I hope the mofo has to pick his teech up off the sidewalk sometime soon.
April 10, 2005 5:04 PM   Subscribe

Break up gift?

My sister's husband just revealed to her that he is/was having an affair. Not sure what the odds are for a divorce, I'd say high, but you know. She's pretty young, artistic, etc. Can y'all think of a good gift we can send her?
posted by prettyboyfloyd to Shopping (18 answers total)
A weekend away somewhere?
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:06 PM on April 10, 2005

A gift certificate to a spa, or a nice bath/beauty product set, perhaps.
Ugh, the situation totally bites. Poor sister :-(
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:07 PM on April 10, 2005 [1 favorite]

Is she the type that enjoys night-classes? She may have some more time on her hands...cooking classes are fun and then with what she learns she can create nice [and time-consuming] nightly rituals for herself that create a reward at the end.
posted by meech at 5:12 PM on April 10, 2005

Ugh. Been there. You know how people make those coupon books for things like a massage, etc? What I needed most when my husband left me out of the blue (luckily there wasn't another woman) was what I called "babysitters." People who were willing to just let me be around them. I wanted people who were willing to listen to me and talk with me, because I was a wreck. I really needed to know who I could call in the middle of the night, who was home and available on Wednesdays, etc. Maybe offer those kinds of supports in coupon form.
posted by abbyladybug at 5:24 PM on April 10, 2005

Being there for her is best. Write her a card or letter letting her know that you are available for whenever she is sitting in the house with nothing to do. It might be time to revisit some activities you enjoyed in the past, or go out together and enjoy each others company in a new light. If she is artistic then indulge her in her art materials of choice. I'm sure being able to freely forge ahead with some new projects would help.

Unless you are 100% sure of a special gift that you know she will enjoy (asking here indicates you aren't) then I would probably lay off anything extravagant. The last thing she will need is having to politely go through the motions with a "special" gift that she doesn't really like/need.

You could always just ask her. She may have some pressing concerns that need taken care of RE: shared items, bills, commitments etc, where a bit of support could help a lot with planning for the future.
posted by fire&wings at 6:02 PM on April 10, 2005

This is probably not what you want to hear, but if I were in her situation, I really would not want a gift at all. I think I would feel very pitied. Just being there for her and letting her know that you're thinking about her might be the best thing you can do.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 6:05 PM on April 10, 2005

tx cranky, you might be right...something I hadn't thought of. We're a greedy bunch though ;) I'm wagering she wouldn't mind getting smtg. So far the suggestions are great!
posted by prettyboyfloyd at 6:09 PM on April 10, 2005

I agree with LittleMissCranky. It seems like the wrong kind of situation to send a gift. Unless the guy was abusive/she hated him - then that might warrant a gift/a night on the town.
posted by tozturk at 6:30 PM on April 10, 2005

Do they have children? If so, refraining from saying what you really think about their father is the best gift I can think of.
Even if they don't, she might have very complicated feelings about him and about the whole situation. While I understand only too well the compulsion to physical violence in pretty much the exact same situation, I must counsel against that, too.
Beyond that, the best gifts are your time, your ear and your shoulder.
posted by willpie at 7:02 PM on April 10, 2005

Thankfully, so far no kids, they're young (him especially, grimace), young marriage etc. Actually, I'm fully conscientious about the possibility that they will make the choices they need to and we all may be living with the guy for some time.

My sister married him for a reason, and it wasn't b/c he can act like an SOB. That's no defense for his behavior of course. I'll be fine with a full fledged divorce, but that's just me...despite what I said about picking up [teeth] off the sidewalk.

I'm just looking for something nice my wife and I can give her, besides love and sympathy over the phone, that she can enjoy and use to get her mind off of this tough time.

Any suggestions appreciated!


(PS: I talk tough but it's mostly just remnant chivalric looking after my little sister. The worst I would do is have some calm but pointed words with him if they decide to stick it out...like "grow up man" for ex. She's the boss here and I'll follow her lead however it shakes out. Yes, counseling against seperating other people's teeth from their heads is generally sage advice!)
posted by prettyboyfloyd at 7:24 PM on April 10, 2005

A package of yoga classes at a nearby studio (a card for three months or some other time-period will allow her a space and outlet for anxiety and will provide the tools to feel good about herself). A hot new spring purse to make her look and feel fab. Or new summer shoes/Converses, with a note that says: "I am not in your shoes, but if you need an ear, I'm always available." A new haircut/dye at her favourite salon. Cool new sunglasses with a note that says, "they may not be rose-tinted, but here's hoping that things look brighter for you soon!". Tickets for her and her girlfriends to have a night on the town at a concert and dinner. If you're not in the same town, a weekend invitation [including train, plane, bus, whatever] for her to come visit. Or, if her best friend lives far away, a chance for her to get out of town for a weekend. An iPod filled with music and nice headphones. If money is tight, offer to find and pay for a therapist, although I personally think that a gift that has nothing to do with the situation at hand (no self-help books, etc.) would be more "gifty" but perhaps something else is more useful at this point.
posted by fionab at 7:41 PM on April 10, 2005

Lunch at a good restaurant and a chance to vent her feelings. The gift of support and understanding is the best thing for her now.
posted by SPrintF at 8:41 PM on April 10, 2005

Besides all the recommendations for being the ear to talk to and the shoulder to cry on, I think coupons for spa treatments, massages, manicures, etc. are good ideas as well -- having that kind of warm, nurturing physical contact can be really positive for someone who's hurting emotionally as much as your sister is.
posted by scody at 9:50 PM on April 10, 2005

Did he take the car? Do they have a mortgage? Does she have the cash to retain a lawyer?
posted by mischief at 5:27 AM on April 11, 2005

I once read an article written by a woman who had gotten divorced. She said one of her friends showed up at her house, handed her a packet of bath salts, and said, "Go take a long hot bath. I'll watch the kids and answer the phone." She wrote that it stand out in her memory as one of the most wonderful things anyone has ever done for her.

I'd go with things that will make your sister feel cared about and connected with others and help her adjust to from the old emotional life to the new one.
posted by orange swan at 6:04 AM on April 11, 2005

Salsa classes, if she'll try them, are great fun and rejuvenating. If you're male you can go as her partner for the intial company, though partners switch every few minutes in the classes I've been to, so it's a good way to get used to being with different people again (without any implied commitment like dating etc)
posted by anadem at 11:12 AM on April 11, 2005

My sister-in-law is going through a similar thing. I don't think sending a gift is necessary. The best thing you can do is be there and support her (if you are in the same town), or be available by phone. Save any monetary offerings for when/if she needs help to retain an attorney, etc.
posted by sixdifferentways at 10:33 PM on April 11, 2005

Thanks everyone for your comments. I don't know what the story is with the details of the divorce, but I'll be sure to discuss legal/financial considerations with her when the time comes. We've had a few divorces in my family over the last few decades, so I'm sure that she'll get sage advice regarding attys etc. from someone who can speak from experience. There are no kids in the marriage, so that makes it easier.

Me and my sister are 900 miles apart, so sadly I can't follow some of the wonderful suggestions you all gave. The cooking class sounded great, but as I'm a law student (who hasn't taken family law yet!) I probably won't be able to afford any of the classes I was able to find in the Portland area. It looks like something small and thoughtful, and then as many hours as I can spend on the phone with her is the best gift there is. Thanks!
posted by prettyboyfloyd at 1:24 PM on April 12, 2005

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