Monday, August 3, 2009

Black & White Person living in a Gray World

Nichole recently posted a blog about liking a friend and not liking her actions. At the time, I shared the story about a co-worker and being in the same situation and how I dealt with it. As time passes, however, my co-worker is making more and more decisions that make it harder for me to close my eyes to her actions.

A little background for you. I am a very black and white person. I know what I believe and I rarely, if ever, change from those beliefs. Having an affair is wrong. End of discussion in my book.

My co-worker (CW) was married with two kids and started an affair with a woman. I didn't have an issue with the gender of her new partner but I do believe she should have ended her marriage before starting the new relationship.

Fast forward a couple of years and she is now divorced and living with a different female partner. The reason that I mention the gender of her partner will become obvious in the future. Her newest partner is married so, once again, my co-worker is involved in another affair.

This is where it gets complicated, however. Her new partner (NP) got married to another woman last summer. (CW and NP started dating less than 4 months after the wedding.) This woman is apparently dying from brain cancer. We will call her DW. I say apparently because we have been hearing for several months that DW only had a few weeks to live and she was just awarded a wish from the Make A Wish Foundation to take her kids to Disney for a week. However, DW is hanging in there and is well enough to drive and to work.

Talk about a complicated mess. NP and DW can't currently get a divorce because they live in NH and NH does not currently recognize same sex marriages. They would have to move to a state that recognizes them, establish residency and get divorced there. CW and NP are already talking about their wedding.

The trip to Florida was for DW, NP and their 3 kids (one for DW and two for NP). It was scheduled for a time that conflicted with a long weekend away for NP and CW so they had the Make A Wish trip postponed. (Yep, you read that correct - they postponed a make a wish trip for a dying woman so they could go away for a long weekend.) When it came time for the actual trip, CW pitched a fit about NP going so DW took the 3 kids to Florida by herself for the first 1/2 of the vacation and NP flew down for only the end of it. (You also read that correctly. A dying woman went to Disney with 3 kids by herself for 4 1/2 days.) Since NP left, we have been subjected to: deep sighs, tears and slamming of telephones. I understand that CW misses her partner, but I am finding it hard to be sympathetic when I believe that NP is where she should be - with her kids and dying spouse.

How do you support someone when you believe they are making very bad choices?


  1. I can't say what I'd do, because it's a very difficult situation. However, I have to say that I think supporting people means helping them to be the best they can be, and also helping them to make the difficult decisions. I don't think someone making the easy choices really needs support, especially when those choices are essentially evil.

    That's not to say that a person can make anyone else's choices for them, or that one should try to force values on them. What it does mean is that one can't DO anything that compromises one's own values, making easier the life of someone who is contributing to the destruction of other lives.

    "I understand that you're having a difficult week, and I'll try to cut you some slack, but please don't take out your foul mood on me."

    That sounds supportive, doesn't it?

  2. Oh my goodness... that is one COMPLICATED situation.

    I know a friend of mine had an affair on her husband... I had to tell her how I felt about it - obviously, not digging it - but you HAVE to be there to try & make them a better person through it all - that's when they need good friends... but good friends sometimes HIT them with the TRUTH of situations... & when things ARENT good for them... even if they dont listen, you tried. All you can do.

  3. You DON'T support the support them. But I would be totally 100% honest with her - if she's a close friend of yours and you share openly and honestly with each other. If not, I guess you accept that it's not your issue and let her live her life.

    I would have to say something. I just couldn't be a part of something that is obviously so wrong.


  4. Wow, that's way more complicated than Katie's situation. But it's so hard isn't it? Regardless of the situation and the history I'm a black and white person too. Cheating is wrong, period. I'm starting to gradually stop filtering my comments with Katie. Before I was trying to stay positive and keep my views to myself, but I think by being her friend I need to also point out the things I think are ignorant and hurtful to others.

  5. wow, what a MESS!!!!
    and I agree with Hallie's assessment of this.

    also, I avoid drama like that because it brings so much negative energy so i would bow out and just say I can't be involved or even listen to it anymore.

  6. Like you, I take a firm stance on cheating - period. That situation is so complicated, I'm not even sure what to say!!??
    My approach has always been to state my views clearly - if the person doesn't like it, that's their choice. Yes, I've lost friends over this. But infidelity has impacted my marriage in the past, so I'm not going to apologize for my feelings. At the same time, I've also been the one that a friend knew she could come to about what was going on in her marriage, because I wouldn't sugarcoat anything or tiptoe around it. You're in love with someone else? Then file for divorce. Be a grown up and do what needs to be done, your spouse doesn't deserve to be lied to. It let me support HER, without supporting her choices.

    One thing that confuses me - Make A Wish is for children under the age of 19, give or take. Not for adults. So I'm not sure how she was given a trip to Disney with her kids?? My son has a terminal diagnosis, so I've been through their whole process - and have never ever known them to work with terminal adults. Something about the whole story just seems "off". The way you said apparently makes it seem like all of the info you're being given is hearsay - and it's just not sounding true to me.

    I'd avoid that co-worker at all costs - she seems like a true drama magnet :)

  7. Interesting info on the Make A Wish trip. CW told us in the office that DW had been granted a trip from Make A Wish. Perhaps it is from another organization - or perhaps someone isn't being all that truthful. Somehow that wouldn't surprise me at all.

  8. that would be the end of my friendship frankly.

    There are some things that I cannot and will not tolerate.

    Hubby recently ended a long term friendship witha guy because he determined that the "friend" was not treating his family in a way hubby found acceptable.

    So, I'd say either sit her down and tell her how selfish she's being...or emotionally and physically (within the limits of your job) walk away.

    OH, and it is up to you not to judge...yet to teach right from wrong.

  9. Oh, that's an absolute mess. Sorry you have to hear the drama - real or otherwise. Hope your workplace is one where you can distance yourself. Now, I'm going to send my husband a juicy love text (and hope I send it to the right number -- unlike a previous attempt at a juicy love text...)

  10. Well! I definitely feel the need to chime in here.

    Cheating? Wrong. Period. Hey, things happen sometimes and a person falls out of love with one and into love with another. In my opinion, true love can wait a few months until the divorce comes through. It's just common decency. Don't know what to say when it's a same-sex marriage and a divorce isn't possible??? Especially when that poor woman is supposedly dying? Just wrong on so many levels...BUT, something seems just a little weird with this co-worker, beyond what you've said, I mean. If this is a pattern with her and it keeps getting more complicated each time...I'd have to bow out of the whole mess. I mean, if she's only a co-worker, you can still be professional about work but just bow out of all the "personal" junk. If she's a co-worker that is also a friend? Hmmm. Good luck.

    I've had some doozy situations with friends, but nothing like this. I TRULY wish you good luck!

  11. Glad you liked the book. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Quick read, but a good read!!

    The raffle IS fun...although stressful. Can't believe how many people I'm pissing off when they don't win!!