Bi, Bi, Miss American Pie…
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Crimes to the Third Degree.
Sometimes I think I’ll just be a hermit. No more relationships. Not with friends, not with lovers, not with anyone. I’ll just hide in a cave and ignore the human race.
I’ve had too many disappointments over the past few years. People pretending to be something they’re not. People lying to me. People trying to control me, direct my life, take my power. I’ve been so sick of manipulation. But I’ve been determined not to let my past trust issues from my marriage wreck all opportunities for future relationships, and I think I proved that last year by stepping out onto thin ice with several new people in my life…only to see the ice crack under me…or melt…or float away.
This week, I’ve been slammed, and I can’t say my intuition didn’t warn me. And yes, I did listen to my intuition, but whenever I brought up the subject, it was flatly denied.
I’ve worked with this woman for years and we’ve been very close, sometimes closer than other times. No, not one of my writer-friends. We’ve shared many a meal, many a long discussion, and-in the past two years-quite a few speculations about men who intrigued us. We’ve worked through difficult projects and others have been true celebrations. She was there for me during my marriage’s end and was tremendously supportive.
Then suddenly, after my divorce was final and life started opening up, she became less supportive and more critical, but that was true of a great number of my friends at that time, to the point of Vicki, my closest friend, being the sole exception. This woman and I argued a number of times when I started dating again. There were hurtful comments about what she would and wouldn’t put up with or what I should be doing (or whom). When I told her that I would have to end our friendship if she couldn’t stop being so controlling when it came to my personal life-which had nothing to do with our professional working relationship—she turned things around and became her old supportive self again.
Or so I thought.
Over the past year, little things have happened at our work that didn’t feel quite right. I lost some very important opportunities, and I discovered recently that she was working behind the scenes, doing things that hurt me, hurt my heart, hurt my life, hurt my future. Some of these little manipulations have kept me in my current position instead of advancing to a higher, happier place. Some of the major stresses I’ve dealt with in the past year have been a direct result of her attempts to move me to a different location for reasons that were never quite clear or hold me in my current position so that I would have to work on her team. She’s a rank higher than I am, and she’s used that to her advantage, too.
The first thing I felt when I learned about her tactics was betrayal. She’d been a good work friend for a long, long time, and I’d trusted her with my secrets. Why would she do these things to hurt me and pin me down? Whenever something would go wrong at work in the past few months, she was the one I’d talk to about it, not knowing that she was the cause. She would be drop-everything, reassuring, hopeful, supportive, and as soon as I told her which doors I planned to open to counter the ones that had just closed, those doors would slam shut, too, to the point of everything I discussed with her immediately failed when I tried to implement it. I’m very creative with solutions and alternatives, so this is not the usual case for me.
Some of her actions had a direct impact on my happiness and my children’s happiness, and I couldn’t understand why, why, why. Why would a good friend who’s worked by my side for years stab me in the back?
But now I know.
My intuition came up again last Friday after yet another issue, and I suddenly asked the question, and this time, I asked it not of her but of three other people who know her outside of work.
Yes, she’s bi-sexual. And she’s had a strong sexual interest in me for years. Wow.
I’d like to say I’m stunned, but I’m not. My intuition said so for years, but she denied it repeatedly when anyone brought it up, and she often talked about the male lovers in her life. Do I have a problem with her being bi? Not at all. I know quite a few men and women who profess to be bi, and oodles of teens and twenty-somethings, but I’m not one of them. In spite of a number of gorgeous female friends and acquaintances over the years, I’ve never been able to summon any sexual interest in another woman. Suffice it to say, if I were bi, I would have given up men when I gave up on my marriage. And this woman and I have talked about this several times. She knows my libido is limited to mortal males and…er, Archangels.
If you can’t stand that answer, they say, don’t ask the question.
So I asked the question. I got the answer.
And then I was given even more information. She’s angry that I turned down her advances. (What? There were advances? I missed them because, well, she’d made such a big deal about the last man she slept with.) She’s afraid I’ll fall in love with a man, re-marry, and leave my job to be with him. She’s done some things to victimize me. Yes, intentionally. She’s done everything she can to control me and manipulate me. While calling herself my friend. Because of her long-time interest in me, she feels she owns me, that she has a right to decide my future, that whatever she does behind the scenes is for my own good and she knows my own good better than I do. That she would do things intentionally to hurt me, that’s the surprise, that’s the stunner.
I’ve been working hard to salvage my work and my position after the damage that’s been done. Some opportunities are gone forever. Others, I will be able to reclaim and repair. But not this friendship.
So today is one of those times when I want to go hide in a cave and give up on people, though I refuse to let this relationship do that to me, and after I’ve had a little time to myself, I’ll be fine.
Meanwhile, I’m seeing more of the animal in humanity these days.