When I was married I was careful about how often I was able to go see T. I didn't want to upset K and make things difficult when I got home. I am trying to be considerate of her feelings because I am a swell guy. Well... if I am completely honest, when K is all cranky she is really miserable to be around. So for my own sanity and for the benefit of the kids, I did my best to keep things calm. Even now, I try to accommodate what she needs. It makes it easier for her. Which in turn is easier for the kids and easier for me. Often when she does something to piss me off, I say nothing. Even when I know I am right and I have the better argument, I say nothing. After almost 20 years, I have learned it's often easier to just let it go. T thinks I need to stand up for myself more. There is one thing is particular thing she does that bugs him. Let's say that I am supposed to meet T after work on a Saturday. I end up going to the K's house to hang with the kids. She will go out to something with the plan that when she returns I will leave to go see T. Sounds reasonable, right? The problem is, often she is late. Sometimes an hour or more late. As a result I am late. T is generally understanding, but it bugs him. If I am supposed to have dinner with his family, it bothers me to be late for that. The last time it happened, T told me that I need to be firm with her. I need to confront her about her inconsiderate behavior. I told him that I could, but I didn't think there would be a good outcome. He said it needed to be done. It's true that I have often been a doormat for K. I do it a lot less not, but, like I say, sometimes it's just easier. Intellectually I know this is TOTALLY dysfunctional, but I don't think there is much I can do about it.
T has some of the same issues... just with his mother. I am not entirely sure he sees it that way, but if I step back and look at things objectively, he has many of the same dysfunctions. Without going into a lot of detail there was something that he agreed to do with me, and after getting some crap from his mother, he altered our arrangement. I was not happy about but it was clear that I had no choice but to go along with it. I know he is under a lot of stress. Most of the a stress is work related, which as we all know can bleed over into other parts of our lives. For him it is easier to just do what his mother wants, than deal with the fall out. Fall out that will not only add to his stress, it will impact everyone else who lives in the house. His stress level is to a point where I actually worry about his health, so the last thing he needs is more shit from his mother. Much like he tells me that I need to stand up for myself, I tell him that he needs to as well. At his age, he can respect his mother and make his own decisions at the same time. If she disagrees with his decisions that's fine, but she needs to respect him as well. If she can, or chooses not to, it really is her problem, not his. It's not like he's a teenager, right? Yes, it is dysfunctional. Is it more dysfunctional that my situation? I think it is, but just a little more. The only thing that makes me slightly less dysfunctional is my situation involves small children. While I should stand up for myself more, I also have a responsibility to protect my children. Going along with K, while inconvenient for me (and sometimes for T) keeps the stress level lower of everyone else, including my kids. In T's house, there are no kids. They are all adults, that if they were not so overworked all the time, should be able to handle the stress of a disapproving mother. The point of this is not to beat up on T or his mother. The point is simply to show that, boiled down to their core, T and I both have same type relationship dysfunctions. We also both give each other the same advice on how to deal with our respective dysfunctions. Yet these dysfunctions persist and they get in the way of us really being together. They prevent us from being partners in our lives the way we are in our hearts.
I am gay man in his 40's who was married for 18 years to a straight woman, who is still my very best friend. We have 4 children together. She is now remarried and we still want to be supportive of each other and make a stable family for our kids.
Cast of Characters
Jim: That's me
K: The wonderful woman I married in 1993. We divorced in November 2011, and she is still my best friend.
T: My ex-boyfriend. We were together from 2008 to 2013. He is still an important person in my life.
AJ: K's new husband. They got married December 2011.
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