In other news…

I forget if I mentioned this but for ages I’d been thinking of getting a new bedframe – hopefully a loft bed sorta thing so I could stash my low dressers underneath and free up more space in the room. Everything I found was either too high or too low or too expensive or made for a child (who would probably be half my weight), though.

I mentioned this to Mine and he said he’d build a bed for me. So I gave him the specs and he designed it, got the lumber cut to size and bought bolts etc. using his employee discount (he works at a home improvement store), brought it all over on Saturday night, and assembled it while I was at work on Sunday.


Interesting side note: I’d been worried that maybe the height of the bed would freak me out and I wouldn’t be able to sleep in it. But Mine made it sturdy as hell and also nice and wide (I have a double size mattress and the bed is made for a queen size – I will upgrade at some point). And – I wasn’t expecting this at all – being closer to the ceiling like that makes the bed feel enclosed in a way that I really love. It’s like a super secret awesome fort up in there. I suppose humans must have some lizard hindbrain that feels safer in a small den or burrow.

I haven’t even put both dressers under the new bed yet but it already seems way bigger in the room just having that empty space visible under there. Oh and btw the bed cost me less than $200. It’s nothing fancy or anything – just raw wood, kind of industrial-looking – but I don’t need it to be fancy. And with it being so plain and industrial I won’t feel like I’m defacing it when I screw a bunch of bondage rings to the sides.

And btw I know the bed is sturdy because Mine and I tested it out.😀














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Beginning of the end?

The Pedant is being such a passive-aggressive dickwad.

A few days ago I was really backed up for touch and sex so I messaged him asking if he could spare some time the next night for a visit. Then I immediately regretted it because a) he’s being a douchewagon lately, particularly with his snarky assertion that he’ll work on his lateness thing by not seeing me as often. Feels like a power play and I didn’t want to set myself up to be rejected. Plus things with us are kind of fraught lately anyway. b) Historically he has not been great at lavishing attention on me – and being lavished with attention was what I was craving. Not lavishing attention on him and not receiving perfunctory attention from him while he asked “feeling better?” every five seconds, just waiting for me to tell him he could stop. c) I’ve been working a lot of morning shifts lately and they burn me out. If he did agree to crash here on the night I wanted, he would have to work in the morning and I had the day off. I didn’t want to miss my chance to sleep in.

So five minutes after inviting him over, I messaged him again saying actually on second thought I didn’t want to be woken by his alarm on my day off so I’d try to get my needs met elsewhere, instead.

I think this must have made him jealous, or angry that he didn’t have a chance to pull a power trip by rejecting me, or something – within half an hour, he randomly replied to a weeks-old email that we’d already talked about in person. It did not need a reply particularly. And the email was kind of pointlessly mean. I’d look it up and transcribe it here but I’m just so very tired of this whole thing. Meh.

Somewhere in our recent email chain it came up that he knows he could be better at punctuality if he packed his knapsack for each visit the night before…except he already does that almost every day for work, so he resents having to do so on his days off.

Yeah. He’s late coming over all the time because he can’t be bothered to throw some shit in a knapsack the night before.

Shit like this is why I wanna throat-punch people who claim men will do anything for pussy. Because when The Pedant arrives at my house, usually I want to fuck him first and foremost. For an extended amount of time. And I’m good at it. But The Pedant has had about a million times when he came over hours later than he initially said he would and it was a work night so we had to either cut the sexual festivities short or not have them at all.

He’s also still harping on how much he hates it when I grope him and giggle, and has expanded this to hating that sometimes I laugh at my own jokes.

So finally I was like, okay, so you resent the basic preparations involved in coming to see me and you hate when I express joy in things that make me happy. Awesome. Do you even wanna be in this relationship?

He, of course, sidestepped my direct fucking question once again. He just elaborated on the things he’d already said and then told me we’d talk more later.

Not long after that, he sent me his work schedule for the coming week (as he’s been doing for a few months now). I compared it with mine and was going to suggest some times for us to get together and try to hash things out, but then I didn’t. Instead I sent him my schedule for this week, and a note saying that since he’s said he’ll only come over now when circumstances make it easy to be on time, and I can’t guess when that might be, it was up to him to suggest a time for us to talk.

A day or two went by with no word from him at all, and I stewed, wondering if this relationship is even important to him or what. By coincidence we both have Friday off – I can’t even remember the last time we both had a day off at the same time. That square on my calendar seemed to glow with portent. Take advantage of the Friday, Pedant. Come on.

Finally he did reply, telling me he had been going to come over the next day but then work changed his schedule on him so he couldn’t. He said that he was now well into overtime hours so probably his employer would cancel one of his other shifts this week to even things out, and he’d know soon.

On one hand, I liked that he’d proposed a day much sooner than our mutual day off this Friday. It made me think that maybe I’m important to him, after all. But notice how he just declared that he’d been going to come over instead of asking me if I was free. The day in question had been this past Saturday. The schedule I’d sent him started at Monday, on purpose, because my weekend was fully booked up.

And now a few more days have gone by. Today is Monday – he and I actually both worked until 4:30pm, unless his work changed shit around on him again – but he did not suggest coming over. And Friday still sits on my calendar, empty and glowing.

The Pedant and I have been an item for I think four years now altogether. He has told me he loves me. I’ve told him I saw long-term potential in him. The fuck can he possibly be doing on Friday that’s more important than salvaging our relationship? I’m increasingly paranoid that he really doesn’t see me as important, so he’ll schedule the big talk only when it’s convenient – like when there’s literally nothing else he might feel like doing.

I’m just not even going to initiate contact with him whatsoever. We’ll see if he ever bothers getting in touch with me and scheduling a time to talk like he said he would. In the meantime I have nothing to say to him.

It still both amazes and infuriates me that The Pedant has whined about most relationship issues being too complicated for him to understand – he says he doesn’t seem to feel the same range of emotions as most people, so when a partner starts explaining how she’s feeling about stuff that happened, it’s mostly lost on him. Fair enough – but in this case he’s the one complicating this simple fucking thing.

Friday will be the one-month anniversary of me saying to him that I was unhappy but he could fix it by a) making a copy of my keys and b) beginning to take baby steps toward working on his chronic lateness.

I told him I was unhappy. I told him how to make me happy again. The most immediate part of that plan – the cutting of the keys – would take like five bucks and half an hour out of his life. The “fix your lateness” part is harder, but I made it clear that I didn’t expect results immediately and I offered to help him formulate a game plan. Basically I told him I had an issue and then gave him an easy solution wrapped in a great big bow. You’d think he would comprehend the emotions of “happy” and “unhappy” that I spoke of. You’d also think he would be overjoyed that all he had to do to make me happy, in the short term, was get some keys cut and use those to let himself in when he was late. I mean how much of a get-out-of-jail-free card is that?

Instead: three solid weeks of gaslighting and passive-aggressive threats. He has mentioned no fewer than five times that he feels “contempt” for people who object to his lateness, or who insist pn punctuality generally (never saying he feels contempt for me, of course. He was quite insistent that he doesn’t feel contempt for me. Just for people who do exactly what I’m doing). He’s mentioned once or twice that he has no problem with lateness (never actually coming out and saying “It’s not a big deal that I’m hours late all the time so stop being crazy” buttttt…).

Last week I asked him via text if he’d gotten keys cut yet and he said he hoped to get it done within the next couple of days. I let my guard down and gushed that he has no idea what a game-changer that’ll be for me and that the thought of him having keys he’ll actually have on his person and use basically dissolves a knot of tension I’ve had in my chest for a very long time. And I pointedly added “Imagine: an investment of like five bucks to make me THAT relieved and happy. It’s nice when issues are so simple to solve.”

He replied, “I’m having too much trouble imagining the upset to imagine the relief.” Because him wasting hours of my life being late coming over isn’t a big deal, I suppose, and he can’t be expected to ever grasp that it is, even when I tell him.

I reminded him of my description of what it’s like for me when he’s late – how I feel like I’m in limbo, waiting by the phone for his “I’m here” text, and unable to shower or sleep or go anywhere or really even get immersed in a movie. And I reiterated that keys would fix that.

He said “*sigh* the description honestly didn’t sound as unpleasant to me as ‘long term knot in chest’ does.” I was like whatever, I don’t care if you understand how I feel. I only care that you believe I’m unhappy and are willing to take the necessary steps to alleviate that. He said “…alrighty then.”

Pretty sure he brought up the phrase “knot in your chest” another time or two after that. As in, “To say that you have a knot in your chest over this seems kind of extreme.” “I had no idea you were feeling like you had a knot in your chest all this time.” “I still can’t get over the idea that me not always arriving on time gives you a knot in your chest.” (PLZ GASLIGHT ME HARDER, PEDANT) But you guys – he still hasn’t gotten the keys cut. (Or if he has, he hasn’t told me. But he would tell me.) Like it almost feels as though he’s refusing to do it, now, because he thinks my stress over the issue is an overreaction and he won’t indulge me.

I’m just entirely sick of this shit.




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Weird night…

The Pedant dropped by tonight. I had commissioned a friend of his to make some clothes for me and he saw her before I did so he took ’em. So he was coming by to give me the clothes, finally.

In accordance with our weird recent pattern of having an ongoing argument/discussion via email while acting totes normal everywhere else, he came in and made small talk with me and didn’t say anything at all about any of the argument.

I tried on the clothes and we talked about how they look and blah blah blah. And then suddenly The Pedant took an appraising look around my living room and started on a whole huge spiel about all the things he was gonna do for me sometime in the near future. “Y’know what? We need to get your printer set up. And it looks like the iPod dock I got you would fit really well on that shelf right there…and I’m gonna set up a charging station for your phones on the other little shelf like I was talking about before…and I’ll reformat your iPhone so you can use it with the dock as a stereo, and I’ll help you get all your stuff transferred from your old laptop to your new one, and and and…”

So that’s interesting. He was clearly trying to ingratiate himself to me, and/or apologize for upsetting me. But of course he would never actually talk about the issue at hand and apologize for it or anything. Like if he actually does all these helpful things for me it’ll be great, but I have a feeling he hopes to do them instead of addressing his punctuality problem. And that’s not really gonna work for me.

Oh here’s another funny thing: he kept talking about a cell phone that’s hugely on sale, but only online, that he wants. And how he doesn’t have a credit card so he’ll have to get someone to buy it for him (he mentioned this last time I saw him, too. I said aren’t there disposable credit cards you can buy? He didn’t want to use one, I forget why). He’s definitely bringing it up because he wants me to use my card for this. But he hates seeming vulnerable, so he won’t ever say the words “would you put this on my card?” – and I told him I hate when he says “I’m gonna need you to -” like I’m an underling, so he won’t say that anymore – so all he can do is just talk and talk and talk about how it’s such a great sale and it’ll be over so soon. And I just nod and smile and pretend I don’t have any idea what he’s getting at. I don’t especially want to put hundreds of dollars on my credit card right now, anyway. He would give me the cash upfront, I’m sure, but I don’t think I can pay off my card using cash so I’d have to shuffle things around and it would be a whole thing.


This whole time, we hadn’t really touched beyond me maybe putting a hand on his shoulder to usher him into the building. When he said he had to get going, I wanted two things before he left: to be physically close to him, and to talk at least a little bit about the elephant in the room.

I caved to the former urge first, stepping into his personal space and putting my arms around him. He was very much not in sexytimes mode – probably because he wasn’t sure how mad I was at him, but also he has a case of jock itch at the moment so sex is off the table – so he didn’t catch his breath and melt as soon as I got near him, but he hugged me back. I relaxed into it and then he started massaging the places next to my spine that get ouchy and tense and then he turned me around so he could massage me some more.

As he continued kneading my back, I said “So…I have to ask. I tell you that your chronic lateness upsets me and you immediately respond back that you have contempt for people who dislike lateness. So, do you have feelings of contempt for me, then?”

The Pedant’s fingers froze for just a second, like a computer glitch, and then resumed massaging. “No,” he said. “I was talking about other people I’ve known.”

I knew he’d say that. I knew he’d deny making a veiled threat. And I don’t even get the vibe that he’s lying to me; I think he’s just that obtuse about his own motivations.

“Okay,” I said, “Well, if you have something to say to me then say it. And if you’re talking about someone else then why do I give a shit?”

Again his hands glitched for a second. “…I was just sharing my thought process with you.”

“Well, if I do a thing and you basically say ‘the last person who did that thing earned my contempt’ that’s preeeeetty much gonna come off as a threat.”

“Noted,” he said, a little stiffly. But he kept on massaging me for a bit longer.

I said something about how ridiculous his deflections were in his emails and he said he didn’t realize anything was coming off as deflection and I was like “I told you that a thing you do upsets me and asked if you would work on not doing it anymore. And instead of answering this simple yes or no question with, y’know, yes or no, you wrote me a dissertation on how you don’t see not doing the thing as a ‘virtue’, and you feel contempt for people who don’t like the thing, and you don’t mind when other people do the thing so what’s the big deal, blah blah blah. So yeah, it’s deflection.” I deliberately didn’t put him on the spot to give me a yes or no at that moment. I’d rather he had time to think about things and gave me a solid answer than say something out of panic that turns out not to be accurate. But I definitely noticed that he didn’t volunteer anything, or even talk about why he hasn’t concretely said yes or no.

And then he stepped back and said again that he should get going. I said okay and stepped in to kiss him goodbye. He must have still been feeling tentative and not knowing how angry I was with him because, again, he remained somewhat stoic as I approached. My kiss was soft and fairly chaste, but slow. And as I began to pull back, that’s when I finally got that little gasp. And so I hovered for a moment with my mouth a millimetre from his and suddenly he was just…crackling with sexual energy. And I played with that for a while, kissing him and teasing him with almost-kisses until he was entranced and swaying on his feet. For a long time he passively received my attentions with his arms at his sides, but then he abruptly started kissing me back and put his arms around me. And then he started massaging my clit through the pajama pants I was wearing. I took that as my cue to drag him into the bedroom.

I knew he was both self-conscious about his fungal infection and terrified of passing it on, and so he would not want to disrobe. He hadn’t even taken off his leather trenchcoat or his boots. I think he was still wearing his knapsack, even. I didn’t care. The thought of using him for totally selfish sex suited me just fine. I had him get me off twice and then he really did have to leave. As he usually does when he knows I’m in some distress over him, he said “We’ll talk soon, okay?” in that sweet, warm, reassuring voice that melts my knees.

I don’t know what will happen with us in the future. But I feel somewhat comforted for now. It was hard, having all those complicated talks via email. I really needed to see him and feel that he cares about me. The defensive, deflecting tone of his emails did not convey this. His arms around me (and his huge flood of promises about all the things he’ll do for me in the near future) did.



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Okay, now I’m pissed.

To recap The Pedant’s and my conversation about his chronic lateness so far (with updates, because more has happened):

  • I texted him saying that there are two things he could do that would make me exponentially happier in our relationship: fix his lateness issue, and in the meantime carry his copy of my keys on him at all times so if he’s late getting here he can just let himself in.
  • He responded saying that he’s terrified of losing my keys but if I got new ones cut for him (so he wouldn’t have to have the pink leopard motif ones on his keychain) he’d carry them with him. And that he’s “working on” his lateness but if it bothers me that much I should be warned that it probably won’t change anytime soon.
  • I was like yeeeeah, no, it’s not my fault you won’t use the perfectly good keys I gave you. YOU can cut new ones. And I explained why it was important to me – that when he’s hours late I end up feeling like I have to sit by the phone so I don’t miss the text that he’s here, since my door doesn’t have a buzzer. And I asked what he’s doing to work on his lateness.
  • He said fine, he’ll get keys copied. And that for the record he’s never seen arriving on time as a virtue, and has looked down on some of his exes for being early to things. And added that what he’s doing to fix his lateness so far (“you’re not going to like it”) is stay in and sleep rather than make plans.
  • I said that TBH I feel like his whole “being on time isn’t a virtue” thing is a rationalization and a defense mechanism – trying to make like being late makes him one of the cool kids or some shit when in fact it demonstrably fucks with all areas of his life. And I said that duh, it had already occurred to me that part of the problem might be overscheduling himself so it’s really no surprise that seeing me less might be part of the solution.* And I asked him what other measures he’ll be taking to get on top of this.
  • I then sent an addendum reassuring him that I know change will take a long time and I’m not looking for an instant 180 from him, just sincere effort, one step at a time. [What I didn’t say was: historically, he has demonstrated that he wants to make me happy. I assume he does now, too. But I can tell that the lateness thing is a big source of anxiety for him, and by poking that bear I assume I’m gonna wake up a whole lot of fear and defensiveness. This is me trying to pre-emptively reassure him.]
  • The Pedant conceded (amazingly): “It would help if I remedied my tardiness, yes.” But then: “Knowing that someone gets annoyed by said tardiness does not do anything to help – instead, it inspires contempt. With that in mind, I’m going to limit my future plans and commitments to things I know are easily accomplished.”

I’m incredibly pissed off at this. First off, I’ve been putting up with his lateness for years and barely said anything about it. I intuited early on that it’s something he can’t just “snap out of” – like my anxiety – and so yelling at him or giving him an ultimatum would probably just freak him out. Instead I tried to deal with it as best I could. I refused to meet him at any outside location (because he’s stranded me in public places for 45 min or more, waiting for his dumb ass while random dudes hit on me and random vagrants asked me for money or told me I was tall or told me what colour my hair was); our plans always involved him coming over here. The last time we did have to meet in a public place, I flat-out told him I would not even put pants on until he texted me that he had left the house (his response: “fair.”). I gave him keys to my apartment so he could let himself in instead of me feeling like I had to be hypervigilant waiting for him (and we know how that turned out…”Oooops I forgot your keys again, you’re gonna have to let me in” ad infinitum). Hell, even now I didn’t say I was annoyed with him or scream LEARN HOW TO ADULT PROPERLY GODDAMMIT BECAUSE THIS IS GETTING RIDICULOUS, even though I wanted to. I simply said it would make me happy if he worked on this issue. But even that is too much for his fragile little ego.

Secondly, I get sick of his weird, oblique, passive-aggressive jabs. He thinks of himself as a rational and straightforward person but he communicates like a fucking catty thirteen year old girl (“I didn’t say you were a bitch, I said you were acting like a bitch LOL”). Telling me he “feels contempt” for people who dislike his lateness. Bitch, if you have something to say to me, fucking say it. Tell me outright that you feel contemptuous of me, specifically. But no. He’ll just toss out the idea that if I persist with my line of thought, he’ll end up hating me.

Thirdly, the gaslighting. He consistently acts like his lateness is no big deal and it’s petty for anyone to be irritated by it (worthy of contempt, even). And that’s bullshit because first off it’s just rude as fuck to be late all the time but secondly we’re not talking about five or ten minutes here. He’s hours later than he says he’ll be, almost every single time we get together. For a while there he was regularly telling me “Hey I’ll take you out to dinner when I get there!” and then half an hour after he was supposed to be here, I’d get a text saying “thirty more minutes.” And then another one half an hour later. And then another one half an hour later. While I sat there ravenous and not eating anything because I thought we would do all-you-can-eat sushi any minute. On at least one occasion he arrived so late that the restaurant (or at least the all-you-can-eat option) was closed by the time he got here.

Fourthly, his whole “I’m going to limit my plans to things that can be easily accomplished” thing sounds like a veiled threat. “Oh, you’re calling me out on my bullshit behaviour? Well now I hate you and I’m gonna punish you by not coming over anymore and pretending I’m doing it because that’s what you asked for.” Or maybe he actually thinks this is a valid step in not being late anymore, but it sounds like avoiding the problem to me, not addressing it.

This was last night that I got this email from him. I spent an hour or so seething and writing, then deleting, a few different responses, most of them absolutely scathing. Finally – reminding myself that he was probably just feeling stupid for being such a fuckup and reacting with fear and defensiveness, I settled on:

The “contempt” is that you’re angry with me because I’ve forced you to confront a thing you don’t like about yourself, and that’s uncomfortable for you. So I suppose either you’re punishing me by seeing me less or you want to see me less because you now have a Pavlovian association between seeing me and feeling bad about yourself. Whatever. It’ll pass. I can wait.

But let’s be clear: I don’t have disparaging thoughts about you for your chronic lateness. I don’t see it as laziness or uncaring or some kind of moral failing. I suspect that my calling you out on the lateness has triggered you to have those thoughts about YOURSELF, but that’s all you. I see it as a bug that needs to be fixed, nothing more. It’s morally neutral.

We both know there’s a bug; we both know life will be better if you fix it. We’re on the same team here. And I’ve got a whole shitload of experience as a debugger so I can help you come up with an action plan if you want. Just ask.

I kind of thought he’d be unnerved by me seeing through his stupid bullshit “cool and detached” act so easily and have a knee-jerk anger reaction, but surprisingly, no. Instead, he responded:

As long as we’re being clear, I should point out that I’ve always been bothered far more by people’s expectations of punctuality than I have by anyone’s tardiness. I’ve never gotten terribly annoyed at other people for being late, but I came to actively resent people who live by their watches long before we ever met.

So…I guess this is his way of saying “it’s not you, I get annoyed like this with everyone who dislikes my lateness”? Or something?

But again with the fucking gaslighting. He might as well say “Why must everyone maintain this Hitler-like insistence on lockstep punctuality? Bunch of peons worshiping their timepieces. It’s absurd! People should be reasonable, like me!”

Well, first off, I’d bet good money that The Pedant doesn’t have anyone who’s consistently hours late to see him, and also he’s a dude so if he gets stranded in public waiting, he’s not gonna get harassed the same way I do. So of course lateness isn’t a big deal. He goes to the coffee shop, his date or whatever texts him “whoops I might be ten minutes late” and he shrugs and sits there enjoying his coffee without anyone cruising by hoping to put their dick in him. And that is usually how things would go, with him, because he lives with his parents who he hates, way out in the boondocks, so he doesn’t invite friends over. He goes to other people’s houses (so he’s never in the position of waiting for someone at his) or else he meets them for coffee or a movie (and is a guy, and doesn’t have social anxiety or agoraphobia, and is immune to feelings of danger anyway because autism or something).

If someone put him through what he puts me through, there is no way that’s not gonna start pissing him off.

Also, wanting him to arrive less than four hours after he says he will is not bizarrely picky or clockwatching. For fuck’s sake.

So again I sat here a while looking at his message and sputtering. Finally, I sent him this:

And is “living by my watch” what you think I’m doing when I express disappointment that you offered to come take me to dinner in the early evening but didn’t arrive until after the restaurant had closed?

I want him to stop being a catty little bitch and make a direct statement about me if he’s got something to say. Not “I feel contemptuous of people who demand punctuality.” Not “I actively resent people who live by their watches.” I want him to get some balls and fucking tell me straight up, “I feel that you do X and are Y.”

I know he’s seen that email because he sent me a different, unrelated thing since then. And I know he’s going to respond to me by dodging the question and talking more about this strawman he’s made, instead.

I assumed he’d get a stick up his butt about being called out for the lateness, but I honestly thought that would be a relatively brief thing – a knee-jerk reaction until he realized I wasn’t thinking badly of him or about to leave him over this – and then we’d start discussing what he could do better. Instead he’s acting like a little kid who doesn’t wanna go to bed. Whining, excuses, distractions, diversions.

I wasn’t lying about the lateness being morally neutral to me, by the way. I mean at first I felt like he must not care about me or blah blah blah, but then I saw that he’s late with everyone – even late for work to a point where he’s spending over a hundred bucks on cab fare most weeks – and I realized that this is just an ingrained problem of his that is nothing to take personally at all. He’s not a bad person for being late all the time. He’s not a failure. He just has some habits to unlearn.

What I definitely do see as a failure is that I told him “a thing you do makes me unhappy, can you fix it?” and instead of “yes, I’ll try” or even “no, I’m not willing to make the effort, if that means you leave then so be it” I get “Well maybe I’ll just fix it by not seeing you as much, then! I hate people who want me to be on time! What’s the big deal with being on time, anyway? People who are punctual all the time are stupid and I look down on them so nyah nyah!”

When I was married, my husband stopped having sex with me. Well, stopped being physically affectionate with me at all beyond snuggling or a peck on the cheek. I told him I was unhappy with this state of affairs. I explained that sex makes me feel wanted and attractive and loved and I really needed more of it than I was getting. I said that I’d never push him for PIV if he wasn’t into it – that would be awful – but there were compromises we could make that would give me some of what I needed: he could give me orgasms without us having intercourse, or snuggle up to me while I gave them to myself. Or he could just make out with me sometimes – give me some semblance of passion without either of us expecting it to go anywhere. Hell, even just complimenting my appearance every now and then would be something. I just wanted to feel wanted. In my ex’s case, he didn’t make a bunch of excuses or anything. He simply gave the appearance of listening gravely to my issues…and then did fuck-all. And in retrospect, that was the beginning of the end.

I tell this story and certain self-righteous prigs are all “Well I think it’s shallow to break up with someone over sex.” Yeeeeeah that’s not why I left him. Not really (there was also his rampant alcoholism! Womp womp). No, I left my husband because he demonstrably didn’t care about my happiness. I told him what I needed and he did none of it. He didn’t even tell me he had no intention of doing any of it so I could make an informed decision of whether to stay. The issue could have been the lack of sex or him forbidding me to watch movies or him forbidding me to listen to 80s music** and the results would have been the same.

This shit with The Pedant is giving me some really uncomfortable echoes and I think pretty soon I’m gonna insist on an answer from him: will he work on the shit that’s making me unhappy? Yes or no?

*Although in retrospect, it sounds like he was saying “I’m not going to make plans to see you when I’m tired because I might end up falling asleep and being late” but we don’t usually make spontaneous plans like that. I’m really starting to feel like this is just a punishment or a veiled threat.

**I say “forbidding” me to do these things instead of forbidding to do these things around him because our marriage was monogamous. He wouldn’t fuck me and I couldn’t fuck anyone else. So for the analogy to hold up in other areas, it has to be him unilaterally deciding that I can’t do a thing I like, ever, even when he’s not around.


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This morning, I thought about my current chain of “relationship issue” emails with The Pedant – specifically, I thought about how he said at least once (but I think twice) something along the lines of “Yeah well if my chronic lateness upsets you then you’re gonna be upset for a long time because it’s not changing anytime soon.”

Some would see this as an obscure threat, or a stubborn refusal to try to fix the problem. I see it as a warning, and as a bit of self-protection. He is straight-up telling me that this will not be an easy fix, and implying that if I can’t stand his lateness, I might as well bail right now. He’s been worried before about me breaking up with him out of the blue. I think this is more of the same.

And changing lifelong habits is fucking hard and fucking scary. I’m in the process of this, myself, with the cognitive behavioural therapy sessions I’ve been doing. I’m ashamed of how fucked up my life has become and terrified that my best attempts at change won’t end up working. I believe The Pedant is probably feeling the same way, although if I know him as well as I think I do, he won’t admit those feelings even to himself.

So to soothe the possible harshness of my previous email (in which I told him he’s rationalizing away the lateness that is fucking up his life, and asked him for a list of what he’ll do to fix the lateness) and to make it clear where my head is at, I wrote him another email:

Addendum: I’m fully aware that improving your time management skills will take a long time. I’m not looking for instant change, just sincere effort, one step at a time. I figure that’ll probably start paying off for me a year or three down the road, so that’ll be something to look forward to. (And in the meantime: keys).

I’m in this for the long haul.

Meanwhile, I’ve been chatting with some well-meaning but consistently a-bit-too-harsh friends on FB about The Pedant’s and my little relationship hiccup and they’re mostly telling me I’m being too lenient and I need to make an ultimatum and blah blah blah.

Nah. I stand by my choice. Partners have told me to “snap out of” my anxiety because if I didn’t shape up, they’d leave, and all that did was freak me the fuck out. I choose to tell The Pedant that I need him to start fixing some shit and will be supportive while he does it. Also, The Pedant has a subtle-but-clear-to-me pattern of being insecure when he doesn’t know what’s going on, but unwilling to ask for reassurance. He often had erectile issues with me before but those stopped once I told him I had feelings for him (and came back the first time I had sex with him again after our breakup). Shortly after I suggested we become fluid-bonded there was this tremendous shift in his behaviour toward me, as though my interest in increased intimacy had caught him off-guard but he was really really happy about it.

If he can’t or won’t come up with a concrete plan to address his lateness problem, or at least ask me what I think he should do, then I may have to go. But if he can be just the tiniest bit proactive I think that’s all I really need right now.

I’ll admit it was tempting to write out a plan for him, myself, and just hand it to him. I’ve been observing and analyzing this boy for years and I have ALL THE IDEAS, oh yes I do. But I sorta did that with Minx, and somehow this turned me into basically her mom. Like she just went totally passive and assumed I’d take care of everything. It happened with my ex-husband, too. I hated it. I will not let that happen again.

And anyway, The Pedant will never learn to be introspective unless he practices. So I’m gonna hang back and see what he comes up with, if anything.

Since I sent the email, we’ve had some unrelated casual chats via text, including him troubleshooting an issue with my phone (and it warms my heart that he’s helping me during our time of strife or whatever – I’m like a little kid sometimes, convinced that if my partner and I are disagreeing about something, he actually hates me). Maybe that just means that he hasn’t read my emails to him yet. But I hope it means that he read them and feels assured that I love and accept him – I just want him to improve himself, in a way that will make basically every aspect of his life better. And so maybe he won’t end up writing me a pissy response.

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I worry…

I worry that The Pedant and I aren’t gonna last much longer. I dunno. Maybe I’m being paranoid.

He was so solicitous when I first told him I was having issues with the relationship; kissed me, massaged me, said we’d talk soon, said he’d most likely fucked something up with us by missing some signal or something from me because he doesn’t pick up on stuff sometimes.

Then I told him (on a different day, via text) some of the things that had been bothering me. In fairness, mid-rant I realized that a lot of that stuff was probably coming from me, not him. I’d taken his jokes about my supposed lack of sexual self-control with him and jumped to the conclusion that he was confusing my anxiety with weakness, as so many other people have. But he never actually said that. That’s on me.

After I sent him those texts, he didn’t go completely silent as he usually does when I try to talk about relationship stuff. He made small talk, he sent me a link to a dog meme. So that felt like kind of a breakthrough. Although I asked him several times to come over – hoping to have that talk he’d seemed so keen on before – and instead of saying “Oh I can’t right now, life got really busy” like a normal person, he just kept not answering my requests. He said later that he was too busy to answer me. But the thing is…he’d been answering my random small-talk stuff. It takes less time to type “maybe next week” than it does to type “Hypnosis was debunked decades ago. Consequently, it’s far more likely that everyone on that guy’s YouTube videos is a paid actor.” I’m just saying.

Usually I don’t let myself ask for reassurance from The Pedant because I’m not sure when it’s reasonable to ask and when my anxiety is being an asshole. He’s made it clear in the past that he can’t stand to be around people having anxiety issues so as you can imagine I’m in no hurry to show that side of myself to him. But it started to really bug me how he kept not answering my requests for a visit so finally I asked him if we were okay. He expressly said that we are and that his silence was just due to working crazy hours, and that if he ever did have an issue with me he’d say so. That made me feel better for a while. Although a nagging little voice in the back of my head reminded me that he is not the most introspective person and if he was angry at me would he even realize it? Or would he just “not feel like messaging me”?

He sent me his work schedule for the week, as he’s been doing for the past few months. There was a time that he had a late shift followed by an early shift and his presence wouldn’t inconvenience me terribly, so I told him to crash here if he’d like. He did. And he made a point of massaging me for a nice long time and paying other nice attention to my body, even though I hadn’t expressly told him yet that I want him to do that more. We had sex and it was good. And he snuggled me all night long – I mean every time I shifted position he’d glom onto me in a different way. Constant full-body contact.

The next day, after he’d gone, I felt the need to vent just a wee bit more of the pressure that’s been building in me lately re: the relationship. I texted him that I’ve thought of two concrete things that would make me exponentially happier with him: 1) keep his copy of my keys on his keyring so he can let himself in when he comes over; 2) analyze the reasons why he’s often late to things, and start taking steps to fix/eliminate them.

For the next couple of days he was silent. Didn’t respond to my chatty random texts, even. But I told myself he was just busy at work. I mean he’d just spent the night here and everything had felt fine.

One of my chatty emails was to tell him that an artist I’ve posed for wants to fly me out to a different province to be his muse for a week. I’m not sure whether this will actually happen but if it does, I’ll need someone to take care of the cats. I thought The Pedant might enjoy having a place of his own for a week (he lives with his parents) and he has keys anyway so I asked if he’d be willing to do that. No answer; no texts from him at all.

A day or two later, I got an email from him addressing a bunch of things. An email cranky enough in tone that I suspect his silence was out of anger.

He said he was “not in the slightest” willing to babysit the cats for even a second, because he doesn’t especially like them (which I knew) and because his cat allergies are bad enough that he has to douse himself in rubbing alcohol after leaving my place as it is (which I did not know). He said that I’m always making jokes about my lack of self control where sex with him is concerned and if I didn’t want him to join in then I shouldn’t start it. He said that if I insist on him keeping those keys on his person at all times then I’ll have to get some new ones cut in a colour scheme other than “My Little Pony” (the keys are the same set I once cut for Minx, and I catered to her flamboyant style by making one pink leopard print and the other with a motif of hot rod flames. The Pedant takes himself super seriously and can’t stand the idea of anyone seeing him with something pink, like, ever). He said that his lateness wouldn’t be going away anytime soon so if it makes my anxiety “go nuclear” then I’m gonna continue to have a problem with him for the foreseeable future.

On the same day, via text, he addressed one last thing: I’d asked him to make a brief phone call for me, like, weeks ago, and he finally did that and got the info I had needed. So, a gesture of truce, maybe, despite him seeming kind of angry.

I responded to his email saying, in a nutshell:

-Fair enough, I’ll find another catsitter.

-I’ll ease up on the I-can’t-keep-my-hands-off-you jokes but just for the record, it’s a pretty standard part of human nature for someone to make self-deprecating jokes but not want others to join in. Like, just as a general life-tip.

-I think it’s up to him to get new keys cut because it’s not my fault he won’t use the perfectly functional ones that I gave him. Also my front door key got bent somehow so that might make it hard to copy.

-Just one issue – his not having keys or his being late – I could handle just fine. On time but no keys? I’ll sit by the phone around the appointed time so I know when he’s here and can let him in. Late but have keys? I’ll live my life and he can let himself in whenever. But feeling like I have to wait by the phone all night and can’t go to the store or take a nap or even get absorbed in a movie because I don’t know when he’ll get here and I’ll have to go let him in – that sucks and is a big factor in me feeling taken for granted lately. Because although I’m certain he doesn’t mean to convey this, it feels as though he thinks I have nothing better to do than sit by the phone and wait for him.

-Now that I know how severe his cat allergies are I’ll try to de-floof my place a bit better before his visits. I want him to feel comfortable here.

So I sent that. And a while after that (on a whole side note) I looked at my banking records online and realized that I’d accidentally misjudged my finances and put myself in a bit of a clusterfuck. I texted The Pedant to angst at him about this. We had a conversation about it. He offered to give me fifty bucks to help me out and I said no, that’s okay, I would power through this myself. Somewhere during that conversation he sent me a reply to that last email…and yet he was still talking to me and in fact offering me cash, so he didn’t hate me yet, w00t. And later that night he called to tell me he’d found a thrown-out-but-functional iPod speaker/charger deck at his worksite and he thought I might like it ’cause I’d mentioned wanting to be able to listen to my music without using the laptop. I said yes, I would like it, and he said he’d drop it by on his way home, which he did. And came in to chat a little bit, and we kissed a little bit, though the kissing was all at my initiation.

I was so pleased that he was treating our argument and our relationship as two parallel things – that I felt safe to have this difficult conversation with him and know that life would go on – that I spontaneously messaged him the next day with “I adore you.” No response to that at all. No response to anything mushy I’ve texted him since then, either. Or for ages, really. I know I’m on a huge stupid emotional roller coaster right now but, I mean…what if he never acknowledges my mushy stuff or sexts me anymore because he’s drifting away from me? Is his sporadic small talk really any sign that we’re still good?

This is where I think things might be about to go sideways: that latest email he sent said, among other things, that he’s “never considered punctuality to be a virtue” and in fact looked down on exes of his who were always early for things.

I replied to his email tonight and called him out:

Yeah, well, doing what one says one will do IS a virtue, and TBH I think you’re rationalizing here as a defense mechanism: trying to pretend that being hours late to things makes you one of the cool kids or something when it demonstrably interferes with your life and relationships.

You’ve irritated people close to you. You’ve missed out on events you wanted to attend (or missed the first chunk, anyway). You’ve put your employment in jeopardy, or at least been afraid enough of this that you’ve cabbed to work. And if you make $15/hr and a cab ride to work is $60*, every day that you take a cab instead of using the transit pass you already have, you’re essentially working the first four hours of your day just to break even – a situation that, if it persists, will likely make it financially impossible for you to move out of your parents’ place.

Silly philosophical talk of “virtue” aside, doesn’t it seem that life would be better if you fixed this?

I have a feeling he won’t take kindly to me saying these things. My asking him to fix his lateness problem seems to have touched a nerve, judging by how he went silent after that message (and not the previous “venting” texts which were about different issues) and his answer was all defensive n shit (well I’m not changing anytime soon so if you’re unhappy about this, you’re gonna keep on being unhappy, blah blah blah).

Hopefully once he’s had a little time to sit with things, he’ll realize I’m trying to help him. But in the meantime I fear a reactionary outburst because I’ve sullied his dignity. And if he doesn’t ever get to a point where he can admit that he’s just rationalizing like mad because he’s afraid of trying to change and failing…well, that’s when the relationship lands itself in trouble. I’m sick to death of doing all the emotional labour in my relationships. I’m sick to death of working so hard at this relationship when The Pedant mostly seems like he’s just bumbling along doing whatever and not really putting much effort in. If he insists that he honestly doesn’t care about being stupid crazy late all the time, and/or doesn’t come up with a concrete plan to fix it…I don’t think I can live with that. I can live with him coming up with a plan and taking ages to develop new, healthier time management habits. That’s fine. But if he just flat-out won’t do the introspective work of figuring his shit out…


*He does make $15/hr, and I believe he told me once that a cab ride to work from his parents’ place in the boonies costs about $50 – if he gets the driver who’s done this for him a bunch of times and gives him a special rate. Usually it would cost more. And most weeks he sleeps through his alarm and takes a cab to work two or three times. When I think of how much money he wastes in a month it just about makes me cry. I COME FROM CHEAP PARENTS, DAMMIT. Money wastage stings me like a thousand paper cuts.


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Well this is unprecedented. The Pedant just randomly texted me a link to a funny internet thing. With dogs in it.

In the past he’s generally been dead silent for days after I’ve brought up relationship issues I was having. Like, unable even to respond to small talk. EmotionsTalk just borks up his system, usually, and he needs to retreat and devote all his processing power to figuring out what I’m telling him.

The funny link reassures me that he still likes me even though he’s being silent. Awesome.

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