Last year when we bought our as-yet-un-moved-into house, we meet a couple future neighbours-around-the-corner that we really hit it off with. “He” is our age, and he and the hubby instantly got along well. Really well, which was fabulous. “She”, on the other hand, was in her 20s. It really didn’t seem to matter though, because she and I had a lot of quirks and mannerisms in common, which both fascinated and terrified our husbands. We started seeing each other often, and really enjoyed each others’ company.
When we first got together, I have to admit I had my reservations about her age. She’s only 10 years older than the teen, after all! But we really liked “Him”, and most of the time her age didn’t seem to matter. Isn’t it always the way, that you gravitate to one person in a couple the most?
It’s funny when you really start getting to know a person though. You start to see things you didn’t notice at first. You find out things that maybe the other shouldn’t have told you, because it makes you form an opinion that they definitely wouldn’t want you to have of them. One that makes the 20 year age difference more and more evident at every turn. I tried to stop that from happening, but these things have a life of their own, you know? I probably shouldn’t have shared the info with my hubby, either, because he was not impressed with her at all.
It’s important to me that I try to keep an open mind about people, and I always, always try to put myself in their shoes when I consider their words and actions. Try to understand where they’re coming from. Unfortunately, as time went on, and I observed more and more of this young woman’s behaviour, I found myself assuming the role of… I don’t know. Mentor? “Mother figure”? I’m a mom, and it’s in my nature to nurture and guide. I’m always trying to make things better, and to fix things that are damaged. This girl is damaged. (I know why she’s damaged, because I know pretty much her whole history by now.) Sadly, she never smiles a genuine smile. When she sits in a conversation, she has a pensive look on her face, and seems to always be seeking ways to prove that she’s older or wiser than her years. The derisive snort. The eye rolling. I suppose that’s the natural way of things, when you’re with a group of people much older than you, and you clearly don’t feel that you fit in. I’m sad that she felt that way, but the truth of the matter is that she is a young woman in her 20s, and we, including her husband, are in our mid to late 40s. She’s got a lot of living to do to catch up and be able to relate.
A few days ago she wrote something on her facebook status that made her sound like she was 12 years old, and I responded “well, that’s probably not in your best interest :)”. It didn’t go over well, and I got a venomous PM from her that was pretty shocking. One of the things she said though, rang true: she accused me of jumping on her status the way a mother would.
She’s right. I did just that. I responded the way I would have if the Teen had put something childish on her facebook status. And she responded exactly the way the Teen would have. Well, that’s not entirely true. The Teen would have yelled down the hall “Mom! Stop posting on my facebook!” and that would have been the end of it.
Instead of throwing her tantrum and then thinking about it, apologizing, and explaining that I upset her (which I would have apologized for, as it was definitely not meant the way she took it), she immediately “banned me” from her Facebook profile, so I couldn’t reply. At that point, I was done. That one move summed up the issue I have with her. I have 2 children. I don’t need a third. She needs a mother figure, because her own mother is not it, but it’s not going to be me.
There was some back and forth with her husband, who was really upset about losing our friendship, especially over something so silly. We are too; we think the world of him. It’s just not meant to be, though. I asked him to just leave it be, and told him “take care”.
The fact that I’m not at all upset about losing young miss as a friend, and feel quite at peace with the situation speaks volumes. She was stressing me out all this time. Over the past year I realize that I was responding to her constant complaining by becoming more and more stressed, and taking her problems as my own. Trying to figure out a way to make things better for her. Talking her through bad days – oh, so very many bad days – and needlessly putting myself in the middle of a whole lot of turmoil. I even found myself behaving in a similar fashion a couple of times, and that horrified me to no end!
To be suddenly free of that is… rejuvenating! The relationship was smothering me. It was slowly poisoning me by bringing huge, stressful amounts of negativity into my life.
Obviously I’m not perfect, and never professed to be. I am who and what I am, though, unapologetically. What you see is what you get – I don’t try to be anything that I’m not. I’ve learned a few things about myself this past week, however. Probably the biggest thing is that I can’t fix every situation, and that it’s sometimes a mistake to even try. Some things are simply not my business, even if they try to suck me in. Lesson learned.
There are people who seem to thrive on misery, and spreading it around. I don’t want any part of people like that.
Blogging about something private is often a slippery slope, don’t you think? This is not a rant about 20-somethings (I’ve got lots of 20-something blog buddies out there!), although it is a bit of a personal judgement on huge age differences in marriage. If they were 40 and 60, I don’t think this would have been an issue though. Personally, I’ve always been attracted to older men, even though I married someone close to my own age. So… I get the attraction. When I was a teenager, though… an “older man” was an exciting 22 (and an understood taboo)! I can’t say that I would have been going after someone in his 30s. Yuck.
You know, I do wish them well. I hope they can get past the turmoil they’re going through, and survive it. He obviously loves her, and sees something in her that makes him happy. Past that, I hope that we can put this whole ridiculous ordeal past us, and be civil neighbours.