It was nice, in a way, to get that message from The Pedant. One of the worst parts of all of this, for me, was thinking he was ending things through silence. That’s about the worst thing someone I’m dating can do to me (aside from the usual Lifetime Movie shit like being an abusive alcoholic). It’s also a huge reason that I take forever to have sex with a new person; I don’t want to be that intimate with someone until I trust them not to disappear on me. I let The Pedant get close to me because he seemed solid and dependable. When it suddenly seemed like he wasn’t, it made me question my judgment. But no, I did read him right: he may say and do inadvertently hurtful things, but he’s not one to just vanish.
The Pedant’s email gave me some valuable insights into his personality – including, but not limited to, the fact that he did consider this a relationship and he does love me back. I totally thought I’d put myself out there and would never have any idea how he felt. It was nice to get closure on that issue.
But the fact remains that I wrote him an email essentially asking “look, do you want to be with me or not? I’m freaking out here” and he didn’t answer it for nine days. Not even an “I’m going to address this but I can’t right now” message. And, as many of my wonderful commenters have pointed out, it doesn’t actually matter why he took so long. Maybe he’s purposely cruel or maybe he’s just a dumbass, but either way I don’t see those types of behaviours going away any time soon and I am not equipped to deal with them.
Also, The Pedant is a person who:
- Told me that he wants someone in his life to whom he can say “I love you.”
- Loves me (allegedly).
- Knows that I need to hear verbal expressions of affection from a partner.
- Knows that I love him, so there’s no emotional risk at all in saying those words to me; I’m obviously not going to laugh or reject him or something.
But he still didn’t say the words to me. Not even now, when the relationship had reached a crossroads and a grand gesture might have put us on the right path. What he actually said in his email was “saying you love me is perfectly acceptable, and the feelings are being reciprocated.”
It’s “acceptable” that I’ve told him I love him. Not wanted, not craved, not amazing. Not even a relief. And he’s unable to say the word back to me*. I…can’t with this. I just can’t.
Also, for all his talk of waiting to respond until he was totally clear-headed and could give my messages his full attention, The Pedant’s response:
- Did not include an apology of any kind. Not even a generic “I’m sorry you’ve been going through anxiety lately.”
- Seemed to harp on the idea that I wanted more contact and more visits from him; he spent paragraphs defensively explaining to me that his job takes up most of his time and that he needs a lot of alone-time besides. But I never said that I need more interaction. What I said is that I need our interactions to be different. I said I need more transparency from him and more verbal affection.
So it seems like The Pedant lacks a sense of empathy (well, he actually said that in his message so it shouldn’t be a surprise); he’s trying to fix things with me because he wants us to stay together (I guess?) but he doesn’t actually get how badly I was freaking out. Maybe he doesn’t even know what freaking out feels like. So basically if I kept dating him I’d be setting myself up for all kinds of fuckery like the whole not-writing-for-nine-days thing. And he appears to be jumping to conclusions about what I want from him when I actually laid out my expectations in plain language right in front of him (and told him that if anything was unclear, he needs to ask me for more information). I need to date the kind of person who will actually ask me what I need. The Pedant – whether because he doesn’t want to admit ignorance or because he erroneously believes that he knows everything already – has never done that. Literally never asked me what I would need from him in order to be happy. Never randomly checked in with me to see if I was getting what I needed. He just plods along living his life until I actively tell him the relationship isn’t working, and then he waits passively for instruction. Which apparently he’s prone to misinterpreting.
Long story short, I wrote him a breakup email. A huuuuuge one that basically vented all my frustration, because what the fuck, I have nothing to lose now. Also, I’m still trying to give him insight into the way his actions affect people. We didn’t work out, but I do love him and see a lot of good qualities in him. It makes me sad that he seems doomed to lose everyone he loves**.
I specifically asked him not to respond to it for at least two weeks, even if he has the time and inclination to. The Pedant may be an empathy-less robot whose only reaction to emotional stuff is befuddlement, but I get totally drained by this shit. The recent Pedant drama affected my sleep, took up most of my brain’s processing power so I was walking around in a stupor, and was very probably the reason why my neck went out. I have some stressful work-weeks coming up and I don’t want a random emotional trigger-bomb falling into my email inbox in the interim.
When The Pedant and I first started seeing each other, he had an ex he was still super hung-up on and had been trying to win back for years. Example: she ran into him once and mockingly said “Do you ever wear anything but black?” and he immediately ran out and got some custom-made shirts in red and blue in hopes of impressing her the next time he saw her (this from the guy who allegedly doesn’t take hints…). So I know he can be moved to fight for someone, if he cares about them enough. And honestly, that may be another reason why I was so detailed in my “closing critique” of The Pedant: I’ve given him all the tools he needs to try to woo me back, if he chooses to. Although I don’t think he’ll choose to. I’m guessing he’s not crazy in love with me like he was with his ex. The whole tone of his last email to me was kinda…meh. Like “Well, it would’ve been nice to stay together, but if it’s not working for you then so be it.” LIke he’s gonna give this one more shot and if I say no, that’s it; no more trying.
What really frustrates me is that in some ways he’s finally coming through with some of the things I need…too late. His weird vagueness with making plans has always driven me mad, and only after I sent him a breakup email last week (i.e. the first breakup email) did he tell me “I’m free from the night of the 16th to the afternoon of the 17th if you’d like to see me” instead of the usual evasive shit like “yeah, the earliest I could see you is sometime next week” or “everything’s up in the air right now but we’ll get together soon.” I’ve been needing more transparency from him, and only when I was becoming visibly annoyed and impatient did he finally send me an email that concretely outlined his schedule and explained exactly why he hasn’t been able to see me in weeks. Only after I sent him last week’s breakup email did he write to me telling me yes, he has feelings for me; yes, he considered us to be in a relationship; here’s how he feels about the sexts and small talk I’d been sending him; here’s how often he’d ideally want to be in contact with me; here’s why he can’t/won’t give more contact than that; here’s what he felt when I sent him that ultimatum email, and why he didn’t respond right way; etc., etc., etc.
Part of me thinks “Ah-ha! He is capable of doing these things! So there’s hope!” The more pragmatic part says “Yeeeeah, no. He’s capable of rising to the occasion under great duress. That’s not the same thing.” I mean, really; I respect him for trying, but can I really date someone who can only manage to give me normal human feedback when he thinks the whole relationship is at stake? And who can’t use the word “love” even when the whole relationship is at stake?
And anyway, as gratifying as it would be if he chased me, I really don’t think he has the capacity to change as much as I would require. We do not function well together. In all likelihood, we never will. It’s probably better if we just let it die.
*Further context: when we were first seeing each other, he was hung up on a previous girlfriend and would angst on and on about how he was still in love with her. And hey, maybe he was unable to actually say any of that to her face; maybe being a robot to someone’s face and effusive behind their back is kind of his thing. I don’t know. But the fact that I’ve heard him talk about loving others but not me, and finding others attractive but not me, is just too fucking much to deal with.
**He’s 32 years old and never had a relationship that lasted longer than eight months (unless you count me; we saw each other for a little more than two years, all told). And it sounds like most of his exes broke up with him over frustration with his Aspie behaviours. He’s also had many friends abruptly stop talking to him without telling him why. So yeah, I’m trying to educate him about the way he comes across. He said he’s pretty much impossible to offend; my wall of text may help or it may not, but it won’t hurt.