What I am about to tell you will explain why I'm not ever getting married again. Wait a minute, maybe not. This story is more about how glad I am that I am single and not exhausted from working on a real relationship, I'll take the appearance of a relationship over the real thing any day.
I have a friend who's been a friend for forty years. Really, I'm not disguising myself as a friend. I have a real life friend who is going through this thing with her fac simile of a "relationship" person.
I call him a fac simile because there isn't a name for whatever it is that they have together except that they are together. After being good buddies in college, he looked up her up again several years ago. His opening line was, "I've been thinking about you for 35 years."
I'm not sure when or if they ever started dating or doing what people who date do together. I just know they started being together. And for the past several years they have been living together, but, here's the part that throws in the monkey wrench -- they live in the same house, but they live separately.
The house they're in has three levels. Her bedroom, bathroom, and office area are up on the top level. The living room, dining room, kitchen, another bedroom and bathroom, the front and back doors, stuff like that are on the main level. He has two bedrooms, a kitchen, a bath, and a large living area, plus his own entrance, all of which are downstairs on the lower level.
So they're together, but apart. Probably because he said he wanted to be free to keep seeing other women, even though he doesn't do much more than have the occasional meal with someone or have them out for a barbecue.
She thought if he needed his "freedom" so much, it would be wiser to keep her distance in her own part of the house. I've been there and he's called her from his place to meet him in the kitchen for dinner.
Here's the game they play. He says he's going out on a date with someone or he's going to go on a two month bike trip or he's going to be working out of town for awhile. Her reaction is to tell him to have a good time. [Although, if he's bringing someone back to the house, the bitch can't come through the front door, she has to go through his downstairs entrance -- haaaaaaaaaaaaa. And one time she got out her chain saw and started working out in the yard when he had company. You can't make this stuff up.]
He'll ask her if she wants him to go do what he's going to do and she says that's not her decision, he can do what he wants. This just pisses him off. He doesn't like her being so mature about his plans. He wants her to beg him not to go. And she won't. Because she isn't married to him, she isn't sleeping with him, she isn't doing anything except living with him. Although from where I sit, they often seem more married than most married people I know.
Lately, he's been acting kind of crabby. As an old Navy pilot with two tours of Vietnam he can get moody for no reason at all. Recently he announced he was taking a long trip on his motorcycle. The closer he got to making the trip the more sullen and withdrawn he got. She would ask him about his itinerary or other questions that NORMAL people ask someone who's going on a long haul and he'd just grunt. The week before he left, he started to spend eight hours a day sitting at a table doing crossword puzzles.
The night before he left he went to bed without saying goodbye. He was leaving at 4:30 in the morning for weeks and weeks and couldn't be bothered with that little nicety for some reason.
She and I were talking on the phone later that evening and I started to get concerned that this motorcycle trip was going to be a suicide trip. He's in his sixties; his body is sore; he's looking at the end of his life; and he's acting like an asshole. She's worried he's going to get hurt. I'm convinced he's going to die.
I got a call from her last night, the day after he left. A mere three hours out, he managed to drop his bike somehow. A couple of bike parts got wrecked and he hurt his ankle. He called to tell her about it. He was waiting in a little town for parts to arrive, but it became very clear that he just wanted to come back home. Mostly he wanted her to tell him to come home and not go on the trip. She refused to play the game, mainly because she's playing a different game with another set of rules.
She told him he could be on his way when the new part came and still have a good time. He said, we'll discuss it in the morning. She said, it's not OUR decision, it's yours.
I told her that when he called, she should have said, "Wow I thought you wouldn't have an accident for another twoor three days." And follow that up with, "Mrs. Linklater was sure you'd be dead by now, so this is good news."
Maybe she should try begging him to stay home. She's worried enough about him. Oh wait, she can't do that. Because then the game's over and he wins.
And you thought high school ended at 17.