You Should Totally Leave Your Husband!
Those are words you should never say to another woman (ok maybe not NEVER because there could always be an exception to the rule, but Be CAREFUL.)
We all want to protect our friends. We all want them to be happy. But suggesting leaving a marriage that isn’t yours is a slippery slope! A marriage is super personal and intimate and only the two people in that marriage can truly make the decision to end it.
Think of this hypothetical scenario (which may not be so hypothetical…I know, I’ve been in it)…. Your friend is bitching and moaning about her boyfriend, husband, whatever, and it goes something like this.
“Ugh, he is such a jerk…I can’t believe he did this (insert any number of maddening examples) again?!
“What a douche!”
“I just don’t know what to do!”
“You need to break up with him! He treats you like shit, he’s disrespectful to your parents, he’s a sadomasochist and we all hate him BTDubs. Ditch that loser!”
And then, a few days later, the fight of the moment is over. And your friend is back in love.
Aaaaannnnnd in the heat of the moment while they were fighting, she used what you said about him as ammo…every last word (not to throw you under the bus, but rather to prove a point).
And now, YOU’RE the jerk. It makes for some uncomfortable social situations since there’s nothing more uncomfortable than asking a man you just demolished to his significant other to pass the salt.
Having gone through a roller coaster relationship and divorce, I have to say that while there were moments where friends expressed strong opinions, not ONCE did anyone tell me to end my marriage. My girlfriends are brutally honest, yes, but not dumb. And they all knew the truth. There was NOTHING any of them could ever say that would make me walk. It’s something you have to figure out on your own and have the courage to actually act on.
Outsiders don’t always get this. They’re very quick to pass judgment and throw the D word around. The same way people without kids are quick to rattle off a laundry list of things they will never do when they are parents (I would pay to see those lists after their first night of a colicky baby who is cluster feeding and simultaneously spitting up and pooping.)
Good friends know where to draw the line with their advice. They know that at the end of the day suggesting divorce is not fair from their end because they don’t have to suffer the effects. They are not the ones who have to come home to a house without a husband. They don’t have to figure out a custody schedule and split holidays realizing they will only see their children half the time. They don’t have to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get back in the dating game.
(Don’t even get me started on things you should never say to a divorced mother…that’s a whole article in itself!)
So…girlfriend to girlfriend…If you have someone in your life in this very common situation, be honest, but compassionate. Don’t sugarcoat, but be supportive. Because that’s what we need most.