HELP - Need some advice, FASSSST - Long, but please read

  1. Help! I need some adviceMy friend's marriage is falling apart and I don't know what to say to her. She really wants my opinion, but before I go off and give it, I wanted to get some input.. I think I need to give you some background first.

    Shewas married about 15 years ago and has three children. During dating, her then future-husband always showed interest in other women. He pointed out the good looking ones or gawked at them. When they went to the beach he would take pictures of them, not having them pose, just shooting as they would walk by. Of course, she didn't know this until the film was developed.
    After they got married, things seemed fine. Although he was controlling - not in a psycho type way, but just wanted to be in control of everything. During their first few years she found out that he had met a girl at work and brought her home for a lunch. He said it was innocent and he was just being nice - they had a lot in common. She let it go. After their second child was born he seemed to get annoyed at everything. He would scream and rant and rave over the silliest things. SheI went to a lawyer to find out her "rights" and then decided to try to work it out. They moved cross country and a third child was born and things seemed better. Those 3 years seemed ok. They moved again and these past six years have gone drastically down hill. Five years ago they went through a med mal nightmare in which a lawsuit ensued. That is over now - they "won" - dr was negligible, but no damages could be proven, so no money. After that she went through some rough physical times and got diagnosed with MS.

    Again he became (as he did on and off throughout the marriage) nasty and mean to both her and the kids. She decided she'd had enough and started to get papers together. In the process she found documents, pictures, emails and im's of him and other women. Two from various business trips and some from his work. She confronted him and told him he had to leave. He said he would change and they even met with their pastor who said they should give it another shot if he was willing to make an honest try of it. He did for a while and then got mean and nasty again. She went to another lawyer (new state) and got info again. She discussed it with him and told him he needed to leave. He was getting ready to go on a 6 week business trip so they decided to use that time as a separating and see how things would go when he got back. He got back and things seemed to go well. He seemed to be really trying.

    Well, on NY Eve she got a call from my ob/gyn telling her about a "funny" pap smear and the OB questioned her about her sexual history and that of her husbands. Well, she asked him telling him it was important that she know - and he told her about a time (only once so he says) that he got drunk during a business trip and met someone who performed oral sex on him. Then he told her that he had met a women here during the time right before his six week business trip and took her out a few times - 2 dinners and a brunch - he insists it really wasn't a date. She was dumbfounded. He said at the time he thought they were splitting, but he didn't go on the dates until he returned because he met her right before he left. The dates were over a three month period. (During this time she was obviously unaware of this and was thinking things were going well. They started to plan on moving (same area, different house and schools) and so purchased a house which is yet to be built.) So, in other words, he said or acted like he was working on things and he was going out on dates - this time in their own area!

    Anyway he cried, apologized said he'd never do it again, blah blah blah.
    Well, this past week she comes to find out through major questioning that he took a visiting coworker, pretty and 12 years his junior to dinner and also out for drinks. He says the drinks happened because he followed her to the airport to be sure she got their ok because she got lost on the way in. The dinner he said was because she was all alone and he felt sorry for her. He told her about the night he was going to dinner, but he said he was going with a bunch of visiting people - all guys!!

    To top it off, for their dinner, he picked her up at her hotel about 10 miles north of their house and then drove her to a cozy little Italian restaurant about 6 miles south of their house. There are many restaurants where her hotel was but he chose this very impressive, quaint Italian restaurant, which by the way is her favorite.

    So, now they have a house contact with money down, She's in school full time for nursing and not working, they have three kids and shehas a chronic, hopefully not progressive, disease.

    What would you do? I always thought if I found out about cheating I'd leave in a heartbeat, but it's not that easy. How many chances does she give this guy?? How many chances would you give him?

    Does she stay and allow him to do this again or trust that he won't? He continually promises he won't do this stuff and then does and says he didn't realize that it was inappropriate until she talks to him about it ---DUH!!

    Please give me your input -

  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Lausana
    Encourage her to move on with her life. Her husband is not going to change if he's been doing it even before their marriage, and does not care about his family enough if he is willing to risk her own health with his screwing around.

    Be supportive, but honest to her, I'm sure she already sees it, just needs reassurance she's doing the right thing.

    Best of luck to you both.
  4. by   Gator,SN
    GayleD, It is so hard to give advice to anyone, especially in these circumstances but, one thing that I thought about when reading your post is that if she has a "funny" pap smear this time, I hope she doesn't get HIV next time. It may be a wake up far as the new house, I hope that this is not a big deciding factor in staying with him because no matter how big or beautiful a house is, with a husband like that she will never make it a happy home.

    Support your friend, be there for her and support her no matter what she decides.
    Best to you!
  5. by   Stargazer
    The guy is a cheating, abusive asshat. Clearly she knows this, or she wouldn't have been to see a lawyer so many times and wouldn't have asked him to leave repeatedly. If the Pap smear scare wasn't enough to convince her he's bad news, I don't know what is.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Ok, having been where she is, I would advise her to get out of the relationship. I know she has a lot of herself and time invested, not to mention 3 wonderful kids. But this man will NEVER change....he has demonstrated that over and over. It's about self-preservation...and respect. And her kids are watching. Think they won't ever figure out what kind of tomcat their dad is? IF she stayed, she would be as much as saying putting up with such behavior is FINE and that is not the message she wants to convey I am sure. It won't be easy. She will need some help along the way....likely yours and that coming from a professional. I would suggest she secure the services of a good family lawyer and counselor and proceed with the rest of her life. I am now married to a wonderful man and have a really stable, decent life. Such that would never possible with my ex. It was hard to move on but it was necessary to save my sanity and life. I wish you and her well, and you are a good friend to care so much. In the end, it will be up to her to make these decisions; I hope she has the strength to do it and SOON.
  7. by   jdomep
    I'd say "see ya!" Get a good Lawyer and get all proof of infidility!

    This coming from a child who watched her mother go thru he!! from a father who thought it was ok to have sex with other women then come home and have sex with my mom She's darn lucky she didn't "catch" anything. The children DO know something is happening (even if they are little) - she needs to think about them too. She needs to be strong for the kids and stop the abuse now - before she really gets something bad!
  8. by   Lausana
    Originally posted by SmilingBluEyes
    And her kids are watching. Think they won't ever figure out what kind of tomcat their dad is? IF she stayed, she would be as much as saying putting up with such behavior is FINE and that is not the message she wants to convey I am sure.
    Good point Deb & Julie!
  9. by   hoolahan
    Your friend needs to throw out her rose-colored glassess, and take the b*stard for every penny she can get.

    MS is a progressive disease, and can be very debilitating, so she better get her hands on as much cash as she can so she will be able to afford the care she will need in the future. Stress causes this disease to exacerbate, and she doesn't need him around giving her more.

    You asked, that's my opinion.
  10. by   researchrabbit
    SHE must make the decision, and you must try to be supportive of any decision she makes if you want to be her friend.

    That said, you should point out PROS and CONS of divorcing or staying together.

    Don't press her to make the decision you think is right.

    I do have to say, that she is apparently married to someone very much like the man I was married to. I am very thankful I had the guts to leave him, but it has been hard on the children and hard on me. The divorce is 6 years in the past and only now do I begin to feel healed. It will take years for my finances to recover (not that they'd have been any better if we stayed married).

    Divorce, however, is not the answer for everyone. Your friend has stuck with this guy despite strong provocation already. She may be afraid to leave, ashamed to leave, too emotionally exhausted to put herself through more intense agony. It may be that with 3 children, she does not feel able to be on her own (it was very, very hard with two -- and mine were old enough to not need daycare. I am not sure I could have managed with 3).

    Your friend will need you and will need to feel that she doesn't have to please you with her decision.

    If she decides to leave him, though, I have LOTS to share that I wish I'd known when I divorced!
  11. by   emily_mom
    I agree with all of the above posters. She needs your love and support to get out of a bad relationship. I'm sure it is hard for her to do knowing the amount of care she will need in the future. Reassure her that you will be there for her in the future. Hugs to both of you.....

  12. by   GayleD
    Thanks all for your replies. I figured as much - just needed to hear it again from some unbiased people.
    I'll let you know how things go.
  13. by   colleen10
    I agree with all of the above posts and I do not envy your predicament at all. It is often a "fine line" that friends walk between supporting a friend, giving advice and going slightly over board with what you think.

    Yes, I do believe that she should leave and "if it were me" he wouldn't be able to cheat anymore because I would have taken care of that myself! But......

    You are not her and I'm not her and it sounds like with her past actions and experiences she may not leave even if you have a heart to heart with her and tell her that she should.

    She is going to need as much support as possible no matter what her decision is and that is what being a good and true friend is.

    Be prepared that even though she may not do what you advise her to, what she wants and needs is someone to support her. So, even if she does the complete opposite of what you advise her to do and what you feel in your heart is the best thing for her, put it to rest and let her know that you will be there for her.

    And I agree with the other posters about the children. Kids are a lot more perceptive than a lot of adults give them credit for. Even little wee ones know when something is up.

    I would also suggest that if they do decide to continue the marriage that they seek the help of a licensed marriage counselor. Priests and Clergy mean well but they do no have the training nor the time to to really help couples work through things.

    And despite the counseling they may receive I sincerely doubt that this doofus is ever going to shape up, so I would seriously suggest to my friend to discontinue any sort of physical relationship or to have him tested for STD's before resuming one.

    I feel really sorry for this woman. I hate to hear stories like this.

    I could go on and on about what I think of the situation but you are her friend and as such you need to give advice when she asks for it, keep it to yourself when she doesn't and sometimes, given the situation, when you think she is making a mistake gotta' keep it to yourself.

    How many of us have been in situations where a friends asks for advice or what we truly think, we tell them but it's not what they want to hear and the friendship is damaged, sometimes irrevocably.

    It's a fine line to walk and hopefully you will do allright.
  14. by   Jenny P
    Watching friends through the years, I'd say that men who let their little head "think" for them never seem to change.

    Married to someone who has M.S., I KNOW that stress causes worsening symptoms; this guy may be making her sicker than she needs to be; and not just emotionally! If she has had a "funny" Pap, infections can also cause a flare in symptoms.

    Maybe she should consider backing out of the house deal and a LONG TERM (1-2 years separation and see how she feels after that. That may be less stressful to do than a full divorce at this time (but she should make sure that HE foots all the bills while this is going on!)