Sunday, January 3, 2010

Family Conflict

What is the best way to preserve …integrity, friendships, morals, etc.?

Here is the situation…in a nutshell:

A family that has been close family friends for years is now in the midst of marital hell. They have a 9 year old and a 12 year old who are both very good friends with two of our kids. The dad has become one of my close friends and the mom has been friends with Mariah for years.

The dad (from what I know) works in the investment arena and goes to work at 5AM every day and then is home with the kids in the afternoon and evenings. The mom has not worked for many years but has just now started working again. Dad is a straight forward happy and easy-going guy who does what he can to not create waves or engage in conflict. Mom is a bit overbearing and over-involved in the kid’s lives.

Over the years we have become quite close with this family.

Now…as they are separating and there is tension and allegations flying back and forth, Mariah and I seem to be caught in the middle. The dad has come to me for friendship and support (as he knows my history with similar…fucked up…divorces) and the mom has been reaching out to Mariah.

We both want to be there for our friends, but don’t want to get too involved.

The stories that they are telling us are completely opposite and we are now having a hard time knowing who to believe. On top of that we both feel that it really does not matter who we believe…we should just be there for our friends in this time of distress.

The dad…not being able to live at their house (3 blocks from us) stayed with us for a week and now may need to stay with us again. Is that getting too involved? Can we turn away a friend? As we know that the important thing is the kid’s well being, we want to help them not become too distant from the kids and such.

We really don’t know what to do. Should we back out? Should we remain involved? Should we ?????????

I know that this is really brief and bare bones, but we need your help and don’t really want to flood the Internet with their hardship.

What do we do??


Not a soccer mom said...

This is a real tough one. I believe that in a divorce, the kids are hurt the most, the couple divorcing second and the mutual friends definite third.
However, if you can just be a friend, just be a shoulder to them both, and try not to give advice which they wont take anyway. I think it is possible to remain friends with them both. But if the tension begins to pit you and Mariah against each other, then you need to step back.
And by all means, offer to take their kids it will give your kids a chance to see them and them a chance to clear their heads.
Good luck to them. And you

Missty said...

I say try and be friends to both of them. Or until one starts to be a pain.

And try not to side with either of them, just offer your love and support. Not blame, etc. Good luck.

Darryl said...

If he needs to stay with you and there is no other alternative then so be it, but if I was in your shoes there would be conditions; finite time frame, him understanding you won't take sides etc....this way, years down the road you might be able to remain friends with both of them...

WeaselMomma said...

Offer your friendship and even your home to a friend in need, but also let each of them know that you are friends with both of them and it's not fair to put you in the middle of the details.
Lend an ear, but be cautious in your responses. Don't agree, disagree or advise, just listen. That's what friends do.

Amber said...

I'm with WeaselMomma, well said!

chocdrop said...

Don't turn away a friend. You two should support but don't present that you have taken a side.
It is so hard to even feel like someone is even there during these times. You may even find out that you will be closer because of it.

Brandy said...

WeaselMomma said it the best, be their friends and not their pawns.

WannabeVirginia W. said...

"We both want to be there for our friends"

You just answered your own question :)

"The stories that they are telling us are completely opposite"

For every story there is an opposite side. Allow them to tell their stories and simply listen. That is all they need for someone to listen. There is no need to take sides. You can explain that you want to remain friends with both of them, and will not take sides. If he needs a place to stay, offer him a pillow. He most likely will do the same if it was you that needed one.

Keith Wilcox said...

Hmmm, This is difficult. I am inclined to help whoever asks for it. If this guy is a friend of yours and needs a place to stay then i would not be able to turn him away. however, if you get the feeling that he's using your proximity to his ex as a tool, then perhaps that's an area you don't want to step in. My best friend just left our house after spending two weeks here. I have no involvement in his business and don't ask questions. he just needed a place to stay and I was available. But, I suppose that if had asked my to stay here because he thought he could use me for his business (which I don't want any part in) then I'd have to decline even though he's my best friend. It's a tough one. I hope what I said helps a little. Not real earth shattering, I know.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

My advice... stay out of it. I knwo you want to be there for your friends but they are putting you in an uncomfortable position and it really isn't fair. Something is bound to happen where soon they start blaming you for getting to involved and feelings get hurt... trust me...

Daddy Geek Boy said...

There is a nasty divorce going on in my family right now. Similar kind of thing, both parties really mad and upset and hurt and lashing out at the other. They have completely different stories. They have become blind to the kids' suffering as a result.

Your friends are coming to you to vent, but they also want you to take sides too. You and Mariah become collateral in the breakup of their relationship. DON'T GET SUCKED IN. Be good friends. Listen to them vent. But you cannot solve this for them. You can, however, constantly remind them about the kids. Try to make them realize that their anger can and will spill over into their kids' lives and damage them.

It's a divorce. As you know, they are hard and painful. Nobody wins in the end, even though both sides want to win. If they are separating than there's no use fighting over what caused the break up. They should try to just walk away. They should have as little contact with the other as possible. You know all of this, but they don't. And chances are they won't listen.

But they may if you keep reminding them about the kids.

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

I was going to say exactly what Weaselmomma said. Exactly.

professional search engine optimization said...

Basically his Dad was in the army and therefore not around a lot, so if you have any comments about a family conflict and a military undertone please discuss :)

Cookie Crums said...

So glad you posted this. And enjoyed reading the responses. My husband and I are going through the same thing with friends. It's hard! Is it not amazing how two people can have two totally different stories of what's was is going on??

We just listen but try our best to stay out of it. I have to say my relationship with the wife is more strained and at the point of being over. Our husbands work together on occasion so she's starting to think we're "his" friend.

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