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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Honesty Dialogues: Good Vs. Better





(Four people are sitting on the soundstage of a television talk show. The host, Andy  Man, Kinda Good (His Long-time  Ex) and  Definitely Better (Recent Ex  Flame). They have decided to bring their grievances to the television show in hopes of a resolution.  Andy Man is confused about where he wants to be.  Kinda Good doesn't want to let their long history go and  Definitely Better is trying to move on from him.)

Talk Show Host:
Welcome to the show. On my stage today I have Andy  Man, his long-time Ex named Kinda Good and his recent Ex named Definitely Better. Today, we are going to discuss the concept of triangulation as it applies to romantic relationships and how it hurts all of the parties involved. Please welcome our guests to the show.
(Applause is heard) Now, let's just jump right on in here because we have a lot of ground to cover on today's show. (Pauses) Let's go back to the very beginning what was your childhood like?

Andy:
I dunno. I mean I guess it was alright. I mean it wasn't the worst and it certainly wasn't the best.

Talk Show Host:
Would you say that your parents were affectionate people?

Andy:
(Scoffs)
Not even close. I mean, they didn't neglect me per se, but, they were so wrapped up in their own personal dramas that I kind of ended up at the bottom of their priority list.

Talk Show Host:
(Nods)
How did that make you feel?

Andy:
(Incredulous)
Um, how do you think it made me feel? Like crap. Like,  I wasn't worth much. I mean, I used to think that if I were more lovable they would pay more attention to me. But, it never happened.

Talk Show Host:
How did you cope with being ignored by your parents?

Andy:
(Shrugs)
I rebelled a lot. I dated a lot of women whom were  basically beneath me in all types of ways. They were druggies, kinda slutty, not people whom you'd really want to associate yourself.

Talk Show Host:
And yet those were the kind of women whom you chose to associate yourself with. 

Andy:
You could say that. And I was happy with that lifestyle for awhile. But, then it got kind of lonely. I didn't have respect for those women as people. And they basically let me tell them what to do. They lacked ambition and they were needy. After awhile their needy behavior turned me off.

Talk Show Host:
Once you became turned off my these "lower class" women. What did you do?

Andy:
Right around that time is when I met Kinda Good. We were in high school Algebra together and she was one of the few people whom went to class regularly. She seemed to be somewhat ambitious and she was always talking about her future plans. But, at the same time she listened to me about my future dreams.

Talk Show Host:
How was the courtship between you two?

Andy:
We partied a lot together.  We went to movies, talked a lot, and hung out with each other's families. We were together for about two years when I proposed to her. The plan was that we were both going to go to college. She was going to get a teaching degree and I was gonna get an LPN certificate. I wanted to start laying the framework down so that we could buy a house and eventually have a couple kids.

Talk Show Host:
How long were you married before things started going awry?

Andy:
We were married for four great years. She finished her teaching degree and I was working at a hospital and taking RN classes at night. We had our kids back-to-back just as we planned. After that things fell apart. She started spending crazy amounts of money for stupid stuff. I had to work double shifts at the hospital to keep our lifestyle going. Whenever I tried talking to her about it, she would scream at me and  call me names. I stuck it out for a few more years and then, I couldn't take it anymore. I filed for divorce.

Talk Show Host:
Now, I am going to give Kinda a chance to tell her side of the story.

Kinda:
(Glares at Andy)
Thanks for having us on the show. So, my side of the story is simple. Andy is the love of my life. I sacrificed so much to be with him. I mean, I had a lot guys whom wanted to be with me. I chose Andy and what a mistake that was. From almost Day One, he made it clear to me that I came second behind his immediate family. Which is ridiculous... since none of them really respect him. Anyway, his parents very polite to me but, I knew that they thought he could do better than me. 

Talk Show Host:
Why would they think that?

Kinda:
Despite his overall cowardly ways...Andy  actually is a brilliant man. I saw that immediately. I encouraged him to follow his dreams. We both  encouraged each other. 

Talk Show Host:
What was your childhood like?

Kinda:
(Scoffs)
My parents died in a car accident when I was 8 years old. My sister and I were raised by my grandparents. They were great people but, they didn't have a lot of money. I grew up coveting things which wealthier classmates owned. I would even go to the thrift store and buy their cast offs.

Talk Show Host:
Andy's family is wealthy, correct?
Kinda:
Yes. His parents are both successful attorneys. 
Talk Show Host:
By marrying into his family, you were raising your social class.

Kinda:
Yes, definitely. But, his parents barely acknowledged me. Even at our wedding, they were cold towards me. His mother, kept shaking her head sadly and drinking herself silly. But, I had the last laugh because their precious son still proposed to me. The girl from the wrong side of the tracks. I had won.
Talk Show Host:
From your perspective, how would you rate the marriage?

Kinda:
Well, Andy is right. The first four years of our marriage were amazing and every day I pinched myself. I could not believe how lucky I was to have him as my husband. 

Talk Show Host:
When did it start to go sour?

Kinda:
Um, I would say after our first daughter was born. Andy was tight with this group at work and he depended upon their approval much as he did his parents. This group was filled with hoity-toity people whom had grown up like Andy. We hosted them for a Saturday afternoon barbecue and Andy basically ignored me the whole time in an effort to suck up to them. He would walk around carrying our daughter but, not really acknowledge me at all.
Talk Show Host:
Did you feel as though he were ashamed of your humble background?

Kinda:
Something like that. I tried to bond with the women whom he worked with but, they were cold towards me. Almost, as though Andy had told them things about me.

Talk Show Host:
 What sort of things?

Kinda:
Who knows? Then, he started pressuring me for another child. He made sound like having another child would strengthen our marriage. I didn't want to lose him so I agreed. I got pregnant again and he was wonderful up until our son turned 1 years old and  then he completely dropped the facade. All of the sudden, I am not good enough for him. He starts critiquing everything about me.

Talk Show Host:
Andy, is this true?

Andy:
Yes and no. I did think that another kid would bring us together but, it didn't. Working on my RN degree, I start meeting people from different walks of life but, they were also sophisticated. The kind of people whom went to wine tastings and traveled places. Their spouses were so worldly compared to Kinda. She only wanted to go to chain restaurants and hang out with the same people all of the time. I needed more than that. Every time I tried to talk to her about she would say things like "This is just who I am and you married me so you have to accept it." But, I couldn't. I really wanted her to grow with me. I loved her so much. I still love her truth be told. (Kinda beams)

Talk Show Host:
But, the love you had and still have for her was not enough to keep the marriage together?

Andy:
No. Then she started spending up my paycheck as revenge. Her financial revenge on me meant that we had to pull our daughter out of private pre-kindergarten and put her in a public daycare. Still, Kinda just kept spending stupid money. (Kinda is weeping softly.) We had to short sale our house and move into a rented town house because she chose online shopping over the well-being over her family. I lost respect for her as a wife and a mother. I knew that I had to leave. I cried over it for months. I fought as much as I could to stay in the marriage. We have two kids. But, I couldn't do it.

Talk Show Host:
What happened in the aftermath of the divorce?

Kinda:
It was hard on the kids. I stayed in the townhouse and Andy moved back in with his parents. I used to call him every day and put the kids on the phone. They really missed their Dad. I will be honest. I was hoping that we could possibly reconcile in the future.

Talk Show Host:
Would you say that you in essence were using your children as pawns when you guys first split up?

Andy:
(Mutters)
She still does.

Kinda:
(Glares)
No. It wasn't like I was trying to do it on purpose. 

Talk Show Host:
But, you were doing it?

Kinda:
Anyway, what's wrong with trying to hold your family together.

Talk Show Host:
Nothing at all. But, there are more underlying issues between you two and your children. However, I want to introduce to the audience Andy's recent estranged Ex wife, Definitely Better. 

Definitely Better:
Thanks so much for inviting us all to be here. I hope that people in the audience whom see themselves in our situation will find some comfort in the fact that they are not alone.

(Kinda rolls her eyes heavenward and Andy smiles tenderly at Definitely Better)

Talk Show Host:
Well said. So, let's just cut to the chase. You have heard about the courtship between Andy and Kinda. What is your assessment as an outside observer of their dynamic?

Definitely Better:
Speaking as a layperson, I would say that there is both love and bitterness tangled up between them.  Andy loves Kinda. She was his first love. She believed in him when no one else did. There is a part of him which will always be grateful to her for that. Of course, they also share two lovely children together. 

Talk Show Host:
(Nods)
Go on.

Definitely Better:
The problem as I see it is that Andy wanted to branch out and Kinda did not have an interest in doing so. If Andy were truly honest with himself he would admit that Kinda never gave him any indication that she was going to be anything but,, who she was. I think that Andy in the throes of youthful love created this embellished identity for Kinda which she never really embodied in the first place. As long as their life remained the same, Kinda could safely remain on the pedestal which he created for her. However, he began socializing with people from closer to his social station. The cozy safe life which he created with Kinda began to show cracks. It was too limiting for him. Yet, his guilt and fear kept him tied to her for years. 

Talk Show Host:
Andy, would you say this is an accurate description of the last few years of your marriage to Kinda. 

Andy:
Yes, I would.

Talk Show Host:
Definitely, would you please give your opinion on Kinda's point-of-view.

Definitely:
Kinda felt and still feels as though Andy is her property. They were together for years and many of them happy. In her mind, she is the only one for Andy. She knows him better than any in the world. The same goes for him. She struggles with the fact he has moved on with his life. At times, she lashes out at him using the kids. The funny thing is that she doesn't really want him anymore. It's just that she doesn't want him to move on.

Talk Show Host:
Kinda, how do you feel about Definitely statement.

Kinda:
I suppose it's somewhat accurate.

Talk Show Host:
Now, Andy tell me how you met Definitely.

Andy:
She was a visiting medical doctor from another area hospital. I had been divorced for a couple of years and we started off as friends. The truth is I had a crush on her from Day 1 but, I figured she could have anyone. So, why would she choose to date  an RN?

Talk Show Host:
Did she have a problem with it?

Andy:
(Smiles)
Not at all. She was unlike any other woman whom I had ever met. She was brilliant, good-hearted, and a knock-out to boot. I couldn't believe that I had gotten so lucky. I knew I had hit the jackpot with her. She encouraged me in my pursuits. I never felt this vibe of neediness around her. Yet she so warm-hearted. I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.

Talk Show Host:
How  was your courtship before you got married?

Andy:
Pretty smooth. I never got tired of talking to her. We had this special connection that was both mental and spiritual. I could listen to her read the phone book. I always walked away from our chats feeling empowered about myself.

Talk Show Host:
Kinda, how does it make you feel to hear Andy say that about another woman?

Kinda:
It hurts. He should be saying that stuff about me and not some woman he barely knows.

Talk Show Host:
Andy has known Definitely for at least 3 years now. I wouldn't exactly call it them two ships passing in the night. (Pause) Definitely, please tell me how you feel about Andy.

Definitely:
I love him so much. My spirit lifts every time we are together. I feel this connection with him that I have never felt with anyone else. He accepts me for the geeky brainac that I am. He is a brilliant and caring man with so much to offer the world. (Andy is gazing at Definitely in loving manner.)

Talk Show Host:
 When did things start falling apart?

Definitely:
A year or so after we got married. Kinda  was fine at first and then all of the sudden she started creating all of this drama and using her kids as weapons against him. I could tell she was just trying to break up in hopes that he would return to her.

Talk Show Host:
Was she successful?

Definitely:
Not at first. Andy and I had discussed what she was doing and he talked to her about it over the phone one day. She freaked out started making threats. Ridiculous stuff. Then, her car got repossessed and we helped her get another one. Then, she wrecked the car we bought her and it just kept spiraling out of control. She was desperate to remain attached to his life in someway that I felt and still feel sorry for her.

Talk Show Host:
Andy, what you have to say about Definitely statement?

Andy:
(Shrugs)
She's right. Things were going well for the first year. The kids adore Definitely.  Definitely, is very respectful of the relationship that the kids have with their mother. She doesn't overstep. She just loves them.

Talk Show Host:
During Kinda's financial problems, were you two fighting more?

Definitely:
Yes. Andy didn't want to admit that Kinda was trying to break us up. He had every excuse in the world for why it was alright for to behave poorly. Finally, after  his parents told him that Kinda was sabotaging our marriage...Andy completely freaked out on me. He moved out and back in with Kinda because he felt that he hadn't given the marriage a chance.

(Kinda looks down at the floor.)

Talk Show Host:
Andy, what was going through your head when you moved back in with Kinda?

Andy:
I don't even know. I guess, I was still holding onto the guilt about the divorce. It wasn't Kinda's fault that she was never going to be the woman that I wanted. She kept reminding me that the kids needed their father in the home. Now, I realize that I wasn't being fair to Definitely. She is this wonderful woman who had the misfortune of falling in love with a divorced dad with a needy ex-wife. Definitely is a saint and I didn't deserve her.

(Tears are streaming down Definitely cheeks.)

Talk Show Host:
How were things after you moved back in with Kinda and the kids?

Andy:
 Awkward. I tried so hard but, I just wasn't attracted to Kinda in a romantic way anymore. Too much water under the bridge and after a month or so...I saw that my parents were right. I did belong with Definitely. My heart never left her. Definitely was perfect for the man whom I had become and Kinda was perfect for the man whom I used to be.

Talk Show Host:
How long did the reconciliation with Kinda last?

Andy:
About four months.

Kinda:
He  didn't even try. He just moped around the house. No matter what I did. I could not reach him. He was still mooning over Definitely. I knew within a week of our reconciliation that he didn't want me anymore. I had always suspected but, still I hoped that we could make it work. If Definitely were not in the picture... we could have had a real chance.

Talk Show Host:
Let me get this straight. Kinda you resent Definitely even though, technically she didn't break your marriage. However, you were a factor in the demise of her marriage.

Kinda:
Andy and I have kids together. We are true family.

Talk Show Host:
When was the beginning of the end for the reconciliation?

Kinda:
I found out that he was still calling and texting Definitely. He was begging her for a second chance.

Talk Show Host:
Is this true Andy?

Andy:
Yes. Moving back in with Kinda and the kids was a huge mistake. My kids were miserable with me there. They kept asking about Definitely. Even they knew I didn't belong there anymore. Meanwhile, Kinda is trying to host couples parties at the house. She wants to show everyone that I came back to her.  It felt wrong to be around her. We had nothing to talk about except for old times and the kids. How many times can you pull out an old photo album and rehash a shared past? How many times can you discuss the kids carpool schedule?

Talk Show Host:
 Andy, what do you want?

Andy:
I want to get on my hands a knees and beg for Definitely to take me back. I made a huge mistake based not out of unresolved love but, guilt and fear. Definitely, was hurt because of my cowardly actions. I wish that I could take it back. She deserved more than what I gave her. A lot more.

Talk Show Host:
Definitely, where are you at with this?

Definitely:
I will always love Andy. But, I can't trust him. When the going got rough he ran back to his past. A past which only caused him pain. I can't go back to him. I can forgive him but, I don't him want him back.

Talk Show Host:
I can't blame you. But, I have been doing this for a lot of years and I gotta say that I think that Andy realizes the mistake he made. Right, Andy?

Andy:
You can't go back no matter how sweet the memories were. Over time they sour with age. My indecision hurt a lot of people and I wish that I could take it back but, I can't

Talk Show Host:
What advice would give someone else in your situation?

Andy:
You can't find true happiness until you make peace with your past. I mistook guilt and unresolved as a sign that I still loved Kinda. In reality, I hadn't fully processed what went wrong in our marriage and why we grew apart. I needed Kinda to be someone whom she wasn't ever going to be. Over time, I began to resent her and hate myself for the way that I abandoned her at the end of our marriage. By that point, I knew it things were never going to work in the long run for us. We were meant to help each other get to a certain point and then go our separate ways. But, she was security blanket for so long that I didn't want to let her go. Meanwhile, my hanging on gave her a false sense of hope. Men, don't make my mistakes. Don't let your past steal your future. If you ever get a chance to be with the woman of your dreams find a way to make it work. No matter what it takes.

Talk Show Host:
Kinda, do you have any advice for someone in your situation?

Kinda:
Memories and nostalgia can only take you so far in a relationship. Don't cling to someone because you have history with them. History doesn't necessarily mean destiny. Hanging onto the past cheats you out of having a great future. I passed on a couple of great guys because I was clinging onto the hope that Andy would come back to us. The funny thing is that I didn't really want him back but, I was scared that he would move on with someone else and be happier with her than he was with me.

Talk Show Host:
Definitely, what advice would you give someone in your situation?

Definitely:
 I would make sure that the person whom you marry is ready to let go of their  past relationships. Sometimes, people are so scared to move on with their lives that will cling to any part of their former relationship...even the bad stuff just as an excuse not to move on. Andy wasn't ready to move on and I wish that I would have known that before we got married. I am saddest for Andy's kids because they are blaming themselves because of the ridiculousness going on between adults. 

(Kinda and Andy look down at their hands.)


 Talk Show Host:
Thanks again  to everyone for being on the show.






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