My Best Friend’s Significant Other
Paul played gardener, which meant a trip to B&Q. I hate B&Q, I’ve never understood why people get so excited about going there, so what, you can get everything under the sun there, but then everybody in my town always decides to go there at the same time as we do, and God knows I hate crowds.
In and amongst my generally activity-free weekend, there was one thing that happened, which once again left me examining my relationship with The Tall Guy to make sure that we were still ok as a couple.
One of my best friends rang me on Saturday afternoon. I wasn’t sure who it was at first, all I could hear was sobbing. Of course my heart started racing, and panic set in. A hundred different scenarios flashed through my mind. At first I thought something bad may have happened to my baby sister. She’s only nineteen, and I live in constant fear that something horrid will happen to her. Some people call it paranoia, I call it knowing the world we live in too well.
Of course it wasn’t my sister, it was my friend (for the purpose of this entry I’ll call her Tamara).
Apparently she’d just walked out of her house leaving her baby with her significant other. Her first words to me were “He doesn’t love me.”
I’m a huge believer that you can’t deal with those kind of statements over the phone, so I asked her where she was, and if I needed to come and fetch her.
No. She was in her car, high up on the moors. She was trying to decide what to do with the rest of her life.
I told her to come round to our house. She was a little reluctant because she didn’t want to be around men (The Tall Guy) so I told her to stop being silly, and to get her ass over to our house now.
She agreed and I put the phone down. I told the Tall Guy to go and make himself useful somewhere else cuz Tamara was coming round, so of course being a typical man, he went to the pub with a friend.
I watched Tamara pull into our drive, and saw that she was blotchy faced, and she had huge bags underneath her eyes. She didn’t look good.
I went out to meet her, and escorted her into the house.
I sat her down, made her a cup of tea, and told her to start from the beginning.
Before I tell you her version of the story, let me give you some background info.
Three years ago, I got a call at about 3am in the morning. It was Tamara sobbing hysterically. She had caught Aidan (not his real name) engaging in explicit phone sex with another woman.
That night, I spent over two hours listening to my friend tell me that the perfect relationship that I thought they had was a myth.
She had confronted Aidan, who of course denied that he had been sleeping with this woman. To be honest at this point, I had to wonder what difference it made whether or not he slept with her, but I didn’t say this to her. I’m aware of the old adage of shooting the messenger, so I was quiet on this issue.
Tamara was devastated, so I invited her to come and stay with us, while she thought about what to do about her life.
She stayed with us for the weekend, while she contemplated her relationship with Aidan. She was hoping that Aidan would call and beg for her forgiveness, but he didn’t do that, and to me, that spoke volumes.
Tamara of course went back to Aidan, after he promised that he’d only been speaking to this woman for a couple of weeks (in my mind, you can probably multiply that by at least three weeks) and that she meant nothing to him. I was disgusted that she didn’t leave him then and there, I know that I would have. But of course, we’re all different, so it stands to reason that we react differently to different situations.
Fast forward two years. Tamara gets pregnant. At the time I recall thinking that she was making a mistake. I just didn’t believe that Aidan was the person that she was meant to be with.
As far as I was concerned after having watched their interactions since ‘that night’, I had come to the conclusion that whatever reason they were still together, it certainly wasn’t because Aidan loved her. She loved him to distraction, but I knew that he didn’t feel the same way. It was glaringly obvious to anybody watching, from the outside.
When she was seven months pregnant, I received a phone call at about 6pm one evening. It was Tamara. She wanted me to ring a certain hotel to check what type of room Aidan had booked. (He’d gone out with colleagues for their Christmas works event).
I of course told her not to be so silly, and that he wouldn’t be so stupid as to take a woman to a hotel where he knew, Tamara could have driven to at any point.
I told her to come round to the house, and once again told The Tall Guy to make himself scarce. He went to play in his office.
Apparently, Aidan had been acting funny, and now he wasn’t even picking up her calls (bear in mind that she’s seven months pregnant), she’d been trying to reach him for several hours.
She tried to call him again from my house, and this time, she got through. Apparently, he’d left his cell phone on silent, so he didn’t realise that she’d been calling (she was seven months pregnant for Christ sake.). She accepted this explanation, and felt a little better.
The next day, the Tall Guy and I were at PC World, checking out some new laptops, when my cell phone rang. It was Tamara. Hysterical. Again. I knew this was another Aidan-induced angst.
To cut a long story short, she’d called the hotel at about 2am in the morning because he wasn‘t picking up her calls to his cell, and she discovered that he wasn’t there, and had never checked in.
When he came home the next day, she confronted him about this and he lied several times about his whereabouts, before admitting that he had spent the night at a female colleague’s house, (who Tamara had met, and had immediately taken an instant dislike to) he told Tamara that he’d been too drunk to go back to the hotel, and that he had slept on her couch (yeah, I know).
Tamara of course didn’t believe him, and was absolutely devastated.
When she got to my house, and told me the tale, I decided to check something out. I rang up this particular hotel, and asked if Aidan had ever been booked in to stay there. I asked the receptionist which reservation system they used, and it was one that I was familiar with, (from my Marriott and Park Plaza manager days) and knew that if he had ever been booked in to stay, there would have been some kind of record.
The receptionist came back to me and told me that there had never been a reservation made under his name. In my mind, this meant that whatever his story was, his actions were definitely premeditated.
I gave the information to Tamara, and waited to see what she would do with it.
She of course stayed with him, it was never going to be an easy solution to leave him, not when she was seven months pregnant. I think she may have even managed to convince herself that nothing had happened between him and this work colleague.
Fast forward to the here and now, and once again, I have a hysterical Tamara in my house in another Aidan-induced state of angst.
The problem this time? He has a work-related social next Friday that he will be going to, Tamara asked him if ‘that’ girl would be there. Of course she would be, it was a works party.
She proceeded to tell Aidan that she didn’t want him to go to the party. Aidan lost his temper, and told her that what she thought didn’t matter (what?).
They had a huge row over it, and apparently, she brought up the events of the Christmas before, when he had spent the night at this female’s house. He of course got all I-thought-we’d-agreed-to-forget-about-that, (idiot) and got very defensive with her. He just didn’t understand why she would have a problem with him going off to this works party just because this woman that he’d spent the night with was going to be there. (WTF?)
In the end she left him holding the baby, and drove off.
For some reason, at this point, I recall Mary Alice’s words in Desperate Housewives, of how some of us live our lives in quiet desperation, and nobody is any the wiser. To the majority of their friends, Tamara and Aidan have the perfect relationship.
When she asked me what I thought, I decided that it was time to take the kid gloves off and tell her how I saw it.
I asked her what it was about him that she loved. All through these problems her constant mantra was that she loved him, and she didn’t want to be without him.
I asked her this question several times, I even gave her examples of what she should love about him, and she still wasn’t able to tell me.
Does he make you feel good about yourself? Does he put you and your relationship first, does he listen to you? Does he lend a hand when you’re feeling down? Does he hug you spontaneously just because he feels like it? Does he make an effort to spend quality time with you and the baby? Does he make you laugh? Is he a good father? Is he a good lover?
She told me that he was a good father, I then did my attorney bit, and asked “In what way is he a good father?”
She couldn’t provide specifics, apart from to say that he loved the baby.
I then went on a long rant about how she deserved to be happy, and that Aidan was not making her happy, and that it was time she took control of her life again.
She was mostly concerned about depriving the baby of a father, and of losing her home. (They’d only just bought the house, and they had a huge mortgage)
I then told her that she had two choices, stay with him and put up with his bullshit or leave him, and start a new life for her and the baby.
I knew she wouldn’t leave him, but I told her that by staying with him, as far as I was concerned, she was giving him carte blanche to walk all over her, and make her life a misery, again and again.
The thing is, if she ends up staying with him, I can totally understand why, after all, as materialistic as this may sound, the financial implications are a huge consideration. If she’d been on her own, fine, but she wasn’t, she had the baby to think of.
By the same token, I can’t help but feel that Tamara and Aidan’s relationship, isn’t healthy for the baby. It’s all very well providing a family unit for the baby, but how exactly does rowing constantly, blatant mistrust of each other, and the constant suspicion, help anything?
I sent Tamara upstairs to sleep (she really was in no state to drive anywhere) and got busy finding telephone numbers for her. I wrote down the telephone number of a solicitor that I knew (he was one of my friend’s father, and specialised in family matters), I also wrote down the number of our financial manager, and the number for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
When she woke up, I gave her these numbers, and urged her to call them, and find out what the implications would be, if she were to leave him. As far as I’m concerned, knowledge is power, and the least she could do is to make an informed decision on her and the baby’s future.
I told her not to tell him what she was doing, and then if she decided that it wasn’t in her best interest to leave him, then he’d be none the wiser.
I sure hope she leaves the bastard.
What are your thoughts?