Friday, August 27, 2010

In Matters of the Heart, Sometimes Technology Really Bites

Today, the tale of a friend's current situation. Some names are changed to protect identities, but I was told that it was okay to share the jerk's name.

Back in my day, when a guy was being a selfish pig, a jerk or just yanking a girl's chain, he only had the phone or letters as alternatives to face to face communication. The addition of technology is a beautiful thing in many ways-but a curse in others, like what I'm about to tell.

The players:
Adam -27 year old guy
Betty-27 year old girl
Veronica-also a 20-something.

The situation:
Several years ago, through mutual friends, Adam and Betty met and became friends themselves. They shared many common interests-but each was dating other people. They agreed that they would make a very good couple, but the timing is wrong. They joked that someday, when they're in a nursing home, they will finally be reunited and become a couple. They remain friends, even after Betty's toxic relationship with her then-fiance dissolves.

Adam meets and marries Veronica and moves out of state. Veronica is an emotionally and verbally abusive sort, and several of Adam's friends (including Betty) tell him that marrying Veronica would be a bad idea. However, in Adam's mind, he asked her to marry him, he should go through with it. (There was trouble for Adam and Veronica prior to the wedding, with Veronica instigating many, many arguments.) Adam's friends, both male and female, still are his support system hundreds of miles away, even after the wedding, because they have MySpace, LiveJournal, emails and texting to keep in touch.

Veronica does not like this, and commands Adam to break ties with all female friends, particularly Betty. She feels threatened by Betty, even though Betty is not the type to move in on another girl's man. Adam sends Betty a message through MySpace "Veronica doesn't want me to be friends with you anymore because she is jealous of our friendship. I won't be contacting you any more, but know that I will cherish the friendship we had and the fun times we enjoyed."

This upset Betty greatly. She was sad to lose her good friend Adam, but she knows his reason for breaking communication was not something he wanted to do, rather something he had to do for the sake of his marriage. The way that he did it was the thing that hurt the most-why not call her to tell her this?

Two years pass and she's moved on in her life. Then, out of the blue, an email from Veronica shows up in her in box: "Tell me exactly what went on with you and Adam before he married me." Betty has no intention of answering this email, but she sends Adam an email, telling him that Veronica had contacted her. Originally, Betty was just going to ignore the email.

Adam emails Betty back that, after 2.5 years of marriage, things are very bad and he told Veronica about their(his and Betty's) past together-which Veronica doesn't believe. Adam tells Betty that he's requested a transfer with his job, that he loves Betty and he's going to move to her town to be with her.

Yes, the appropriate response here is WTF?

Betty, stunned by this news, responds with an email of her own. In it, she explains how she was hurt by the way he unceremoniously dumped their friendship and she's not going to be swayed into rushing into a relationship just because that's what Adam wants. Even though Betty would love more than anything to be with Adam when he is single, she is treading cautiously-her ex-fiancee hurt her in many ways. Betty usually thinks with her heart first, and to be calm and rational about this is difficult for her.

Adam's responding email seems like he thought Betty would just gladly welcome him back, that he's moving to her city to be with her. Adam states he'd propose to Betty that day and they can move in together, as he knows Betty will not move in with someone without a commitment to marry. After that, no emails from Adam-nothing.

After several days of no contact, Betty gets a text from Adam early yesterday morning and asks Betty if he could talk to her. She said she could, so Betty calls him. Adam says this:

"I only used you back then, I didn't love you then. We're not, nor were ever, soul mates. Everything I wrote you was a lie and I was using you. This is the last time you'll hear my voice-I want nothing to do with you."

Basically, everything he'd written in the emails earlier this week (and Betty's responses to these emails) was spit out in a one-sided monologue when she called Adam this morning.

Betty called me, crying. Adam has played the role of cad to perfection this week. While Betty was trying to be cautious, Adam the jerk was writing emails, professing that he had loved Betty all this time, wanted to spend his life with Betty and wanted to move hundreds of miles to be with her. Then, a couple/three days later, he renounces all of his words and tells her he wants nothing to do with her.

This sounds like the stuff of high school hallways, not a so-called adult who was mature enough (ha) to get married. It is bad enough for a teenage guy to do this type of thing to his teenage girlfriend, but from an adult? Deplorable.

My take on this was:
Adam's emails were him thinking the Cinderella fantasy world situation would play out when he told Betty of his true feelings. She'd drop everything and say yes to anything he said.

When Betty told him he had to atone for dissolving their friendship and she wasn't going to rush into a relationship after doing that once in the past with someone else, Adam rethought his plans and got scared. This caused him to back away from the everything he'd laid out in his emails to Betty.

Then he asks Betty if they could talk, and he spouted out a monologue that rebutted everything he'd written. It sounded to me like he had an audience of the wife (soon to be ex Veronica, no idea if that part of his story is even true) and he decided to 'pretend' that he was telling Betty to back off, when HE was the one who started this all, so that Veronica would get off his back.

My impression is that Adam is still pretty darn immature and he is not worthy of Betty's affections. If Adam doesn't hear what he wants when he laid out his feelings, he runs away. If he had to talk on the phone with Betty, he gave her a canned speech that canceled out what he said.

Spineless jerk.

After talking about it a couple of times today, Betty's in a better place about the whole thing. She won't put up with games, but she wants to know what the heck he was thinking when he wrote all those emails? All Adam had to do when Betty sent the email inquiry is "Sorry, I told Veronica about our past. Beyond that, I can't talk right now."

So this is where I think technology bites. Back when Adam was in diapers, a guy had to call a girl to break up with her-or send a letter. It took time for one of those to show up in her mailbox. None of this crap with sending multiple emails over a few days and then renouncing everything in them. Back in those days, if you put it in writing, it could be waved in your face that you wrote it-because it was your handwriting.

Is it bad that I want to head to Adam's city and kick him very hard in a sensitive place for putting Betty through an emotional wringer this week? One that came out of left field, all because his wife sent an email to her.

Your thoughts?

3 People talked back:

meghan said...

Sounds like a real prick to me. Betty is better of without the jerk!

ligirl said...

She mustered the courage to do what her head told her, instead of her heart. Instead of appreciating and respecting her position, he responded by being intentionally cruel. How heartless and cowardly. His loss!! I know Betty knows now that she is much better off without him in her life, but I can also imagine how big a shock it must be to be treated that way by someone whom you thought you knew. Hang in there, Betty! You are amazingly strong and you will be fine!!

falnfenix said...

I'd *love* to find this jackwagon to "give him a piece of my mind." It might involve lots of pain, but he'd know just how much of a douchecanoe he was in handling this situation. 'Sides, "Betty" is a good friend of mine, and she's got a heart of gold. The last thing she needs is another man treating her like trash when she deserves so much more than that.