Right between one of my best friends, Pretty and her husband Hat.
Hat is much younger than Pretty. Much muuuch younger, and unfortunately, that age difference is starting to really cause problems. Hat is 26, Pretty is 37. Yeah, it’s a big gap. It used to make me scratch/shake my head too, but she was happy and if anyone deserved happiness, it is Pretty.
The signs: Hat has a tendency to be selfish. Not just selfish, but short sighted and selfish. He doesn’t think ahead because, let’s just be brutal: he hasn’t gone through enough to give him the perspective he needs to not be short sighted! Yes, he is more mature than most of the dudes I used to lust after, and yes, Boyfriend is younger than I am (Boyfriend is 30, I am 36) so sometimes I do feel the age gap too. BUT THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME AND BOYFRIEND. It’s about Pretty and Hat.
Pretty and Hat were married last year, they passed the one year mark just a few months ago. But the trouble started right after the honeymoon. I wish that were a cliché, but it’s the truth. Pretty is not the kind to say when things are bothering her when they are bothering her, Pretty tends to stifle. She tends to bottle. She’s kind of professional at it by now. Hat is more “of the moment”, if something bothers him, he’ll bitch and moan and whine about it right then. Partly that’s good, it brings things up faster which means they are over faster (in my opinion!) unless you are bitching, moaning and whining to someone who is a stifler.
When he was having stress problems, she supported him when he decided to quit his job, thinking that he’d have a different job within a few weeks. Nope. Hat decided to mosey around, take some minimal work, take road trips, spend money out of the joint account that he never contributed to, while Pretty worked nearly 80 hours a week, busting her tail. After being suspended for 30 days from his minimal work (because he was late), Hat managed to FINALLY get a “regular” 40 hour job. AFTER NEARLY 7 MONTHS.
After two weeks, I would have said something. Pretty is not me. Pretty bottled. Pretty grit her teeth and smiled, thinking she was being supportive while cultivating a bitter little garden inside her. That started it all.
Suddenly she started feeling like a roommate, like a Mommy, like someone that Hat wanted to “take care of things” and pay for stuff. Then came the breaker.
Pretty has Faith, she’s not “churchy” but she’s believes. It’s not something she’s particularly vocal about, but if you meet her and have a conversation with her, you get that from her. Hat has never been particularly devout, he would say he believed in “something” but he “didn’t know what that was”.
Suddenly, Hat declared that he was Atheist. Again, perfectly fine. He’s allowed. It’s a free country, and part of having Faith is understanding that God gave us all free will. The problem is, he didn’t disclose this to Pretty before they were married. To her, this changes everything, combined with the treatment and the history; she finally came unglued.
Things have gone from bad to worse. They can’t stop fighting. Hat can’t stop saying asinine things like “I know how the Gays feel, I feel like I can’t be myself” and planning trips with his friends to distant cities while “forgetting” to pay simple things like the cable bill for months then objecting to Pretty taking control of the finances. Worse yet? Hat asks her for examples of when his behavior has made her feel less than or bad or unsupported then jumps down her throat for “bringing up things from weeks ago”.
It’s gotten to the point where I’ve stepped in. A few weeks ago, when shit was starting to hit all the fans everywhere, I offered the guest room of the house Boyfriend and I share. Boyfriend, bless him, additionally offered to have words with Hat, up to including smacking sense into him. “Open palm!” as if that would somehow reset Hat’s brain and make him see sense.
Well, tonight Pretty will be coming home to our house. For at least a few days. And I just had a lengthy text conversation with Hat. Which was dangerous because I’ve been desperate to unleash hell on him for MONTHS. In this text conversation, I tried to steer him towards what he needs to do, and how he needs to give Pretty time to process and pressing her and threatening her with ultimatums about ultimatums is going to backfire on him BIG TIME.
So tonight, instead of a quiet evening at home with Boyfriend, eating pizza and continuing our Smallville marathon; we’ll play host to Pretty, who will be gracious and exhausted and emotionally shattered. Boyfriend will want to smack Hat repeatedly with a shillelagh, I will want to let him.
But more importantly, I will be consoling my dear Pretty and assuring her that she has the strength she may not feel she has.
UPDATE: Apparently Pretty is going to “push through” the next few days at home. She wrote Hat an email which is REALLY good and explains very plainly how she feels. I’m crossing fingers and saying prayers that he’ll be able to comprehend it.
Now I’m listening to Boyfriend as he warbles Sweet Caroline in the shower. I’m very lucky and very blessed and very happily in love with him.