And to think that yesterday, I smugly wrote that I had better jealousy control… today when Abbie, Ben and I took our notes to our usual hang-out for these things, there was Mark’s ex…
He’s always been at the periphery of our lives, of course, and he lives in casual mentions from Mark’s friends from his old school. Sometimes the lines cross and the mutual friends make the mistake of inviting us to the same thing, and words are exchanged. People are upset, we are upset, and I think the ex enjoys the drama.
So, he’s there in the bar, drinking a soft-drink with a couple of people, and saunters over to ‘have a chat’ like normal people who faintly know each other and who just happen to meet in a student hang-out.
I think that Mark and his ex got together because it was Mark’s first real boyfriend after he came out and he walked into that relationship believing it would all be a fairytale. Like with all first true loves, it turned to be anything but.
Mark’s ex wasn’t so romantic, and walked into that relationship because Mark is cute, committed, and his sense of commitment can be manipulated for whatever. It was never a relationship of equals. It was to fulfil whatever he wanted to aggrandize himself with.
What tears me up about him is that Mark could still have been with him from a sort of Stockholm syndrome. He would have thought ‘I can change this ex’. Mark is a science geek who has a too big heart for his own good sometimes and thinks the best of people’s motivations.
I’m not so nice. But I also feel woefully inadequate when the husband’s ex saunters over to ‘have a chat’ like if it’s the most normal thing in the world, despite the run-ins we’ve had before. Do I claw his eyes out? Threaten him with violence and libel? Or play-act some sort of maturity theatre until he saunters back out of my view again? I did neither and most stewed in the spot, feeling like I was the worst coward in the whole world that didn’t tell this ex exactly what I thought. Then he just noted my lack of response and left.
What a curious new plaything this feeling is. The bright shiny label on it says ‘hate’, if I read it correctly. I should press the button, shouldn’t I? It’s big and red, and there’s a big ‘Do not press this button’ sign nailed above it.
My need to wipe that stupid grin off his face was and is intense, but I didn’t, and I think that it probably means I’m basically afraid of conflict or embarrassment. But if I can’t tell people to get the hell away from me, then what’s the point? Does anyone have a mental manual for how you’re supposed to deal with your husband’s or partner’s sick and twisted fuck of an ex?