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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My sister called me last night to tell me that she and her husband of almost 12 years are getting divorced. They have been together since they were 16 and 17, respectively, so almost 14 years, and have an 11 1/2 year old daughter. She said they are friends, but there's nothing else there. I don't have the whole story, as I wasn't going to ask her to rehash it at 10:00 last night. All I know is that she's devastated, and depressed (she suffers from seasonal depression to begin with) and just started law school, plus they just closed on their house. This is not a decision they have come to lightly, I know that.

Is there anything I can say to her to help? My DH has been through a divorce, but he was never in love with his first wife, so it was a different kind of pain from what he tells me. My sister, on the other hand, has been completely enamored of her husband, and he of her for as long as I can remember.

I would go to her, but she's 700 miles away, and hopping in the car just isn't feasible. It requires planning, and I also don't want to barge in on her while she's dealing with this. She knows our door is open should she need to come here (DH told her so before he gave me the phone last night) and she also knows that I will jump in the car in a heartbeat if she tells me she needs me.

So what do I do? What do I say? How can I help? She's in pain, and incredibly stressed and depressed. I love her so much, and just want to make sure she's okay.
 

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I'm so sorry for your sister and her family.

The best thing you can do, IMO, is just listen whenever she needs you. Don't say anything nasty about her STBX (even if she's going off on him), because you never know what will change. She's probably going to waffle in her feelings towards him (perfectly normal). I don't know that there's much you can say beyond offering your unconditional love and support.

Also, I don't know how close you are to your niece, but she may need an adult to talk to (one that isn't directly involved).

Just having my extended family's support (even when they were several states away) was a comfort.
 

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Well said, Karen Ann.

Yes, just be there. Listen, allow her to cry, be angry, sad, whatever. A divorce journey is much like a roller coaster...so emotions come and go. Just be there, offer a supportive and safe place for her both emotionally and physically, if necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, ladies.

My niece and I are very close, and I've already e-mailed her to let her know to get ahold of me whenever she needs to.
 

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Yes, I second the advice to just be there and listen.

You may want to check in with your niece and feel her out, not just wait for her to come to you. She may feel guilty or sad "unloading" on you and may need some gentle encouragement to talk about what's happening.

You're a great sis, and your sister is lucky to have you.
 

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I went threw something similar with my Sister. They had always lived (20+ years) in PA near us, and then her hubby wanted to move to be near his family in AZ. A month after the move he told her he wanted a divorce. I wanted to help so bad in every way I would have if she was still near us, but couldn't. Even if she was still nearby. I'm with other's the best thing you can do for her is listen to everything she needs to talk about right now.

I'm sorry your sister is in pain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think that's the biggest issue for me...the sheer amount of pain that she's in. I could feel it in her voice last night...it was a tangible devastation, for sure.

I would never badmouth my STBXBIL. He's a good man, a great father, and as my sister said, they're really good friends, it's just not enough to base an entire marriage on.

I just wish I could have been there to hold her last night while she called the family and told everyone, you know?
 

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Yep, sometimes just a listening ears means the world. I remember when my best friend was heartbroken over her ex. I went to see her, spent the night and we cuddled and I listened. My heart just broke for her. You'd have thought he left me...

That's all any of us could ask I think. Just someone to be there when we figure out what happened and how we can put ourselves back together again.
 
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