Relationships and collateral damage

I started thinking about this because of a few posts in the Shiny thread.

I used to live with a buddy and his girlfriend, his son and their 2-year old. (the latter was the easiest to get along with, made the least mess, and never had the police come to “visit” him).

But I really got sick of his girlfriend’s manipulations. (This is not an indictment of all women - most women I know are quite sane)

She often had migraines. Any offer of mine to help (like cook dinner, watch the baby, etc.), so she could go rest, was spurned. The moment her boyfriend walked into the house she would demand he do everything I had offered to do, and make snide comments about how inconsiderate I was.

She complained that the boyfriend wasn’t spending enough time with the baby. My buddy would take the baby into the garage, where we had our computers and an extra DVD player set up (so we could smoke). She would then get all snotty and passive aggressive. I had to explain to him that she didn’t want him to spend time with the baby, she wanted him to spend time with her. (although, thinking back, she might have also had a problem with me being around the baby)

And it didn’t matter if she spent the entire “time with meeeee” on Facebook or whatever. She would usually spend the entire “time with meeeee” ignoring him.

When I pointed out her manipulative behaviors, my buddy was in complete denial. No matter how many times she would bitch to him about me, no matter how many times I asked her if there was a problem, no matter how many times I told him point-blank that if she had a problem she could say it to my face, she just kept doing it.

And her mother, who would visit from out of town about twice a month, was worse.

I’m not saying that my buddy was as pure of intentions as the driven snow. He was an opinionated, borderline-bigoted, blithering idiot. He and I do not talk anymore, and I’m okay with that.

When I gave them notice that I was moving out at the end of the month, they treated it like a joke. When I actually did, they flipped out.

But I have seen too many p/a behaviors that some women use to manipulate and monopolize their significant others. Then again, I’ve seen plenty of the same in sex couples as well, sometimes from both sides.

Another relationship p/a behavior is what I call “divorce badminton”: when divorced or separated parents make sniping remarks about the other parent to the kids, knowing full well that the kids will tell the other parent at the first opportunity.

This is cruel, IMO. The kids will of course go tell the other parent, not out of maliciousness, but in a futile attempt to try to “reconcile” the issue. They’re already shell-shocked by the whole divorce/separation issue. Hell, most kids will tie themselves in knots trying to get Mommy and Daddy back together again.

I had a friend that told me he didn’t fully accept the divorce until his early twenties.I think I didn’t accept that things were over until my dad’s second replacement wife.

[quote=“ClockWorkXon, post:1, topic:850”]
But I have seen too many p/a behaviors that some women use to manipulate and monopolize their significant others.[/quote]
Sadly, I have been on the receiving end of that. It has to be one of the worst things I’ve ever gone through.

My step-kid’s dad freaked out when I entered the picture. His relationship with their mother was rocky before, most times nice, but she had to almost judo throw him once. But once I showed up he turned it all up to 11. Through the kids, his parents would tell them stuff they would repeat to us, and then he started leaving voice mails on he home phone cursing up a storm and non-threateningly threatening me. Which half the time the girls were home listening to the call when he left the message. I think they gave up on reconciliation a long time before I came along, the younger one was only 2 when they divorced, so there was no normal to go back to.

My wife still mostly refuses to play that game. There is the odd comment but mostly the girls have lived without him for about 8 years now, so a lot of times they’ll be the one throwing dirt and we have to correct them. For most functional purposes I’m the 17 year old’s father, I don’t insist that she call me dad or anything, but her real dad has no idea what’s going on in her life or who she is.

Hey, you met my ex-wife, though replace Facebook with Soap Operas, but mostly due to the fact that Facebook wasn’t around yet, I’m sure her new husband spends lots of time pretending to accompany her while she reads Twitmybookface.

Well, last week one of my neighbors had her boyfriend barred from the premises, permanently.

About the only difference this makes in their relationship is that they now have to conduct all their arguments under my window, rather than a third or more.

I would like to say that I don’t understand how two people who hate each other so much can stay in a relationship. I really would. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who cling to the “it’s their fault” and/or “this is the best I can hope for”.

I hope I’ve outgrown a lot of that, but you never know until you’re hip deep in it.

My neighbor is like that with her sons. Both 18 now, both graduated from High School, but for the last 4 or 5 years it’s been knock down drag out fights every 5-6 weeks or so.

I don’t know how you scream at someone that you fucking hate their fucking guts and they are the reason you have cancer and can’t ever be happy and then be sweet as pie the next day.

I’ve gotten in some knock down drag outs, but that’s ridiculous.

Very few people are honest enough to say “I’m having mood swings, but that’s no excuse for taking it out on you. I apologize.”

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II do get the occasional screw you impulse. I even understand the people who act on it. I don’t think anyone is a saint in that regard. I’ve pulled some jackass shit in my time. .

But, I don’t understand how this goes on for years and years and drags anyone around them into it and damages people who have nothing to do with it.Ten years down the road who gives a damn anymore?

Am I going to make my ex-wife’s life miserable? Hell no, I have better things to do. And it’s not this huge show of “I’ve moved on” frankly at this point she’s someone I shared some experiences with that left, so that’s over. I have more of a connection for my high school girlfriends than her.

I’m getting better at this, my spouse and I are both getting better at it. Not quite at the point where we’ll stop it before it starts, but we can stop it before it gets rough most of the time now.

I’ve gotten better at saying “Look, I need my space right now.” But it’s not a skill taught these days.

I guess I’ve been forced by circumstances to state what I’m feeling and what I need at the moment. Not circumstances that I would want others to go through, though.

I’ve had to learn to say that to my girlfriend when she gets too clingy.

And when you say it to her, how many times do you get the “but what did I do wrong? Why are you mad at me?”

I actually had one ex flip out because I walked out of our computer room, laid down on the couch and started reading a book. He was convinced that it had something to do with something he did or said.

I suppose one of the advantages of age is that I’ve finally realized that while it may still sometimes feel that way, not everything actually has something to do with me. Kids help with that too, but really just revolving around the sun for 40+ years drove it home finally.

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No, she usually would say “is everything OK?”. After I reassured her umpteen times that yes, everything was fine, she stopped. Her sister was a big help in this as her brother-in-law is an extreme introvert like me and so her sister was like “back off and give him his space when he needs it”.

Does she have a brother?

No, she does not.

I swear, our society is rife with wusses.

For crying out loud, if you don’t want to date/see/hear from somebody, have the decency to just say so.

Then again, our society is also rife with self-propelled manufactured melodrama machines©, so actually saying so would probably create a thousand screeching My LIfe is Over and It is All Your Fault™.

And of course there is the fact that the wusses and the M3 populations are damn near congruent.