Tuesday, November 30, 2004

No easy fix for this troubled marriage

No easy fix for this troubled marriage

By Bob Garon
TODAY Newspaper
Monday, November 29, 2004 11:16 PM

Hello Bob: I want to seek your advice regarding my married sister’s condition. I believe her marriage started on the wrong footing long ago when she came home pregnant by a guy we don’t even know. Since they were mature enough to decide for themselves at that time, they decided to get married before she gave birth.

Years passed and the relationship went from bad to worse, making her go home to us on a number of occasions. But every time the guy shows up at home, she immediately goes back to him without any attempt to resolve the problem that they had. To make matters worse, my sister had an extramarital affair with her former officemate because, according to my sister, the husband pushed her to do it since it was common knowledge to both of them that the husband, jobless, was the first to have an affair.

Our only concern now is the child. We can’t allow the child to grow up with a battered mom (emotionally and physically) and an irresponsible father. What moral values can the child get from them when both parties are doing the wrong thing?

Recently, my sister came back to our house with all her things without the child because the husband refuses to give her their one-year-old daughter. I know she’s going through difficult times now, but she refuses to be helped by her family members. My mom was asking if she needed legal help to fix the mess and she rudely replied that she doesn’t need any help from us since it’s her life after all. True, but we live under one roof now and we can’t just turn our backs away from her, especially since we know she needs help.

You know, Bob, instead of humbling herself, she is pointing to us for making her marriage a mess—how can that be? She was the one who came back to our house with all her things. We didn’t force her to leave her husband. Please help us with our current situation. Our household now is divided because of her. She just talks to my mom because my dad plainly accepts whatever “drama” she tells him. And you know what’s irritating? She eats here, she has her laundry washed here, I take care of her child and at the end of the day we are still the “bad guys”!

Concerned Lady

It’s a very complex case. Your sister is obviously into a very bad marriage. Both she and her husband have had an affair. There is a lot more conflict than she is telling you.

She is a battered woman who cannot seem to break away from a hopeless marriage. Her self-esteem is low and she is bitter and resentful of her husband. She’s hitting the family and blaming you because she’s upset, confused and feeling helpless to do anything about it. She’s full of emotions and hard feelings and is lashing out at those who love her.

The child is caught in the middle. You want to rescue the little one, but that might not be possible for a number of reasons. All your good will and best efforts might not amount to anything.

One of the most difficult things to do is to stand by helplessly and watch a loved one suffer. The most you can do now is to make the best of the situation. Your sister is under heavy stress. She wants to hang on to a lousy marriage because she sees no other option. I think she won’t fight to get her child right now because the kid is a link to the husband. She might feel differently when she is sure the marriage is over and there’s no more chance at reconciliation.

Meanwhile, you can suggest that she get professional help. I doubt, though, that she will listen. Though you need to be patient, you also need to draw some lines in the sand about her behavior while in your house. But then if your mom and dad cannot agree on that, it might not be possible after all.

If doing things for her irritates you, then don’t. Stand back for now and stay out of it. Sooner or later the situation will clear and she should settle down. It’s crisis time, things are not normal. Keep that in mind. Do what you can and stay peaceful.


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