Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Another Impact of Divorce

Friends of mine are in the middle of what is shaping up to be an ugly divorce. It started off friendly enough, with weekly family dinners for the kids and cordial custody drop-offs, and has segued into hostility and anger. I feel badly for both of them, and for their kids. And for myself.

So for the sake of the story, let's call this couple Bob and Alice. Bob and I are very close, as are Bob and my husband and Bob's kids and my daughter. Alice and I were very close for a long time too, but since long before the divorce was set into play, she backed away. She stopped coming around, stopped communicating with me, stopped wanting to be part of any activities having to do with Bob. That strained our friendship in a big way (not seeing or communicating with someone can do that).

I recently met Bob's new love interest. Bob didn't want the divorce to begin with, but now that it is underway, he is happy to have some companionship again. He had been lonely for a long time in the marriage, and I think the attention is doing him some good. So in any case, we all got together - my little family, Bob and his kids, and the new love (let's call her Sandy) and her kids. I can't say I'm too fond of her, and I feel really badly for saying that because I know Bob is happy. But she just isn't someone I can see myself being close with. We went to a gastropub for dinner and she didn't understand any of the dishes on the menu - they were too complicated. She dressed wayyy down to go for brunch, like in workout pants and an over-sized t-shirt. And in case you think I am just being an elitist (which, yes, I kind of am), she also made racist comments, and so did her kids. I may be snobby in judging someone who doesn't know what Gruyere is, but I am just not a fan of someone who casually compares monkeys to black people.

So ok, whatever, he is dating someone I don't love. No biggie. But here's the issue. Bob is part of my life, and he is part of a lot of things I do on a regular basis. And now this woman is going to be part of those things, which then makes me not look forward to those things quite as much. I am wondering how I can uninvite him to these things in a way that won't hurt his feelings and I have not come up with a way quite yet.

The first test will be next weekend, when we have a whole weekend planned with them. No kids, thankfully; just the four of us. This is going to be a big test for me because I really hate to limit my ties with Bob but I just cannot with Sandy if she is the same this weekend as the last time I saw her. And then Bob will get his feelings hurt, and I know he is already going through a really hard time and I know he relies strongly on my opinions and this will crush him. But ugh. I am not a fan of this lady, nor am I good at keeping my big mouth shut.

(I just looked back at the menu because I was thinking that maybe it was exotic and I am being unfair, at least on that front, and really, it isn't a complicated menu at all. There are things like Blue Catfish Tacos and Pork Belly Mac & Cheese Fries on the menu...and I had a booze-infused snowball for dessert, so it was certainly not a foreign language like she claimed.)

After our get-together, I posted a photo of us all on my fb. Alice must have seen it and subsequently unfriended me because of it. Bob says I should not feel badly because we haven't talked in forever and of course I am going to meet and be friendly with his new girlfriend. But I still feel awful about it, because I truly did love Alice and this woman is no replacement for her. I feel like that is the trade I made - Alice for Sandy.

I want a trade-back.

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