Okay, so here are the texts about communication. Remember, he’d kicked me out of his apartment and then not texted me since; I toyed with the idea of a standoff – of remaining silent, myself, so it didn’t appear I was chasing him and then maybe he’d feel uneasy and suck up to me – but wondering WTF was up with him was making me so miserable that it wasn’t worth it. So, the next morning when I woke up:
Me: I want you to work at being more transparent with me. As in, being able to identify what’s on your mind and tell it to me clearly.
After two hours, he still hadn’t replied. Possibly because it was early in the morning and he’d been busy getting ready for work, making the commute, getting settled at his desk, etc. But he’s texted me first thing in the morning plenty of times before so I suspected he just didn’t know what I was talking about/didn’t know how to respond. Therefore:
Me: …Because (among other issues) it was really super obvious yesterday that you wanted me to GTFO, and instead of saying so, you tried to act like you were being selfless and looking out for MY interests (“Your cat must miss you!”) [New message] …Which leaves me wondering what you weren’t saying to me, and guessing shit that’s probably way worse than the truth.
Bunny [responding within three minutes btw]: I was unsure how long you were planning to stay over and there were things I needed to do around my place. I’m just sometimes bad at telling people I like to GTFO.
Me: And you didn’t realize your living room was messy a few days before, when I said I wanted to stay over without having to get out right away in the morning? Because it seems like that would’ve been a good time to negotiate.
Bunny: My whole place is a mess. I’m becoming a mess. I have problems expressing I need time for myself, and it came kind of sudden.
Me: I think the template in these situations is to acknowledge the other person’s feelings, state yours, and apologize. And maybe offer to make up for it. [New message]: “Sorry, I know you were hoping we could hang out for longer, but I”m really feeling like I need the place to myself right now. But we’ll hang out again soon” (if you do actually intend to hang out soon).
Bunny: ^ What she said. 😛 [New message]: But seriously, I didn’t mean to make you feel rushed or unwanted.
Me: Thank you.
Bunny: And I apologize for my bad communicating.
Me: Thank you again. [New message]: btw you seem to be waffling between “I needed time alone” and “I had to tidy the apartment” which makes me think you don’t know what your actual motivation was. Which is why I said: learn to identify your feelings.
Bunny: Oh it was I needed time alone to clean. I said I would feel shitty to clean while you’re over.
Me: And I said I didn’t mind if you did.
Bunny: I do!
Me: Good. Now we know what the issue is. Own it. This is not about Bastardcat being lonely and it’s not about you worrying that I’ll be offended by you doing household shit while I’m around. This is about you needing to clean alone. [New message]: Which, YAY, now I know this about you and we can work with it. Thank you.
Bunny: I oversocialized my staycation.
Me: Now: if you knew, back when we were making plans, that you wanted to tidy your place before going back to work, that would have been the time to mention it so we could come to a consensus. [New message]: if the need happened suddenly, well, I already said how I want that handled. [New message]: I totally get the whole “shit, I overbooked myself and now I’ve run out of ability to deal with people.”
The Bunny didn’t specifically reply to that; I guess there was nothing much to say. So The Talk ended and we went back to making small talk – although far more sporadically than usual. The Bunny, I’m assuming, was still in wanting-time-to-himself mode and I was still residually pissed off at him and feeling like the relationship is probably doomed.
I believe him that he needed time alone and that’s why he chased me out of his apartment. It’s what I suspected all along – yes, my paranoid brain whispered nasty insinuations at me about him ditching me to go fuck Chibi, but on some level I knew this was probably just the anxiety talking, the same way I imagine a person on hallucinogens realizes that there isn’t really a seven-foot, knife-wielding clown in their bathroom – or at least the the odds are very, very slim – but the clown still looks very real and very scary and it’s hard to ignore it.
But here’s a thing that bugs me: The Bunny abruptly needed time alone because he’d socially overextended himself over the course of his four-day weekend – and part of that socialization was his spontaneous afternoon with Chibi before the play party. So in theory, his impromptu time with her may have contributed to him cutting short time with me that we’d planned ahead of time and that I was looking forward to.
He also had a day when he hung out with friends a whole bunch; if that hadn’t happened, he also probably would’ve spent more time with me. It’s not Chibi in particular that caused this. But the fact remains that if they hadn’t hung out and hooked up, maybe I’d’ve gotten the proper overnight I wanted. And the play party thing probably wouldn’t have happened.
It’s hard not to feel resentful of his interest in her. But the resentment is all based on a lot of “maybes” that might not even be true – perhaps it was the day with his friends that exhausted The Bunny the most and made him bail on me, or perhaps if he and Chibi hadn’t hung out she still would’ve shown up at the play party independently and things would’ve gone the same way. It’s impossible to know. I’m trying to stop overthinking it.
Edit: Since I feel like The Bunny and I might be doomed, anyway, and since I see the hypocrisy of telling him to be more transparent when I’ve deliberately held back a bunch of my anxiety shit from him, I’ve decided to start opening up to him more and see what happens. I mean I’m still gonna shield him from as much unnecessary anxiety bullshit as possible, but I want him to at least realize I’m awesome and self-aware enough to do that! He has no idea the effort it takes me, some days, to approach our discussions in a balanced and reasonable way.
So I just sent a succession of texts that adds up to:
Btw, in the interest of transparency, let me just say…the way I get over jealousy and insecurity when a partner starts dating someone else is to hang back and see if their behaviour toward ME changes. If I’m still being treated the same, I know the new shiny person hasn’t “stolen” their affection from me, and I’m good.
So the fact that you kicked me out of your place prematurely and then stayed out of contact for an entire day so soon after hooking up with Chibi was a most unfortunate coincidence. I’m telling you this so you can understand why I ws so freaked out and REALLY would have preferred you to tell me outright that you needed to be alone.
I kind of suspected it was a need for alonetime, mind you. But my brain is an asshole (an asshole that probably requires anxiety meds) so paranoid, awful thoughts did pop up.
It was a rough day.
I’m also telling you this to segue into asking you to make a conscious effort to be a little extra mushy with me if you’ve recently had a good date with someone new.
Oh, look, The Bunny responded already. I thought he’d be overwhelmed by all the info and take forever.
Ah. He’s only addressing the very last part, I guess? He says “No probs. I anticipate this sort of thing.”
It’s always hilarious to me how I can explain to him about my feelings for, like, half an hour and he’ll give such a tiny response. Like…really? That’s all you’ve got? Oooookay then.
On the bright side, I thought for sure he’d get defensive but he didn’t.
Oh! More from The Bunny: “And it’s understandable, but nothing was done to be sneaky. I’m just not always up front about personal things.”
I said “I know” and told him the clown analogy (i.e., I do trust him, and on some level I did know that nothing terrible was happening, and yet…), and said that when people are very upfront with me about their feelings and motivations there’s less room for knifeclowns to fit into the picture.
No response yet. What can he say, really? But hopefully he understands things a bit better.