Thursday, 11 October 2012


Ladies, this is especially for you because I know a lot of you have been there or can use the advise, so read and kindly share your thoughts. It's from a marital therapist.

"You know who your friends are when you’re going through a relationship crisis. Maybe your husband has started acting strangely; perhaps you’ve caught him texting another woman; or, worst of all, he’s threatening to leave you and break up the family.
Whatever the circumstances, it’s only being able to phone a friend or chat with the girls over a glass of wine that stops you from going round the bend.

However, after almost 30 years working as a marital therapist, I’ve become convinced that, while men don’t have enough friends or emotional support, women can have far too many and too much.In fact, my heart sinks when a new female client tells me her ‘friends have been wonderful’ because time and time again, while she thinks they’ve been helping her save her relationship, they’ve been fanning the flames or even throwing petrol on the fire. 

Charlotte, 48, who chairs the board of governors at a school in Kent, sought my help when her husband David, 47, announced out of the blue that he didn’t love her any more, saw no future in their marriage and wanted to rent a flat in the next town, away from her and their three children. However, a few weeks later, she discovered her husband was using their temporary separation not to ‘get his head straight’, as he had told her, but to date another woman. Once again, it seemed her friends were a vital support system. When she discovered new evidence about her rival, she would call friends at all hours. ‘I’ll find a new picture of her on Facebook and I’ll be so incensed I pick up the phone to a friend to analyse what it means,’ she told me.  

Unfortunately, going over all the minutiae with your friends is more likely to pump up your distress, make you feel angrier and betrayed, and more likely to fire off a late-night text or email — as it did with Charlotte. In her case, goaded on by her friend, she sent a message to the other woman. ‘I thought she should know just what she was doing to my family,’ she explained. ‘But it totally backfired. All I did was push my husband and her closer together.’ One problem with confiding in friends about your marital problems is that you often give them a very one-sided account of the situation — and thus get a skewed response another is that they love you and want the best for you. So if you’re in a lot of pain, they’ll try to make you feel better quickly. So they promote ‘silver-bullet’ solutions or create a sense that ‘something must be done’ when often you’d be better off doing nothing. 

In many ways, it’s easier to counsel men — they aren’t struggling with contradictory or suspect advice from different friends, because most of them haven’t discussed their problems with anyone. 

 When I met Samantha, 48, and her husband, Terry, 49, they wanted different things in the bedroom, she had confided in a woman whom she thought was a friend. She told me: ‘What a fool I was. I knew she was jealous of me but not quite how much. Not long afterwards, I discovered that she and Terry were having an affair and I’d inadvertently given her the keys to turn his head.’ 

This still didn’t stop her confiding in others to get her through the difficult months when Terry decided he’d made a mistake and begged for a second chance. That’s when she realised that even though we think friends will give independent advice and ‘tell it like it is’, they often have their own agendas, too. My friends split down the middle,’ Samantha says. ‘The ones that were divorced told me he’d always cheat on me, and those who’d forgiven their husbands told me to think of the happy years and our children.’ 

 Perhaps it is not surprising we urge our friends to take the same path as us because, when it comes down to it, everybody questions whether they’ve made the right choices and having friends come to similar conclusions is reassuring. 

So while it’s fine to occasionally talk to your friends about your relationship, instead of talking about the man in your life, you should be really be talking and — even more importantly — listening to him."

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