I've had such a strange weekend that I thought I'd write a daylog about it.
Rana and I had been staying at my sister's house for a few days because things had got so bad with our housemate, Jerry. We were barely talking for weeks, and even though I managed to make him sit down with me and discuss his greivances, the atmosphere there had become so claustrophobic, especially for Rana who's there all the time, that we thought it'd be good to have a change of scene for a while.
Jerry was pissed off with me for a couple of reasons, some of which were justified and some of which were a little stranger. For instance, he was annoyed because I am a lot messier than he is. He's a doctor, he's on call one night out of five which means he works for 30 or 35 hours straight and comes home totally shattered, and if the kitchen is messy when he comes home he says it makes him want to kill people. So, okay, I can understand that - I'm a messy person, and I said I was sorry. He should have said something to me instead of just letting the resentment build up, and I told him that, and he said yeah, he hates confrontation.
So far, so good, but he's still annoyed with me. It turns out that he has been feeling neglected and ignored by me ever since Rana moved in with me. Now, some of that is also definitely my fault. I've been totally engrossed in our relationship, and I haven't been making much of an effort to maintain my friendship with him by sharing some of the things he likes to do - he likes to go out drinking a lot, and I don't, but once in a while I would usually do it anyway just so that we can stay in touch and go a little mad together. We used to play a lot of chess, and we don't really any more, mostly because I spend all my spare time with Rana. So, again, he should have said something to me, because I'd no idea he was feeling like that for a long time. This happens to people when they get into a new relationship, and for god's sake, Rana and I are getting married, I'm bound to be distracted. So I apologized for that.
But this wasn't really it. He said "Alan, I just think you don't have enough respect for your friendships. You drop them when it suits you, and I think you're doing that with me." I was stunned, and I asked him what he meant, even though I had a suspicion already, and he confirmed it by saying that he'd been talking to Brendan and Emma, two of my oldest friends who I hardly see any more. I don't know what exactly they said to him, but he had come away from those meetings with a theory that I was just going to drop him as a friend now that I was in a relationship.
A little history.
Brendan was my closest friend for a couple of years, but there was a strange and problematic dynamic to the friendship caused by the fact that he is gay and, at some stage, as was obvious to everyone around us except me, he had fallen in love with me. Things got worse and worse between us as he became more and more depressed and manipulative, until they came to a head one day when he had a huge, flaming row with Emma, my then-girlfriend, during a night we were all out together, and I told him the next day I didn't want to talk to him or see him again. We got back in touch a year or two later, tentatively, and have been acquaintances since, without really resolving any of those old issues. End of story.
Emma is a more complicated issue, and I won't go into everything because we were together for about 3 years and we both went through a lot of changes in that time, but the short version is that we broke up in December 2001, a couple of months before I met Rana, and we were trying to stay friends, but after Rana came over here to live with me, it's been getting more and more obvious (again, for a long time to everyone but me) that Emma wasn't over our relationship, even though at the time I felt that she was more responsible for ending it. So recently I've been avoiding seeing her because of the creepy vibe I get. I tried talking to her about it, gently, months ago, when I asked her about how she was acting towards me. She said "If you're wondering if I'm still in love with you, I'm not, so don't worry about it." Idiot that I am sometimes, I took this at face value, but now that I know it wasn't true, I don't feel able to meet up with her as a friend any more. In my experience, that just can't ever work when two people don't feel the same way. It took me too long to listen to what other people were saying to me about her, probably because for most of the time I've known Emma, I've felt that people misunderstood her. Now I think that if they do, it's her own fault. She just wants everyone to love her, and surrounds herself with friends who won't tell her the truth about how she acts, because they "understand" her and basically let her get away with anything. What do they get out of it? They get the same back. Approval, and an unspoken guarantee that there will be no unpleasant confrontations and that honesty will take second place to the preservation of the relationship.
Anyway. It was obvious to me after talking to Jerry that these two people, who he's also known for a long time, though much less well than me, had been filling his head with all kinds of crap about me and what kind of person I was, maybe just out of self-justification, or maybe more maliciously, out of some desire to get to me, affect my life, maybe even try to interfere with my relationship with Rana. I got very angry about this, and I wrote an email to both of them. A 4000-word email, that took me three hours to finish, and which said basically everything I wanted to say to both of them. It was the kind of email you don't send unless things between you the recipient have become so bad that you don't care any more if you lose them as a friend - it's more important to tell them the whole truth about how you feel.
Brendan replied, denying pretty much everything I said and refusing to discuss it. Our friendship is therefore over, which makes both of us sad, but that's life. Emma hasn't replied, and I wouldn't be surprised if she never does. I don't think she will want to hear any more of what I was saying to her, because it would make it very difficult for her to maintain her all-important facade of moral superiority. I think it's very likely she was very upset, and feels very badly treated, because I'm not sure she can allow herself to hear some of the things I was saying about her dishonesty and selfishness. I don't want to hurt anyone, really truly I don't, but I've gotten into this position in the first place through being too trusting and too believing of what people tell me, when it contradicts my own feelings, and for once I had to confront them with the truth instead of just letting it slide because I don't want to hurt anyone. I don't expect to ever be friends with Emma again unless she changes radically, and that makes me sad too, because I used to have so much respect for her, but that person hasn't been around for a long time.
Things started to improve on Saturday night when I went out drinking with Jerry and we did some more apologizing and bonding and explaining. I really want things to get sorted out between him and Rana, because she's been so hurt by the way he's treated her and how rude he's been. He told me that he was being that way because of his own insecurity - he had gotten the idea, from somewhere (I am sure it was from Emma), that Rana was unfriendly, and he also got the idea that she didn't like any of my friends or his, and when Jerry thinks someone feels that way about him, he retreats into false politeness, communicating only when absolutely necessary. He doesn't understand people very well, especially not people as sensitive and intuitive and emotional as she is. He said he would talk to her and try to make things better between them, and he's been a lot friendlier with her, but I think he's afraid to actually bring up the subject, so we'll see.
I was pretty hung over on Sunday morning after all that. I'd cycled home after three Sambucas and three vodkas, which is a lot for me because I hardly ever drink, and gotten a bottle of Huzzar vodka and a Chinese takeaway on the way home. Bleeeuuuurrrrgggghhhhhhh. Rana and I and my sister and her boyfriend watched Ireland lose to Spain in a penalty shootout in the second round of the World Cup, which left a lot of stale adrenaline in our bodies, but other than that it was a pretty nice, relaxing day. We went to see Spiderman in the evening - it's brilliant, go see it - even though we both felt really tired and a little sick, and then we came home, hung around a little, and went to sleep.
I feel kind of cleaned-out after all of that - like a lot of things are now out in the open which should never have been hidden the way they were. I think things are going to be okay with Jerry, which is lucky, because our friendship could have been damaged irreparably by all that bitching and silence and manipulation. If I lose any friends over it, it's only because they care more about their own self-image than they do about our friendship, so good riddance.
Now if only I can meet my deadline at work, everything will be perfect...hee hee.