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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is this a gender difference?
My husband and I have a mutual friend who is dying. Since we have only been together a few years, we didn't know she was a mutual friend until we found out through separate sources that she was terminally ill. I said I would like to visit her, and he said he already had plans. His ex-GF had called, and the three of them used to go out to lunch together, and that was what he was going to do: My husband, his ex, and our dying friend.
I replied that the dying friend was a dear, old friend of mine as well, and therefore the three of US should get together--i.e., without his ex. He blew up. I was messing up a firm lunch date and it would be embarrassing to change it or to beg off. Plus, this was the way he had been used to meeting up with our dying friend long ago, and he couldn't imagine getting together with her without his ex there as well. His ex and the dying friend are very close friends.
So I am being asked to agree to my husband going to lunch with a former girlfriend and another woman, the way he used to before we were married 3 yrs ago.
This might seem relatively benign but the fact is that the ex is a diagnosed borderline (BPD), tried to kill my husband while they dated, he calls her a "terrorist," and she also was jailed for trying to kill her former husband (who coincidentally happens to be my child's godfather). She's a whack job, and my husband is intimidated by her. He is afraid to say "No" to her and that is another reason he is going. She also happens to hate my guts and has said unkind things to me and about me. My husband remains "friends" with her to keep her from being his total enemy because she has threatened to ruin his reputation by spreading false rumors about him. Oh, BTW, she is now remarried.
I gently suggested that, now that he was married, it would be appropriate & okay to say, "Thanks for inviting me the way we used to go out to lunch, but now that I'm married, I think it's better for me to go with my wife to see our friend before she dies."
He claims that would be rude to both of them.
He finally got upset with me and said, "OK, I'll ask them if you could just tag along." That's when I got upset. Ask THEIR permission? And, besides, they would resent me butting in on their good ole get-together like some batty chaperone, esp given that the ex hates me and is very domineering and intimidating. Pardon me for not finding that an option. I would not be able to get a word in with my dying friend--I would be excluded. Trust me on this. Plus--why should he ASK?
1. Why won't my husband just stick up for the marriage and explain that the old lunch date thing doesn't work any more?
2. Am I being unreasonable by seeing that arrangement as outdated, given that he is married? it seems socially WEIRD to me! He, and a good friend of his (a guy), think I am making a big deal out of nothing.
3. I feel kicked in the gut, booted out of the club, left out, overlooked. . . while the ex-GF gets to "show off" my husband (as a prominent attorney in town, he is show-off material in her eyes).
I remain terribly uncomfortable with his choice to attend this lunch date. I can't wrap my brain around why he has to go with the ex and not with me. I believe that the ex holds him on a leash, and he needs to be the one to cut it. This is actually making me feel sick to my stomach and I don't know why. This is the first HUGE fight we have ever had and he even sd he felt like divorcing me over it. I am not normally jealous; I don't snoop or question and I trust him completely. This isn't about the risk of a sexual relationship being renewed. It's about my feeling left out while he chooses his ex over me. He's done it before. When we were dating, I wasn't quite divorced and we concealed our relationship. In public, from time to time, he would put his arm around his ex (even though she's married). I found this questionable. Sometimes I was standing right next to them. When she found out we were getting married she went ballistic.
So, my gut is telling me there is something very inappropriate about this "lunch date," especially when I used to be a very close friend of the woman who is dying. She has llittle time or energy for this stuff. My husband's ex is acting like some kind of gatekeeper for her and my husband is not questioning that.
I believe that what is really bothering me is how my husband can't say "no" to his ex. She acts like she owns him. She knows she can call him for lunch like this and he'll go, without saying, "Let me talk to my wife first." I don't think this is right for a grown-up, married person. It just feels wrong.
Another detail. When he proposed to me, I turned him down because he was still dating his OTHER ex. In fact, I cut off the relationship. He found this extremely unreasonable. I said he wasn't technically available and to call me when he was. He spoke with another good friend, a woman, and she said she couldn't believe I had put up with his crap that long in the first place, and if he wasn't willing to dump the so-called ex, he had no business marrying me and I was smart to walk away. He was floored. He called me and said he would tell his ex he was marrying me. Then he called back and said he couldn't hurt her feelings that way! I told him he knew my number and he could call any time but I had other things to do, good-bye. He called back sobbing and said he had done the dirty deed and to his surprise the ex had simply said, "Congratulations." Gee, imagine that, a grownup response.
So he has a history of clinging to old relationships out of guilt. I am getting increasingly uncomfortable with this, I guess. Unfortunately, we otherwise appear to be madly in love and many other things are wonderful. I would be heartsick to lose him over this.
What's going on? Is this a guy thing?
:scratchhead:
 

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He threatened to divorce you over this? No one should talk divorce unless they mean it, it's cruel and very manipulative.

Unfortunately he is acting very spineless and he is not doing the right thing by you. Anything that makes you uncomfortable (as a reasonable person) should be enough for him to seriously question his actions.

Why is he even still in contact with his ex? And why didn't he tell you about this untill you asked him to go and see your friend?

He needs to start acting like a real man, who has his priorities straight.

I would tell him you know where your boundaries are, and you will not put up with him stepping over them. He should not be contacting any women for lunch dates at all, let alone his ex without your knowledge.

If he threatens divorce again, I would say "good luck to you, have fun on your lunch date and with your future communications with your ex, but I won't be waiting wait around for you. I know I am worth being first priority to my husband"
 

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If he threatens divorce again, I would say "good luck to you, have fun on your lunch date and with your future communications with your ex, but I won't be waiting wait around for you. I know I am worth being first priority to my husband"
:iagree::iagree:

This is very bizarre behavior.

Is he very close to the dying woman? Because I would cut everybody involved a bit of slack due to impending death and the grief associated with that. But his loyalty to you needs to be much stronger than to his ex and the insistence on it just being the 3 of them is weird and offensive. If it were I, I probably would take him up on the "tagging along" thing but I would be furious if he asked their permission about it. You do NOT have to ask permission to take your spouse to a social event, especially a mixed-sex one, much less when she is close to the guest of honor!

I wonder what he would have to say about it all if you showed him your post (and the replies). He is probably feeling like he has to draw a line in the sand and defend his "right" to see whom he likes - I get that, my H has done that before - but he probably doesn't see how dangerous this behavior is.

It seems very odd that he seems to want to (or at least, be willing to) destabilize a marriage over something so minor. I do not like the manipulative mention of divorce and I think that needs to be addressed. Even in a moment of anger, it is not ever okay unless it is real and then it is marriage counseling or a lawyer's office but it is not months and years of threats.
 

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This sounds like one big clusterf-ck. You were still married when you started dating him--he was still with someone else when he proposed to you. And he wants to hang out now with his ex who tried to kill him?

Drama central.

He shouldn't ask permission if you can "tag along." He shouldn't even want to be hanging out with someone he says tried to "kill" him.

Go see your friend. Him threatening divorce is ridiculous. It speaks volumes about his character. But then so does everything else you have said about him. It does not sound like he's over his ex.



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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow, thanks for feedback, the blunt replies are giving me pause to think about my role & behavior too. To clarify--we met/fell in love while I was living in a "safe house" apart from my own crazy ex and decided to take things slow till I was divorced, which happened a couple of months later. For another year or so, he insisted for propriety that we not be obviously dating in part BECAUSE of his crazy ex--she would spread rumors. So he continued to act affectionately toward her but distant toward me in public. Imagine how that made me feel! (And she's married!) Our first big argument was over my pain regarding this seeming rejection where if we ran into her I was to act "unrelated" while he cozied up to her. Maybe this is an exaggeration but it's how I felt! (BTW he paid ALL my legal fees during and after the very ugly divorce. He's very kind & generous. He now supports my kids too.)

It is hard to hear you guys questioning this from the beginning and I am embarrassed to consider I knowingly walked into future arguments like that first one.

About our dying friend: I was MUCH closer to her (like when our kids were little) than my husband is (he only knew her professionally and at these cute little lunches). To his credit he had not known we were even friends. BUt after I explained our rich history together, he still insisted on sticking to his original lunch plans with "the crazy ex."

HEre is my question. Am I nuts for thinking it "just isn't right" for a guy to go out to lunch with an ex even with another friend "the way they used to" if he is now married? What would people say? (Not that we're supposed to care what other people think:( ) I think it "just doesn't look right."

I used the word "boundaries" with him and he said, "You like to use that word, don't you?" like it's a made-up thing but what I want to know is, How come I got so upset about this so fast? and when I questioned his plans, How come he immediately got so defensive & didn't care what I thought or felt? Which is more important? On the larger scale, if a husband or wife questions the other's social choices, is it healthy for the spouse to ignore those feelings in the other? If the shoe were on the other foot I would say, "I had no idea this would make you feel this way. Let me see how we can change the plans, given your strong feelings." Instead he is making me feel like there's something wrong with me. His (guy) friend says my problem is i'm sticking labels on people instead of just letting them have their traditional lunch together the way they used to and to get over it. I say, If I'm upset, you should care. So to me this is a bigger marriage question.
 

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Who cares if it "doesn't look right?" The most important thing is that it doesn't feel right...because it isn't right.

I think there were red flags from the beginning with this guy. You guys were together yet for an entire year this was concealed from everyone? To the point he would put his arm around/act affectionately with his ex right in front of you? The same ex who tried to kill him? The same ex he was with when he proposed to you?

I'm not surprised when you say he didn't care what you thought or how you felt. It seems he never has.

I think he still likes his ex. Most men who love their wives would never even consider going with their ex, the one that tried to kill them, to a lunch together to see another mutual friend of their wives and threaten divorce if she's not ok with it.



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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Don't know if anyone is still checking this thread but the responses brought about big changes for me. First, I saw that this pattern was indeed present from the beginning. Duh. Second, I have known all along it didn't feel right and would not go away.

Here's what happened. I ran into my former husband. We used to hang out with The Dying Friend and her husband back when we were married. So I suggested we go see her together (since my current husband was apparently "unavailable") and he agreed. Note that my ex is otherwise off limits, being pretty wacko and unstable.
When I told my current husband of that plan, he hit the roof!
Then he corrected himself and said, "Oh, I guess that's a double standard. Go ahead. Go see [Dying Friend] with your ex."
And I said, "If it doesn't feel right, why are you backing down?"
I realized that he tries to appease people, make them feel better. That's why he agreed to go see his crazy ex when she invited him, and why he changed his opinion about my seeing MY ex. In short, he's a liar and lacks integrity. At least that's basically what I confronted him with.
Thank you to everyone for reminding me I have a backbone. I stuck to my belief in the value of integrity--his, mine, and that of the marriage itself.
The outcome, which took days of discussion, is: No more mention of exes. "The exes are exorcised," as my husband put it. He saw that a marriage is a very clear choice different from strings of semi-committed, disposable relationships. There ARE boundaries. I am not just the next woman in a string of relationships. (Note that this is his first marriage after many live-in arrangements with other women.) We have both agreed to live "from this day forward" with a clear line in the sand. He even called the marriage "sacred space."
I felt like I was being beaten down before I wrote about this here in this forum. Hearing everyone else's words reassured me that my awful gut feeling was not off-base. It took a lot of work to turn my husband around till he said, "Oh, I see what you're saying!" I took a stand for what I believe marriage is and he finally saw that. Thank you very much for being my Reality Check. Your words kept going through my head while I held my ground for the sanctity of marriage. Honestly, although I have been open-minded in the past, I believe there is no room for exes in most marriages. It is a contradiction. Either you're married or you're not. And if you're married, you need to act like it.
 

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I have to say I find it odd that both of you are supposedly such good friends with their person but neither of you were aware that you both knew her? I know you say 'since we have only been together for a few year', but in my opinion 5 years is plenty of time to know who each others nearest and dearest friends are. So I am thinking you two don't communicate very well or she is not that near and dear to at least one of you.

But after I read your post it became obvious this isn't about the 'friend' at all, it is about your husband and his ex.

If this woman did indeed try to kill your husband why is she not in jail? So what if she spreads false rumors? Let her spread 'em. He is a lawyer isn't he? He should tell her he will sue her for defamation of character. This woman sound like a whack-job. He needs to cut her out of his life entirely. Cutting someone out of your life is not that hard if you really want to do it. Unless you live in a small town of 300 people where everyone knows everyone it shouldn't be that hard to leave her behind.

The two of you seem to have a lot of baggage. You were still married when you two started dating and he was seeing someone else when he proposed? It sounds like he has a hard time ending old relationships and doing the 'dirty deed'. Maybe he doesn't want to be seen as the bad guy? I think the two of you need counseling to help set boundaries, build trust and develop communication skills.

Good luck.
 

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Don't know if anyone is still checking this thread but the responses brought about big changes for me. First, I saw that this pattern was indeed present from the beginning. Duh. Second, I have known all along it didn't feel right and would not go away.

Here's what happened. I ran into my former husband. We used to hang out with The Dying Friend and her husband back when we were married. So I suggested we go see her together (since my current husband was apparently "unavailable") and he agreed. Note that my ex is otherwise off limits, being pretty wacko and unstable.
When I told my current husband of that plan, he hit the roof!
Then he corrected himself and said, "Oh, I guess that's a double standard. Go ahead. Go see [Dying Friend] with your ex."
And I said, "If it doesn't feel right, why are you backing down?"
I realized that he tries to appease people, make them feel better. That's why he agreed to go see his crazy ex when she invited him, and why he changed his opinion about my seeing MY ex. In short, he's a liar and lacks integrity. At least that's basically what I confronted him with.
Thank you to everyone for reminding me I have a backbone. I stuck to my belief in the value of integrity--his, mine, and that of the marriage itself.
The outcome, which took days of discussion, is: No more mention of exes. "The exes are exorcised," as my husband put it. He saw that a marriage is a very clear choice different from strings of semi-committed, disposable relationships. There ARE boundaries. I am not just the next woman in a string of relationships. (Note that this is his first marriage after many live-in arrangements with other women.) We have both agreed to live "from this day forward" with a clear line in the sand. He even called the marriage "sacred space."
I felt like I was being beaten down before I wrote about this here in this forum. Hearing everyone else's words reassured me that my awful gut feeling was not off-base. It took a lot of work to turn my husband around till he said, "Oh, I see what you're saying!" I took a stand for what I believe marriage is and he finally saw that. Thank you very much for being my Reality Check. Your words kept going through my head while I held my ground for the sanctity of marriage. Honestly, although I have been open-minded in the past, I believe there is no room for exes in most marriages. It is a contradiction. Either you're married or you're not. And if you're married, you need to act like it.
I had made my previous post before seeing this. This sounds great and perhaps your husband has had his eyes opened a little. I still think the two of you will need counseling on all the things I suggested before in the long run. It is easy when you first 'kiss and make up' to stick to promises, but as time goes by it is easy to slide into old habits. That is why I think you still need help.

Good Luck.
 

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Well it is good you guys decided to "exorcise your exes." In the future, don't use "tit for tat"--"Well, you invited your ex so I am going to do the same." It doesn't resolve the initial problem and is a very immature way to handle problems. It's adding fueld to fire.

I agree with Sade about getting marriage counselling. There is a lot to wade through here.

Continue to stick to your boundaries.



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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I sure am learning that talking about stuff makes it sound different from when it is bouncing around inside your head. Or when you are trying to duke it out with your spouse. Being public with this situation has been scary, it sounded so stupid in writing. And the tough advice has been even scarier, what a wake-up call.

YES, it's weird that we didn't know that each of us both knew the same person. YES, it's unbelievable that my husband would continue to have any kind of relationship with that wacko ex. YES, we apparently have a lot of baggage and who knows what will pop up next? I nearly walked away from him on this one. YES, it was immature of me to bait him with the idea that I too would go out with my ex. :iagree:

I am going to take the advice to get counseling. My husband even offered. (!!!!) I still think he was way out of line in this matter and maybe we need some new ground rules. I was really disappointed in him. And that can't be good.

Anyway thanks to all for the "tough love."
 
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