Saturday, October 10, 2015

In which Primo wants me to try to repair the relationship with his dad and I do not want to because I do not like Sly

OK you guys. I don't know if I am the biggest bitch in the world or if I am in the right or what.

Primo wants me to try to have a good relationship with Sly.

I thought that once Doris was dead - and I thought this because Primo and I talked about it before Doris died - that Primo would more or less shake the dust from his feet and not darken Sly's door again.

That is not the sentiment now.

I am hoping it is just because Primo is now in his sixth week (with only two very short two-day breaks) of taking care of Sly (and of Doris). Every day, he drives to the hospital and back to Sly's house, which is 75 miles. He is the one talking to the doctors. He is the one who has arranged - thus far - Doris' funeral. He is the one keeping all Sly's relatives informed and talking to Ted when Ted calls asking for a list of all the drugs Sly is taking. He is the one feeding the cats at Sly's and cleaning their box and outside their box (they have bad habits). He is the only one doing this and he has no friends down there and no support, except for Stephanie, who helped him sort through some of Doris' clothes yesterday.

He is exhausted and cranky and I hope it's the exhaustion talking.

But when he called yesterday and said he thought things would just get worse and I agreed, I didn't meant, "They will get worse and you will have to be the one to fix them."

I meant, "Yes, your father's health will probably not improve and he will have to do something he does not want to do, which is either hire help or move to assisted living."

And then I made the stupid mistake of saying, "At least your dad won't whine so much about the holidays. He's the super atheist, so why should he care about Christmas? He's the one who doesn't want to be around other people."

And then Primo moaned and said, "And what am I going to do about THE HOLIDAYS?"

I said, "The same as we always have, which is what we decided when we got married, which is that we spend them at home."

"Yeah, because YOU don't like being around my parents."

I was stung. "It's not like you have wanted to go there, either!"

"Yeah, but then I feel like I have to anyhow, so I end up going near the holidays."

"Well, at least your dad has two other sons."


"So he can spend them with Jack!"

"You don't even like my dad!"

"No, but it's because he doesn't like me and has never been nice to me."

"Today, Ted [remember Ted flew in yesterday or the day before] was saying something nice about you to my dad and my dad said something mean about you."


"I have to hear it from him all the time, how I made such a big mistake in my second marriage."

I want to say, "Then why don't you say, 'Dad, shut the heck up or I am walking out of this room, not to return,'" but I do not.

"I want you to try to have a good relationship with him," he said.

"OK. What would I have to do?"

"I don't know!"

"I didn't mean that sarcastically. I mean it sincerely. What exactly do I need to do for your father to like me?"

"I don't know!"

And hence the problem. The problem, I think, is that Sly does not like me. Since the beginning, he and Doris saw me as competition for Primo's love. I don't think there was one instant where I did something that was so offensive.

At least, I don't think there was one instant where I did something that was so offensive that a RATIONAL PERSON would be offended.

Primo continues. "And he is in complete denial of reality. Now he's talking about buying a condo."

"At least that would solve the yard problem, but it doesn't solve anything else."

"And he doesn't want to go to rehab. He wants to go home. He says he misses his cats."

"I can understand that. And he gets to choose. But he doesn't get to require you to be his caretaker."

"I think our summer is going to be ruined," Primo sighed.

Yeah, me too.

We got off the phone. I thought about it. I thought about what a jerk bully sly is. And then I looked at some cancer survival stats.

I messaged Primo. I will do this because I love him. I will write a fawning letter to Sly telling him I want a good relationship (which is actually true: I would love to have a father in law whom I like and with whom I get along!). I will ask him what I need to do. I will put the ball in his court.

If you want I will write to your dad to ask what we can do to repair our relationship
I will make a sincere effort to have a good relationship with him. Xxxooo
If it means we go there for thanksgiving or Christmas then I will do that
11 hours ago


  1. Poor Primo. He's exhausted. And grief unhinges you - otherwise, why would he bring up the point that you don't like Sly? (Considering Sly's past behaviour with you, who WOULD like Sly?) Kudos to you for supporting Primo - this must be hell for him.

    1. Thank you, emma. NOBODY likes Sly! Not even Primo!

  2. I think Primo is too exhausted and too close to the situation to realize how utterly irrational he is being. Sly will not like you, ever, no matter what you do because Sly is a person who fundamentally just wants to be miserable and mean.

    I like the idea of putting the ball in his court, though, as long as Primo is willing to be rational when Sly rejects that.

    1. Lauren, you are right. Sly is happiest when he is miserable. I would love to put Sly on the spot and ask him, "I really want to improve our relationship. I don't know what I am doing wrong. Please tell me what I need to do for you to accept me."

      What can he say? "You need to change how you eat bacon!"

  3. I think time is needed to settle the grief a bit from Doris dying. Regroup, rest and reconsider.
    Trying to kick-start a relationship with someone who has not only never liked you but never even tried, not an easy task.
    Primo is very fortunate that you are his wife and you are willing to put this effort in.
    It is official, you are a much better person than me.
    Eat bacon any damn way you want to.


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