General Question

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Friends wife just packed up the kids and left him, moving a thousand miles away from him. Any advice for how he can keep from going absolutely crazy?

Asked by RealEyesRealizeRealLies (30877points) August 1st, 2010

He deserved it. But he never thought it would really happen. Last night was the first night in 15 years that he came home to an empty house. He won’t take phone calls, or answer emails.

It wasn’t abuse or anything like that. He’s a loving tender father to the kids. But bad finances drove the parents apart, and things get said, promises broken, and eyes close to the reality upon them.

What can I tell him that will ease his pain, promote a positive future, and help him heal a broken heart?

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30 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I’m glad to see your honesty about the situation.

Well..about all you can do is assure him that this too shall pass and be a good listener, a shoulder. He has to navigate the brackish undertow of his denial and healing on his own. No way out but through.

A good reminder to listen, REALLY listen when a SO tells you their feelings…I think you hit the nail on the head in disclosing he never thought she would do it, neither did my ex. lol

In a way that is abuse…minimizing the seriousness of anothers feelings, surely he can’t be all that surprised…shocked yes, surprised no.

BoBo1946's avatar

That is horrible reason for someone to leave. Something in the vows, for better or worse, richer or poor, etc. Don’t understand that at all. She should have supported him, of all times, then.

Tell him to stay busy.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


It’s deeper than the finances. He has become a habitual liar. His clients have been getting excuses for over a year as to why he can’t deliver his product. He started blaming his family, and then the wife and teenage son started getting phone calls from his clients.

She gave him numerous warnings and every opportunity to stop. But he’s lost touch with reality. One could actually say, that he left her and the family, mentally, spiritually, way before she left him physically.

Aster's avatar

He deserved being dumped because of FINANCES??

BoBo1946's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies oh, well that is a “horse of a different color!” Well, she and the kids are better off then.

@Aster in this economy my friend, that is tough. So many have lost their jobs and it’s not their fault.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Aster OH…excuse me…i misread your comment. We are on the same page, as usual…loll

Coloma's avatar


Well..maaaybe this is his wakeup call from the universe, or, he will just remain in the blame/victim cycle and not learn anything.

I have the utmost compassion for those that learn from their mistakes, but for those that do not, well..not so much. But..all we can do is let others stumble along on their own, it’s their journey come what may.

The dishonesty factor is usually the brick that crumbles the relational house so to speak.

jerv's avatar

My being unemployed for over a year made me something other than the man my wife fell in love with and it was hard on our relationship. Even now that I’ve been working for a few months, time has yet to completely heal all wounds.

Unfortunately there isn’t much that can be done unless/until he resolves the issues that lead up to this.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Was coke involved? (Don’t answer – you really don’t know.)
Think how bad it had to be for the family to decide it was worth moving away. All the heart ache, all the effort…This was not a decision taken lightly.
He has been given a chance to start over – like a “ctrl+alt+del”. Let’s hope he uses it wisely.

JLeslie's avatar

I would recommend letting him talk an talk and repeat himself ten times, if he is willing to talk. For me, when I wen through a hard time that was similar, what helped me was knowing i had my friends around me, and that other people had experienced that type of devastation. I had some family members who had a hard time watching me so upset, and wanted me to snap out of it, but to me that just felt like I shouldn’t be so upset, but the fact was I was that upset. Many divorced people told me it took them 4 to 6 months to feel semi normal again, and it was the same for me. That info really helped me, because I was terrified I would feel that shitty and out of control forever, so knowing it might take months, but does get better helped. The physical problems I had associated with the loss were the most disturbing to me, not being able to eat, dry heaves upon waking in the morning, shaking for no reason, crying on off. Totally out of control. Most men I know complain about not be able to sleep well, loss of appetite, some people start reaching for alcohol to dull the mind. I took Xanax for about 6 weeks daily, which really helped me deal with the physical symptoms.

If drugs are involved, I just saw @worriedguy post, then he has to get help for his addiction. You can still be there as a person who cares about him, and will be there for when he straightens out, but drug addiction is an awful mess, people who are addicted are very manipulative and do not want to see things as they are. Their addiction comes first, whether it be gambling, drugs, whatever.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Sounds a bit like what happened to my first marriage. We were separated, I came down with cancer, she filed for divorce. Thank God our kids were all grown. It eventually turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to both of us: she married a sugar-daddy from her church 15 years older than her, and I married a a delightful lil lady who truly loves me.

Aster's avatar

@CaptainHarley But I bet when she left she never said the reason was cancer, right? She used another excuse. I am so sorry; that’s just awful .

Coloma's avatar

Yep, we all have a story of failed relatonships. My choice to divorce after 22 yrs. with a raging narcissistic, problem drinker amongst other issues, was the BEST thing I ever did. My growth over the past 8 years has been phenomonel and I love my single status!

I love my own company, and my space and peace.
I am still high on my transformations after all this time! lol

We grow through our suffering, at least some of us do, and that is the silver lining to remember during the tough times!

I was just telling a freind recently that my theory on relationship failure is like a meatloaf, only a few variations of the same old thing.

Really..when you think about in this way it really puts things in perspective, and goes to show…it’s all been done a thousand times over, nothing really all that unique, except that it feels that way to those in the trenches at the moment. haha

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Your friend is going to have to go through the grieving process. Divorce is just like a death.

What can you do? Keep calling him whether he picks up the phone or not. Leave messages of reassurance that there is at least someone in his life who’s willing to listen.

You can also keep emailing him. He will read the messages, but he may not respond for a while. Eventually, he will reach out.

Aster's avatar

@Coloma thanks to you, I went on amazon and purchased one of the books you mentioned. Tolle’s book. I hope I’ll understand it. It had incredible ratings.

perspicacious's avatar

@Aster asked my question. There must have been more.

lazydaisy's avatar

I have no excellent advice.
It sounds like a million pieces need to be put right again.

Desire to rebuild an entire life and the time to do so are the only solutions, I think.
What can you tell him? Maybe only that you are there to support him.

CaptainHarley's avatar


She never mentioned the cancer. She just said that she wanted to marry this guy from her church and that our marriage was beyond salvaging anyway. I had to agree. At least we got five great children ( all grown now ) out of the deal, and ten grandchildren. : )

From what I can see, that’s a tend in marriage in America: when the going gets tough, the not-so-tough leave.

wundayatta's avatar

What can you do? Be there. Whatever he needs. Talk to him. Sit with him. Get drunk with him. Whatever.

What you probably can’t do is give him advice. He’s probably learning all his lessons now. He doesn’t need a friend to tell him how badly he fucked up.

You can also give him a reality check. So if he keeps blaming everyone else but himself for his problems, you might question this view. Maybe ask him what role he played in all this?

FInally, it may be that you have to dump him. If he doesn’t change, then you could be enabling him in a way. That’s not really being a friend.

lillycoyote's avatar

Well, I don’t know if there is much you can do, like other’s have mentioned this is kind of like grieving the loss of a loved one, nothing you can say or do can really change things and cannot change the fact that he has a lot of “healing’ as they say, and adjustment to go through. @RealEyesRealizeRealLies we’ve never met, so please excuse me if I am so presumptuous to assume that I “know” you but, I feel that I do in a way, and this guy, and you are willing to say that he is in many ways responsible for what has happened, is not so bad that he is unworthy of being your friend and someone you consider worthy of being your friend is worthy of being “stood by.” And that’s about all you can do for him, I think. Thihis life has fallen apart, he needs support. You have to find some way to support him, knowing what you know, and that is that he kind of got himself into this. He will most likely need support in making sure that he has a way to still be a father to his children. A lot of men are good fathers even if they turn out to be not very good husbands. It seems that the ship that is his marriage has pretty much sailed. But he still has every opportunity to be and sounds like he still wants to be, a good father. Listen, be a good friend, support him in any attempts, if they are in the best interest of his children, to be a good father. I am stepping of my soapbox now and taking off my “pompous, pontificating” hat now. I wish you and him the best of luck.

john65pennington's avatar

Is there something missing that you have not told us? i sense there is another problem with this person.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Well, he’s consumed with starting his own internet business, attempting to hack it together without a business plan, mission statement, or finances. And he’s so consumed with it that he literally stopped working for two years to try and put it together. Nothing has been accomplished, and he’s no closer now than he was when it was only a dream. Yet his days are spent on the web, and somehow he justifies that as thinking he’s hard at work on his dream.

He’s just gone crazy. And I think he’s actually addicted to the web like a drug. It tricks him into believing that he’s actually getting something done when he’s not.

Oh yeah, and one other thing. I lied. He’s not my friend. He’s my brother.

lillycoyote's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies He’s your brother? Just a minor detail that you left out! He’s family and his kids are your nieces and nephews. I suppose that if you could have talked any sense into him, seeing that he’s your brother, you would have been able to by now. Just be there, as best you can, for him; and for his kids, your nieces and nephews or whatever configuration they may be.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Yes, he’s my brother. And between Mom constantly crying and Dad stressed about him ruining his credit, it’s very difficult not to be angry with him. I’m repairing his client work simply to keep him from being sued, and possibly even arrested for fraud. It is emotionally and financially draining on the entire family. Yet the wife has our support and that relationship is strong. She’s family no matter what.

Perhaps I should have titled this Q “When siblings go bad?”, but to a certain degree, I must be in denial myself. I just can’t believe it. We weren’t brought up that way.

lillycoyote's avatar

Well, that makes it just all that more difficult. He’s family. You’re stuck with him and he is causing your mother and father heartache, which increases your burden. I don’t think there is a any value in worrying about how this might have happened, how it happened even though “you weren’t brought up this way” even though that thinking is pretty much inevitable for both you and your parents. Some parents really do screw up and there is no surprise that their children turn out the way they did but most parents do their very best, and their very best is good enough that it should have given better results, but sometimes, no matter how good parents are, their kids end up messing everything up. I wish I had something to tell you that could fix all this. I have a brother who has brought so much pain to our family but in our case, it is not really his fault. He’s schizophrenic, so no matter how angry we might get at him sometimes, no matter how it might look as though he has some kind of choice, that he is capable of making rational choices, is capable of good judgement, we can’t really be angry at him because it’s not his fault. His brain chemistry is defective and that is pretty much that.

JLeslie's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I know he is upset about his marriage, does he have any regret about how he has screwed up his life, does he want to fix himself? Or, is he still rationalizing things about how his new career and web addiction is really ok. Is he gambling or addicted to porn on the web? Like I said above, if he is an addict, it will be very hard for you to help him. When I use help in the prior sentence I mean get him to change his habits; that has to come from him, and he might need professional help.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Can’t get him to contact anyone. Nobody knows the answers to your questions.

SVTSuzie's avatar

I think he would feel better knowing he was not alone in this. I guess I would feel better if tons of people told me that it happened to them. Then I would go to a strip club. Then only a lot of time passing. And maybe a few vacations to places I have never seen. The worst and the best is to “get messed up”,(oh well, it works till the time is passed)...

wundayatta's avatar

He is probably very ashamed of himself. Everytime someone is angry with him, he probably gets more ashamed. This makes it very difficult for him to do anything constructive. He can get this idea that he is a fuck-up and that’s all he is. He is probably depressed, and everything negative that is said or that happens to him would make him feel even worse.

Compassion and understanding are what will get him to talk. You have to bite your tongue no matter what he says—even if he criticizes you unfairly—and let him talk. Eventually you may get to a point where he is ready to do some real problem solving, and this is when you can offer suggestions. However, it is always better if he comes up with an idea. He’s more likely to follow up on it then. Your job is to identify the problems, and help guide him through the problem-solving process, and then maybe to—very lightly—remind him of his plan.

Fenris's avatar

Make him grieve
get him so drunk he doesn’t sober up for a couple of days
then mid-life crisis time

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