Making huge mistakes and not listening to anybody

posted by Jeff | Friday, July 10, 2009, 1:28 AM | comments: 3

What a weird f'ing day this has been. Right from the start, I was all out of sorts when I woke up and heard Diana talking on the phone downstairs, as she was working from home. I got some work done, then I got distracted by the Silverlight 3 launch. Then news of the Billy Mays tribute, which was excellent. And I also talked to a friend on the verge of doing something incredibly stupid.

I spout off all of the time with relationship advice, which, because I was married once before either makes me completely full of shit or fully qualified. Maybe it's a little of both. I have a friend who is going to do something catastrophically stupid in her personal life, and I think she knows it, but no amount of talking her out of it will help. The capacity for making poor decisions is amplified when you're lonely, having a tough time with your professional life, or facing health issues. She's enduring all of that.

It causes me pain to see her go through this, and I know it will end poorly. Yet it's hypocritical of me, because I'm the first in line to say that I wouldn't trade my first marriage, or its failure, for anything. But it's only easy for me to say that because I've lived through it and made a great many positive strides in my life since. If you would've asked me four years ago, I would've said, fuck, why didn't someone tell me about this outcome?

There's nothing I can do to talk her out of her decision, and she'll suffer. I hate that. The only thing I can do is try to be a good friend when it all falls apart. I mean, it's some real Jerry Springer shit. But fear of a world that isn't exactly what you planned is a powerful motivator, even in the face of obvious fuckery.

Why do I care? Well, there aren't that many people I care about in a meaningful way for one thing. But the bigger picture is that I see how much time has passed in my life, occupied by drama. As I learned from my therapist, it doesn't mean that there wasn't a lot of love and caring in those relationships, but in the absence of healthier experience, you feel like those situations are normal. The drama free relationship is something most people don't strive for because they either don't believe it exists, or have too much fear to pursue it.

When Diana got home from tennis tonight, I thanked her for sharing a drama-free life with me. As I've said before, I always thought Gonch was full of shit when he claimed that his marriage has never been "work," as many people say is required in marriage. But he was right. The tricky part is holding out for that low-maintenance situation, even when we're scared and lonely.

I recently got in touch with a friend from high school, who went through a similar series of relationships like me, including divorce. And like me, she appreciates the right scenario. It's a shame that we have to suffer to acquire that knowledge.


Gonch, July 10, 2009, 2:31 AM #

Not sure whether I'm incredibly lucky or too stupid to know better, but I'm definitely not full of shit. :)

My opinion is that if you have to work on something, then it must need fixed.

diana, July 10, 2009, 9:55 AM #

Always remember, the decisions that your friend makes are her own. And while you might not agree with it and can see that it could possibly end badly, trust that she is doing her best to make the right decisions for where she is currently in her life. Continue to be supportive and the friend that she knows you are.

Carrie, July 10, 2009, 10:01 AM #

I don't know anything about the situation, but I would advise you listen to your wise wife. Your insight about the situation comes from all of your experience. Your friend isn't likely to get there without her own experiences as well.

But beyond all of that, you are almost treading on thin ice. Your love for your friend makes you want to jump up and down and shake her into making the decision you think is right for her.

But you have to be careful or you will end up no longer being a safe place for her to go when she needs a friend. And if things go the way you think they will, she will absolutely need your friendship and to feel safe talking to you.

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