I have a group of friends with big league spouse problems--these problems range from chronic absenteeism to oppositional parenting styles to infidelity. It's like they all married Peter Pan--these guys just won't grow up and become men. Life's a game and these guys have season tickets with box seats. There isn't a party their husbands will miss, a drink they'll turn down or a pretty lady a few of them won't try to get a phone number off of.
In this group one particular husband has cheated. And cheated. And cheated. He doesn't contribute financially (I'd argue he is a HUGE drain on the family resources because his golf league fees suck up his minimum wage part time income) and he can't be depended to do anything other than disappoint. He's a lazy drunk with a wandering eye. I can't think of a single reason why she'd stay with him, but she does. We've had the intervention where we've given our friend the number of a good lawyer. We've listened, handed over tissues, and given blunt counsel. Even the other Peter Pan husbands agree that this guy is a Class A Loser.
This friend has 3 daughters and I've pointed out that staying with her husband isn't teaching them anything good about marriage or men or being a strong woman. And over the past few years she's indicated that the oldest daughter has some anger management issues which gave her concern, but I hadn't heard anything about it in a while. Her daughter idolizes Dad and takes out what I suppose to be a lot of her anger about their situation on her mother--at least that's how I read it. The daughter is disrespectful and sassy and it's mighty awkward for anyone watching, but I've seen plenty of similar situations and while I've felt bad about them, I've never been worried.
This friend was supposed to meet up with me this weekend, but she called and said her younger daughters were sick and she wasn't feeling too good either. It made me sad because I wanted to know how she was doing and encourage her. Then I found out the truth of why she didn't show: her ten year old daughter had hit her so hard that she now has a black eye.
Learning this, that her ten year old daughter would HIT her so hard that she'd have a black eye and then she lies to other people to avoid them was a bigger kick to the stomach than finding out about her husband's affairs. The entire situation is so disturbing and beyond hope--and now I wonder if there is any limit to what this friend will tolerate. I'm beyond handing her tissues--and I'm afraid for her daughter, too.