Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Why and Why Not

1. He’s married
2. With young children
3. And is your boss

Dear God, Annabella, no! Have we come here, right here, already? To the point where we’re meddling not only with boys who are “just about to” dump their girlfriend (not that this is okay, but I mean, I’ve seen it unfold to stellar people and no longer pass judgment) but now with our bosses, who are married, with babies at home?

I love her, not her choices, as it were. We’re at dinner and everyone’s testy, the weather has turned, our waiter will not. I don’t feel at all like sipping the perfunctory wine I ordered. I’m chugging along in the conversation and staring at the wall. I will not judge. I will not judge. I think I can. Will not judge.

The candle at the table flickers upon certain words. Children. Won’t happen again. Rain splashes down from the vintage ceiling and a fat drop hits me in my sweatered elbow. She’s talking and I don’t know what to say, what to do, what to feel. I open my mouth and then shut it. She knows what I’m thinking. That’s why she tells her story in parts, doesn’t look us in the eye, drowns herself in her glass. And I want to go home to bed but it’s ten on a Friday night and I’m not allowed.

I say one thing, hoping it doesn’t sound vitriolic. She can take it or not. I won’t make her because I feel I can’t. And maybe I am overreacting. Maybe they’re meant to be? Of course then it seems, it wouldn’t be so painful. It wouldn’t have happened this way.

She throws me a look and I know what’s unsaid. Who am I to say what’s good and what’s bad? I can’t separate myself from past relationship wrongs. I’m sabotaging two perfectly great job opportunities because I can’t decide what I want. I look at my wisdom teeth in a jar and when noone’s around, shake them like maracas. I’m…not quite a person who knows what she’s doing in life.

And then, part of me is aghast at myself for not righting this moral injustice, vigilante-style. That I’m not so disgusted with the idea that I take it upon myself to march over to midtown and shake the living hell out of both of them. But she’s an adult, they both are. They’re older, more established, I’m younger and can’t find my soapbox. We leave, unsatisfied and feeling like we can’t talk about it. And we can’t.


Anonymous said...

tough situation

C-47 said...

F tough situation.

Let me ruin a marriage, humiliate some other woman I don't know, squashe two (?) young kids giving one of them a certain eating/cocaine problem down the line (Im looking at you children of divorce), and then to top it off let me completely jeopardize my job.

This is a totally good idea.

Altho to amend my above statement, he doesnt leave the wife, and will fire said girl, unless she black mails him. Which will also end hilariously.


He leaves the wife, marries her, then waits like two months and begins cheating all over again. High fives.

Unless old girl is a barrel of self loathing this is a fairly straight forward advice line here. I fail to see the difficulty.

Having said that I now have to go call my dude who is sexing on a married woman. Read: In love with.

Anonymous said...

On the one hand I am pleased to see such a reaction among persons of a certain age who are broadly presumed to be sans mores and utterly sexually shameless. Perhaps Wendy Shalit et al. aren't so far fetched. Perhaps it is backlash to your Viagraed out Boomer parents.

On the other hand, as a man of a certain age and station, I peek 'round the corner of mortality and often think about the so very European concept of paramours and mistresses...especially whilst Mrs. Mitty is co-ordinating myriad parallel activities in my ear.

Oh, and it is, in fact, OK to judge. And being less than blameless yourself doesn't make you a hypocrite.


tgov said...

the time-tested adage: once a cheater, always a cheater. SHE'S not cheating - he IS. And he likely will, again and again and again...

I've run out of fingers counting the times that's been proven true, and that just from my relatively tiny social circle's feedback.

And that 'european concept'? Those wives are pissed the hell off, too. They just say it in french/portugese/slavic, and it sounds kinda sexy, rather than PO-d.

You want to support your friend, and that's admirable - but if you don't express your concerns/disapproval (however you want to pitch it) you ARE enabling her. She knows what's going on is amiss, and her telling you is actually her seeking either validation that it's not good (which JUST MIGHT help her to step away from it), or inferred permission to keep on doing it ('see? they didn't think it was so bad...')

gah. I feel for the position you're in. No response is an easy response, but if she's your friend, you owe her an honest expression of your opinion. That you worry for her, that you think she's blinded to the vulnerable position that she's putting herself in, and that if she were standing in front of an oncoming MAC truck, you'd do everything you could to pull her out of the way. And that's pretty much what this is, non?

goodness gracious! said...

if you were about to do/doing something that was wrong/dangerous/unkind would you want your friends to tell you? realistically, how would you react to them if they did?

either way, it ain't gonna be pretty - the most unlikely circumstance would be that she would hear you and change her behavior right then, though what you say may have a real influence on her choices down the road.

the most likely situation is that if you think that your friend is doing something seriously wrong, it will interfere with intimacy and create tension in the relationship, whether she knows your feelings or if you have them but just think them to yourself. how could it not? in a romantic relationship, if you knew your partner was being unethical, it's be a huge huge deal.

if she decides to not do this, or in the aftermath sees it was not a good idea, it will be a test of her charachter and maturity and your friendship if she can acknowlege that you had a point and she made a mistake. for a lot of folks, thier ego couldn't take it, knowing someone else, even a friend, saw them fall.

good luck - this is indeed the grown up stuff.