Drawing the line

A friend of mine went through a divorce, a really bad one a few months back. Having been in contact with her and also having been her support since the beginning, I know everything about her situation. She has been calling me regularly since the beginning and telling me everything, asking for my advice or sometimes just wanting a lending ear to listen to her.

The guy was crazy! He was not interested in his wife. He never took her out, he never spoke to her properly. Though they worked in the same office he didn’t want them to be seen together, be it for lunch or tea, hence she had to go separately. He didn’t want to take her out in his car, so he made her go by bus or even worse took her on the bike to office, even when it was raining heavily. Even though her parents had done a very grand wedding, he was offended that she didn’t contribute towards running the house or she didn’t give him money. When she did start doing it, he said she shows a lot of attitude just because she gives some money. All in all, in plain words, he didn’t want this marriage to work. He kept trying different ways and means to get out of it.

She tried it all too. To save the marriage. She fought, she relented, she agreed to all his conditions, she demanded her rightful love and care, she gave in and told that she will not expect anything from him, will not ask anything, if he just talks to her nicely. He didn’t even do that.

There was a colleague, a girl to whom he was extremely close. He spoke to her at odd times, at times he should have been with his wife. At midnight, at office, at weekends etc. He gave her all his support, care and attention. My friend and her family suspected that he possibly has an affair with the other girl ,which is why he behaves this way. They tried to put an end to it, they encountered him directly and questioned him about his intentions and said that the other girl was just a friend and was going through a tough time in her life and he was just supporting and comforting her. At the stake of his own married life? Yes! After this talk he stopped talking to girl directly, but met her and spoke to her stealthily at office when my friend wasn’t around.

He fought with my friend, made it a big issue, brought it out in front of all family members and even neighbors! They tried different means to try to keep things from falling apart. They sent them to a counselor, who also gave up hope and said that it wouldn’t work out and asked my friend to get out of it. Though he wanted a divorce, he wasn’t ready to apply and fight for it in the court. He wanted it to get done mutually. Push my friend to the brink of tolerance and then make her apply for the divorce and get out of it easily. When this didn’t seem like happening, he started recording their fights and editing it, making it seem like she was the one who had temper issues and she was the one who was fighting. When she found out about this and destroyed the memory card where it was all stored, he was enraged and he had a huge row, where he hit her badly too.

Through all this, my friend had attempted to take her life twice but was saved by her family in time. When none of his tactics worked, he finally revealed the fact that he was impotent and that he could not lead this married life. My friend was ready to adjust to that too and told him there would be treatments for it or they adopt when the need arises. But he wasn’t going to listen to it. Having grown extremely tired of this whole situation and his behavior, she and her family finally gave in and went for the divorce. The divorce deeds were completed this Feb. As she couldn’t continue to work with him in the same company, she took a job change and joined the same company as mine. Though we work in different offices, we are always in touch, either through phone, chat, whatsapp, messages, mail etc.

She is better off now. The work environment, new friends and moving back to her parent’s house did her some good. But she keeps going through phases when she keeps thinking of what happened and what happens next and she is sort of scared whether she will find anyone again and if things will be normal for her. There are two guys who have gotten interested in her, where one of them knows her situation and the things that she went through and the other who is trying to hit on her thinking she is single and because he likes her company. She though not very keen on either of them, doesn’t want to tell them that as she might end up not getting anyone.

I as a friend have always heard her and give her my genuine opinions, whether or not it meant taking her side. Even in this case, I didn’t like the way she was dealing the situation with these two guys and I frankly told her that she shouldn’t play around with them and should tell them a No, if she is not interested. She didn’t take it too well and shouted at me. I left it at that and the next time when we were talking she asked something, about which I was telling her that she should be the one to think over and take a decision. It is her life and she alone knows what she wants. To which she retorted saying “When I was with him, all of you were asking me to leave him and come and kept saying we will be there for support, but now when I have listened to you people come out, you people say it’s your life, deal with it!”. I got angry, and told her that she shouldn’t really talk like this and that her parents have supported her a lot, they didn’t leave her and now this is what she says! To which she said she wasn’t talking about her parents. When I questioned her about whom she was referring to, she said she referred to me and another uncle. That uncle too, having been a complete outsider had stood by her more than a parent. At the end of it all, she made me feel like we got her divorced, I felt SO bad!

I felt like a fool. This is not the first time this is happening to me. Previously too I have given a lot of importance and a lot of time to my friends only to face such insults, rejections and total lying in my face. I spoke to her and clarified what I felt and though we spoke normally, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and why this keeps happening. After all the support I have tried to give her in whatever ways possible, this is what she thinks!

I don’t wanna brag here, but I have been there, whenever she has called, not considering my personal life, spending hours on the phone. Her stories used to affect me too, made me doubt the institution of marriage, questioning certain things and worry about my marriage, have my mood and behavior at home affected etc. At work too, not caring about what will happen, I have taken her calls. When my dad died, only once during her call after the incident she inquired on how I am, otherwise during all other times it was only about her. She never asked how I coped with my loss. Her conversation generally drains the energy and positivity out of me and yet I speak to her because I feel her problem is extremely huge and that it will take time to cope with it. I have been supporting her through this since nearly two years now. But when she said those words, I felt really bad!

Now I don’t really feel like advising her anything as I don’t want to get blamed unnecessarily. She hasn’t stopped calling me and I being the way I am, don’t have the heart to go ahead and tell her how bad I felt. So I still end up talking to her and spending a whole lot of time, though I try to withhold the advice. I really don’t know how to approach these relationships and where to draw the line. I am tired of giving my hundred percent and being slapped in my face, time and again!

P.S: Please ignore the typos. This became a really long post!

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Mi says:

    Why do I feel, if not you, i would have written this exact post. You must have read about my friend who has been going through a divorce too, on my blog. She is as thankless as your friend and I couldn’t agree more. My friend has been doing unreasonable things like going and feeding orphans on the birthday of that moron and praying for his happiness. I mean people can be so unreasonable at times. My friend also says things which are hurtful. I had a lot of problems going on too, so I just started to ignore her and I thought if I can’t take care of myself i have no right to take care of others. So I gave it up. I have been, since then, selfishly taking care of my priorities. To each his own.

    So Arch, try and ignore her. She will be thankful for whatever you have done at some point in time. It’s best we forgive them for what they speak and do, because they are allowed to feel that way. Just stay away, with time, you will forget the hurt she caused you and she will realize how much you’ve done for her..

    for anything else, I am always there πŸ™‚ Take care..

    1. Arch says:

      I was actually thinking about you and your friend too, when writing this post, wondering if everyone behaves like this.

      I really should try to ignore it and prioritize the things I wanna do and not let every other person walk all over me. Thanks Mi for being there! πŸ™‚

  2. Titaxy says:

    hugs, arch. years ago i have found myself in such a situation and the best thing I have done is stayed away. If the person on the other end is unable to see all the time and energy you’ve put into making her life a little better, then it’s not worth staying and letting her spew all that negativity on you for no reason. Like Mi says, giving it up is the way to go if she continues to blame you and not see all that you’ve done for her.

    1. Arch says:

      Thanks T! I really have to start doing that for my own sake.

  3. Archita says:

    Hugs, Arch. When I read your post, I felt I know you because our thoughts match. You have written this post absolutely unbiased; you have written about the pain she went through and you wrote the after-effects of your help. I have faced similar situations so many times in my life: I gave my pocket money to sponsor my friend’s exam fee, I was there for my friend [ a Tamil Brahmin] who married her best friend from another caste and state; I was there for a family member[ just a few years junior] who was being forced to get married in stead of high GRE score and higher education aspiration, and I was there for so many friends who needed an ear to listen. But, yup, I learned this hard way that a few people don’t recognize that help after they see brighter days!..But I can tell you each experience made me stronger and prouder! You have done a great job and I’m sure it taught you many life lessons too which will help you in future. Take this incident as life lesson and move on! Try to articulate your problems too to people who call themselves your friend because any relationship is a two way road!

    1. Arch says:

      Thanks Archita! I am so glad that you understood that I was trying to write an unbiased post. I wanted to write about the pain she went through because I really understood that it was an extremely tough situation for her. I doubted myself wondering if I was overreacting at her statement. I wanted to write everything here, as it is was weighing on my mind and also because if I am wrong, someone here will definitely correct me.

      Thanks Archita for reading and for the kind words. πŸ™‚

      1. Archita says:

        Sometimes no one is wrong, it’s just the situation and our reactions towards it. πŸ™‚

  4. greenboochi says:

    I have heard of a similiar incident from my relatives. She blamed all the people who stood by her, for her divorce and broken marriage. While your friend herself knew how bad her marriage was, she isnt ready to take the ownership for it – thats how I feel. She wants to get some pressure off her and thus blaming all you people while she really must be thankful to all of you.

    I have many friends who end up calling me to share their problems. One particular friend is so very close to me. I take her calls for hrs, listening to her problems with in-laws, husband and such like. Occasionally, I get asked about my life – though she knows how I am all alone most of the times. I give her advise when she asks me for it and yet once I got blamed. That left a huge scar and took me a few days to come out of it.

    What I felt is, I am only trying to help her, provide her that listening ear and yet, if I get blamed I shouldnt worry. There is no wrong on my part and the same goes to you. You are still being a good friend. Dont worry much and let her come to you, if she needs anything. Else, let her decide her life.

    1. Arch says:

      Thanks GB! Yeah you are right.. I should just let it be. Maybe everything will be just fine and I shouldn’t take it to heart so much!

  5. I think probably she was in a very bad mood because of the divorce and all, so she just wanted to blame someone. I do that sometimes when I am hurt. But after all the time that you spent for her, she should not have done that. Probably you should leave her alone for sometime and let her come back to you once she has realized that divorcing was for her own good.

    1. Arch says:

      Yeah AK! I will let things be for a while. Best way to deal it.
      Thanks for the comment. πŸ™‚

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