Leading up to Dday, STBX was having a lot of trouble at work. I only know his side of the story, but several people in his office either quit or talked to his boss/HR about how he was difficult to work with, disrespectful and whatnot. His version: they were all crazy and incompetent.
It got to the point that when he began spending a lot of time with the coworker who was to become OW, I was just grateful he had a friend.
His secretary had been put on a provisional probation earlier in the year. She was on a pay scale above her expertise (long story) and STBX basically created a framework of tasks that would be impossible for her to meet so he could fire her. She quit before he could do it and made it very clear that she was disgusted by him.
I was about to begin a job in his office as well (I applied, in part, so I could get in there, help him adjust and make more positive connections) and I had a friend where I was working at the time who was unhappy with her pay and responsibilities. I suggested she apply for the job as STBX's new secretary. My friend was tough as nails and good at her job. The job with STBX would give her some professional experience she wanted. And I would be there as an allied boss, so I was planning to hand over more responsibilities to her as well to help her pad her resume.
She applied and STBX didn't want to hire her. He said he thought she would be just like all of these other women in the office who hated him. But I talked him into it. He basically did it as a favor to me. But I knew she was good and I knew that she would put WS in an excellent light. And, personally, I wanted another friend in the office. He offered and she accepted.
These jobs with STBX were across the country (my job had taken me out of state for a few months where I was working with this friend). About a week before my friend and I were about to move out there for good, DDay happened.
Once I learned that I would have to work with STBX AND OW, I quit the job. We ended up having a false R and within three weeks we were S and started NC (which stands today). Luckily I hadn't officially quit my other job yet and was able to keep it.
My friend wasn't so lucky. She had already quit and signed a lease. She had to go out there. We had a long talk, I told her what was going on, and explained to her that I wouldn't be able to talk to her as long as she was out there working everyday with STBX and OW. She understood, but it was quite sad. I had a hard time looking at/talking to her before she left. I would see her and just start crying. She understood. She would leave me little notes under my office door with hearts and hugs drawn on them, promising we'd be friends again someday.
We kept in intermittent contact about business only. If she let something slip about STBX, I would remind her I didn't want to know. Our mutual friends also kept in contact with her and I'd get updates on how she was doing through them.
Then about two months after she started the job, she emailed me to tell me that she had decided to quit. She had to stick out the term of her initial contract, but she'd be back as soon as she could-- with or without a job waiting for her. I didn't ask for details, but told her I was glad she was coming "home."
Since then, one of STBX's other coworkers (whom I've never met) called me out of the blue on our anniversary to tell me STBX is still with OW, among other things. I hung up and stopped taking that person's calls (thanks to the good people at SI).
I felt physically ill after having to deal with that whole phone call situation and realized I want nothing to do with STBX, his office drama and weird personal choices. It just causes me a lot of distress and "new hurts."
But then yesterday I got an evite to a welcome home party for my friend. I guess the month has just gotten away from me and I kind of forgot that this situation of her return home was looming.
I don't think I can go to this party. All of our mutual friends are going, but I'm just not ready to "face" her in a setting with a lot of people, with my emotions still a little bit of a mystery. The upside to NC has been that I don't have to deal with STBX and I've just been working on my own healing. The downside is that I haven't had exposure to him or what he's been up to, so I have no point of reference for how I will handle news about him. I handled the news that he was still with OW like a champ. I was actually pretty indifferent. That's good. But I don't know how I would handle hearing, say, that he's been doing really well, or that he's been successful at work, etc etc. I don't want to know details about how he's thriving despite having crushed me. Unless he's had some kind of karmically satisfying Bobbitt incident, I don't want to hear it.
One of our mutual friends (who knows everything) talked to me this afternoon and wanted to let me know she was going to go to the party and wanted to be upfront about that. I explained to her that I didn't know what I wanted to do. On one hand, I want to maintain this friendship. I don't want STBX's A to hurt yet another area of my life. On the other hand, it just makes me sick that she was with them everyday. I hate that there have to be boundaries within our friendship now. And, frankly, I'm embarrassed. She could very well have watched STBX and OW all over each other all summer. Humiliating.
I also hate that STBX's inability to treat me with any dignity or respect has resulted in this permanent NC which, in some ways, puts my friend "in the middle" in terms of having to worry about being careful what she says around me.
Our mutual friend suggested that maybe I skip this party and the three of us could have a dinner at her house in a week or so instead. Give my friend a chance to get her bearings being back home. Give me a chance to adjust to her being "back", talk to my IC about it, etc. That seemed like a decent idea to me. I have no problem sitting down with her and just putting everything I just wrote here on the table and seeing where we both stand on how to be friends going forward, if at all. And our mutual friend has known me for almost 20 years, has been one of the #1 people there for me after DDay... so it would be nice for me to have her there as an emotional support.
What do you guys think? Is this friendship going to be DOA now? How should I handle this?
The other thing I've said to my mutual friend is that I don't want everyone around me to know something critical about STBX/OW and not tell me out of a concern for sparing me hurt. Yes, I want "No New Hurts"-- but I would rather find out from my close and trusted friends, say, that STBX/OW are having a baby or getting married or have moved in together, rather than find that out from some crazy coworker who cold calls me or from a random person at a professional conference, etc.