One of the reasons I desired my own place is so I could invite friends over at any time without anyone’s permission. I decided to create my own card to mail off to My Love so I called my Married Female Friend to see if she wanted to make cards together. But when I asked her I knew cardmaking wasn’t on her mind.
And then she droppd the bomb. “I don’t think I want to be married anymore.”
I told her to come over so we could talk about it, and to bring along crafty stuff so I could make the card and she could make a collage for herself. I promised I’d buy champagne.
So, I’m cutting away at pink and red pieces of construction paper in an attempt to make several hearts while she poured her heart out. Another girl called her, claiming to have an affair with her husband. She doesn’t have all the details and I have a fraction of those, but even if she took the girl out, the real issue was what’s up with the people he socializes. I don’t want to divulge too much, but his behavior is the social equivalent of a dry drunk’s. He’s no longer into what they are, but he feels attached to them. I asked her if he’d consider giving up those friends and finding new ones, and from what I know of him, that’d be a dealbreaker.
The smile on my face faded because I didn’t want to seem like I was gloating, and I listened to her ramble on. She’s not sure, but she can’t stay married like that, and they rushed the relationship, they bonded over some bad stuff, and then she asked me what I thought, so I told her the truth. I don’t think they’re compatible, and I’ve felt that way since I met them a year and a half ago. Then she got upset, then annoyed, then said I betrayed her because I didn’t reveal this info earlier, and maybe I didn’t support the marriage at all, and what friend was I not to tell her?
I painted myself into a corner. If I didn’t say anything I’d be condoning this behavior. But since I said something I’m viewed at not being fully supportive. I want what’s best for her (which I think would be a divorce) but I realize my worldviews can be black and white when it comes to relationships. And I know this is her decision to make and hers alone. But how do I support her when she’s unsure of what she wants? How do I provide her with what she needs without getting absorbed into her drama? Why did I wake up feeling so sluggish the next morning?
I asked My Love if I had said the wrong thing. “Perhaps,” he shrugged. “In those situations, people aren’t looking for someone to lean on, but for someone to transfer their anger to.” I value his opinion, not because we’re together, but because he’s a counselor — so he has some experience in this.
I struggled with this line for years. Someone comes along, wants a shoulder to cry on, a bowl of soup to warm their souls. I can do that. Want to talk on the phone for hours? No problem. Want to complain about the job market via gtalk? Sure. But I found it didn’t work because the action was unilateral and the other person just saw me as an outlet, not a person. They let it all hang out, become emotionally slutty. I was their emotional codependent. This gets draining.
So as a way to combat that, I have to find a boundary. Like when I start feeling tired, just say I can’t talk about this. Or change the subject. Or tell them to go ask someone else’s whose opinions they value because mine aren’t it. Okay, the last one was harsh, but that’s what I’ve started to say to my mom. When I was a kid she had an affair with her married boss and I went to school with his oldest daughter, and I was shamed to secrecy about the details of their affair. I don’t think I want to deal with that type of pressure again.
Good intentions are always that…good. They can go wrong when there’s some sort of miscommunication between whoever’s involved, and I think that’s what happened a few nights ago with my friend. I thought I was doing the right thing but I let the proverbial cat out the bag and now she’s upset, or her frustration has been directed toward me. I wish I could find some way to deflect this stuff when it happens, when someone drops a huge dilemma on me, but I haven’t found it yet. I was groggy the next. But I’m pretty okay now.