Sunday, May 08, 2011

I'm not really expecting that I'll actually GET your thoughts, but maybe this will make you think.

So I have a friend on the other side of the country that I've known for many many years, though we have only reconnected in the last six years. He's one of those friends where you can go for months without talking and then when you hear from them, it's like time never passed and you just pick back up where you left off and everyone is happy. Those are the best kind of friends, you know, because we all have lives to live every day and sometimes if you don't have the time to phone or email someone it doesn't mean you don't care, it just means you have your life to live. I am happy to say I have a lot of friends like that, but I also have friends that are NOT like that, and that can be a little tiring. But that doesn't really have anything to do with anything right now.

So this friend of mine has been married for something like eight years (which sort of pisses me off because long, long ago we both agreed that if neither of us were married by age thirty we'd marry each other. Remember when thinking that thirty was old enough to be worried about not being married? Wow, I sure didn't know shit back then, did I? But by the time we were thirty, we had both moved on to other lives and lost touch and really, when I turned thirty I wasn't really thinking about tracking him down.), and for the most part, this marriage has been more of a cohabitation of friends rather than marital bliss. The wife is kind of a slacker. I mean, she's probably really nice (I've talked to her) but she doesn't work and alleges she is too agoraphobic to go find a job (I say "alleges" because she smokes a whole bunch of pot and it's probably that she doesn't have a lot of motivation to go get a job and ruin this idyllic life she has created). The husband, my friend, on the other hand, is hard-working and responsible and well-educated and smart and really funny and compassionate. So basically he's getting taken advantage of.

Recently he reconnected with someone from high school and they have developed a bit of a relationship. She lives in another state. She's been single for years herself and apparently isn't the most ... confident person in the world when it comes to her looks. My friend is like the perfect guy for that kind of a chick, by the way, because he's all about the compliments and the self-esteem-boosting (he's had lots of practice). Anyway, prior to their situation moving on to the "next level" (sex), he sat down with his wife and had "the talk" (I will say that I had much to do with this - simply because I think living in a love-less marriage is craziness.). "I love you but I'm not IN love with you." So they have arranged and discussed divorce and living situations and the house and the dogs (there are no kids) and all the right things and then he went down to the other state and knocked it out with the other broad and he's all happy and shit and taking it slow and being all pursue-y with her (she's been a bit leary, though, and I don't blame her) and through all this I try to give him perspective on where she might be coming from because, you know, I'm a chick and have really good intuition about human nature.

MY POINT IN WRITING ALL THIS DOWN, however, is this: What's the first thing that popped in to your mind when you read all this? If this new chick was your friend and she asked you about him and the situation, what would you say? You'd say "Watch it - he's just coming out of a relationship and he might say just about anything to get in your pants." Or you'd immediately think there was something not quite right about this, even if you didn't know what. Because we are skeptical about this kind of stuff, in general. The chick was all happy (though cautious) and then she asked her dad for advice and he said, in no uncertain terms, Run, do not walk, away from this guy.

But see, I know this guy really really well and I know that his feelings are genuine. What makes him any different from the "right" guy? What's the difference anyway? How long is a person supposed to be out of a relationship before they morph into a good catch? Everyone has baggage, everyone past the age of twenty-five, anyway.

I think we make snap decisions about other situations based upon our own past experiences (Okay, we're supposed to do that) but I think we tend to staunchly defend our advice when asked for it. All men are pigs, right? All they want is to do the deed and then they'll drop you like a hot rock, right? Well, maybe not ALL men are like that. And I think it's important to note that there is a difference between "He IS out for one thing" and "He MIGHT BE out for one thing." I don't know, I think giving advice when asked is a pretty important task that deserves thought and consideration of all the facts. Because people who ask you for advice probably respect your opinion.

I'm just throwing this out there because last night I was thinking about how sometimes all we do is throw around our opinions and treat it like advice and don't realize that others might be really listening to what we're saying. And it might keep two people apart who really should be together. Or keep two together who really should be apart.

What IS my point? Hm. I don't know. I guess maybe spend less time yammering and more time really thinking through what you say to people and it just might make a difference in our already challenging lives. That's it. I'll go with that.

Any thoughts?


At 9:23 AM, May 09, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Intense situation. I do agree with you that we should all be careful when offering solicited advice (or unsolicited, for that matter). In this particular situation, I would have to defer to you and your experience and knowledge about what kind of man your friend is. If your gut feeling is that he is coming from an authentic and true place, I say to him and his new girl, "Mazel Tov!".

It sounds as though he handled his current situation with his wife honorably and honestly, asking for a divorce. Unfortunately, in these situations, one person frequently gets the shitty side and that can't be helped. Your writing illustrates him as the guy that will be mindful that this will be more painful for her than it is for him. That's sad and regretfull and needs to be handled gently by him.

That's all I can think of right now.


At 7:56 PM, May 09, 2011, Blogger JJ said...

Thanks, Becky (and he would totally understand your Mazel Tov, being that he is Jewish). It's a tough situation I think because the potential seems to leaning toward her father's advice. Of course he wants what's best for his daughter, but what a loss for her in the end.

At 5:53 AM, May 11, 2011, Anonymous RiverGirl said...

I've been married to Mr. Rebound for 10 years. Like you said, we all have baggage. But if we are doing our homework we learn from our experiences, our baggage level goes up but our self-knowledge does too.

I think by the time you are our age you know what you want, you can spot it a mile away, so why wait? Why hesitate? Why not go for it and be direct?

Statistically lots of people do not wait between relationships, society wants them to wait, but the reality is that we leave when we are ready to move on.

At 6:04 AM, May 11, 2011, Blogger JJ said...

Really good point, RG. That's the beauty of it - society has the rules in place, but reality motivates the one going for it. Reality seems to scare the other one off. It's silly. We're programmed, it seems, to play the game.

At 1:27 PM, May 11, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JJ, my son & his wife asked me for advice and HONEST opinion on an issue a couple years ago. I thought about it, told them my thoughts on the matter and it turned out to be a huge mistake. They were so "irked" at me, they packed up and left the home of "J.P.", and when I went out to walk them to the car, she placed her hand in my face, IN MY FACE, and said, "NOT YOU".... When "J.P." came back in the house, she was in tears and we talked about it.

Since then I have learned to say, if you want my advice and honest opinion, be prepared for what I have to say or don't ask at all. I believe in total honesty, but damn, am learning to "pick my battles".. it is hard to do at times, but I am getting better.

Would love to see you sometime soon....


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