I hate when I suddenly realize that someone I like has something about their character that I don’t like. And it usually takes me an embarrassingly long time to notice the unlikable thing, and that makes me feel dumb. When I first meet someone, I’m a bit reserved and cautious with them – but if we have a good rapport and they pass my initial scan for problematic personality traits, I decide that they’re unreservedly awesome and I throw all kinds of devotion and faith into them. But I’m realizing some things lately about some people I know, and it’s depressing.
The Pedant, of course, does tons of things I wish he didn’t, but overall I thought his character was good – it was just his weird social stuff causing the bad bits. I’ve realized, though, that he has issues that aren’t at all related to his probably being on the autism spectrum. I think that he’s not willing to put his fair share of work into maintaining a relationship. I think he has preconceived ideas about what “women” want and these get in the way of him actually listening to what I’m telling him I want. I think he has baggage about openly expressing affection (physically in public and verbally in any venue) and I think his issues with this get worse the more he likes someone – like he’s so insistent on looking and feeling unencumbered (that part’s not a guess – he has told me this outright) that once he realizes he’s beginning to feel close to someone, every little act of affection becomes charged and dangerous and he stops doing them. Kind of like a store owner who hires her (perfectly qualified) son but is so paranoid of looking biased in his favour that she overcompensates and treats him kind of badly.
The Social Worker is a bit of a drama queen. I’m pretty sure he tells people things in a purposely slanted way so that it’ll generate angst and drama, like here. And because he and The Pedant work in the same building, TSW offered to “spy” on The Pedant for me. Admittedly I’m kind of curious to know how The Pedant is faring since we broke up (not that a casual observer would be able to tell that, anyway – it’s not like he’ll be crying at his desk) but TSW made his offer of spying long before any of that breakup shit went down. He offered it back when we were just…dating, and I was sad at not getting as much PedantTime as before but assumed we’d muddle through. In offering to spy, TSW seemed to be either assuming or implying that The Pedant might be hiding things from me, when there was no reason to think this. Not cool. I’d always noticed that TSW has a corona of interpersonal drama around him most of the time, but I’d assumed that his other friends are just volatile people. TSW is young (24, I think?) and may not have the knack of choosing good people yet. But now I’m thinking he’s generating some of this drama cloud himself out of thin air.
I think V has a habit of telling me she’s not upset when she really is. A couple of weeks ago, I posted a personal ad on FetLife asking if anyone would be up for massaging and petting me strictly for the sake of making me happy – i.e. I would not be giving any massages etc. in return. I made the post partly because The Pedant was on his way out of my life and I felt sad and needy and wanted attention, and partly because I’ve been feeling cynical about people in general lately and wanted my faith in human nature restored (which it was; I got a fair number of offers and most sounded sincere), and partly because I seem to be cursed lately with meeting potential partners who are awesome but don’t quite turn me on. Like this guy, who took me to a play party a while back and we made out a bit in his car afterward and I’m not sure it really turned me on but OMG his hands were amazing. During breaks in the kissing he was massaging my shoulders and caressing my arms/neck/collarbones and I was just totally melting. I just don’t know that I felt attracted enough to want to do stuff back. I’d love to ask that guy if he’d come over, pay a bunch of one-sided attention to me and then leave, but it sounds so cold. I couldn’t ask that of someone I already knew – someone who was maybe hoping to actually date me. I had to start fresh with someone who knew the deal from the getgo.
Anyhoo, V saw this ad and wrote to me saying she was confused: did I not understand that she would be willing to do these things for me? I told her I was sorry if I’d upset her; this was not my intention. And I explained all of the above to her. She replied that she wasn’t upset. Hmmm. Mmmmaybe? But the vibe of her email seemed pretty hurt, which makes me wonder: is she not aware of what she’s feeling, or is she trying to conceal it so I feel comfortable speaking honestly with her? Or am I in fact reading her wrong?
And don’t get me wrong, I do see why a person might say “I’m not mad or anything, but…” when prefacing an issue they’re having. It is easier to have a frank talk with someone if they don’t think you’re gonna go all ballistic on them. But if you’re gonna go the “I’m not upset” route, commit to it. Which brings me to a related thing: V once told me “If you ever want to be alone, you can tell me and I’ll totally understand.” This past week I’ve been going through a lot, what with working many shifts and dealing with my emotional fallout from The Pedant, so I did feel like being alone; when V asked when she could see me next, I said probably not ’til the next week. She backed down at the time, but a few days later sent me kind of a whiny text about the fact that we wouldn’t be seeing each other for so long. That…does not feel to me like someone understanding my need for alone-time. It feels a bit like a guilt trip. It makes me uneasy.
And now for the obvious disclaimer: I’m not saying I’m perfect. In fact, I believe there’s about four years’ worth of blog here that proves I’m riddled with issues. And I don’t expect others to be perfect, either; all three of the people in this post – V, The Social Worker, The Pedant – have all kinds of quirks and issues and I love them anyway. The specific things I’ve mentioned are not on the level of “quirks” or “issues” for me, though. They’re things that make me feel betrayed. That’s why I’m all disillusioned and upset and shit.