Thursday, December 29, 2005

Squishy sand and cold concrete

I have a friend who has a sister. She's married to an immigrant whose legal stay here long since expired. For years, he has used the excuse of "This is how it's done in MY culture" as an excuse for his bad behavior. She cooks, cleans, takes care of the children. Then, she does the same for his dozens of "family" who come to their home. They come, without her prior knowledge or permission. They speak another language in front of her, and laugh at her for not knowing what they said. He disappears for days, spends all their money, doesn't hold a job, and says she has no right to ask what happened because it's his "culture."

One day, a "cousin" came to stay, with a little baby. She believed him. Then, the "cousin" was pregnant again. Then another came to stay, also with a baby. Guess what? They weren't cousins. I know -- you're as shocked as I was. (with a resounding "Duh.")

So, here's the shocking part. He says he won't share their bedroom with her anymore, and moves the first girlfriend in there. And she lets him. She and her daughter sleep on the couch.

Yep, daughter. The child is growing up thinking this is normal. Good modeling for her own married life someday.

With enough pressure, she leaves. Her father has the scum evicted from the house. (Did I mention it was her FATHER'S house?!) She gets the house back and she lives in peace with her child. The scumbag moves in with the girlfriend, but the wife doesn't know where.

She won't divorce him. Why? "Because I might not ever get married again." All together now: "WTF?!?!"

He's with someone else. Having babies. He rarely contacts her, and that's to see their child. She's alone. But that's a marriage. She doesn't want to give that up, for the chance that she might NOT be alone the rest of her life.

I know another woman, married to a military man. When he's sent elsewhere, he doesn't contact her often, he spends money like it's water, and other women give him expensive gifts. When he finally gets home, you'd think he'd be one of those guys on the tarmac, hugging the daylights out of his kids and wife. He's not. He won't speak to them for a week or more because he's "adjusting." Now, he spends his time at home playing online (games, allegedly) and sleeping.

He doesn't give gifts to his wife. No Mother's Day. No Birthday. No Anniversary. And this year, no Christmas. No spontaneous "I love you."

They left town for the holidays. Suddenly, he's going and doing. Smells like a whole tank of fishy, methinks.

I have to wonder, why do they put up with it? Where is the breaking point for these women? The latter is starting to say, "How do I raise my kids to know this isn't how a husband and father behaves?" So, maybe the kids are her line in the sand. It was that way with me.

For the former, when does he step far enough for that emotional band to snap? He's stretched it far enough for even Dr. Laura to tell this woman to grab her child and cut this man from her life, at all costs.

Not that I should dare to point fingers. I'm fully aware of my failings in this arena. I keep erasing my line in the sand and drawing a new one. What am I afraid of? Contemplating that answer makes my innards feel squishy. I hate feeling squishy. It's not solid. It's not stable. It's downright uncomfortable. Much like sand.

But concrete is cold, hard, unyielding. When do we decide to pour the concrete and draw that line?

3 comments:

NWO said...

Play with the concept of 'futility.' When you can't make a difference to change an unacceptable situation... that seems futile to me. Time to cross the line!

Blogget Jones said...

Exactly what I mean. I'm wondering why more women don't see and do that?

NWO said...

True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information. --Winston Churchill.

If life was easy, more people would get it right!