Facing an Inner Debate Between a Sh*tstorm and a Clusterf*ck

stay-or-go

“Morality is the basis of things and truth is the substance of all morality.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

Dear Precious Readers,

I’m not what the repercussions for placing a Futurama-themed meme with a Gandhi quote are, but hopefully it’s all good.

As most of us know, life is complicated.  Tack on adolescence, dating, breakups, school, jobs, adulthood, marriage, kids, taxes, home ownership vs. renting, taking care of aging loved ones, etc.

What do you choose when someone places you in an impossible situation? A complete lose/lose? One where due to someone else’s actions, it sticks you with a moral and ethical dilemma, that will potentially make you the bad guy?

A friend of mine was placed into one of these no win, practically impossible to solve, situations. I won’t even provide this person a nickname, to give my friend and the other people involved their much needed privacy on this issue. However, it is weighing heavily on my heart and in my mind, and I propose the question to you as well. Although I’ve already nicknamed this friend in prior posts, for today, we will leave this friend as Friend X.

X spent several years studying for her hard-earned, and well deserved degree. As with many college students, X met others in her chosen field. This included a significant other we’ll call “Guy.” X and Guy grew from friendship during school, and briefly dated. This relationship included X meeting Guy’s family. Fairly serious. As time went on, X and Guy realized they were not destined to remain in a romantic relationship, opting instead to maintain a platonic relationship.

Over the next two years, X and Guy remained friends, Guy found a girlfriend who soon became Wife. X, Guy, and Wife all stayed friends with each other, and even kept in touch. X and Guy graduated, X moved back to Washington from school, and Guy stayed in their alma mater’s state with his Wife.

Fast forward eight years: Guy and Wife have two children, X is comfortable in a successful career, and periodically they all contact each other to see how life is treating them.

Guy had an opportunity to travel to the West Coast, and in doing so, called up X to reconnect after years of not hanging out face-to-face. X, being the friendly person X is, said “Sure!” and they decided to meet up for coffee. They arrive, had great conversation, laughed about life and love, all of the normal things a person does when reconnecting with old buddies.

As the conversation flowed, X was feeling like life was pretty darn good. Apparently, so was Guy, as he proceeded to then hit on my friend, X, inviting X up to Guy’s hotel room.

Yes, you read that correctly. Guy is still married, and still has a family of two kids with Wife.

X is a highly moral and ethical person. At Guy’s (indecent) proposal, X immediately said “No,” and things turned awkward. X got up from the table and left. All the while, Guy is apologizing and begging X not to tell Wife about Guy’s indecent proposal.

I was sitting at home, vegging out for a typical Friday afternoon to settle in for the weekend, when I received a text from X asking if I could meet up with her. After sorting out time and location, I met up with X and fell subject to X rehashing the uncomfortable events with Guy.

Thus came the dreaded question…

uh-oh

“What do I do? I feel horrible. Do I tell Wife? Do I let it go?”

I told X the following:

  • This is not your fault.
  • This is GUY’S fault.
  • I’m so sorry this happened.
  • I’m sorry Guy didn’t respect you, Wife, or his family enough to make such a poor decision.
  • He’s an asshole for attempting to step out on Wife.
  • He may even be a “nice guy,” who decided he had an opportunity (temptation) and decided to see if he could get away with it. Even though he loves Wife/kids. Just thought this “one time” he’d see if he could have a secret to himself.*

*He may even be a great husband/father. He may have just been too tempted to see if this one time he could do something out of character. Either way, it was a bad decision whether it was a continual habit of his, or a one-time thing.

As far as what X should do?  Well, this gets tricky. As a woman who has been in a long-term relationship and marriage with someone, I had to basically ask myself the following questions and gave my opinions as such:

Would I want to know?
For me, the answer is YES. I would want to know.

 

What was my significant other like before we were serious?
Was that person a player? Have they been flirty their whole life? Have we recently gotten bored, angry, upset, resentful of each other? Has the other person shown lack of interest in me? Have I shown lack of interest in them?

What about our kids?
This doesn’t really apply to me, specifically, as I don’t have kids. However, I would be lying if I thought that having children as part of our lives wouldn’t have any impact on how I move forward after receiving news that, according to an outside party, my significant other attempted to get some physical attention outside of our relationship. If we stayed, would we get counseling? Would we separate? How would we create new lives for ourselves? How do you talk to your children about it? Should you mention it to your children? I’m not an expert and have no basis for providing advice.

heart-couple-sitting

Was it a one-time thing, or a long-term affair?
Now, I can’t speak for myself for either of these situations how I would react, as I have not had to face this particular situation before. Not belittling one betrayal over another, a betrayal is what it is, no matter how long it has been going on. That being said, there are relationships that are able to move past a discretion (or several). Each relationship is as unique as a fingerprint. I can’t say for myself.

And the overall question that everyone has to ask themselves:

Do I believe it?
I would take what was said, say thank you to the messenger, and end the conversation. After walking away, I would have to take in the messenger’s character into debate. I would have to take Pilot’s character into debate. Then, make a decision about our future together.

Pilot and I have a mutual understanding that we’re not just “desperate to not die alone,” we’re not “staying together because we’ve been together for so long,” it’s not “we’re together because I didn’t want to break up with you,” and we’ve agreed to never, “stay together because we have children together.” We make a daily conscious effort to choose each other as a life partner because we want** the other person.

We choose to say to each other:

  • I care about what happens to you.
  • I enjoy spending my time with you.
  • I value, treasure, and celebrate your existence as a human being.
  • How you feel has an effect on how I feel.
  • I feel better when you are happy.
  • I choose to support you emotionally because I want to.
  • I choose and make an effort to prove that I should be the person you can count on, because I want to be that person.
  • I find you continually, and increasingly, incredibly attractive and enjoy being around your divine buns.

Ok, that last part might have been TMI.

**Note, I said “want.” I did not say “need.” I never want to be needed or need someone else. I only need God. It’s up to God, Pilot’s choices, and my choices to be sure that it’s right to share our lives with each other.

SO, WHAT DO I/YOU DO?

All of these thoughts ran through my mind as my friend patiently waited form me to gather my thoughts and work them out in my head. The added factor was, since Wife was in a faraway state, there was no way for friend X to be able to talk to Wife in person. It would have to be via phone or email. This isn’t verbatim, but this is a paraphrased version of what I said to her:

“Well, friend X:  If it were my significant other (SO), I’d want to know. I don’t know what I’d do with that information after I was told, but it would depend on who told me, what the circumstances were with my relationship with SO and the situation SO was in when the incident occurred. It gets tricky since Guy and Wife have children. You definitely should tell her. It sucks and is horrible that Guy didn’t respect you enough and forced you into this rock and hard place. He’s an asshole and needs to be held responsible for his actions. I think you should tell Wife that you are in no way interested in him, that you refused him immediately, that you left right after it happened, and have made no contact with him since.

“You should be mentally prepared for one of the following reactions from Wife, and be able to live with it:

  • Wife blames you/freaks out and she cuts ties with you. You must be ready for that kind of reaction. It sucks, but it’s true.
  • Wife doesn’t believe you, calls you a liar, and she cuts ties with you.
  • Wife believes you, but she blames you/freaks out/harasses you. You need to be prepared to cut ties with her.
  • Wife believes you, thanks you for the information. She still cuts ties with you because it will be painful.
  • Wife believes you, thanks you for the information. She keeps in touch. (This would be highly tricky to navigate, and probably most unlikely.)
  • Some combination of the above.

“No matter what, however Wife reacts is on Guy and her. It has nothing to do with you. Guy’s terrible choice is what causes Wife’s reaction. Not you. Also, however she chooses to move forward with this information is between Wife and Guy. Whether they stay together or not, that’s between them. Either way, you are just the messenger, and it is not your fault. It’s GUY’S fault. We can only hope they choose to get counseling, or choose to be happy apart. Either way, it’s up to them to decide how to repair their own hearts. Not you. You did nothing wrong.

heart-safety-pin

I further offered that if X decided to write Wife an email, I’d be happy to go over it with fresh eyes to ensure nothing could be misunderstood.

Now, Precious Readers, as I said, friend X is an incredibly ethical and moral person. So much so, she tends to blame herself for things that are beyond her control. I’m sure if I asked her today, she’d still feel guilty. This is victim blaming. It is not her fault. Friend X: IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

So what happened?

A few weeks later, friend X and I got back together and had coffee. X shared that she ended up calling Wife and had a phone conversation.

It turned out this was not the first time this had happened between Guy and Wife. This asshat had tried to hit on one of his/Wife’s friends a couple of years earlier. At the time, they decided to work through it. Looks like another decision will have to be made.

Wife ended up thanking X. X had luckily adhered to my advice that no matter how much Wife wanted to further discuss the situation or require guidance of how to proceed, the decision should ultimately be made between Wife and Guy, and that X was “just the messenger.” Going any further into decision making was ill advised.

Did Guy and Wife stay together, you may ask? I have no idea. Their relationship direction is between them.

What would you have done in that situation? Leave comments*** below.

***ANY comments deemed victim shaming will be immediately removed from this blog. While I believe in healthy debate, I also believe in respectful debate. ANY comments deemed hurtful, shaming, blaming, or otherwise may and will be removed. Let’s keep it kind. When in doubt, be kind.

soothing the tempest

He steadies the tempest in my mind by using a smile. He heals my scars by just holding me. I struggle daily, saddened and distressed by fear. He listens. My nerves quake at sharing my dreams. The ones I’m afraid to admit to myself. He doesn’t bat an eye. He says the two words that soothe, a balm to my growing panic of the future: “I’m in.”

Thanks to God for making Pilot my minute-by-minute reminder of what a true love is. I hope to reflect a fraction of the love he shows me each moment of every day.

Here’s to 4 years of marriage, 11 years together, and to a lifetime of love. Happy Anniversary to my sweet Pilot!

he may not wear red underwear, but i’m ok with that

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Oh, wait… Yeah, it IS a plane. Never mind. <Shrug.>

Although it may technically be Sept. 15th at 1:00am, I’m still living in the past 24-hours of it being Sept. 14th. Sept. 14th marks one of the greatest days in history.  It’s Pilot’s birthday.

There are many reasons why I love Pilot, but this post would never be finished. So, instead, I thought I would write about why Pilot excels far beyond Superman.

1. He’s a sexy nerd.  Clark Kent was a mild-mannered English nerd. Writing for The Daily Planet, Mr. Superman himself was the geeky guy of the office, just short of Jimmy the photographer.  You may think that the reason I call my husband, Pilot is because his job is being a pilot. Well you’d be wrong.  Pilot is actually a special-education teacher. To this day, he amazes me his ability to connect with students who experience an exceptionally difficult time with learning, or developing the skills needed to improve. His love for science and math knows no bounds, to which I thank God for because I can’t succeed in science and math to save my life (although he and I did very well in an astronomy class together.

Me: What a great night! Ellensburg’s skies are so clear!

Pilot: Yeah! Here, let’s go to this field and setup. I’ll pour the hot chocolate.

Passerby 1: Hey! Is that a bong? It’s huge!

Me: <indignant, setting hands on hips and frowning.> No, it is not a bong. It’s a telescope. See? <points to eyepiece.>

Passerby 2: Sweet! Party time! <calls to friends in distance.> Hey! Check this chick out! She has the biggest bong I’ve ever seen!

Me: It is NOT a bong! It is a highly functional TELESCOPE! Look! You can see Venus and Mars, right there!

Passerby 1: Cool! It’s multi-functional!

Me: <shakes fist, screeching at Passersby 1 & 2.> Listen, cretins! Just because you’ve lost some brain cells does not mean you need to corrupt mine with your incessant insistence that my telescope is a device for drug use!

Passerby 2: Way to party little lady <pats the top of my head.>

Me: Argh!

Pilot: Sweetie, I think it’s time we move to a different field.

Just as Superman disguises himself to be a simple and plain man, but is all super-hunky man of steel in reality, my Pilot is a seemingly boy-next-door guy, but is superhero to children and helping them have a fighting chance in this world.  Plus, listening to him explain space’s gravitational patterns for each planet with his toothy-white grin is sexy as hell.  And besides, I’m the (maybe not-so-mild-mannered) English nerd in this relationship.

2. Ok, so he does fly a little bit. Like Superman, my Pilot is also, well a pilot. Before Washington changed its laws of age limitations for obtaining a pilot’s license, he took his first flying lesson at the tender age of 13. He literally flew a plane before ever driving a car. The way he’s better than Superman, is that for me to go flying with him, I don’t have to worry about someone looking up m nightie and freezing my crumpets off from the high altitude because I’m contained inside an ACTUAL airplane.

Me: <holds down ‘push-to-talk’ button> Wow! I’m flying an airplane… And I’m scared shitless right now. You can take the steering back now!

Pilot: <laughs.> You only had it for two seconds.

Me: <holds down ‘push-to-talk’ button and glares at Pilot.> Two seconds too long… Ooh! Nice yoke-work, Bacher! Why don’t you use those hands somewhere else?

Pilot: Sweetie, you need to stop pressing the ‘push-to-talk’ button because you just announced that to all local flying aircraft and the Tower.

Tower: Cessna 5210-AML, you’re clear to land… If your hands aren’t too busy.

Random pilot sharing airspace with us: <chuckles.>Yes, please keep your hands to yourself, Sweetie.

Me: <holds ‘push-to-talk’ button> Umm… I think they heard me.

Pilot: You’re still holding the ‘push-to-talk’ button, Sweetie.

Me: <still holding ‘push-to-talk’ button.> Oh. Sorry.

3. He has superpowers. No not actual, born an alien or dipped in toxic waste superpowers. But with one look he can provide a multitude of things: reassurance, giggle-inducing hysteria, empathy, one of the few people who can make me shut up once in a while if I’ve said something [insert favorite word here, such as weird, odd, annoying, ridiculous, etc.], and the occasional heat-induced glance that magically makes my clothes disappear. (Hey, don’t judge. I’m married and Superman had x-ray vision.  You really don’t think that Superman didn’t use it to his advantage just once?)

4. He’s talented. As Clark Kent was a journalist and fairly decent reporter, my Pilot is also extremely gifted.  Separate from his teaching and flying gigs, my Pilot is also an aviation photographer. Even better, he’s a good one!  Pilot has been published in a few magazines over the last couple of years, and also has written several blurbs on the aircraft subject in question.  He has a successful Facebook page and YouTube account where he also posts videos of his work, narrating and adding factoids to the videos for viewers to enjoy.

5. Lastly, but not at all in the least, he’s romantic. Superman had ladies drooling for decades, most of all a Ms. Lois Lane. And in this case, this little writer wised-up and realized that a kind, quiet and talented man was interested in me and I jumped at the chance at love, never regretting a day since. Thankfully, Pilot has made this relationship really easy on me by being just completely wonderful and supportive, even if I post stuff like this on the all-knowing interwebs. Even if the first Valentine’s Day card I ever received from him was signed, “I don’t care what they say. I think you’re pretty nice,” causing a temporary 2-hour argument between us.

Happy Birthday, Pilot! And I don’t care what they say, I think you’re pretty nice, too.

<blows kiss.>

Daily Writing Challenge

Day 14: FREE DAY! Write any scene you want!

Dear Diary,

Today I met the most impossible of all human beings! There I was, walking through the bookstore trying to keep my nonchalant, “Yes, of course I’m in the self-help section-there’s-nothing-wrong-with-that-it’s-a-perfectly-normal-thing-to-do” face. So what if I’m pushing into my latter-thirties and newly single? If someone wanted to excel in their profession, they would study for it. If someone was to perform a self tune-up of their car, they would buy a guide. So why not buy a book to help accelerate changing my single status?

While wandering the bookstore, trying to find a decently large covered book to disguise my purchase with, I bumped into a man at the mysteries/thrillers section.

“Oh! Excuse me,” I said slightly blushing at the blatant lack of focus on where I was going.

“Not at all, pardon me,” he replied. I took in the light hair and blue eyes framed by some very nice looking professor’s glasses. He was tall, wearing a slim fitting navy blue sweater and jeans. Hellooo Dr. Jones!

His head tilted slightly as he tried to glance at the title of my self-help-for-singles book, Single? So What? guide which had decided to hide itself behind my back.

“You know, if you want a really good read, you should try I’m Single and I Know It, instead.”

I blushed at the recommendation.  “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I said tucking a strand of my plain brown hair behind my ears. “I’m looking for a thrill- I mean, looking for thrillers. Oh look, there’s a great one!” I say as I pluck a random book from the shelf to the right of me.

He tilts his head to the side. “Hmm… So you’re into swashbuckling pirates who stealthily rip the bodices off of young maidens, huh? I would’ve pegged you more knights-in-shining-armor kind of woman.” I raise my eyebrows at the book I had just selected.

Sure enough, there was a shirtless pirate and a young wench who apparently had no problem or apparent discomfort from having her breasts shoved up to her chin, while the pirate’s swarthy hands were undoing the ties to the back of her very cumbersome looking satin corset. Quickly glancing up to the empty space that held the damning evidence of my random selection, I realized the shelf on my right had been historical romance instead of mystery/thriller. Shit and double shit!

“You know, all you need is a glass of wine and you’re probably set for the night,” he said winking of me.

Eyes narrowing, “Why of all the nerve! I-” I pause to straighten my back at this very nosy and appalling man.  I closed my eyes for a moment taking a deep, calming breath.

“Once again, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I am merely grabbing some reading material as a gag birthday gift for my friend, Lizzy, if you must know.” No need for him to find out that Lizzy is actually my dog named after my favorite romantic heroine, Elizabeth Bennett.

“Of course, my mistake,” he said, having the nerve to smile at me.

“Well, thank you. Now, if you don’t mind. I need to have these presents gift wrapped. I’m very busy and important, and must be going now. Ta!” Turning on my heel, I pause at the sound of his voice.

“Fantastic! I was busy getting this for my brother. We’ll go to gift wrapping together!” He said grinning at me.  Of all the rotten luck. Two years without a man and now I can’t get away from this one!

Together, we both walk to the gift-wrapping center’s counter and hand our items over to the customer service rep.

“Sorry about your friend. Is she going through a tough breakup right now?”

“Huh?” I blink at him.  “Oh! Yes!  Um… Right… Well, she’s recently gone through a divorce, which she’s very happy about, and is throwing herself a divorce shower,” I quickly spat out.  We both take our nicely wrapped presents, his book in pretty forest green with a gold ribbon, mine in a patterned wrapping paper covered in random letters of the alphabet and red ribbon.

“A divorce shower?” he says amused at my frustration.  “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that before.  What exactly does one do at a divorce shower?”  Oh come on! Can’t I just live this humiliation in peace? It’s bad enough I resorted to self-help guides, but does it really need to have a commentary squad like Mystery Science Theater 3000?

“Well it’s- um…” I sigh and throw my hands up in the air, waiving my ‘gift’ in the air. “Oh, hell. We both know the book is for me.  Look, it’s been a little nerve-wracking catching my bloody husband in my bed with my sister and I haven’t had sex in two years, all right?”

The man’s eyes widened as he stared at me.  A woman who had been waiting in line for the gift-wrapping services looked extremely uncomfortable.  “Um… I think I forgot to comb my cat…” she said as she inched away from us slowly, and then bursting into a slight sprint towards the main door.

I felt my face burning as red as a hooker in church.  Also waiting for him to run away from the crazy-cat-lady vibe I was giving off; to my surprise he actually was pretty nice about the whole freak-out scene.

“Wow. That must have been awful. Are you ok?” he spoke softly, his eyebrows slightly furrowed, deep in thought. All they did was focus on his glasses which were straightforward black frame, emphasizing the blue-ness of his eyes.

Another deep sigh escaped my lips. “Yeah, I’m good. Sorry about that. I had just moved here for him because he was offered a job at Boeing. We were living with my sister until we could find our own place.  Then… Well, you know…” my voice drifted off as I felt tears prickling at the back of my eyes.

“I’m really sorry.  Was just teasing before, but if I’d known…” he gave a slight shrug and palms up gesture of apology.

“It’s all right. Sorry for going all berserker on you,” I smile slightly.

He stifled a snicker, “Berserker? You’ve seen Clerks?”

“Of course, hasn’t everyone? I mean, Kevin Smith may be raunchy, a little out of my comfort zone sometimes, but nonetheless is an insightful writer and commentator of life in our generation,” I state matter-of-factly.

The man stares at me again, this time in wonderment. “Wow, I think I may have fallen in love with you a little bit. Most women can’t look past goofy comedy movies like that.”

“Oh… Well, that’s just, really nice,” I say flustered at this man’s response.

“I’m Elliot. Elliot Helmsworth,” he says sticking his hand out to me.  Grasping his palm, I reply, “Claire. Claire Whitmore.”