And When It Falls Apart, She Cries, Doesn't Think To Look Inside, She Just Covers Up Her Eyes, Doesn't See Her Own Disguise
I used a term the other day that I hadn't used in years. We were talking the other day about how there are some couples where one person is real joy to be a joy around, a real pistol, and plain 'ole somebody you look forward to seeing while the other person is a real jackass, to be blunt. And I reminded him that way back when we were the smallest of people how we used to call those sorts of folk a "Jeckyll and Hyde" couple.
"Oh yeah. I forgot about that," is all he could said.
I've always been of two sorts when it comes to dealing with those kinds of people. On one hand, I'm a naturally sociable person, hardly prone to alienating anyone on purpose. I don't like the prospect of acting all sorts unfriendly to anyone. It just rubs me the wrong way both personally and morally. I tend to believe there is something redeeming in all people; you just go and look real hard, and you'll usually find someone's light. Especially when it's a couple I don't go and seek one person over the other. It's far easier to look them as a package deal. I tend to judge them accordingly. The difficulty comes when one person, male or female, clearly is more likable than the other. When one of them is like a breath of fresh air and the other is like catching a fever, there are few options available to you. Aside from hoping they don't stay together, you've got to sort of weather the storm if the treasured person is worth the trek getting there.
Hell's bells, on the other hand, there are cases in which throwing the baby out with the bath water just don't suffice. There are cases where razing everything to the ground is called for.
I remember when I first started dating Greg in college he used to have these two friends, Eric and Kim. I reckoned at the time that Greg and them had been friends for a long time, but it turned later on that Eric had only been dating Kim for eighteen months at the time. Now when I say that Eric was a perfect gentleman, I mean that in every sense of the word. He was kind, considerate, well-read and articulate, and an overall likable fellow. I remarked to Greg repeatedly that I could see why him and Eric were such close buddies. I even joshed about taking a run at Eric myself if this whole dating experiment failed miserably. Eric was an amazing human being to that extent.
Kim, by comparison, was like so much dead weight. She was rude and insensitive--and those were the qualities I could put up with. Even now, reminiscing about her irksome shortcomings only serves to rile me up. She threw around her money, her family status, and her somewhat lavish upbringing as if she were embarrassed by them, but secretly she only wished to remind you how privileged she was. I grew up with money, you know? But my mother and daddy instilled in me the common sense not to wag my tail for all the world to see at every little thing. People can infer or even inquire about upbringing; holding your britches in the air for all the world to see is just uncouth. Kim also had this habit of interjecting herself into every conversation--if you weren't talking about something you were knowledgeable about, by golly she would insure the chatter veered towards a subject she was well-versed in. It didn't matter if you had only moved onto the new subject twenty seconds prior; she absolutely hated being out of the spotlight. Lastly, what burned my britches more than anything was the fact she held herself above Eric in every way. I could take it when she "accidentally" implied that I wasn't up to her usual standards of friendship, or even when she implied the same thing about Greg. It was no skin off of my back to let her believe we were beneath her. It was only when she proceeded to demean Eric at every opportunity that I became tempted to say something.
The very first month after meeting them I asked Greg if it was my place to speak to Eric about a few things regarding Kim. I wanted to see if he saw in Kim the snake that I saw. If not, I wanted to clue him in on exactly the type of person I judged Kim to be. Alas, Greg gave me the advice that it wasn't my place to tear down somebody else's house. To Greg Eric seemed happy and that maybe "I didn't know how she treated him behind closed doors." That was true. All I had to go on was the animosity I felt she had for me, but I really didn't know what kind of fulfillment Eric received from being with her. It wasn't my place to intercede just then.
My take on the situation at the time was that I liked Eric. He was fun people. And for Greg and I to be around Eric, we had to accept Kim as part and parcel with the experience. That's what I meant by that couples are a package deal. Over the next few months I acted the courteous host, the silent friend, and the invisible critic to both Eric and Kim's relationship. Every time she said a harsh word to him I would tell Greg later that night just before we went to bed, "that was it. I'm going to give her (or him) a piece of my mind and it ain't going to be pretty at all, sugar." But every night Greg would talk me out of it for his sake and for the sake of Eric's friendship.
But one night everything came to a head.
One night I admit I became as wicked as I've ever been--which is saying a lot. One night after I heard Eric apologize for what had to be the twentieth time that night for one of Kim's outbursts, I couldn't stop myself. We were just outside some Italian restaurant and I had noticed that even the couple standing next to us looked up once they heard the words she called him in public ("Eric's not the best man I ever went out with. He's not even close."). That's when I had to speak.
I said, "Darling, I haven't known Eric long but even I can see he's more of a good man than you deserve. Now I would shush up before you say something else I'm going to regret because right now, sugar, you're in my wheelhouse and I've of the mind to just let her rip on you."
Eric didn't want to see me after that. Granted, I was somewhat excessive, but I was honestly surprised I kept it bottled up for as long of a duration as I did. I had her pegged from day one and it took a lot out of me not to broadcast it to the whole world, or, at least to the folks such information mattered to. When one of my friends, which Eric was (and still is), is headed for trouble at a gallop I reckon it's my responsibility to give a "whoa there," and turn him back around. I can only be me. I can only be little 'ole Breanne--no more, no less.
It took awhile, but he eventually did forgive me... after he put an end to Kim's tenure in his heart. I also learned the valuable lesson that with some couples it's better to abstain entirely from their company if it means enduring something with an acidic personality. It's all well and good to keep a friendship for posterity's sake, but there's no friendship in the world that should entail having to keep quiet as a church mouse rather than speaking one's mind. Those are really the only two options when one's good friends with a Dr. Jeckyll and a Mr. or Mrs. Hyde kind of couple. You can either choose to disembark the train and let it run its course without you, or you can stop the train entirely at your discretion and let it be known that you think the ride is inevitably headed towards a reckoning.
Like it says, "suffer no fools gladly," and like I say, "sometimes you've just got to burn the baby with the bath water." It's the only way to be sure.