Hi Cat, I have just found out that my daughter has separated from her husband. They have been married only 4 years and have 2 children aged 3 and 6 months, he has moved out and back into his parents house, they live nearby. She is in the house on her own with the children. I try my best to be close to her, but I am not sure she will confide in me much about what has gone on, she just said they are arguing all the time and just can’t be in each other’s company, she hasn’t mentioned divorce yet.
They got married young, in their early twenties, and had a baby in the first year, so that must have put a big strain on them? I think my daughter might resent how close her husband is to his family, they are very nearby and I think she got sick of them interfering maybe, I don’t know.
I want them to work it out for the sake of the children, I have been married for 40 years and I just never imagined a child of mine would be having marriage trouble so soon. What can be done? What can I do to help? Should I suggest they go for counselling? Thanks very much, Audrey.
Thank you for getting in touch. I am sorry to hear of your daughters separation, you are naturally worried about her, and her children.
The main thing I can suggest is that you let her know that you love her, and you are there for her, no matter what. Ask her how you can help, don’t suggest too much or try to impose, just ask and be prepared to do what you can. She may need or want to talk to you now more than she ever has before, but if she fears that you are judging or criticising her, then she probably won’t want to open up to you. You sound disappointed that this has happened, of course you are, but try not to let her see that, she is living her life, not yours, she won’t want to feel judged by you on top of everything else she is dealing with.
Whatever has caused this separation, there is a reason for it, and only the two people involved know the ins and outs. She will be feeling raw and at a low-ebb, the more confident you can help her to feel about herself at this difficult time, the more able she will be to look to the future, either on her own, or to work things out with her husband.
Yes, counselling would hopefully help them both, but not unless they choose this for themselves, at the right time. You could encourage her not to rush any major decision and mention that the ‘right’ counsellor for them would make them feel safe. He or she would be impartial, non-judgemental, and supportive of her and her husband as they work things out for their future. Whether they stay together or not, counselling could help them to constructively air their differences and find their way. Listen to how she feels first though before suggesting too much too soon.
It sounds like it is early days, they are at a crisis point, they may just need some time for the dust to settle before they can think clearly enough to decide about the future. They will be very aware that people will be worried about them, and might be judging them, or wanting to ‘give their opinions’. Don’t worry or involved yourself too much, let her know you love her and will help in any way you can, that is enough, it is not your responsibility to live their lives for them, or to involved yourself in their decisions, they are adults, and they will work out the best solution as they see it, and hopefully with professional help.
Just tell her and show her you love her, love her children, and let her know you are there for her, unconditionally and always. By doing this you will be helping her to face her future with confidence, no matter what it brings.
Good luck and best wishes, Cat.
P.S. As an after thought, I presume she has read my book, if you have? I hope she would find it helpful during this difficult period in her life as it would help with her self-belief and self-confidence, as well as with her ability to communicate openly with her husband, in spite of their differences at the moment. Let me know how things go xxx
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