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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am not sure if this is at the right spot, so if it's not, mods, feel free to move it.<br><br>
I am new to this part of MDC, so a little background.<br><br>
Dh and I have 2 dd's (ages 3 1/2 and 21 months) with dc #3 due in June. We live in a little trailer so I can stay home and dh works 70-80 hours a week. Most of his income goes to pay off our stupidity from earlier years, and we live on very little. Our home is a bit cramped but we have changed our perspective from when we were younger and simplified our lives.<br><br>
Our 2 friends, "Bob" and "Beth", have a 4 1/2 month dd and are our age. I have known them since we were kids. For about 3 years they were married, dual income, no kids, and could not understand how we could be happy living the way we do. I have ignored more than one hurtful comment cuz I knew they couldn't understand til they'd BTDT.<br><br>
Now, Beth wants to stay home with dd, but they can't afford it. Now, they have 2 brand new custom made cars less then a year old and a half house, as well as 3 computers and more electronic gadgets then I know what to do with. She tells me all the time that she is miserable working, but now they "need" to buy a bigger house to fit all their stuff. This is the last straw. I have watched her get into this mess and now I am going to watch them get into an even bigger hole. They have 2 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, a basement, and a finished attic and they think it is too small for 2 adults and a baby. They do have 1 pet, also, a rabbit, and 2 aquariums with fish and frogs. However, I am finding it harder and harder to watch them do this to themselves. They are making themselves miserable in their quest to "have it all" and don't realize that all they need to have it all is to be content with what they have.<br><br>
The problem is that Beth knows me so well I can't fake it and lie to her. She asks my opinion and I give it. But Bob is very insecure and hates when Beth listens to any advice except his. This has been an issue since we were kids. Bob has to be in control at all times, and Beth lets him. I can keep my mouth shut until she asks what I think. However, whenever my opinion disagrees with Bob's, then he somehow finds a way to keep us apart for a while. Dh says Bob is insecure and will get back to being cocky and arrogant when he feels more comfortable parenting and then Beth and I will be able to be friends like normal.<br><br>
So, how do I support her on this path she has chosen while not alienating her? Dh says that she will need me more then she realizes as all this debt begins to pile up, so I should listen and be there for her. I am okay with that. But..<br><br>
how did I keep my mouth shut? how do you ladies with friends who have different values stay friends? If she was happy that would be one thing but she is already bipolar and having nervous breakdowns on a monthly basis. How do I sit back and watch my friend destroy herself?<br><br>
She has also told me that she isn't allowed to say certain things to me cuz Bob won't allow her to. I understand there is a line with what to tell your friends but it bothers me that he is telling her where that line is. I have known her for 13 years and she has never crossed that line, so why is he giving her this list of topics that are off-limits now? My dh trusts me completely, so why doesn't Bob trust her?<br><br>
Anyway, this was really long, but I really need some perspective. I am very worried about her.What would you do? TIA<br><br>
~Lisa
 

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My husband used to be like Bob. When we'd been married for 7 years he became a Christian. After that the Lord just made him into the man I'd tried so hard to make him myself (failing miserably). My friends and family just stood by (though not all silently) while I went through those first 7 years hoping things would change. Dan was so insecure and he especially disliked when my mother would give me advice that didn't come from him (he also felt all of my friends hated him).<br><br>
So, what can you do? Frankly, you probably can't do alot besides just be there for her and be as close a friend as you can. If she asks you a question you know Bob wouldn't like answered you can say.. Ok, I'll tell you want I think but Bob might not like what I have to say and if she encourages you to tell her then that's between her and Bob rather than you and Bob. In the end being a good example is probably doing more than you know. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
I wish I had fantastic advice, maybe someone else will, but having been in the situation that's the best I can say for now. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Jenn. You make a good point. Dh and I are born-again Christians, and I know Beth is. However, I am not sure about Bob. Dh and I are pretty new, and Bob goes to church and does all the "right" things. But maybe he has never actually been born again. Something to consider.<br><br>
Do you think dh is right and that his more controlling behavior is related to the baby/being a new dad?<br><br>
~Lisa
 

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I don't want to turn this into a religious discussion but wanted to put this out there for you. The pastor that mrried my husband and I told us that he had been divorced before and he was certain it was because he wife was a non believer and they as a couple did not welcome God into their marriage. Maybe in the case of your friends, Beth should pray for her husband.<br><br>
It is very hard to see people make financial mistakes. I'm not saying I am prefect in this area but I used to watch my sister and think she and her husband needed help. It didn't matter what was said to them they took offense so I finally gave up and they got into a deep hole and are now divorced (for a number of reasons but finanaces were a huge stress on them). They have 3 children and it is awful. I pray your freinds won't have to go through something similar.
 

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My guy can't touch the money without planning ways to spend it all in 5 minutes! But he also <span style="text-decoration:underline;">agrees</span> that I handle all the money. So I'm not saying Bob knows what to do with the money, but it seems they do need to come to an agreement between themselves about how to deal with it. Then once they have a game plan, it won't seem like she's coming to you for wisdom they should develop as a married couple/ team. Once they can work together, then when you girls talk about it together it will look more like trading recipes to him. It's not about her vs. him. What they need is a "them" and only they can do that work. Send her home to fix that first.
 

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I don't think anything you do or say - giving your honest opinion or just your support, or trying to be tactful - is going to make a bit of difference in the long run. Bob doesn't sound like an insecure new dad. He sounds like a controlling, irresponsible asshat. Not to put too fine a point on it.<br><br>
He sounds like one of those men who thinks he has the right to dictate who his wife sees, what she talks about, and all the financial matters. And unfortunately for the wife, she seems to be one of those women who, for whatever reason, is willing to cede her autonomy and better judgement to him.<br><br>
In your shoes, knowing that this is all going to end in disaster, I would speak my mind. You wouldn't be the friend you are if you didn't. You are probably the only voice of reason Beth is listening to, at this point. Maybe some of what you say will get through. I wouldn't be all confrontational; I don't mean to imply that. But I would be honest.<br><br>
However, if a grown woman is going to allow her husband to dictate whether and when she can see her friend or not...well, there's not a whole lot you can do except to point out that she's his partner, not his child.
 

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I'm learing to "keep things in my marriage" rather than blabbing them to my friends, family, coworkers. It's a hard road to go, but really somethings just don't need to be discussed openly. It's one thing if someone is asking for help, but Bob clearly doesn't want it.<br><br>
I'm sorry that you have to watch this train wreck, but sometimes that is the only way people will learn.<br><br>
Pray for them that they see what they are doing to themselves and that they see the future consequences.<br><br>
Elizabeth
 

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My best friend is a woman who has two children by different fathers not to mention several accidental pregnancies that ended in miscarriage. She lives on welfare, she is financially irresponsible, and she is rather immature for a 33 year old (e.g. depends on her parents heavily, while still rebeling against them in adolescent ways). I disagree with quite a lot of her lifestyle choices. Disagree with how she parents, how she manages her career -- big stuff. But I love her, profoundly and truly, and she loves me. I don't hold my tongue, but I don't judge her either, and she grants me the same respect. It has taken us a long while to get to this point in our friendship; there were several years that we didn't speak.<br><br>
Being friends with someone so different has enriched my life tremendously. And for what it's worth, my friend has made huge strides in her life, in part (she says) because of the perspective and advice and little nudges (and sometimes big kicks) that I've offered. She's financially stable, she has overcome a crippling depression, she's made huge progress in her relationship with her parents, and this has all made her a more effective parent, in her opinion and in mine.<br><br>
On a practical level, how I achieve the balance of respect for her right to make her own choices and my own certainty that she needs to see things differently is to choose my phrasing carefully. I make a lot of use of "I" messages and empathy (side-effect of having a therapist for a mother). Instead of "you have too much stuff and your husband is wrong to think you need to work," something like "You and Bob must be feeling really pressured" is a better opener. Then listen. Say things like "I'm worried that you'll regret the time you lose with your kids by working." Then listen.<br><br>
It seems from some of what you've written that you're a Christian, so rather than (or in addition to) praying that "Bob" lets Jesus into his heart, I recommend that you pray for the true spirit of "judge not lest ye be judged" to enter your heart. That real non-judgment, it's a hard one, but it's so wonderful when you get it right. It doesn't mean that you don't have an opinion, or that you don't care -- it means that you care a whole lot. But it also means that you offer your perspective in the spirit of love and respect, understanding that your perspective will be seen or not, according to whether they're ready to do so.<br><br>
Anyway, I don't know if any of this helps, it's just my advice based on my own experience and situation. But I offer it because I feel for you -- I used to have a terrible time keeping my mouth shut when I saw someone I cared about making a "mistake." I'm just as opinionated as I ever was, but I often manage to keep my mouth shut by deciding to listen. Strangely, listening to someone is the most effective technique I have for getting them to hear me.
 

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(((Mearaina))) Just wanted to give you some hugs! ugh. money stinks! It's not so fun anymore when it comes between marraiges and friendships <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I don't have much advice, since I'm not good at holding my tongue in those matters! I just had a friendship end over similar matters. My friend was so sweet and we actually moved across the country together and helped each other out tremendously when we were both trying to get our families settled. But since the move, they were getting into serious debt so fast it made my head spin! I tried to talk to her about it, give her books to read (I tried Dave Ramsey and Tightwad Gazette), but they made no difference. She and her husband just turned into different people, and it stunk. I just couldn't believe the amount of debt they were accumulating over stupid things. And then we kind of stopped seeing eachother, because between her and her DH, they felt they had to work 7 days a week, and put their DC in daycare, just to keep their heads above water.<br><br>
Then she called about a month ago, and I was so happy to hear from her, since it had been a while. Then she said she was at H&R Block and wanted my Social so she could claim me on her taxes as childcare! WTH?!? I had watched her kids for dirt cheap while she was job-hunting. I guess I didn't know that our friendship had turned into a business relationship, and that when it was money they spent - anything goes, but when it was money someone else was giving them, they wanted every last penny <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> We havent' talked since.<br><br>
I've found my really really really good friends to be as frugal as we are, or pretty darn close. Otherwise, it just doesn't work out.
 

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It must be so hard for you to see them making this mess for themselves, especially when you are recovering from the same type of thing.<br>
Unfortunately, I don't think you could tell them that they're digging a financial hole. I think it's something they will have to learn on their own. I know we did.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Mearaina</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><br>
how did I keep my mouth shut? how do you ladies with friends who have different values stay friends? If she was happy that would be one thing but she is already bipolar and having nervous breakdowns on a monthly basis. How do I sit back and watch my friend destroy herself?<br><br><br>
Anyway, this was really long, but I really need some perspective. I am very worried about her.What would you do? TIA<br><br>
~Lisa</div>
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I have a friend at work whose financial problems are constant yet she won't do anything about them. It's frustrating because she likes to tell me her woes. I'll call her "M". M has a husband who spends his entire check on cigarettes, alcohol, and gambling. He doesn't help pay the mortgage. He doesn't pay for food, household bills, gas, pet care. Nothing at all. His check is entirely his! Their grown son lives them so he helps M with all the expenses but what happens if and when he moves out? To make it even worse M gives her hubby $100 from her check to add to whatever amount he gambles with from his money. I couldn't believe it when she first told me. THAT is $400 a month they could save. She complains about giving him the money yet she still does it. Apparently he owes money to someone and she's afraid if she doesn't give him money he might get hurt. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug">:<br><br>
They buy things without comparison shopping. They don't research big expenses. For example, purely on a whim, five months ago, he bought a used car from a place inappropriately called Happy Deals. The car was a big black hole for their money. They spent about $700 fixing it the first 2 months. Then, they spent another $600 putting in a stereo only to have the stereo stolen a few months later. They have 3 other cars in addition to this one.<br><br>
Their savings are nonexistent and they have zero interest in learning how to manage their finances. There are so many stories about them I could tell you but here are a few. They had a cell phone bill for $600 six months ago. You'd think they learned their lesson but oh no. Last month they ran up a $300 cell phone bill! Let's not forget the time they took out all the money in his retirement account at work to take a 3 week trip abroad. Didn't occur to them that they would be hit with a tax penalty. Their whole mentality is buy now pay and worry later.<br><br>
I used to tell all these anecdotes to DH but he asked me to stop. He was getting too infuriated with them. I've tried talking to M about saving more and spending less. She'll nod. She'll agree with me. She'll say, "you're right. I should do xxxxxxxx." But as soon as she goes home all that I've said goes out of her head. She listens to her hubby. Nothing I say, nothing her other friends at work say, nothing her own parents say seem to carry any weight. Honestly, sometimes I wish I could cut off the friendship because her problems get ME down. I tend to dwell on things. I worry for her and DH tells me I shouldn't take on other people's problems. Lately, I've stopped offering advice. I know giving her advice is like talking to a brick wall. As hard as it is - I know it because of my relationship with M - perhaps the best thing to do with your friend is to allow her to make her mistakes. She'll learn best from her own mistakes rather than unsolicited advice from a well-meaning friend. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Lately I have been emailing her instead of calling her cuz it is very easy to edit emails and recheck what I'm saying. Then she calls and expects me to be excited about all this stuff they're buying. I have trouble lying to her. I just keep quiet cuz I don't know what to say. She knows me so well that she knows what I'm thinking. Then in the same conversation she'll lamant that she is doing everything in her power to work at home cuz she is so miserable. So if I just keep quiet and say things like Um-Hmm and that does sound like a nice car or something "safe" like that? And I wonder where Bob stands in all this. He gets defensive about everything. Beth, while pg, asked me what diapers I use. I told her, and I told her why I chose them (trial and error). This is an example, but Bob got so mad and defensive about it. He gets mad about anything I say. When we were growing up Bob and I were friends and he introduced me to Beth when they started dating. Now I can't stand him, cuz any time I say anything, and I mean anything, he disagrees with me and has to start an argument. My dh says he feels threatened cuz we are so different (I am vegetarian, kind of crunchy, AP,etc.). I don't know why Beth and I can't discuss our differences and bounce ideas off each other.<br><br>
I am also annoyed cuz I helped her with everything in her pg cuz she was so scared. She'd call over every thing. I had a m/c while she was pg, and got little support from her. Now I am pg again and have had many difficulties and she hardly ever calls to see how anything is going. However, this is my issue, not hers. As soon as that baby was born, Bob became a total a** and doesn't allow me to say anything without disagreeing (even like, hey, it's raining out). He also "forgets" to tell her I called and just makes things difficult for our friendship.<br><br>
I need to work on my attitide, that I know for sure. I was content to leave well enough alone until I found out how miserable she is. Incidentally, this is something that bob wanted her to hide from me. Not sure why, I had depression when I was younger and have been through 2 post partum periods, as well as nursed two dds. But she is not supposed to say anything to me. I guess we are supposed to talk about TV shows or something.<br><br>
I guess I thought friends could talk about anything except private things related to their relationships with their dp's. I thought things like nursing tips, parenting strategies, what to do when baby is sick and all those things were okay to discuss, especially when asked about them. But now he won't let her ask. So, we go weeks without talking, they keep buying more stuff to fill the void in their lives, and Beth is getting more and more miserable. I don't think she is suicidal yet but I know her and I think she is going to get to that point soon.<br><br>
However, the general consensus with you lovely ladies has been to listen and not say much. So I will do that. I will need to think of a way to put on a poker face since she knows me so well but I will do it. I want her to feel free to come to me if she needs me. She is the only friend I have (outside the family), as I just don't have much energy to put into friendships, but we have been friends since we were 13 and I sure don't want to lose her now - in any<br>
way.<br><br>
Thanks again, and any more advice is certainly welcomed.<br><br>
~Lisa
 

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honestly, I'd just pray for her and let her know that while you don't agree with her choices, you are open and willing to listen to her at any time.<br><br>
Honestly, the way he's telling her what to do isn't Christian, it's abuse. Or the way you are presenting it is at least. Either way, I feel for both of you. I watched my best friend disappear into not one but two marriages like that. Then this latest relationship, where she's so controlled she had to request a demotion at work so she could go back to a more 'woman's work' type job {packaging} than the higher paying, better hours involved job she worked her tail off to get prior to her SO's control freak side surfacing... {lead recieving team, third shift, which worked out well because she is a total night person and was getting home in time to be wide awake and able to handle her four kids off to school and all that, and them being in school all day gave her the time to sleep and be up when the kids got home and help with homework before heading to work at night... At this point, I've had to disconnect because the pain of it was just too great...
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Kaitnbugsmom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Honestly, the way he's telling her what to do isn't Christian, it's abuse. Or the way you are presenting it is at least.</div>
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I get the same vibe from reading this. Check out the domestic violence link in my siggy and see if anything there seems to "fit" and if so you can look for local resources to help her.<br><br>
I think they'd certainly benefit from counseling either way.<br><br>
As for what you should say if she starts asking you "what do you think of my latest purchase" I'd respond by saying "well I'm really happy with this dress I bought at the thrift store for $2" or "I'm happy with the TV I've had for 10 years" and just keep the focus on the frugal alternatives you've chosen. That won't sound too judgemental but it also keeps you from having to hold your tongue when you feel like screaming "You're making such a stupid mistake!!!" at her.
 

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Personally I would just listen and not say anything. Maybe she will start hearing whats shes saying.<br><br>
The art of just being a listener is not used much.
 

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I have a good friend who, while married to her previous husband, ran up huge, massive debt for no good reason. They were of "see it-want it-buy it" persuasion, and even while my friend was lamenting to me that they couldn't pay one credit card bill, they'd be using another to buy something new. At one point, when they couldn't even make the mortgage on the house they lived in, they bought a bigger house (with a pool!) because, in their minds, they could rent out their smaller house for an amount that would give them some extra money to pay the mortgage on their bigger house (???). Everybody, and I do mean everybody, knew that this was going to go down in flames, but they wouldnt' listen. They bought the new house, neglected the pool until it was unusable, and ended up having the bank take both houses.<br><br>
After about a year of trying to be supportive, I decided that for my own mental health I couldn't be the dumping ground anymore. I started telling it like I saw it. If my friend said, in one breath, that they had just bought this great new 200-disc cd changer and in the next breath moaned about not being able to pay the light bill, I'd say something like, "If it were me, I'd return the CD changer and pay the light bill." This didn't stop my friend from bringing up her financial woes, but it did cut the conversations about them short.<br><br>
Eventually, she and husband number one divorced. She's now with husband number two and they are doing much better with financial responsibility.<br><br>
Now I get to hear all her custody woes. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Namaste!
 

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What I like about this program, is that though her DH can complain about you, the Flylady is more anonymous. He isn't going to catch her on the phone with Flylady. Now though I wouldn't recommend that your friend talk about Flylady, I think that doing the program will help her tremendously.<br><br>
Once she starts getting her finances in order, house organized, etc. she will begin to have better self-esteem. He doesn't sound very happy, either. In one of Flylady's letters, she shared that when she left her ex-husband he said: "But I'm happy". Once Flylady got her house in order, she saw him for the controlling miserable person that he was. Once he had NOTHING to complain about, she saw that HE was the problem. . . .
 

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FlyLady is a good idea. And, if Bob really doesn't like you telling her things, just give her websites to check out on her own and then she can bring up what she thinks he'll go for. Or let him "discover" it on his own. Keep praying for them. You're being a really great friend and someday they'll appreciate it!
 

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FlyLady is a good idea. And, if Bob really doesn't like you telling her things, just give her websites to check out on her own and then she can bring up what she thinks he'll go for. Or let him "discover" it on his own. Keep praying for them. You're being a really great friend and someday they'll appreciate it!
 

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FlyLady is a good idea. And, if Bob really doesn't like you telling her things, just give her websites to check out on her own and then she can bring up what she thinks he'll go for. Or let him "discover" it on his own. Keep praying for them. You're being a really great friend and someday they'll appreciate it!
 
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