Other People’s Relationships

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

We had lunch yesterday with Mr and Mrs Bubble. Both are long term swingers. Both are currently dating other people outside their primary relationship. Mr Bubble is very much a go with the flow person. Drama, ultimatums and other turbulence are not his style. His other is a perfectly lovely woman. Wise, kind, down to earth, honest and someone I would welcome into my marriage dynamic.

Mrs Bubble is a completely different kettle of fish. She loves to socialise and be the life of the party. She is also wise kind and a great person to be friends with. In the past she had a relationship with a man that was a spectacular failure. It almost cost her her marriage to Mr Bubble and it did cost her a lot of emotional turmoil. After a recovery period she has met and is very much enjoying another young man. Most of the initial honey moon phase happened while we were away. She told me about him via message and it all seemed peachy. As we re-inserted ourselves into blue pill world and re-connected with friends and acquaintances we heard mutterings and disquiet about this relationship. Many of Mrs Bubble’s friends were concerned about this relationship, how besotted Mrs Bubble was, how young he was and just where it was going. I met the new boy a couple of times. He has said about five words to me and we have had the most superficial of interactions. I can see how she finds him visually attractive. The jury is out on his personality.

Recent conversations with Mr and Mrs Bubble have revealed that the new boy is, in fact in a live in relationship with another woman who until about a week ago didn’t really understand the nature of her boyfriend’s relationship with Mrs Bubble. Both The Bubbles are quite critical of this relationship. In their opinion she acts in a completely unreasonable way. There are fits of yelling, isolation by the silent treatment and she isolates him when they do socialise together by speaking her native language with her friends. English is a language she is still learning and he definitely does not speak hers. Despite this The Bubbles admit they have only heard one version of events.

It would be easy to judge in this situation. Easy to judge the girlfriend for being a screaming, unreasonable, demanding woman. Her behaviour is definitely something most westerners would not tolerate; but we need to stop and  consider what we do know about her. She has been wronged. She is living in a country with a very different culture from the one she grew up in, trying to learn a different language and set of behaviours that must seem quite foreign. The relationship with The New Boy is key to her staying in Australia. Without it she goes home. Home to what? As I said to Mr Jones there must be a reason that so many women from SE Asia put themselves into bad relationships, rely on men who exploit them and behave in the only way they know to control a relationship to avoid going back. I don’t think white middle class Australians understand that.

We could judge Mrs Bubble for getting involved with him in the first place. I, personally, would have put the skids on the whole deal when I learned he was sneaking around behind his girlfriend’s back. My personal feelings on this kind of situation are a little unconventional and go like this. He is making the choices. Any wrongdoing is on him. But I am not up for getting abusive phone calls or messages from a jealous, outraged wife / girlfriend. But Mrs Bubble is not me. Her position is that she isn’t doing anything wrong. And she ISN’T. She ISN’T the reason that his relationship is failing. She is a symptom of that. She isn’t lying to anyone. She is also making sure that The New Boy does have a basic level of respect for his girlfriend and at least gives communication to reassure her about his safety. 

Finally, we could judge The New Boy. He is the one doing the cheating. He is the one with the power to walk away from the toxic relationship. But again there are mitigating circumstances. It is a big responsibility to know that if you end this the other person may have to go back to their country of origin, to a life that they clearly will go to great lengths to escape. In addition, this Covid affected world has created a housing issue in Australia. Many people have come back to Australia from overseas to ride out the pandemic in the relative safety of a country that has isolated itself from the rest of the world. Housing occupancy is ridiculously high. Meaning renters struggle to find, let alone afford, a place. The New Boy is young and works in hospitality, an industry that has suffered. He can’t afford to rent an apartment by himself.

All of these things make this situation one complicated mess. It is easy to take one or the other person’s side. It would be easy to judge one or two or all of the parties involved. Many people have aligned themselves with a particular person thinking that would make them a good friend. It may, to a certain extent. There have been times when this topic has come up in conversation that I have had to stop myself from spouting my opinion. From forcing my way of thinking into someone’s ideas. I have also had to be very aware of Mr Jones. He has less self control than me and says offensive stuff all the time. It comes from a place of love and honesty but someone who struggles to give correct names to stuff cannot express themselves accurately about something this complex and is guaranteed to say something he will regret. I have repeated the phrase, “Other people’s relationships are other people’s business” quite a few times. He knows what this means – “Don’t discuss this here, it isn’t your place to offer an opinion about someone behind their back. Besides you DON’T know everything about it.”

 I introduced a new term to him yesterday, “Loose lips sink ships,”. The Bubbles are influential in our little world. They know a lot of people which is why we find ourselves in conversations about this topic almost everywhere we go. Some of what we have been told by The Bubbles themselves I don’t think is common knowledge. Putting our knowledge into the common domain will only serve to muddy the waters further. Discussing this topic everywhere we go only creates more interest and judgement. Besides, gossiping will not solve anything. It won’t create an epiphany of realisation on one of the parties involved part. It will just create negativity, feelings of self righteousness and ultimately isolate some beautiful warm people.

Sitting at lunch listening to The Bubbles talk about their feelings and ideas I found myself wondering what is the right thing to do here. I didn’t think they wanted advice. I KNOW they probably are getting it in spades from other people. I don’t feel that my opinion would add any value. But I didn’t want to sit there looking empty headed and acting like a gossip sponge soaking up all the information to spread it around later. In the past I don’t think I would have been so self aware and I possibly WOULD have soaked up the gossip to repeat it at the earliest opportunity. but I believe that one has to act in the way one would like to be treated. In my professional world, gossip about my after dark activities could be disastrous. I go to great lengths to keep those two worlds apart but sometimes there is a little bleed over. Sometimes I say stuff that is completely unconscious that makes people wonder. Especially people who possibly also walk in this world. It would be amusing to find out how many people in my school actually do. I know of one for certain and have suspicions about a couple more. 

But I digress. I guess after all this rambling I don’t have a major world changing closing statement. What I do have are the two statements I have told Mr Jones. “Other people’s relationships are their own business”. We will never know all the ins and outs of a situation. We almost never get to hear both (?) sides of a story and we never see all the events unfold. The second is “Loose lips sink ships” Gossip never did anyone any good. In fact it usually ends up causing havoc. To that end one should never feed it. 

Wicked Wednesday