Unease

I feel like things with The Dandy are off-kilter lately but I can’t tell if that’s just my anxiety messing with me.

Just, with our two recent fights where he accused me of being bossy/naggy over practically nothing…and it’s kind of felt like he’s been avoiding Dandette and I lately…and when I asked how he likes living with two girlfriends he gave such an iffy response…I dunno.

Dandette says that when they were first dating, The Dandy claimed to be into cosplay and even bought a couple of costumes…but once the NRE wore off, he never bothered with that stuff again. When The Dandy and I were first dating and she heard that he’d watched various Netflix shows with me that did not feature superheroes or space lasers, she was outraged: “I tried to get you to watch that series forever and you said you weren’t interested!!!” so it’s looking like The Dandy does shit to impress women in the beginning but then stops bothering once he’s satisfied that the relationship is solid.

And indeed, when I first moved in I’m pretty sure The Dandy spent more time after dinner hanging out in the living room with Dandette and I. We cuddled and watched Netflix and talked and stuff. Now, he comes home from work (usually between 6 or 7pm) and is on his computer watching YouTube shit about weaponry and/or wars and/or Star Trek and/or Warhammer until he goes to bed (usually 2 or 3am). He’ll come out for dinner (he seems to have a thing about food in the bedroom, otherwise I’m not convinced he’d even stay in the common area of the apartment to eat) and then he goes straight back to the computer. I even commented at one point that I feel as though we never spend time together and I’d like to have a movie night sometime that week. The Dandy said okay but never initiated anything. Dandette and I have since asked him to watch stuff with us from time to time. He’ll leave the couch, without a word, in the middle of an episode of something he appeared to be enjoying and we’ll think he just had to go to the bathroom but 20 minutes later I go looking for him and he’s…at the computer watching shit about weapons.

Dandette is at another LARP thing, so last night I felt more free to roam the apartment (sometimes if she’s in the living room I don’t want to hang out in there, depending on where she’s at mood-wise or whether she’s watching a thing I’m not interested in). I was alternating between watching Netflix (on the tv in the living room) and being on the internet (on my laptop which is in our bedroom. Unplugging the cord and carrying it elsewhere is enough of a pain in the ass that I just let the bedroom be my base of operations for all things interwebz). I swear to god when I entered one of those rooms, The Dandy would leave and go to the other one. It happened like three times.

He was still affectionate like usual, more-or-less, hugging me when we crossed paths and stuff. One of those hugs happened at around 10pm and I noticed he looked tired as shit. I told him he looked wrecked and he said that he was. I said “I think we could both use an early bedtime tonight. Why don’t we set an alarm for midnight, and when it goes off we’ll get off our computers and convene for snuggles?” The Dandy seemed pleased with this idea and said yes.

I am a terrible internet addict so I was really getting antsy and watching the clock as time ticked toward midnight. Like I actually called out “half an hour til we get off the internet!” and then later, “nine more minutes!” as I raced to check every website I might ever feel like looking at by the deadline.

At four minutes to midnight, The Dandy got off his computer…and wandered out to the living room, where I found him starting up another YouTube video on the tv. “It’s four minutes to midnight,” I said.

“Did you want to actually go to bed and try to sleep, or were you just thinking of cuddling?” The Dandy asked. Oooookay, I think I see what happened here. What I’d meant with this plan was for us to get off the fucking internet entirely – no more media of any kind. Just togetherness and affectionate touching so we could wind down for sleep. But because I didn’t very specifically say that, The Dandy hoped/assumed I was just talking about wanting to cuddle him, and that receiving his absent-minded touch while he watched still more shit about wars and Viking shields would be acceptable.

“Well, you said that being on the internet, and especially being in front of a tv screen, makes it hard for you to turn your brain off,” I said, “so I was thinking we ditch all media and just snuggle. Hopefully that will wind us down nicely and we can get some sleep.”

“Ah,” The Dandy said…and kept watching the video he’d cued up.

I sat there with my head filling with rage, wondering if he just wanted to finish that particular video (which was somewhat understandable) or if he was just gonna fucking ignore everything I’d said. (WHY DOESN’T HE USE HIS FUCKING WORDS WHYYYYY.) There was no way I could ask what was going on without sounding angry, and we’d already been fighting lately and I just really wanted to keep the peace, so I sat there silently. When the video ended I immediately said “Okay, it’s time.” He did shut the tv off at that point. But I’m not sure he would have if I hadn’t said it.

We got into bed and he gave me some rather perfunctory-feeling pets. I tried to make conversation with him, asking him what little-kid Dandy had wanted to be when he grew up. Learning about him usually makes me feel closer to him, but that night the mojo just wasn’t there.

I asked “is there any place you need to be touched right now?” – if he’d requested that I stroke his dick, I probably would have, but I honestly meant the question at face value. He had petted my head and back in the way that I like and I wanted to know what he might like in return. Pettings? A massage? But he gave his weird high-pitched giggle and didn’t answer me. I suspect he thought I was making a play for sex and he wasn’t into it so he was feeling all deer-in-headlights. I wasn’t in the mood for sex either, though. Intimacy was simply not entering the room no matter how hard I tried to make room for it.

The Dandy gave up pretty quickly on pets and even snuggles. I mean he’d been touching me for maybe five minutes and then he rolled over on his back with one hand flung up by his head like he does when he wants to go to sleep and then after a few minutes of that he full-out rolled over and put his back to me. Which, I mean…maybe he really was tired earlier than usual and wanted to sleep? But it was two full hours before he usually goes to bed and I’m certain if we hadn’t made this agreement to get off the internet he would still have been surfing ’til 2am. It kinda felt like he wasn’t much interested in hanging out with me or touching me but he also didn’t want to back out of the agreement he’d made so he was escaping me in the only way possible.

Although after another five minutes or so he rolled back over and put his arm around me so who the fuck knows.

Annnnnnyway.

Two main things going through my head right now:

  1. If he’s a person who tries hard to impress in the beginning of a relationship and then stops bothering, does that mean I can expect him to be welded to the internet all fucking night forever and only grudgingly spend time with me after I repeatedly ask? Also, does he have some whole huge obsession with not being told what to do and he was stifling that in order to suck up to me but now that I’m thoroughly moved in and emotionally invested he’s gonna go ahead and be an asshole all the time? Is that what our two weirdly similar recent fights were about?
  2. Is The Dandy actually being distant and wonky, or are these feelings coming from me and I’m projecting? It wasn’t that long ago that he came into Dandette’s room where I was sleeping and petted me to sleep, unbidden, for an hour. And that was in the middle of the two fights. He’s still flailing behind him for hugs whenever I pass by his computer chair. Fuck, am I gonna have to keep a spreadsheet of good things vs icky things he does so I can track whether he’s actually not being as sweet to me or if it’s all in my head?

Bah. My head hurts.

 

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Sore spots

There was one other oral sexing incident I forgot about. The Dandy and I were in the bedroom, clothed, on our separate computers (him at his desk, me on the bed laptopping) and Dandette popped into the room for a second and the subject of cunnlingus came up – she often brings up how he won’t do it and makes fun of him for it (which I have since asked her to stop doing, as I believe it sets back our cause).

I think he must have protested that he’s not horrified by the act, because after Dandette left, I opened my knees at The Dandy and pointed at the crotch of my shorts while grinning at him. Just kind of jokingly encouraging him to prove that he was willing to give the goods a little smooch. He got immediately pissed off.

I asked him what was up and he snarled “I don’t like being ordered around.”

“Okay,” I said, “but if I open my arms to indicate I want a hug, you’ll immediately come hug me without having any issue at all. I think this sense of being ordered around is coming from you, dude.”

He got a look on his face like oh shit, that’s a good point.

I was thinking about the ongoing oral sex struggle last night when he was sitting in his computer chair and I came over to stand in front of him and hug him. This was the same configuration we had the times that I asked him to kiss me on the vulva (and on those two occasions, he somewhat hesitantly did; perhaps it was because I asked politely, or maybe he was just chickenshit to say no to me). Just as an experiment, I tapped my stomach just above the belly button and said “kiss-kiss?” and looked at him kind of expectantly, and he smiled at me and kissed the spot I indicated.

Really, way back when we first started dating and he told me he’s dominant, I worried that any little thing I might ask or tell him to do would rub him the wrong way because, essentially I was trying to steer his actions. But I can stick my feet in his lap and he knows that’s a demand for pettings, and he automatically complies. During sex I might say “switch places” and he does, without making a big thing of it. After PIV I can pass him the vibrator or dildo and he’ll get to work on me. I can hold my arms out for a hug and get it. I can do the “come here” beckoning motion with my finger and he’ll always come over, without even asking me what I want. Once I was lying in bed and put my foot in the air and beckoned him over, intending to caress his penis with my foot; he read me as asking for a foot rub, instead. And he gave it to me.

It’s just being asked to give oral (or I guess to download software) that makes him explode in a temper tantrum because I’m being bossy.

I kind of want to point out the contradictions but I’m afraid it’ll backfire and he’ll start getting pissy about all the other stuff, too.

 

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Bright spot

In the midst of all the other bullshit lately, there was an evening where Dandette was in a good place mentally and The Dandy for once wasn’t holed up in our bedroom on his computer ignoring us all night. Instead he opted to watch the same YouTube stuff he would have watched in there on the living room tv, instead, and Dandette and I were both in there as well working on craft projects.

At one point The Dandy made a terrible pun and Dandette piled on a few more, as they are wont to do. I was tired and off my game that day though so I didn’t have it in me to join in like I often do. I simply said “Just so you know, I hate you both” without looking up from my knitting.

“But…but…boobs!” Dandette said. I looked over and she was grinning and flashing me.

“Yeah okay fine,” I said, relenting. Boobs are neat. It’s hard to hold a pretend grudge around them.

The Dandy, on the other side of me, said “I don’t have boobs to offer, but, uh…” and took his dick and balls out of his pajama bottoms for me to admire. I bent and kissed him on the penis and we all went back to watching YouTube together.

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Pessimism

In addition to my recent fights with The Dandy, I’ve just been feeling generally insecure lately. It’s my anxiety or PMS or something, I dunno.

A few nights ago as we were falling asleep I asked him to tell me something he likes about me. He said “your compliments.” He said that the last time I asked for validation from him, too. Can he not think of anything else? Something about who I am and not just how I make him feel? I mean, I guess this means it’ll be simple to keep him happy and into me: I just have to keep on doling out praise. I can do that even if I’m depressed or anxious and the whole rest of my personality is caving in on itself. So that’s oddly reassuring…and yet it’s still depressing as shit. The Dandy is not a person who gives compliments, so these times of me asking “what do you like about me?” are just about the only times he says nice things. And all he’s been able to say about me is that I say nice things about him. Not that he loves my sense of humour or the way I’m a jack-of-all trades artistically or the way we’ll sometimes stay up late talking and end up laughing our asses off at some shared joke. *Sigh.*

Last night after our fight I asked if he liked living with two girlfriends. The second I said it, I realized that this went against my rule of not asking anything I can’t handle the answer to: I was not prepared to hear anything negative. I was straight-up compliment-fishing, and that’s dangerous. I almost said “actually, don’t answer that” but I figured meh, he’s not gonna say anything bad. He knows Dandette and I have no place else to even go, so why on Earth would he plant a seed that he doesn’t want us there? That would just be shitty. Plus he seemed gung ho for me to move in and made a conscious decision to partially financially support Dandette and I. So yeah. He’ll say nice things.

What The Dandy actually did say was “I don’t mind it…”

Well fuck.

He did go on to say that our living situation makes it hard for him to get time alone with either of us, and that’s a problem he has with it. So that’s kind of sweet. I told him that in case he’s not aware, I am totally good with him taking Dandette out for dinner on occasion (or whatever) and I’ll just hang out at home. I mean as long as he takes me on dates sometimes, too. But I definitely don’t feel like we have to do everything together as a threesome. I want for him to have a separate and distinct relationship with each of us. I’m not sure he realized before that I’d be okay with him having individual “date nights.” I would imagine Dandette would be, too, again as long as they didn’t seem to all be going to one person. So that was a useful thing to uncover, I guess.

Still, though. When we finally get a three-bedroom place, I will so totally spend a shitload of time in my room ignoring him. He’s been pretty subtle about it (he doesn’t act overtly irritated that I’m around) but it does bother him that we share a bedroom. Like he’s explicitly said several times that he wishes he could have his computer in its own room so he can be on the internet and nobody will be around him or bothering him. Most of the time that we’re in the bedroom together I’m doing my own thing and not talking to him, anyway, but maybe just my presence bugs him a bit. I dunno. But I often don’t want to hang out in the living room, for various reasons, so here we are. Once I have my own space I want to really have a much more separate life than I’ve been living these past few months. And not just for The Dandy’s sake, either.

Tangent: Dandette has a running joke where every time the three of us are cuddled up together or we both come to the door when he gets home to kiss him hello or something, she’ll sarcastically say to The Dandy, “Oh your life is just so hard, isn’t it?” – either she’s being spectacularly obtuse or she’s saying it because she knows that a lot of aspects of the two-girlfriends thing are hard for The Dandy and she’s trying to convince herself otherwise. She also jokes constantly that The Dandy must feel like King Shit for having the two of us – and admittedly the first time or two that he sandwiched in between us to watch moves, he did look smug as all fuck. But he seems thoroughly over that phase now and I think all her remarks are starting to irritate him. He won’t say so, though, and I’m not inclined to intervene because it’s not really my problem. But I notice.

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*Sigh*. Maybe not progress.

The Dandy’s alarm is always set for 8am so he can get up for work. He typically stays up on the internet looking at shit about old weaponry or Star Trek until at least 2am, which means all week long he’s getting six hours of sleep a night. Maximum. That is not enough sleep for most adults, and indeed he sleeps in on the weekends, implying that he is catching up on sleep because he hasn’t been getting enough during the week. And, I mean, I’m mostly over feeling responsible for fixing people, but I’m still not gonna just sit there while someone I love is fucking themselves up and not at least say something. Sleep, especially, is a touchy thing for me; I get fucked uuuuuup when I’m not getting enough of it. I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone but my worst enemy.

Now, because I have chronic sleep issues, I’ve researched all kinds of things about how to sleep better. One factor is to do with light. Blue light (like, oh, the light from a computer monitor) is read by the brain as sunlight, and will make us think  it isn’t time to go to sleep yet. There’s a program called f.lux that automatically changes your monitor’s colour to a more orangey cast around sunset so it doesn’t mess with your body’s circadian rhythms. I’ve downloaded it onto all of my machines and it absolutely makes a difference. I still stay up way too late surfing the ‘net in an effort to escape my anxiety, but I do start to feel sleepy, now – I just ignore this sometimes. 😛 Before f.lux, the light of my screen would make me feel all fucking wired and I wouldn’t feel any urge to sleep until it had reached really critical levels.

And it occurred to me that maybe this was a factor for The Dandy, too. He’s nocturnal, but maybe not as nocturnal as he thinks; maybe staring at his computer into the wee hours is fucking with him a bit, and if he installed f.lux he would find himself getting sleepy at say midnight or 1am instead of 2am. Maybe 2am is his “Oh shit, need for sleep is now critical, time to either log off or die” moment and he needs to get himself to a point where he can see that the needle on his gauge is in the red zone, rather than only noticing when it’s hit “E.”

So a while back, like a few weeks or a month or more, I explained to him about f.lux and said it might be handy for him. And he did that fucking thing where he went silent and awkward and didn’t tell me “Yeah, that sounds cool, I might try it” or “nope, not interested.” Which I suppose is a “no” but I figured I’d just let him process the idea for a while and come back to it later, just in case.

The other night I said “Hey, have you thought any more about downloading that f.lux program I was talking about before?”

And he sighed irritably, and didn’t say anything. He didn’t even turn from his computer to look at me. He froze me out.

I gently said something like “Okay, it seems like you’re not into it. Do you want to talk about that?” because why is he being so huffy for when I’m trying to suggest something helpful to him?

“It’ll make the colours on my screen look weird and I don’t want it!” The Dandy barked.

Normally I would leave well enough alone at this point – especially because The Dandy is usually on such an even keel mood-wise and his unusually angry tone was kind of freaking me out – but this was sounding like a bullshit excuse to me. After about five minutes I don’t even notice the f.lux colour change. Nothing looks weird. If anything, my screen seems kind of piercing and overly blue once the colour changes back. Plus, The Dandy doesn’t use my laptop so how does he even know what it looks like? And it’s not like he’s a graphic designer or something. He doesn’t do anything where the specific colours on his screen need to be precise. So my annoyance got the better of me for a minute.

“You can disable it for an hour if you ever need to see specific colours, or turn it off entirely,” I said. “And anyway have you ever even looked at my computer at night and seen what the screen looks like?”

“I don’t know if I have,” The Dandy said, grumpily. He was clearly not in a logical headspace and I’d said all I really could so I decided to stop trying. But I suppose I was pretty palpably pissed off by how he was behaving with me.

A while later I got up to go to the bathroom or something and The Dandy flailed his arms behind him to solicit my hugs/cuddles, as he always does. I somewhat reluctantly stepped close behind his computer chair and bowed my head so he could pet the back of it. After a minute he said “There, is that better?” and I wondered if he’d downloaded f.lux after all. His screen did look kind of orange. But f.lux puts a little icon in the system tray and it wasn’t there; his favourite message board about swords just happens to have an orangey cast to it (and would have looked exactly the fucking same with f.lux running, I’m just saying). I guess what he meant was “has my affectionate contact magically erased the shitty way I treated you earlier?” Yeah no fuck off.

It was late and I didn’t want to get into any big thing so I held my tongue. The next night, though, I initiated a talk about what had happened. I said “Hey so you seemed kind of unreasonably defensive about me bringing up f.lux last night. Where is that coming from?”

The Dandy said “You just kept nagging and nagging me about it!”

“No, I mentioned it today for the first time in weeks and I literally just asked if you’d thought about installing it, nothing more. And just from me making that one remark you got angry and withdrawn and huffy. Mentioning something for the second time ever, after weeks of saying nothing, is not ‘nagging’ by any stretch.”

(I was keeping a fairly level tone of voice but inside my head I was like ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME WITH THIS?!? This fight was feeling just like the oral sex one from a few days ago, where I say a thing once but in his mind I’m screaming at him about it over and over for twenty minutes or something. Is this a regular feature of his personality that I’m just now seeing? Is this what I can look forward to?)

I could see by The Dandy’s face that he realized he’d overreacted, but he didn’t share any big revelations about why his brain skews some of the shit I say so that he thinks a single statement is me “nagging and nagging.” No revelations about why certain topics set him off and others don’t, either. He pretty much stayed quiet.

And y’know…I get sick of staying calm and trying to gently draw him out and get him talking when he’s hurt me, so instead I told him that I can’t live with someone who just randomly gets angry at me for making a suggestion and won’t even tell me what kinds of suggestions will set him off, so he needs to figure his shit out and not put me through this. I asked him to apologize for how he’d treated me, or said I felt he should apologize (I forget), and he gave an almost-imperceptible nod (which I knew was meant to mean “yeah, I do feel bad about that”) but didn’t say the words. I told him for the zillionth time that I need him to goddamned use his words when he doesn’t want to do something, because how in fuck was I supposed to know that him being silent the first time I mentioned f.lux meant “fuck no, do not want” and not “I’ll have to think about it” or “I’m not really listening right now”? I said that if he’d said “Nope, I think the colour change would bug me, I don’t want it” right from the getgo – well, I probably would have made him look at my monitor to verify, because it bugs me when someone rejects an idea because they have an inaccurate picture of it in their head, but if he actually saw what I was talking about and still didn’t like it, I would have dropped the subject. But he didn’t tell me he’d made up his mind. I suppose that’s why he saw me as “nagging” – he forgot I can’t read his mind and see that he’d already made a decision, so to him I was pushing a subject that he was done with. Well, fuck that. HE. NEEDS. TO. USE. HIS. WORDS.

Somehow we got to a point where I was mostly not pissed off at him anymore, and we had sex. Afterward I asked him to tell me why I was angry the night before, because I wanted my feelings validated; just because he made eye contact and nodded while I vented doesn’t mean he was listening or gave a shit. He correctly summarized my grievances. And I asked him again to apologize – to actually say the words – and he managed to. And the tension headache I’d had all day finally began to subside.

I asked him if he had difficulties apologizing to people (an elaborate ruse – it’s obvious he did) and he said yes. I asked him where that comes from. He says he sees apologizing as weakness. “Losing your temper with someone who doesn’t deserve it is weakness,” I said. “Admitting to it and trying to do better is strength.” The Dandy got a weird look on his face – almost a flinch. It was not a look of “oh shit, I’d never thought of it that way before.” I hope he can eventually come to see that I’m right, though.

 

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Progress?

Dandette was gone to a LARP thing for a couple of days, so the other day I decided I wanted to take advantage of this by having sex with The Dandy as loudly as I wanted. We were both already naked or mostly naked anyway, because we had the place to ourselves; I think I was on the bed internetting and The Dandy came in to see what I was up to and I positioned the Hitachi Magic Wand at my crotch like a dick and waved it at him. (“What? That’s how you ask for sex. I don’t have a dick to wave at you so I’m doing this.”)

We each retired to the bathroom briefly and then reconvened on the bed and were lying next to each other, cuddling and smooching around a little. I pointed out that I’d just given my nether regions a sponge bath so they were all fresh, and I’d recently accidentally trimmed my pubes far shorter than I’d intended so there wasn’t even a bunch of hair to get in the way, so maybe he could give my crotch area a kiss hello?

The Dandy smiled but didn’t move. Awkwardly smiling/acknowledging that I spoke but not actually doing the thing I requested has always been his chickenshit way of saying “no.” Also, he’s never ever put his mouth on my genitals except for two separate times when I specifically asked him to kiss me (literally a single, puckered smooch on the clitoris, not oral sex per se). So – in a conversational tone, not super angry or anything – I said something like, “Okay, so you’ve said that you were scared off giving oral because of a woman who smelled terrible. But you’ve also said that I smell fine. And you know that I really, really like the intimacy of oral contact, and that I’m not expecting you to dive in like a pig in a trough, just hoping you’ll give the area a few kisses in passing now and then. So…what am I missing? There has to be some piece of info I’m not getting, here, because the one reason you gave for not going down is not a factor with me, and yet.”

The Dandy grew visibly irritated but (of course, of course) stayed silent. I lay there waiting for him to say something. And waiting and waiting. And stewing, because I’ve been so patient.

We’d been together for months before I even asked about the lack of oral. He told me he’d been scared off it by a partner with a terrible smell; before that, he had gone down on women, but then that one chick was so gross that it put him off the act entirely. I asked him, back then, if I smelled okay, and he said yes. The next time I brought the topic up, I told him that he can absolutely tell me if I smell bad, as long as he says it in a neutral, non-judgey tone, and I won’t have the slightest problem with that, I’ll just be like “Oh, sorry” and go shower. He said he knows, and wouldn’t balk at telling me such a thing. I told him that mouth-to-genital stuff is really important to me – doesn’t have to be a marathon session, since I don’t seem to get off that way anymore anyway, but I want to feel that my partner isn’t avoiding that area. I told him I want that intimacy and the feeling that he loves all of my body and will kiss all of it. I never once, during any of this, said “Well I give you oral all the time…” because that’s shitty emotional blackmail and people are allowed to have asymmetrical sexual interests and anyway I don’t do that for reciprocation, I do it because I like to. (I do get sad that he’s getting all kinds of oral in this relationship and I’m not, but if I stop giving, I’ll miss it, so my dismay at the disparity is my own problem to deal with.) I tried to reintroduce him to the idea of giving oral very, very gradually and gently, by coming to him when I was fresh out of the shower, asking him to kiss me (a single kiss) in the clitoral area, and lavishing praise on him when he did, without pushing for more (and that happened exactly twice, a few weeks apart. Not including this incident). I can’t even really understand being reticent like he is at all, let alone having to be asked every single damn time. If this was really about one woman with a hideous crotch-stank, and he’d been fine giving oral before that (as he claims he was), you would think that he’d maybe be cautious with me at first sniff and then be totally fine. “Oh cool, she smells okay, this won’t be a repeat of that one horrible time, I’m good to go.”

Back in the present: I had the strong feeling that he just flat-out didn’t like the taste of (even clean, healthy) vag, or it felt submissive to him or some shit, and he wasn’t telling me because he was afraid I’d get mad. I told The Dandy (since he was being all withdrawn and silent, anyway) how my ex-husband acted similarly to him when it came to sex (or anything else I needed but wasn’t getting) – how I would say “Look, I’m not getting this thing I need. It’s really important to me. I know you’re not into it as much as me but here are some compromises that might work for both of us” and my ex would nod and smile and really, truly seem to be listening…but nothing would change at all. “I wish he’d said to me ‘Look, I am flat-out not going to fuck you more than once a year or do any of these compromises, so it’s time for you to decide if you can live with that.’ But he didn’t,” I said to The Dandy. “He strung me along for years, making me think he was listening to me and would try to meet me halfway. I feel like he wasted my time. Don’t do that to me.”

The Dandy put an arm around me and pulled me closer, which may have been sympathy or understanding but honestly who the fuck knows.

I asked him why he couldn’t just be open with me about oral sex from the moment I asked – tell me that he doesn’t like doing it and never will, tell me it makes him feel submissive and he doesn’t like that, whatever, instead of going quiet and/or deflecting and/or making excuses. What would be so terrible about just outright telling me “no”? What did he think would happen?

The Dandy remained silent. He clearly had stuff on his mind – he would occasionally take a breath like he was about to say something, but then not say it. I know his ex wife (and to a lesser extent Dandette) screwed him up in all kinds of ways; probably whatever made him scared to say no to me was also making him scared to speak openly about not being able to say no. His ex wife sounds like an aggressive person who would just yell over him when he spoke (he has compared her to my former neighbour, The Harpy…YIKES). So I proposed the same thing I used to do with Minx when she got all locked up. “Let’s try this: tell me whatever’s on your mind right now – anything at all – and I promise I’ll listen and not say a single word until you’re totally done talking.” I figured this way he’d have a safe space to express himself, knowing that I wouldn’t sit there attacking everything he said before he could get it all out.

I waited. The Dandy continued shifting and twitching and inhaling like he was about to talk but then not talking. I didn’t want to pressure him. I petted his back and waited some more.

At least ten minutes went by, and instead of answering any of my questions, here’s what he came out with: “I was just getting into a turned-on, sexy mood and then, bam, argument.” Pause. “And you kept nagging and nagging me! Only thirty seconds went by since you asked and already you were like ‘why aren’t you doing it yet? Why aren’t you doing it yet?'” Pause. “I mean I was lying next to you and I was just trying to figure out how to transition to doing that without it being too awkward*.”

I let a bunch more time go by and kept hugging and petting him. Finally I asked if he was all done, and he said he was.

“Okay, then. My turn: it’s unfortunate that we got into a fight just as you were starting to feel turned on, but sex isn’t actually just about your turned-on feelings, it’s about mine, too. And having it in the back of my head all this time that you find my genitals disgusting except as a receptacle to come into has been weighing on my mind and interfering with my sexy feelings.” The Dandy’s arms tightened around me at this point. My face was kind of in his chest right then so I couldn’t see his expression. I would guess that he hadn’t realized I was thinking this way and he felt bad for it? Let’s hope that’s what it was. “Secondly,” I continued, “I wasn’t saying ‘why haven’t you done it yet? It’s been thirty seconds!’ I was saying ‘why haven’t you done it yet? You’ve known for two months or more that the act is important to me and the only reason you’ve given for not doing it is a thing that’s not applicable to me.’ I mean, to be clear, if you’d said ‘I fundamentally hate doing this’ then that would have been the end of it, for me. But when you indicate that you would do a thing except for this one particular factor, I’m gonna see if that factor can be removed. And once that factor is no longer a factor, I would think that you would do the thing, because that is literally what you said.”

“I don’t hate doing it,” The Dandy burst in (I thought about pointing out that I hadn’t said I was done talking, but I was pretty much done and it was a novelty for him to be talking instead of withdrawing so I opted to hear what he had to say instead). “It doesn’t make me feel submissive or anything like that. I feel neutral about it. It just doesn’t occur to me to do it, that’s all. But when you ask and ask and ask it feels like pressure.”

“Oh, so you don’t mind doing this thing I love, but if I don’t ask for it, you won’t ever think to do it, and if I do ask you’ll get pissed off. Fantastic. How do we get around that?” He had no answer. “Y’know, near the end of my relationship with Minx, she never wanted to have sex anymore. And finally I was like ‘well, I guess I’ll stop asking and just wait for you to come to me.’ And she was like ‘no, keep asking! I like it when you ask.’ So basically she just set me up to get rejected over and over again. I don’t like these kobayashi maru situations. They’re not fun for me.” The Dandy still had nothing to say, although his body language was sympathetic.

I think at that point I went on a mini-rant about how I’m not even asking for some huge marathon session of oral, just some small amount of mouth-to-genital contact sometimes so I feel as though he likes all of my body and enjoys being intimate with it. I really love touching my partners and giving them pleasure just for its own sake and most guys simply aren’t like that with me and it frustrates me.

The Dandy defensively said that getting me off via Hitachi doesn’t do anything for him but he does that – I guess his point was that he’s not selfish in bed, he’ll do stuff that isn’t a turn-on for him. But really, it made my heart die a little inside when he said that. Like, of fucking course Hitachiing me doesn’t do anything for him physically – I’m not stupid, I understand that applying a vibrator to me doesn’t stimulate his dick – but I wish he hadn’t explicitly said so. Now I’m gonna be all self-conscious while he’s getting me off. And anyway, what kind of response is that?! I tell him that I love giving pleasure for its own sake and I want that in return and his response is basically to tell me that yup, he doesn’t love doing that for me, but don’t worry, he still feels obligated to do so! What am I even supposed to do with that?

I actually responded with something like “Yeah, no kidding, and lots of things I do for you don’t do anything for me, physically, either; I do them because I like to make you come. I want you to have fun and be happy. And I just want my partners to feel the same way, is all. Like to get me off without me having to ask, the way I do for you all the time. Things like that.” I almost slipped into a rant in there about how boring some of our sex is for me, but I stopped myself. As much as The Dandy thought it was okay to tell me he’s not that into getting me off, I think it would kind of crush him to realize that giving him a hand job for ten minutes while my forearm muscles are on fire and he’s barely even making any hot noises or anything isn’t actually fun for me. I think the poor lamb really does believe that “I like getting you off” is synonymous with “everything about the entire process makes me feel giddy as a seven year old at Disneyland! Wheeeeeeee!”and lord knows what kind of weirdness would ensue if he understood the truth.

Anyway. The Dandy did loosen up and have a somewhat productive talk with me – including me stating, once again, that I really need him to use his words more when it comes to sex and just say whatever is on his mind. Like sometimes I’ll tell him I’m interested in sex and he’ll smile at me and I’ll start making out with him but he’ll seem kind of half-hearted with it so then I feel stupid and give up. And what does that disinterest even meeeeean? Is it “I’m not in the mood for sex right now”? Is it “yeah I’m game for this but please don’t distract me until this tv show is done”? is it “I’m not sure if I’m in the mood but let’s make out and see if the urge asserts itself, oh okay it’s not, let’s forget it”? He’s not telling me anything and I end up wondering WTF is happening. I need him to straight-up narrate his thoughts for me, even if they’re inconclusive.

The next night I slept in Dandette’s room because she was still away and I needed the best sleep possible because I had to work the next morning. I’d been full-on nocturnal all week, though, and my insomnia has been kicking in really hard lately, so I knew it would be hard to fall asleep. I asked The Dandy if we could put on Netflix for a while – something soothingly familiar like Bojack Horseman – and he could pet me and try to get me wound down for sleep. He readily agreed to this, and petted me through at least three episodes.

By then I was somewhat sleepy, and said goodnight and retired to Dandette’s room, but the pressure of feeling like I had to get to sleep ASAP psyched me out or something because I ended up feeling wide awake again. I don’t know if The Dandy sensed this or what but he came into the room and said “You seem like you could use some more pets” and he spooned me and petted me in Dandette’s dark, silent room for an hour, leaving only when he felt himself beginning to drift off. This felt like such an act of devotion. I think in his own way he was trying to make things up to me – to compensate for our fight in general or to show me that my body and its needs are important to him.

The night after that I had to go to bed early again for another early morning shift. Dandette was back and these LARP things always totally wreck her so there was no way I was going to ask to borrow her bed. So I was doing everything in my power to get sleepy and doze off in my and The Dandy’s bed.

I took a hot bath with Epsom salts and when I got out I felt kind of randy so I decided to Hitachi myself for even more sleepiness. The Dandy was at the computer (a few feet away) when I started up, and turned and said “would you like a hand with that?” He’s never asked me that before. There have been several times when I needed a quick release when he happened to be in the room, and he always ignored me and just kept on surfing the ‘net or getting ready for work or whatever. I said yeah, that would be great actually. And he knelt between my legs and got me off. TBH I was completely satisfied and not craving intercourse at that point, but I’d been trying for some time to get The Dandy in the habit of getting his partners off every time they got him off, and I thought it would be a good idea to lead by example, so I said “You can, ah, take a ride, if you want.” He hesitated, then said he really didn’t have the energy just then for anything more than a quick wank. “Well, if you want to do that, you know I’m happy to cheerlead,” I said. He said nah, he was fine. “Okay cool, just thought it would be polite to offer,” I said, amiably. And he cuddled me until I was half-asleep and then went back to the computer again. And I belated realized that this was probably him making a point of getting me off without getting anything in return, in accordance with what I’d said I wanted. And he narrated his thought process re: whether or not he wanted to have sex instead of just being silent – also in accordance with what I’d told him I wanted. Holy shit.

 

*I never did address that with him but hahaha WTF? What kind of suave position shift was he going for that he had to sit and strategize over it, and why did he think the transition had to be suave in the first place? There’ve probably been hundreds of times when I was lying next to him and he took his dick out and I was like “Hey, that looks delicious!” and just…raised myself up onto my hands and knees and crawled down to within tasting distance of his dick. Did the transition look particularly sexy or smooth? Probably not. But who the fuck cares when the end result is mouth-to-genital contact?

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GRRRRRRRRR

I may have to start keeping track of how many times a day The Dandy repeats back exactly what I just fucking said as though he’s teaching me something. Maybe if he does it and I go “DING! That’s twenty-four” he’ll begin to comprehend what a pompous mansplaining jackass he is.

Oh who am I kidding. He’d respond with “Well actually, you know what would be really funny? If you kept track of how often I make redundant, mansplaining statements to you!”

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