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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Aired some of my grievances with The Pedant. Mostly via text message, because when he briefly came by last night to pay me back the money he owed me, I found myself completely unable to organize my thoughts coherently.

He was understanding when I told him that I felt taken for granted – that the phrase “I’m gonna need to crash at your place on [night] because I have a late shift and then an early shift and I need a place to sleep” implies both that he’s staying here only for the convenience, and that my place will automatically be open to him, like a hotel. He said he didn’t mean it that way and that he was staying here partly for my company. So that’s cool.

Subsequent things I told him…he did not reply to at all. Probably just processing but of course AssholeBrain is making me consider the possibility that he’s in the process of deciding that I’m too much of a pain in the ass and he hates me.

I know that emotion-talk stymies him and he needs a lot of time to parse shit out and try to understand, so I don’t wanna bug him right now. But goddamn could I ever use some reassurance. I did text him asking if he’d like to come over Wednesday night (which he offered to do, last night when I saw him, but at the time I thought I was working). He’s read that. But has not replied. And it’s making me crazy.

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As I said, between The Pedant using my place as a crash pad because it’s convenient to his work, “asking” for favours using the phrase “I’m gonna need you to…”, and being a gigantic starfish in bed, I’m feeling a bit taken for granted.

I’m also feeling like I’m being slotted into the role of Nurturing Feminine Type Person and it is ill-fitting as all hell on me. I am not a nurturer. I’m snuggly and physically affectionate and I’m able to rally myself to help my loved ones in short bursts if they need it. But I’m very much not the “Awww, honey, don’t worry, I’ll take care of you” woman. When I help people it’s because I want them to be doing well, not because it particularly fulfills me as a woman or whatever. It really just exhausts me. Taking care of myself exhausts me.

Now, I’m not saying that The Pedant is thinking of me as a cosmic titty, necessarily, or trying to make me into one. I’m doing at least some of this to myself. If someone I love is having a rough time and I have the capacity to help them, I have a really really hard time not doing it (let’s blame my mom – I guess I’m not as “over” her conditioning as I thought). When The Pedant would say “I’m gonna need to crash here on Tuesday and Wednesday because if I don’t I’ll only get to have five hours’ sleep those nights,” I said okay even though it inconvenienced me. I couldn’t stand to be the reason for him being underslept. I even offered to have dinner ready for when he got here at 10pm-ish, so that he’d be able to eat immediately and then go to bed (wake up time: 6am). The idea of having dinner ready for some dude when he got home made me feel like I was turning into a Stepford wife and it kind of turned my stomach, but I reassured myself that I wasn’t being domesticated, I was doing a logical and helpful thing on a temporary basis (and he’s done logical and helpful things for me, too). The Pedant didn’t accept this offer, though; he bought food at the deli counter of the all-night grocery and ate before he arrived. He also referenced how I’ve said I sleep better than usual when I’m next to him, and how he was hoping that would be a way of “paying me back” for accommodating him. So I do think he’s aware of the precarious balance of things and trying not to overstep.

The fact remains, though, that within the past few weeks:

  • He’s crashed here numerous times, making it very clear that it was not to see me per se but just for the use of a bed
  • He’s had me pay both his phone bills for him because he didn’t have time – using my own money – and hasn’t paid me back yet
  • He had a few other errands he intended to send me out on (“I’m gonna need you to…”) but I said no

All this “I’m gonna need you to…” is making me feel like his personal assistant, not his partner. It also feels like he’s just assuming I’ll do all these things rather than actually legitimately asking me. Probably it’s really just a quirk of his speech but still. Actually the fact that he uses the word “need” probably hits my guilt buttons harder, too, than if he’d phrased it as “Hey could I stay over tomorrow so I can get more sleep?”

So I wanted some counterbalance, and had asked him to come over on Tuesday night specifically to focus on me. Pet me to sleep, maybe give me some orgasms first, etc. He ended up cancelling because he’d had a rough day at work and just wanted to be alone. Which irritated me because I’d let him crash here a bunch of times when I would rather have been alone – or at least, would rather have not been woken up by his alarm at 6am when I didn’t have to wake up til noon – but fine, that was my fault for letting him infringe on me. It does nobody any good if I strongarm him into coming by when he doesn’t want to, though, so I just wished him happy alone-time and left it at that.

He did ask, via text, if I’d like him to come over on Wednesday, though. I said if he was up for lavishing attention on me, then yes, by all means. (Meaning: if you come over, don’t expect to be a little pillow princess like usual; arrive with intent to spend effort on me or don’t bother.) I could see that this message had been read, but he didn’t answer it. A few hours later I added some other thing as an afterthought; that, too, got read fairly promptly, but four hours later I’d still gotten no response. I haven’t slept well in about a million years and my anxiety is running high. I know this. I tried to talk myself down. Finally I caved and texted him “if it’s taking you this long to think about it, shall I assume it’s a no…?”

He said he’d been sleeping most of the day and that’s why he didn’t answer, but yes, he would come over. I refrained from pointing out that I knew he’d read the texts ages ago (I don’t want to be policing him like that. People are allowed not to respond to a text immediately! But at the same time though, it would have taken him a second or two to reply “yes” so WTF?). I just told him I was working til 4:30 so he should come by at 6. He said okay.

But of course at 5:30 last night I get a text saying “I probably won’t be by until after 8pm; I’m running late with all the errands I was going to do.” So there’s the first irritation.

He finally got here at about 9:30 (in fairness, part of that was popping into a dollar store for something I’d requested). His arrival interrupted me mid-shower and he never fucking has his copy of the keys on him so I had to get out to let him in.

We came upstairs and I finished my shower and by then he was naked, too. I kissed him and he immediately started moaning softly. This did not have its usual cachet for me; his arms (as usual) hung limply at his sides as he received my attention and that just fed into my feelings of being neglected and taken for granted.

Tangent: I haven’t been feeling fulfilled lately in our D/s. I’ve been consistently letting his tantalizing reactions lead me down the path of tying him up and having sex with him, which is fun and makes me feel in control up to a point (since I can make him squirm and moan and since he is helpless when restrained) but for the most part I’m not feeling dominant in the way that I’d like. I’d need to actually make him do things for that; as it stands he’s just an object I’m acting upon, and doing all the things he would have wanted me to do anyway. It’s feeling kind of hollow.

Oh I would be remiss if I didn’t properly set the scene here by mentioning that I was (and am) PMSing like a MOTHERFUCKER right now. So definitely more cranky about small things than usual. But probably all of this stuff would have been at least a little annoying to me even on a good day.

So anyway I requested a shoulder massage, and he complied. As usual, it felt from his body language (and constant chit-chat) that he wasn’t regarding this as serving me in a D/s sense; simply as doing me a favour. In between periodically asking me “feeling better?” (as if wanting pleasant attention paid to my body is an affliction, or as if he was wondering whether he’d fulfilled his perfunctory duties as my partner yet and we could move on to fun stuff) he made small talk about his day. Mostly, actually, small talk about other women he’s interested in. First he lamented that he’s going to be at some goth event with the chick from work who he thinks is really cute but who probably isn’t compatible with him, so what on earth will he say to her? Then he talked about the condo that he and his other partner* will be moving into sometime in future, and how they’ll be decorating it. Then he asked me if I have any room on my credit card right now and when I said yes he was like “I may need you to put a couple of concert tickets on there. It seems more practical than aiming to buy them at the door and them maybe being sold out.” (The Pedant doesn’t have a credit card. He sometimes asks me to use mine, for things that require one, and he’d give me the cash. I mean he’s asked about the possibility a few different times but we never ended up actually doing it for whatever reason.)

And I’m sitting there thinking, “When I touch you I get completely absorbed by your body’s reactions and can spend hours in a trance of running my hands over you and divining the very best ways and places to draw out pleasure. And this is what I get in return? An absent-minded massage while you ask me to buy concert tickets for you and another woman? Are you fucking kidding me right now?”

But I was PMSing so hard that I couldn’t figure out how to say any of this without being waaaaaay too shouty and blamey and pessimistic.

did manage to casually say “Hey did you ever notice that instead of actually asking me to do things, you go ‘I’m gonna need you to…’ like I’m your personal assistant?” (And this did the double duty of distracting him from talking about other women…)

He claimed that he says that as a heads up that he’s going to ask me a thing, and then he does ask. I said no, I don’t actually recall him phrasing any of this stuff as a question, ever. There’s only ever the “I’m gonna need you to…” He apologized.

I’d been sitting on the edge of the bed for the massaging. After my shoulders had been pummeled into a state of relaxation and I said it was enough, The Pedant flopped back onto my mattress and rested his head on his linked hands. I stretched out next to him head-to-toe and demanded pettings. He began stroking me from my ass to the backs of my knees, still in a sort of absent-minded and perfunctory way, although at least he wasn’t talking anymore. I think he started dozing off; his fingers kept stopping mid-caress and I’d twitch my leg impatiently and he’d get going again. He asked “feeling better?” three or four different times during all of this and I started replying “if I want you to stop I’ll let you know” each time.

As usually happens when someone runs their fingers along the backs of my legs, the soles of my feet starting tingling in anticipation and wanting attention. The Pedant kept stopping at mid-calf, though. “My feet require your attention,” I said. He said okay (and didn’t seem to be dozing off anymore by this point; his caresses were steady and constant) but still just stroked down as far as my ankles. I actually had to prompt him again. Only then did he touch my feet – and it was to massage them.

I like having my feet rubbed. But I like them caressed more, and caressing is what he’d been doing all the way down my legs, so the fact that he switched to a different mode of attention at my feet makes me wonder if he somehow forgot (AGAIN) that my feet are a major erogenous zone for me when petted, and assumed that my soles are ticklish like most people’s. That would be fairly infuriating as I’ve been his primary (and often only) partner for a year or two now; it’s not like he has a whole bunch of women whose preferences he might confuse. I have flat-out told him on several occasions that I like my feet petted, and he has petted them and seen me howl in pleasure. Nothing else but orgasming makes me utter sounds as intense as when my feet are petted. And yet the memory of making me scream and thrash and hump the mattress apparently done slipped his mind. So again I say: I’ve given him hours upon hours of pleasure, tailored to his specific body with almost scientific precision – and this is what I get back?

Honestly I feel kind of stupid for having such a weird erogenous zone, anyway. If a guy refused to touch my genitals I think I could muster some righteous rage because dude, wtf? If a guy keeps subtly avoiding touching my feet, though, or doesn’t touch them quite the way I want, I feel awkward having to repeat the words again and again. So I received The Pedant’s reasonably adequate foot massage without telling him that I really wanted to be caressed.

Then I reversed myself so we were lying head-to-head and foot-to-foot again. I cuddled up to him and ran my hand over his torso and he started making the tiny little moans and whimpers that mean he’s receptive to sex. Cool, but I wasn’t going to let his seductive sounds distract me from my own needs and make it all about him again. I rolled onto my back, dragged his right hand onto my crotch, and said “pet me.”

He started stimulating my clit pretty hard and in a way I don’t like. “No, no; just pet me. Lightly. Tease me,” I said. He did the same uncomfortable clitoral stuff but with slightly less pressure. What I had meant was that I wanted him to run his fingertips lightly over my whole vulva, not stab my clit like a doorbell. I took his fingers and tried to guide them to lightly stroke up the centre line, but that initial pushing of his hand to the bottom part made him assume that I wanted his fingers inside me. And I thought sure, fuck it, let’s do that. I didn’t have the patience to explain every little thing right then; I’d probably snap and just start yelling “Why do you suck at everything?!?!?” and he doesn’t suck at everything so that wouldn’t be fair.

Fingerbanging is one of the things he does in a way I like. After a minute or two he got up and knelt between my knees for a better angle. I reached over the grabbed the Hitachi and – shockingly – he took it from me and wielded it himself.

When The Pedant is trying to get me off, he never just finds a thing that seems to get a good reaction out of me and then sticks with that. He seems to want to be all fancy and be trying different shit out all the time. Or maybe he’s just so socially tone deaf that he can’t tell when I really like something so he’s just cycling through every technique he can think of, figuring once he hits something that works for me, confetti and flames will shoot out of my vag. I don’t know. But basically he kept changing things up every ten seconds. A lot of it did feel good, but too intense, like if I let it kick me over into orgasm it would hurt. I told The Pedant this, and compared it to the time I way overfocused on the head of his cock during a hand job – it got him off but was way too much. I took the Hitachi from him and finished myself off while he slammed his fingers into me, and the orgasm was better than I’ve had in a long time (probably because someone else was helping – my last bunch, even ones had with The Pedant, were entirely me).

After a quick pee break I cuddled up to The Pedant again and thought about maybe falling asleep. He was making tiny “oh hai there just so you know I’m up for sex” whimpers from my arm being across his chest, but hey, I’ve gotten him off without reciprocation a bunch of times so I would give no fucks about passing out and leaving him hanging.

But I decided that I craved more penetration, so I got The Pedant all riled up and then used my legs to pull him on top of me. Interestingly, by now he was finally in sub mode and remained so despite being on top. He gasped when I rolled him on top of me and lifted himself up slightly to allow me to put his cock inside me if I chose to. Once he started thrusting I played with his nipples relentlessly, wanting to see how fast I could get him off, both for the thrill of power and because I was pissed off and PMSing and feeling neglected so I was damn sure not going to treat him to my usual hours-long extravaganza of attention. As soon as he came I kind of wished I’d allowed him to last longer so I could have had more sex, but oh well.

And then when he rolled off me to fall asleep I shoved his hand to my crotch again and made him fingerbang me again while I got myself off.

The calibre of attention he gave me that night was not what I’d been seeking and I’m still pissed off about that. I don’t feel mollified. But I feel a tiny bit avenged.

This morning he said something stupid that pissed me off and I decided I’d had enough. He’d been going to crash here again tonight for convenience but I said don’t come by after all, I want the place to myself. He asked if it’s because I was still mad about his stupid comment and I said I’m actually angry about a few things lately but I’m also PMSing really hard so I’ve been trying to wait until after that to discuss it all.

All last night I’d been stewing and he hadn’t noticed at all, but now he finally became solicitous. Suddenly he started talking about how he would help me back up my aging computer one day soon, and put all the stuff onto the newer one. When I walked him downstairs to lock the door behind him, he kissed me and murmured “We’ll talk soon and work things out, okay?” and even stood there massaging my temples and shoulders for a while. Seeing him get a little panicky was kind of vindicating. I can see that he wants to please and impress me, and that’s a good thing.

What’s not good is that he only wanted to please and impress me once he realized I was becoming disenchanted with him. It doesn’t seem to occur to him to do happy things for my body just as a matter of course, when I’m not angry and he’s not trying to suck up. So…that’s not great.


*I don’t really know what’s up, there. When this plan was first set in motion, he referred to her as a friend that he used to be seeing. They were going to move in as roommates – not “live together” in a romantic capacity – but she had apparently told him that the prospect of them fucking was not out of the question. Lately he’s been referring to her as a partner. I’m vaguely threatened by this whole moving-in thing anyway so I’m opting not to ask for details of whether he’s back to screwing her on a regular basis and that’s why the title change, or…?


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