Whelp. Time to catch you all up. Things continue to drag on the divorce front, and I'm counting down the days. Literally. Counting. But a few things have happened that have changed how I view the people in my life. Let me bring you up to speed...
As you all know, my husband and I were together for a very, very long time. This means that most of our friends were/are "mutual" friends. From day one of the separation, I've bent over backwards to tell people that I'm not asking anyone to take sides, or choose me or Mr. Soctopus. I've told people I encourage them to keep their friendships with the Mr., and have simply asked people to come to me with questions or concerns. And then the "incident" happened, and things changed. Drastically. I have a very good friend who went through a similar divorce, minus the threats, a year or so ago. She warned me that people would start to show their true colors and I would find out who my true friends were. I knew this academically, but it didn't hit home until the first person I considered a friend took a side.
When the Terrible Night happened, I called three close friends, one for immediate support, two for advice and a shoulder to cry on. All of these three people I considered my closest friends. One of them broke my heart. About a week after the Terrible Night, I called this friend again to catch up and talk. She proceeded to tell me that she felt I was overreacting, and needed to consider Mr. Soctopus and how hard I was making his life. She spoke at length about how hard my divorce was on her. When I expressed my hurt and shock at her attitude, she apologized for upsetting me, and proceeded to tell me that it was "the end of an era," and it was so hard for her to get over our separation. I told her I thought we needed some distance, as I couldn't be around anyone that could tell me I was overreacting to the threats Mr. Soctopus made. She apologized again, and we made plans for coffee in a few days. Those plans fell through due to life.
Fast forward to this Saturday, when I'm browsing the FB and realize, "hey, I haven't seen anything from Person X in a while, I'll check and see how she's doing." Except, whoops, nothing shows up when I try to go to her page. So I go to her boyfriend's page, since he's also a close friend. Same result - nothing. And it hits me - they've defriended and blocked me. Ouch. No notice, no warning, just - nothing. This hurt me, as these people were good friends of mine, until the break-up.
I've given this a lot of thought, and came to a conclusion: people will generally take the path of least resistance and do whatever causes the least amount of stress to themselves. In this case, that means keeping silent about what Mr. Soctopus did, and continuing to support him, even if that means cutting me loose. Because in my former social circle, the Mr. isn't the one who did a bad thing, even by threatening me - *I* did the bad thing, by reporting it. By calling the police and involving the authorities, I broke "the code."
I've heard every version of the following statements: "I don't want to get involved," "it's not my business," "that's between you and Mr. Soctopus," etc. forever. And I listened, and when he threatened me, I kept my mouth shut and told very, very few people, because I didn't want to make people uncomfortable or choose sides. So it finally hit me - I've been bending over backwards to make my divorce easier for everyone else!
Why? Why have I been doing this? At the end of the day, if someone tells me they will keep Mr. Soctopus in their lives, or that what he did is between us, I will now tell them, "fine, that means you're not in my life anymore." Because this is an issue that is black and white - what Mr. Soctopus did is wrong. Period. End of story. There is no excuse. There is no good reason. No man should EVER threaten his significant other, male or female, because it's wrong. If you tell me there's another side to the story, you're telling me that you aren't willing to stand up for what's right. If you can't understand that what he did is fundamentally wrong, then you and I shouldn't be friends.
I have two male friends who have come forward to tell me that what Mr. Soctopus did is wrong, and no real man would threaten his partner. I'm thankful for the reminder that there are men who will stand up for what's right, no matter the cost, because the majority of men I know have gone the other direction. So what's changed? I'm done making other peoples' lives easier by accepting the status quo. I'm stepping away from a subculture that I've been a part of since I was a teenager. Because I need to take care of myself and my own mental health, and that means it's time for me to take my hat out of the ring and quietly walk off the stage. As this door closes, new doors will open for me, and I will make new, different friends. I'll mourn the loss of a few friendships, but at the end of the day, I don't want or need anyone in my life that brings me down.
The sun is shining, the world is wide open, and it's time for me to walk outside the narrow box I've inhabited and find out what's out there for me. Goodbye, Mr. Soctopus. Goodbye, old friends and acquaintances. It's time for this Soctopus to embrace the new and move on.