Russian “Soap”: We are True Friends but must I let your take a baby on our vacatio?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Tinami Amori, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. Tinami Amori

    Tinami Amori Well-Known Member

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    My three close friends in Northern California (who are also business partners to each other) had a serious and probably irreversible conflict. A friend with a young child is mad at his childless friends for not letting him bring his 3-year old child on a joint vacation across Europe.

    The story is detailed. Opinions on “friendship issues” are very welcome:

    Anya (52) and Artur (54), married for 32 years, no children (by choice and loving it), both are doctors with a stable and growing dental practice. Their life-long dream is to stabilize the practice and to travel and live abroad part of a year, alone and with friends, most of who also have no children.

    Artur has a life-long childhood friend, Mishka, going all the way back to Leningrad. They went to dental school together in California; Mishka is an orthodontist with his own practice, which is part of Artur’s extended dental services.

    Artur and Anya met and married while in college. Anya is very likable, and instantly became friends with Mishka.

    Mishka was never keen on marriage and family, until at 27 he met Luba, who like a good Russian girl, lead him to the altar and a year later they had a son. A child, and Luba The Tiger Mom, quickly domesticated the reliable and responsible Mishka, and made him much less available for friends and travels. Anya and Artur understood, and accepted.

    The two couples tried to travel together, but it did not work too well because of Mishka’s child. Luba, The Super Mother, had options to leave the child with 2 sets of grand-parents, but chose not to do so even when the boy became a teenager.

    Both families understood and often discussed that extended joint travels will be possible again only after Mishka’s son grows-up and both families’ businesses are stable. Both couples joked about “surviving into the 50’s” and resuming their adventures later in life.

    After Mishka’s son graduated from MIT, found work and remained in Boston permanently, Mishka and Luba ended their, by that time, problematic marriage.

    Mishka started to date, and now was free to travel, and happily did so for few years with A&A and other friends in the group.

    Few years ago he met a 39-year old Katya, an Aeroflot stewardess, who after 2 years of a long-distance romance led Mishka to the alter, yet again.

    Katya has a child, an adult daughter who recently married and lives in Moscow. Yet Katya, pursuant a common Russian wives tale that “it is not a real family and the man will soon leave if a woman does not give her man a child” insisted on having a child.

    Mishka sincerely and passionately did not want another child; but Anya pulled a “few tricks” on recommendations of her street-wise Moscow girlfriends who knew every trick in the book on how to rein inn a man, and a year later she had a child.

    A&A and other friends were devastated – not only Kayta is annoying and “from another world” but the next time Mishka will be free “to live again” is now in his 70’s. But friends said nothing, and supported Mishka; and Mishka, at 51, like a good and responsible guy, was back in the “baby-in-the house” harness, and stayed harnessed until the baby is now 3-years old.

    Katya is an 18th century Tiger Mom…. Her child is ill-behaved and acts like the centre of the universe. Katya thinks it’s cute, which makes it impossible to spend any quality time in their house. Katya is also into “girl-power against evil men” and claims a woman is not a woman without the experience of child-birth”, which pisses off most of A&A’s female friends, and first of all Anya.

    Recently A&A and few other friends were planning a joint trip to Europe. The plan was to start north of Europe and to end up in Italy, where one of the friends has a cottage, 2-3 nights in 6 different locations and final 5 days at a cottage near Florence - a perfect vacation for adult on-the-go.

    Anya suggested to Artur to invite Mishka and Katya, just the two of them, since their child is now 3 years old, and can easily be left with grand-parents who are more than willing.

    Anya very much wanted Artur and Mishka to start living their old “travel dreams” and was excited when Mishka and Katya agreed.

    Few days later Mishka called A&A and told them that Katya plans to bring the child and plans to stay the whole time at the cottage.

    According to Katya, everyone can take short trips around the area where the cottage is located, there is plenty to see and plenty to do without hopping across other 5 countries…… after all, according to Katya’s logic, everyone in the group been to Europe many times, and she has a child and can’t hop around….

    A&A were in shock, and the friend with the cottage outright refused to travel in a company of a child, and to let an ill-behaved 3-year old into the cottage. Other 2 people were not happy either traveling with a child. A joint vacation with 7 very independent, self-sufficient, self-assured, opinionated, well-traveled adults is complicated enough.

    Anya and the group decided if Katya insists on the child, M&K are not going. Artur asked to wait and let him speak to Mishka, his best and life-long friend.

    Mishka, unexpectedly, because very aggressive, although in the past he expressed regrets over having this child and marrying again so late in life when he was planning live a care-free existence.

    Mishka said: If others don’t want the child, let them go. The four of us and the child can go and rent our own cottage.

    Anya said: We want to go with the others; they are also our close friends. We made plans, we like them. We invited you to join us on an adult vacation, no children. We waited 20 years for your first son to grow up so that we can all travel again.

    Mishka said: We’ve been best friends all our lives, and now you’re choosing others.

    Artur said: I and Anya made it clear to all for the last 30 years; we are not keen on children. Anya’s right, we waited for 20 years until we all get on our feet, and made plans to travel later in life. We respect all your choices in life. But we worked hard and now want to enjoy our life how we see fit.

    A lot of your choices in life did not suite our plans, and some we simply thought were idiotic, yet we were supportive and never said a word. We accepted your 2nd wife out of respect for you, although she absolutely does not fit into our circle and her attitude is offensive to us and other friends.

    We also accept the fact that you have a small child. But we are not willing to twist our lives around it to accommodate you just because you decided to have child at the tender age of 53 when you’re old enough to be a great-grand-father.

    And even if we loved children dearly and your wife, it still does not mean that 50+ year old people want to go on vacation with a 3-year old.

    Mishka said: Fine. Go with the others. We can plan another vacation in December, the time suites us better anyway. Let’s go to Caymans.

    Anya said: we want you to go with us now, but if you can’t we won’t insist. We don’t like touristy Caymans. We can go on vacation in December to a place we both select. But the issue still stands - we do not want to go on vacation with a child AT ALL. Either you agree to leave your child with grand-parents, or if you can’t do that for whatever reasons, we understand, but we will not be vacationing together. Period.

    Mishka said: Then you are not true friends. True friends accept their friends “as is”. Life is not a pre-set formula. I am sorry I’ve ruined your life plans by having a baby. What if I broke both legs and could not travel but in a wheel chair, would you not go to Italy with me and push my chair at least once a day around Piazza Navona?

    Artur said: If you were in a wheel chair, and we planned a joint vacation, I’d push your wheel chair around Piazza Navona, and Piazza Spagnia…. and all the way Tivoli….

    There is a difference between a planned trip for an invalid friend who suffered an injury as a result of an accident and the situation you are in: getting cornered into a choice of having a child against your own better judgment, and then insisting on taking a child when you have an option of leaving child with grand-parents.

    In other words, in first case you are victim of an accident and have no options but to travel in a wheel chair, and in second case you made a choice and do have options… which you and your wife are not willing to consider.

    You want your choices to limit my choices.

    Mishka said: Again, you take your friends “as is”, with children, with new wives, with injuries, with all that life send….

    Artur said: If you kill an old lady for money and go to jail, you expect me to still be your friend and accept your actions?

    Mishka said: If you’re a true friend, you should…

    Anya said: But don’t we have a right to have a limit to what we can accept as far as actions of a friend?

    Mishka said: A true friend does not judge, just helps. We are all human, we all make mistakes.

    Artur said: But what if your mistakes greatly affect our options and choices?

    Mishka said: So, you are calling my new family and child a “Mistake”?

    Anya said: First of all you said that yourself several times. Second of all we are not calling anything “anything”. We are simply stating that your choices should not affect our choices. We should respect each others choices and find areas where such choices do not clash. Your choice of taking a child on a trip is clashing with our choice of freedom during travel and the “atmosphere” we want to maintain.

    Mishka concluded: The child is part of my life and if you don’t accept the child as part of me, then you don’t accept me. If we can’t go on vacation with you and our child, it’s not much of a friendship.

    The vacation and who is going is no longer an issue, it will take place without M&K. A&A are too angry with Mishka’s attitude to even regret it.

    I am completely on A&A’s side, and told them so as I was present during the above discussion, but still wondering about the “True Friend” issue…. If one is drop dead set on not being around children and makes it clear to all friends for 30 years, and then a “true friend” has a child, must a “True Friend” accept that child into every aspect of his/her life?

    Any opinions would be appreciated.
     
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  2. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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    Tinami -- what a headache. Soap opera is right. Seems to me that if the trip was planned without children, that's the way to go, and if Mishka and wife only want to travel as long as their child comes along, that's a different trip.

    I am reminded of a couple we were friends with many years ago who always brought their child to restaurants, even when he was clearly old enough to be at home alone. He didn't enjoy it (usually brought a book or used his gameboy) and it definitely hampered the adult conversation.

    I'm also thinking of my uncle's third wife who brought her **** poodle into my house to sleep overnight even though I specifically asked her not to. (My kitty was absolutely freaked out by dogs, even small dogs, and my uncle and aunt had an RV parked in my driveway that poodle could have stayed in quite happily, or my garage.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011
  3. Patsy

    Patsy Active Member

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    In a word, NO!
     
  4. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    No. And Mishka should stay away from Aeroflot from now on, even if he has a ton of miles. That Aeroflot is nuttin but trouble for him.
     
  5. JumpinBug

    JumpinBug New Member

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    Soap indeed!

    While I wouldn't shut that child out entirely (well, possibly, if it's as obnoxious as it sounds), there's a big difference between an adult vacation and one with a child. If it was clear that it's a no kids trip, then he needs to suck it up and stop being a whiner.

    It IS something that could end the friendship, though. And once divorce #2 happens, and he smartens up, hopefully they welcome him back as a friend. Once he pulls his head out of his ass.
     
  6. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

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    If a trip with others was planned in a certain way, and others are invited to join, they should accept or reject as they see fit - and not try to change the plans. I wouldn't have skipped the pre-arranged trip to accomodate the other couple's desires.

    That said, it sounds like some of the conversation about the dad's life choices was unnecessary. I wouldn't have made a big stand about not liking kids and never wanting to travel with them if I wanted to mainitain the friendship.

    If I were A&A, and the other couple were good friends, I'd try to find some vacation we could go on with the couple and their kid at another time, although I'd try to leave plenty of opportunity for "alone" time for each couple. Or maybe invite them for a shorter day trip or weekend getaway.
     
  7. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    But it wouldn't be a Russian soap opera without it.

    Don't wuzrob us of philosophical discourse! And where's the samovar in all of this????? Did that shifty maid steal it again?

    :mitchell:
     
  8. WindSpirit

    WindSpirit OmnipresentAdmeanistrator

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    I wouldn't want to travel with someone's child, either, if we made plans to go on a vacation without any kids, and that rule should be simple enough to understand. My best friend has two small kids, I doubt she would insist on bringing either on a vacation we planned for ourselves, or even suggested it.

    Having said that, it's sad how Mishka's friends think they're so much better than his new wife and how judgmental they are of him and his choices. I think there is much more going on there than what should be a simple "This is adults only trip" issue.
     
  9. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    Your friends work hard and they deserve the vacation they planned as time is precious and time off even more so. Mishka should try and put himself in their shoes. I don't have children and would not want to have a three year old on any vacation. I love my nieces dearly but would not foist them on my friends in this type of situation. I know I'm harsh but as I'm a caretaker for my mother (and I adore her) vacations are few and far between and I would resent that sort of change in my peaceful plans. I would hate to lose a friend over it but I would feel backed into a corner if my friend had Mishka's point of view.

    *The Real Housewives series is my guilty pleasure and I seem to remember the New Jersey group went to Italy and took four little girls along and the older couple who rarely took time off together had to babysit. I love Italy but what an awful way to visit imo.
     
  10. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't want to travel with a kid either, but the very misogynistic and holier-than-thou way this was written about Mishka's choices and his wives in particular troubles me a hell of a lot more.
     
  11. bek

    bek Guest

    I think A/A are perfectly entitled to say that they don't want to go on vacation with a child. But A/A could have left off the fact that they don't like Kayta, and left off that the little boy was a mistake. I have a feeling that he's probably more angry at their statements about his wife than he is about them not wanting to go on a vacation together.
     
  12. marbri

    marbri Hey, Kool-Aid!

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    And the fact that they patiently tolerated the first child and the fact that....

    Completely within their right to make it clear it's an adult vacation and they aren't interested in having children along. The other stuff though, ouch :eek:
     
  13. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    :respec:

    With friends like these.......
     
  14. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    .....who needs Tolstoy?
     
  15. bek

    bek Guest

    Exactly, and to compare (if he really did) someone having a child to someone committing a crime. :eek: And the whole we patiently waited thing...I mean people are entitled not to want kids. I mean seriously not everyone is meant to have children. I don't have kids right now and no I don't think I'd want to go to Europe with a 3 year old... Kayta had a lot of nerve expecting everyone to change their vacation plans for her child.

    But I don't like A/A's attitude in general. I mean at the end of the day A/A should be pretty darn glad people like Mischa chose to have children. Because there will come a time of day when they won't be so independent. And if everyone made "their lifestyle choice" who would be their doctor, nurse etc. Mischa might miss his independence but he also probably loves his kids, and he married Katya for a reason. He's probably especially proud of how his oldest son turned out as he's should be considering son graduated from MIT. And perhaps all of his comments were because he always felt like he had to justify his life choices to them. Rather than he really regrets them.

    At the end of the day if I had kids, I'd totally be cool with my friends not wanting them or friends who don't want to vacation with kids. But I'm not sure how I'd feel about friends who look at my children as mistakes or albatrosses.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 28, 2011
  16. Wiery

    Wiery Well-Known Member

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    I love children but sure wouldn't want to travel around Europe with them...
     
  17. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    Mischa is pushing 60. His new wife is 39. I bet she made him feel like Larry King. :grope:
     
  18. bek

    bek Guest

    PHP:
    :lol: There are plenty of woman Katya's age willing to date men like Mischa. Heck there are probably even younger girls. The man wouldn't have married Katya if he didn't want too..If loose leaf and fancy free was what he truly wanted, he'd have moved on before marriage.
     
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  19. liv

    liv Well-Known Member

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    I know what it's like taking a vacation with a 3 year old, not your own. You can love that child like crazy, but it doesn't change the fact that with all those special needs, your vacation can be ruined. Happened to me a few times and I adore the kids.

    They should not feel bad for excluding Mishka's new family. A plan was made, agreed to, and then changed by someone not even considered part of the group. Sounds like Katya is a number herself, pretty selfish and oblivious to the feelings of others, but I'm thinking maybe some things were better left unsaid. I think it would have been better to stick to just the facts of the trip rather than the history of personal lives. Too messy.
     
  20. bek

    bek Guest

    Well exactly. I would have been just like. No, we made these plans to have an adults trip with multiple stops in multiple countries, and we aren't willing to change those plans, and leave it there.
     
  21. Civic

    Civic New Member

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    You aren't going to like my opinions but that's never stopped me before so...

    A/A were way out of line in their comments to Mishka about his wife and child. They've probably damaged their friendship with him beyond repair. You just can't expect a friend to be okay with your open hostility towards his wife and child. He might be able to tolerate their dislike of his wife so long as they were polite to her. But to reject his son is to reject him in a way.

    Without ever having met Mishka, I'm willing to bet that being a father is a big part of his identity. Part of being a good father is sacrificing your own desires in order to give your children what they need. That Mishka, despite his misgivings, decided to man up and do it again at this stage in his life is to be applauded. A lesser man, a more selfish man, might have walked. So how did A/A respond to Mishka's sterling display of character? They whined that he couldn't come out and play. Hence his comment about their lack of support.

    I don't think A/A should have necessarily changed their vacation plans to include Mishkha's child. But telling his father they resented the boy's presence in his life was a big mistake. They'll need to get over that resentment if they want to retain Mishka's friendship. And for the record: I'm also in my 50s and childless by choice.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
  22. allezfred

    allezfred Prick Admin Staff Member

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    Don't be friends with people who have children and marry Aeroflot flight attendants?

    Oh and everybody should organise their own holidays.
     
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  23. Andrushka

    Andrushka New Member

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    They should partially accept the child into their lives if they are to be friends with the parents.If someone wanted to be friends with me but not have anything to do with my children at all.No,we would not be friends.

    I see the point of the child free trip.If the parents want to go to Europe,let them take their child to Europe on their own separate trip.

    As to the comment"Who would want to go on a trip to Europe with a 3 yr old?" :lol: Just fyi it is entirely possible to travel with small children,even in Europe.If you have the ability to travel,it is a great learning experience for the children.My parents traveled with us in Europe when we were that age and it went just fine.(I was 3-5 and my brother was 8 mons-2)And I still have very vivid memories of the places we went(Austria etc...) My parents never let having kids keep them from going or doing anything.We went where they went,ate what they ate.When I was 1 my parents were bored and said "Hey let's go to Mexico" and they did.Keeping children only in places and situations that are child friendly,makes it to where a child has no idea how to behave or what to expect in an adult world.I myself have traveled with a small child.If the parent is the one in charge not the child,it's really not a terrible experience.I've been to Amsterdam,England and Wales with a 6 month old.My son being with me,did not inhibit my ability to enjoy my trip or anyone elses aside from a trip to Sainsbury's for baby food,formula and diapers and a stroller,we traveled at will.
     
  24. mashenka82

    mashenka82 New Member

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    I think that A&A had every right not to invite Misha/Katya with the child. I fully understand wanting to do a child free vacation. I have plenty of married friends, some of whom have kids, and I would not want to travel with them and the child, maybe if I had a kid it would be different, but regardless. So from that side, I fully get disinviting Misha and Katya or inviting them and them alone (sans kid).

    However, I think A&A were very out line in the way they talked to Misha. The man made his choices. He had a wife and raised a child with her and now he's gotten married and has another child (and really, no matter what everyone may think, if he really didn't want a kid, they wouldn't have one right now...), and that was his choice. Even if, at one point or another, he's said out loud to his friends that this may have been a mistake, it's not ok for htem to say it. Call it a double standard if you want, but it's kind of like me complaining about my mom. I can do it and find her annoying and overbearing at times and feel the need to let it out and complain, but the second anyone else says anything, my instinct is to protect her because at the end of the day, she's my mom! And in this case A&A went after Misha's family. Not ok. Furthermore, to say that they put their lives on hold while his kid grew up so they could travel together... First of all, I'm guessing they still traveled for those 18 years, just without Misha and his wife. And if they were waiting for the opportunity to travel with Misha, I understand, and it's unfortunate that he can't, but that's just it, he can't or doesn't want to leave the child with the grandparents. I'm not saying A&A should change the trip and have the kid come, but they had no right to act the way they did.

    You don't throw friend's choices in their faces. You don't remind them of the mistakes they've made. And you do accept them the way they are. It doesn't mean you have to take them and their kid on an adult only vacation, but you don't treat them the way A&A acted.
     
  25. bek

    bek Guest

    Their whole we put our lives on hold was the most entitled thing I've ever read. Poor A/A didn't get to have the companion they wanted. Cue the violins. (Seriously!) They are acting like the man having kids is some kind of tragedy. When as I said before. While they might not want children for themselves. The survival of the human race depends on people having children. Children aren't a tragedy, by any means. Even if they circumstances they arrive in isn't ideal. And the circumstances Mischa's children arrived were a lot closer to the ideal. (Plenty of 53 year old men have kids).

    It may not be the lifestyle they would choose, and yes having kids can mean less freedom. But their benefits/joys to having a family too. Those children are a part of Mischa, and I have to wonder what Mischa's grown son thinks of them. How A/A treated him over the years.

    Real friends support their friends and don't like at their friends having a family as something "they have to patiently endure." What kind of friendship is that, certainly not the kind of friendship I would want. Its the type of friendship that suggests we are friends only if you fit completely into my lifestyle. Now A/A and Mischa may not be able to do all of the things that they once did together because he's a family man. But it really shouldn't stop a friendship. Real friendship is about more than vacations/shopping trips. Its about having people in your life you can count on to be with you when the chips are down. Its about having people you can confide in etc. And its also about encouraging your friends to be better people.

    A/A should be encouraging their friend to be a great father. They should be telling him how awesome it is that his son turned out to be an MIT graduate. Sounds like the first "super mom" did a pretty amazing job to me. They shouldn't be telling him how bad his choice was to be a father, and throwing it his face all the things he can't do. That 3 year old exists, and he needs a father. A man who wasn't willing to take responsibility and be a good father, is a man I wouldn't want as a friend.

    And here's something too. If you truly love someone, than if something or someone is important to them, its important to you. Even if I didn't "like my friends children" due to their behavior. The fact that they are my friends children, and I love my friends. Means that I would care about the child. Because its my friends child. It doesn't mean I'd be going to Europe with them.. but still.
     
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  26. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Sasha

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    I am a late comer to this thread and have missed some of the earlier comments, so may be some of this has been expressed already.

    My perspective is that A&A knew that Mishka has a 3-year old, and the first question would have been- are you planning to leave the child with someone? The answer from M would have been a NO, so the two families need not have planned a trip together. I cannot imagine that parents would want to leave the child with someone other than say grand parents for that length of time (and a few may not even do that). I am surprised that A&A assumed the child would not be on that trip with them. It certainly changes the dynamics when there is a 3-year old with 4 adults on a trip, and sacrifices have to be made. If A&A are not ready for the sacrifices, they should have just planned a separate trip, from the very beginning. One cannot blame Mishka for loving his child and not wanting to leave him with someone while he himself is enjoying his trip. I don't think he would enjoy it, so he needs to have a different kind of vacation for his family.
     
  27. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

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    Anya and Artur sound like selfish brats. Mishka is well rid of them - too bad it took him so long to figure it out.
     
  28. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    Well you persuaded me: I was totally in A and A's corner and still would not want the child on the vacation but you aptly pointed out their rudeness to M about the choices he made in his life.
     
  29. bek

    bek Guest

    Well exactly. My mom was telling me and she loves kids how she particuarly wouldn't want to go to Europe with a kid. But their attitude towards the kid is troubling. And also why isn't their a possible way to compromise on some kind of trip together. For example if for example Anya/Artur decide they want to spend a week in France. No reason Mischka, Katya, and the little boy couldn't meet them there. If M/K and the little boy stayed in a seperate residence, they wouldn't have to deal with the little boy that much. Mishka and Artur could maybe meet for golf. (If they golf) or they could meet for dinner, and everyone would do their own thing during the day. Of course its not the same as doing everything together on the trip. But they could still enjoy a bit of each other's company. They'd just have to agree to be more flexibile, and not do everything together.

    There are actually resorts that have child care for kids too. Parents after all need breaks from their kids too. And kids like getting to spend time with other kids. Now if A/A truly didn't want to do this thats totally fine, and I think Mishka should respect that. But there are ways to compromise and meet people half way. Expecting everyone else to completely change their trip is completely ridiculous on Kayta's part.
     
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  30. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    My biggest "oh crap" was at this sentence: "Mishka is an orthodontist with his own practice, which is part of Artur’s extended dental services." Big personal fight, and how does this affect their professional relationship? If I were Artur, I'd be networking for replacement orthodontists, and come up with some thinking around how to deal with existing joint patients and referrals, since much of what an orthodontist does is long-term, and there will be disruption to existing patients.

    I'm only surprised that A&A didn't assume the kid would be on the trip because that sounds like what Katya would insist upon. However, A&A had two decades of precedent for kids not being on the trips: they did not go while Miskha's first kid was growing up, and I'm guessing A&A assumed, wrongly, that the same conditions held.

    Katya and Mishka were asked to go on a trip where the decisions were already made. It was a binary question: come or not. Of course, K&M could have made a counteroffer -- would it be okay if we changed it in this and this way -- but it sounds like Katya invited herself and her kid to someone else's private cottage in her own version of the vacation. That's quite entitled, given that TA hasn't mentioned it is a given in this group.

    K&M's insistence that despite having made plans with other people, that A&A should drop them to accommodate K&M, either to include the kid or to break off into a separate vacation, is selfish shite.

    The mistake that A&A made, IMO, is to agree with Miskha's assessment about his life. It's like having a friend who comes over and after s/he's dumped his or her spouse or partner, and agreeing with all of the bad things s/he says about spouse/partner, because, inevitably, they will get back together and s/he will resent the hell out of you and/or tell spouse everything you said. Human nature, given what it is, makes Mishka's reaction quite expected, not necessarily right or A&A's directness wrong.

    Which goes to the root question about friendship: if you can't be honest with your friend in the first place, how close friends are you really? Maybe they were closer and direct when they were younger, or maybe they had a superficial guy friendship or maybe they had a close friendship over something in common that no longer applies, but did they have the kind of close and serious discussions throughout their friendship where both people can put their cards on the table? When Mishka married each spouse, did the type of friendship grow more hands off and distant? (TA's post reads like it did.) Just because Artur still had affection for Miskha, and they had a separate relationship in the office, doesn't mean that they were the type of friends where blanket acceptance should be expected.

    There's a huge difference between accepting what someone else does with their life and letting it interfere with your own. That's usually known as boundaries, and it seems like A&A have made their's clear. Plenty of people seem to accept friends they'd describe as close, while living vicariously through their :drama: or feeling superior because of their own life choices. (I'm not saying that's what Artur's been doing.) Other people have unrealistic ideas about long-term friendships or don't examine how they've changed over the years, especially when they're absorbed in their own families.

    Katya has pretty much put a line in the sand: personal over a professional relationship. She's asking Miskha to choose, just like she asked A&A to choose M&K&kid over the other friends. Even if she's the most self-absorbed cow on the planet, 1. She's Miskha's wife, at least for now, and 2. She must have gotten sick of not being accepted by the group. This might be her way to bail. It's certainly not a strategy to make friends and influence people.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011