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Forums / Multicultural experiences / Helping a friend to help a friend relate better with his partner who is a relative of his.

Topic: Helping a friend to help a friend relate better with his partner who is a relative of his.

3 posts, 0 answered
  1. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    10 March 2018

    Hi all,

    A friend was telling me about a family member (she’s Macedonian) who’s living with a German guy. Even though they’re not married, they’ve been a couple for over fifteen years and have three children.

    The situation is that the lady is the only one on the lease and pays the rent and all the bills. She’s also the one doing all the grocery shopping and maintains the household. Her partner works full time but refuses to be on the lease or contribute financially or in any other way. It has been like this from day one. Their love life is almost non existent and the only reason that this woman apparently remains in this arrangement is because she cannot be alone and suffers severe depression and anxiety and has huge abandonment issues. Her first husband was very abusive and there was a lot of domestic violence in their marriage which ended when she met her current partner.

    Clearly some of the cultural conditioning for her has been around the need to be with someone. To have a husband or partner is better than not have anyone according to her. Her role as a woman is to manage her household and provide for her children and family. The fact that she’s run away from a violent relationship to an abusive one where she’s taken for granted and her partner seems to enjoy a non-committed arrangement that benefits him financially with minimal input or emotional investment is been overlooked.

    For him, the fact that they’re not married makes him feel he still has the right to live like a bachelor who shares a roof for free in her home. He also has a gambling problem and often uses her money for that purpose.

    My friend told me that she’s often very upset and in desperation not sure what to do. She is petrified to remain alone with her children (who love and adore her partner) but also feels used and unappreciated and suffers from sleeplessness, weight issues due to emotional eating, very low self-esteem and feeling trapped.

    My friend doesn’t know what to do to help her. He was talking to me about it asking me what would I do if I was in his position. My friend also is friends with this guy and she always tells him to not say anything to him as she’s scared to rock the boat and doesn’t want trouble or to be abandoned in the event he decides to leave.

    How would you advice this friend? What could I do to help him help this lady but also maintain his friendship with his friend?

    1 person found this helpful
  2. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9744 posts
    11 March 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Hi Donte

    Its amazing how people can be taken advantage of but remain under the spell of their partner the latter taking full advantage of her dependant nature.

    Thete is very little that can be done to influence. The only thing can be subtle suggestions in the form of examples like "I know a friend that separated from her husband and found her own life and independence " etc but its a shaky act.

    The same can be done with the male for mates to point out his attitude.

    Sometimes change through action has to come from within...

    And there's nothing anyone can do.

    Tony WK

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    11 March 2018 in reply to white knight

    Hello WhiteKnight,

    I’m afraid you are right. Codependency is very hard to overcome and we see all around us otherwise intelligent, successful individuals who are in terrible situations when it comes to relationships.

    Often people move from one relationship to another, repeating the same patterns and continuing in that vicious cycle of abuse.

    I think that as you said, ultimately the individual has to come to a point where enough is enough and develop their own self-respect, resilience and ability to break their chains.

    Society’s definition of gender roles together with cultural and religious notions and expectations perpetuate the violence and this conditioning makes it even harder for people to find the strength to break away.

    A woman, for example, who is raised in an environment where her main role is to find a man and be a mother and raise her children and be a helper to her husband who is the ‘head’ of the family will surely struggle more to end an abusive marriage. Her external supports may be minimal or non-existent. And so will be her choices.

    If her religion and family also tells her that she needs to obey and stay silent and keep supporting her husband no matter how violent or abusive he may be (abuse is inclusive of neglect, emotional distance, finances, social disadvantages etc), then she may be truly doomed.

    2 people found this helpful

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