Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: English1 on October 10, 2013, 04:42:20 AM

Title: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: English1 on October 10, 2013, 04:42:20 AM
This is a situation I was in quite a few years ago and wondered if I handled it right? Or if my then partner was right?

BG
A woman I'd worked with briefly got back in touch with me - call her E - and we went to lunch a few times. She was very 'flakey' and had some problems (kept losing jobs all the time, was generally just a bit 'off' in her behaviour both when I'd worked with her and when we met, but seemed harmless enough). I was single at the time and she introduced me to a man she'd just met (T), and we started dating :-). On my second date with T I told him that although I knew E she wasn't a close friend (E gave him the impression we were best buddies) and although I liked her I didn't want to get any closer as she had too many issues.Things got serious between T and I. She had been in a very unhappy marriage (again lots of issues) and she then told us they'd separated but still shared house, and she started seeing another man, X. All four of us would go out maybe once or twice a month.

What happened a few months later
I got a phone call one Sunday morning from her furious husband demanding to know where she was, very nasty and threatening, when I said I had no idea where she was he said he'd call the police and I'd be in trouble as I was the last person to have seen her alive! Told him to do what he liked at put phone down. Piecing everything together it was clear she'd not been separated at all, she was having an affair, and was telling husband she was staying at my house every time she went off with X and using me as an alibi without my knowledge. She had never been to my house at all. I then was harrassed by husband over several days, very abusive phone calls, he also had my name and address and my son's name and kept saying 'I'll come round to see you, and see your son' in a threatening way. I ended up having to get the police involved but once they spoke to him he left me alone. Policeman came to see me and asked how good a friend E was to me, told him harldy knew her, he then advised me to have nothing to do with her in future as they were well known to police, constant drama/fights/violence etc.  E called me a few days later and apologised, said her husband had found her address book to get my number and details. I told her that I felt sorry for her situation but I did not want any further contact with her.

T thought I was wrong. That this was a woman who hadn't meant to cause me trouble (T never accepted I had any real reason to be scared of E's husband, which I was) and she needed help and he kept talking about Christian forgiveness.
T did keep talking to E, and I was persuaded to meet up with them all one more time. I was not happy about it but it seemed to satisfy T and there was no more contact between us all after that.

Was I rude to do the cut direct on someone who was clearly unstable and had problems, probably needed help?

(P.S. T is now an ex)
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: Iris on October 10, 2013, 04:51:39 AM
I think you did the right thing and frankly I'm glad T is an ex. The lack of respect he showed for your fears and feelings - especially your fears - would wave a massive red flag at me.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: atirial on October 10, 2013, 04:56:25 AM
I tink you did the right thing. The woman had already lied about you, and keeping in contact would seem unwise - especially since it is against police advice. This sounds like a safety as well as an etiquette matter.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on October 10, 2013, 05:48:42 AM
I definitely think you did the right thing. I would have been furious with her, putting me and my child in that position by using me as an alibi without my consent or even my knowledge, as well as lying to me while she had an affair. 
 
I'm also glad that T's an ex.  I hate when people pull that "Christian forgiveness" line to try and guilt others into staying in dysfunctional relationships, be they romantic, friendships or family.  You can forgive someone while still protecting yourself by keeping your distance. (Though in all truth I'd have a hard time forgiving her for a while)

Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: YummyMummy66 on October 10, 2013, 05:59:23 AM
You were not wrong and I am glad that T is now an ex. 

E and her husband were clearly trouble in the making and probably still are.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: Goosey on October 10, 2013, 07:20:22 AM
Christian forgiveness sometimes means forgiving from afar. It's perfectly rational to forgive someone but know that further contact with them would be damaging to you.

You felt threatened and scared and that friend put you in that situation - putting you in the middle of her marital problems. There is no good reason to continue to allow her to do that to you.

Glad T is an ex.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: Slartibartfast on October 10, 2013, 07:51:44 AM
This doesn't sound like the cut direct (which is when you snub someone to their face, pretending they're not there) - it's cutting someone out of your life and that's perfectly healthy in situations like this.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: bopper on October 10, 2013, 07:59:40 AM
You were totally and completely right.

It's like she was a skunk and you started smelling something off and kept your distance.
T was like "but it is a cute animal!' and is ignoring the fact that a skunk can spray at any moment.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: Twik on October 10, 2013, 09:00:34 AM
Christian forgiveness does not necessarily mean putting yourself in danger for people who will not appreciate your efforts, which I believe is what would happen if you continued to get involved with E. If T wants to deal with the Husband of Doom, he may choose to play White Knight on his own time, and see where it gets him.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: Zilla on October 10, 2013, 09:33:35 AM
All I can say, good thing T is an ex and you absolutely did the right thing.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: pierrotlunaire0 on October 10, 2013, 09:33:50 AM
You were totally and completely right.

It's like she was a skunk and you started smelling something off and kept your distance.
T was like "but it is a cute animal!' and is ignoring the fact that a skunk can spray at any moment.

This expresses the situation perfectly.

Personally, I would have stayed away from her on the grounds of sheer stupidity.  If you want an alibi, you have to let the alibi know so they can back you up.  Sheesh!
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 10, 2013, 11:51:32 AM
This doesn't sound like the cut direct (which is when you snub someone to their face, pretending they're not there) - it's cutting someone out of your life and that's perfectly healthy in situations like this.

This. There was no cut direct.

You quit hanging out with someone who brought unneccessary drama into your life. That happens all the time amongst people and is fully within your right. I'm not even sure there is an etiquette issue here.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: katycoo on October 10, 2013, 08:17:39 PM
"Christian forgiveness" does not require you to maintain a friendship with someone who lied to you and used you as an alibi to her abusive/violent husband without your knowledge.

I wouldn't want to be friends with her anymore either, redgardless of how much I sympathised with her situation.

And I think T was awfully rude to be so dismissive of your feelings on the matter.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: LifeOnPluto on October 10, 2013, 09:36:59 PM
This doesn't sound like the cut direct (which is when you snub someone to their face, pretending they're not there) - it's cutting someone out of your life and that's perfectly healthy in situations like this.

This. There was no cut direct.

You quit hanging out with someone who brought unneccessary drama into your life. That happens all the time amongst people and is fully within your right. I'm not even sure there is an etiquette issue here.

I agree. It seems more of a relationship issue between you and T. (If Partner A wants nothing to do with another person, should their Partner B continue being friends with that person?)
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: sweetonsno on October 10, 2013, 11:56:00 PM
I think you made the right choice. I'm also glad that you're no longer with T... I don't take kindly to people being dismissive of my concerns.

There's no rule that says that you have to be friends with all of your partner's friends, or that you always have to socialize with them. In some cases, I do think it's nice to go to events and be civil (but not friendly), but a double date with someone who lied about me and someone who threatened me? No thank you.

I think T is probably right and E needed help, but that doesn't obligate you to be the one to provide it.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: lakey on October 11, 2013, 12:42:51 AM
You did the right thing. When it reaches a point where police are telling you that the people are messed up to the point where you should stay away from them, follow that advice.

Christian forgiveness doesn't come without strings attached. It has to be earned. You earn forgiveness by having true remorse. That means that you are sorry for what you did, but you also make a firm commitment to not do it anymore. A person who is married and continues to carry on an affair is entitled to have that affair, it's her business, but hasn't earned forgiveness.

I had a relative who was cheating on her husband and called me one day to tell me that she was telling her husband that she was doing something with me when she was actually seeing her boyfriend. I told her "no". I have no intention of getting involved in someone else's lying and cheating.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: English1 on October 11, 2013, 03:59:01 AM
Thanks, I've always felt a bit guilty about turning my back on someone who needed a bit of help probably, but then again most of her dramas were entirely of her own making (there were lots) so my sympathy at the time was very limited.

Yes, I was not happy with T's response (his telling me my fears of this man coming round and causing trouble/concerns for safety for myself and son were 'all in my head' should have been a warning about his lack of empathy. I did stay with him for a number of years and you wouldn't believe what happened to make me actually break up with him! But that's a relationship not etiquette issue so not relevant here. Happy to say I'm now engaged to a very nice man who understands how relationships are meant to work).
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on October 11, 2013, 06:04:22 AM
You were totally and completely right.

It's like she was a skunk and you started smelling something off and kept your distance.
T was like "but it is a cute animal!' and is ignoring the fact that a skunk can spray at any moment.

Yeah, Bambi can call her a flower all he wants, but she's still a skunk.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: Winterlight on October 11, 2013, 11:23:59 AM
You were in the right to cut off contact with her, and T's lecturing me about Christian forgiveness would have had me adding him to the dump list.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on October 11, 2013, 11:28:25 AM
Thanks, I've always felt a bit guilty about turning my back on someone who needed a bit of help probably, but then again most of her dramas were entirely of her own making (there were lots) so my sympathy at the time was very limited.

I know people like that, myself.  It's very frustrating when they keep complaining about a situation they got themselves into but won't fix it on their own but expect others to solve it for them.   

I mean I'm one who's often accused of being too nice but on the other hand, people like this just wear me out and even if I don't do a complete cut, I do stop worrying about them as much.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: EllenS on October 11, 2013, 02:40:06 PM
Thanks, I've always felt a bit guilty about turning my back on someone who needed a bit of help probably, but then again most of her dramas were entirely of her own making (there were lots) so my sympathy at the time was very limited.

One thing I have learned to ask, when I feel this way, is am I able to give the kind of help that is needed?

Car wreck: I can call 911 and possibly be a witness for the police. I am not a medical professional, nor do I carry the Jaws of Life.

Friend is upset, sick or overwhelmed: I can listen, pray, and cook meals or provide emergency childcare. I can give someone phone numbers for crisis hotlines or for my own therapist. I can invite someone to church and introduce them to nice people who might also become friends. I cannot do the following:
marriage counselling
intensive psychotherapy
find someone a job
make someone be able to keep a job
make someone leave an abusive relationship
make someone stop abusing substances
Etc.

I absolutely cannot include someone in my life who puts my child in danger.  That is a complete conflict of interest with my major job in life.

I can only do what I can do.  If the person needs comprehensive "help" in a way I cannot provide, there is no reason for me to try and be a bandaid to hide their problems.

Hugs!  I think you did fine.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: MrTango on October 11, 2013, 02:51:32 PM
You did the right thing. When it reaches a point where police are telling you that the people are messed up to the point where you should stay away from them, follow that advice.

Christian forgiveness doesn't come without strings attached. It has to be earned. You earn forgiveness by having true remorse. That means that you are sorry for what you did, but you also make a firm commitment to not do it anymore. A person who is married and continues to carry on an affair is entitled to have that affair, it's her business, but hasn't earned forgiveness.

I had a relative who was cheating on her husband and called me one day to tell me that she was telling her husband that she was doing something with me when she was actually seeing her boyfriend. I told her "no". I have no intention of getting involved in someone else's lying and cheating.

What you're talking about, especially the bolded, sounds more like trust than forgiveness.

When I forgive someone, it's not for their sake but for my own. I am choosing to no longer carry around the burden of their past deeds.  It really feels as if I dump a bunch of bricks out of my backpack.

Even after I've forgiven someone and left those bricks behind me, I know better than to trust them (i.e., I'm not going to allow them to hold still more bricks over my head ready to drop them at their convenience.)
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on October 11, 2013, 04:20:19 PM
Thanks, I've always felt a bit guilty about turning my back on someone who needed a bit of help probably, but then again most of her dramas were entirely of her own making (there were lots) so my sympathy at the time was very limited.

One thing I have learned to ask, when I feel this way, is am I able to give the kind of help that is needed?

Car wreck: I can call 911 and possibly be a witness for the police. I am not a medical professional, nor do I carry the Jaws of Life.

Friend is upset, sick or overwhelmed: I can listen, pray, and cook meals or provide emergency childcare. I can give someone phone numbers for crisis hotlines or for my own therapist. I can invite someone to church and introduce them to nice people who might also become friends. I cannot do the following:
marriage counselling
intensive psychotherapy
find someone a job
make someone be able to keep a job
make someone leave an abusive relationship
make someone stop abusing substances
Etc.

I absolutely cannot include someone in my life who puts my child in danger.  That is a complete conflict of interest with my major job in life.

I can only do what I can do.  If the person needs comprehensive "help" in a way I cannot provide, there is no reason for me to try and be a bandaid to hide their problems.

Hugs!  I think you did fine.

The bolded is one I've had to learn.  It's been frustrating when I know that a friend is being mistreated but she won't do a thing to help herself.  One friend I made several suggestions to, and I know her mother has made the same suggestions.  This I know because after I had suggested she get a new lawyer, she told us (as though it was a completely new idea) that her mom had suggested she do so. 

I've stepped back and am offering no more suggestions and while I still will quietly pray she'll grow a spine and punt his derriere out of the house, I can't force her.

As for the forgiveness thing, we discussed that once at a bible study I attend, how people always say "Forgive and forget" and our reverend was there that week and she said by all means we do need to forgive but to forget is not really a good idea because if we do, we set ourselves up to be hurt over and over again.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: blarg314 on October 11, 2013, 09:21:48 PM

T thought I was wrong. That this was a woman who hadn't meant to cause me trouble


This was a woman who was a casual friend, at best, who was using you as a cover to cheat on her husband (who had rage problems), while telling you she was separated, and going on double dates with you and your BF with her affair partner.

This woman deliberately caused you trouble, and deliberately set you up to be in the middle of a very troubled marriage. She is directly responsible for setting you up to be the target of her husband's rage. So yes, I would have cut her off - I'd have cut her off for using me as a cover for her affair, even without the added drama.

In a more general sense - I don't think that it's possible to maintain a regular friendship with someone who is still with a spouse that has threatened you to the point that you needed to have the police involved. It's like sneaking around trying to have an affair with someone who has a jealous, violent husband, except you're not even getting any Scrabble out of it - the risk of them finding out and targeting you is too great. And I don't agree with your BF - you were right to be scared of her husband. Anyone who requires police intervention to stop threatening you is not safe.

In general, the best you can do when it's apparent that your friend is in an abusive relationship, is to try to maintain a fairly tenuous connection (meeting for coffee occasionally in a public place, a phone call from an unlisted number) in order to, basically, be there to offer support if they decide to leave.

In those situations, though, you have to be willing to accept the frustration of being friends with someone who is choosing to stay in a bad situation, knowing you can't fix it, and nothing will change until *they* decide to do something.


Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 12, 2013, 09:27:25 PM
The other thing is, we choose to be friend with people who share our values.

There ya go!

Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: BarensMom on October 13, 2013, 12:51:52 PM
The other thing is, we choose to be friend with people who share our values.

There ya go!

The problem often is that when you first meet someone, it appears they share your values.  Then, after you're sucked into the friendship, the cracks appear. 

I've been taken in many times by people, who on the surface, appear to be normal.  Then after I got to know them, the midnight drunken calls start up, the conversations become solely about the woes they won't do anything about, or, in extreme cases, I've discovered that about almost everything in their life is a lie.  Then trying to disconnect from them becomes a major headache.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on October 14, 2013, 08:13:03 AM
The other thing is, we choose to be friend with people who share our values.

There ya go!

The problem often is that when you first meet someone, it appears they share your values.  Then, after you're sucked into the friendship, the cracks appear. 

I've been taken in many times by people, who on the surface, appear to be normal.  Then after I got to know them, the midnight drunken calls start up, the conversations become solely about the woes they won't do anything about, or, in extreme cases, I've discovered that about almost everything in their life is a lie.  Then trying to disconnect from them becomes a major headache.

This is very true, especially when you're dealing with manipulators who know how to play the game so it seems they appear to share the same values and ideas. 

Of course people do change, and sometimes their values do too. I know I think of the world differently than I did in my 20's and I think that's one big reason that childhood and college friends often drift apart.  I also am a bit wiser and see people for who they are more than I did as a kid or in my naive college days.
Title: Re: Cut direct from half a couple?
Post by: Peppergirl on October 14, 2013, 09:18:35 AM
I think you did the right thing and I'm very glad T is an ex.  Shame on him for making you feel guilty! 

It's not as though it was a small spat or misunderstanding.  This person caused you and your child to be threatened.  Disgusting!