Last summer, when my family was home on vacation, we planned a get-together with my best friend for a Sunday evening. That morning, she (we'll call her Jan) called, sobbing, because her husband (Stan) had just walked out on the family the day before--after 23 years of marriage. He said he was tired of her distrust. Fifteen years earlier, they struggled with his porn addiction and an EA he'd had with a woman he also kissed once. Here, we'd say they rugswept and didn't deal with the issues. She believed they were a happy family. He, obviously, did not.
At that time, only three people (my SAWH, my bff where I live now, and my therapist) knew about my own husband's affair and sex addiction. It seemed like Jan should be person number four. We were each other's bridesmaids 20+ years earlier. I told her about this site, how much I'd learned from it in such a short time (I'd just found it), how helpful MC and IC had been for my WH and for me, and how I thought that--even if Stan wasn't being unfaithful now, they still had unresolved issues because of his earlier infidelity.
Jan hasn't become a member of SI, but she's asked for advice about MC this weekend, and I wanted to throw it out to those of you with more wisdom than I have. The present situation is this: Stan continues to live separately from her. He lives in the basement of another woman's home (30 years older than he is--unlikely to be an AP). All the children are upset with him for abandoning their mother. The youngest (15 1/2), a son, is angry, too, but is the only one willing to visit his father in the new apartment. The three older children, daughters, feel more betrayed. Because of--and only seemingly because of--pressure from his four children, Stan has agreed to MC with Jan.
They had one session in December and have the next one this Saturday. At the first session, she said he told the counselor that nothing he did was ever good enough for her and that she was the most ungrateful person he's ever known. Disclaimer: she was my college roomie, so while I know she's imperfect, she's truthfully one of the best, most genuine and unselfish women I've ever known. People LOVE her. She said he's just different; he's chosen a different path that she doesn't understand. His life revolves around a new hobby/part-time job that does surround him with other men AND women. She said that while she was sitting next to him, she could feel no love--just anger and resentment. He said nothing to her directly and when the session ended, he just left. No good-bye. Afterward, she went home and took her ring off. It seemed there was no hope. For the past six months, he's just been mean and hurtful and unkind and irrational.
Mind you, I know Stan. He's my friend, too. I was with her when they met. Like with Jan, he has flaws, but this doesn't seem like him to me, either. I have kept up my FB friendship with him (because I have not wanted to judge and have wanted to keep that door of communication open) but have not spoken to him about any of it. It seemed (and still does) like intruding.
So . . . she is wondering what questions to have for him and the MC on Saturday. She loves her husband and wants to repair their relationship. She also realizes she can't control him and he's in a bad place. What I want for her is some sort of direction. She'll have her degree in May and will be able to support herself then. She has a job now, while going to school. But I also want her to get some--is it too cliche to say?--closure. And definitely, if Stan insists on a divorce, Jan will give him one at this point. Still, they have to parent and grandparent together for the rest of their lives. Stan's father invited Jan to a family event last night; Stan was angry that Jan attended. So those issues need to be worked out. Plus, if there IS a chance of their reconciling, ever, what questions could she ask to ascertain that? I'd like her to go into that session from as strong a position as she possibly can.
Anyone able to help me give advice? Thanks!