of affection makes me feel loved. now when i was in the situation when we were going to get a divorce and i needed someone. i needed and wanted a direction to help the relationship not a girlfriend to just say "leave him, you deserve better." to me when there is a struggle sometimes you need someone to really take in the whole situation instead of just taking one side of the story. i would suggest to anyone that is having a hard time to talk to a mediator have someone sit in the middle of your conversation and work it out that way. it really saved my marriage. i hope i was helpful :)
 

Gesundheit

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I personally think that your thinking about it WAY to much. Relax and enjoy life, don't worry about the what ifs!!!
I respectfully disagree. I'm watching my friends get hurt, and I'm looking for an outlet with people who have different experiences to help me learn.

im the last person to give advice on marriage issues but i would like to give you a little insight on my opinion...
Awesome of you to give counseling a go. I'm saddened by how often people see it as the end of their relationship rather than something to strengthen it. My husband and I were having a major miscommunication that I couldn't identify until a three-way argument that included my brother. It was really stupid, but it showed him that I thought he was giving me the silent treatment, and I learned that he was just clamming up. Where did my little brother fall into this? He's the one who stopped everything to say, "What the hell just happened?" If we hadn't tackled that issue, I think I'd have soon looked for a counselor. I have a deep loathing for miscommunication.

Hubby and I feel like that old couple on a soap opera that always seems to weather the storm and watch others self destruct. We are in our late 40's and have been together 29 years...married 22. Many friends now are single and in some ways I think it is healthier for some, but personally I think society makes it so easy to end a marriage, many really never work at it. Not sure what advice I can give except do not let anyone make you pick sides when a couple breaks up. It is their choice and you should not be made to feel guilty if you decide to remain friends with both or just one of them. Never let their problem become yours. People can exhaust you being needy and wanting your attention especially on the phone. Know your limits and know when to cut things short. You need to set the tone even if you feel bad doing it, it can drain you emotionally and you and your husband deserve positive vibes in your life. Celebrate your success each and every chance you get.

Patti
I wonder if people would stay together if marriages were more difficult to attain. If you really need to work your tail off for something, maybe you'll value it more. I'm afraid that too many people jump on the bandwagon too soon simply because everyone's doing it. It seems that too few people stop to think, "Is marriage really for me? Do the benefits outweigh the consequences?" There's also this fear of being alone that people think marriage will solve. I blame the media for teaching people that friends are disposable compared to potential hookups.
 

un33dit

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Nov 9, 2010
Messages
41
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54
I've been married and divorced twice. All you need to do is listen and be a friend. I never felt bad or jealous of others successful marriages. Life is full of ups and downs! A book that I enjoyed on relationships is "spousonomics". Great book even if you aren't having trouble. BTW...finally found the right one...getting married 5/10/15...nice and easy to remember ;)
 

Lickleone

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Jul 22, 2012
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A lot of the time advise is not needed unless asked best a friend can do is be supportive and listen without judgement just be there, not every one appreciates fixers they just want/need a listening ear and to know you there if they need you
 
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