Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Miscommunication of Emails, texts, and IMs when Dating

Oy, can I say Oy even if I'm not Jewish? It seems appropriate for this situation. I was communicating via email with the guy who just wants to be friends. He messaged me that I shouldn't be using courts and lawyers because in the future I'll want to get back together with my ex and I won't be able to if things get messy.

AH WHAT? 

I've tried to explain to him that my marriage is over due to abuse without divulging too much about my marriage. In response to his email I sent one telling him that once my ex finds out about the lien on our house and is served with child support papers he's going to lose it because he is prone to temper tantrums. I also mentioned talking to my daughter about the abuse that day and how the conversation went better than I'd hoped. OK maybe I wasn't as succinct as that, but that is about all I said. Maybe if I'd been more succinct and used less emotional words, he wouldn't have assumed things about me.

His email back told me that my life is a mess and why would I want to purposely make my ex mad by filing papers with the courts. He accused me of talking smack about my ex in front of my kids and if this is how I treated people I didn't hate he'd hate to see how I treated people I did. How could I tell a virtual stranger these things about my ex husband?

AH WHAT?

My next email divulged more about my marriage and how I am not allowing the abuse, the mess, or the issues in my life dictate my day to day. I am not feeling sorry for myself or looking for pity, it just is the situation I am in and I am dealing with it on a day by day basis. I have decisions to make and for reason A, B, and C, these are the decisions I've decided to make.

I wasn't emotional about it, although I wanted to tell him what I really thought of his last message.

My response was unemotional, to the point, with reasons to back up my choices and an explanation about why I was divulging so much information to a 'virtual stranger,' as he called himself. The reason was to explain why I made the choice to file paperwork with the courts, talk to lawyers, and have a plan in place in case he became violent. I also told him the purpose of telling him so much now was to get him to understand that not all marriages are good or salvageable. Plus, to make it very clear that my ex was abusive in front of his children and that although I talked to my daughter it was still done with positive reinforcement and a clear message that her father loves her. I also wanted to make it very clear that I am not an emotional train wreck and still the confident, together woman he met.

In the email I admitted that while my ex may have been controlling and abusive, he was not the only one at fault and I was very aware of my role in the downward spiral of our marriage. I also said good things about my ex and how I wanted him to find someone who would make him happy.

Why didn't I freak out on this 'virtual stranger' and tell him exactly what I thought of his opinion of me?

Well, because he doesn't know me. He assumed that since I am a victim of an abusive marriage who lives with the threat of his anger landing on my door step that I must be a mess. I am a mess in many ways, however, I am not an emotional wreck. I do my best to keep irrational thoughts out of my decision making process and I do not want to make my ex pay via revenge. I just want to live my life and move on. Life is too short for anger, hatred, and revenge.

Email is not the medium to use when having an emotional charged discussion. All that one has is words to interpret what you mean and what you are feeling. People will use their own points of view, lives, experiences, etc, to interpret your meaning in a negative way for the most part. I have yet to come across one person who didn't jump to conclusions, negative assumptions, and hurt feelings when they received an emotionally charged email.

For all I know his ex wife dragged him over the coals with lawyers and courts. She might have poisoned their children against him and ruined his reputation with their friends. I don't know why he reacted the way he did or accused me of being such a hateful, petty, woman. Sure I'm hurt, I'm upset, and I'm pissed, but why escalate things by being overly emotional in my response? It would only lead to another knee jerk reaction from him and more negative emotions for me.

I do not expect to ever hear back from this man again. Nor do I really want to, his issues are more than I want in my life right now. His uncanny ability to only see what he wants and use his experiences to interpret other people's situations only leaves me wondering if he is capable of empathy. I need friends who listen, can offer solid advice, and be there without accusing me of drama.

I have too much empathy and see so little of it in others. I'm not looking for a man to feel sorry for me, or even to fix my situation. I am looking for a man who can understand me through empathy but knows I am capable of handling things with his support as a friend, a confident, and a lover.