At the time my husband Will and I split up, he had two close male friends. One he’d known since they were pre-teens in school and the other, he’d met through work. I liked both of their wives and the six of us had the occasional dinner with or without our children (who were all in the same age range). So what happened after our “good divorce”?
I was the social convener: other than the occasional email the men might exchange, the women were the ones who made sure plans were executed.
Since Will and I had an amicable divorce, it wasn’t particularly stressful for these friends to keep in touch with me. At least, not from my perspective. For the last two years, I’ve seen the women every few months. The “work wife” and I see each other only at these dinners. The “school wife” and I are good friends; she was my travel partner on my recent trip and I see her one-on-one as well.
But in the early days I didn’t see the husbands. My first party in my new place, neither couple were invited. It was a party Will and I had hosted for years and I wasn’t sure how he would feel about me extending the invitation to them. We were both trying to keep the peace, as it were.
Afterwards, when I mentioned to Will I’d had the party he asked whether I’d invited those friends. When I said no, he was surprised and said of course he wouldn’t care.
I continue to be sensitive to the fact that the husbands are “his” friends. While yes, we’ve become close, if a decision had to be made for one or another, I know it should be Will.
But here’s the thing: he’s not kept in touch with any regularity.
Shortly after he and Colleen started dating, they went to a school alumni event with the school couple. At a subsequent dinner with the wives, we talked about her, I asked appropriate but curious questions, and we said how nice it was he had found someone who seemed like a good match for him.
That was the last time anyone has ever seen her.
Have I mentioned lately I really don’t understand my ex-husband sometimes?
Here he is, with a great partner who he is serious about. They’ve been together over two years. He says they talk of moving in together. He and Liam spend a lot of time with her and her children.
I just assumed, as we all did, that he would try to integrate her somewhat into what little social life he had. But it hasn’t happened.
Yes, he lived in another country for almost a year. But much to our collective puzzlement, he hasn’t really tried to connect with them at all since his return. The rare text message doesn’t count.
In the last two years, I’ve seen the school husband several times. In the early days, it was only in passing when I went to their house to see his wife. But he then started coming to the parties I’ve had and he hung out with us when I was at his place. He met Tony and we talked of dinner together. He and Tony share an intense love of the same sports team and they got along really well.
The husband told me it wasn’t like Will was in touch with him anyway, so there was no awkwardness.
I’ve never tried to pretend Will isn’t my ex, that my life didn’t include him for a very long time, or that friends I have know him as well. He’s not “he who should not be named”. My friends ask how he’s doing, as they care. We have no public drama.
But we think it’s weird that Will hasn’t kept in real touch with his only two close friends. One night with the school couple, we hypothesized perhaps the reason Will was being distant with him is because he is somewhat connected to me. But Will has never said anything to that effect (not that he would, perhaps) but nor have I made it a habit of mentioning them to him.
That theory was busted when we learned he wasn’t in touch with the work husband either. While I’d see his wife a handful of times, I hadn’t seen the work husband at all. If Will was weird about me keeping a loose connection to his friends, it didn’t apply in this case.
I even asked Will recently whether he’d seen his friends, and when he said “no” and I asked why he was just – well, weird. I didn’t press it.
I know he’s relatively anti-social. I know it took me cajoling him to have a regular games night with some friends from work, so he had some time that was just his own. I know he’s deep in his relationship with Colleen. I know he can be relatively insular.
But I also know that I’m not going to let his choices dictate mine.
Last night I went for dinner at the school couple’s house. The work couple was there as well. I brought a close girlfriend who is staying with me for the weekend. It was really nice to see the work husband; it had been well over two years. We laughed like crazy, got caught up on each others lives, and drank way too much (in fact, this time it was my friend repeating my sickness adventure two weekends ago with Hy).
Everyone got caught up on the whole Tony-Fox-Tony scenario and at one point Tony was the topic of conversation at the table. They are all #TeamTony because he’s fun, they like him, and I adore him.
At this point, I kinda figure if Will isn’t going to claim these great friends, then I certainly will.