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should I act as councellor when I am not impartial?

AthenorAthenor Registered User regular
edited March 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
I'll keep this short and anonymous.

A good friend decided to break up with his future wife last night. It was -hard-, and he's obviously torn up over it. I was present, along with a few friends who are like family to him.

This morning, he had breakfast with his S.O., and as a result she convinced him to do counseling. This advice is going to come from us (their friends), in order to save money and be honest.

None of us feel we can be truly neutral, but we also want to help our friends, and not seem to be the enemy. And considering the circumstances, she is honestly saying she can grow and mature (which is the big problem). She just wants to do it with him. Personally, I think I've heard this song and dance before, but we'll see.

The counseling session won't come today. Everyone is too drained. Last night he spent the night as a friend's house, and no one knows where he'll spend tonight. So.. yeah. Not entirely sure how we are going to proceed. I was hoping for advice, but I reserve the right to be selective with details to protect the innocent. After all, they are my friends.

Athenor on
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Posts

  • SipexSipex Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Being impartial is not a requirement for being a good counsellor, it just helps reassure both parties that there's a better chance the counsellor won't take sides. I'm sure there have been a plenty of counsellors who have found themselves feeling more for one side than another.

    Being able to act impartial, not listen to your brain when it wants to take sides, treat both parties fairly and not make allusions to your buddy after the sessions saying "Boy, she's nuts" or the like are what you'll truly need. If you feel you are too impartial for this then I wouldn't suggest going on.

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    this is a profoundly dumb thing to do. If all of you really want to help, chip in and buy them an intro meeting with a real marriage counselor. They aren't that expensive.

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  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I think this is a bad idea. She or he will always presented with an easy out by claiming the 3rd party mediators (the friends) are biased in a particular direction. If they are serious about saving their marriage, than they should enlist the services of a professional, and frankly I think all of you should refuse to take part in it other than offering a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen.

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    If they can't afford counselling, how are they going to afford marriage?

  • AthenorAthenor Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Here's the thing. Yesterday we were there for him as he admitted to himself that he has felt empty with her, that he can't talk to her, and that he feels he is settling for her. He's said this multiple times over the last year. Her stance is that he won't talk to her, that he goes through this crazyness once a year, and that she is the stabilizing force in his life that will help him have a home and kids. She won't let him make this mistake.

    Then again, she refuses to engage with his friends, they never hang out, and he feels they never do anything together.. although they each say it is the other's fault. It's obvious he cares about her, though, given that he has been going on specifically because he feels she can't survive alone.
    Spoiler:

    Edit: Both are in university, he is 6+ years her senior.

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  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I think you should also take into consideration what happens when in the midst of this counseling, what if some deep seated and hoary issues rise to the surface, like abuse, sexual dysfunction, or anything else you will be totally unprepared to handle?

  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Wait, what? Are you licensed or trained in any way as a marriage councilor?

    Just one of the many reasons this is a profoundly stupid idea is that they aren't going to be comfortable talking to a group of their friends in an honest way about how, say, she never has sex with him any more. And then she says that he's never been interested in satisfying her and she's not attracted to him any more. That may be the least embarrassing issue they have.

    People talk about very intimate things in marriage counseling--stuff you don't necessarily want to air in front of your buddies.

  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I thought this was a stupid idea reading the OP, but the update confirms it's a retarded idea.

    And breaking up with your fiancee with your friends with you? Why would he feel the need to do this?

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  • ceresceres Your photo framed Raw within my mindSuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited March 2010
    If you give him any advice, it should probably be to stick to his guns on this. Don't play at marriage counselor. It's not going to end well, and anyway it really sounds like this was a long time in coming and he's deeply unhappy with her. There's no reason to draw this out.

    And I am done with my graceless heart,
    So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart.

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I mean, the real questions you should be asking yourself(selves) are "what issues might come up and are we prepared to deal with them?"

    And the answers are "a whole fucking universe of awkward ones" and "never in hell."

    This isn't counseling, this is you offering your buddy moral support for breaking up with this fiance. Which is fine I guess, and if he's that much of a shrinking violet then I guess you can even be there with him, just don't dress it up as 'counseling.'

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  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Dyscord wrote: »
    this is a profoundly dumb thing to do. If all of you really want to help, chip in and buy them an intro meeting with a real marriage counselor. They aren't that expensive.

    All other suggestions that do not speak to this general effect are naught but the honking of silly geese.

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  • AthenorAthenor Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Yeah, I like the helping him go to a councellor idea. I mean, we are okay with the sex stuff.. and yes, the physical aspect is a big part of what is keeping together (although he made reference to it feeling like she is someone he is living with -- she has her own bed if needed, after all)..

    But.. yeah. I don't want to do this. But I don't see an answer, and yet we're all implicated because we gave him the courage to be honest with her for the first time in forever. And then he decided to call her over and talk with her, and she jumped to the breaking up part before he said anything. In fact, to this point I don't think he's actually said the words.

    Sad part is, I actually have 2 people in this situation in my circle of friends.. and it is going to be much, MUCH worse for the other one, whose S.O. has said they would kill themselves without the other friend in their life.

    Edit:
    This isn't counseling, this is you offering your buddy moral support for breaking up with this fiance. Which is fine I guess, and if he's that much of a shrinking violet then I guess you can even be there with him, just don't dress it up as 'counseling.'


    What's strange is that it was her who suggested us as councellors. I personally suspect she wants to make us into the enemy, to push us away from him. She tried that a bit last night (she was the only one who understood him, she was the only one who had his best interests in heart, she wouldn't let him make this mistake, etc.)... My friends think she is too nieve to manipulate on that level. I feel she is more than capable of it, even if she doesn't realize it.

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  • AthenorAthenor Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Also, does his desire to expatriate to Ireland or Canada have anything to do with this, especially considering that it has been growing for a year, and his S.O. wants nothing to do with it?

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    Steam & NNID - Athenor // 3DS: 3883-5283-0471
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Do you think your buddy should leave her?
    If yes, don't provide council on the off chance you convince him to stay with her somehow.
    If no, give her money to go to a councillor.

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  • VenochVenoch Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Why would you play the role of the marriage counsellor?

    Supremely bad idea. This sort of isn't your business outside providing moral support and friendship. Why is your circle of friends involved to such a degree? They have no obligation to jump in, nor should they.

    Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad idea, seriously.

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Athenor wrote: »
    Sad part is, I actually have 2 people in this situation in my circle of friends.. and it is going to be much, MUCH worse for the other one, whose S.O. has said they would kill themselves without the other friend in their life.

    Apparently someone else needs the counselling way more.

  • AthenorAthenor Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    No comment on the latter. As for the former, I now have a good, healthy plan. Thank you, feel free to lock.

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  • AthenorAthenor Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Sigh. Okay, maybe not so done. He is gonna try his damndest to be with her, and she is claiming she wants to grow. They are out at the movies right now, and then are going to talk.

    Funnily enough, she was the one who wanted to go to the movies with him the week before this all hit.

    I'm still gonna stick to my plan, though. After all, there's free counselling out there for them.

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    Steam & NNID - Athenor // 3DS: 3883-5283-0471
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Spending too much money eating out. That's about it. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Dyscord wrote: »
    this is a profoundly dumb thing to do. If all of you really want to help, chip in and buy them an intro meeting with a real marriage counselor. They aren't that expensive.

    It's a RIDICULOUSLY dumb idea.

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  • VenochVenoch Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Athenor wrote: »
    Sigh. Okay, maybe not so done. He is gonna try his damndest to be with her, and she is claiming she wants to grow. They are out at the movies right now, and then are going to talk.

    Funnily enough, she was the one who wanted to go to the movies with him the week before this all hit.

    I'm still gonna stick to my plan, though. After all, there's free counselling out there for them.

    Why are you breathing down their neck?

  • AthenorAthenor Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Venoch wrote: »
    Athenor wrote: »
    Sigh. Okay, maybe not so done. He is gonna try his damndest to be with her, and she is claiming she wants to grow. They are out at the movies right now, and then are going to talk.

    Funnily enough, she was the one who wanted to go to the movies with him the week before this all hit.

    I'm still gonna stick to my plan, though. After all, there's free counselling out there for them.

    Why are you breathing down their neck?

    Because I've heard for a year about how empty and dead she makes him feel?

    Edit: Also, I'm not "breathing down their neck." I've talked to him twice today -- once by phone, once via text. It's not like I'm standing over them and beating this down his throat. I just want him to pay attention to what he's feeling.

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    Steam & NNID - Athenor // 3DS: 3883-5283-0471
  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Athenor wrote: »
    Venoch wrote: »
    Athenor wrote: »
    Sigh. Okay, maybe not so done. He is gonna try his damndest to be with her, and she is claiming she wants to grow. They are out at the movies right now, and then are going to talk.

    Funnily enough, she was the one who wanted to go to the movies with him the week before this all hit.

    I'm still gonna stick to my plan, though. After all, there's free counselling out there for them.

    Why are you breathing down their neck?

    Because I've heard for a year about how empty and dead she makes him feel?

    Edit: Also, I'm not "breathing down their neck." I've talked to him twice today -- once by phone, once via text. It's not like I'm standing over them and beating this down his throat. I just want him to pay attention to what he's feeling.

    I gotta tell you dude, that even though it can be a very fine line, there's a big difference between being a good friend, and getting involved in stuff that really isn't any of your business. It's one thing to advise them to counseling, it's a whole other to be trying to pressure them towards it. They have to figure out their marriage on their own and getting opinions from the sidelines is only going to hinder that process.

    If you don't want to be a shoulder leaner for him anymore that's one thing, but I still don't think it's wise to meddle in their relationship.

  • AthenorAthenor Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I'm going to present the option, and then hold them to the fact that they both said they need it. That's all I'm going to do.

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    Steam & NNID - Athenor // 3DS: 3883-5283-0471
  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    So, they're married, both in uni and he's 6 years her senior.

    How old are they? Why are they married so young? Are you Mormons or something of this nature?

    If the answer is "They made terrible choices because of their stupid religion" then you are sort of in luck - the church or whatever will usually run marriage counselling in a way that is meaningful to the participants for a relatively low cost.

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  • AthenorAthenor Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    So, they're married, both in uni and he;s 6 years her senior.

    How old are they? Why are they married so young? Are you Mormons or something of this nature?

    They are going to get married in a year and a half-ish. They currently live together. Both knew no one in the area upon moving here.

    fCew0YJ.jpg
    Steam & NNID - Athenor // 3DS: 3883-5283-0471
  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Athenor wrote: »
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    So, they're married, both in uni and he;s 6 years her senior.

    How old are they? Why are they married so young? Are you Mormons or something of this nature?

    They are going to get married in a year and a half-ish. They currently live together. Both knew no one in the area upon moving here.

    Oh, well, my idea holds no water.

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  • VenochVenoch Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Athenor wrote: »
    I'm going to present the option, and then hold them to the fact that they both said they need it. That's all I'm going to do.

    Wow, please don't do this. Guaranteed it will cause a shit storm (rightfully or wrongfully) and she--and maybe he--, will accuse you of meddling.

  • RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Don't play at being an armchair therapist. People pay big cash dollars to learn the skills required to be an effective therapist type, you have basically no chance at not righteously pissing off one/both parties and will most likely do more harm then help.

    Tell your friends that you like hanging out with them, and that you aren't going to take sides.

  • RentRent I'm always right Fuckin' deal with itRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Dyscord wrote: »
    this is a profoundly dumb thing to do. If all of you really want to help, chip in and buy them an intro meeting with a real marriage counselor. They aren't that expensive.

    All other suggestions that do not speak to this general effect are naught but the honking of silly geese.

    Wait, they mean like hire a friend to be an actual marriage counsellor? I thought this was more like "give some advice to both parties" counsellor

    Wow this is easily the dumbest idea I've ever heard

    "Oh jeez I need my pipes fixed, but I can't afford a plumber. Well I'm sure my buddy Bill can fix them even though he's never done anything involving plumbing in his life, ever""

  • RentRent I'm always right Fuckin' deal with itRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Venoch wrote: »
    Athenor wrote: »
    I'm going to present the option, and then hold them to the fact that they both said they need it. That's all I'm going to do.

    Wow, please don't do this. Guaranteed it will cause a shit storm (rightfully or wrongfully) and she--and maybe he--, will accuse you of meddling.

    Jesus christ do not do this

    Even when my mom said, to me, she wanted to divorce my abusive, manipulative, conniving asshole of my stepdad but wouldn't "for the kids", I didn't say shit

    Why? Because it is not my relationship. Again- this is my mom, the woman I love the most in the world (right now), telling me she wants a divorce, and I didn't urge her yes or no to do anything

    Are you some kind of moron dude? Do not do this

  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Athenor wrote: »
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    So, they're married, both in uni and he;s 6 years her senior.

    How old are they? Why are they married so young? Are you Mormons or something of this nature?

    They are going to get married in a year and a half-ish. They currently live together. Both knew no one in the area upon moving here.

    Ok, so this story keeps changing, but of all the things you've said, it's highly unlikely this relationship will be stable enough to last the year and a half anyway, especially once the pressure of planning the marriage begins. So stay out of it, if you entangle yourself in their affairs, it's completely going to blow up in your face, and probably lose you your friend.

    Edit: I think anyone who went to or is in college has probably known a couple like this, hell I lived with a couple exactly like this. The ones I knew had a completely dysfunctional relationship, but there was nothing I could say, and eventually one of them finally wised up and a whole bunch of messy drama went down, thankfully after I was long gone. Basically it ran its own course, and this will to. They both obviously need to mature, and that usually happens at a glacial pace.

  • AthenorAthenor Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Yeah. At the moment he's made his choice, apparently. He's staying with her. So I'm just going to bring up the counselling thing (again: Their idea, but they felt they couldn't afford it), and that's gonna be it. We're all hurt over it.. but.. yeah.

    Edit: BTW, when did my story ever change? I referred to her as two things: Future Wife and S.O.

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    Steam & NNID - Athenor // 3DS: 3883-5283-0471
  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Athenor wrote: »
    Yeah. At the moment he's made his choice, apparently. He's staying with her. So I'm just going to bring up the counselling thing (again: Their idea, but they felt they couldn't afford it), and that's gonna be it. We're all hurt over it.. but.. yeah.

    Edit: BTW, when did my story ever change? I referred to her as two things: Future Wife and S.O.

    The first post reads as though they're already married, but I may have just read it to fast, sorry about that.

  • CognisseurCognisseur Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Find a clinic that operates on a sliding scale.

    Seriously. If they're both broke university students, they'll fall on the lowest end of that, and end up paying like $5 per session or something laughably cheap like that.

    I know it's been said a bunch in this thread, but the idea to act as counselors to your friend really is one of the worst ideas that's been on this forum in a while, and I can't stress enough just how many bad avenues it can lead to.

  • RentRent I'm always right Fuckin' deal with itRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Cognisseur wrote: »
    Find a clinic that operates on a sliding scale.

    Seriously. If they're both broke university students, they'll fall on the lowest end of that, and end up paying like $5 per session or something laughably cheap like that.

    I know it's been said a bunch in this thread, but the idea to act as counselors to your friend really is one of the worst ideas that's been on this forum in a while, and I can't stress enough just how many bad avenues it can lead to.

    Also how many hilarious ends it can lead to

    "Hmm, personally I think your vagina is angry at your husband. Luckily my penis is a licensed mediator"

    "Let's go have a one-on-one session, <Athenor's friend>. We will use the 'X-Box 360' as an example of what you are experiencing. Remember, when playing Bayonetta, the bullshit "One Chance You Die" QTEs are somewhat like your relationship with your fiance- many times it feels like you have HELL YEAH KICK THAT ANGEL'S ASS FUCK YEAH!"

  • clearsimpleplainclearsimpleplain Registered User
    edited March 2010
    This is one of the most hilarious ideas I've ever heard.

    It's clear you're fairly loyal to your friend, and that both she and him feel you and your friends are an intelligent group of people. But this is really none of your business, and I mean like 0%. I have close friends too, friends that would lay down in traffic for me who I've spent more waking moments with than I have with anyone else on this Earth. At one point in time, I might have felt I had some insight into their relationships with women, that they had some understanding of my relationships. I would have been dead wrong.

    You have no idea what you're talking about in this situation. You don't belong there. You can be his friend, you can be her friend, you can be their friend, you can offer them advice individually, but don't get in the middle of their argument. It would be like you were a kid who thought they could talk their parents into staying together. It's way over your head and you really don't belong there. It's not just about convention; it's about knowing what to say to make both parties realize what's wrong and have them believe you enough to change. Not everyone is smart enough to grasp an explanation at first if the language is complicated, and a lot of people shut down if what they're hearing doesn't make sense right away. A councilor is trained to break things down for that person who's being a total loose screw in a relationship and seems unwilling or unable to comprehend how anything is even remotely their fault; they've seen it a thousand times before, and it can be as much about tone and saying something that's not entirely accurate as it is about showing them the truth.

    I could go on forever. At the end of the day, you do not belong there. You are not involved. You're involved in your friend's life, but let me make this clear: you are there to support him even if you think what he's doing is wrong, because no matter what I guarantee you you don't have the whole story here. You don't know about the fragile moments they share together in the dark, or the closeness they have. They have something together that you never will with your friend, and they see different sides of each other that you will never see. They could sit in your living room and talk to you about it all day long, but you'll never understand.

    A marriage councilor is better equipped to give each individual what they want and what they need because they realize it's not their job to know, it's their job to give each person the tools they need to fix what's going on. I guarantee you you wouldn't even know where to start.

    So, in short, the more you get involved the more the people in the relationship will resent you, and they should.

  • Mr. PokeylopeMr. Pokeylope Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I think that you really need to let go in this situation. No matter how much you and his other friends think they are wrong for each other your not going to be able to stop him from making his own mistakes. If you continue on the current course you'll only going to end up losing a friend.

    And acting as a Couples therapist for a friend without any real training or experience is perhaps one the worst ideas I've heard on these forums. It will not end well.

  • VenochVenoch Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Clearsimpleplain lived up to his name and outlined everything that could possibly be said in a concise way. Everything he said is very true.

  • The Raging PlatypusThe Raging Platypus Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I was once in a very similar situation, and thought to act as a mediator as well. Let me tell you, it was a incredibly stupid idea, and turned out exactly the way clearsimpleplan just described. You go into thinking you have some grasp of what's going on in the relationship, and come out of it realizing most of what you thought was certain was anything but. And not only does it end up being a waste of time, you run the danger of building more resentment and passive-aggressive behavior because you didn't have a single god damned clue of how to properly handle these things.

    It's their relationship. Be a loyal friend, but don't fall under the impression that you're obligated to stand in as a counselor. You can't fix this on your own, and you certainly can't cross your arms and guilt them into seeing an actual therapist.

    Spoiler:
  • The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Esh wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote: »
    this is a profoundly dumb thing to do. If all of you really want to help, chip in and buy them an intro meeting with a real marriage counselor. They aren't that expensive.

    It's a RIDICULOUSLY dumb idea.

    Wait a second.

    This guy made a decision to cut the relationship, and the best that can be brought up here is that the relationship should be saved?

    Have them set a 2-4 week period of no-contact, after which they should decide, together, if they want to attend counseling.

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