I have a friend. Perhaps friend is a bit too much of a description.
I know someone. I used to be friends and work with him. For purposes of this blog let's call him Steve.
There has been something about Steve that has been bugging me for some time. Not just his alcoholism or the fact that he bad-mouths his wife in front of other people. I've been avoiding Steve and his wife now for some time for the above reasons and more.
I've been trying to figure out what bugs me about Steve. Is it the chummy way he always finds some way to get you to have a beer with him? Yeah, that's a pain. For those of you high school and college kids out there, there is life after beer, and if you want to avoid becoming an alcoholic, you'll discover that sooner rather than later.
No, this friend's other behavior is getting to me and the light finally went "on" one day. Steve is exactly how my ex-husband used to be in so many respects, it's eerie. On one hand, he wants to be free and single, going out to bars til all hours, having fun with the boys. But he also wants to have a wife waiting at home for him. And God forbid he should do any housework.
Fact is, Steve has actually made comments that his wife sits around watching TV and eating bon-bons while he's off at work (However, I'm sure since she's home with a 2-year-old she doesn't get much of a chance to catch up on "As The World Turns"). He makes comments about how other people are so "lucky" while he's stuck in a job he's not doing very well at. It's not that he can't do better, in fact I've seen him do very well, but part of that "Grass is Greener" problem lies in the fact that everyone has it so much better than him that there's always an excuse as to why he fails.
I know what that feels like to some extent. I envy people who have children, for example, because everybody I know is either pregnant or has kids, and all my husband and I have to show for 3 years of trying is 3 miscarriages and another bill from the fertility specialist.
I know, however, that despite how I look at parenthood (just as an example, since it's something I don't have or I'm not a part of) I also realize that there are people out there with 3 kids under the age of 5, and they just might be looking at me going "Man, I wish I was her".
But this person is not quite capable of truly appreciating anything that he has, and instead wants bigger, better and more.
This person is a great friend if that's all you are -- friends. I mean after all, if all you want is intelligent conversation over beers in a sports bar, this person is great to be around. Well, until closing time. When Steve's outdrunk me 2-to-1 or better, it does eventually catch up to him, and he doesn't know it enough to get a ride home. He's the kinda guy who's bound to get a DUI sooner or later. Then guess what? It'll probably be something the police officer did.
I know there are few if any reasons to remain friends with this person. I feel for his wife mostly, and wonder if Steve thinks she'll never leave him, and that's why he treats her so badly. My ex-husband thought that about me too. In one of our last counseling sessions before the big divorce, my ex had the gall to say, when the counselor asked him why he married me, that he did so because "she comes from a good family so she'll never leave me."
It's hard to know what to do or say. When does crossing that line into an area of intervention about their drinking? What business is it of mine how he talks to or about his wife? I guess as a human and as a woman who's been there, I want to tell him to straighten up -- because she could end up leaving him despite his assumption that she won't. Oh don't get me wrong, she's already mentioned it to me, but I do wonder if she has the backbone to do it.
To interfere or not interfere? That is the question.