Subitled, “A Romance.” Sub-subtitled, “Happy Thanksgiving!”
The names in this story have been changed to protect both the guilty and the innocent.
My friend “Barbara” and her boyfriend of four months now, “Larry”, were scheduled to go to Alabama (name changed to protect an innocent State) to spend it with her family. (I will say that the location is somewhere in the South, and Barbara’s family is kind of like Dukes of Hazzard meet the Hell’s Angels. Larry is originally from New York, so that alone would have made quite a tale.) They were planning to leave on Wednesday, but Larry called her on Tuesday and said he’d been called to an emergency meeting at his regional headquarters in Orlando (its real name), and for her to go on ahead and he would get a plane from Orlando to Somewhere, Alabama on Wednesday night.
Wednesday he called and said he was not going to be able to make it. The meeting that day was to tell him he had to work on Friday due to a sensitive, politically involved issue at his workplace. (Clarification: “Larry” is the project manager for a multi-million dollar construction project in the city where he and Barbara currently reside; Barbara permanently, Larry temporarily, at least until 2012. His “permanent” home is in another Florida city.) However, he said, he had changed his plane ticket and she should pick him up at the Somewhere Airport at 5:55 P.M. on Friday evening. Then they would drive back together as planned on Sunday morning.
She said never mind, Why didn’t he just drive to <Other Florida City>, spend Thanksgiving Day with his own family, and she would go ahead and drive back herself on Friday rather than Sunday. That way they could spend the weekend together.
I may not have this whole story completely straight, but in any case, Barbara drove back on Friday, and never heard from him. On Saturday, he called to say he was on his way back and they needed to talk.
Now let’s hear a little background info on Larry. Larry was married for 20 or so years to “Roxanne”, who died of cancer some years ago. As coincidence would have it, Roxanne’s best friend was also named Roxanne, and during the course of wife Roxanne’s illness, he and friend Roxanne became close, and eventually became a couple. However, he said, they lived separately, and it was never a romantic sort of relationship, at least on his part, more of a friendship and convenience sort of thing. But it continued to get more complicated as now girlfriend Roxanne became close to his sister, who was also suffering health problems. Once he and Barbara had been seeing eash other for a while, he said he was breaking it off with Roxanne. It was early enough in the relationship that Barbara said, “Don’t do that on my account, because I’m not making any promises.”
“No no no,” said Larry. “I’m not really doing it because of you. It was inevitable. If it hadn’t been you, it would have been someone else.”
Rewind back to Saturday night when he returns, and says, Barbara, I’ve been lying to you since Day One. Roxanne is not my girlfriend, she’s my wife. We’ve been married four years. But really, really, I don’t love her. I love you madly. This is killing me. Barbara coolly says, “So was there ever a plan to come to Alabama?” He said no…no plan, and no plane ticket–ever. And Barbara said, I have to leave (they were in his apartment) and left his key on the kitchen counter.
After telling me this story, Barbara said, “What would you do?” She was still in shock, and unsure, because while she is hurt, she still has feelings for him. Ha ha. Fakename has not survived this long by answering questions like this. Today’s villain is tomorrow’s husband, then you become the villain by having said all those bad things about him. But to be honest, Readers, Fakename is furious.
This is like a bad movie on Lifetime TV. Woman Scammed by Charming Rogue. What makes me angriest is that sociopaths exist, and they can be men or women, taking advantage of the trusting nature of ordinary people. And by trusting, I do not mean gullible. My friend is anything but. She is smart and competent and loving. I hope she makes the right decision. “How can I ever believe anything he says after this?”, she asked. Indeed, Fakename thought, silently.
Had Fakename been inclined to reply, she would have asked, Is walking the plank still illegal? We will close this post with a poll:
1. Larry is a well-meaning guy who is under a lot of stress. He really did mean to do the right thing by everyone concerned, but in the process of trying not to hurt anyone’s feelings, he just got caught up in a series of dilemmas he saw no way out of. He’s trying to do the right thing now by coming clean with at least one person. He really does love her, and hopes she will forgive him.
2. Larry is a scumbag, who thinks he has played this just right. Having been involved with Barbara long enough now to be semi-comfortable with her attachment to him, he thinks he can keep her on the hook. If not, well there are other fish in the sea. In any case, it would be a lot more complicated to disinvolve yourself with someone to whom you were financially connected (e.g., wife). While we’re at it, who believes there are two Roxannes?
My vote: #2
But I also vote that Barbara’s not telling the whole truth either.
See: “Cognitive Dissonance.”
Fakename thinks that “Barbara” is telling the truth as she understands it. Or at least as far as she can accept it. She did have clues, but didn’t want to believe them. Cognitive dissonance is one way to put it, but not quite right. Cognitive dissonace leads to rationalization.
Fakename prefers the tried and true defense mechanism of denial.
# 2 for sure. It has all the makings of a good Country song. I agree with Rocky that your friend might not be telling the entire truth, however, she might believe whatever she says.
Okay, the verdict is in, and it is definitely #2. “Barbara”, who is amazing, did a public records search and found his marriage license, from June of…2009. He started seeing her in August. Two months, ladies and gentleman. I’m speechless!
That juggling act could not have gone on that long without “clues”, but as you say….folks often do not want the truth.
Like some poker players, they play against the odds, hoping to get “lucky” because in fact some do get lucky. But in the long run, those who play against the odds…lose. And when they do not get “lucky”, they blame someone other than themselves.
Like poker, one needs to know when to fold the hand. Do not think about how much you have “invested” that will be lost. Think how much more there is to lose which could otherwise be invested in a better hand.
Since I conveniently brought up poker … After 12 months and a bit over 180 tournaments, I have ended my first month since November 2008 with a loss. But a 12-month winning streak is not bad. I attribute that to playing the odds, and to reading my opponents.