** Ethel this post is about you and Fred, and is not meant to be hurtful, but I'll give you heads up that I'm expressing some honest emotion here, so feel free to skip it if you would like. I won't be offended and neither should you as I'm just musing here and working things out in my head. **
I've had a lot of issues rumbling around inside my head in the past twenty-four hours. It appears that Ethel's husband, Fred, has decided to unfriend me in Facebook. Apparently he feels like we're no longer friends. After nearly 20 years we're not friends? Because why? Because I don't agree with his choices and behavior? I understand that as friends, as humans, we don't always agree... we don't always understand each other and we are not always going to get along. That doesn't mean I would force him out of my life. Why? Well because I don't think it's reasonable or mature. Why does this bother me? Should it matter? How does or doesn't this effect my relationship with Ethel?
One part of me says that you just don't do this. You just don't alienate the closest friend of your spouse. Especially when the general opinion of you over the past six months is that you're a disrespectful, bullying jerk who's treated your wife like crap.. I mean really... is alienating me the best way to make yourself appear more understanding and reasonable? Me thinks not. Another part of me feels like it's his right to be friends, in real life and via social media with whomever he wants.
I am not one of those friends that will lie to you, or pat you on the back and say, "oh gee it's okay if you've had emotional affairs. It's alright if you've lied to your wife over and over and spent years being selfish and disrespectful. No problem buddy...as long as you say you won't do it again, all is well." I will be honest with you if I think you've been mistreating my friend. However I AM the kind of friend who believes that actions speak louder than words, and that redemption is possible if you want it hard enough. I AM the kind of friend who will allow you to come to my home for Thanksgiving dinner, even when you've been hurting my friend because it's in the best interest of your kids...and because in all honesty she chose you, for some reason she wants you, and because you guys are a family.
I let him come to Thanksgiving dinner at my house. I bought a gift card for him for Christmas and sent it home with Ethel (he was at work) so that he didn't feel as though I was upset with him and feel left out. I have not yelled, been rude, nor have I expressed any of my private opinions to him. In fact, since Ethel came clean about letting him move back home after she kicked him out I haven't said one word about him one way or another.
Ethel and Fred have to figure out their own relationship. It's none of my business. My goal is for Ethel to be happy, to be healthy, and to be treated with respect. I don't ask for details because it doesn't matter what I think. Ethel chose him, and some part of their relationship obviously works for her - and that's all that matters.
So why the hell does her husband have to treat me so rudely? After almost 20 years he has the nerve to think we're not friends because I didn't lie to him and blow sunshine up his ass when he was behaving so poorly? What right does he have to be offended because I reacted in a negative way to HIS behavior and choices? I mean really? You make horrible choices that hurt the people around you and then you get offended when someone doesn't just roll over like an obedient dog and lavish you with praise and forgiveness because you convince your wife to take you back?
How will this effect my relationship with Ethel? As it is I was horribly uncomfortable on Saturday when we spent the day carpooling to a friends party and back. Obviously if her husband has decided we're no longer on speaking terms then I can't, and won't, ask about what's going on between them. If we're not friends then I'm not welcome in their home, and in turn they won't feel comfortable coming to mine...so where does that leave us? This is all ridiculous beyond belief. All these years of friendship tossed aside like so much trash... and for what?
I'm honestly not sure where we go from here... I can't explain how hurt my feelings are. I assumed that with enough time he would redeem himself in my eyes when I saw him making an effort to treat Ethel with love, respect, and kindness. Now? I don't know where we stand or what will happen. It's not like Ethel is going to choose our friendship over her husband. I totally would never expect that. I'm so conflicted about this.