My best friend since high school, we’re both now 36, is divorcing and not talking about it.
He only communicates by text, doesn’t return calls or respond to emails to get together.
He’s now separated, with joint custody of their kids (nine and seven).
I know he’s seeing someone but it’s probably just for sex, since they never go out together, and he’s told none of our friends her name.
I want to be supportive through this tough time, but he confides nothing.
Do I do nothing and possibly miss some sign that he’s seriously depressed and really needs help?
Or, do I accept that it’s none of even his best friend’s business?
Text him your message of caring about him: You’re thinking of him, hope he’s okay, and are there for him when he wants you to be.
Breaking up a family is a tough emotional experience for everyone involved.
No matter who wanted out, the details and moves involved are painful, almost beyond what people in intact relationships with partners and children can imagine.
It’ll take time for your friend to adjust to the changes.
Yes, he may be depressed, and he may be in denial about it because he’s trying to stay strong for his children.
Without being intrusive, you can text him that you’re worried about him and hope he’s talking to someone professional to handle the emotional impact of what he’s going through.
Soon, suggest a simple get-together but not one with you placed as interrogator… perhaps a sports game, or something with his kids (and yours, if you have children).
Don’t ask about the woman he’s seeing… If he wants to share that eventually, he will.
Stay connected without pressure.
My close friend of over 20 years has no family in this country. After we both had painful divorces, I invited her to be part of family functions with my family.
But two years ago, she started checking up on things that we were going to do together.
If I said that a friend and I were thinking we should all go out, she’d contact that person and make all the plans.
She started communicating directly with all my family members so whenever I talked with her about something, she’d already know it.
It’s at the point where I feel like I have no privacy.
Now she’s decided that my daughter is her friend and she’s entitled to just as much information and pictures as me, her mother, despite their 27-year age difference.
Do I tell my friend that I don't think her relationship with my daughter is appropriate or do I speak with my daughter?
She’s inserting herself into all my relationships so that I feel somewhat stalked. Or is this the new normal with social media and texting… no privacy?
Am I Over-Sensitive?
Your reaction’s natural as she’s insinuated herself into unusual closeness with your daughter.
The sense of being stalked regarding every connection with family and friends is also disturbing.
However, you did bring her into your circle, where she was accepted as close.
Over time, you couldn’t expect to control the level of that closeness.
Social media brings everyone who’s online together onto the same level of information, with the same images, etc.
But she crosses the line in seeming to take over.
You want your mother-daughter relationship to have privacy, and a special communication.
Tell your daughter this, without blaming her for the woman’s interest. Specify when you want something to remain confidential.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman married to a doctor and feeling very alone while he’s always busy (August 3):
Reader – “I’d suggest she contact others in her situation – partners of doctors who have a similar specialty.
“Depending on the specific expectation, she may be a “doctor’s widow” for the rest of his career, or she may’ve married someone with mostly regular hours.”
Ellie – She wrote that her husband’s a cardio-thoracic surgeon, which is definitely a demanding specialty.
She must’ve known what his work required in terms of concentration and hours of involvement before the wedding two years prior.
Your suggestion is good that she needs friends who understand her situation, who’ll be good company for her when together.
She also needs some interests and goals of her own.
No one should just accept the label of being a “doctor’s widow” (or widower) when their partner’s alive and doing what she/he trained to do.
Tip of the day:
Divorcing sometimes raises a need for privacy, not sharing.