Newest Member: KstinTX


I was once a June bride. I am now a June phoenix. The phoenix is more powerful. The Bride is Dead. Long Live The Phoenix.

Not Really a Set Back... but...

... perhaps an informative moment?

Hubs and I didn't socialize much for several years due to the stressors of demanding careers, raising an active family, and honestly, both of our temperaments.

I am a mid-grade introvert.
Hubs is a hard core introvert who has worked hard (and successfully) on reading, picking up on, and reproducing social cues and superficial social niceties, mostly to facilitate navigating the corporate environment. He's good at it when and where he's good at it, both in social and in corporate/business settings. Where he lacks experience, he is immediately and severely out of his depth. Completely naive, and it is obvious, it shows.

We are now both retired and we live in an area largely populated by our same demographic.

We have, over the past few years, begun to socialize both individually and as a couple.

As a couple we have some mutual interests, but we are not and never have been (and never will be) 'joined at the hip.' I have sincerely *no* problem with Hubs attending events and joining in activities without me if I'm not interested in going. And, honestly, after my particularly demanding career I cherish being at home more than almost anything. Hubs is much more about filling his calendar than I am- something I point out to him by way of demonstrating that I am actually the more functional introvert, an idea that he's just not having, lol. Also honestly, now that we wake up, go to sleep and spend almost every day together, a little time apart is a welcomed break for either/both of us. (I personally need at least 10 contiguous minutes in any given day to get a single complete uninterrupted thought from one side of my brain to the other.) Anyway.

We do participate in activities and attend functions together on a fairly regular basis, albeit not every time/every opportunity. And we have both served in positions in various organizations, in various capacities, individually. In that particular aspect, I have stepped way back for various reasons and given Hubs and his positions 'wide berth.'
It's not been a problem.

Every once in a while I show up to various functions that are in Hub's primary domain because that event is of particular interest to me.

Hub's accomplishments in 'corporate charm school' shine in those situations. Bonus round, he's an attractive, fit man, especially for his age and for our demographic. He is conducting his particular function, and no surprise, he's surrounded by giggling and fliratious middle to upper middle aged women for that brief period of time. (I jokingly refer to them as 'The Giggles and Wiggles.') (Parts of them may be jiggling and wiggling in ways they don't intend, LOL.) He handles it appropriately. That particular interlude passes, proceedings proceed, The Giggles and Wiggles return to their spouses, dates, partners, friends, seats, etc. Nothing more comes of it, no harm, no foul. Innocent enough, IMHO. No cause for concern.

We recently had an experience that felt markedly different, *to me.*

We were at a social event in a public venue with mostly couples, a few singles. Hubs knew everyone present and was quite familiar with most of them. I know a handful of them casually at best. I was familiar with most of the couples well enough to recognize them as established couples, there together.
The singles were not a problem, they were not inappropriate at all.

One couple was notable, because, functionally, *they weren't behaving as a couple.*

I was not previously familiar with them.
I would not have *even* understood that they arrived at the party 'together,' and I would not have perceived that they were there 'together,' had Hubs not introduced 'Dave' to me (individually and alone) as 'Barb's husband.'
'Barb' was elsewhere and otherwise occupied.

Different couples have different styles. Per above, Hubs and I are not 'joined at the hip.' Honestly, I would not have thought anything of it, until...

Hubs was off with, ironically, another wife (no issue there at all) accomplishing a mundane task when 'Barb' and 'This Other Dude' somehow ended up conducting their 'thing' pretty much in my lap.
This Other Dude is a Known Player, as in, with a capital 'Player.'
Like, there is *literally* no way one can be a breathing and sentient adult human being and even loosely a part of this local demographic and NOT be aware of it.
This Other Dude strolled in Fashionably Late.
'He walked into the party, like he was walking on board a yacht...'
(He wore it well!)

Barb was on This Other Dude like white on rice.
She climbed up him *physically* like a cat climbing up a cat tree.
Like a lineman scaling a utility pole during a major power outage.
Hands everywhere.
You get the picture.
She ended by cupping his face in both hands and stroking his cheeks.

To his credit (for what that's worth, I honestly do not know and won't hazard a guess) This Other Dude did not reciprocate. He stood there for a few minutes, conversing politely, with both of his hands shoved firmly into his jeans pockets.
And then he turned around and left. As in, LEFT.
'He walked out of the party, like he was walking off of a yacht...'

While this vignette transpired, Barb's husband Dave sat at a nearby table, within full line of sight, alone.

After This Other Dude left, did Barb join her husband Dave?
She melted back into the party at large, leaving Dave sitting alone at his table.

I noted all of it, but at that moment it was not my issue, so none of my business.

A bit later I walked over to the table where Dave was still sitting, alone, to pour a bit for myself out of a 'shareable bottle' that we'd left on that table. (I deliberately partake lightly at these types of social events *for the exact reasons* that I'm laying out here. I've seen this shit before.) As I was pouring myself 'a light one' Dave, who is probably the most genuine introvert of all of us, and who has maybe had a few? I don't know, I haven't been watching, attempts to strike up witty banter with me.

Errrmmm, NO DAVE. I've seen these credits roll at the end of this movie and I want *nothing* to do with it. Sorry, sorry for you, sincerely, but I'm not making it my problem. I was pleasant but I beat a very hasty retreat. WALK AWAY, WHAT A GOOD IDEA!

A bit later, the party was winding down, close to the end. Hubs and I were sitting at a table with two other couples. Out of left field, HERE COMES BARB. She walks up behind Hubs, puts her hand on his upper arm/shoulder, drapes herself across his shoulders and back, and then sort of places herself subtley in between me and my husband, kind of behind/beside his shoulder. And then, she just sort of stands there, smiling like the cat that ate the canary.

Everybody ignored her.
Hubs did not reciprocate.
Dave sat at his table, again within full line of sight, alone.
Eventually, she just sort of wandered off.

By this moment I was all, "DANGER, WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!!!"


Since that moment (starting on the way home, actually) I've been trying to wave Hubs off of 'Barb and Dave.'
IMHO, Barb and Dave are a toxic stew, a hot mess.

Hubs, in his FOO baked, perpetually people pleasing, 'don't make waves' naivete:

"That's just Barb and Dave. They are two peas in a pod."
Me: You *cannot* prove 'two peas in a pod' based on what I witnessed, not by my definition. If it works for them, then good for them.
Theirs is not a relationship/couple dynamic with which I am comfortable. I do not welcome it into my or into our world.

"Well that's just Barb!"
Me: "Well then Barb is just inappropriate, and she is NOT happening here."


Here's the thing:

I do NOT believe at this point that there's *anything* between Hubs and Barb. And if there is, good riddance to both of them, sincerely. I'm not going to waste one precious moment of life on *that.* Have fun being 'Dave,' Boo! BTW, Dave is equally fit, intellectual, educated, smart and physically attractive.

First impressions, obvs, and what do I know? Obvs there's a LOT that I do not know...
... but IMHO Barb is a self absorbed twit.
There. I said it. LOL.
(He could, too; he has a runner's physique.)

Hubs and I have been here before, not many times, but it has happened a handful of times over the decades of this marriage with women who were and/or who chose to be intrusive, boundary challenging, boundary busting, inappropriate.
Every. single. time. it. has. happened. Hubs has argued vociferously for those women's absolutely, pure as the driven snow, virtuous nigh unto virginal absolute innocence in flesh, in spirit, and in intent.

It was always *my* problem: I was ill informed, I jumped to conclusions, I was/am insecure, I am damaged, I'm an idiot, Hubs *absolutely knows* these women/couples/people better than I do. They, and he, are healthier, more appropriate, more balanced than me.
Every. single. time.
Hubs knows better than me.
And so do those other women/other people.

And every time, some shit shook out, sooner or later, from circumstances, from additional information, from other people, that said that I wasn't wrong.

Those particular women may not have been Evil Incarnate but they weren't altogether healthy or wholesome either. I do not see danger around every curve nor behind every bush but damn it, red flags are red flags and I AM NOT BLIND.


AFAIK none of these incidents resulted in inappropriate contact, but it was a hella lot of unproductive stress and bullshit THAT. WE. DID. NOT. NEED.


P.S.: For a solid 85% of the event in which the entire venue and 'our crowd' was within my line of sight, I did not notice Barb 'climbing up' nor 'draping herself' over other men nor other husbands (older, shorter, less fit, less attractive, more portly, etc.)...

...AFAIK, only This Other Dude and MY HUSBAND. GAH.

11 comments posted: Thursday, April 11th, 2024

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