Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Etiquette is there to prevent people from screaming at you legitimately.

My husband's crazy ex-girlfriend sent him a strange email today.

This is the crazy ex-girlfriend who was a high school girlfriend who continued to have a friendship with his family after they broke up, even though she didn't want to speak to him ever again. Then they became friends again then she befriended another girlfriend of his with whom she became so close that they even took a bath together at one point. They called his mother during the bath (I think  that neither girl was involved with Ryan at this point). The crazy ex-girlfriend informed Ryan, when he started seeing me, that she didn't want to hear anything about me unless/until he was serious about me. So he didn't mention me until he emailed her to say that we were getting married. Which made her very, very angry and she told him to never talk to her again, mainly because of the pain he must have caused his mother by getting engaged to someone that this girl hadn't heard very much about. I know this seems to not make any sense, but believe me, it doesn't make sense to us either.

There is so much more to this story, but that contains the juiciest bit of gossip (who takes a bath with their ex-boyfriend's more recent ex-girlfriend and then calls said ex-boyfriend's mother to tell her about it?) and covers the main points.

It doesn't cover how weird the whole thing was for me and how weird it still is for me, to a certain extent.

The weird email that was sent today (as opposed to the flurry of weird emails she sent initially, how ever many years ago that was) basically said something about realising that they haven't been in contact recently and not particularly wishing to be in any contact but here's a Tim Minchin song she bought recently and she thought it would be a "dick move" (her words) not to share it with him.

I'm not going to speculate. I mean, I have speculated. Obviously. The first words out of my mouth were speculation and judgement. But there's no point in guessing because we'll never know. Ryan simply wrote back, "Thanks, Tim Minchin is fun." or something similar. He thought that perhaps she was upset that he hasn't told her about the baby and possibly considers this neglect a "dick move".

It's funny because the other day, I thought about the "social obligations" of pregnancy which are similar, but not the same as getting married. When Ryan and I were engaged we talked about the "etiquette" involved and how there really isn't an accepted rule for telling people but there should be. Engagement etiquette was invented before people had lots of premarital relationships, particularly not serious premarital relationships, there were no rules for making sure that you didn't get yelled at for or for not telling an ex that you are getting married. Babies are a little different though. I had thought that there was no reason to tell an ex you were having a baby unless you are actually good friends with them, in which case they are a friend and you would have told them anyway. But apparently, you may also be supposed to tell exes who hate your guts but still feel that they have some sort of claim on your personal life.

Since there is no accepted rule for babies or marriages, one has to go on a case by case basis. I opted not to tell Al I was getting married because the most recent email I'd had from him was a year prior, informing me, among other things, that he now had a concealed weapon license. Not that I think he'd ever have hurt me, but he definitely was scary at the end of our relationship, too scary to want to engage in dialogue for any reason, let alone telling him you've found someone you want to marry after a 6 month relationship. When I finally felt guilty enough to send him a quick email letting him know (maybe a year after the wedding), I got one back almost immediately, saying that he already knew and was "ecstatic" (his word) for me. It irritated me to no end because ecstatic was surely not the word he meant. And he was always misusing words.

Towards the end of Al's life, we were actually corresponding a bit, as even he seemed to understand that our relationship had changed and it wouldn't be appropriate to call me from various blues clubs telling me I needed to come and get him because he thought he was going to get beat up - something he did repeatedly after we broke up (but never before). I would send him maybe a Bob Dylan related email and he'd write back with some news. Or he'd post on my facebook wall. He mentioned coming to see me and meet Ryan at one point but I didn't encourage it. Al would have done it purely for the pleasure of going on a road trip; that was just who he was but I didn't want to actually see him or for Ryan to meet him. They would have not gotten along, having almost nothing in common and it would have been awkward.

I don't know how I would have told him I was pregnant though. He would have misused some other exclamation probably and I would have been irritated. Obviously, I don't really have to worry about it though. And regardless of what social convention says, Ryan shouldn't have had to worry about it with this particular crazy ex because she specifically told him never to speak to her again.

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