“I've been accused of vulgarity. I say that's bullshit.”

I started the day off by reading my email, which is obviously a huge mistake anytime but today really proved the rule. In addition to a silly, friendly message from a solely-virtual friend across the pond, there was another that blew me away. My ex-boyfriend's wife (stop me if you've heard this before)...

This guy (I'll call him Mr C for Clueless) and I dated during high school. It was a typical high school thing, both meaningless and intense. Over time, it started to mean more than it had in the beginning, but we were both fickle and relatively popular, so it was doomed from the start. We went out, then we didn't, then he wanted to, then we did, then we didn't, then I wanted to...and repeat. It was Not Serious, and it was not all that it could have been, in any way whatsoever.

Shortly after I got married (I mean, a day or two?) he called me in the middle of the night. He'd heard through a mutual friend that I was married, and he was absolutely livid. Stationed on the right coast at the time, he angrily spluttered that if I wanted to be married so bad, I should've just let him know and he'd have flown out and married me for Christ's sake. It was stunning, flattering - and too damn late. Not that I'd have taken it all that seriously if he'd suggested it when it would have mattered, but it was absolutely too damn late by that point. We yelled at each other, we calmed down a little, and then he got incredibly pissed that I dared to tell him how flattering it was. We didn't talk for years after that.

Enter: Facebook. That which has ruined at least as many relationships as it's launched. I was a pretty late adopter, but joined in 2008 or so. Because we have 50 mutual friends and because we were, y'know, friends, Mr C and I connected pretty early. It was all pretty uneventful - we did the obvious "Remember all the stuff we know about each other?! Aren't we cool?!" phase, and then it faded. At some point he decided to push for something different, and although we talked about it, nothing ever came of it. For one thing, he's married. For another, we lived three states apart. For another, he has four young children with his wife. To whom he's married.

He also happens to be the cousin of a friend from high school, and the brother of a lovely lady, and the brother-in-law of another lovely lady, both of whom are my friends now. I had absolutely zero interest in making a mess out of that.

And so we were friends, and we did talk about seeing each other again - not dating each other again, but seeing each other. Like, friends.  But we did not. Had the opportunity, but didn't take it.

His wife found out. (This is the bit I've written before.) She went completely bananas, calling my parents and giving some BS story so that she could get my phone number. And then she called me. I was home sick with the flu or I'd have been at work and missed her call. I was thoroughly out of it and in no way expecting an utterly psychotic woman screeching at me on the phone, then crying, then not speaking (but refusing to hang up), then yelling, then asking for help.... It was dreadful. I was SO sick, I could barely tell what I was doing, feeling or thinking--I couldn't possibly help this woman, who was convinced that I was having an affair with her husband. She told me how he'd never given me up, how she knew I was "beautiful" and that she couldn't measure up, that she didn't know what she and their four children would do without him.

I told her (gently, I thought) that I didn't want him. That he is hers, and also he is NOT mine. And I am NOT his. I explained that we haven't set eyes on each other in years. I reminded her that they have kids together; why would some high school girlfriend be any competition to that?

We talked for a really long time, considering. I thought that I'd talked her down. I assured her that I although there was not and had not been anything between me and Mr C, that it was fine with me if she blocked me on Facebook from his account. (Yes, she'd snooped there, which is how all this crap came to light.) I assured her that I had no intention of seeing him, or trying to see him.

Several years passed. A couple of months ago, I got a friend request from him. It shook me, badly. I wondered what it meant. Was it a trap that she'd set? Was it an indication that they both had their heads on straight, and were ready for him to be friends with an old friend without it turning into the drama of the year? Was it nothing at all? I over-thought it and fretted about it for a good week before I acted. I decided that whether it was a trap (her thinking that I wouldn't accept unless I wanted something with him) or not, whether they had their shit together or not, I couldn't control any of it except myself. My wish was to be friends with him (all along) and nothing else. I accepted his request.

We were reconnected for a couple of weeks before I heard from him. He sent a message to see what was new. A lot has changed since we last knew each other. New jobs, new house, new location. We compared notes on mutual acquaintances. He complained about his wife. I was very, very coolly supportive - not starting anything, not being too agreeable, trying to remain as neutral as possible.

He asked me if we could meet, maybe halfway between. Get together for coffee and just talk.

I considered it. I weighted it carefully. I said no, that it would not be a good idea. What's the point of stirring a pot that's already muddy?

We went on being friends, sending a message now and then. After a couple more weeks, he wrote to say that he thought we shouldn't interact anymore, that it was messing with his head. That chilled me, and I agreed right away. We didn't have any communication after that, which was two or three weeks ago, maybe?

Until this morning, when his wife apparently read some or all of that--and concluded that I'm a "lousy whore" and a "marriage-wrecking tramp". She sent a message that was so full of vitriol and menace, I temporarily forgot that she posits herself as a superior Christian woman. She threatened to come after me and anything I hold dear, to ruin my life, and also to use the law to keep me away from her husband.

Who, you know, I've not actually seen in 23 years. Nor had any intention of seeing. And, in fact, actively chose to not see.

I realize that this is all subject to interpretation, and that any way you look at it, I made some poor choices. I've spent the whole day looking back at what I've done (and not done) and pondering how I would prefer that I'd behaved. I've analyzed conversations (none of which are available online anymore, thanks to my immediate blocking of both of them from my FB account and subsequent deleting of the email notification of her message) and considered alternative actions and results. I've thought about this literally all day.

And now I wish that I'd had a chance to tell her that she's fucking crazy, and a chance to tell him that he's about 25 years late growing up, and that they can BOTH go straight to Hell with my compliments. Whatever I've done (very little) and not done (rather significant) pales in comparison to their entirely dysfunctional manner of dealing with others, each other, and themselves. They totally deserve each other, and I just feel sorry that their kids have to be there while they spin in circles and do nothing but cause and revel in misery.

I try not to use this space as such a literal 'diary' very often, and I know that this post is legions from my norm. But if there's ever been an occasion where I really needed and wanted to get it all down, this is it.

[the title quotation is by Mel Brooks]

1 comment:

  1. Having been the crazy one, I can understand her side.... a little bit. But to come at you with such vitriol without even confronting the husband first is bad form. It's still inexcusable, but I was much younger and volatile when I was the crazy one.

    Mostly I just wanted to comment a Bravo to you, this was a wonderfully brave and interesting post. Keep the personal stuff coming. ;)