Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Why do good friendships go bad?

So, it will probably surprise exactly none of you to learn that my friend the Married Guy is no longer my friend the Married Guy, but my friend the Legally Separated Guy (which really doesn't flow off the tongue, but is a much more accurate representation of his current status.) As far as the permanence of the matter, his wife has picked up and moved to an entirely different coast, and they have split their assets right down the middle, so it looks like this just might be the real deal. And, in yet another turn of events that will probably shock exactly no one, it turns out that Separated Guy is just as much of a tool as Married Guy ever was.

We made plans to get together for a drink last Wednesday night, as it had been a while since we had seen each other. I noticed that it also conveniently was the day of his wife's departure. I figured he might be need of a friend and an ear, and so of course I agreed to meet him. He seemed in good spirits, hopeful, optimistic, implying that he thought she would probably come back eventually, though he also seemed fine with the idea that she might not. He still loved her of course; he would always love her. But she needed to do her own thing, now, out on the left coast, and he needed to do his, here. And he got to keep the dogs, so, win-win.

Then, "Just to get this out in the open," he said, (No, don't, I thought), "I want to let you know that just because my wife is gone, I'm not going to, like, try to get you into bed or anything." File that under things that really didn't need to be said, I thought.

"Umm, ok," I said.

"I just wanted to address the elephant in the room," he said. Leave it to you to shoot a mouse with an elephant gun, I thought, when it probably would have scurried away on its own.

"I really wasn't thinking about that at all," I said. As if I would sleep with you, I thought. As if I was just waiting for your wife to leave you. As if I haven't had months to see what kind of guy you are and as if I don't breathe a sigh of relief every day for having dodged that bullet.

With that out of the way we went back to discussing lighter matters, but soon, though, he was putting his hand to his mouth, yawning. I went to the restroom leaving half a beer on the table. When I came back the glass was empty, and his coat was on. "Did you just drink my beer?" I said. "Really? Are you trying to rush me out or something?"

"I'm so tired," he said. "I had to get up early to drive my wife to the airport this morning."

"We've only been here an hour," I said. "It's only 9:15."

"I really didn't sleep much last night," he said. "We were up all night, she kept clinging to me and telling me she didn't want to go."

"Ok," I said. "Ok. So go get some sleep." And so we each went home.

On Friday he had a bunch of people over to his house. There was a campfire, hot dogs, marshmallows. First it was fun. Then his boy gang showed up, loud, late, with handles of liquor instead of six-packs of beer. All single, the kind of guys who hang out at bars every night in search of easy prey. They were laughing, sharing stories, talking about James chatting up the ladies on Wednesday night, then again on Thursday night.

Wait--Wednesday night?

"Yeah, you were telling that girl that your wife left, and you were making it sound like it was weeks ago, and I was like, weeks ago? It was like thirteen hours ago!"

Then the party moved from his backyard to a bar downtown, and I was suddenly in the worst kind of mood. I said goodbye to the group at large, to whom I had previously been invisible, anyway, but James was involved in a conversation, and didn't even see me go.

I nursed my anger, debating what I would say to him if I saw him, or if I would say anything at all. I decided I would let the circumstances decide. Yesterday he sent out a mass text about trivia night, asking us to get there early to get a table, as he would be a little bit late. No one knew it was a mass text until we all arrived early, and realized we'd been had. He finally showed up an hour and a half after he'd said he would be there, the game nearly over, and looking like hell. Bags under his eyes, haggard, like he'd been going out every night of the week, which he probably had. Late arrival notwithstanding, he then spent most of the time not with our team, but at the bar chatting up a couple former students of his. Sweet young twenty-somethings gazing up at him in shy awe--a professor! A handsome, young professor, at that, talking to them! When he did come by, I avoided all eye contact and went for the cold shoulder treatment, not that he noticed, and gazed with studied devotion at Andrew, who'd come over to say hello, sitting next to me.

The ultimate irony in all this: that his marriage, and all the restrictions that it imposed, had likely been the one thing that had made our friendship possible. His wife was the one thing keeping him tethered down to the earth, but now she is gone and he is floating free, and he is a mess, and he is everything he was before, only more, now. And while I can put up with a lot in a friend--flaky, undependable, selfish, you name it--the one thing I can't tolerate is a liar. How can I?

So do I accuse him, call him out with wrathful anger? Or do I just let it, let him, fade away? If I stopped calling I somehow doubt that he, with his new found
blitzkrieg social scene, would even notice.

I hate losing friends. It's been happening too much, lately. It's like all of a sudden no one can live up to anyone's friendship standards without fucking everything all up. So what do we do? We are all so human, after all. So what in the world do we do?


  1. Well, there's losing friends, and then there's losing douchebags who lie to you, drink your beer, and try to cheat on their wives with you. I love people, but I refuse to be responsible for maintaining friendships with people who treat me badly.

    I suppose that means I vote "no."

  2. He doesn't sound like a friend worth the time and effort to put into it friendship. He isn't treating you like a friend, so why bother. Time to move on and let the drunk wallow in his misery of being alone. A party guy is fun when you're 21, not an adult with a career at stake. He needs to grow up and he certainly doesn't need your pity. Let him be, because a leopard's spots never change.

  3. I vote for fade away. He's a total douchebag, and douchebags are incapable of understanding and taking responsibility for their mistakes. You can fade away, and if he ever demonstrates any remorse or growth, then you can have a discussion about his behavior. But right now he is on track to completely destroy his life, which he will do with or without your intervention. If you confront him, he will just ignore all of your (completely accurate) concerns. He may become confrontational, and even if he doesn't all future encounters will be much more awkward and difficult. All you need to do is concentrate on your life, and try to minimize all contact with him. The good news is that his poor wife has left him before they had children, and so she isn't stuck with a cheating husband or douchebag co-parent for the rest of her life. The other good news is that your instincts to not trust him or to get into a relationship with him were completely accurate, and you saved yourself a lot of heartache. He will probably be some undergraduate's problem, but she will be very young and hopefully will learn to make better decisions in the future.

  4. I find it sad when a friendship ends even if the person didn't exactly treat me the best. But by the sounds of things you are better off without him, he sounds like a wreck and like he only cares about himself and perhaps best to steer clear.

    Maybe if he comes back and genuinely apologises for being a loser then you could forgive him and try the friendship again.

  5. It's trite, but with friends like him who needs enemies?

    Move on to better things!

  6. "Leave it to you to shoot a mouse with an elephant gun, I thought, when it probably would have scurried away on its own." What an awesome line.

    I always try to look at these things from different angles. Is it possible he's in pain and this is him acting out to help dull it? Or is he just a jerk and this side of his personality is the reason his wife left him?

    Based on your stories I'd wager to say it's option B. I try my best not to associate myself with people whose morals I do not agree with it. Based on that alone, it does not seem like this guy is worth being your friend.

  7. Sounds like you're hurt and resentful, you want to fuck him and now that he doesn't have to worry about the wife he doesn't need the sure/safe thing so he's on to other things.

  8. I say just let it fade away - if you say something, he will just think you are jealous and that you secretly want to sleep with him. Plus, like the others, I don't know if I'd call it a "good" friendship anyways.

  9. He's not worth your time and has showed that he doesn't care about you and that you are a mere blip on his radar. Don't give him the time of day and don't explain his doucebag behaviour to him because he knows full well what he's doing and doesn't give a shit. Harsh, but true.

    Also, after his disappearing act on Wednesday night (to console his wife, supposedly, but really he was rushing to get to the bar to chat up other girls), I don't think you should have gone to his place for the party, nor the quiz night the following evening. You are giving him too many chances to treat you like shit!

    He was never a friend.. A potential fuck buddy, but now that prospect is out the window so I think it's better to just turn the page... What a jerk this guy! Makes me so mad!

  10. I agree, this guy was never a friend. He may have seemed like it at one time, but he's proven that he doesn't care about you. Let the douche fly free.

  11. What would be the point of calling him out? "Hey, you said you were tired and going home but I know you just wanted to try and get some ass."

    What will his response be? He said he didn't want to get you into bed...but what if you had responded differently to that comment? You would've spent the night in his bed. He's a dick.

  12. The people you have in your life are a small reflection of the type of person you are, how you feel about yourself and respect others.

    Let him go. If he notices and calls, stick to your guns and rip him a new asshole, and let him go.

    Instead of wondering why he treats you this way, ask yourself, "what does he have to bring to the table and is it worth having a friendship?"

    If you feel run down, used etc after being around him, why would you even make an effort to have him in your life?

    Keep your chin up, stay strong and think about YOU first!

    Being Samiantha

  13. You sons of fucking bitches, you're all the same. Give the guy a break! His wife just left him for fucking sakes! And I'm sure it's just -

    Oh wait no, yeah, he actually is a douchebag. You fuckers got it right. Cut him loose RachyBaych. (Baych has no meaning and I tried Bach but that just sounds like that deaf pianist (LOL PENISIST) and I don't understand why the hell not Rach and Bach don't rhyme and I am fucking drunk.)

    Burn some bridges baby. You'd only fall down below if you tried to cross again.

  14. Wow, if even JackC agrees it must be true. It seems like there's a consensus here. You all are right--it's time to cut him loose. It's for the best.

    (P.S. Beethoven was deaf! Rachybeethoven?)

  15. I say call him out on lying if you see him again. But I mean, I would have called him out on it the second I found out, with just a laugh and some insults, you know? "You fucking dick, you told me you were tired. You didn't have to lie about it like a little bitch."

  16. It sounds like you're going to cut him loose, as you should. He's such an ass.

    But I so loved your silent reply to his stupid elephant in the room analogy. Jesus. He is his biggest fan these days, isn't he? Hah!! Yeah, I'd say you dodged a bullet. Jesus.