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Relationship Thread: Advice, Venting and Everything Else

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Over the weekend, I invited my bf to go to my work Xmas party. He came on Saturday in the morning and I suggested we go out for lunch and pick up a few things at the store. He did not disagree to either things.

Went to party in the evening. Started out ok, had dinner and after that it was games. One of the games had the contestants at the front getting items from the audience before racing back to their chairs before the chairs were taken away...and one of the items in a round was men's belt. I kinda told him to volunteer his, which he did. Did not say no at the time of.

When the music came on, I danced with my coworkers (female). He stepped out. I found him and asked him to join the party. He said no, as the music was too loud. So I went back ("stomped off" according to him) to the party, hung out for 30 min and went to find him. Asked him if he wants to leave, and he was wishy washy before saying maybe in 30 minutes. We ended up leaving 15 minutes after that.

Went home and I knew something was wrong when he refused to snuggle with me before bed. Woke up the next morning and I snapped at him (yes my bad) about why he didn't snuggle me last night. He went back to bed and left at noon.

He told me over Skype why he's pissed:

1) I got him to participate in a "immature, childish" game with strangers

2) I didn't know he wanted to leave when he said the music was too loud after he stepped out. He thought it was obvious. I asked him why he was wishy washy when I did ask him and he said he was being nice. So we essentially went in a circle

3) I chose to ignore him and went back to the party. I guess I was expected to stay in the cloakroom to keep him company? I don't know.

4) I wanted us to go out for lunch and grab items at the store. Turned out he didn't want to do that and wanted to stay in instead.

So what do you guys think? Am I wrong? Should I apologize? But at the same time I feel like a lot of what he's mad about is a consequence of his own words and actions...

Thanks a bunch!

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How long have you guys been together?

 

Based on the information given, I'm team MH319.  Your boyfriend is coming off very immaturely and wishy washy.  If he didn't want to do any of those things than he should have just said so.  Seems like he expected you to be a mind reader.

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I'm on your team. I have a lot of passive aggressive people in my life and my way of dealing with them is my policy of "say something or shut up." By that I mean say something at the time or keep your mouth shut about it later. I'm not a mind reader nor am I anyone's mommy so everyone around me needs to be an adult and express their own opinions and needs instead of expecting me to anticipate them and/or pander to their unspoken thoughts.

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Ya know- it was your work party. Work parties are a universal pain in the ass to the non-employed there (unless it's just a killer party). And universally we suck it up and laugh at our boyfriends inside jokes we don't get and enjoy the damn night.

To have expectations that the night would please him was him was his first mistake. This was about you not him. He should let loose, have fun, take off the belt and laugh...and get on with it.

Bullet point list of disappointments = life is too short for such shit. He needs to learn to enjoy life and not give it a play by play critique.

I hope you had a good time.

Edited by KnoxForPres
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I need some help dealing with a "caught in the middle" situation.

I have these two female friends - one is the constant Hostess to our group of friends and one is essentially a BFF of mine for lack of a better term.

They've seemingly always gotten along fine. We've all known each other the same number of years, and celebrated holidays and birthdays together as a gang. But lately, Hostess has invited me to a few gatherings without also extending an invite to BFF, even though they are group events she could also theoretically attend. Hostess says it's just an issue of space at their tiny apartment - her husband has a large posse and so when they have an "intimate group" event, his six friends all attend, and she wants me there as her guest...but considers BFF as more of an acquaintance. And since their apartment is small, it makes sense that they can only have so many people over.

My BFF has picked up on the fact that Hostess apparently considers her to be not as much of a close friend as me. This bugs her. And I get it. I've been in her position, knowing that mutual friends consider me less important or lower down the totem pole...and it has made me bitter. It hurts, right? And as an adult, it feels like High School exclusionary crap and makes you want to cut those people out of your life entirely.

And BFF has been great to me. A really really great friend and a big part of my life, so I hate seeing her get left out and feel like I need to be loyal to her. One time, to spare her feelings, I tried to lie about a gathering I was invited to that she was left out of. I couldn't, I told her what was up, and she felt really slighted by Hostess, whom she had always considered a good friend. I chose not to attend that event, out of solidarity. Hostess picked up on this, apologized profusely, said it was just a numbers situation and invited BFF to the next event she threw. BFF didn't make a fuss, but privately felt like it was a reminder not to forget where she really stood with Hostess.

Now, I've been invited to a group cottage weekend thing at Hostess' family's property. She plans on having another one later in few weeks which she will invite BFF to, but this one is for her "close" friends...all dozen of them. I am one of them. BFF is not.

I accepted the invite and felt terrible. I asked Hostess what I should tell BFF and she said to just say it was a space issue. In reality, the cottage is big and people are camping on the property as well. BFF would be able to attend in theory. Telling her it's a space thing will sound like a lame excuse.

I respect that Hostess should be free to invite whoever she prefers, and if she doesn't feel as close to BFF, that shouldn't be something I shame her over...but BFF is wonderful, and has been wonderful to Hostess too (even did her makeup for free at her wedding, in addition to giving a gift), and I know her well enough to know this cuts deep and feels arbitrary. If she were my wife/girlfriend, she wouldn't be left out like this. Couples are never split up at these events.

And what's worse is I truly believe Hostess has no real issues with BFF. BFF is polite, funny and friendly. Giving. In fact, the rest of the group probably likes her more than they do me! But Hostess feels close to me.

This is getting awkward and I feel like I'm betraying a good friend by allowing her to be left out. BFF might even stop attending Hostess' events out of hurt pride.

 

How can I navigate this to keep everyone happy? Advice please.

Edited by DisneyBoy
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I don't think you need to keep everyone happy, or be declining invitations out of solidarity with someone who wasn't invited.  If I had a friend who wasn't including another friend for offensive reasons, I'd do the solidarity thing.  But if it's just a situation where the host considers her number 15 on her list of friends, so doesn't invite her to things where she's only inviting 12, I wouldn't take it as anything I'd need to take a stand about.  That the non-invitee would put the host in her top twelve if she was the one hosting isn't the host's fault.

It sounds like BFF needs to talk with this person, if not being included every time is hurting her so much.  It sounds as if their relationship has changed recently (that BFF used to be invited to every group gathering you were, not just some of them) and BFF doesn't understand why, and if that is the case I certainly understand her feelings.  That's a shitty position to be in, but the only way out of it is to ask what's going on.  And if it's simply a matter where the host just isn't as close to BFF as she used to be, it shouldn't jeopardize your friendship with her (or jeopardize your friendship with BFF that you and the host continue to be as close as you used to be), because no one is doing anything wrong.

Basically, I think that if the reason for not inviting her all the time - that she's just not close enough to her to want her there every time - is genuine, rather than a front for a reason you should take a stand against ("she's poor and I'm embarrassed having her around my society friends" or something like that), you should neither be dictating her guest list nor feeling guilty for being included on it.  So she likes you more than she likes BFF.  BFF likes her more than is reciprocated.  There isn't anything wrong with that.  And if I was BFF, I wouldn't want "pity" invitations -- I'd be more uncomfortable attending something to which I was invited only because someone made the host include me than not being invited in the first place.

I completely understand this being awkward for you, and you wanting to spare someone you care about having her feelings hurt, so I understand you wanting to do something about it.  But I don't think you can or should -- this is between them.

Edited by Bastet
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*SIGH* You are probably right. We're about three months into this new status quo and Hostess has consistently explained it as being a matter of her just not feeling like BFF is as close a buddy as I am. There's no race/class issues at play. I guess all I can do is be honest with BFF and remind her she's at the top of my list, in the end.

I suppose on some level I feel guilty because I don't know why Hostess would feel closer with me. As I said, I fit in less with the rest of the group than BFF does...

Oh well. Wish me luck breaking news of the cottage thing to BFF later today.

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And if I was BFF, I wouldn't want "pity" invitations -- I'd be more uncomfortable attending something to which I was invited only because someone made the host include me than not being invited in the first place.

You got that right. That's basically exactly what she said when I had to come clean about the event she wasnt included in months ago. I just get the feeling being left out of two or three more events will leave BFF feeling like any invite that eventually comes her way from Hostess is "pity". She's a proud person.

I saw this kind of stuff affect my parents and their social life too. A couple they had gone on vacation with for years left them out of their daughter's fancy wedding at a private club. No explanation given. My mother never brought it up and continued to be polite with her old friends but it cut deep.

"What - am I suddenly not good enough for you?" is a harsh thought.

I had a very, very close friend years ago get deeply involved in their first romantic relationship and then cut me out...one day, after months of telephone tag and long periods of silence, they called me up just to say that I have been operating under the mistaken belief that we were both best friends when in fact, it had all been one-sided. This, of course, was total bull. We had been close for years and hung out with each other's families, done each other huge favors, been emotionally supportive, etc, etc, the whole nine yards, but once they started a new life I had no part in it and proof suddenly I was delusional. It probably didn't help that their lover was really threatened by me and a total territorial weirdo. In fact I'd say that was the big issue, LOL!

This isn't quite as bad as that since BFF and Hostess were never best friends to begin with, but it does dredge up those kinds of feelings, I think, for BFF.

Edited by DisneyBoy
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Welp, Bastet got to this quite sensibly while I was off distracted by dinner, and has typically tackled a bunch of very reasonable concerns. @DisneyBoy, you were able to allay them, but I had a few others I think were left open.

Reading your post, I realize I am the Hostess in my group of friends, in as much as we have one. If any combination of my/our friends meet as a group beyond birthdays, it's because I'm/we're doing the work and footing the bill -> the shopping, the cooking, cleaning, decorating such as it is, and the inviting. By gum, it's a lot of work, and not cheap, either. (Hadn't really thought about it, but it makes sense that "Host/ess" is a role or archetype.) So I guess I identify more with her, and that's definitely going to affect how I look at this, so please feel free to take it with a shaker of salt. But I find the notion that my guests would seriously want or expect to dictate my guest list** (beyond the occasional individual with positively wretched taste in partners *sigh*) absolutely mortifying.

(**Interestingly, I wrote that before Bastet posted, so that's two people who responded in the exact same fashion to what it appears you are doing with Hostess. Food for thought.)

And I'm going to apologize, but I think you're being a bit of a noodle. Harsh words, I know, and like I said, I apologize. You have every right to feel however you do (even *I* recognize that while disagreeing with you, and I mean that very sincerely), but from the standpoint of someone on her side of things... Oh, boy. You mention High School crap - and I get it, but you and BFF seem to be behaving more like Kindergarten. In adult life, not everyone gets a Valentines' card from everyone else. And let's be real, you prefer BFF to Hostess, so why can't Hostess have preferences? Just because hers don't reflect your own, doesn't mean they're less valid or she's less entitled to them. Please try not to see that as an attack, because I know it can read that way, but ask yourself if there's any truth in there. (Because I think there is, or I wouldn't have bothered writing it.)

In fact, I think it's a bit sad that if Hostess is faced with a small gathering of hubby and posse, and can invite just one more person to their table, you're it***, and then you're not considering her feelings in the matter, you just boycott it, that's how little she matters in your world? That's hurtful, too, but the only feelings you seem concerned with are BFF's. (Which makes some sense, in as much as she's your BFF, but as a friend, Hostess' feelings should still count for something...)

(*** From the way it was phrased, I wasn't sure if you were one of a small handful she then invited to offset the posse, or the only person, but the point still stands.)

Now maybe Hostess thinks that of the small handful she could have invited instead, you are the better fit for the "posse" group, but either way, she chose you, and you chose BFF, and then are pleading your case based on inclusion. You aren't treating everyone equally, why would you expect anyone else to, or more to the point: find it so problematic when they don't? (To be clear, I don't think we need to like everyone equally, I truly believe we have a right to our preferences (which wouldn't excuse bad manners (and not saying there were any particularly exhibited here, either, btw)), but I also expect that means I won't be equally valued by all in turn. That's adult life. We don't all get a medal for participation either.)

And that's really more than enough chiding. Please don't take it too much to heart. Like I said, I think you have every right to feel however you like about this. But I do disagree with your position, and I think those are valid points to consider before damaging your friendship with Hostess, which is one of the logical conclusions here.

Now on to BFF... You and BFF are not partners. She's not your girl friend. She's not your wife. Full stop. She's your friend, but not a conventionally dictated "plus one." If BFF is behaving like an adult, you shouldn't have to explain why you are invited and she is not. If she needs an explanation, and isn't just trying to exert pressure, be manipulative or cause pain (sadly, some people do), she can "demand" one of Hostess, but that will probably hurt their relationship more than it's worth. If they used to be close in BFF'S eyes, however, and she still feels so close to Hostess, as opposed to just left out, then I'd take Bastet's advice about her talking to Hostess.

I can understand feeling left out, I think most of us have at some time or another, but I also got a bit of a feeling that it was more along the lines of her feeling that she should be welcome where you are, more than wishing Hostess liked her more? Sorry if I "read" that wrong. But does BFF always include Hostess when you guys do stuff? (Almost certainly neither of you always include her, I'd think. Basically, you are scalene triangle of interactions, where BFF thinks you should be an isosceles.) Does BFF regularly invite Hostess for/to something/some activity? Is there parity in their relationship? Or in yours with Hostess, for that matter? Or in that between BFF/hostess and you/Hostess? Who phones whom how often? (I don't need answers, it's just stuff worth mulling over.)

Some other things to consider (spoilered for the tl;dr version ;-)) :

1) Circumstances have changed since you met...

Spoiler

If BFF did the makeup at Hostess' wedding, then clearly you guys all knew each other from before, and Hostess' circumstances have changed since you met. I know accommodating Mr. Mimi's people doesn't always leave room for mine and vice versa. Some we can blend, but if I invite his "posse," there's room for maybe one or two more of my peeps at our table. Since a friend of mine got a new boyfriend, she practically gets invited half as often, because when I invite her, I can no longer invite another friend. I try to rotate who is in which group, but also try to keep people who are closer together on the same evening. (In addition to all the other work, it's an added chore I just love. The idea someone might hold it against me if I get it "wrong" is decidedly irksome.)

2) Physical space isn't the only concern when you're talking numbers at gatherings.

Spoiler

 

I have a large room (open plan living ftw!) in which to host my gatherings. But I prefer not to have more than five at my table for an intimate evening, up to seven for a less intimate gathering, and a maximum of ten at my table for a dinner party, or it's too damn cramped. I can fit twelve, but it's a mistake. I go through too much work to have people feeling crowded and uncomfortable, and downright anxious to leave the table.

And I won't throw a "big" non-sit down party unless I get over twenty (preferably more like thirty) people together, because the room is too large for, say, fifteen people dotted about the place. Those numbers are slightly arbitrary for my space and goals, but I know from experience that Mr. Mimi arrived at pretty much the exact same numbers when I've quizzed him on his preferences, so it's probably based on something not quite so arbitrary after all.

What I'm trying to illustrate is that when someone tells you it's a numbers thing, if you aren't the one concerned with hosting it, there may be dynamics at work you simply aren't considering.

 

3) Alternately, is she trying to set you up with someone?

Spoiler

Anyone? My BFF (male) flirts a lot with a specific friend of mine. Sadly, they'll never be a couple, but as long he flirts with her, he's not going to meet anyone else present either. Neither of them will. Most people actually just assume those two have a thing going, so they are thoroughly blocking each other. If I want them to meet anyone else, they need to be invited on separate evenings. (Given they were both single and looking for partners for quite some time, that is doing them a favor according to their own professed goals.)

4) psst... maybe sexism?

Spoiler

 

How often does BFF invite Hostess? One thing that might play a role here is sexism. Try to tell ourselves what we will, but the (shameful) truth is women are as capable of sexism as men are. There is sometimes a component of mismatched expectations based on gender. For a related example, if I invite my own personal BFF every other week at the latest for dinner, I don't expect a similar return invitation, because he is a god awful cook. (We are in fact relieved that he recognizes this fact and doesn't try to cook for us. Mr. Mimi has expressed this to me on more than one occasion explicitly. Seriously. I kid you not.) My BFF reciprocates as he can by inviting us for pricey steaks or gourmet antipasti once in a while, or with a bottle of good wine and more expensive birthday presents than we tend to get him. If you're shallow, you can just put a price tag on it, but emotionally, you really can easily tell he appreciates our friendship, and all the invitations we extend to him, and that in turn makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. So, yeah, he's at the top of our guest lists.

But with certain friends (who theoretically have more in common with my skill set, or entertaining space, or financial situation), I do tend to notice and eventually adjust my guest list when my invites far exceed what we see in return. (I'm very tolerant of some differences, it's my own fault after all if I keep inviting people, but when they get too major... Good grief, people, you could offer to bring a salad, bottle of wine, or dessert once in a while or something if you're not inclined to return an invitation. Just a thought.) I like to think that's not really a gender thing in my case, because I know some decent male cooks, but down to their individual talents in the kitchen, but either way, the more similar a person is to you, the more likely you will eventually look at them askance if they contribute/achieve/yield/whatever-you-wanna-call-it less than you are.

So maybe Hostess is more forgiving and tolerant of playing hostess to you than to the female BFF? Over time, that can change relationships a lot.

 

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3 hours ago, DisneyBoy said:

I suppose on some level I feel guilty because I don't know why Hostess would feel closer with me. As I said, I fit in less with the rest of the group than BFF does...

Also, please stop being so down on yourself. Somebody who knows you sees something worthwhile in you and values you more than someone you think is terrific. Sweetie, that's a win, trust me. Please stop feeling guilty and just run with it.

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I don't know. I've been the BFF in this situation a number of times and it hurts. I think calling that "kindergarten" is unfairly dismissive -- we still want to connect and feel included no matter where we are in life.

DisneyBoy, I don't have an answer for you but I think it's really sweet that you're trying to navigate this so kindly and carefully. You're in a tough position and I don't envy you. 

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Point taken, @Willow. Apologies. It was in response to and an attempt to "mirror" "high school," but although I disagree with the stance, I wasn't trying to be dismissive. (Going off the sheer length of the post, I think I took it seriously enough. ;-)) 

I don't believe in mocking or belittling people's pain. 

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Disney Boy - consider the possibility that Hostess is a little jealous of BFF's status, and is wondering why you don't consider HER to be your best friend.   Maybe she wants you without BFF so she can socialize with you without competing with BFF for attention.  Women are socialized to compete with each other for men's attention - even when sexual/romantic relationships are not at stake.  Everyone wants to be the favorite.

Pure speculation on my part, just wondering if she feels excluded from the BFF dynamic. As much as BFF is wondering "why doesn't Hostess like me as much as she likes Disney boy?",   perhaps Hostess is wondering "why doesn't Disney Boy like me as much as he likes BFF?"  And she might be trying to change that by inviting you and not BFF.  

As to what you should do - STOP trying to please other people.   If you want to go to the party, if you think you'll have a good time, if there will be people there you want to spend time with, then go.  If you can't have fun without your BFF, or if you'll spend the day being resentful on her behalf, OR if you would rather stay home, or do something else, then decline.  Pay attention to your own feelings about the two friends involved and realize that you can't make people like each other more than they do.  Let it go, it's not your problem, it's theirs.  You're in the middle because you care about both of them, and one of your friends is being hurtful to the other.  That sucks. 

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Wow guys (ladies?) - I posted about this on a whim and you have given me so much food for thought. I deeply deeply thank you. I was having trouble getting perspective on this one for obvious reasons - the two people I would have immediately turned to for advice are involved!

Krimimimi, thank you for helping me see things from the POV of the person hosting. Since this situation began several months ago, I started to become aware of the fact that Hostess felt somewhat taken advantage of by her husband's friends, even though they are part of her group and her friends as well (they were all a gang before she and Mr. Hostess hooked up). In fact, just this week she expressed how frustrated she feels about how they use her as the de-facto Hostess whenever it suits their needs (they never host anything, ever). She feels capable of confiding this in me quite possibly because I am not a part of that posse. I'm her friend.

So, yeah, I definitely think she appreciates my company more in light of this. And I should consider that a good thing.

But I am of the "everyone deserves a medal" mentality in a way - which is easier to do when you aren't accommodating a circle of 20+ friends at all times (thanks for the reality check, there!). And BFF has gone way above and beyond with me, so I think, in a weird way, I felt like Hostess inviting me was me being rewarded in a way that I believed BFF to be more deserving of. I was getting a medal that I felt BFF should get.

But Hostess' affections/invites aren't a prize and they shouldn't be seen as validating my worthiness over that of BFF. Maybe that's how I was thinking, in a kind of backwards way.

Truth be told, BFF and I have other mutual friends that invited her to their cottage and I wasn't offended to be left out. Sometimes it's a numbers game and sometimes it's just about whims, right? Can't take it too personally.

...and thankfully BFF didn't. Tonight I brought up the cottage thing Hostess invited me to and said I was invited because Hostess had an extra seat in the car. I downplayed it to be safe. BFF didn't react. I think she's made peace with the possibility that Hostess will be inviting me to more things.

I hope I haven't made BFF sound like a whiny entitled person. We all get that way a bit, sometimes, but it isn't her default.

She and I actually bonded initially over sensing that we weren't really part of Mr. Hostess' posse a few years ago. It was after some party that we commiserated over how the posse seemed rather indifferent to us, in spite of knowing us for quite a while (the posse, I've eventually realized, is made up of navel-gazers who sometimes can't help but be wrapped up in their problems du jour). BFF and I became close after that conversation and now, somewhere along the line, Hostess has made it clear she really values me. So that threw our "on the fringes of the posse" status for a loop.

Perhaps I'm rambling here but all this to say, BFF and I felt somewhat slighted by the posse at the other table in the cafeteria (to get back to the High School metaphor) for never completely needing/wanting us at their table. We made our own table and Hostess making room for me and insisting I had a seat next to her left me feeling like I was ditching BFF.

Yup....that does sound a bit immature. And go figure - after speaking with my parents today, it turns out they put that whole "not invited to the wedding" thing from years back behind them. They see it as unimportant (though at the time, it was definitely cause for bruised feelings) and have since hung out with the offending couple many times.

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perhaps Hostess is wondering "why doesn't Disney Boy like me as much as he likes BFF?"  And she might be trying to change that by inviting you and not BFF.

Plausible...Hostess has tended to struggle relating to women and, being somewhat disenchanted with the male posse, sees me as a rare specimen to be cultivated? LOL.

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Women are socialized to compete with each other for men's attention - even when sexual/romantic relationships are not at stake.

Really? Please elaborate...never heard that idea before ...

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 I think it's really sweet that you're trying to navigate this so kindly and carefully. You're in a tough position and I don't envy you. 

Thanks. Well tonight it worked out well...but in general, I hate seeing little differences fester and split up otherwise good relationships (see example of my other ex-close friend, above).

7 hours ago, krimimimi said:

In fact, I think it's a bit sad that if Hostess is faced with a small gathering of hubby and posse, and can invite just one more person to their table, you're it....from the way it was phrased, I wasn't sure if you were one of a small handful she then invited to offset the posse, or the only person, but the point still stands.

It's unclear to me too...I know she's fond of everyone she invites but I do think I'm now her priority in a way I wasn't before. There seems to be more than just me attending this cottage thing, though, which was what made me worried for how BFF would feel about being left out. Bottom line, though, is that Mr. Hostess definitely let's her do her thing with invited. The posse are a given, but she feels free to invite extras as well (ei: me).

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Does BFF regularly invite Hostess for/to something/some activity?

Hmmmm...actually, no. BFF has extended invites in the past, but not often. They were never more than casual friends by virtue of the fact that Hostess was hosting stuff. The wedding makeup moment between them was more intimate than they'd been with each other in the past.

And now that I'm really thinking about it, they both relate more to guys than girls. Neither of them confide as easily in other women.

The insights you've provided me!

Edited by DisneyBoy
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OK, here's an unsolicited relationship tip: if your significant other is openly rude to their non-abusive opposite gendered parent, there's virtually zero chance they won't wind up treating you worse.

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Women are socialized to compete with each other for men's attention - even when sexual/romantic relationships are not at stake.

 

Really? Please elaborate...never heard that idea before ...

 

As women, we grow up being encouraged to compete with other women for attention.  I'm older than you, and things ARE changing.   But consider that we grow up seeing beauty pageants where the prettiest woman gets awarded.  Since boys tend to be the ones asking girls on dates, girls are competing for male attention in high school.  The highest social status is the girl who has a lot of suitors.   If a girl gets TOO much male attention, the other girls will start rumors about her, to put her down.  Look at a show like The Bachelor, where women will compete for the attention of a man that they might not even LIKE if they met him somewhere else.  That show is built on women's competitiveness for male attention. Yes, men do it too, but not to the same degree.  And for women, it extends past the dating realm. .  In schools, when there's a male teacher girls will compete to be the favorite. The dynamic of a classroom is different with a male teacher.   Girls will not only flirt, they will be upset if they think the teacher likes another girl more.  Sisters compete with each other for dad's praise. 

In the workplace, women are often not even completely aware that they are competing for a male boss's attention or praise.   TV shows are very heavy on the plotlines of women competing for a man's attention.   It's so much a part of what we learn, that many women will compete for a male friend, even when there's no reason to.    I worked in a place with a gay male boss.  Two women who worked for him were constantly competing to gain favor with him, and he took full advantage of it.  If he asked one to do a task outside of her responsibilities, or outside of work hours, she would feel honored to be chosen for the task - because she was the "favorite." 

It's just part of the way girls and women are socialized - to measure our worth by how much men like us.  I'm not advocating it, not saying it's right, just that it exists, in a dysfunctional way, in a lot of situations.  I'm also not saying it's true for EVERY woman.  And when women have close female friends, that helps them be less competitive.    it's not always completely conscious - we do it without thinking about it.    That's why I said that maybe you being close to the BFF might cause Hostess to feel competitive, so she's trying to get that "BFF status"  for herself. 

(Ok, enough psychology talk on my day off)

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This is just a vent. My husband left me 3 weeks ago. We have 2 school aged kids. I've been a stay at home mom for 10 years because husband's job has him on the road 90% of the month. I am trying to take steps forward slowly and deliberately, but I am overwhelmed. And to top it off, he keeps sending me laundry lists of all of the things I've done wrong (including but not limited to: gained weight, didn't show him enough attention, didn't keep the house clean enough, didn't devote enough time to him, etc.) and once in a while he will tell me if I could just work on all of that, perhaps he could find it in his heart to try and love me again. It's exhausting. My whole life has been thrown upside down and I am so damn tired and just sort of wish I could go to bed and never wake up.

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I'm so sorry to hear that, goodbyeglittergirl!  So, if you work on some of the stuff he thinks is wrong with you, he might want you back?  On behalf of men everywhere, please let me apologize for his boorish behavior.  I'm certainly responsible for at least half of the problems in my past marriage and other relationships, and even I can see what an idiot he is.  I don't know that I can do anything beyond saying hang in there, take things one day at a time, and hope for the best for you, but I truly hope things get better for you.

Edited by Moose135
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@goodbyeglittergirl - First, make sure you keep those letters (or emails or texts) and any voicemails he sends you to with more of his marital advice.  That is just mean, but it might also be emotionally abusive.  I'm not saying it is, but this just happened and you are probably not prepared to real assess these things in an analytical way.

Make (but don't send) a list of things he could have done that would have made you a happier wife and given your family a healthier balance.  Because just looking at the items you listed, it is all about him.  Well, what about the two of you as a couple?  Or the four of you as a family?

Something like this is a big hit and would leave most people reeling.  Draw open your network of friends and family to give you some much needed emotional support and a little childcare.  Most of us don't want to deal with all these big messy emotions in front of our kids - you need to make some time for yourself.  Use some of that to think and cry if you need to, and some of it just to be distracted from everything for a couple of hours.

Get legal counsel so that you ensure that child support and financial support are enforceable.  Know what your entitled to before you agree to anything.  In general, even if it takes some time to go through the whole legal process, you and your children are essentially entitled to maintain the same standard of living (and this is coming from a person who had to pay alimony and child support. Oh, and a portion of his legal fees.).

You might consider defaulting all communication to texts or emails (even if he calls you, respond with a quick recap of what he said).  It gives you a chance to edit yourself and make sure you don't blurt out something rashly because you are still raw.

When I was going through my separation/divorce/drawn out custody battle, I was very grateful for the internet and being able to post my latest problem in the middle of the night and get some feedback.  We may not be able to help in any meaningful way, but there are a lot of genuinely good people here.  Sometimes when we are in the middle of one of these crazy life events, we just need someone to listen.  Or say "You know what? You aren't crazy and that is a plain shitty thing to happen!".  And sometimes, to get a perspective that is from a more detached vantage point.

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Wowsers, that is rough. But this is also good because it's ending now - I've seen waaaay too many people hang in until their kids are college-aged and live to regret it. Now you can focus on yourself and your kids instead of trying to be whatever kind of super woman he's expecting.

Do try and keep calm on the hard days. Better days are ahead and yes, you have legal rights. But also think about what this could lead to - a career you felt obligated to abandon, friends he might have caused you to spend less time with, etc.

I hope there are some good folks in your corner and that when the dust settles you and he can just focus on raising your kids in a healthier way.

Do not blame yourself. It takes two, right?

Edited by DisneyBoy
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Goodbyeglittergirl, it sounds as if nowhere in those communications has your husband once indicated that he has any responsibility whatsoever for the marriage breaking down/ending. My guess is that deep down somewhere, he knows that at least some of this is his fault but he's never going to admit it, and the laundry lists he's coming up with are his way of rationalizing to himself that not only did you "fail" him in all these ways, he gave you the opportunity to fix things and you just didn't want to make the effort. And that is undoubtedly how he will spin it with his friends, any new potential romantic interests, etc. As for his specific complaints, he chose a job that kept him away from home 90% of the time, leaving you to be the full-time parent, housekeeper, etc., and then has the nerve to bitch that you didn't show him enough attention? He seems a bit self-centered, and that's putting it mildly. In any relationship, there are things that both parties could have done better. He needs to grow the hell up and understand the concept of mutual responsibility. Additionally, it's grossly unfair to come up with these things out of the blue when leaving. If he really felt this way, he should have discussed the issues with you some time back, so you would have the opportunity to think about it, consider if there were things about him that you had problems with, and then both of you could have opted either to work on improving things or mutually decide to end the marriage. Instead, he wanted to leave and is now guilt-tripping you into thinking it's all your fault. Which is bullshit.

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Thanks for the support, everyone. I'm so befuddled by everything right now I can't keep my head straight. I appreciate your comments. I am trying to take one day at a time - it is ROUGH GOING!

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@goodbyeglittergirl - the important thing is you recognize that you are too overwhelmed at all of this. Take good care of yourself and your kids, and accept offers for help on that. Don't get pressured into making any big decisions right now because you are understandably dealing with a tonnage of emotional fallout from this. 

It helped me to make lists. Just things I needed to deal with, but wasn't able to right then because they felt too big.  

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Lists are good. Also, and maybe this is just me, avoid sappy music. Only keep the music that makes you feel strong and energized.

One last thought: Elizabeth Taylor had like five marriages and was an alcoholic. You are doing fine.

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I completely agree with DisneyBoy on the music - the song that I kept in my mind when all hell was breaking loose was Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down.

Music is a tough one - I can't listen to reggae anymore because the ex loved it.  Which totally bites since I grew up in So Florida and heard reggae all the time.  My affinity for it started long before I met him.  I'm pretty bitter about this still.  Luckily, our taste in music didn't have a lot of overlap so most of "my" music wasn't tainted by the marriage.

And a completely immature thing I did was change all the id entries for him in my cell phone and home phone to just his initials.  And I started to refer to him by a mean nickname that matched his initials (never in front of the kids).  So his initials were RB and I referred to him  as Rat Bastard when communicating to my friends and family.

And the kids are in an awful position that affects (effects?  Never could get those straight) their entire existence but they have no control over.  Please tell your support network not to speak poorly of their father to the kids.  I told my family that I needed them to be on my children's side first and foremost.  Because sometimes when we are in the middle of all of this, we make decisions that are motivated by what is easier or best for us at the time.  And it isn't until later that we realize that may not have been what was best for the kids.

Edited by DeLurker
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On 6/18/2016 at 8:10 PM, goodbyeglittergirl said:

Thanks for the support, everyone. I'm so befuddled by everything right now I can't keep my head straight. I appreciate your comments. I am trying to take one day at a time - it is ROUGH GOING!

I was, for all intents and purposes, abandoned with my two children when they were in preschool.  Different set of facts about how, why, the fact that I'm the father, but the feeling of being overwhelmed was there in full force.

The best thing I did was get my head to a therapist regularly.  Professional help let me focus on moving forward.

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Guys, I need help. Advise, please. Domestic issues (not ours) and bizarre grief manifestations (also not ours). No, really, not ours.** 

We've had all sorts of drama here the last several days...

Short version: due to the unexpected death of a parent, the husband of a friend of mine has apparently pretty much lost it, utterly and incredibly malignantly - aggressive, irrational and hateful (never seen or heard of anything like it), no idea what can or should be done for him, and the crap he has slung towards his wife leaves me wondering if she is even safe in his vicinity. (Not being dramatic, I mean that seriously.) Fortunately I'm lacking in experience with both aspects and in search of clue... People, what should I do?

She's not a psychological lightweight. She's a cancer survivor who's gone a couple of rounds and come out the other side. Sure, we cried together when she got the diagnosis, but I can tell you I've never seen her this distraught. So when she looks me in the eyes and says "I'm scared of him," I take that very seriously.

I think as a friend, I owe it to her not to stick my head in the sand, and I was thinking taking her to a women's center might be a good idea, just to talk to someone with actual experience? I also sort of think I need to figure out how to be supportive if she manages to work things out with her husband (although I'm feeling a bit uneasy with even the idea of him now, and I've no idea how to manage that). I know it's impossible to judge how real a threat this presents, but I suspect that if I insist she's got a problem, she's a lot more likely to view it as such than if I don't. I just am not sure if I should? They've been together over two decades, and this just seems to have come out of nowhere...

And does anyone have any experience with grief like that? Is there anything a non-professional can do for him, or is the only solution a therapist? (Knowing him: not gonna happen.) 

 

** Seriously, we're fine, except Mr. Mimi is now considering relocating us to an otherwise deserted island...

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Krimimimi, I think your idea of taking you friend to a women's center is a good one. But, if your friend is scared of her husband, please try to help her to a safe space ASAP. if you are worried that you might be overreacting, well this is one of those situations where you don't want to take a chance. Maybe present it as her giving him some space to cool down. Good luck to you and your friend; I hope it works out.

Edited by MargeGunderson
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I would say, yes, get her to a safe space, preferably one with some kind of security, like a shelter. Not your house, as that may cause relationship issues for the two of you later, but also may put you and Mr. Mimi in jeopardy as well if the threat is real. I think it's probably better to take the threat seriously and have it turn out not to be than not to do anything and have a tragedy occur.

I think he probably needs a therapist of some kind. At the very least a grief support group. You should be able to find some that have no religious component and some that do, depending on your friend's husband's personal beliefs. If he won't see a therapist and is religious at all, perhaps he could at least talk to a pastor/priest/rabbi/whatever.

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Let's call them the Drivers, because they do a heck of a lot of that...

Googling revealed that there's a state number for psychological emergencies, which I had her call one of the times she was here. Honestly, I thought Mr. Driver really needed help, and figured she could use some professional advice, too. (Interestingly, the website for that resource listed extreme manifestations of grief as a common reason people call, and specifically aggression, so I guess that's a thing.) Unfortunately when you say you fear for your safety, your spouse scares you, and has voiced death threats(!), they pretty much have to put you through to the police (by this point in the day, her husband had crashed/passed out and police weren't immediately required). But that meant the end result was no help for either of them.

To her way of thinking, calling in the cops would be the nuclear option, and probably end her marriage. (I tend to agree with her assessment.) Not twelve hours before, she had had no inkling she could be facing a situation like this, so that was too big a step for her to make. (Which is why I feel like somebody with experience needs to give this a look. I am way out of my depth here. And she might be in denial.)

They've now headed off to his father's to help him sort the funeral arrangements, and things have calmed some. (This has been an ongoing thing for a couple of days now.) Unfortunately she doesn't have her own car there, and she has a massive dog (upwards of 90 pounds) with her, so the reality is she can't just escape, or take a train or something. (She would risk her life before deserting her dog.) If she did leave her husband, she couldn't go to a shelter because she needs to regularly check in on her ailing widowed mom, so she'd have to head there. At the moment I guess it's partially a question of logistics, and of doing or not doing something that crosses a line her husband can't forgive (like not being there for the funeral). And I think we're both aware of how wrong it seems to be worrying about what *he* can or can't forgive after his thoroughly appalling behavior... I expect the strain of that might do her good will in.

She and I are in regular contact, but she is not at all at as ease. She's walking on eggshells, and all kinds of sirens are going off in my head. I so am not equipped for this, but it's not like she was given a choice either, so I'm trying to dig deep...

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That's a really tough and complicated situation, @krimimimi. I've never heard of extreme anger/aggression as a manifestation of grief.  I know people who have been angry and bitter because they feel it's not fair that their loved one is gone, but not to the point where they've made other people fearful. It kind of makes me wonder whether there wasn't some underlying imbalance all along.

If your friend hadn't already gone with her husband, I would urge her to make temporary arrangements to have her dog kenneled and her mother cared for by someone else while she goes to a safe shelter.  Since she is away away with him, can she try not to be alone with him? She may feel this is impossible right now, but she should at least have a plan of escape in case she needs it. In the meantime, can you call a women's shelter and get recommendations for when she returns? They may even have ideas about help with her dog and mother.

Please say whatever you can to make her believe her safety is paramount - yes, her dog and her mother are important, but it doesn't do them any good if she's not able to take care of them for any reason. A friend of mine was killed by her boyfriend about 20 years ago. So many times since then, I've wished I could have found out what was going on and stepped in somehow. I'm not saying this to make you feel guilty or more responsible at all because you're obviously really trying to step up for your friend. I just want her to be safe, like my friend wasn't.

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I know a person who was violently attacked by someone you would have never, ever thought would have done that sort of thing.

My friend's sentence I'm hearing in my head right now is "You think you know, but you really don't know what a person who has issues is capable of when backed into a corner."  

I don't know if any of us could say whether or not this man had issues that were somewhat under control until the death.  And I don't know if "backed into a corner" is the right phrase here, but I do think I am seeing some similarities.  If you can convince your friend to somehow remove herself from the situation to a safer place, I would at least try to do so.  

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So I've been busy. Phoned around a bunch and Mrs. Driver will be back in town at the end of the week, and we'll phone the women's center again for an appointment. They've got councilors that can help, and she's agreed to go, and asked me to come with her. That's fine by me, because I think it increases the chances she'll actually go.

I'm not sure if I've done a good job explaining her situation, in part because it's hard to nail down. Boggled minds aren't exactly easily focused. I'll try to give it some more thought, and better describe it tomorrow. That has the bonus of being a good test run for how to present things to the councilors. 

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So much of what I intended to say has been quieted by how serious what some of you are going through is.   I'm responding in the order in which I've read.  Apologies if that seems insensitive, I did want to say something if I thought I could help.

On 11/23/2015 at 3:27 PM, MH319 said:

Over the weekend, I invited my bf to go to my work Xmas party. He came on Saturday in the morning and I suggested we go out for lunch and pick up a few things at the store. He did not disagree to either things.

Went to party in the evening. Started out ok, had dinner and after that it was games. One of the games had the contestants at the front getting items from the audience before racing back to their chairs before the chairs were taken away...and one of the items in a round was men's belt. I kinda told him to volunteer his, which he did. Did not say no at the time of.

When the music came on, I danced with my coworkers (female). He stepped out. I found him and asked him to join the party. He said no, as the music was too loud. So I went back ("stomped off" according to him) to the party, hung out for 30 min and went to find him. Asked him if he wants to leave, and he was wishy washy before saying maybe in 30 minutes. We ended up leaving 15 minutes after that.

Went home and I knew something was wrong when he refused to snuggle with me before bed. Woke up the next morning and I snapped at him (yes my bad) about why he didn't snuggle me last night. He went back to bed and left at noon.

He told me over Skype why he's pissed:

1) I got him to participate in a "immature, childish" game with strangers

2) I didn't know he wanted to leave when he said the music was too loud after he stepped out. He thought it was obvious. I asked him why he was wishy washy when I did ask him and he said he was being nice. So we essentially went in a circle

3) I chose to ignore him and went back to the party. I guess I was expected to stay in the cloakroom to keep him company? I don't know.

4) I wanted us to go out for lunch and grab items at the store. Turned out he didn't want to do that and wanted to stay in instead.

So what do you guys think? Am I wrong? Should I apologize? But at the same time I feel like a lot of what he's mad about is a consequence of his own words and actions...

Thanks a bunch!

Girl I don't know if you're still here or whether you all are still together but by now surely you've heard that this wasn't really about anything that happened at the party.  They just all happen to be elements of the same issue for him, which is the inability to properly and maturely communicate his feelings.   I may not be the one you wanna listen to if the goal is to stay together.   Most adults are able (at some point) to express their legitimate reasons for being upset once they recognize them.  For this I guess he should get credit because he did that the next day.  Personally I don't think you owed it to him but if you apologized, I'm sure he appreciated it.  It still doesn't resolve the inevitably repetitive emotional immaturity issue.  By the way, passive aggression is still aggression, not "being nice" despite him.   As implied below squash knows the impatient mouthy bitch in me would like to tell you to tell him I said take his withdrawal of affection insecure ass to the bus stop and find some other chick to tantrum out with, m'because you are too cute to sit around  looking for gottam puzzle pieces all day long.  You know, or something.   :-P

On 11/23/2015 at 6:15 PM, stewedsquash said:

Okay, while I load up his stuff and throw it in the yard, Zaldamo is going to have a quick chat with you. 

It feels inappropriate to giggle right now but, girl. {{inserts Bey's *to the left* lyrics here}}.

On 6/16/2016 at 6:43 PM, krimimimi said:


And I'm going to apologize, but I think you're being a bit of a noodle. Harsh words, I know, and like I said, I apologize. You have every right to feel however you do (even *I* recognize that while disagreeing with you, and I mean that very sincerely), but from the standpoint of someone on her side of things... Oh, boy. You mention High School crap - and I get it, but you and BFF seem to be behaving more like Kindergarten. In adult life, not everyone gets a Valentines' card from everyone else. And let's be real, you prefer BFF to Hostess, so why can't Hostess have preferences? Just because hers don't reflect your own, doesn't mean they're less valid or she's less entitled to them. Please try not to see that as an attack, because I know it can read that way, but ask yourself if there's any truth in there. (Because I think there is, or I wouldn't have bothered writing it.)

1) Circumstances have changed since you met...

  Reveal hidden contents

If BFF did the makeup at Hostess' wedding, then clearly you guys all knew each other from before, and Hostess' circumstances have changed since you met. I know accommodating Mr. Mimi's people doesn't always leave room for mine and vice versa. Some we can blend, but if I invite his "posse," there's room for maybe one or two more of my peeps at our table. Since a friend of mine got a new boyfriend, she practically gets invited half as often, because when I invite her, I can no longer invite another friend. I try to rotate who is in which group, but also try to keep people who are closer together on the same evening. (In addition to all the other work, it's an added chore I just love. The idea someone might hold it against me if I get it "wrong" is decidedly irksome.)

2) Physical space isn't the only concern when you're talking numbers at gatherings.

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I have a large room (open plan living ftw!) in which to host my gatherings. But I prefer not to have more than five at my table for an intimate evening, up to seven for a less intimate gathering, and a maximum of ten at my table for a dinner party, or it's too damn cramped. I can fit twelve, but it's a mistake. I go through too much work to have people feeling crowded and uncomfortable, and downright anxious to leave the table.

And I won't throw a "big" non-sit down party unless I get over twenty (preferably more like thirty) people together, because the room is too large for, say, fifteen people dotted about the place. Those numbers are slightly arbitrary for my space and goals, but I know from experience that Mr. Mimi arrived at pretty much the exact same numbers when I've quizzed him on his preferences, so it's probably based on something not quite so arbitrary after all.

What I'm trying to illustrate is that when someone tells you it's a numbers thing, if you aren't the one concerned with hosting it, there may be dynamics at work you simply aren't considering.

 

3) Alternately, is she trying to set you up with someone?

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Anyone? My BFF (male) flirts a lot with a specific friend of mine. Sadly, they'll never be a couple, but as long he flirts with her, he's not going to meet anyone else present either. Neither of them will. Most people actually just assume those two have a thing going, so they are thoroughly blocking each other. If I want them to meet anyone else, they need to be invited on separate evenings. (Given they were both single and looking for partners for quite some time, that is doing them a favor according to their own professed goals.)

4) psst... maybe sexism?

  Reveal hidden contents

 

How often does BFF invite Hostess? One thing that might play a role here is sexism. Try to tell ourselves what we will, but the (shameful) truth is women are as capable of sexism as men are. There is sometimes a component of mismatched expectations based on gender. For a related example, if I invite my own personal BFF every other week at the latest for dinner, I don't expect a similar return invitation, because he is a god awful cook. (We are in fact relieved that he recognizes this fact and doesn't try to cook for us. Mr. Mimi has expressed this to me on more than one occasion explicitly. Seriously. I kid you not.) My BFF reciprocates as he can by inviting us for pricey steaks or gourmet antipasti once in a while, or with a bottle of good wine and more expensive birthday presents than we tend to get him. If you're shallow, you can just put a price tag on it, but emotionally, you really can easily tell he appreciates our friendship, and all the invitations we extend to him, and that in turn makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. So, yeah, he's at the top of our guest lists.

But with certain friends (who theoretically have more in common with my skill set, or entertaining space, or financial situation), I do tend to notice and eventually adjust my guest list when my invites far exceed what we see in return. (I'm very tolerant of some differences, it's my own fault after all if I keep inviting people, but when they get too major... Good grief, people, you could offer to bring a salad, bottle of wine, or dessert once in a while or something if you're not inclined to return an invitation. Just a thought.) I like to think that's not really a gender thing in my case, because I know some decent male cooks, but down to their individual talents in the kitchen, but either way, the more similar a person is to you, the more likely you will eventually look at them askance if they contribute/achieve/yield/whatever-you-wanna-call-it less than you are.

So maybe Hostess is more forgiving and tolerant of playing hostess to you than to the female BFF? Over time, that can change relationships a lot.

 

You're so properly and adorably British sounding it makes me smile.   The spoilers are hilarious andplusalso? If *you're a bit of a noodle* is harsh, I need to get the hell outta here, fast. lol.  I loved the rest of the post too, like DisneyBoy I wasn't thinking of the logistics from the hostesses' perspective, great points.

@goodbyeglittergirl I'm so so sorry you're going through this honey.  Agreeing with DeLurker about all of it.  Even if we don't have any practical experience with exactly what you're dealing with, this is a great sounding board, I hope you can at least have some outlet by talking here.  

On 6/17/2016 at 5:07 PM, goodbyeglittergirl said:

if I could just work on all of that, perhaps he could find it in his heart to try and love me again.

Wrote and erased the sentence I typed out.  It's easy for me to say because I'm not involved but baby girl? he does NOT deserve you. I hope you don't spend a day from this moment forward wondering whether or not he ever did.   It's hard to do while you're reeling but your priority, including and especially taking care of yourself, is his legal responsibility to those babies.  He thinks you'll be too devastated and financially crippled by losing the prize that is him to protect your children immediately.  You can prove him wrong, today.   Unemployed people are amongst the groups eligible for free representation through your county's legal aid association.  I'd love to keep hearing how you're doing.

@JTMacc99 Jesus.  How did you get through this?

@krimimimi  I don't know what this reaction to grief looks like either.  And I don't want to try and justify it but I do wonder if it's like some sort of fugue state?  Is he even aware what's happening, what he's saying and doing?  Does he have moments of lucidity?  I'm praying for all of you, it sounds absolutely terrifying.  

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1 hour ago, ZaldamoWilder said:

@JTMacc99 Jesus.  How did you get through this?

One lousy day at a time. I mean, it was kind of building towards it anyway, so I was somewhat prepared. Like I said, talking to a professional was THE BEST thing I ever did. It gave me perspective on what was going on not just in my head but in everybody else involved.  I have certain strengths, such as the ability to compartmentalize shit, which allows me to concentrate on fixing or maintaining only what I can possibly deal with at one time. At this point, I have not much left to accomplish, but there are still a couple scary steps left.

And by the way, my latest motto is "Being strong sucks."  You can admire a person for getting through his or her challenges, but you also need to realize that person never wanted to be in the position where he or she was required to be strong. (It's like the way a person doesn't "win" a medal of honor, a person is awarded it. Because that person exhibited bravery in the most awful situation you can ever imagine.)

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20 hours ago, krimimimi said:

So I've been busy. Phoned around a bunch and Mrs. Driver will be back in town at the end of the week, and we'll phone the women's center again for an appointment. They've got councilors that can help, and she's agreed to go, and asked me to come with her. That's fine by me, because I think it increases the chances she'll actually go.

Krimimimi, going to a counselor is probably the best thing she can do right now, because the counselor will be able to give an objective opinion to her about her husband's behavior. I am unsure why, but no matter how much you might know yourself that your spouse is behaving like a BSC person, and how many times one or more of your friends says the same thing, it doesn't seem to sink in completely until an outside party tells you, that yes, your spouse may well be at risk for violence. Over the course of my career, I've had two colleagues who were shot and killed by their husband/boyfriend, and even though I was not really friends with either of them, it was hard not to wonder if things might have turned out differently if either had felt she could confide in someone about escalating tensions at home. And in both cases, the person who pulled the trigger was not someone anybody would have imagined as violent, but a huge amount of stress can make people behave in unexpected ways. To add to the horror, the husband killed his wife and then himself in front of their kids, and the boyfriend killed my colleague and then himself, leaving the bodies to be found by her teenage kids. So, if your friend feels scared of her husband, she needs to trust her instincts. Even if her husband somehow returns to normal in the next few days, he needs to understand that he made her afraid enough that she felt endangered, and then he needs to get himself in to see a counselor.

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9 hours ago, JTMacc99 said:

And by the way, my latest motto is "Being strong sucks."  You can admire a person for getting through his or her challenges, but you also need to realize that person never wanted to be in the position where he or she was required to be strong. (It's like the way a person doesn't "win" a medal of honor, a person is awarded it. Because that person exhibited bravery in the most awful situation you can ever imagine.)

So well stated and how I wish more stopped to realize this before they urged their friends or relatives to "be strong."  You do what you have to do but you are right, it sucks.

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So, if your friend feels scared of her husband, she needs to trust her instincts. Even if her husband somehow returns to normal in the next few days, he needs to understand that he made her afraid enough that she felt endangered, and then he needs to get himself in to see a counselor.

 

Yes. YES. When your partner is so disconnected they don't notice when they are scaring you, or worse don't care, that is an issue no amount of time will fix. You NEED to remove yourself from the situation and not return until it's clear, if it ever is, just what was going through their mind.

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On June 29, 2016 at 1:38 PM, JTMacc99 said:

At this point, I have not much left to accomplish, but there are still a couple scary steps left.

So I'm in a sharing mood...

As you can probably piece together from what I said above, I've been separated for a long time and am finally ready to finish the job. For me, the issue has always been to get to a place where I felt like my kids would stay with me in the house we've been in all along and feel normal . And when they stayed with their mom, she would be in a safe comfortable place that would also seem normal. (There are a lot of layers to why that has been a lot harder than I made it sound.)

That's what kept me going, maintaining a normal life for my kids. It is also what held me tethered.  So when I realized we had hit that moment at the end of last year, I allowed myself to consider doing something about having a social life. And as it turns out, I realized that I never considered that I have never put new boundaries on my divorce to-do list. 

Over the years, she led her life, I lived life. Separate. As time passed, peace and cooperation between us parenting developed. But interestingly when I reflect on it, the fact is, I went YEARS where the 9 hours I was at work for the five work days was the only adult contact I had. Every other hour was spent in the company of two young children. I also chose to not share my life with friends or family, so I just ended up really alone. 

So I guess I didn't care to set up proper boundaries. Never removed each other from Facebook for example. Don't mind chatting for a few minutes when we cross paths when kids are being handed off. Honestly, it was the only adult contact I had, and as unhealthy as it probably was for me, it was better than nothing. 

Ugh. Just another lousy conversation to add to the list. Not to mention that this realization of where I am right now causes me to be completely withdrawn back into where I've been for so long. This has been a hell of a journey. For most of my life, shit just sort of worked out for me. I was like Jerry on Seinfeld, "Even Steven".  This chapter of my life, nothing just works out. Every single piece requires focus and sacrifice. 

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7 hours ago, JTMacc99 said:

Over the years, she led her life, I lived life. Separate. As time passed, peace and cooperation between us parenting developed. But interestingly when I reflect on it, the fact is, I went YEARS where the 9 hours I was at work for the five work days was the only adult contact I had. Every other hour was spent in the company of two young children. I also chose to not share my life with friends or family, so I just ended up really alone. 

So I guess I didn't care to set up proper boundaries. Never removed each other from Facebook for example. Don't mind chatting for a few minutes when we cross paths when kids are being handed off. Honestly, it was the only adult contact I had, and as unhealthy as it probably was for me, it was better than nothing. 

I'm not sure why chatting with your ex while handing off kids would be unhealthy or a symptom of not setting up proper boundaries. If one has to err one way or another, between being friendly with your ex versus getting into arguments with the ex in front of the kids, then being friendly/civil enough to chat seems far preferable. But if the point is that you didn't have friends other than your ex outside of work, I can see that as a problem.

Many years ago, while in grad school, I made the mistake of having my entire professional, social, and romantic life all tied up in the university. I was working for the university while finishing my master’s degree, my friends were all people I had met in grad school, and I was in a relationship with a professor from another department.  When I finished my degree, I realized that if I was no longer attending/working at the university, I would no longer automatically have the professional and social ties that I had taken for granted. While I did maintain friendships with some of the people I had met there, I made it a point to never have my entire life wrapped up in one little bubble like that again. So although I do have friends now that I made through work, I try to keep a balance of having non-work friends, staying on good terms and at least occasional contact with former managers/colleagues, and keeping my mostly nonexistent romantic life completely separate from work.

I was a single parent for a long time as well, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of not having any adult contact except when you are at work. I can only encourage you to try to find activities that you can enjoy that will bring you into contact with other adults, and make time for yourself to do those activities.  If you spend all your non-work time taking care of only your kids and not your own needs, sooner or later you will resent that sacrifice. My mantra on this is you have to take care of yourself to be able to take care of others, and taking care of yourself includes time for your own social life.  I’m not in any way advocating that you turn into a social butterfly, but for starters, can you schedule one activity for a couple of hours a week to go to for your own benefit? Not for the kids, but for you.

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16 hours ago, BookWoman56 said:

I'm not sure why chatting with your ex while handing off kids would be unhealthy or a symptom of not setting up proper boundaries. If one has to err one way or another, between being friendly with your ex versus getting into arguments with the ex in front of the kids, then being friendly/civil enough to chat seems far preferable. But if the point is that you didn't have friends other than your ex outside of work, I can see that as a problem.

It's realistically the only time we talk, but because we aren't divorced and officially created two different piles of Mine and Yours (both stuff and virtual stuff), it all just comes across as if we are far too comfortable with the way things are intertwined.  I didn't see it through my eyes until I saw it through somebody else's eyes.  And now I don't want to even bother trying to bring somebody into my life and try to explain it. I just need to put my head down and do what needs to be done, on my own for just a little while longer. I hope.

And yes, you are correct in a way about not having friends outside of work.  I have a wonderful group of friends from college, but we are far flung physically, and being middle-aged men, we're not exactly the pick up the phone and have heart to heart conversations kind of people. I have found that I FAR prefer talking to women these days.  Talking about sports, trading funny stories and the occasional relationship stuff with my old friends is enormously rewarding when I get to do it a couple times a year, but that's not really what I crave right now.  

It was suggested to me that I get myself involved with Meet Ups to go meet some new people.  In theory I like that idea.  In practice, ugh. I mean, I'm perfectly acceptable at the moment with the way I look and ability to carry a conversation, but also, I'm not overly thrilled with the idea that I'm forcing something to happen.  It just sounds like I'm bound to make friends just because I NEED to make friends. That can't end well.

@stewedsquash I accept your offer. But you should know, my therapist last week told me that perhaps I like the idea of being the white knight, and that maybe it would be nice to let that go and just let somebody take care of me for the first time in forever. I'm really not sure if I'm capable of that.

Oh, and a follow up to my "Being Strong Sucks" motto:  "Being emotionally developed ain't all it's cracked up to be either."  I think I might rather be a big dummy who punches pillows when shit gets sideways with no easy answers.

Edited by JTMacc99

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My vent -  I'm not much of a cook.  I CAN cook, but I get bored, and I don't want to do it every day.   For the past several years, Hubby and I, in the past, have had different schedules, we eat together when we can, it hasn't been a big deal.  We both had jobs, and we staggered hours so one of us was home with the kids when possible.   Now, circumstances (I'm working less) are that I am home more in the evening.   we've been married forever, the last kid has recently left the nest, so it's just the 2 of us.  I've been cooking more.   Not always homemade from scratch, but certainly putting forth some efforts in meals, including planning, shopping, picking up a dessert, or making a salad, etc.   I have told hubby that since I am not and never agreed to be a "homemaker", I would like some appreciation for my efforts.  When he cooks dinner, I always thank him, and clean up the dishes.   Now that I am cooking a lot more, he - eats it.  Then goes back to tv.  If I ask how the dinner was, he responds that it was good, but he does not say anything unless asked.  Nor does he get up and offer to help clean up.   (When I am cleaning up, he says " oh, I was going to do that"). 

I pointed out that I always express appreciation for stuff he does.  He takes care of my car, I thank him, he changes a light when I ask, carries something, I thank him.   I'm not asking for much - just "thanks for cooking" will do.  Otherwise, I feel taken for granted.  Is it too much?   If I am out, and not home at dinner time, he'll make himself a sandwich or a frozen dinner.  Maybe get fast food if he feels like it. But if I'm home, and he's working, I make sure there is dinner. when I point out that once again, he didn't say thanks, he replies with some exaggerated "oh that was the best dinner I've ever had, thanks, I can't stop eating it"  that reeks of sarcasm, or at least insincerity.  He says he just "forgets" to thank me.

For a lot of women my age, putting dinner on the table is a routine, something they've done forever, and maybe it's no big deal.  I don't expect thanks for dusting, vacuuming, laundry, or anything like that.   But when I'm COOKING, I'm making something I think he would like, it's not a rote task that I've done a thousand times.  There's some thoughts, some creativity, involved.  I guess I just want him to acknowledge it.

A small rant, he's otherwise a good guy, and does a lot around the house, and works full time.  I guess I'm trying to teach an old dog new tricks?  but really, a "thank you"  goes a long way with me.

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Backformore, I understand where you're coming from with wanting to be thanked for doing something you haven't previously been doing on a routine basis. One question, though, if your husband thanks you every time you make dinner (which sounds as if it's becoming frequent), won't that expression of gratitude quickly become just a rote response rather than a sincere appreciation of your efforts? While I agree that he should thank you, I can see that doing so 4-5 nights a week would get old for both of you. Second, if you're cooking, and he is eating and then going back to watch tv and leaving the cleaning for you to do, despite the token protest that he was "going" to do it, you might try leaving the kitchen mess for him to clean up. That is, after you finish dinner, just say that he will need to clean up since you cooked, then go watch tv yourself, read, do whatever, but don't start cleaning up and making it easy for him to avoid doing so. Many couples use a "one person cooks, the other person cleans" approach to this situation. In your situation, if the lack of appreciation continues, I'd quit cooking for him as much as you are. Let him fend for himself for dinner. 

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Backformore, I can totally relate! I do all of the meal planning, grocery list making, and all of the cooking that doesn't involve sticking a frozen pizza in the oven or boiling water for pasta. Oh wait, I'm wrong - my husband finds a recipe to make for his lunches all week and cooks that. He insists it's because I'm a better cook and he's slow so we won't eat until late. I've asked repeatedly for him to pitch in but there's always an excuse (my favorite is that I didn't invite him to participate in the menu planning. What the what?!). The thing that really gets to me is that I don't even like eating dinner, which he knows and granted isn't his fault, but it still irritates that he expects it and pouts when I don't want to make anything.

Whew, thanks for letting me get that off my chest!

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You can always try what my mom did once. She asked my dad what he wanted for supper, and he said, "Whatever you want to fix." So she didn't cook supper and just ate an apple herself. He never answered that way again. (I don't know if he ever thanked her for cooking. Possibly. I can't remember.) Of course, she also refused to cook anything that took more than 20 minutes of work on her part.

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So I've probably mentioned this a few times in these forums that I'm a big supporter of talking to professionals when things get tough.  Maybe you are the one who is suffering from some sort of depression, trauma, or other issue big or small.  Maybe you are in a relationship of some sort with a person who is suffering. It doesn't really matter in my head; I just feel that talking to somebody who can listen to what you are saying and help you get your arms around the core issues is just about the best thing you can do.

I went regularly for a long time, and eventually I settled into something like an every 5-6 week touch base schedule. In the last month, some shit hit the fan, and I am so grateful that I maintained my contact and am able to check in a lot more frequently while I try to cope.  So, here's a really neat thought I got from my last check-in:

When a person goes through a long difficult stretch, and this could be a bad relationship, caring for somebody going through a long illness, recovering from a trauma, or something like that, picture that person like one of those flat sponges you can get at the dollar store. When that sponge finally gets a little water, boom! The sponge pops up and becomes full size.  For the person, the water is feelings. Shit you haven't felt in a long time. It all comes back, and you soak it all in and don't want to live without it again.

Of course, the dark side is what happens if something goes wonky with your water source?  There is no logical way to talk your way through this one, because the sponge is filled with emotions as opposed to facts. You just have to deal with them. The thing that you can't change is you're opened up again. Time to start soaking in the world again.  

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Ok I wasn't sure where to put this but had to type it somewhere because I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I posted some of it on Facebook, but not all and I really need to let it all out and just hear words of encouragement, if possible.

Yesterday, while I was en route to meet a friend for dinner, I was side swiped by another car. Even though from the damage, you can see that she clearly hit me, no one was found at fault by PD. Thankfully no injuries.

Today as I was driving to work, I got a flat tire. I was only a block or two away from work so I decided to just ride it out and ended up fucking up my rim. Sigh. When I left work, my car stalled out twice and my phone was dead. Thankfully, was able to flag down two non-serial killers to help give me a jump so I could make it home safely.

My (I guess now-ex) boyfriend works with me. He works in the front office and I work in the field. Its sort of an open secret, as he doesn't want people to know, but some have figured it out anyway. He is about 23 years older than I am. I am 33, he is 56. His car broke down about a year ago and he went through some tough financial times so he is saving for a new one now.  He also has a mean jealous streak. He has stopped speaking to me on several occasions for laughing at my male supervisor jokes ("flirting"), congratulating two male employees on their promotion (one is gay, the other happily married), and going out to lunch with a male co-worker who he knew I was friends with prior to our dating. I literally only just went to pick something up from Subway. That male co-worker is also known to be in a serious long-term relationship and casually asked and the Subway is right around the corner.

So heres what happened today. My "ex" works 9-6, I work 2-10. He asked me to pick him up lunch and if he could borrow $10, as he did not have time to get cash before work. I said, sure no problem. He wanted Burger King, I got it, put the $10 in the bag and took off for work. As mentioned upthread, the flat happened. So part of the reason why I wanted to get to work to call AAA is because I wanted him to have his food and money. So I come hobbling in, and the male employee I'm training now ( who he was upset about me having to train) insists on changing the tire. I said no, I'm good, I'll call AAA. He keeps insisting. I go up front to my supervisor w/the trainee to get him assigned to someone else while I wait for AAA. My supervisors and X  all share an office and he hears everything that goes on. I explain I have a flat and will need to call AAA and he will need to go with someone else. Trainee is still insisting to change the flat, saying "I can do it, no problem". Supervisor says "Yeah, why don't you just have him do it?" I say ok, and walk out. Get my spare out, leave my trunk open so he could put old tire in, walked away and did other tasks. Apologized in advance to boyfriend, saying I tried to call AAA.

He is not hearing it, insisting I'm a "whore, who will say yes to anything". Wondered why I didn't just leave the car parked and locked somewhere else and give him the keys to work on the car when he got off. Could of left them in the food bag, he said. Wondered why I didn't go call out/come in late to get tire repaired (all I could think about was bringing him his food/money and getting to work). So now he says I'm a "whore, who is screwing Trainee and that is why he cared so much to be helpful with my tire". Trainee is happily married w/2 kids. I was trying to be happy with him despite the jealous streak. He just saw me and spent the night after my accident yesterday. Told me to never contact/speak to him, or even look at him again. 1st time ever that he blocked my number. Best part? He didn't eat the burgers, and claims he didn't take the money, but it wasn't in the bag, so someone stole the $10.

So I now need a rim, tire, battery, plus get the body work done and I'm out of a boyfriend. I thought after a year he would be getting better with this. I'm at a loss and feel on edge with all the shit going on.
 

Edited by AgentRXS
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You're not missing shit by being out the boyfriend.  His abusive behavior is entirely on him, not you, bottom line.  I want to preempt any "you've kept him around for a year?" piling on, because there's a whole lot of psychology going on here; what matters is that he's gone - and stays gone.  He's not going to "get better," because he's fucked up.  And there may be a terribly sad reason for that, and the best-case scenario is that he recognizes himself as an abuser and takes the necessary steps down the long road to recovery.  But he needs to do all that without you.  I encourage you to contact a domestic violence hotline for a referral to a local counselor  who specializes in this area.

And, yes, it's abuse.  Seriously -- a textbook case.  He's irrationally jealous, possessive, and controlling, he runs hot and cold, and he twists perfectly normal situations into betrayals on your part, making you apologize for stuff that is not remotely inappropriate and blaming you for "making him" get upset with you.  I hope he's never gotten physical with you, but the absence of physical violence doesn't stop it being abuse.  Run like the wind, because it will only escalate.

Seriously.  Get the car fixed, yeah, but also get yourself whatever help you need to permanently extricate yourself from this man.  Don't be embarrassed to involve your mutual employer in protecting you.  Don't "oh, it can't be that bad" second-guess yourself out of a restraining order when he starts seeking you out again.

Get.the.hell.out.  And surround yourself with experienced people who can help you understand what's going on and protect yourself. 

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Thank you for the not piling on. And thanks for clarifying that it is abuse. I felt for him because he said his last 2 girlfriends cheated on him so I gave him a lot of leeway. But every time I placate him, something else sets him off and I'm left wondering what the hell I did and if I'm crazy to think he's being irrational. Apologizing (even though I don't think I have anything to apologize for) never works and just pisses him off more.  You are right, even though it hurts like hell now, I have to realize I will be better off in the long run by him not speaking to me.

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