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Divorce Support This forum is for discussing the emotional aspects of divorce: stress, anger, betrayal of trust and more.

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Old 09-10-2012, 02:33 PM
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Default Watching a friend's marriage melt down

I've known my friend for more than 25 years. He's one of those people with "white knight syndrome" who tends to date people with extreme problems to help them. He's dated some interesting characters for sure.

He met his current spouse online; she was separated with a daughter from a previous marriage. The bio dad is out of the picture completely; no contact, no CS, no contact information for him. He lives somewhere in the US. When they met the daughter was around 2 years old. My friend has acted as a parent to her since then. They tried adoption but since she wasn't divorced yet it didn't happen.

His spouse is very aggressive, hostile and controlling. She has always been this way. When I was still married, my former spouse was a bit similar, and the two of them were friends for awhile but soon they were butting heads and had a falling out. His spouse is also in poor health, with chronic pain, blood disorders, migraines and such. She has lived on disability for a long time, although apparently she recently received medical clearance to return to work.

They got married 1 year ago after being together for almost 8 years. Until they were married they "dodged" common law status by claiming she was a renter in his home.

Now me and his friends are seeing strange things from his spouse. She is dating someone else, head over heels, posting excitedly on facebook, doing kinky lingerie photo shoots with her new BF (and posting them on facebook too errr) going to fantasia parties with him. No mention of her husband anymore.

Yet her husband works with me every day and apparently knows about her BF. He indicates things are "troubled" but nothing more. Apparently her BF comes over, showers and take takes his spouse out on dates while he is home.

I don't know how to handle this. I feel bad for him. He is toast if she leaves, yet it seems inevitable she will. It's also possible they are trying "open marriage" but if so I don't think he is really part of it.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:39 PM
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There's not a lot you can do until he asks for something. This is his choice, and as his friend, you get to support him in his choices whether you agree with them or not. And if/when it goes bad you're there to help him pick up the pieces.

They may be doing the open marriage thing, he may purposely have his head in the sand or he may be in complete denial over what's happening. But it really doesn't matter, you can't make him do anything he isn't ready to do. I know it's hard to stand by and watch, perhaps you need to get him out and about a bit more, around other 'normal' couples where he may come to the realization on his own that his relationship isn't normal or healthy.

Sorry
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FightingForFamily View Post
I've known my friend for more than 25 years. He's one of those people with "white knight syndrome" who tends to date people with extreme problems to help them. He's dated some interesting characters for sure.

He met his current spouse online; she was separated with a daughter from a previous marriage. The bio dad is out of the picture completely; no contact, no CS, no contact information for him. He lives somewhere in the US. When they met the daughter was around 2 years old. My friend has acted as a parent to her since then. They tried adoption but since she wasn't divorced yet it didn't happen.

His spouse is very aggressive, hostile and controlling. She has always been this way. When I was still married, my former spouse was a bit similar, and the two of them were friends for awhile but soon they were butting heads and had a falling out. His spouse is also in poor health, with chronic pain, blood disorders, migraines and such. She has lived on disability for a long time, although apparently she recently received medical clearance to return to work.

They got married 1 year ago after being together for almost 8 years. Until they were married they "dodged" common law status by claiming she was a renter in his home.

Now me and his friends are seeing strange things from his spouse. She is dating someone else, head over heels, posting excitedly on facebook, doing kinky lingerie photo shoots with her new BF (and posting them on facebook too errr) going to fantasia parties with him. No mention of her husband anymore.

Yet her husband works with me every day and apparently knows about her BF. He indicates things are "troubled" but nothing more. Apparently her BF comes over, showers and take takes his spouse out on dates while he is home.

I don't know how to handle this. I feel bad for him. He is toast if she leaves, yet it seems inevitable she will. It's also possible they are trying "open marriage" but if so I don't think he is really part of it.
Buy your friend the following book:

"Splitting, Protecting Yourself While Divorcing a Borderline or Narcissist"
by William Eddy

Amazon.com: Splitting, Protecting Yourself While Divorcing a Borderline or Narcissist: William Eddy: Books

What you are describing, although it cannot be diagnosed on your observations alone or the spouse in question's opinions reads very similar to someone describing someone exhibiting the behaviour patterns of a histrionic personality disorder (HPD).

Histrionic personality disorder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I would recommend that your friend read the above book and information for his information only. No conclusions should be drawn that the person in question is histrionic. the information is being provided to provide assistance in addressing patterns of behaviour and identifying characteristics. Only through a psychological assessment using widely accepted tools like MMPI-2 and other personality inventories could a clinician even begin diagnosing the potential mental health issues and patterns of behaviour you are describing.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:54 PM
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Basically his marriage is none of your business. Be a friend and offer support if he confides in you but for the time I'd stay out of it. Offer to take him to a movie or other distraction. He may or may not open up to you. I'd respect his privacy. Some people need more time than others to absorb and deal with problems. For all you know he may be getting legal advice or counselling.
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:46 PM
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I spoke to him briefly about it.

He said he knew his wife's proclivities before he married her, and although this is the first extra-marital relationship she has pursued, he is OK with it although he doesn't want to talk about it.

I think I would have a much easier time with it if she wasn't always treating him like dirt.
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:57 PM
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I can see that would be really hard to watch as a friend. It would be very different if that was a decision they had made together and their relationship was based on love, trust and respect.
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Old 09-10-2012, 05:29 PM
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Agreed... it's making it awkward for all his friends now too. We don't even know how to invite them to social events anymore.

Invite his spouse to something and who knows if she will bring her husband, or her new boyfriend instead. It's already happened once. We're really not interested in her BF.
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Old 09-10-2012, 07:31 PM
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Seriously, some people are kinky this way. It's up to him if he enjoys his marriage or not. Some people even enjoy being miserable. It's up to him to decide if he would enjoy being split up better than being with her.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:13 PM
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I read that shitty book "60 shades of grey" or whatever it's called this summer. It is apparently one of a book of 3. Gives you an insight into life of abuse (in my opinion). Some people do get off on this.
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Old 09-11-2012, 12:33 AM
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There are both sides to the advice, having run into something similar a long time ago, not knowing what to do and I made the decision to just say none of my business and it finally came to a head. I still feel guilty in a way for not being a friend to one and betrayall of the other - in the end he gathered up his wife, they made their ammends and they left, returning back to their hometown back North............

Take your friend out for a dinner or a drink, enjoy some carefree time but finad that way to breach that subject. What his agreement is doing to HIM. What it is doing to his outside relationships and just let him know why (the public crap and flaunting, in my mind belittling this person but that is not up to me-- him -- to decide. It is up to his friend and what he may do to save all the social relationships his choice....

Maybe just maybe he is not aware of what is really happening "in front of his back" (the public flaunting and the direct impact on what is his social contacts/friends. 5 Minutes. Then leave it alone. What may follow? If you are willing, emphasize that you still care and you will be there for him in any way he needs and you are able. At least the OP can be sure that all that could be done to help this person (done very privately) has been done and you will never look back and say what if??? (this what if can be from very minor to sadly - I don't want to go there)
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