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linguaphile's avatar

Unwanted surprise party planned... what would you do? (details inside)

Asked by linguaphile (13635 points ) April 28th, 2012

Last night, I got the most distressing news. My ex-husband decided to plan a surprise farewell party for me and is handing out flyers to an unknown number of people. He even sent it to my family in Florida and Montana.

The flyer says this:
3 Reasons to Party with Linguaphile
1. Farewell
2. Birthday
3. Rugby
*Lingua is going to the University of Colorado to pursue her lifelong dream
*Last year her dumb ass, hairy, anger-driven, depressed ex husband did not host a 40th birtday for her, so this will be a late 40th, early 41st
*Our son has a rugby game that day at the same park, so she’ll be there. There is no need to play any kind of trickery

Last night, when I found out, I was the most mortified I have ever been in my life, and I’ve had greatly embarrassing moments.

Here are my problems: He knows I thoroughly hate surprise parties, don’t like the attention, and I’ve said countless times that I didn’t want a farewell party with the people here. He has never celebrated my birthday in 13 years. I have never told anyone in my community about his abuse and have kept everything peachy on the front—his self-description is appalling. This party is not about me, but a way for him to assuage his guilt.

My dilemma—and my question to the Flutherinverse… If I make him cancel it, he will milk the situation for victimhood, “I was just trying to be niii-iiice!” and will do this in front of my kids. He will make sure I look like a bitch. I am at wit’s end right now and not thinking clearly.

I’m asking for input from everyone on what you would do if this happened to you or someone you cared about?

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114 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

I’m so sorry. What a frustrating situation.

You know better than us what the outcome will be. Based on your description, I think it could be a very good thing for you to stand up to him and tell him that you would prefer not to have the party. You could also contact the people he has invited and tell them that you are very flattered by the surprise and would love to celebrate with them—at a restaurant of your choosing, or one on one over coffee, or whatever suits you. If you’re offering an alternative it’s clear that you’re not just a party pooper and specifically do not want a surprise.

chyna's avatar

I think he is a jerk for doing that and in the manner he is doing it. I would not play into his game. Sure, you may look like the bad guy here, but since you are leaving, who cares. You can either go to the Rugby game for your son and not participate in the party, saying “I don’t do parties, my ex planned this knowing I hate suprises” or don’t go to the Rugby game so you are not subjected to the party at all.

Salem88's avatar

Don’t Go. Let him make up all the trash talk he wants (and will) about you to whomever shows up. I think by the tone and wording of “Invite” others will already have an idea something’s amiss.
My ex-husband tried shit likes this. Go to somewhere you enjoy but not HIS parting-shot-party.

And don’t answer phone so he can yell at you in front of others. Just feeds hisneed to be the injured victim.

This will stop him from further attempts of humiliating you. Don’t go.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Maybe teaching opportunity for your kids that going against someone’s wishes to do something nice for them isn’t actually “nice” at all?

filmfann's avatar

His invitation sounds like he got yelled at for not having a 40th birthday party for you last year. From your description, I will assume that isn’t so.
I also loathe attention, and refuse to have birthday parties, or similar functions for myself. I will attend them for others, though.
My advice? Grin and bear it. Let someone feel better about themself by doing something you hate, thinking you would appreciate it. I feel your pain. I have been through this.

Coloma's avatar

I agree, you don’t have to do anything you do not want to do. I think his party plan is classic passive aggressive bullshit, ya gotta hand it to him though, clever, very clever, to set up a surprise party knowing you hate surprise parties and then cast himself as a “victim” just trying to make restitution for his screw ups. How convienant to frost his own cake and then be able to say he “tried” to make up for his past eff ups. Oh brother!

If you think you can put aside his game playing and truly enjoy seeing friends and family do it, otherwise you have every right to decline.

Trillian's avatar

Wow. That sounds…wow.
Is there any way you can just pretend that you know nothing about it and NOT make the game? As in; just not show up at the game and explain later to the child? You can avoid the party and his annoying show that he puts on for people, and just shrug it off. “Oh, sorry , something came up and I missed the game. What? You had a party for me? Really? Why would you do that? You never once tried to do that when we were married. Oh well, sorry ‘bout your plans. I’m sure you had a lovely time anyway. What did you get me? Leave it on the porch.”
Be sure to leave your phone in the trunk or something!

WestRiverrat's avatar

I think he is using this as a way to get under your skin. If you really don’t want to thave the party, tell him. Then have your lawyer draw up a no contact order, and if he goes through with the party hand it to him.

marinelife's avatar

This is very hard. I think that you have to be honest with your kids. I think you have to confront your ex. The planned party knowing you hate surprises is just another form of abuse.

I would not care what the people who are invited think. You said that you did not want to say goodbye to them anyway.

janbb's avatar

This is really annoying. Are you kids old enough to understand your feelings? I would discuss it with them without vilifying him of course. And then just (“just”) confront him and tell him you don’t want it and won’t participate.

Salem88's avatar

@Trillian – Yes, yes, yes. That’s what I did to my ex the second time he tried to pull this age-old game. Had to eat shit pie first time by showing up.

After that I became Julie Andrew-ish and he stopped bothering me once he realized “I wouldn’t give him the pleasure” of making me miserable.
No confrontation needed – they want it. Worked like a charm.
@linguaphile
Please don’t eat The Pie.

SuperMouse's avatar

I think you should tell him you don’t want the party. As mentioned upthread, you can contact the potential guests and let them know that you appreciate their thoughtfulness but that your preference is not to have a party.

How old are you children? Depending on their ages I agree with @Aethelflaed that this can be a good learning experience for them. You can explain that you told their father that you would rather not have a party and he decided to go forward anyway. You can say it without disparaging their father by making it all about you and your preferences.

I am bummed that you are having to deal with this as you are heading off to start a great new chapter in your life! I hope it all works out and you can leave feeling happy and relaxed.

ucme's avatar

He sounds like high maintenance to say the least. Going ahead with this plan despite your wishes to the contrary & then potentially playing the victim when you reassert your position, leaves only one course of action in my book, a swift kick in the nuts.

linguaphile's avatar

I spent 5 minutes last night leaning with my forehead against the wall and I’ve never done that. He handed the flyer out to many people at work and sent it to my extended family.

This morning I found out that he also gave a flyer to my son’s rugby team—they apparently felt bad enough for me that they’re turning it around into a kegger farewell party for all of us and making it into something fun and crazy.

You guys are terrific—really, really helping me with get some stability, distance and perspective here. I appreciate the validation and practical suggestions. I needed some voices of reason this morning so that I don’t waste the day ranting to myself! grin! Hugs of thanks for everyone.

I’m going to take in all the answers here and formulate a response, because it would have to be planned out- not spontaneous.

I like the swift kick in the nuts idea. I think that’ll be my own parting shot on the day I move!! Thwack!

nikipedia's avatar

@linguaphile, let us know what happens.

SuperMouse's avatar

@linguaphile I know you didn’t ask for any more suggestions, but is there any possibility of contacting the rugby coach? Or could you possibly somehow adjust things so the focus is on a going away party for the children rather then you? At least then your ex gets to have the party and you are not so much in the limelight.

janbb's avatar

@SuperMouse Oh – great idea!

JLeslie's avatar

I also thought as @filmfann mentioned that it sounded like your husband had been told he was a bad guy for not doing enough for your 40th birthday. Not necessarily by you, but by others, or maybe from family stuff in his past, childhood, where he felt in his own head he let you down.

I don’t think he let the community know he has abused you? What he said can easily be taken tongue and cheek. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I like how he worded the invitation, but if he had sent it to me, all I would really dwell on is coming to celebrate with you. All the other garbage I would not take seriously at all.

If you are worried about appearances, just suck it up, wear a smile, laugh off the invitation in front of people, and enjoy yourself as much as possible at the party. If you hate surprises, you’re in luck, it is no longer a surprise, and you can influence the party now.

You certainly can express to your husband how much this bothered you, because it did not take into consideration your feelings about how you like to celebrate.

chyna's avatar

I like @SuperMouse‘s idea.

marinelife's avatar

@JLeslie He abused her. She doesn’t want a party from him. Why should she accommodate him at all?????

Kardamom's avatar

This is just awful and I’m so sorry. Here’s a couple of ideas to kick around:

If you have a list (even a partial list) of the guests that he invited, make a short, sweet e-mail/note/Facebook message that you can copy to them. Something like, I’m afraid Randall jumped the gun and attempted to plan a party without checking my schedule first. As much as I appreciate the “idea” of a party, the timing is not good and I’m simply not up to such a big event. Some of you may know that I’m a little shy and reserved (whether you are or not doesn’t matter) and it would be nice to meet with some of you over coffee or dessert, but I’d prefer not to have a big party held in my honor. I hope you all understand and thanks for your kind sentiments.

In the meantime, I agree with @Supermouse about contacting the rugby coach and maybe your boss or a close co-worker and confide the whole truth to them. You can either let them spread the whole truth, or keep it confidential to just those 2 or 3 people, but make it clear to them that you don’t want the party and tell them the real reason. Hopefully those people, because they are in a position to contact the rest of the invited guests, they can do some of the heavy lifting, to let everybody know that the party has been cancelled and for them not to attempt to reschedule it.

Definitely talk to your kids and let them know that it’s important to check with people first before they do anything like this for another person because although some people love surprises, other people do not and feel very intimidated and taken advantage of when they get a huge unwanted surprise. You could give some silly examples that might hit home with them. Like if a bunch of their friends showed up while they were in the bathroom going poop or something like that. Explain that it is not good manners to ambush people and gently explain that you told their father that you were uncomfortable with surprise parties, but he chose to do it anyway and it hurt your feelings and made you feel embarrassed.

Then you or someone close to you (preferably a male like a brother, uncle or one of “Randall’s” friends) explain to him in no uncertain terms that what he did, although it appeared to be a nice gesture on the outside was really a bad idea because he was told (by you) that you didn’t want this kind of a party or attention and he went against your wishes and made you feel embarrassed/put on the spot/humiliated and that he needs to knock it off.

Another idea to add into this situation is for you to get one of your friends or relatives to take your kid to the rugby game (just this one time) so that you don’t have to be there, and then plan to be away from your house. Maybe you could stay over night at a sympathetic friend or relative’s house (and don’t tell the rest of the invited guests where you’ll be, just that you had already made plans for that day). Or even treat yourself to an overnight stay at a hotel.

The other suggestion is to do what my poor aunt did when my stupid cousin pulled this same stunt on her own mother. She lured her to a pizza restaurant (my poor aunt is agoraphobic and has gone through some serious medical issues including depression and having her teeth pulled, so she doesn’t look or feel good) But she was lured out of the house, taken to this restaurant where she said her hellos and smiled, had a slice of pizza, then apologized for not feeling well and then left after about 15 minutes.

I’m so sorry that this happened. You might want to consider letting the truth be known about your ex’s abuse toward you, at least to a few close confidants, it might take some of the burden of keeping this secret off of you. I hope this all works out in your favor : )

JLeslie's avatar

Just to comment on teaching kids it isn’t nice to go against someone’s wishes. Another side to the argument is if the kids don’t really realize this is against your wishes, I lean towards don’t tell them and play along with it all. Kids knowing their parents do very upsetting things to each other can be very difficult to them. If your husband does a lot of things like this, and it never gets better, and you stay in the marriage, it can be an example, modeling, for your children, of staying when you are treated badly. They also might identify strongly with you, especially if you have daughters, and kind of feel abused by proxy, worrying about your happiness. On the other hand, if you stand up for yourself, change the party, and explain to your kids why, they might learn that they have power to not go along with things they don’t want to. It really depends on how it really is in yur family, and of course I don’t know your daily life.

I don’t know, for some reason my reaction is different than the rest of the people on this Q. Especially my reaction to the invitation itself as I mentioned above. I do really really dislike when people try to “gift” what they would like have done for them, rather than what the person they are giving to would really want.

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie Just wonder if you’re missing that this is her ex ?

JLeslie's avatar

Yes, I missed that.

JLeslie's avatar

Damn, yeah, don’t accomodate him at all. One little word….ex. Sorry everyone…read too quickly I guess. It never would occur to me an ex would throw a party for her, so I guess I missed the word.

Coloma's avatar

Just shoot him and be done with it. lol
Uh oh, call the secret police in.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, since you “don’t know” about it, make (secret) plans to um…be gone that day! Last minute kind of thing,.

You know…even the tone of the invitation sounds manipulative. I wonder if others will pick up on it.

(Does he REALLY call you @linguaphile)?

bkcunningham's avatar

I love the idea of focusing the party on the children. I’d go with a beautiful smile, I’d laugh enjoy myself and then excuse myself with gigantic thank you to everyone and a big loud thank you to my ex for keeping the kids for the night. I’d then lean in and whisper in his ear that I had a date and was getting laid for my birthday and I’d pick the kids up late the next day.

augustlan's avatar

You’ve gotten some really good advice so far, and I’ve really got nothing to add to it. Just wanted to say I’m sorry you have to deal with this crap! Who told you about it, by the way?

cookieman's avatar

I wouldn’t go. Something came up.

flutherother's avatar

This is manipulative, controlling behaviour and you can’t allow yourself to have anything to do with it. I would contact everyone to cancel it and then breathe free. I would cut connections with your ex as much as is possible and if necessary I would tell people why.

YARNLADY's avatar

My idea was completely different from the rest. I would go to the party and then put on a big drama, cry a lot and say “How could you do something like this in front of everybody?”

Second thought – maybe it’s all just a trick and there’s really no party at all. He just wants to humiliate you.

jca's avatar

Two questions: Are the kids really excited about it and do they feel like they’re “hosting” the party in conjunction with your ex? If so, I would be more inclined to not want to let them down, and just go along with it. Kids like parties, and they may like the idea of doing something that they think mom will be really happy about.

mothermayi's avatar

ARGH, how awful of him! After the party, take him to the zoo so you both can have a “private chat” and shove him into the crocodile enclosure.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My husband had a “surprise” party for me once. Consisted of his daughter and her boyfriend. I was so pissed off because the house wasn’t clean.

Jeruba's avatar

I agree that you do not have an obligation to go along with this hostile plan. You are not responsible for it, and it seems to me that the idea of pleasing you did not enter into the picture at all. The person who told you about it must have known that you would not be happy and did you a great kindness by alerting you.

This line bothers me:

My dilemma—and my question to the Flutherinverse… If I make him cancel it, he will milk the situation for victimhood, “I was just trying to be niii-iiice!”

I don’t see that you can make him do anything. That way of framing it suggests to me that you are still in some kind of dance with him, even to the point of predicting his response. Really all you can control in this situation is what you do. You need not concern yourself with his motivations or reactions at all.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’m with @chyna on this. Besides, your friends and family will know you don’t want a party and understand you not going. It’s a cheap move on his part to attach it to the kid’s rugby day. Again, friends and family will understand. hopefully your son too who may suddenly feel awkward and find relief in you thwarting the plans.

gailcalled's avatar

^^I don’t envy you your decision. But know that there seems to be almost unanimity here about behaving in a way that feels right for you and your son. Sorry that it is going to take energy and determination. How about surprising him with a guy in a gorilla suit and a large stick?

bkcunningham's avatar

@gailcalled, that made me laugh out loud.

gailcalled's avatar

While @linguaphile is drafting her reply, I wonder whether we can come up with some helpful ways of surprising the ex as a “turnabout is fair play,” if you don’t like my idea of the guy in the gorilla suit.

We’d make a formidable possé.

blueiiznh's avatar

I am sorry to hear this dreadful tactic. It sounds like this kind of approach is one of the many reasons you two are ex.
I have never in my life heard an ex holding a party for their ex. The whole premise of it sounds and smells of him being manipulative and controlling.
You have no obligation to be there. He is trying to get under your skin and play victim in front of all he can. Most people will be able to see through this.
I would simply not give him the pleasure of even thinking his tactless plan created pressure on you. Simply don’t go. Don’t go near it or you will feel some pressure to get sucked into it.
You told him no surprise in the past and he has no place for it now. Others can see through it and will understand you having your own life and say at things.
Don’t go, don’t give in to it.
Stand up for yourself and you will earn more respect in simply that.

Ps I think he is a schmuck for doing nothing for a 40th if you two were together.

Bellatrix's avatar

I am sorry you are having to deal with this but this also strikes me as passive-aggressive, abuse. He has no intention of doing something nice for you but is trying to cause you grief (and embarrassment) under the guise of holding a party for you and it is working. Look how stressed you are!

I wouldn’t go. I would tell my children I don’t like surprise parties (something I am sure they are fully aware of) and that you cannot go along with their father’s plan. Contact the people you know have been invited and let them know you will not be there and as @nikipedia suggested, if they are people you care about, offer to meet them for coffee or something to say goodbye. If they don’t matter to you, just let them know you won’t be there and don’t bother with the invite to meet up.

You aren’t obliged to play along with this game. He is your ex. Just don’t participate and don’t feel bad about it.

Aethelflaed's avatar

That moment, when everyone’s so anticipating what they hope will be an epic answer, and in reality, you just got distracted and walked away from the keyboard, totally forgetting you were crafting an answer.

linguaphile's avatar

I was crafting an epic answer, then my computer froze. Ugh. I’ll rewrite it in the morning when I’m refueled

Jeruba's avatar

I would say don’t contact anybody. It’s not your responsibility. Walk away.

There’s no reason to believe this is going to be his last attempt at manipulating, coercing, and embarrassing you, but you do not have to play along. Don’t buy into it. Don’t take the bait. Walk away.

jca's avatar

@Jeruba: I, too, was thinking she shouldn’t contact anybody, as it’s not her responsibility because she didn’t contact them all in the first place. Then I thought about the many people that will show up and be disappointed at a party without the guest of honor, people who may travel a long distance and look forward to seeing her, and realize they’re caught in the middle of a bigger problem, and be mad or disappointed at being used as pawns and also have looked forward to a party where everyone enjoys themselves, not stands around baffled at why the guest of honor does not show. I think that’s why the OP has a bigger dilemma on her hands than just not wanting a party. That’s part of the reason why I thought of the kids. I feel if the kids really want it, do it.

janbb's avatar

@linguaphile We were waiting with bated breath. I kept refreshing – though you had fallen asleep over the keys.

linguaphile's avatar

I didn’t trust my computer so wrote this in Word!!

I am deeply appreciative of all your answers—even the answers I might’ve disagreed with were very helpful because I took the time to figure out why I disagreed. I realized yesterday that the reason this felt so massive was because there were many more layers to this than I could figure out at first.

I had to decide what I wanted/didn’t want, first and foremost. I want to attend my son’s rugby game—he only has 7 games this season and 3 are home games- also he is coming back from a shoulder-reconstruction surgery and just got player of the tournament last weekend. This is his passion, so missing his game really wasn’t something I wanted to do. Second, my daughter’s all excited about planning and hosting this party- she has no clue what’s going on behind the scenes and doesn’t even know that I know, so I don’t want her disappointed or embarrassed. I found out yesterday after I posted my question that she was part of the planning- so that complicates things.

Yesterday, I took some time to try to gauge who all got the flyer—everyone in my high school department got the flyer, and I do like these people. He also gave the flyer to my boss, and I want to maintain a relationship with her because I want to do some research here later. He sent it to my extended family in Florida, in Montana, Chicago and to a number of friends in other states. That’s only just what I could figure out in a few hours, so I have no idea how many more people got the flyer and @jca is right, if these people show up, they’re going to be pawns in his game and that’s completely unfair to them.

One part of my personality (for better or worse) is that I put value on others’ feelings as well as my own—and the idea of people innocently showing up with good intentions, ready to have fun, then finding themselves in an awkward position is stomach-turning for me, even if I didn’t create that situation. I know they’d understand, and I know I don’t owe them anything, but if they show up, ready to have fun, I’d much rather them leave with laughter than anything else. If the party goes on, I know I can depend on the rugby players to make this into something hilarious. (I’ll make them sing rugby songs!)

I’m not sure if the party will go on—I still am not sure what I want in that area, but if it does go on, it sure as hell won’t be as “planned.” @Coloma- you asked if I could put his game playing aside and enjoy the party—I think I could, yes, and since the element of surprise is gone and since my son’s now involved in the planning (he wasn’t at first!), I think it will work out okay—just not the way the ex wanted.

I also needed to figure out just why I was so mortified—then I remembered that, Fluther aside, I am an extremely private person. My own best friends IRL didn’t even know about the abuse until the past 6 months—they could only see the results, but had no idea what was going on behind closed doors (I think they’re still a tad dismayed at my clam-like tendencies). Also, for 5 years, my classroom was adjacent to the ex’s—nobody in our department ever suspected we were having conflicts—just thought I had a quiet, reserved, aloof and detached personality, which is as far from the truth as can be! So, with that flyer, I felt really, really exposed—then at one point yesterday, I realized something… So what if I’m exposed! What have I lost, really? Anything valuable? Not at all. I lost the last part of my “false front,” and it was about time for that to go anyway, and I still have my own valuable feelings kept private. He can’t humiliate me if I don’t allow it.

As for the ex… it’s himself he made a fool of, not me. The flyer reflects on him, not me. It turned into something good yesterday—my extended family finally understood what I’ve been trying to tell them all along and freaked out instead of pooh-poohing me. I’ve said “abuse” but I don’t think they completely believed me. They didn’t really get it until the flyer went out, and they finally realized that this guy is not a nice sweet guy he makes himself out to be, he is creepy and disturbing!! My jelly friends could see that, it wasn’t that hard, but my family took longer getting to the same point.

ALL of your replies mean a lot to me—thank you.

@Kardamom, @Aethelflaed—I do plan to talk to my kids about imposed “kindness,” but I’ll wait until a different context.
@Salem88—there’s no eating “Pie” with all of you at my back, seriously. Welcome to Fluther!!
@filmfann—he hadn’t celebrated my birthday in 13 years, so I didn’t expect anything from him. What he did do was—someone else planned a surprise 40th for me and he told her to cancel it. I’m not sure where the ‘guilt’ is coming from either. Like you, I tend to go for the dignity choice as well.
@Coloma—yep, he’s the passive-aggression king. We should introduce him to your ex-friend! shudder.
@Coloma, @ucme, @mothermayi—nut busting, shooting, crocodiles… yay!!
@marinelife, @SuperMouse—I will be confronting him, that’s for sure. Just not sure how and when.
@SuperMouse—your suggestion of adjusting the focus was the turning point yesterday—change it into something positive! Make it about the kids! Excellent idea!
@JLeslie—Unfortunately, technically, you weren’t wrong. He hasn’t signed the divorce papers yet and refuses to remove his ring. Yet, he calls himself my ex-husband on the flyer—go figure.
@Kardamom—the truth is coming out slowly… I confided in two good friends at work and when anyone judges, they say, “Whoa, wait, you don’t know the whole story.” People are also very curious why the “quiet, reserved, aloof, detached” teacher is now “friendly and interactive.” I don’t talk about the abuse- I’m too private- but my son does tell if someone asks. His perspective is that it shouldn’t be a secret. My community here loves information too much to let the unexplained details go and will be nosy enough to find out, especially after seeing the flyer. Information diarrhea was one thing that freaked me out at first, but like I said above, I’m just letting that go.
@Dutchess_III—Grin!! Nope, he used my full name in the flyer, not Lingua. He doesn’t know Lingua exists—and I plan to keep it that way!
@bkcunningham—oooh, sounds good!! A date! I’m almost 41… I could use a date… :D
@augustlan—my son’s girlfriend told me after I got on his case for acting guilty all day. He looked like he was hiding something, eyes darting, pity-face, several “Mom….oh nevermind“s, etc. Suspicious! The whole 2 hours that ensued would have been Emmy-winning sitcom gold. Some really good one-liners in there since we use humor to deal.
@nikipedia—I’ll definitely post a update as things unfold!
@flutherother, @WestRiverrat—moving to Colorado is my way of cutting ties as much as possible and reducing contact to visitations—can’t wait.
@YARNLADY—if there’s no party, at least I have a fun rugby game to watch! You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen meaty guys in short-shorts! :D :D
@jca—the kids wanting to do this is what changes everything, yeah… my daughter feels good about planning something and my son is always down for a reason to ham it up with his team. Your last comment was right on- it’s not simple, there are a lot of layers here.
@Jeruba—I do understand what you’re saying… and yes, we’re still in a “dance,” because the signature’s not there yet. I am afraid, I admit, and if I don’t play nice, he is completely capable of using the divorce laws to trap me in Minnesota- and costing me tens of thousands to get permission to take my daughter with me to Colorado where I’m scheduled to start my new degree this fall. I could dig in my heels, stand my ground, etc… and make this difficult, or I can play nice until I get his signature. I have had to predict his responses for 12 years to survive. That’s another level of complexity here- I want my new future and there’s only one signature between here and there.
@gailcalled—I’ll look up the price of a gorilla suit and I’ll furnish the stick—you made me laugh!! Lurve you and your organized posse!
@blueiiznh—I have no intention of him ever knowing that this took about 8 hours of my life to work through- I had to convince my panicky family members yesterday that I was truly okay and safe. I have stood up for myself more in the past 3 months than I have in the past 12 years—so I’m getting there. Reeowr.
@Bellatrix—my son plans to tell my daughter, “Mom doesn’t like surprise parties… we gotta tell her, then we can plan better.” He wasn’t included in the planning at first, but involved himself to help me out.
@blueiiznh, @Bellatrix, @Jeruba—I don’t plan to be forced into this, no, but what if I voluntarily take it and “own” it—does that change the whole framework? That’s something I’m still thinking about. Also, he invited my whole department, who I like and who respect me… they (and I) won’t allow this to become humiliating.
@nikipedia, @chyna, @Trillian, @janbb, @Neizvestnaya (I hope I didn’t miss anyone) I greatly appreciate your and everyone’s support—if anyone ever tells you that virtual friends don’t count, they’re wrong. You guys were my backbone yesterday. Hugs and pints all around!!

I think this is my longest post ever…. word count=hugs! :D

Kardamom's avatar

@linguaphile Wow! I think this is the most profound and heartfelt answer I’ve ever read. We love you! Be safe and be strong.

linguaphile's avatar

I knew I missed someone!!! A cookie for you @cprevite!

@Kardamom, strength often comes from good friends :)

cookieman's avatar

S’okay. :: munch ::

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

Yes, go ahead and “own” it, @linguaphile. Great, thoughtful response!

I agree, he exposed himself on the flyer (though heaven knows why, but that’s not ours to wonder why, at least not at the moment…), so you might as well take advantage of his opening to play it against him. Definitely be the @linguaphile you are; if it comes down to a challenge in court, you want to give him less ammunition to use. Being your gregarious self at the party will influence public opinion, especially in that crowd, and that can only help.

Hang in there! Just a short while longer…! :-)

chyna's avatar

@linguaphile Bravo! Well said.

JLeslie's avatar

@linguaphile Thanks for that well thought out answer. I’m guessing he might need to do something so he feels like he is not a total piece of crap. Kind of a see I am not all bad attempt, for himself, and to try and show you and others he is a good guy.

The reason I bring this up is because I want to share what I personally believe about most people. They are 90% good. They do caring things, decent personality, and then there is the 10%, the 10% is what matters, because that is the negative part of us. The trick is, is the negative part leaving the toothpaste cap off, lying, cheating, violence, never puts their dirty plates in the dishwasher which is it?

A lot of the women I know get really pissed off when their friends, family, and acquaintances say nice things about their ex asshole husbands. “oh, he is so funny, what a great guy.” The women seem to feel ignored in their complaints about him, and I think feel like they are considered the bad one for leaving the relationship. I just want to let you know that just because someone says something positive about your husband, it does not mean they are judging you negatively for leaving. I 100% believe all my friends and family who say their spouse did some f$&ked up things, and I support ehir decision to divorce. But, when I see their exspouses I smile, am social, genuinely usually have a good time when I am around them. Remember, you probably married him because of the things you liked about him, he still has those qualities, it’s just that other 10% is really bad.

Anyway, his attempt at good guy, if that is some of his psychological motive, won’t fool anyone. I could be totally off in what I say here. In his mind he probably does not see it as manipulative; I do see it as manipulative, because he is keeping himself intertwined with you, which is what you don’t want, he is disrespecting your wishes and boundaries I get that, but I really think it is possible he doesn’t, he just doesn’t get it. He is probably too narcissistic. Just my thought from what I have observed with other peiple close to me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@linguaphile I read the whooole thing!! Awesome decision making, that.

You know what…if you have a really great time it’ll ruin everything for your ex. He KNOWS it would piss you off and that’s why he did it! So you can turn the tables on him that way, by just having a good time.

When is it and where? I want to come!

linguaphile's avatar

@JLeslie I do agree with you on the most part- actually. You hit the nail on the head—I do think he is narcissistic.

I still work with him… He was moved to a different department, and I hear compliments to and about him frequently. He is a good teacher, he is an excellent librarian, he puts in long unpaid hours and the administrators thoroughly love him. It’s clear—they like him, but I also know well they don’t know what happened, and don’t plan to tell them.

I had to get over my resentments really fast—I acknowledge that it’s true he’s a good teacher, but if someone directs a compliment about him to me with the intention of “testing” me, I just say, with a laugh, “That’s true, but you don’t hafta live with him d’ya?” It works- prying folks back off quickly. I do get pointed questions and comments—people want the dirt and I’m just not like that. If I tried to tell them, it wouldn’t jibe with their perspective, and I’d just become defensive- so… why bother.

Although… I’d dispute that he’s only 10% bad… but that’s relative, right? :D :D

@Dutchess_III That’d be a blast—people from Fluther showing up! A jelly reunion! LOL!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hey…even 1% bad can make life a living hell.

Salem88's avatar

@linguaphile – Don’t laugh about JELLY Beatdown 2012. Can borrow Dolly Parton’s tour bus and pick east coast jellies and be in Michigan by keg tap time.
@Dutchess_III – will you ride shotgun and read some Edna St. Vincent Millay to me….just for mood music.

Kardamom's avatar

@linguaphile I too would love to crash your party! This is the party hat I shall wear : )

And these are the gifts that I will be bringing:

Peace of Mind

Serenity

Strength

Joy

And This

wilma's avatar

Are you in my neck of the woods @linguaphile ?
I’ll crash for ya.

augustlan's avatar

Excellent thinking and decision making, @linguaphile! I am so proud of you. <3

Dutchess_III's avatar

I will! And I second ^^^^ Master Auggie.

Salem88's avatar

@Dutchess_III – sorry, was down in wine cellar selecting appropriate provisions for Road Trip. Mixed case, or solid Cabernet? Thanks for mentioning our Mistress of Ceremonies. Where are my manners?

@augustlan – You are cordially invited to Jelly Beatdown 2012 aboard Dolly Parton’s Tour bus. There will be Poetry Readings and wine avec much cheese.
Date – Unspecified
Time – Unspecified
BYOB – bring your own bat
Dancing and fireworks to follow.

Please RSVP

Dutchess_III's avatar

Uh…Natty Lite is just fine. Maybe some Bacardi. And Diet Coke.
Consider me RSVP’d at some unspecified time, K?

JLeslie's avatar

@linguaphile Why do you think a compliment about him is a test?

It really is true that no one knows what someone is like behind closed doors. I think it is extremely hard to predict how a person treats their family and acts when no one is looking by how they conduct themsleves in public, especially at work.

Having to work with him must be very difficult. I give you a lot of credit for handeling it so well.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Ela's avatar

<wonders who made the jello shots and where they be….>

Dutchess_III's avatar

In somebody’s basement along with the wine that we’re taking to Linqua’s surprise party that she doesn’t know anything about except she does and her husband is an asshat and that’s where the jello shots are. See you there!

Ela's avatar

o i c…. road trip!?!?!! yay!!!

pssst… can i still frisk auggie for them? i was kinda lookin forward to that

Salem88's avatar

@Dutchess_III – Sip….mmmmm, slurps…..I not just ”’‘dumbuddy wif basmint, I buzz driver”“
@Ela – You are cordially invited to…..see auggie’s invite back aways. And Dutch’s original. Jello shots not allowed in cockpit, ( I just said cock….heh heh, heh heh just had a Bevis and Butthead moment.
Can you bartend for Jellies in back while Duchess reads me poetry till cry and join you?

Oh, we need a couple DD’s. Anyone else?

Dutchess_III's avatar

You did. You said that. heh.

Salem88's avatar

@linguaphile – Just for the record, would you mind telling the Jellies it’s OK to ride on the Magic Bus in your support? I know you’re laughing with lurve now. Know you’re busy, tomorrow’s fine. L

Dutchess_III's avatar

Magic bus???!!! I GET SHOTGUN!!!

linguaphile's avatar

Bring on the Magic Bus!! :D :D

Salem88's avatar

@linguaphile – Thank you, M’Lady.

@Dutchess_III – Of course you ride shotgun. Wouldn’t have another.

jca's avatar

@linguaphile: Please post an update, if you would like to, as to how you decide to handle the situation and how it turns out.

JCA
The Update Lady

linguaphile's avatar

I will, definitely will.

One situation today: I went in at lunch to chat with a friend at work and subsequently asked her if she got the flyer. She said yes—then when I looked dismayed, she looked offended and said, “What’s the problem? He’s just trying to be nice.” sigh Best thing I can do right now, at work, is just keep my thoughts to myself.

marinelife's avatar

@linguaphile Sorry you had that moment with a friend. She does not know your truth. She only see the surface. Stay strong and true to yourself.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Many of us know exactly how it can be…one way to the world, another way behind closed doors. Many of us have been there. We know, so take heart.

linguaphile's avatar

@marinelife and @Dutchess_III—I’m aware that people don’t get it, just didn’t expect her to not get it. But then again, she’s married to her high school sweetheart who is a pastor… that should’ve been my first clue there, grin!!! It didn’t knock me down, just was a bit taken aback.

Coloma's avatar

@linguaphile Yep, if ever I could murder someone with my bare hands it would be a passive aggressive type. Nothing worse, nothing!

Sunny2's avatar

I got here late and am so impressed with the back and forth discussion, the complications of the problem, the support shared and the decisions made by @linguaphile. I hope it all goes better than expected and I think it will, because of all the insights displayed here. @linguaphile. I’m enjoying your solutions to a very sticky wicket and wish you the best at handling everything with the strength and graciousness you display all the time. You’re a fine woman or, as the kids say, “You GO girl!”

gailcalled's avatar

@linguaphile: When is this event taking place? What happens if there is a huge rain storm?

You will remember to send us a post-mortem, won’t you?

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! Post mortem? You’re pretty sure she’s gonna kill him, huh @gailcalled!

Coloma's avatar

Shhhh…you can bury him on my property, no one will ever know ‘cept the cougars and coyotes. lol

Dutchess_III's avatar

Or mine!!

Coloma's avatar

Or Gails LOL
Who gets burial rights? Let’s toss a coin.

@linguaphile Where would your ex like to be buried? In the East, the West or in between @Dutchess_III ‘s place? haha

Dutchess_III's avatar

Welll….you knowwwww….we could bury him in in all three places! MUHAAAAA!

Coloma's avatar

—-@Dutchess_III ROFL…yeah, one of us gets his haed and shoulders, the other his torso and the thrid his legs. It’s do-able!—

WestRiverrat's avatar

You could borrow my woodchipper and spread him from one to the other.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wait….@WestRiverrat is on to something! We could start taking orders from all the Jellies!!

linguaphile's avatar

@gailcalled It’s this Saturday, the 12th. 1:30–5 PM. I will be on Fluther that night with my story for y’all!

I was able to gauge that he invited over 100 people. Except for the first friend I ran into that Monday morning, I have been pleasantly surprised—everyone that I’ve talked to has been incredibly understanding and sympathetic. Most of them said something along the lines of, “Now I know why you left him.”

One of my friends said she told him, “Lingua doesn’t like surprise parties,” and he said, “I know.” She offered to help with the planning and was the one that suggested he make it for the kids, too.

I love you guys!! You’re making me laugh and making this leg of the journey easier and so much fun!

janbb's avatar

@linguaphile Keep on keeping on…...You’re doing great!

Ela's avatar

I really admire you for being able to take this and turn it around @linguaphile.
Good luck on Saturday : )
Our exes are similar in some ways. I don’t know if I’d be able to handle this as well as you have been

ps. @Coloma, @Dutchess_III, and @WestRiverrat… you could also use the woodcutter to feed the cougars and coyotes… just a thought

Dutchess_III's avatar

You mean the catamounts and the pumas, don’t you? :)

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

Don’t forget the mountain lions…

mothermayi's avatar

I don’t like the word “catamount.” It sounds too much like “catamite.”

jca's avatar

@mothermayi: and “catamite” sounds too much like “vegemite.”

linguaphile's avatar

Hi everyone!

I’m finally getting on Fluther to give y’all an update—been busy for the last two days.

The party was good—weird but good. I had the most rag-tag bunch of guests anyone could think up and wish someone had videoed this for a sitcom because it was just plain funny.

The rugby game had been moved from a place where the pavilion was adjacent to the field, to a field where the pavilion was more than a football-field away and hidden by trees. When I got to the rugby game, there wasn’t anyone to ‘guide’ me to the pavilion. I stood there, looking at the tiny people in the distance, who were looking at men and thinking, “Okay, if this is supposed to be a surprise, under what logical reason would I be compelled to walk or drive over to allow myself to be surprised?” There wasn’t any, so I just got in my car and drove over.

Before I got there, my son texted me and said, “The 7 Lucky Stars are there!” I half-freaked. The 7LS is a small sorority-like group that, IMO, terrorized the community. They would get together once a month to “socialize” but what they do during that time is annihilate people through the most mind-boggling level of malicious gossip I’ve ever known to exist. It is SO juvenile, but they had power for a long time. Women in my community were terrified of them, then last year, when they went after a 22 year old pregnant woman who recently moved here, I set up a “secret” once-monthly get-together for the “Rejects.” At one point, I had 30 people at the “Rejects” outing—it gave people a sense of “I’m not alone in this” and fizzled the 7LS’s power quite a bit. It didn’t take long for the 7LS to catch on and get the message. They haven’t talked to me at all, though.

So when my son said the 7LS were there, I half-freaked. He was joking, that cad. Only one was there.

When I got out of my car, I was floored. The first person I saw was a woman who was a best friend of mine in college. I was to be one of her bridesmaids when she planned to marry her college boyfriend, but they broke up. We had been close- but when I moved here, something happened—I still don’t know what—and she turned on me, then didn’t talk to me in 5 years, even though we worked at the same place. Recently, she was fired for something she didn’t do, and I knew she didn’t do it, and in meetings I have been defending her as a coworker, not a friend.

I suspect she heard about my defending her and showed up to make amends. Whatever her reason for showing up, I welcomed her graciously.

During the 4 hours we were there, out of the over 100 people invited, 18 adults showed up, 10 kids under age 7, and 8 students. It was a small gathering—and perfectly sized. But, I refused to look at the ex for the first 2 hours—if I did, I’d have gotten mad. I focused on the kids and guests.

After the party, when I was counting kids, I swore there had to have been 20 kids, at least. At LEAST. No, only 10. They ran around so fast they duplicated.

It was low-key, friendly, casual— nothing big. I’m glad it went the way it did :) :)

Sorry, no big hulaballoo to share, no big dramatic encounters, other than the ex-friend showing up.

I still haven’t confronted the ex—I still need his signature :D :D Thank you ALL for your support over the last 3 weeks!! And thank you, @gailcalled for checking up on me every now and then!

The saga ends, for now! :D

gailcalled's avatar

Not so bad, as you say. Did you get some presents? Large checks, gold ingots, Harley-Davidson?

Your ex, after going to this enormous trouble, didn’t even stop by to wish you a happy birthday? Very odd. Did your son have a good time and was he comfortable with the event? I seem to be fixated on gorillas; perhaps someone else has a better idea (not hard to do).

Did he win his game?

After you get the necessary signature, alert us and we will plan something for him…at $75 a pop, I guess a gorilla gram (http://gorillagramsonline.com/Gorilla.html) sent to him at work with a scabrous poem is not a good idea.

I seem to be fixed on gorillas; perhaps another fluther has a more creative idea (not hard to do).

linguaphile's avatar

I got one present—a cute gift of 3 boxes of candy: Nerds, Airheads and Good n’ Plenty—my friend said the 3 candies represented the 3 of us—I’m supposed to be “Good n’ Plenty” :) sweet gesture.

My son was very comfortable—his rugby game was over (they won) just as all my guests were leaving, so he had his own get together with his men.

The ex did wish me HB at the end and I was friendly the whole time, but never said thank you. That put him in a huge sulky mood. Shrug.

Signature announcement forthcoming….. stand by….

marinelife's avatar

Glad you made it through.

gailcalled's avatar

@linguaphile: Until he signs on the bottom line, bite the bullet and be engratiating agreeable.

blueiiznh's avatar

Happy to hear how it went. Special Wisdom and Fortitude Token Earned!

jca's avatar

I am wondering if a lot of people stayed away because they heard you were not into it?

It sounds like it was kind of fun. Glad it worked out and seems like it wasn’t too bad after all.

linguaphile's avatar

@jca Most people stayed away because they had Mom’s Day plans—it’s the local culture to spend time at Mom’s for the weekend. I would say about 10 people I knew that might’ve come were all at their mother’s. Some others had kids in sports and had games that afternoon. People did stop by to tell me why they weren’t able to make it—and I did appreciate that.

Oh, I forgot to add that there were 6 dogs there as well. What a chorus.

gailcalled's avatar

—You couldn’t have suggested, sotto voce, to one of the dogs to gently nip or nibble?—-

janbb's avatar

Glad it was “good enough.” Thanks for the report.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Good job! I wouldn’t say a THING to the ex. Not a word. I wouldn’t let him know that it’s even crossed your mind again!

jca's avatar

Yes, I agree with @Dutchess_III. I would just totally drop the subject.

augustlan's avatar

You survived, and graciously, too. I’m impressed!

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