Monday, August 01, 2005

Fun stuff over the weekend

Hey - I really did go have some fun on Friday. (Can you believe it???) We went and hung out with my future sil and her boyfriend. They are a Brady Bunch of sorts, she has three children and he has two, and it just so happened that neither had any children in the house, so it was party time at their place.

And... I met a guy who is a painter, so I've basically hired him unless his price comes back ridiculous.

I learned a very valuable lesson at the end of that night... I will be far more careful what I discuss openly with that future sil. She complained to me a couple weeks ago about her boyfriend's ex wife refusing to take care of their children while he went away on a certification trip for some school thing he's been working on. His parent's wouldn't or couldn't take them either. She was bummed because it would have been a weekend all to herself. (What girl doesn't dream of that?) But instead she was with a six year old and a two year old all weekend. Dreams of bubble baths and long naps in silence became a reality of all that comes with tending to small children. So in this original conversation, I told her that her bf was lucky, cuz I'd have refused. Having been through a divorce and knowing full well how people can't play nice with each other after the fact, I'd have refused to be a pawn in the game that is her bf's divorce situation with his ex. Further, I'd have refused to sacrifice my sacred weekend of peace in that given circumstance. (From what she said, he pretty much just assumed she'd take care of them as if they were her own kids, and didn't really discuss it much. Just made plans for his trip and left.) So I didn't say that he was horrid for "expecting" her to watch the kids. I simply told her he was lucky to have her because I'd have refused to do it if it were me. Big difference.

In that same basic weekend, we also talked about his funky habits of disappearing in a free for all bar hop with buddies and showing up at 5 a.m. or not at all. (Again, of course, a conversation she initiated.) This would not fly with me if it happened on a regular basis with a live-in bf that I was supposed to be planning a future with. Oh no. Not a chance. I wouldn't up and take off on a drinking binge and show up at 5 a.m. leaving a significant other to worry about me even once, much less on a regular basis. And, I and any potential sigificant other do not have small children at the home we'd share either. That just seems to make it even worse. Well of course I told future sil that I wouldn't stand for that crap. I'm not going to lie to her. I hate dishonesty. So she went on about how she's working on herself right now, and learning to control feelings of anger that don't serve any good purpose. Sounds good so far. She explained that getting angry and fighting or yelling at him didn't help him with the problems he was having, nor did it do any good for their budding relationship, nor did it do any good for her. She seemed to be seeking a response or some sort of acknowledgement of her efforts, so I gave her one. I told her the truth. I said it was great she was working on controlling her emotions and emotional responses, but it didn't make much sense to turn your cheek to just about anything just to avoid feeling anger. I could use a little more patience and understanding myself, but that doesn't mean I'm going to let anyone walk all over me. I mentioned the importance of having personal boundaries, which are so essential for any successful relationship of any kind. I happen to be one who has a history of not being good at establishing and enforcing personal boundaries, and I've been through multiple therapists working on this very issue. So while that doesn't make me an expert, it does give me a background understanding that tells me having no boundaries in an attempt to stop yelling and/or feeling and expressing anger is a very very bad thing. Even if it's part of working on yourself. Boundaries are important. Again, I was honest. I hate dishonesty.

But there are a few things I hate worse than dishonesty. Vicious gossip. Spineless behavior. Strategically placing blame on others. There's just a few.

So in the middle of Friday night's activities, the gals, meaning future sil and I, went inside. The boys, meaning my honey and future sil's bf, along with the neighbor boy who came over to play too, played darts in the garage. It was a beautiful night.

While the gals were in the house chatting away with girl talk, the future sil's bf made several attempts to engage my better half in a discussion about me. He was particularly concerned with my having expressed feelings to fsil that he was treating her like a "doormat," and also with my having had a "problem" with him leaving his kids with her when he went on his certification trip. He said several times that he thought it was time he and I had a "conversation." My man simply avoided the conversation and continued the dart game. However, he did encourage fsil's bf to go ahead and talk to me about things if he had issues. (Which I applaud.)

Now I will first say that fsil's bf will not have to hunt me down to have this conversation. I will find him. Possibly tonight. I'm very big on two things relevant here: one is COMMUNICATION and the other is not leaving silly dumb shit fester unecessarily.

So we leave their house on Friday, and head home, which is only about 8 blocks. On the way home, my honey tells me what was said during the dart game. He didn't say it in a gossipy way. He actually said that the bf might call or come over because he voiced some issues and a desire to have a private talk with me. It was only when I asked about it and prodded a little that the whole story came out.

Clearly my first reaction was similar to shock. What on earth was the bf even talking about? A doormat? WTF? I hadn't said anything directly bad about him in any way.

So I went home and thought about it... And I think I see it all clearly now. Fsil went ahead and told him about my assessment of her "working on herself" and witholding all feelings and actions of anger or frustration. What I said was that I wouldn't let people walk all over me. In their discussion, me saying that I wouldn't let people walk all over me seems to have transcended into me saying that he treats her like a doormat and walks all over her. Not quite the same statement. So sure, it's frustrating, but I see where it came from.

The other one is a bit more disheartening. It appears that I became the catalyst for a private conversation about where her responsibilities start and end. It appears that her attempt to stand up and tell him she was bummed about his simply leaving the kids with her as if they are her responsibility came out with a whole lot of emphasis on what I thought and felt. With a little of it even made up for good measure, since I never really expressed any personal dismay over him leaving. I only spoke in terms of my own boundaries. I would not have tolerated it if he were my bf.

So what she told him seems to be, in plain terms, a catty lie of sorts. I am surprised. I really thought she and I had a great friendship. I didn't think she'd stoop to speaking bad of me or "using" me for her own agenda in her relationship. She should be able to open her mouth and tell her bf exactly what she thinks and feels about things, and further, if the two are in love to any degree, everything should have room for compromise. Even carousing til 5 a.m. on a whim and sleeping the whole next day.

I don't judge either of them. Different strokes for different folks. If they are both happy in their given situation, then their situation shouldn't change. It's that simple. But I see red flags. Fsil came out of a bad marriage where she was very much overpowered and controlled. Her sanity came from the things in her life she could control. (Very common!!!) So it's highly possible that she's susceptible to falling into the same type of situation. And, it's highly likely that she, like so many of us gals, will focus on the nitty gritty details instead of the big picture. I've been there. I've made the biggest mistakes of anyone I know. But I've never had to open a conversation with my significant other by voicing an issue as someone else's judgment or opinion rather than my own. And, hopefully, my sigificant other really wouldn't give a rat's ass about anyone else's opinion on a private matter anyway.

So I will discuss this collection of misconceptions with fsil's bf, but I will not address this with the fsil herself. I've been very open and honest with her and I'll take this incident as proof that I need to smile and nod when she seeks opinion or approval rather than make her privy to my thoughts.

It's funny how trust works. Suddenly I have to think about her "version" of things as told to any other common parties. What does she really tell her mother?? (Who incidentally hasn't spoken to us since September 2004.) What does she really tell her father? If she's that manipulative with her bf, how manipulative is she with others?

I had sil drama in my past life with husband number one. This isn't my first rodeo. The drama stops here.

But I do feel bad. I'll pray she grows big enough kahunas to actually speak for herself in a relationship.


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