Archive for September, 2013

16
Sep
13

Eschewing Drama

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Editor’s note: drama is something that I have been trying to weed out of my life but is a rather powerful force that is difficult to avoid. I started writing this particular blog entry in early August 2013, updated it in mid-November and mostly finished it in January, 2014. However, while loading a photo before posting, my computer crashed and all updates to my draft were lost. I got pissed & put it away again.  Now I’ve pulled it out because I feel the topic deserves attention, and because it feels weird to have written so much without actually finishing something. 

The fact is, drama can be exciting and engaging and blind us to the fact that what we’re really dealing with are toxic relationships. It’s often tremendously difficult to leave those and I could write an entire book about that!  I initially had planned to write three “chapters” that covered episodes of drama in my life that were currently troubling at the time that I started this draft. Particularly, I meant to address the “drama queens” that were actively seeking attention at the time – The Ex, The High-maintenance Friend & The Other Woman. I finally decided that I should make it three separate entries because the first “chapter” became quite long. But then something interesting happened. As I was finishing the first section today, I realized that the other two sections no longer hold much weight. In fact, they are barely worth writing about, let alone having their own entry. The ex hubby & I are getting along pretty well and I haven’t had a nasty-gram from him in months. The other woman barely exists in my guy’s life now  – largely because he has also been working on getting rid of drama and limiting unhealthy relationships. Perhaps setting boundaries gave me more strength than I realized. Maybe getting rid of one drama queen made the others fall away as well. –RD

It’s true. I’ve been accused if being a drama queen. I fully accept the fact that I’m loud, direct & I like to spin a good yarn. I wouldn’t have this blog if I didn’t enjoy sharing humorous & dramatic tales. But lately I’ve coined the term “save the drama for the opera & the end-zone.” It’s just not always a good thing.

Sometimes drama is engaging, fun, exciting and riveting. Sometimes it’s energy-draining, hurtful, negative, time-consuming, nasty bullshit. Too often we get stuck in a cycle of drama with friends and in romantic relationships and it can be really difficult to get out. I have a long history of taking on other people’s pain, tragedy, angst and worry. It’s great to have empathy and compassion, but the past few years have found me learning the boundary between being a supportive friend and being used as fuel in someone’s drama-fest. I’m also trying to learn to not escalate my personal conflicts into big, dramatic episodes. I try to avoid or at least not ramp up these moments of strife while at the same time, not allowing myself to be a doormat. I guess I’m learning to pick my battles. I’ve always been direct but I’m trying not to be aggressive. As for being passive-aggressive? I’m trying to do away with that altogether. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

THE FRIEND  Speaking of crap I don’t have time for, I recently cut a friend out of my life after what was simply the last straw for me in her constant flow of high-drama, self-absorbed, narcissistic incidents. Seriously. I used to refer to her as “my high-maintenance friend” and many of our mutual friends had already grown tired of her conduct and cut her off. When I first got to know her a bit I used to downplay her behavior by saying “she’s just young and has some maturing to do.” I cut her tons of slack. I felt like I took on a sort of nurturing role of confidant who was helping to thicken her thin skin. I reasoned that her hypersensitivity might actually help me learn to be more thoughtful and sensitive in my communication too. How often was my “directness” considered abrupt and insensitive? I was absolutely willing to examine my own behavior.

We often had fun together – she is very smart, lively and witty. But her go-to emotion seems to be butthurt, in conflict or going through some sort of drama with a client, employer, landlord, neighbor, lover, friend, parent, sibling, cashier, server, ex, other drivers on the road, etc. It was ongoing and exhausting. Her Facebook posts were full of angst and conflict disguised as intellectual conversation. Soon I realized that she tends to bully people with her feelings – requiring that hers be validated in a very specific fashion, while downplaying or dismissing those of others.

My justification that “she’s just young” doesn’t really play either. My last straw happened on her 27th birthday. She had specifically requested a karaoke outing and I had enthusiastically accepted.  I asked if it was okay to include my niece who was visiting from college. She agreed but asked that it be “just girls” and no dates. It took a coveted Friday away from my fella, but I agreed. I shopped for a couple of small, personal, thoughtful gifts and a nice card. I also spent more than an hour on the phone with her that afternoon talking about her sister and her feelings having been invalidated because her sister cares more about her new baby than her (my ex-friend’s) feelings. Seriously, it was painful. An hour and a half of her saying how her sister having a baby was just one more thing for her to hold over her head. One more way that the sister is more successful. The entire conversation I never knew if the child was male or female or had a name. It was always “it” or “the baby” and occasionally “the damn baby” – gross.

Again, I give someone slack on their birthday in particular. I was kind and patient and I showed up that evening dressed nicely and with gifts in hand. She thanked me saying that I was the one person who always got her something for her birthday. They weren’t big or expensive, but they were thoughtfully selected for her. One was a nice, carved wood bookmark that she immediately put inside the book that she had brought with her. The other was a small, decorative pill box that you might keep safety pins (or perhaps Prozac) in. It was painted with a miniature of the Seattle skyline and she seemed very pleased to have received them. Ironically, the card read “Don’t be a Drama Queen – it’s just a birthday!” It proved to be quite prophetic.

We ordered drinks and food – I opened a tab with the intention of covering the bill for the three of us plus the two other friends that she was expecting. Meanwhile, I asked if she wanted to sing a duet, she said yes and I went over to chat with the karaoke host (a close friend of mine) and put in our song. I came back a few minutes later and told her we were all set and she said “No, no, no! I don’t want to sing that YET! I mean, I want to sing it, but I don’t want it to be the first thing I do.” Okay, I guess that’s why I asked you in the first place, but away I went to change the song (which the KJ had kindly put at the top of the rotation because of it being this gal’s birthday.) I chatted with him for a few more minutes about what to sing, what songs he’s been working on and general friendly chit-chat. Apparently when I was away the birthday girl lit into my niece saying asking what was wrong with me and saying she could tell that we were over there talking about her. My niece thought this was really crazy and it made her uncomfortable, but I didn’t know about it until later.

Food arrived and was virtually ignored by the guest of honor who was starting to get really spun up about the fact that her other two friends hadn’t yet arrived. She began texting to see where they were and encourage them to hurry up. When one of the friends messaged back that she wasn’t feeling well and apologized, saying she would take her out for lunch in a few days, but couldn’t make it out, the tantrums started. This 27-year-old adult human began whining “but it’s my birrrrrthdaaay! It’s only one day! She should have known better than to go to yoga and overdo it!” A text exchange then ensued wherein she blatantly guilt-tripped her apologetic (and apparently ill) friend. The friend, having said that her head was throbbing and she felt nauseous, apologized again and the birthday brat tapped in a response that said “you say that so frequently it no longer has any meaning to me.” She then turned her phone to me and said “what do you think? Should I send that? Is it too harsh?”

I responded very directly by saying “well, if you really want to escalate things, okay, but she’s not feeling well, offered to take you out another day and has apologized multiple times…”

Clearly, I had not given the response that she had wanted to hear, because she immediately started defending her aggressive retort. She got really shrill and said “but it’s true! You have no idea how frequently she apologizes – it’s just meaningless anymore!” Rather than engage further in what had become an absurd discussion, I simply said “well, you’re a grown-ass adult, do whatever you want.”

(Now, I feel as though I need to interject here – I use this phrase all the time to my friends. I feel like it’s a way to validate their decision to do what they want to do without asking me or anyone else for permission to do so. My niece, who was witness to this exchange, hears this from me often!)

Well, instead of laughing it off, considering my response or taking it as validation & moving on, she changed the focus of her attack to me. She sneered then looked stricken, asking me what was wrong with me and asserting that I had been in a bad mood all evening. Well, I kind of lost it. Years of her neediness, absurd demands and constant dissatisfaction and dissection of even the kindest comment had piled up to break this camel’s back. I finally said something. It’s been months and I would be hard-pressed to accurately quote exactly what I said, but it was something like “hey, you asked for my opinion. Just because you didn’t like my answer doesn’t mean that I am having my period.” I said that she was so busy bitching about her friends that hadn’t shown up that she was ignoring those of us who had actually bothered to come. What happened next what the straw that broke our friendship for good. Frowning, she silently stood up. Slowly, she took the bookmark out of her book, the birthday card & pill box out of her purse and laid them down on the table. She then turned to my niece and said “Olivia, it was nice to see you again,” before standing up and shuffling to the bar at a glacially slow pace while occasionally glancing back to see if anyone was going to chase after her and beg her not to go. Nobody was. She paid her portion of the tab and walked out.

I had given this person multiple chances – far beyond what others in our mutual social scene were willing to do. I was patient, calm, honest, kind and willing to listen and examine myself. I was the only one of her friends who actually managed to show up to her birthday celebration where she chose to complain, demand, tantrum and whine instead of having fun and enjoying the people and the present moment. It was the straw that broke this camel’s back for good. I literally got up and took a picture of the abandoned card and gifts on the table. I save it as a reminder NOT to get drawn back in. NOT to forgive and cycle through the same toxic crap.  Somewhere in my “nice” Judeo-Christian upbringing, I was taught to “forgive & forget” and to “be the better man” and resolve conflict (or at least ignore that it happened and never speak of it again!) I was taught to be loyal. That marriages, friendships, relationships last forever. I was never taught how to walk away. How to disengage. How to not care. How to essentially “give up” on something that wasn’t worth doing anymore. My “play through the pain” parents never gave me an example of how to say “no” or how to say “no more.” I’m teaching myself how to set boundaries that make me feel empowered and sane instead of guilty and bad.

With “the high-maintenance friend” I feel that I wasn’t really her friend. At best, I was a bit player in her ongoing drama but usually I was just set dressing or audience for her little show. The night that she walked out of her birthday party I unfriended her on Facebook. Not as a dramatic gesture and not even as a punitive gesture. As a finality. As a very real means of cutting off the feed of something unhealthy that was draining me with its demands and not really feeding me in any way. Funny thing is? For as much as I am sarcastic and snarky? I’m a good and loyal friend who is willing to forgive a lot if the other person is willing to consider their behavior and their treatment of me. Had my former friend sent me a message saying “hey, I’m really sorry how things went down on my birthday. Can we talk?” I may have responded positively. Instead, I got this message:

Wow. Seriously? Not even a message or a text?

It was my BIRTHDAY and you were giving me a hard time. Wtf.

I didn’t feel comfortable taking your gifts. It didn’t feel right.

Your complete lack of interest in conflict resolution is so opposite from my experience of you, thus far.

 

Yeah, screw you and get used to it. No more blaming me. I’m no longer willing to be anyone’s whipping boy. I ended a marriage that was nearly as old as you are and with far less drama. I’m done.

It doesn’t hurt. I don’t miss her. Why? Because even though I was a friend to her, she wasn’t a friend to me. It’s not like giving up salt or chocolate or wine – those things feed you and make you feel good. I gave up the equivalent of emotional rice cakes. Something I felt like I ought to like but I really didn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

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13
Sep
13

dating others while in a committed relationship

I guess this one could fall into the “thinking vs. over-thinking” category in my “future topics” list. I’ve sure been thinking about it a lot!

I have a boyfriend that I love like crazy. He makes me laugh, he’s generally kind and thoughtful, the sex is frequent & phenomenal, he expresses himself well, he’s sexy as hell, smart, cute & suitable to take out in public – that is, my friends really like him too. He’s a good man. He’s even met my kids and they like him too.

This weekend he moved a bunch of his stuff into my place, where he’s effectively been staying for the past three weeks. (Hey, when a man moves his computer gaming rig into your house it’s serious, right?) I want him here. I love having him here. I thought it would be difficult to bring someone into my space – my sanctuary – but it hasn’t been. He really fits here. He fits in my life.

But…

Well, is it a “but” even? This is the part I’m having a hard time with. He’s poly. He has two other girlfriends. This really isn’t a problem for me and I rather enjoy having “me time” when he is away spending time with them. Not being together 24/7 seems healthy.

But…do I want to date other people? I hadn’t for awhile while I was flying on the new relationship energy with my guy, Whimsy. The thing is? I have felt that new, crazy zing easing, but what I’ve discovered in its place is a really solid, deep and abiding love. I can imagine being monogamous with this man & I can absolutely imagine him being in my life forever.

But…

I don’t want to be just prong on his poly pitchfork while he dives into any haystack that catches his fancy. An equitable relationship would allow for both of us to date. We both absolutely agree this to be true, I’m just sort of struggling with how to advance that and whether I want to. Yes, there’s a part of me that just wants to close up our relationship and just enjoy that gooey squishiness that goes with being a newly committed couple. We’re really enjoying our sweet domesticity right now, but there’s a sort of oddness to advancing our relationship to living together without even being “Facebook official” as a couple, you know?

Interestingly, the other night, in bed, after some rather intense physical and emotional intimacy, my fella, while stroking my back, said “I love you very much. You make me believe that a monogamous, non-poly relationship could be possible.” (Squee!!!) Well, Jesus…are you in my head again? I see the possibility too. I just don’t know how we would transition to it or whether we even should. Don’t get me wrong, my heart flipped all over in my chest when he said it, I just don’t know if it’s something we can or even want to do. I think that I’m at the point that if he asked I would be willing to try and see how it goes.

But…

We can’t overlook the other women in his life. His loyalty to them has always been attractive to me. I don’t exactly see him throwing them over anytime soon. This must happen in poly as with monogamous relationships though, right? Two people find each other and want to give it a go and other people get hurt? I just haven’t been a party to that sort of action since I was 15. Rejected? Yes. The woman that someone’s lover dumped them for? Never.

We both also have active profiles on OkCupid and I know that both of us have had recent interactions with new people there. Could we pull off monogamy? I’ve had a few former suitors sniffing around lately as well as one very enthusiastic new fellow. But I’m having some trouble getting too excited about them, really. The “older” guys have all managed to take a comfy place in the “friend zone” – all by their choice or actions, may I add. C43 – “The Librarian” had sex with me one time in November, 2012 and put me in the FZ soon after. We’ve been date-like companions on & off since then. He sent me a text on Tuesday suggesting that we should get together. Hmmm. M41 is the little Pirate Bear and we’ve talked about him recently. He’s kind of a mess but we’ve spent some recent time together and he’s taken to emailing me a couple of times a week. P29 is “Brad Pitt 1994” and he broke our date then went dark soon afterwards in late May. He apparently showed up at my regular Tuesday night hang-out this week. Interestingly, I wasn’t there because I went with my E38 Whimsy to an event he had, but I got a text from a friend letting me know that he’d showed up alone and stayed for awhile. Granted, this isn’t the same as calling me up and asking me out, but I suspect that he went there expecting to see me. Hmmm. R33 is the new guy – haven’t met him & he doesn’t yet have a nickname. He’s really interested and seems pretty nice and interesting.

But…

But. What do I want to do? Well, I guess the answer is not to over-think it, but to enjoy it. If Whimsy & I decide to change the parameters of our relationship, we will. Meanwhile, what’s between us is fantastic and I enjoy it immensely. If I decide that I want to see other people, I will. Some of these “friend zone” guys might even be decent candidates because it could be casual, comfortable and friendly without relationship pressures. I already have a relationship & it’s pretty great. We’re figuring it out and having a hell of a lot of fun in the process.

 

06
Sep
13

The Return of Pirate Bear

I covered the “Little Pirate Bear” in the blog entry “Getting Dumped by Someone I Wasn’t even Attracted to in the First Place” back in June. (https://risquedivorcee.com/2013/06/18/getting-dumped-by-someone-i-wasnt-even-attracted-to-in-the-first-place/) Essentially, this is a guy that I started getting pretty interested in and spent two sex-drenched weekends with in May before he started dating someone who was not okay with him seeing other people. He dropped me like a hot potato at the beginning of June.

Well, sometime in August he resurfaced. He had the good sense to start communication with an apology. That’s always a good idea when someone has treated you somewhat shabbily, which he admitted that he had. The thing is, I understand being smitten with someone and making concessions for them or wanting to concentrate on that relationship. I feel myself doing a bit of that myself these days.

However, Pirate Bear’s gal, from what he’s since explained, was pretty demanding and controlling and wouldn’t even “allow” him to break things off with me in person, as he had wanted to. Of course, he allowed himself to be bossed around by someone he’d known for a week, so he’s equally culpable. Regardless, they essentially moved in with each other and she seems to have proven herself to be cuckoo for cocoa puffs and he proved himself to be spineless and easily swayed by the opinions of others. Swell.

So where does the Risqué Divorcée come into play? Pretty much when shit hits the fan and the man decides he needs a rebound, I guess. I’d love to be able to say that he finally wised up and realized what he’d given up – and that may even be slightly true – but I think the man simply needs a woman to boss him around. My dad was like that. Completely adrift after my mom died – no clue what to do with himself without her guidance. I shared this with little bear when I finally agreed to meet him for a drink.

I have to admit that I was surprised when I answered the door upon his arrival. He really looked good. It had been a couple of months since I’d seen him and he appeared to have lost about 20# and was rocking some scruffy facial hair that really worked for him. Overall, he looked much more like someone that I would find physically attractive – which I hadn’t initially.

Our “date” was a lot of catching up and often felt like a therapy session. I basically told him that I forgave him (he apologized profusely and often,) and that he needed to stop beating himself up. I also said he needed to do some things for HIMSELF and not just for whomever he was dating. I told him to get a spine and to rely on himself, his interests, his kids for happiness rather than seeking it in others. I told him he needed to get his shit together before we even tried to see each other romantically – and that he had time to do that because he would be in the “penalty box” for awhile anyway! Oh, also he cried on my patio. For real. Tears. Yeah, the guy was kind of a mess & more than I was willing to take on. I don’t need anymore “projects” – I’m already working on myself!

I did agree to meet him a second time and we went to the movies and sort of held hands a bit, but no smoochies. He came back to my place and helped me fold laundry – which is weird, but was a companionable activity while we chatted. He teased me about actually putting stuff away and followed me into my bedroom with a pile of clothes. I thought: “aw, man…don’t make a pass…” and he sort of did, but it was awkward enough to deflect. Also, horrifyingly hilarious!

So, following some frank conversation about tough topics including sex and being friendly with ex-lovers (and with an armload of my folded clothes,) he said “so, you know, speaking of that, after we ah, spent those weekends together, I realized it had been awhile and I was having some trouble so I decided to go to the VA and get checked out. They did all the testing and such – full blood work panel and everything – all the bells and whistles…and ah, anyway…as it turns out…what?”

Apparently the look on my face defined “aghast” because he stopped dead in the middle of his story to ask what was wrong. Calmly, I said “and what did you find out?” He then said that he found out that some medication he was taking for blood pressure had caused his erectile dysfunction and that he switched meds so “everything’s working great now!” Woo-hoo! I then expelled the breath that I had been holding and he finally clued in to the fact that his awkward rambling about blood tests and such had made me worried that he was going to deliver some horrible news about an STD. Jesus.

I’d finally got him to quit apologizing and here he went again! I did have the grace to laugh about it in short order and I think it’s funny now anyway!

We met again for a movie last week and it was very “friend zone” – part of that is the fact that I don’t trust that he won’t do the exact same thing again if he finds someone better suited. Part of it is the fact that I am seeing someone else that I am really crazy about and I’m finding it difficult to get enthusiastic about other men right now. I have decided that I am going to do some more dating, but that’s a subject for another blog!




Categories

Quickies with the Risqué Divorcée!

  • Facebook "It looks like you're at Burger King. Check in to share with your friends." Me: shut the fuck up, Facebook! 9 months ago
  • RT @amyisprettycool: Ok, who wrote the Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer #SNL sketch because they just made America great again 10 months ago
  • RT @LuvPug: My husband thinks it's so cute when I speak to him with terms of endearment like 'honey' or 'cockblocker' 10 months ago
  • RT @SondraDeeMe: I've always had a soft spot in my heart for female T-Rex because the tampon insertion must've been really difficult. 10 months ago
  • RT @joss: To everyone who keeps saying "Go back to making jokes/films/etc", WHAT DO YOU THINK WE WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING 10 months ago