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divorce guilt
November 21, 2000
2:51 pm
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lll
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a friend of the family has recently filed for divorce. she has gone through years of sexual and mental abuse. she has found someone that she loves and wants to be with him. he loves her and her daughter and has offered to marry her. however, she is overwhelmed with guilt. she believes that she has not tried hard enough, she is concerned about the effects on her daughter, and feels sorry for her husband. why does she feel these feelings of guilt if she loves another and has gone through such torment? how can she rid herself of this guilt in order to move on?

November 21, 2000
5:41 pm
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Molly
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Could be that it is part of the cultural social religious up bringing of your friend, it is also classic of domestic violence victims. I would suggest that she work through these issues before saying I do, in all fairness to her potential mate. These unresolved feelings have a way of surfacing and we are not even aware. Has she spent much time inbetween the divorce, and the new romance, that is when most of the baggage gets sorted. There is lots of healing that takes time with domestic violence, and I truly believe that there is a "post traumatic stress disorder" that will often pop up out of no where, and this poor person, the new guy, will just be asking, what the heck just happened, as she is wresteling with the I don't know what happened either.

November 21, 2000
7:53 pm
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lll
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I appreciate your response. I spoke to her today and asked her many questions. She said she wanted to leave her abusive husband, she loved her boyfriend, she knew she'd be happier, but she felt so guilty. She has tried to leave numerous, numerous times over her 6 year marriage, but she always goes back due to the feeling of guilt. She knows what she wants, yet she can't move on b/c of this guilt. I don't understand for the life of me. She is presently staying with the husband. They stay in different parts of the house and rarely communicate. Should the boyfriend let her work it out and stay out of the picture so she can move on, or should he be there for her and support her? How can she see that she needs to flee her unhappy marriage without feeling all this guilt? Is'nt her situation bad for the child?

November 21, 2000
8:06 pm
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gingerleigh
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You mention the child in this posting, and perhaps if you mention the child more to her, she will be able to focus more on the guilt of hurting the child than on the guilt of hurting her current husband. That might be a good kick-in-the-pants to get her out of the situation. She shouldn't feel guilty about hurting her husband, but she *should* be *very* concerned about the effects on her child.

I would advise you to counsel her NOT to move in with her new partner right away, for her and the child's sake. Let her get a place of her own. This is for her, because that way she will be able to get over her guilt by realizing that she needed to leave her husband because the relationship was bad, not because a new love beckoned. This is for the child, because it will give the child a chance to acclimate and get used to living without her father without getting confused by the continual presence of another man.

I don't know how old the child is. I've seen cases where older children get very hurt when Mom leaves Dad for another man, no matter how abusive Dad was. The child needs to be in a very safe environment where Mom can provide a loving and stable environment and where StepDad can be just a friend, not a brand new family member.

November 21, 2000
8:22 pm
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lll
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That was a good point you made about her getting her own place. I didn't mention it, but the child is 5 and they have been living in an apartment for 2 months until this weekend when she moved back in two days before the finalization of the divorce. She still has her own place just in case. She has told me that she definitely was going to wait a year before marrying her boyfriend so the child and him could get acclimated. The boyfriend and the child really get along wonderfully, which is good. The problem is getting her over this feeling of guilt so she will in fact finalize the divorce. She has been told it would be good for the child as well. She just does not comprehend much of anything. She says that, "her heart wants her to leave, but her mind is telling her not to." what does that mean and which is right? her husband baggers her to death. he constantly makes her feel at fault and tears her down. I'm afraid that if she stays around him any longer she will be tricked into staying yet again and it is really sad.

November 21, 2000
8:35 pm
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gingerleigh
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Is she dependent on him financially? That would be a HUGE deterrent to a mom with a 5 year old.

A lot of women don't view "badgering" as abuse, even though it is. It's so hard to see it when you are so close to it the way she is. If she could one day just read the top 100 list of abusive things he has said and done to her, no matter how "insignificant" they seemed at the time, that might pop a lightbulb on in her head. Is she going through any professional counselling? You as her friend are doing a great job, listening and being there for her, but sometimes it is hard to take the advice of a friend. A professional counsellor or women's support group might also make an impact.

November 21, 2000
9:12 pm
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lll
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Gingerleigh,
What you said above about the counseling is exactly what I've been thinking. As a matter of fact, I got her to sign up for it today. I'm praying that it helps her to see that needs to get out of her abusive marriage. Financially, the boyfriend earns more money and his net worth is exceedingly greater, so I don't think money is an issue. I hope the counseling does the trick. Should the boyfriend leave her alone for a while, or should he stay with her and support her? remember, she just went back to staying with the ex in the last 3 days to see if she could make it work, even though she fully admits to the ex that she loves another. She feels as if she is "giving up" on her marriage even though she wants out. It is all so very confussing to me and the boyfriend. What can he do?

November 21, 2000
9:48 pm
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gingerleigh
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That's a tough question. It sounds like you and the boyfriend are close as well, which is really a great sign, meaning that probably the gentleman's intentions are pure and the relationship worth pursuing.

Only your friend can make that decision, as to whether the boyfriend should back off or keep the relationship full blast. Counselling will put in her touch with what she really wants (she is in no position right now to determine what she wants or needs), so maybe for now the best is to hold off, especially where sex is involved, and let things calm down. After she has a few sessions with a counsellor, she might want to bring him with her if he's willing. The last thing on earth that anyone would want is for her to enter into an unhealthy relationship with this new man due to the abuses that she suffers today from her husband.

You are a good friend. Peace to both you and her.

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