Author Topic: Don't Want to Take Sides, But I'm Siding With HIM (Divorce)  (Read 7948 times)

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Winterlight

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Re: Don't Want to Take Sides, But I'm Siding With HIM (Divorce)
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2013, 03:43:15 PM »
I would also be extremely wary of becoming close to her for fear that I would be the one receiving cat puke/sick mom/lost key calls now that Paul is out.

This so very much.
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Twik

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Re: Don't Want to Take Sides, But I'm Siding With HIM (Divorce)
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2013, 03:50:48 PM »
Have you ever associated with Annie (without Paul) other than sitting together at company parties? Because if you haven't, there's no real friendship there, and Annie is reacting by instinctively grabbing for a host, like a remora that's lost its shark.
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MrTango

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Re: Don't Want to Take Sides, But I'm Siding With HIM (Divorce)
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2013, 03:59:29 PM »
Have you ever associated with Annie (without Paul) other than sitting together at company parties? Because if you haven't, there's no real friendship there, and Annie is reacting by instinctively grabbing for a host, like a remora that's lost its shark.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we have a winner!

Seraphia

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Re: Don't Want to Take Sides, But I'm Siding With HIM (Divorce)
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2013, 06:13:18 PM »
Have you ever associated with Annie (without Paul) other than sitting together at company parties? Because if you haven't, there's no real friendship there, and Annie is reacting by instinctively grabbing for a host, like a remora that's lost its shark.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we have a winner!

Ding ding ding!

I don't blame you for not wanting a ringside seat for this mess. It seems clear to me that Annie is looking for one of two things - another pair of eyes to spy on Paul and feed her dirt for the divorce proceedings, or another pair of ears to listen to her woes pour forth. The fact that she's glommed on to you, a close acquaintance at best, suggests a scary level of neediness. I would go the teflon route and just be completely unavailable. As for Paul, I think you can genuinely express your support, but at the same time you should make it clear that you don't want the audiovisual tour of the guts of his marriage, especially during work hours.
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EllenS

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Re: Don't Want to Take Sides, But I'm Siding With HIM (Divorce)
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2013, 10:00:23 PM »
Boundaries.  Boundaries. Boundaries.  You are the only one in this situation with a hope of establishing boundaries, so you must be the enforcer to protect yourself.

I used to work for a divorce mediator.  Every single case that came through the door, I started off sympathetic to one party, and when I heard the whole story/read all the paperwork, I was shocked that the opposite party had not murdered the first one years ago.  I am extremely cynical.  There are a lot of sick marriages out there, and there are a lot of horrid people out there, but nobody knows what really goes on in a marriage except the two people in it.

Annie has no boundaries at all.  What you may fail to see, is that Paul has very few/very weak ones himself.  He married this woman for a reason, because he was attracted to her.  DO NOT FORGET THIS.  Unless she had a total personality transplant since the wedding, HE CHOSE THIS.  I am not saying he does not have a good reason for divorce, I am saying that as healthy as he may look by comparison,  he picked sick.

Get out of this.  Stay out of this.  Don't let either of them talk to you about it at all.  You need to maintain a working relationship with Paul, which gives you a perfect excuse to keep throwing your hands up and saying, "TMI".  If Annie does manage to speak to you in person, just tell her flatly that you have to work with Paul and you cannot get involved. 

If you want to be extra kind and you have the phone number of a counsellor/religious leader to refer them to, great, hand it over and walk away.  Do not engage.  If these were the kind of people who did have boundaries, it would be great to try to support them. That is not the case here.

Lindee

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Re: Don't Want to Take Sides, But I'm Siding With HIM (Divorce)
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2013, 10:17:54 PM »
Exactly

Iris

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Re: Don't Want to Take Sides, But I'm Siding With HIM (Divorce)
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2013, 01:42:56 AM »
Boundaries.  Boundaries. Boundaries.  You are the only one in this situation with a hope of establishing boundaries, so you must be the enforcer to protect yourself.

I used to work for a divorce mediator.  Every single case that came through the door, I started off sympathetic to one party, and when I heard the whole story/read all the paperwork, I was shocked that the opposite party had not murdered the first one years ago.  I am extremely cynical.  There are a lot of sick marriages out there, and there are a lot of horrid people out there, but nobody knows what really goes on in a marriage except the two people in it.

Annie has no boundaries at all.  What you may fail to see, is that Paul has very few/very weak ones himself.  He married this woman for a reason, because he was attracted to her.  DO NOT FORGET THIS.  Unless she had a total personality transplant since the wedding, HE CHOSE THIS.  I am not saying he does not have a good reason for divorce, I am saying that as healthy as he may look by comparison,  he picked sick.

Get out of this.  Stay out of this.  Don't let either of them talk to you about it at all.  You need to maintain a working relationship with Paul, which gives you a perfect excuse to keep throwing your hands up and saying, "TMI".  If Annie does manage to speak to you in person, just tell her flatly that you have to work with Paul and you cannot get involved. 

If you want to be extra kind and you have the phone number of a counsellor/religious leader to refer them to, great, hand it over and walk away.  Do not engage.  If these were the kind of people who did have boundaries, it would be great to try to support them. That is not the case here.

This sums up what I wanted to say. I'd stay the heck away from both parties because IME people married to 'needy' people are often emotionally unhealthy themselves, although it is usually less obvious.
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Kari

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Re: Don't Want to Take Sides, But I'm Siding With HIM (Divorce)
« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2013, 08:39:42 AM »
Don't get involved. Don't return Annie's calls. Don't listen to the voice mails. Let Annie and Paul duke out their divorce.

bloo

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Re: Don't Want to Take Sides, But I'm Siding With HIM (Divorce)
« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2013, 10:55:47 AM »
Boundaries.  Boundaries. Boundaries.  You are the only one in this situation with a hope of establishing boundaries, so you must be the enforcer to protect yourself.

I used to work for a divorce mediator.  Every single case that came through the door, I started off sympathetic to one party, and when I heard the whole story/read all the paperwork, I was shocked that the opposite party had not murdered the first one years ago.  I am extremely cynical.  There are a lot of sick marriages out there, and there are a lot of horrid people out there, but nobody knows what really goes on in a marriage except the two people in it.

Annie has no boundaries at all.  What you may fail to see, is that Paul has very few/very weak ones himself.  He married this woman for a reason, because he was attracted to her.  DO NOT FORGET THIS.  Unless she had a total personality transplant since the wedding, HE CHOSE THIS.  I am not saying he does not have a good reason for divorce, I am saying that as healthy as he may look by comparison,  he picked sick.

Get out of this.  Stay out of this.  Don't let either of them talk to you about it at all.  You need to maintain a working relationship with Paul, which gives you a perfect excuse to keep throwing your hands up and saying, "TMI".  If Annie does manage to speak to you in person, just tell her flatly that you have to work with Paul and you cannot get involved. 

If you want to be extra kind and you have the phone number of a counsellor/religious leader to refer them to, great, hand it over and walk away.  Do not engage.  If these were the kind of people who did have boundaries, it would be great to try to support them. That is not the case here.

Yeah this. Water seeks it's own level.

Paul is a co-worker you like, but he's still a co-worker. Disengage from discussing the divorce with either and don't engage with Anxious Annie at all.

My DH and I were close friends with a similar behaving married couple, and in trying to stay neutral - we lost both of their friendships. While I had more sympathy for the husband because of the wife's behavior, I did not want to get in the middle of their divorce. Since I wouldn't pick sides, the wife cut me off and eventually the husband went off the deep end with his own behavior.

They picked each other and, for some reason, DH & I picked them as friends. Like I said, water seeks it's own level. I'm actively working towards picking healthier-minded friends and am cultivating those relationships and letting less healthier ones fade into acquaintance.

Calistoga

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Re: Don't Want to Take Sides, But I'm Siding With HIM (Divorce)
« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2013, 11:03:26 AM »
Since Paul seems to be perfectly sane, let HIM know that you really, really don't want to get involved. You understand it's a hard time, but you don't want to get caught in the middle of something so messy.

Since Annie is...less...sane... I'd just ignore her for the most part. Delete messages. Ignore phone calls.

bah12

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Re: Don't Want to Take Sides, But I'm Siding With HIM (Divorce)
« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2013, 11:11:23 AM »
Why is all this discussion happening at work?  It's bad enough that Annie calls you there and Paul talks to you about his divorce there, but other coworkers too?  Do not answer any of Annie's calls and don't ever call her back.  Ignore her the best you can.  And tell Paul and all of your other coworkers that you aren't interested in listening to this soap opera while you are working.

If you want to continue to be friends with Paul and lend a listening ear outside of work, that's totally fine.  Tell him so.  But all of this crazy gossip at work would drive me insane. 

dawbs

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Re: Don't Want to Take Sides, But I'm Siding With HIM (Divorce)
« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2013, 11:18:29 AM »
I have to say, I'm with Slartibartfast, on 'why not take sides?'

It's commendable to want to stay out of the drama...but that doesn't mean you don't take the side of someone who was abused against an abuser.  Or even the side of a non=-jerk against a jerk.

The fact that he is leaving abuse actually makes me a bit more sympathetic to him giving you TMI--abuse is never just about physical control, it's also about emotional control.  Someone leaving an abusive situation is likely still trying to justify himself--working hard to convince himself he's not a horrible person for walking out on her.  He's also likely got limited support structure around him.

I'd offer support on the things that aren't TMI "wow that sounds tough--I'm glad you're getting help with this".  And "Oh, look, the burning kitten is running around the library, setting the stacks on fire.  gotta go" subject change on the TMI.


EllenS

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Re: Don't Want to Take Sides, But I'm Siding With HIM (Divorce)
« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2013, 11:32:57 AM »
If Paul needs a safe shelter from physical abuse, help him find a phone number to call.  If he needs help planning an escape, you can brainstorm that.  But I don't get the impression from OP that that is what is going on here. 

I knew a guy from work, who was married to a real basket-case.  She was on all kinds of medication, and eventually we found out she was an alcoholic, too.  She put him through hell in many ways.

But you know what?  I also heard how he talked to her, and how he talked about her.  When they first got together, I can see where he liked being the white-knight to her damsel in distress.  But before long, he was heavily invested in the story that she was the screw-up, and he was the martyr/hero.  Heavily invested, to the point that she could do nothing right, and he could do nothing wrong.  He treated her like a child, tore her down verbally to her face and behind her back, and blamed her for everything that went wrong- even if it was his own doing.  If I'd been married to him, I'd drink, too.

You can take sides if you want, but nobody is 100% right, and it's a rare instance when somebody is 100% wrong.

Calistoga

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Re: Don't Want to Take Sides, But I'm Siding With HIM (Divorce)
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2013, 11:44:49 AM »
I wouldn't take sides unless you're intimate enough with the marriage to know exactly what's going on. That being said, there's nothing wrong with sympathizing with Paul about the things you DO know...namely, Annie is a difficult person to deal with. It's entirely possible that Paul is difficult too, but since you've experienced Annie's difficultness first hand, you can sympathize.

VltGrantham

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Re: Don't Want to Take Sides, But I'm Siding With HIM (Divorce)
« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2013, 11:47:16 AM »
I would tell both parties that while I am sympathetic to the fact that this is a difficult time for both of them and that I grieve for the loss of their marriage with them, but don't want to become involved and that includes hearing any details about their private lives and each other.

I hate to sound harsh--but here goes.  Annie may be completely insane and Paul may be completely rational.  However, as Judge Judy would say, "You [he] picked her!"

If you didn't socialize with Annie outside of work, I would not return her calls now.  And I would keep my relationship with Paul on a completely professional level.