Er, I’d like to put some input in from Paul’s (possible) perspective.
When I was married, my Ex said we were a package deal. Now, this was NOT my idea, it was his. So I was forbidden to go anywhere without him. A friend invited me to his poetry book launch. Ex came along. Griped the whole time about how this was boring, poetry was useless, etc and kept talking to me while I was trying to listen to the readings. I had to leave early because people were getting ready to murderize him.
Another time was a friend’s going away party. She was moving home to Russia so I wouldn’t see her again for a long time. She and her husband rented a hall, had appetizers, karaoke machines and beer kegs (hey, we were young!). Again, Ex griped the whole time. He didn’t like karaoke machines, thought the beer kegs were juvenile and insulted their choice of appetizers (chips, dips, those kinds of foods). He faked sick and said we should take a walk outside to get some air. ‘Taking air’ turned out to be ‘I called a cab to pick us up a couple blocks away to escape from this hellish immature gathering and I know you’re grateful.’
If it wasn’t interesting to him, he’d whine and nitpick and insult. He’d also try to turn conversations to HIS interests. Nevermind we were there for the museum exhibit. Museums were just full of old dusty things that didn’t matter (according to him). It was time to discuss his online gaming achievements. If HE wasn’t having fun, no one, especially me, could either.
I remember this horrible time at my work’s Christmas party. I’d been leading the planning and we were renting out this awesome pub near us and there would be tons of food, drinks, games and fun. Although I’d been the lead in this, I had to spend the time sitting at a 2 person table with just him as he moaned about how much he hated my friends and how could anyone possibly think reading was a good pastime. I just wanted to play pool and darts with my friends and eat some great pub grub. Everyone else was at the 4, 6, 10 person tables. When people would come over to try to get me to play games with them or get us to sit at a bigger table to join in on conversations, I’d feel his foot pressing on mine, and I’d have to say ‘Oh, I’m fine right here.’ For an event I’d planned, I was there for only an hour.
People couldn’t stand him. I hoped that someone would invite just ME and me alone to something, but after the girls night where he came anyways and sat at a different table to watch me, the social invitations dried up. He was a stickler for inviting social units. Didn’t matter if the event wasn’t interesting to him, he HAD to come because I was going. If I said he wouldn’t be interested and I was going alone, oh no, that was not right. It was rude to leave him to do his own thing. And rude to not invite him to everything I was invited to. This worked in reverse, so I spent a lot of time at LAN parties reading in a corner.
Yes, this is an extreme example. But sometimes, just sometimes, maybe we can break the rules.