OPP – Other People’s Problems

So my husband and I are caught in the middle of someone else’s domestic drama. It is quite surreal. Our long term friend, Donny, is a musician and looks the way you would imagine a musician would – tall, thin in a kind of I’m-a-struggling-artist way; pale face, dark eyes, full, petulant lips. I always think of him as a cross between Mick Jagger and that pretty boy vampire from Twilight.

Donny is in a relationship, has been for the past three years, but sometimes he does not conduct himself as if he is committed to someone else. This became apparent last weekend when his girlfriend, Sophie, rang us in tears over some text messages he’d received from another woman.

I don’t know Sophie all that well. She keeps to herself most of the time. Many of the experiences I have had with her have been unfortunate in that they have involved her having a spat with Donny. Their relationship sometimes appears volatile and dysfunctional. Yet it also appears loving.

So onto the texts. As well as being a working musician, Donny also runs a successful IT business. The texts in question came from one of his clients. I didn’t see all of them but the ones I did see ran along the lines of:

How’s it going, sexy?

Loved that shirt you were wearing

and the damning

Can’t wait to see you again

Not exactly an I’ll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours type of thing, but suspicious nonetheless.

I don’t think I would be entirely comfortable if my husband received texts like that.

Sophie is now convinced that Donny is cheating on her. The problem is that no one knows if he sent any suggestive texts back. The other problem is that texts taken out of context can often appear more damaging than they actually are.

This whole thing got me thinking, though. About chat rooms and Facebook and other forms of social media. And how easy it can be to get in touch with people you shouldn’t.

The question the whole thing raises is exactly what is it that constitutes cheating? Is receiving an inappropriate text enough? Does it signify intent or merely poor judgement?

Donny isn’t talking. I wish he would. It would stop Sophie from ringing me every day. It’s not really my business, after all. I am uncomfortable with people who pull friends into their domestic dramas. I like to help when I can, but I object when my presence merely heightens the emotion.

I don’t like to think of anyone in distress, but there is very little I can do until Donny comes clean. So for now it’s a case of OPP – Other People’s Problems. And I need to step back.

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19 thoughts on “OPP – Other People’s Problems

  1. Ok, i was reeling at his description between Mick Jagger and that “pretty boy vampire from Twilight.” classic selma! in any case, if i were here, i’d be pretty certain what was going on and his silence is condemning him.
    it’s a tough spot sel…i feel for you.

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  2. Technology really is a terrible burden to relationships. My husband and I have had two very serious fights, like near break up fights, over messages in his cellphone. He claims it’s nothing and he can’t control what people send him. Which is true. Anyway- after 18 years of marriage,and many long drawn out discussions- I think we don’t actually need to know EVERYTHING- especially if it is harmful. So emails, facebook, text messages- they should stay private for the sake of harmony. Just like elsewhere in your private life you should respect your marriage and respect your partner.

    As for getting pulled in to other people’s fights- I’d tell the girlfriend you’d rather be left out. Especially since your alliance is with the man really. You don’t need the stress and almost anything you do will be wrong.

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  3. Unless you were friends w/Sophie before she met Donny, she absolutely shouldn’t be pulling you in any further. A couple of conversations are okay for advice, but after that, its their business.

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  4. I agree with Stephanie totally! You have enough of your own problems that you do not need to be sucked into someone elses!

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  5. I agree that you shouldn’t get drawn into this. Donny and Sophie have to work it out on their own. The thing is you don’t know them well. It’s an entirely different thing if you are helping out a close friend.

    Here’s my take on cheating ~ if someone can’t tell or are hiding texts, emails etc., from their partner, he/she is in dangerous territory.

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  6. My question is can one expect any degree of privacy? On the buses here in Brisbane there is a campaign against abusive, controlling relationships and it suggests one symptom to look for in that context is checking their partners messages as part of a pattern of not allowing them to conduct any relationships with members of the opposite sex. I would ask how did she come to know about these messages? Does she spy on him with any degree of frequency?

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  7. PAISLEY:
    It’s so hard, isn’t it? It’s not that I am unsympathetic, but there is nothing I can do that will resolve things. I’ll probably just make things worse!

    LURAGANO:
    Women flock to this guy. I’m the only woman I know who makes fun of him. I bought him a little compact mirror for his birthday with a light, completely as a joke and he loved it. Says it comes in very handy at work. See what I’m dealing with? I wish he’d talk to Sophie. She needs to know.

    LAURI:
    That is so true. None of us can control what people send us. About a year ago I had trouble with a couple of bloggers who were sending me explicit emails. I didn’t respond to them, nor did I encourage them but it did occur to me at the time that if my husband had read them he would’ve wondered what was going on. Things can be miscontrued so easily.

    I think you have a great policy. I have a similar policy myself. I think it’s good for certain things to be kept private. Makes for an easier life in some ways!

    EMPLOYEE:
    I have told her. Trouble is, I have learned most of her friends don’t like Donny, so she’s in a difficult spot. I feel for her, but really, it’s none of my business.

    STEPH:
    I didn’t know her before and I’ve known Donny for about ten years. It’s really awkward when people draw you into things because it kind of forces you to take sides. That’s the last thing I want to do. She will have to sort it out for herself.

    TBALL:
    If she were a closer friend I would certainly be there for her, but it is uncomfortable to be a shoulder to cry on for someone you barely know.
    Very tricky.

    KATE:
    I definitely think something is going on. I love Donny but he is a bit reckless. Only time will tell, I guess!

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  8. Ooh, having been on both sides of this issue (as the one who needed someone to lean on, and the one being leaned on), I find it hard to judge someone who is hurting, but there is the loyalty toward a long-time friend to be considered as well.

    You are easy to talk to, wise, and kind. I’m sure she knows this and her desire to keep her relationship with Donny alive is overwhelming her sense of dignity and respect (for herself, Donny, and you). She’s looking for hope that happily ever after exists and you know where to find it.

    Happiness is hard enough to find, then when it starts being pulled out from under you, it’s easy to panic.

    BUT… it is so horribly uncomfortable to be the one who is stuck in the middle. You can go only so long before the urge to scream “THAT’S ENOUGH!” gets to the overwhelming point.

    We listen, we care, we get caught in the middle. There are worse places to be, I suppose, but few that make you want to eat dirt and howl at the moon like this one does.

    Strength to you, my dear. I hope things settle out soon.

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  9. PAUL:
    I think she does spy on him. I am not a fan of that kind of thing. It just leads to a lot of jumping to conclusions. I agree though, that privacy is hard to come by these days. Seems like there is always someone watching.

    PUNATIK:
    You are so right. Things do have a way of working themselves out!

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  10. I get messages like this all the time … mainly from Estelle. Lorraine knows her, knows she has a husband and two kids she adores, but knows we like a little flirt, although nothing ever comes of it.

    Advice; listen if you like, but don’t offer any advice or suggestions; this is something she must deal with herself. At least, listening but doing or saying nothing is kinder than saying ‘Sod off!’ or just walking away.

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  11. KAREN:
    You know me, I always like to help, but sometimes I end up hindering rather than helping. You are so right, so astute. Her desire to keep her relationship alive is blinding her sense of propriety. I think we have all experienced the horrible desolation of that. I feel for her so much and want to let fly at Donny, but I fear it will make things worse for her in the long run.

    Relationships are so hard.Being caught in the middle is no fun, but as you say, there are worse places to be. What would I do without you and your insightfulness?

    TRAVELRAT:
    I actually know a few men and women who do the same thing. A friend of mine flirts with her co-worker via text even though both of them are married. It is harmless but if taken out of context could be viewed as quite damaging.

    I’m definitely just going to listen. I want a drama free weekend. 😀

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  12. I think sometimes people think I’m flirting online, when really I’m not. Reminds me of Jessica Rabbit saying, “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way” – or in other words, “I’m not a flirt, I just text that way.”

    Personally I don’t think he silence condemns him, unless that’s not his usual nature. He might be hurt deeply by the fact that she would even suggest that he would cheat. Her actions say to me that she is insecure and possibly wants out and is just looking for an excuse. Then again… maybe she has a good reason. You never know.

    It’s so sad we’re in a world that trust is a short lived reality.

    I hope your weekend was great and drama free – I just popped in for a sec before running out the door. I’ve been feeling horribly neglectful of all my blogging friends. 😛 I’ll be back later to read your stories. 🙂

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  13. TEXASBLU:
    As it turns out he hasn’t been cheating. This particular woman is just very pushy. And he was hurt at the suspicion. As usual, you are spot on. You are so intuitive!

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