A rare chance to make a small difference

Started by stands2p, Sep 01, 2006, 01:41 PM

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My wife's best friend's sister lives a few hours from us.  The sister is divorced.  There are three kids from the marriage and the ex-husband lives nearby and has a regular visitation.  My wife's friend calls up, distraught.  Her sister is afraid her ex-husband is planning to violate the terms of visitation.  I am only slightly acquainted with the divorced couple.

Normally, I don't do drama.  If my wife's girlfriends call with a crisis, the most I will do is tell my wife they called.  I've even asked people to call back and leave all the gory details on the answering machine so I don't have to be the messenger.

But I see a chance to make a difference here.  My wife's friend is also my friend and this story has all the classic signs of a father being unfairly accused.  I tell my wife's friend (truthfully) that my wife is not around but can I help?  She is happy to begin spilling all the details.  The three boys spent most of the summer with their father and are now back home with their mother for the school year.  The youngest of the boys (9) is sad at the idea of going back to just seeing his dad every other weekend and is asking to stay with him more than that.

At this point, my wife's friend feels it is necessary to advise me of her ex-brother-in-law's failings as a father.  When the boys were first born, he moved to his mother's house and left his wife alone to keep the house and care for the children.  It doesn't sound like there was any infidelity involved.  It sounds more like an all too common, ill-suited couple who found out quickly they didn't have what it takes to face the challenges of marriage and parenthood.  In other words, neither of these people gets any awards but neither can either of them be held fully to blame for the mess they have made of things.  All the traditional accusations are being flung.  The ex-wife is afraid her ex-husband is planning to kidnap the boy.  We all know such an accusation can only lead to bad things for the father and no repercussions for the mother.

My wife's friend is planning to travel the several hours to be at her sister's side and wants my wife to come along for moral support.  (My wife's friend is a recovering alcoholic with only a few days of sobriety under her belt.  Not everyone will see it this way but my wife and I do like this person and don't want to tell her "not my problem."  Anyway, if she weren't in such a fragile condition, I would never have heard of this whole soap opera.)

I think I am in a unique and possibly advantageous situation.  My wife is potentially part of a gang of banshees descending on an unsuspecting fellow who had the audacity to bond with his son over summer vacation.  I have one tiny fingertip of influence in the situation and I plan use it shrewdly with the hope that this shitstorm doesn't have to end with the misery the current circumstances seem to dictate.

My wife and I are on the same page: she is going along to stand by her friend, not to get involved in another family's issues.  To the extent that my wife's presence involves us in the situation, my wife's friend seems to be at least partially receptive to my perspective on the conflict.  My own expectations are not lofty.  If I can get my wife's friend to sit down with her sister's ex and get his side of the conflict, I will call that a small victory in a thick forest of injustice.  She will have to put aside her natural desire to show solidarity with her sister but I think she loves her nephews enough to look for a peaceful resolution.

I will post more as it develops but it might be next week before I have more to add.  Any insights are appreciated.
The Lord works in strange ways; and with strange people.

The Gonzman

part of a gang of banshees descending on an unsuspecting fellow who had the audacity to bond with his son over summer vacation.

I think this says it all.

I'd call the guy and give a brother a heads up.  A son wanting to be with his dad is *NOT* violating any custody or visitation agreement by any stretch of the imagination.  That's misandric hysteria.

And if it winds up you losing this woman as a "friend" - good riddance.  You don't need women like this influencing your wife.

This is not an opportunity.  This is dangerous.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the Shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for I am the MEANEST son-of-a-bitch in the valley.


Your advice is well taken Gonz, I will tread carefully.

If nothing else comes of this, it gave me a chance to discuss this kind of issue with my wife.  When I first spoke to her about this situation, she cut in at my first mention of the ex-husband to say "oh yeah, he's a real jerk."  I made the point that we are only hearing one side of the situation and got her to see that it would take a pretty messed up guy to want to hurt his children just to aggravate his ex-wife.  She finally agreed that it seemed just as likely that the ex-wife was acting out of jealousy at seeing her boys developing a better relationship with their dad.

I won't hold it against my wife's friend that her sister is a flake.  She's my best chance to get any kind of fairness into this bullshit.  

It is sickening that this same scenario is probably taking place all over the U.S. as kids head back to school after getting some extra time with non-custodial dad over the summer.
The Lord works in strange ways; and with strange people.


My wife's friend is a recovering alcoholic with only a few days of sobriety under her belt.
Here is the problem.......losing her "best friend", and her children are probably more than she can deal with.
I would guess, a very dangerous situation, be careful!
Even a whole village can't replace dad, children need both parents.


You should have told your friend the truth of what this is. It is the paranoid delusion of an alcaholic caught in the  grip of DT's. And then you should have pointed out what Gonzo said, "There is nothing wrong with a boy wanting to be with his father". If your wife goes with this woman she will be part of a gaggle of banshee's decending on an unsuspecting man.
You may sleep soundly at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence upon those who seek to harm you.


Real life situations rarely have nice clean endings.  The situation is better than when I first heard about it but still a mess.  I think I played a tiny role in helping this guy out even if he never knows it.

To clarify a few points on the characters involved:  The alcoholic is my wife's friend who lives in the same city we do.  She is not a raving drunk but is a basically decent person with a problem that she is at least trying to face.  The rest of the characters are a few hours away in another state and I have met them all but don't really know them very well.  I have no way of contacting any of these people except through my wife's friend.

When my wife's friend called, I talked to her and asked her to talk with her ex-brother in law.  The next time she spoke with her sister (her sister is the bitter ex-wife) my wife's friend mentioned that I wanted her to talk with the ex-husband.  This was EXACTLY the thing the bitter ex-wife did NOT want to hear.  She was trying to round up a gang to take her side in the issue and was furious that anyone would question her version of events.

The bitter ex-wife went howling home to her mom and dad.  Her dad is an "old-school" kind of guy who obviously supports his daughter but couldn't see the harm in hearing his ex-son-in-law's side of the thing.

Seeing her lynch mob beginning to come apart at the seams, the bitter ex-wife backed down in her drive to accuse her ex-husband of mistreating the boy and the next move is anyone's guess.

I'm sorry if this all sounds like a soap opera or a reality show.
I wish there could have been a more clear cut ending to the situation.  I'm sure this guy's troubles aren't over but at least he won't be hauled into court this week and that is something.
The Lord works in strange ways; and with strange people.


"I'm sorry if this all sounds like a soap opera or a reality show."

I have another term for it, although it may not apply. MRAs could use it to describe feminist tv. How does SHITCOM sound?
Explaining misandry to a feminist is like explaining "wet" to a fish.

Somebody else

Sounds about right. On TV a SITCOM, in real life a SHITCOM that could turn into a real SHITSTORM overnight.
ust because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they AREN'T out to get you.

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