Things I’ve learnt from my friends husband walking out on her and her three small children ~
- Listen. At the beginning your number one job in this situation is to listen. Do not offer advice. You’re not a counsellor or a therapist, you weren’t in that marriage with them. She will 100% be getting conflicting advice from everyone else. Just listen to what she is telling you.
- Don’t be offended when she doesn’t text or call you back. It is not about you. Keep texting and keep calling.
- Go with whatever she’s feeling in that moment. One day she’ll be amazing and the next she will struggle to get out of bed. Sympathise with her but don’t let her wallow. Listen to her crying and then tell her what she needs to do at that moment ~ ‘Brush your teeth, get the kids in the car and then call me straight back. Go’
- Make sure she leaves your conversations better off than she was when she needed to ring you. If she’s sad make her angry. If she’s angry make her laugh. If she’s crying so hard you can’t hear her make her breath.
- Don’t say, in front of a group of people, ‘I don’t know how you do it?’ ~ She doesn’t either but she has no choice.
- Don’t compliment the weight lose. It’s not come about through a positive programme of healthy eating and exercise. It’s arrived through grief.
- Don’t ask what needs to be done just work it out and do it. Do all the shit jobs. Clean the house, do the washing, change the bed sheets, cook dinner for everyone, get up for the night feeds/nappy changes. Let her not think about these things for at least the short period of time that you’re there.
- Prize those tiny hands off the door knob and entertain those kids so she can take a shit in peace. Chances are she’s not done that since he left them.
- Make her laugh at the horrificness of it all and only say that ‘it will get better’ when she’s ready to hear it. She won’t listen and she won’t believe it for so long. Work out when she’s finally ready to hear it and tell her constantly that it will get better. Because it will. It will get much better.