The Pedant just sent me a big long email responding to a bunch of stuff.

He says he needed a while to think about everything I’d said and compose a response.  Why the fuck didn’t it occur to him to write a quick “I’ll respond to this as soon as I can” message in the meantime?  Could this be some weird Aspie brainfart or is he making an excuse?  That’s the biggest question I have for the studio audience.

He says he does return my feelings and he does consider us to be in a relationship.  He offered up a concrete day when we can get together (although, as luck would have it, it’s a day I’m not available).  He basically told me that he’d like us to keep seeing each other but his job does limit his availability pretty severely, so if I need a lot of together-time or affirmations in order not to feel anxious, he’s not my best bet. 

He said my email didn’t add any extra stress to him, which was nice.

I am not currently ready to make any decisions about whether he stays in my life or goes.  I do cautiously plan to discuss things with him some more – to vent and get closure, or maybe to negotiate a new way of conducting our relationship that will make me happier; I’m not sure yet.

But yeah.  Can anyone tell me WTF is up with him not even writing to me before to say “bear with me; I’ll address this properly soon”?  It just seems like common sense that if someone writes to you freaking out because they don’t hear from you enough, you say something to them as soon as fucking possible.  I can’t imagine anyone not getting that.  But then again I’m not Aspie.


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    You have previously talked to him about sending you a ´placeholder’ message if he can’t/won’t reply straight away and he has listened and done it – this is his booboo and you should ask him why he didn’t and listen carefully to the response.

    • I don’t think I actually did ever have a “placeholder” talk with him (you might be thinking of the time I asked him to text me more in between visits and ask me how I”m doing and stuff).

      I still think it would’ve been common sense, though. Like…I don’t see how anyone needs intuition and a knowledge of social cues to deduce that “I feel like you don’t like me anymore because you don’t contact me much” means “She seems to associate contact with being liked, and I do like her, so I shall contact her so that she knows it.”

      Anyway. It was a shitty thing to have to wait so long for his response, regardless of why. So for that and other reasons I’ve terminated the relationship, as you probably know by now from my other posts.

      Thank you for your righteous rage. Man, I need to stop assuming that when someone has some kind of mental issue I have to totally kowtow to it and carry their half of the relationship.

  2. gingernic

    From here it looks like you felt ten times calmer and had a complete recovery from neck pain once you decided to end things with the pedant. You may want to reread your post detailing how much of a stressor he was to you before giving in to All The Feels that finally hearing from him is giving you…and realize that, once again, you have contact and it’s stressful.

    I’m not going to just say it isn’t worth it. All relationships include stressors. The question is, realistically, whether the stress he causes you can be even remotely commensurate to the happiness you experience with him. Part of that–a big part. From what I read of your relationship style–would require him to actively hold up a much larger proportion of relationship effort and have more physical time for you. Neither of these appears likely.

    I get that there’s a huge heart-in-throat reaction of hope and “we can make this work because attraction/love/etc.”, but it may not be realistic. My advice, for what it’s worth, is to think about the relationship you can actually have, not the one you fantasize about having, and decide based on that.

    • It’s obvious that you totally, totally get where I’m coming from. And yeah, the minute I read The Pedant’s email I felt the claws of obsession sinking in again and I was like “Ohhhh fuck. Here we go again.”

      And by the way, as soon as I began to accept that I can’t be with him anymore, the pain in my neck (which I threw out about two weeks ago) totally subsided.

      Then this morning when I started to think that maybe I could find some kind of emotional cheat code within myself that allowed me to keep seeing him, the pain came back again.

      So, as much as I’ll miss The Pedant, I cannot revisit him. My neck has spoken.

      • gingernic

        Honestly, I’m having not dissimilar issues in one of my relationships right now–scheduling issues with a side of communication issues. I can step back and honestly say that positives outweigh negatives for now, though if that were my only current relationship I doubt that would still be the case.

        When stress has physiological symptoms, it’s almost always time to bail. Your neck has spoken, indeed, and when your own body thinks things need to change it usually helps to listen.

  3. Andy

    Seriously, not everything the Pedant does is related to Aspergers.

    I do know that I sometimes have a coping mechanism where, when I haven’t replied to someone’s e-mail and they e-mail me again, I do a thing where I don’t even open the second e-mail until I’m ready to reply to the first. Like the second (or third or fourth…) e-mail doesn’t actually leave the sender’s outbox until I read it. This is really dumb, and some day someone’s going to e-mail me about a funeral or something and I’m going to miss it, but I can’t. stop. doing. it. This may be related to my being part ostrich, but I don’t have Aspergers or anything like that.

    I related this anecdote to illustrate that there are five million potential reasons behind why the Pedant didn’t reply to your e-mails. All of them basically boil down to him being an ass, but there are five million different thought processes that can lead up to that ass-ness.

    I haven’t commented much throughout this whole Pedant debacle because I think I’m too biased on it. A long time ago, I was in a…well, not exactly a relationship, but let’s say “relationship” in the sense that any two people interacting have a relationship, whether as friends or coworkers or family members or lovers, etc. So, I was in a relationship, and the person I was in a relationship with had similar ideas to the Pedant, re: relationships in that she enjoyed my company while I was there but didn’t long for me when I wasn’t around. Meanwhile, I enjoyed her company while she was there and went bonkers with *need* and *want* every time she wasn’t around.

    In the end, it was about realizing what she was capable of giving me and what she wasn’t. And it was about deciding whether [the joy of being in her company + the pain of the withdrawal] came out as being more or less enjoyable than [the pain of the lack of her company + the joy of the lack of withdrawal]. I made one decision, which I won’t say here to avoid weighting the scales. For a long time, it was very hard to stick with said decision and I was tempted to reverse it many times. But now, looking back after a good many years, I am very, very happy with the decision I made.

    One way our situation DID differ–and this isn’t unimportant, I think–is that I didn’t have the toxic gender dynamic of the strung-along woman hanging over my head. There was no subconscious pattern for her to fall into of being a boy tossing me tidbits to keep me at her beck and call, whereas (as you’ve pointed out) there very much is a dynamic like that for m/f relationships that the Pedant MAY or MAY NOT be aping–I have no idea. In my case, she was just a girl being herself, capable of giving me certain things and I was a girl who wanted other things and who hurt when I couldn’t get them.

    You’ve been seeing the Pedant for a while now and you know the parameters he (and you) operate in: you will see him occasionally. Communication will be spotty in between visits. Hell, communication will be spotty in general. When he’s with you, the sex will be awesome and he’ll do things for you. You will very much enjoy the time you spend together. There will be lots of sex noises and lent phones and cool stuff! Conversely, you will hurt when you’re not together. You have all the variables, more or less, that you can use to add up the pros and cons of seeing him (as he is) or not. But if the only way the “seeing him” column comes out ahead is if he changes drastically, forget it, because he’s not going to.

    Or, in other words, what gingernic said, just with more words 🙂

    • I made one decision, which I won’t say here to avoid weighting the scales.

      Yeeeah, it’s pretty obvious that the decision was to break up. (Right?)

      One way our situation DID differ–and this isn’t unimportant, I think–is that I didn’t have the toxic gender dynamic of the strung-along woman hanging over my head.

      This, SO MUCH. I feel like I can’t even fuckin’ tell a dude I miss him or want to see him more often without him slotting me right into the Clingy Girl stereotype. And so I contort myself emotionally to prove that I’m Not That Girl. And it’s bullshit. Everyone is entitled to have particular relationship needs. Sometimes two people’s needs don’t align. It’s not a gender thing.

      What I hate about this whole situation is that, in some ways, it’s his job that ruined everything. When he was able to see me every week, that compensated for his weird communication habits when we were apart. We could’ve limped along reasonably well for quite a while longer, I think. But nope, I was afraid his job would fuck everything up between us – and dismissed this as irrational, and talked myself down – but then it did.

      I mean of course I realize it’s not actually the job’s fault, it was the underlying problems in the relationship. But still. If he were still unemployed, we’d still be fucking right now. Dammit.

  4. Kalikos

    Sounds like The Pedant is past the point of humouring your psycho bitch tendencies so you can either accommodate for him and appreciate that he would even bother with you, or go back to being alone.

    The latter is probably better for everyone though.

    • D’awwww. It’s awesome that I have a troll…really makes me feel like I’ve hit the big time, blog-wise. ❤

      I liked it better when you called yourself Team Pedant, though. Made it even more obvious how tenaciously invested you'd gotten in the affairs of a total stranger.

  5. Fnord

    Does it matter why he didn’t write a “bear with me” message? As you said the other day, it doesn’t matter if he has good reasons for the behavior, the fact is that it’s making you unhappy.

    If it really matters, it probably is related to the ASD. It’s a fairly clear case of mind-blindness: he continues to not get how important it is that he stay in contact with you. If he were neurotypical, it probably wouldn’t be a problem in the first place. BUT…

    But it’s happening even after you told him you needed to hear fro him. Even after you sent the “your silence speaks for itself” message, if have the timeline right, it STILL took him days to respond. So it is still an excuse, also.

    • Even after you sent the “your silence speaks for itself” message, if have the timeline right, it STILL took him days to respond.

      Yeah, about five days. That’s extra shitty. I don’t need that in my life.

  6. Kay

    I think he’s the only one who can tell you what’s up with that. I have no idea why someone who didn’t want to break up wouldn’t *jump* to reply to your breakup email and correct your assumption about his silence. He said your email didn’t add any extra stress??? Well bully for him, then he really has no excuse for not replying sooner, and I’m jumping on the “Aspergers might (might!) explain his behavior but doesn’t excuse it” train.

    • He said your email didn’t add any extra stress??? Well bully for him

      Yeah, at first I read that line of his email as an attempt to comfort me – to let me know that I can totally come to him whenever I have an issue and he’ll handle it.

      And then the Gollum part of my brain suggested that maybe my emails didn’t stress him out because he doesn’t have any empathy. Maybe the thought of me being in emotional pain doesn’t particularly bother him. Maybe he wrote to me and tried to fix the issue solely because he wants to keep on seeing me, and not because he actually, like, cares about my well-being.

      I really do think he’s Aspie, but I’m increasingly thinking that he’s also kind of a stubborn, lazy asshole.

  7. Brugmansia

    I third gingernic and Andy’s comments! Just want to add – “I love you, I’ve had some of the best sex of my life with you, and I feel so happy when you’re around that I wish we could spend much more time together, but based on what I’m looking for in a relationship, we are not a good match and I don’t believe we should keep seeing each other” is a perfectly legitimate way to end things. You’ve been extremely upfront about what you do need in a relationship, from proactive scheduling of visits, to frequent casual contact between visits, to explicit confessions of attraction. (Note that these are very normal things for girls and boys to want from a serious romantic relationship, and not at all signs of a ‘clingy psycho-bitch’, which you’ve said you are sometimes self-conscious about.)

    Ask yourself: what if The Pedant emailed YOU an ‘ultimatum’, saying that he loves you but he really needs most of his time to himself right now, to work and commute and sleep and also to see his other friends, so he can only see you a few times a month. How would you respond?

    Re: responding as soon as he read your email, with a note about needing some processing time … I suspect his long initial silence can be linked to procrastination and a lack of empathy for your emotional anxiety. (So basically – lazy and cruel, like I said before…) I’ve been guilty of similar delayed reactions and my thought process goes like this: “I should respond … but I don’t know what to say … an hour won’t make a difference … hmm, I wonder what I should say … oh, now I have to go to work … ok, now I’ll write back … what should I say? … still don’t know what to say … I’m so tired, I’ll write in the morning … ok, I really should write something … it’s been two days, another few hours won’t make a difference … I think I know what I want to say, but I’m not sure how to put it best … I don’t want to think about this, I’m going to go do something else for a bit, can write later … hmm, they’re probably pretty anxious to get my response … but they really shouldn’t be so emotionally vulnerable, and it’s not my fault that they are … I need my space to think, and I deserve that space … they’re an adult, they can get a grip and deal with waiting a few days … ok, I’ve got it now, but perhaps I should sleep on it before sending, don’t want to create any wrong impressions …”

    I’m not defending this, at all. Repeat: lazy and cruel. But yeah, been there. I put a conscious effort into being emotionally even-keeled and it seems like The Pedant may just be that way naturally. The more you take responsibility for your own emotions, the less sympathy you have for the emotionally insecure, until it stops being a matter of ‘someone is in pain and I can alleviate that pain by writing a sentence in under a minute’ and becomes ‘someone is all stressed about relationship crap – nothing too urgent, but it’s been a week since their initial email, so I’ll throw in an apology for my response time when I finally do write back.’

  8. So first, I totally agree with everyone that practically it doesn’t matter why he did it – it matters that it made you unhappy, and that the basic resolution for that is a question between ‘can he act differently’ and ‘if not, can you be OK with that’.

    But, since I’m also the type to want to know the why anyway –
    I think I have some similar character traits to the Pedant, specifically in the interpersonal area. Specifically, I have the tendency to basically emotionally forget about people when I’m not in contact with them. The best analogy for this I can think of is – some people have written about how there’ll be things that are a mess in their room/house/whatever, but they literally don’t notice. Their brain has just put it into the ‘OK, all normal, on we go’ category, so that’s how they perceive it, even though factually of course they can tell whether there is stuff wherever or not. So no matter how much I like people, enjoy time with them, etc, I often enough realize it’s been a week/a month/whatever since I’ve talked to someone, and while I intellectually don’t like it, emotionally, my brain just – doesn’t register it as an issue.

    (As a note, the way I know to avert this for people for whom this is a problem is to basically schedule things – like to have it be established that I call this person every night around 10, or whatever).

    Additionally, interacting with people is very resource heavy for me, mentally, as is scheduling, so combinations of the two especially. It can be very easy to not be up for it. (While it can be much easier to go to a prescheduled thing like a club, because no need to plan it with someone first).

    Finally, this doesn’t seem to be the case since he said no stress, but the other thing this kind of looks like is avoidance anxiety. Like if you have something important to do that you’re not doing, reminders of it are stressful, so you avoid those too – and sending someone a message of ‘will write soon’ can be a really strong reminder of ‘I should be reading their long messages and processing emotional stuff and writing back and I’m not’.

    • some people have written about how there’ll be things that are a mess in their room/house/whatever, but they literally don’t notice.

      BEST ANALOGY EVER. I totally get it.

      Finally, this doesn’t seem to be the case since he said no stress, but the other thing this kind of looks like is avoidance anxiety. Like if you have something important to do that you’re not doing, reminders of it are stressful, so you avoid those too

      I can relate to that, although as you’ve said it seems unlikely that The Pedant is doing that.

      Or – and this seems pretty feasible to me – he’s so un-self-aware that he doesn’t know what his own feelings are, and he was stressed out and he was being avoidant.

      I’ll probably never know.

  9. trillian

    I was going to say… I usually score about a 40 on the Asperger tests (26-31 being borderline) and that much is true: answering texts, emails and personal communication is like the hugest ordeal of my life 😦 I have about 30+ “how are you” type messages on facebook that I never answered, even texts in my phone – not many of my friendships survived this, to be honest. If you are interested I can get into how this is a battle, the postponing-then thinking “oh I’m not so important anyways-then promising I’ll do it tomorrow-then having a bad conscience making it even harder to answer as time goes by thing…
    (bit like the bigger the mess, the harder it gets to clean the apartment type of thing. I thought you might be able to relate to that :D)

    BUT I am also intelligent enough (khm) and I think the Pedant, too to realise how this is all rude as I’m always torn apart and worried about how people feel about my incommunicado. I feel like the cat who broke the vase, kindof all the time.

    If the Pedant was like “you know I’m so shitty socially but I know how heartless it seems that I wasn’t answering, just my baggage won’t let me”, that would be okay. I say this to people and many understand, some don’t, fine, I deal with it.
    But I feel he is playing a different game. He’s more like: A. “oh, I didn’t notice it was so important for you” (BS – you wrote it down in clearscript), and B. he wants to be able to walk in and out no string attached, and I even think he’s a bit pissed you were trying to force him to react.

    Remember, an Asperger condition does not mean someone is totally incapable of empathy. That would be called a fully blown autist or a psychopatch.

    He reminds me somewhat of my little brother who used to very consequently make sure he broke at least one item when asked to do the dishes – very successfully: this became his golden ticket of never having to do the dishes again.

    • Yes yes yes. I agree with everything you’ve said here. And I do suspect he’s breaking the metaphorical dishes. I’m thinking he’s just so lazy that he wants me to spoon-feed him everything. He’s never asked me anything about my relationship style or what I need or whether he’s making me happy. He’s never worked out a game plan to get around some of his issues (like maybe setting an alarm to remind him to write me a text). He just seems to cruise along until I tell him I have an issue and tell him how to solve it.

  10. Pseudonymoustache

    Not sure if anyone has mentioned anything about this yet, and my experience is secondhand… but… I did have a friend who did security shift work on a rotating schedule similar to the one he sent you… except it was only 8-9 hours shifts, and half the commute time.

    And wow, did it ever fuck him up. The rotated day/night thing took longer to adjust to than the rotation lasts, so he was *never* really adjusted to it and it never let him function at anywhere remotely near normal levels, just this continual state of half-dazed exhaustion.

    Whether that’s anything like what it does to Pedant, and whether that would equal a vote for splitting up or a vote for being patient, I really couldn’t say though… Good luck!

    • It infuriates me that he even stays at this job. It sounds as though it’s totally fucking up his life on all levels – and he lives with his parents rent-free. Yeah, he still has some expenses, but he could work at this job for a couple of months, quit, and then coast on his savings while looking for a more reasonable place to work.

      But no. His last job also just about wrecked his life (albeit not as badly; eight hour day shift, two hour commute) and in both cases he just seemed to go “Oh well. I guess this is my life now.”

      He just doesn’t seem to have initiative with anything.

      The job itself wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for me, mind you. The job plus all the relationship issues aggravated by his unavailability to me and the fact that he doesn’t seem like he’s gonna work on said issues…that’s the dealbreaker.

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