I finally addressed The Pedant’s sporadic communication with him, via email. It went like this [with my notes to you guys in square brackets, like this]:
So, I’ve noticed that I rarely hear from you between visits, unless it’s a practical matter like planning the next visit or checking to see if you left something here. You’ll respond to MY random overtures, so I guess you don’t mind making purely recreational conversation with me (…right…? :P), but you very rarely initiate such contact, yourself. I do not understand this communication style. It flummoxes me.
When I’m into someone, it means I like interacting with them, whether it’s in person or via other means. It means that sometimes I miss them when they’re not around, and remote contact takes the edge off a bit. It means I like to let them know I’m thinking of them because I figure they’ll be flattered. So I tend to touch base every couple of days.
Instead of assuming that your different approach means you must secretly hate me, I’m just gonna ask: how does your brain work in this regard?
It’s a good thing you asked…I can think of at least one ex who caused a lot of unnecessary drama by jumping to conclusions.
I don’t usually initiate contact with anyone between visits. Not that I have a problem with making recreational conversation – it just doesn’t occur to me to initiate it, usually.
[I know he’s not a very effusive person, but jeez I wish The Pedant had said he liked hearing from me and not simply that it isn’t a problem…]
I like having time to myself, obviously, but I also tend to zone out when I do get time to myself. If you’ve read “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” think of that (albeit with fewer verbal outbursts). This often leaves me incommunicado even when I do have time to contact people.
That hasn’t come across as offensive, I hope? [D’awww, he’s worried I’ll be upset with him.]
I’m sure other women have caused drama by jumping to conclusions. I’m not other women. 😉 [A blatant reference to the time he told me he’s not like other men.]
And nope, not offensive. Totally alien to me (I don’t compartmentalize the way you seem to), but not offensive. Maybe it would help if I’d read the book you cited. 😛
[Actually, it does kinda seem like The Pedant just said “I don’t think about people when they’re not around.” And completely dodged the opportunity to reassure me that he likes me, misses me sometimes, etc. Which is…not great. And I purposely didn’t follow up on any of that because frankly, I’m afraid he would just say “Yes, you are correct, I don’t think about you” and continue to dodge any admission that he feels attached to me. I am not equipped to handle that right now.]
I lowered my standards of frequent contact long ago where you’re concerned, when it became obvious that you are Not That Boy. See if you can meet me halfway by tossing out an unsolicited smiley or how’s-it-going from time to time, hey? That kind of thing makes me happy all out of proportion to the amount of effort involved. [Read: smarten up, jackass. I’m not asking for much here.]
Also, just as a reminder, I have that sustained-pose modelling job from August 6-9th. If you’re able to redo my head right before then [his electric razor gives a way closer shave than mine], that’d be awesome. Plus it’s just nice to see you. And I still have two more wieners for your mouth. :O [Link left behind some hot dogs and I don’t want them to go to waste.]
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is a short story, and was common in school anthologies for a long time. Shame you missed it.
I’ll see if I can meet you halfway about contact from here on. [I hope he’s not just saying that.]
What time do you have to leave on Tuesday to get to the first session? I’d like to come over on Monday, possibly even Sunday night, and I can stay until Tuesday afternoon.
[I’m really grasping at straws here but I’m kind of thrilled that he said he’d like to come over instead of acting like it’s some kind of business transaction.]
So those were the emails about the communication issue.
Incidentally, I got back to The Pedant to say that the class is Tuesday morning so I have to leave at like 8am, but I am indeed free on Sunday and Monday [read: you can’t stay over on Monday night because I have to work early, but Sunday night is fine]. The Pedant hasn’t contacted me since to nail down a time, which kinda pisses me off, but the conversation happened yesterday afternoon (feels like longer) so it’s not yet officially irritating. If I don’t hear from him by tomorrow afternoon or so, I’ll prompt him.
I have to say, I’m feeling a little pessimistic about him lately. Like he’s probably going to turn out to be too much work. And I suppose it doesn’t help that I have a hard time knowing when I need to accept someone’s foibles and when I need to ask them to try to change.
Re: this whole difference-in-communication-styles thing: The Pedant’s general radio silence has been bothering me for months. First I analyzed myself to try to figure out if I was being unreasonable in wanting more contact (…maybe? It’s telling that I’m not as clingy with my friends); then I tried backing off from contact to see if that made him come forward to pick up the slack (it didn’t); then I worked at lowering my expectations and accepting that The Pedant is just not the kind of person who texts and emails much; then finally, after agonizing over this issue and turning it over and over in my head and examining it from all angles, I broke down and got The Pedant’s input. So on my end, there’s been a shitload of compromising and thinking and analyzing. On his end? He’s been plodding along doing whatever he damn well pleases and now I’ve said “Hey, try to do this thing that I like which takes practically no effort.” Not even “do it or I’ll bail,” just “try to do it.” And he’s said okay but may just be placating me.
Because the thing is, too – I also asked him once upon a time to be more concrete in his plan-making, and by an unfortunate coincidence he’s just fucked that up. And he hasn’t initiated any plans in a while, I don’t think, which is another thing I asked for back in the day. He got better at that stuff for a while, but he’s fallen back into old habits – which pretty much proves that taking initiative and being concrete are against his nature. Which in turn means that if I want him to do those things consistently, I’ll have to remind him periodically – I’ll have to instigate a little mini-confrontation over and over and over again. And I’m wondering whether my request for random contact will go the same way.
I appreciate that he at least tries to accommodate my needs. And I’ve noticed that every time I’ve emailed or texted him about an issue I’m having with him, he’s included some variation on “thank you for telling me” in his reply. All of which indicates that he wants to make me happy and is glad I’m telling him what I need from him.
Nonetheless, we may just not be a good fit. He’s so clinical in the way he talks, and I thrive on openness and mushiness (and I really don’t think it’s possible for a non-mushy person to become a mushy person just because someone asks. Like…I don’t think he would even know how). He projects an opacity that makes it difficult for me to talk freely with him about my thoughts and feelings; it’s hard for me to lay my cards on the table when he’s sitting there clutching his to his chest*. It’s great that he’s responsive to constructive criticism, but it’s hard for me to work up the nerve to instigate those kinds of talks – and sometimes he forces me to instigate them because he dropped the ball on something (like with the cunnilingus thing, where he just decided never to do it instead of talking to me about his insecurities so we could come to a compromise).
Despite our issues, I do have feelings for The Pedant. Plus the sexual chemistry is really good and I’m not willing to let that go just yet. But I think after his next visit I need to try to withdraw for a while. Get my feet back under me. Remember that I can still have a life without The Pedant. And see if the bastard actually does make an effort to text me random things and initiate plans.
*I am suddenly reminded of a song.