I have an exceedingly awkward, and (for me, at least) one that is also, to put it bluntly, humiliating. And I have absolutely no idea how to handle it well, having never encountered such awful behavior EVER (maybe I’ve just been extremely lucky?).
Here is necessary background: a little over a year ago, I was briefly – for approximately two months, maybe? – romantically entangled with a guy who I will call “N”. He is in his early 40s, I was at the time 23, and I am now 24. I add the ages because I really feel that despite the age gap, out of the two of us, I handled our relationship – and actually, life at large -in a far more mature manner than he. The relationship was not healthy (he wasn’t abusive or anything, but it was just not good) and at the time I was in a very bad place, so after we’d been seeing each other for a bit I broke things off with him. I tried to do so in as peaceful and friendly manner as possible, however, N took it very badly, and in fact for at least a month after was veering toward being a stalker. Eventually he settled down, and we went our separate ways. This was May of 2012.
At the beginning of August, after having flown solo since seeing N, I (quite literally) randomly met a wonderful man – call him J – who, in horrible coincidence, just happened to be a member of a band that N is also in. I had never met or seen J while I was dating N, so this really was just a terrible coincidence. J and I started dating, and while it was clear to us that N was very jealous, he seemed to be controlling himself very well. J and I are also closer in age – he just recently turned 30. I saw N occasionally when I went to one of their band’s concerts, and (I thought, anyway) that we now had a civil acquaintance going on. Of course I was wrong! That would make things entirely too peaceful, as you will soon see.
In December, I became pregnant. It was a surprise, but J and I decided to raise our child together. When he saw me at one of their concerts, N even very sweetly congratulated me/us and said he wished us all the best. Then rather suddenly, J declared that he didn’t want me to attend any of their concerts again, since N would be there. I was confused – J knew perfectly well that I had no romantic interest in N – and after I continued poking at him, he confessed that N had (for quite some time) been making comments to J about how he hoped J was enjoying the ‘sloppy seconds’ and other equally crude and disrespectful statements, all regarding J and I’s relationship. I wanted to immediately contact N and give him what-for, but J requested I just let it be…so I grit my teeth and did so, hoping that if N continued to get no reaction he would stop.
Instead of stopping, N has now crossed a line that I find absolutely impossible to ignore. At their band practice this past week, he first greeted J by asking, “So, how’s N Jr.?”, implying that the child I am carrying is a.) Not J’s, and b). That he is still in some kind of relationship with me. J tried to play it off by reminding N that actually, our baby is a SHE, and SHE is doing just fine. N then proceeded to make a series of lewd comments involving our unborn daughter – the detail is totally inappropriate to share, but suffice to say it involved what might happen once our daughter turns 16 since that’s the age of consent….yes, it was that bad and worse.
My gut instinct is to do actual physical harm to N – it’s one thing to needle J about me. I can deal with that. But this is just….beyond unacceptable. Clearly ignoring his comments will not work, J does not want to confront N himself for a few different reasons (which are all very rational and acceptable to me), and I am just at an absolute loss as to how to handle this. Please help! I want to handle this with class, but still make it crystal clear to N that the comments WILL stop. Short of hiring a hitman (no, I’m kidding), I don’t know how. Thank you in advance for all assistance, and you have my utmost gratitude. Sorry this was so long! 0615-13
If N is as bad you claim, one wonders why J is not doing whatever is necessary to protect his family which could well include leaving the band to join another one and moving his small family a distance away. And I wonder why the other band members appear to have no influence on N’s behavior towards another band member….the band sounds dysfunctional if that kind of relationship interaction is allowed to continue. J and N go to work playing in a band yet there is no professional courtesy, civility or demeanor that this band’s members appear to uphold. Isn’t there a band leader/organizer who can control the actions and words of N because to not do so creates a hostile work environment and guarantees the band will never achieve success with so much relational strife going on.
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To J: time to man up and protect your daughter and her mother. You might have to quit your band and find a less-exciting way to help support your family for a while, but consider the alternative- OP has to move out on her own for the protection of herself and your daughter, and you are left to child support payments and occasional visits while you stick by this band member who is the cause of all these problems.
I am who I am today because my dad would NOT sit back and allow any guy- whether it was a school boy on the playground or an acquaintance of his- to sit around making lewd comments about me or my mother. He never used violence- a firm, “You don’t treat my wife/daughter that way,” was enough (although, believe me, if someone had tried to hurt us physically, he has a shotgun and he knows how to use it!). My dad is not an aggressive person who likes to feel macho- he HATES conflict and confrontation, but he also knows it is his responsibility to look out for his family. And, yes, he would have moved our family away from his stable job and home if that had been necessary to protect us.
Even if it is just talk, lewd comments made about your daughter will come back to affect her eventually. If you want her to know that she is NOT an object, you can’t let anyone treat her like one. Don’t give the world 16 years to tear her down and then frantically try to fix her up before she’s out on her own- start taking a stand for her (and her mother!) now!!
EvilCherry can’t help but wonder how N has gotten to his 40s while still in possession of all his teeth, if this is what he thinks is appropriate.
Personally, I think OP should confront N once, politely but firmly telling him how out of order he is. Perhaps in front of the rest of the band, so they are aware of the issue. If that fails, I agree with Admin that it would be necessary to establish distance between yourself and N.
Step 1 would involve J leaving the band, and putting as much distance between the two of you as possible. Unless this band is, like, Metallica or some similarly important musical group, your safety and comfort (and that of your unborn child) is FAR more important than J’s band.
Step 2- if you and J try to remove yourselves from N and he keeps it up – is to call the police. Do not think that you are overreacting, wasting police time or any of the other excuses we women often make when we’re unsure about whether to report feeling threatened. He is presenting a very real threat to your safety with these comments and needs to know that it’s not acceptable.
You need to get yourself and your baby away from the nut job. MOVE! Getting the police involved and a restraining order is a waste of time because N will not follow it. You are in danger.
What the ** are the rational and acceptable reasons that J does not want to confront N when N is rudely insulting his unborn child and its mother?
N is a j**k but a stranger for you now. I would worry much more about your and J’s relationship.
“J does not want to confront N himself for a few different reasons (which are all very rational and acceptable to me)”
I’m sorry, but I’m boggling at the idea a man has ‘reasons’ not to confront someone who sexually insults him, the mother of his child and the child itself! That isn’t rational at all, especially since you already admit that ignoring N’s disgusting behaviour isn’t working.
N is taboo-breakingly, shockingly ugly in his behaviour, but you’re not with him. You can’t control what he does, and from this, the REAL problem is J.
He tells you to stop coming to concerts.
He reports back to you the hideous things N has said at practise (yeah, tell your pregnant girlfriend what her stalker ex said about her unborn baby! that’s normal!)
He requests you ‘let it be’ but continues to tell you all about it
He refuses to confront N when N makes sexual comments about his UNBORN DAUGHTER
I am sorry but what I see here is a spineless, selfish, immature boyfriend who hasn’t got the guts to stand up for you, or who doesn’t want to because it would get in the way of his band relationships. I see a man who puts the band over his girlfriend and unborn child, and a man who whines to the one person he should be trying to protect, while making pathetic excuses for why he won’t resolve this situation.
J’s behaviour is just incredible. At the very least, if he won’t fix it, he needs to shut up about it to you, but I am…I am flabbergasted. I really am. N is sick but J is shameful. You cannot make your boyfriend stand up for you though. You shouldn’t need to make him either, but all I can say is don’t let him try rationalising this to you, or complaining about it. You have enough to deal with, and this situation is NOT ok. If he is determined to let you down and take public insults about you, he needs to admit that.
Seriously, I’m trying to imagine my own very sweet-natured, gentle husband not exploding if N said one word like this to him, and I just can’t. Every man I know would have him up against the wall by the throat telling him what would happen if he said that again. This is not a nice thing to admit, but when you break taboos, people aren’t always rational.
This story was dinner table fodder for my family and to a person, all six adults found fault with J, wondering why he wasn’t manning up to protect his family. It seems the OP made a poor mistake in dating N and J isn’t a much better choice.
J is at fault here for not protecting his family. Most men wouldn’t stand for someone making disgusting comments about their daughter, let alone continuing to harass the letter writer. I am sorry but she needs to have a serious sit down convo with him regarding sending a clear message to N to stop his unacceptable behavior.
I see a very inappropriate person (N) who is creating a bad situation, and another person (J) who is allowing that to happen. In a situation like this, J cannot sit back and let things be as they are. Apart from being angry and saying that you shouldn’t go to band practice, has he done much else?
Were I in J’s position, I know what I would do. My future child would be given more gravity than some despicable person from his band, and so I wouldn’t merely be upset or ask N to stop when I had seen that he still carried on regardless. I’d leave the band. Regrettable, yes, but people like N won’t be stopped without an inordinate amount of nastiness that may turn very ugly indeed (I am reminded that N verged on being a stalker at one point… This man is not safe.)
The question here is why isn’t J giving his child more importance? Unless both the OP and J are on the same page with this, not much can be done.
This story was submitted in June of this year. It is now September and the baby is very possibly born already. I hope the situation has been resolved already, or at least that the OP has the good sense to not let N within fifty feet of the baby for any reason whatsoever. I also hope that J has woken up a bit when it comes to the importance of his partner and especially his daughter, too, and puts his infant’s safety before his decision to associate with someone who could easily be a danger to her.
While I’m not fond of using the term “man up” because I think that both parents need to step up and defend their family, I’m firmly in agreement that J isn’t stepping up. As I read the story I found myself mystified as to why he’s stayed in the band, and while I understand why he’d try to brush off N’s comments (if you can’t deal with working with people you don’t like you can’t work as a professional musician) those comments are way too far over the line to tolerate. Moreover, I agree with those who said that he shouldn’t be reporting to her what N says at band practices.
I think this isn’t really an etiquette violation, but a couple things stick out to me.
So, you no longer attend band performances and practices as a way to avoid N, which is probably a good idea. So, how are you aware of what N is saying? Does J repeat them to you? Because I can’t imagine, oh yeah, my colleague is constantly insulting me and making references to sleeping with my partner, and I just thought you should know, but I am also not going to do anything about it.
How serious are you about J, OP? Do you think you’d be together if you weren’t pregnant? Because it definitely sounds like J doesn’t want to rock the boat with N or the band, and that’s a higher priority than his girlfriend and unborn child to him.
OP, I would not recommend confronting him yourself. Any attention he gets from you is just going to be seen as encouragement. I think, if you want to stay with J, then you’re only other option is to tell J, listen, I think you’re crazy to continue working with a man who insults us and makes disgusting comments about our daughter. But if you’re going to stay in this situation, then do me a favor and don’t tell me about it.
I agree with most of you. OP, the real issue is your boyfriend considers his band more important than his partner and baby. He didn’t want to become a father now and he’s still not ready, so you need to make some good decisions for yourself because you are going to be raising this baby on your own.
For the sake of your own safety I would not attend any performances nor be anywhere N will be.
It is a truly unfortunate situation and one in which you must put your child first. N’s words go far beyond the realm of the pitfalls of human jealously and veer off into dangerous territory.
I am loathe to suggest ultimatums most of the time but here’s a situation that requires it. If J wants to continue any kind of relationship with N, including that of bandmates, he cannot remain in your life. It’s not J’s fault but it is his choice. This is for the sake of your child. He should of course support the child financially and have a right to visit the child but the question of romance continuing or an everyday presence in the child’s life is over so long as he is unable to cut all ties with N. I don’t think it’s overreacting to say that N’s comments suggest that as long as he is in your life neither of you will be safe from his poisonous influence and possible bad deeds.
If it were just you my answer might be different but you’re choosing to keep and raise the child so the child automatically comes first. There is no other way for it to be. I’m sorry to have to put it so bluntly.
J needs to leave the band or N needs to be fired. Which is appropriate will depend on the group dynamic and the wishes of the other band members, but that is what needs to happen. You and J need to sever all ties with N. If N then persists in attempting to make contact with you, I would suggest filing a police report. His inappropriate conduct may well escalate, and I believe you will be able to get more help sooner if there is a record of N’s conduct. I am sorry this is happening to you. Pregnancy and motherhood is stressful enough without dealing with this sort of situation.
I’m amazed J was able to make a baby with OP since he appears to have been personally gelded by N. For real, if he let N walk away unscathed after making those remarks about his child, he isn’t a man. He’s not even a boy; he’s just a sad and pathetic waste of space. As I see it, OP, you have two things you can do: 1) sit J down and tell him what you see, which is J allowing some man to make disgusting, nigh-on-pedophilic comments concerning your unborn child and that you need J to consider whether he really wants to be in this kid’s life if he’s just going to lay down and take that, and 2) tell him that if chooses to continue to stick his head in the sand, you’re gone. Period. The choice is yours, but remember this: out of her two parents, there seems to be only one who has the decency to even be upset that someone outside the family has active “plans” for her when she older, and the other just sits and lets it happen. You, OP, are her protector, and that means you have to protect her from even her idiot father. So do it.
I don’t know what country the OP is in, but in the UK it may be possible for her to obtain a ‘restraining order’ against N on the basis of this threats to both her and her daughter. While J may need to step up and protect his family more than he is doing now, in these types of situation, professional / legal help may also be wise.
I absolutely agree with Kirsten – spot on!
I would make a number of suggestions to J, if he had been the one to write in. Since J is not the OP, I have to ask the OP, why in the WORLD is J TELLING YOU THIS? If I read the letter correctly, OP is not at these rehearsals. If J chooses to allow this situation to continue (which, again, is completely ridiculous, but hey, he’s not the one asking for help), then why is he running home and reporting these horrible things to OP? It’s not like OP needs additional evidence to stay away from N. What good does it do for J to be passing these things along?! All it does is create more drama and strife, which is exactly what N wants.
OP, tell J that he may (for whatever reason, although I can’t think of a single good one) choose to allow this situation to continue. That’s his choice. But he is not to keep doing N’s work for him by passing those comments on to you.
Also, OP, whether or not this is humiliating is actually within your control — that’s one thing you can do something about. N isn’t exposing anything that’s true or real about you. He’s a giant exploding oil derrick of disgusting behavior, and all he’s doing is splattering his vileness around. He’s making himself look horrible. He’s (helpfully) showing the world his true colors.
A tug of war only works if both parties agree to play. Put down the rope.
A single girlfriend and I were talking about dating experiences the other day and commented that the guys who were in their 40s that we/our friends dated in our 20s, always turned out to be crazy immature. So I was not shocked by N’s acting like a 13-year-old later in the story.
I too find J’s behavior disturbing. It’s not that I want him to physically attack N, but he seriously needs to make it extremely clear to N that talking about his daughter like that is NOT OK. It’s not even right for him to talk about the OP like that, but saying he’s going to hook up with J and OP’s unborn daughter when she’s 16 (may be consent but still underage) when he’s in his 50s or 60s (at least that’s what I’m assuming he said based on what OP said) is so far over the line, the line is a distant memory. He’s already choosing his gross friend over his daughter, and she’s not even born yet! And that is so not OK.
What surprises me is that anyone is surprised by this. “Bros before hos” sound at all familiar? This is a classic case of “creepy dude,” where a woman’s right to feel safe is set aside in order to not hurt the feelings of a man, because hey women always overreact and he’s really a nice guy doncha know. There’s a very good article related to that here: http://captainawkward.com/2012/08/07/322-323-my-friend-group-has-a-case-of-the-creepy-dude-how-do-we-clear-that-up/
N is not the problem. J is the problem. Is N creepy? Absolutely. However, J is telling you what he says, continuing to associate with him after he makes extremely inappropriate comments, and is allowing N to dictate where you can go.
The “confrontation” that needs to happen is between you and J. J is showing an extreme amount of disrespect by refusing the address the situation.
N is a problem to be sure, but J is a bigger problem. Why isn’t he standing up for you and your child? Why are you putting up with it? Your baby should be your biggest concern, and if that means you break ties with J because he isn’t man enough to defend you, then so be it.
J may need to leave the band, but that’s not going to make him more inclined to take care of you. Actually, I think J needs to get the band involved in giving N the boot, but that’s just me. If he’s harassing J, then it’s a strong possibility that he’s had issues with other band members as well.
My advice to you would be to move as far from both of these idiots as you possibly can. If that means J pays child support and doesn’t have much contact with you and/or your daughter–well, that’s the position he created by allowing N to be threatening. This is pretty much 100% on you and J.
Talk with a lawyer about all of this. Your TOP PRIORITY, and please don’t take this lightly, is your child. She will be absolutely dependent upon you for her entire childhood. Get her as far away from N as you can. And if that means you put distance between you and J, so be it. Good luck.
“Chicken Little” me would run from BOTH of them: N and J.
I’d consider not being married to J. a lucky break in that there probably are no legal requirements to keep the baby close to wimpy, spineless, heartless, brainless “daddy” who’s willing to sacrifice his family for the sake of the tenuous professional relationship.
But then, maybe the OP is someone who just HAS to HAVE a man in her life, no matter how unmanly, not to mention unloving, he might be…
I agree with previous comments- J needs to step up , man up or whatever you want to call it. N’s behavior is so far beyond unacceptable and J needs to do something other than ignore it and tell you to not come to practice. I think you & J should set up a band meeting, find out if the other members of the band are aware of N’s behavior and comments, then go from there. People who would continue to welcome him as member of the band after knowing what kind of person he is, and what he has been doing/saying to a fellow bandmate, including threatening his unborn child, I would not want to be associated with.
A regular job might not be as exciting as being in a band, but when it comes to your family, sometimes you have to sacrifice a little. If the band is not willing to put restrictions on what type of behavior is appropriate in order for N to stay in the band, and enforce those rules, then J should look for another job and move away to protect not only you and your child, but himself as well. If N has exhibited stalker-ish behavior in the past, he is very capable of acting on that and he may think J is possibly standing in the way of his much hoped for reconcilation with you. It’s pretty apparent N is obsessed with you and let’s be realistic- it is dangerous.
I also have another possible take on N’s behavior. Maybe N is intentionally trying to create problems between you & J, hoping J will leave you- alone and pregnant- and N can swoop in and be the hero. Every stalker’s sweet dream.
Now for a minute, agressive me is going to say something- if N happen suggested he will take some sort of liberites with my child when she turns 16, that would be the end of N. I would call the police, my family, my friends and do everything in my power to make sure he is kept far, far away from my child.
If J will not do more to protect you & help protect the baby, maybe it is time to for you to think about protecting yourself and your child. It’s hard to be a single parent, but it is much harder to spend your life regretting that you did not do more to protect your child.
Sorry to be so “gloom & doom”, but I worked part-time in high school at the local social services office and have seen such evil, unspeakable things done to women and children.
Sadly this really isn’t for you to fix. J needs to step up and makes some changes. Leave the band would be a first step.
I think the OP needs to extract herself from this drama and get away from J, too, if he shows no better judgement than this.
If it were me, as soon as I realized that J and N were friends and in the same band, I would have ended the relationship. People are who they hang out with.
But of course, it’s a little late for that decision. J needs to defend you, your baby, and the band needs to get rid of N. If they aren’t willing to fire him, THEN J can quit. If nobody is willing to budge, then you need to get out of the realtionship before it escalates even more.
The only thing OP can do is to tell J that she doesn’t want to hear any more about N, unless it’s how J stood up to N. Why upset her with these tales if he isn’t prepared to do anything about it?
What Kirsten said, followed by what admin said.
OP, you are in a very difficult situation. If J won’t “man up” it is now YOUR job to protect yourself and your child. I think I personally would contact a lawyer and ask him/her to send a letter on your behalf telling N the harassment will cease or he will find himself with a restraining order and possibly a lawsuit. Secondly, if J is going to be this way, you need to ask yourself some hard questions like: Why does he keep fueling the issue by telling me all this stuff? If I am in danger, will J protect me? Will he protect our daughter? If you have any doubt about the answer to the second and third questions, maybe you should totally rethink your relationship.
Wow, just wow.
OP, I think you need to step back and start thinking about what is best for you and your daughter. You do not need this kind of stress when pregnant or handling a newborn.
Confronting N will not solve the problem if J will not support you. So far he is not being much support when it comes to N. He doesn’t want you at the concerts. You are not supposed to talk to N because it might cause waves. Yet, J keeps telling you about all the stuff that N is spewing. J is not keeping you or the baby’s best interest in mind with his actions.
I would recommend cutting N out of your life completely. I would tell J that if he will not handle the N problem or let you handle it, you don’t want to hear it. He brings up the subject, you interrupt and firmly say “Stop. I do not wish to discuss N.” If he persists, walk away. If you attend a social function where N is in attendance, either avoid him or walk out. If N confronts you in a public place, tell him firmly to leave you alone or you are calling the police. If he persists, whip out the cell phone and call 9-1-1.
In the end, you need to have a direct discussion with J about his priorities. Does he want to be a parent to your daughter or best buds with his band mate? That is not an etiquette question, but part of this discussion.
The days when the “little woman” stood back and let her man handle things seem to be over. If you are being insulted to your face, then your face can respond. I do not mean yelling profanities or making threats. I mean doing what pop psych calls “critical parent” mode.
“N, I know you think you are embarrassing me and feel very clever insulting me and my unborn child. Your behavior would be understandable if you were a fourteen year old boy, but, in a man in his forties, it comes off as both childish and ridiculous. If you wish to speak to me, you will behave in a polite and adult manner. If you are incapable of adult behavior, do not speak to me. Do we understand one another? Do not make me reprimand you again.”
I should have mentioned that you need to be at these rehearsals and deal with “N” when he attacks you. He will make comments to you and then you can respond as I suggested. As it is, you are dealing with gossip and that’s hard to fight.
This doesn’t feel like etiquette, but drama. It’s time J chooses between you and the band. This is not your fight, and allowing you and your unborn child to be collateral damage is not exactly chivalrous. The band sounds dysfunctional, and with all of this, I somehow doubt there is a lucrative record contract on the horizon.
Agree with everyone else. N is disgusting, but J may be a bigger problem for OP.
OP, if you agree so thoroughly that J’s reasons are legit, would you share them with us? I can’t even imagine what they could be.
There’s not one blessed thing the OP can do about this situation unless she severs ties with J or decides to ignore the appalling behavior by N that she now finds “absolutely impossible to ignore”. N has found an effective way to hurt the people he wants to hurt and he knows that it’s effective, so why would he stop? Certainly, neither J nor the OP can actually MAKE him stop, no matter how many angry fantasies they or their well-wishers indulge in about threats and/or violence against N.
Yes, ignoring N’s comments WOULD work, if the OP and J were both willing and able to do that. It wouldn’t necessarily stop N from making those comments, but it would leave him trapped in the cocoon of his own mental filth and hostility without the power to upset the people he’s targeting.
However, the OP has made it very clear that N gets rent-free space in her head as long as his remarks are horrible and nasty enough. She even “continued poking at” J to get him to reveal what N said. In fact, I’m not sure why other posters have been so critical of J for reporting N’s remarks to the OP, since it seems pretty evident that the OP is insisting on full reports about them.
OP… run… That spells toxic relationship from the get go.
I don’t feel like J needs to step up.
I’d like to assume that when N says something disgusting, J doesn’t just sit there, giggle and say “good one, bro!”
That being said… N is on his way to middle age and is acting like a 15 year old bully on his way to an adulthood in trouble with the law. Quite frankly, I’m a little impressed if he doesn’t already have a criminal record. I say this because this isn’t even etiquette faux pas, this is genuine anti-social/sociopathic/@**h*** behaviour. He’s 2 lattes short of a Starbucks.
I assume J has given him the stink eye, or said “this is not appropriate”… but it’s not like J walked in to find N using the bathroom sink as a bidet… N is displaying the foulest of foul behaviours. I can’t imagine what good it would do to point this out to him. He probably already knows it, and doesn’t care, and is possibly looking for a physical fight. Actually, he’s more than likely TRYING to egg J into throwing the first punch, because that seems predictable, based on his current behaviour. He absolutely wants a negative reaction. Any negative reaction.
I think it’s odd the band isn’t getting sick of it as a whole… but, depending on where they are in terms of success, it may be easier to just pretend nothing is going on. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if N had verbally abused and frightened the other members into submission. I kind of expect that, actually. I doubt that OP and J are the only people he harasses. I can’t imagine how rehearsals go.
I can’t imagine how his life goes, really… must be insanely awkward for anyone to hear him make lewd comments about a newborn. I can’t believe anyone hangs around with him for any period of time. That kind of stuff is absolutely monstrous.
Personally, I feel like the only way to deal with this guy is to never interact with him ever again. He wants interaction. Don’t even look at him, pretend he’s not there. I would have both OP and J do that.
Given that may be impossible, how is his relationship with the rest of the band? Have they ever thought about replacing him? Do the other members think he’s hilarious (if so, J needs to find a new band, STAT)?
OP I am so sorry, this whole thing is a mess, and I’m glad that you got out of a relationship with N while you could. I really believe that there is nothing you or J will be able to say to N to make him grow up (and into an actual human being).
I believe that N needs to be fired from this band for creating a hostile work enviroment and being completely unprofessional. J should not have to leave the band. No matter how good a player N is (and even if this band IS Metallica), music is a competitive industry and there is ALWAYS someone who could take his place. I could give you countless examples of people who have been fired from bands, simply because they couldn’t get along with anyone and were jerks….and certainly not to the level of jerkiness as demonstrated by N. The social dynamics of a group are crucial to its success, as Admin stated. I am also a musician, and I learned a long time ago that I would rather play with a slightly-less talented musician who worked hard and got along with everyone, rather than a mega-talent with an awful attitude. There are too many good musicians out there to tolerate this sort of behavior.
J should enlist the other members of the band to facilitate the process of firing N; and/or contacting the band’s contractor or agent. Admin’s advice is excellent.
Whatever happened to the bro-code?
I don’t think J should ever have started dating N’s ex AND stayed in the band with him – especially when the break up was so emotional and full of drama. Now that he is in this situation and is likely to be connected to the OP for at least the next 18 or so years, I think he should do the right thing and step down from the band? How do the rest of the band mates feel about J bringing in all this drama and angst?
I’m, of course, not saying N is a good person, but this was basically an act of betrayal by J. N is reminded of this drama at every gig and practice.
Was the band not together for the months you were dating N? How did you not get to any of his concerts?
I agree with the other posters who have stated that it’s time for you to issue (a calm) ultimatum. What is more important? The band? Or you and your daughter? J needs to pull it together and act like a man and soon to be father!
J should’ve left the band by now. Period.
I think that by telling the OP about N’s comments, J is making the situation even worse. So one of two things needs to happen, either he leaves this band and severs the ties with N, or the OP leaves J and he can hang out with N. If I were the OP I couldn’t stay with a guy who let other people talk about me, and my unborn child, like that. Even if there is a history there, the comments would start getting old after the first few times. If I were one of the other members of the band I would definitely say something too. Sometimes I think that as some guys get older they get even more immature, not less.
First, I’d love an update on this, since the OP says she became pregnant in December, which would put the baby due right around now. On that note – Congratulations!
I agree that I can think of absolutely no reasons why N is being tolerated by J and the bandmates. I could conceivably understand J asking the OP not to come to concerts & etc. If I had a co-worker who was harmless and cruel and who I knew had a special spot of hatred for my lover, I might suggest he not come to any events with the hate spewing co-worker. However, this particular co-worker has obviously gone past the point of evil yet harmless, and, forgive me for saying it, but it’s just a band. Find another band. Kick N out. Whatever it takes. Surely if N is acting this way now, I seriously doubt he hasn’t shown his true colors to the rest of the band.
Perhaps N is the lead singer that they’re reluctant to get rid of. Perhaps he has some mad guitar skills. Perhaps J feels that in a showdown of “get rid of N or I’ll leave” that the band would keep N and expect J to leave. Whatever the case may be, J needs to stop feeding the troll that is N. If he refuses to leave the band, perhaps he could at least refuse to speak to N. It is hard, but like a child throwing a bad tantrum, he’ll quiet up after a while if he’s just not acknowledged (although in this case, it may take a very long time).
I agree, for now, that you shouldn’t go to the concerts or have any type of conversation with N. And that J shouldn’t pass on the gossip. Focus on the new joy in your life instead, and I hope that your man turns into the protector he should be. Otherwise, he’s worse than simply not-a-protector in this case. He’s allowing N’s vile to spew in.
I agree with Wild Irish Rose. Get an attorney and protect yourself and your daughter. You obviously can’t depend on J to do it.
I’m not sure it’s such a good idea to pressure or expect J to quit the band, it might set up an unhealthy precedent in your relationship. My step-dad was in bands for most of my childhood, and band dynamics are rarely black and white and rarely about friendship.
OP, you sound pretty mature and rational despite N trying to push your emotional buttons. I think if you try to confront N, you’ll just be telling him what emotional buttons work for you. By ignoring him, you’ve obviously bothered him enough that he has escalated his bad behavior, that means it’s working so keep at it until he gives up. If you react, you’ll be sucked back in to his drama and right where he wants you. J leaving the band over this could also send the message that he got to you.
You can ask J to not tell you anything about what N says unless it sounds dangerous or threatening, this will also help you discern if J really is mature, or just as drama loving as N. If you feel N is dangerous or a serious threat, go to the police station and ask to talk to a police officer about it or file a police report. If he is mentally ill and not just immature, be very careful and maybe talk to a psychologist about how to handle this. Above all, hold on to your rationality, reacting emotionally will only make things worse.
I think Admin pretty much said it all. OP, there’s nothing you can do. If J has already made it clear that N’s crude insults are not okay and N still hasn’t stopped, then J can’t MAKE him stop without utilizing physical force. J will either need to just put up with it or leave the band, and he’s the one who has to make that decision since it’s his band and he’s the one who has to hear it. If J chooses to stay with the band though, I would recommend he not relay anymore of N’s comments to her. No reason to upset her over something she has no control over.
PS- Congrats on your baby! Best wishes that the rest of your pregnancy is stress-free!
I don’t know what J’s very good reasons are for not confronting N, but they are definitely relevant. If N is the band leader, then confronting him would end his career with the band. If N is violent, confronting him could be physically painful or worse. If N has threatened OP, then of course J folds.
That’s assuming that the reasons for not confronting N are good ones. I’m willing to take OP at her word on that. It leaves a very simple truth, though: if it is too risky to confront N now, then J needs to leave the band. I’ve been in a band where the leader was the sort of person you did not confront. The best day ever was the day he was removed. If N can’t be removed, remove yourself. I don’t know whether N would ever become physically dangerous, but he’s already emotionally dangerous and he’s also probably a roadblock for J’s career in any case; there is really no reason for him to stay that I can see. He may think he has to stay in order to put food on the table, especially now there’s a baby on the way, but this is wrong. Now is the time to leave the band, before things progress any further.
OP, I have to agree with what has already been said many times at this point, cut ties with J. I know from experience (a nine year relationship) that you cannot force a boyfriend to grow a spine, be an adult and defend you, either he does it now or he never will. Children and/or marriage will not change that.
Allow me to share an example (not as extreme as your situation); one night at a party I was standing at a table with my (now ex) husband and some friends, a random man walked up to me and said out of the blue that I needed to lose 20 pounds then I would be pretty. My husband not only said nothing in my defense, he allowed the man to start a conversation with him until another male friend stepped in and demanded the strane man remove himself from the table. This was after 8 years together and was not the first time he didn’t defend me because it was easier for him to just stay quiet.
People like N and similar situations will come up in life, that is inevitable, but a good partner will defend you and support you through each of them, that is not an obligation, it comes from mutual love and respect.
I’d just like to drop a note in to mention that studies have shown that ignoring people never makes them stop harassing and, in most cases, makes the harassment worsen. By ignoring harassment you are telling the perpetrator that what they are doing is acceptable and giving them no incentive to stop; they aren’t doing it in hopes of some oft-touted reaction, they’re doing it because it makes them feel good to have the power in your interactions.
one of two things needs to happen here. J needs to either leave the band, hard as that is, or in my opinion, he and the other band members should force N to leave. and really , i think that is the most fair. why should J have to give up doing what he loves and this n guy gets to stay? maybe J could plead his case to the other band members. in any event, someone needs to go. when you hang with poo, you start to stink