“The Community” – A Retrospective

bash-2009

My fiancee Lissa posted on Facebook today that it was 7 years ago today that she’d sent me a friend request there.  That post brought me back to 2009, a really emotionally trying time for me.  My second wife had moved out in July of that year, something that I never expected would happen.  Even though there were issues, I always felt that we were getting them worked out.  Unfortunately things don’t always go as expected.

I was also struggling with running the NJ BBW Bash events with my business partner Bernadette.  It wasn’t with her personally at all, she was the ideal business partner.  My concern was the direction I’d taken the event, trying to “grow” it by extending invitations to other sectors of what was then known as the BBW/FA community.  Honestly, it was a horrible decision on my part, as it brought many of the undesirables to our events, people who I have discussed in previous blogs over the years.  Bernadette wanted to keep the events small, almost like a social club that you had to be approved to get into.  Not me, and I forced this decision on her in late 2008, and a year later, I was regretting it.

Let’s get back to Lissa.  I knew her from a previous bash that we’d held, so when the friend request came in, I recognized her, and immediately added her, something I did with most people from the community that I either had known, or recognized.

The thing is, I made sure that other than adding people as friends, nothing else would be allowed to go on.  Don’t get me wrong, no one runs up to me and exclaims “Hey, it’s Brad Pitt!”,  but having run my own business in the past, I knew that it was dangerous to mix business with pleasure.

Honestly, I was hurt, confused, and in therapy after my wife moved out.  I made the mistake of trying to get into a long distance relationship, mostly because my wife really disliked the person I was seeing, and I thought a long distance relationship could develop slowly, and allow for things to get “put into place” over time, if there was a chance things could work out.  Another mistake….bad decision on my part, I was newly separated, an emotional wreck, and you should never date/do relationships out of revenge.  To add to it, the other person also didn’t have the tools to be in any kind of romantic relationship, but this blog isn’t about her.

My dad (quoting an old Woody Allen movie) used to have a saying.  “Friendly, NOT familiar” he would say to me, meaning that in my dealings at the NJ Bash, you want people to like you & what you’re doing (running the events) so they will come back, but they don’t need to know all of your business.  It was great advice, and part of what prevented me from running from woman to woman after my marriage ended.  I always felt like the people who attended my events were like a big family, and you don’t have sex with family members.  Pretty simple, right?

Well, not really.  For me, I felt like I had been put under a microscope by “the community”, who wanted to know who I was talking with, who was flirting with me, and if I intended on taking any of that a step further.  So, women like Lissa were friends, no more & no less.

I relate all of this because there were a few people who somehow took the friendly for familiar.  I remember early on after my wife moved out that I was having some struggles with some things that had gone on at our spring bash, and that, combined with my separation, was causing some anguish.  I sought out someone online who’d attended a few of our events, someone who knew both my wife and me, and asked if I could call to get some advice about both.

Again, another mistake on my part.  It’s funny how sometimes you think people are your friends, when in fact that was never the case.  I was always impressed with her common sense approach to issues, so it seemed okay for me to reach out to her for a little counseling.  I believe to this day that my request was viewed in a completely different light, that this lady felt it more of a “come on”, than asking to help a friend in need.  We did have a conversation mostly about the community, and shared some similar feelings (most of which became material that I’ve written about in my blogs over the years).

About a week later, my wife called me from her new condo, basically accusing me of coming on to this woman, who evidently felt creeped out enough to call her and give what was her perception of our conversation.  I don’t believe in discounting anyone’s feelings, but I was really hurt that this woman wouldn’t have said to me that she was uncomfortable with a discussion of my disenchantment with the community.  Perhaps though, she had her own issues that caused her to feel creeped out.

The thing is, when something like this happens, any attempt to try to clear things up usually makes it worse, and so rather than add to any drama, I felt the best thing to do would be to avoid this person like the plague.  Again, since she was what I considered to be a friend, the last thing I wanted to do was date her or sex her up, and ruin a friendship.  Yet amazingly, a simple phone call ended the friendship anyway.

About a year later, a Facebook group started called “Don’t Date Him Fat Girl”.  I’ve written about this in previous blogs, but the short story was that it was started to protect the ladies of “The Community” from getting involved or dating people that had a history of problems, whether it was domestic violence, theft, cheating, etc.  A thread was started in that group called “Guys Who Seem Nice, But Are Really Shitty”.  I was told my name came up in that thread.  I was devastated.  I might not be the nicest guy in the world, but I was never shitty to a woman, involved with them romantically or not.  The thing about this group was that guys were not allowed into the group to defend themselves (I found out about my name inclusion through a female friend who was in the group, though she wouldn’t tell me who brought up my name).  Fortunately there were some people who knew me better than that, and defended me as best they could.  I’ll always be grateful.

I’ve always wondered if the woman that I reached out to for advice was the person who brought up my name in that post.  I probably won’t ever know, since I blocked her on all social media.

So, what does all of this have to do with the friend request that I received from Lissa 7 years ago?

Lissa honestly was instrumental in my exit from this community of people who tend to twist the truth to enhance their egos, who cause drama by accusing others of creating drama, who can’t distinguish between friendship and romance, and who put me under their microscope to judge, and then slammed my blogs when I dared to judge them back.  It’s funny, Lissa was warned by the woman who I was in the long distance relationship with that I had “issues” thanks to my pending divorce, and that she should “run away from me as fast as she could” because of it.  That never happened (thankfully), and Lis and I entered into a romantic relationship in mid 2010, and have been together since (and engaged since 2013…..how’s that for moving slowly & carefully?).

It’s funnier that most of the people who had me under the microscope are still “dating” or in one of those “it’s complicated” relationships.  But don’t worry, you can still hang out at the next BBW/FA Bash.  Have fun!

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