I wrote to my mom on New Year’s,
Now I find there’s trouble with Tracy. I mentioned in an earlier e-mail that she kept making these cracks which sounded jealous and suspicious, but I couldn’t tell if they were just jokes.
Well, I’ve been trying to spend some time with Richard, trying to talk like we used to, watch movies, etc. We used to talk for hours about life, our histories, our marriages, our families, theology, Orthodoxy, cultural differences between [our regions], etc.
We’d sometimes stay up until 3 in the morning and end up exhausted the next day. We’d go to a local bar and grill at around 9pm, find a table away from the smoke and chatter of the bar, and get so deep into conversation that we don’t realize it’s closing time already.
These were conversations that you can only have when it’s just two people; if you start adding people, somebody clams up (usually me) instead of opening up, and has no control over the conversation.
Richard and I have interests that we don’t share with Jeff or Tracy; for example, Jeff’s not Orthodox, and Tracy is not theologically inclined. They’re all into roleplaying games and movie genres that I’m not interested in.
I have struggles and private things that I don’t feel comfortable telling other people. Richard and I started exchanging e-mails and calling each other well over a year ago, so we’ve built up the kind of relationship where we can talk about those things.
Everybody needs that kind of friend, not just a spouse. For me it’s been absolutely wonderful that my friend is no longer on the Internet or on the phone, but right here in person [because I don’t have a friend like that around here].
But every time we start getting deep into a conversation, or want to watch a movie, Tracy breaks in, gets upset, and tells Richard she wants to play a game or some other thing. I leave the room or go to bed, and hear her chewing him out over something.
It’s gotten so bad that if I want to talk to him about anything private, I have to either slip him a note or ask him to step outside. But when we step outside alone together, she chews him out.
On Sunday [December 30] I wrote him an e-mail about my concerns, how upset I was over things, my frustrations, but he hadn’t had a chance to read it, so on Monday [December 31] I printed it up for him.
All yesterday, [they were out until late taking care of some family business]. So last night, after we finished watching a movie and he’d had some time to relax, I asked him to step outside with me for a few minutes. [Tracy was right there.]
I didn’t say so, of course, but I wanted to slip him the printout someplace where nobody would be looking over our shoulders.
He looked very uncomfortable [and fearful] and glanced over at Tracy. He then said okay, and then Tracy says, “You’re going outside for a smoke? Why don’t I go with you?” NOOOOO!
I felt a sudden ice in the room [probably from Tracy’s scary, angry, threatening expression], and stepped into the bathroom.
When I came out, I didn’t know if Richard and I were going outside or not, or if Tracy was coming, meaning there was no point in me going outside. But they apparently came to an agreement that he would go one way and Tracy would go another for a few minutes.
Once we got out of hearing range, I slipped Richard the printout, and he read it in the streetlights. I hoped he’d tell me that I totally misunderstood Tracy, that she wasn’t jealous of me at all. But instead, he told me that I had a correct understanding of what was going on. She IS jealous and suspicious….
I’m told that in [their old region], it’s so hard to find a good man that women are out for themselves, not principled in who they go after.
Part of the problem is that I’m busy all day long, doing housework and taking care of [my son] and such, so I don’t talk with her much and she hasn’t had a chance to get to know me.
But I’ve been so annoyed over the noise, the crowded conditions, the scolding [by Tracy] of Richard and the kids, and this feeling of suspicion, that I’ve just wanted to be by myself. That and it’s hard for me to get to know people.
It’s so frustrating that because I happen to be a woman, I have to feel cut off for a time from my best friend. Sometimes I want to scream; sometimes I want to cry….
I have no intention of breaking up our families by trying to steal him away.
I’m careful to use the term philia, which is the Greek term for the love between best friends. Jeff trusts me, and I’ve done nothing to betray his trust. He and [one of our female friends] are great friends, and I have no suspicion about them.
He knows what’s going on, and understands. He’s been trying to get Tracy into conversation or roleplaying games so that Richard and I can have our own conversations.
It’s annoying to be suspected of something I’m not doing. I can’t wait until the rent money is saved up and their family can move into their own place.
Did Mom, in her wisdom, say that Tracy was somehow in the right and I was in the wrong, that I wasn’t respecting her as Richard’s wife, that she was allowed to be jealous?
No, she did not. She said they needed to move out soon.
My priest said the same thing, because I confided in him, too.
Several months later, my mom said to me on the phone, referring to Tracy’s behavior during her stay at my house, “It sounds like that Tracy needs to grow up!” (Which is funny and ironic, considering that Tracy accuses other people of this all the time.)