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?