I’m in a Facebook group of all-women. Safe, supportive space, blah blah blah. Last night I basically copypasted my previous post to them and asked how I can get my feelings of trust and security back with The Pedant.

Probably shouldn’t have done that. Got a bunch of “he’s maliciously pulling a power-play with you and you should break up with him” -type responses. One person even said “You think he loves you but based on this post I see no evidence of that” – well no shit, Sherlock, this is a post about an issue we’re having. Do I need to write eight paragraphs of warm fuzzy backstory about my relationship before I’m allowed to admit that I’m upset about something?

It really seemed like they were going full out torches-and-pitchforks on The Pedant for pretty much no reason; just totally assuming the worst about him based on one little plot point, no benefit of the doubt at all. But of course when I went to type a rebuttal, all I could hear were the echoes of every abused women in every Lifetime movie ever: “He hurt me by accident, not on purpose! He’s not like that! You don’t know him like I do!” I mean, I know that people will often make excuses for a partner who behaves badly. And the women in this FB group have usually seemed pretty reasonable and balanced to me when giving relationship advice to other people.

And suddenly reality seemed to warp around me. I have good instincts for people. I trust The Pedant. I trust the women in my FB group. They are telling me directly opposing things. So can I really trust anyone? Shit’s going all funhouse mirror on me and I don’t know how to push it back into proper perspective.

I haven’t had this whole “Oh shit I don’t know what’s real” feeling with accompanying panic since before I started taking these anti-anxiety meds. I’m very much suspecting that the meds have stopped working (as everything I’ve ever taken has, eventually). Which means my asshole brain has probably started manufacturing reasons for me to freak out, because that is what my asshole brain does. It also means that I’ll continue feeling insecure about my relationship with The Pedant no matter what is actually going on, unless/until I up my dose or get on some different medication. I hate feeling like this and yet I’m probably stuck with it for the next few weeks. Wheeeeee!

Also, here’s a fun fact: the first time around that The Pedant and I were dating (I’m counting from when Minx and I broke up and The Pedant became more than just my casual makeout side-piece) lasted about eight months before I freaked out about him not spending time with me, got paranoid that he was pulling a fade, sent a flurry of messages demanding he tell me what was up, and then dropped the hammer. I just counted how long we’ve been going out this time: eight months. I don’t think this is a coincidence. As much as I crave a stable long-term relationship, I also have commitment issues and I’m wondering if eight months is a point where I start getting antsy and try to sabotage things. Must peruse blog archives and see if the pattern holds with other people, too.

Edited to add: oh look. About eight months into my relationship with Minx, an incident happened that threw me into such an upset that I was ready to walk away from the relationship entirely. I can’t say for sure that this was the first time I’d gotten that pissed at her. But I think so.

Second edit: eight months into things with The Bunny, I was so paranoid and anxious about him that one little thing he said made me almost dump him on the spot. 

Yet another edit: I just remembered that The Pedant once told me his longest relationship ever was eight months. So perhaps (as a commenter suggested) the eight month mark is kind of a pivotal point for a lot of people.


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10 responses to “Fuck.

  1. joooyous

    As someone who is not thoose ladies and has been reading regularly for a long time (hi hi!), I will support the assessment that I don’t think the Pedant is clueful and strategic enough to be pulling a manipulative anything. 🙂 So like I think probably your feeling of not security is perfectly justified, but not because he is evil, but because he is floaty and impulsive a bit~!

    But! I also don’t think there being a timespan is necessarily evidence of *you* having issues, either. It might just be an average time that it takes to accumulate a certain amount of information. Or it might be the average time that it takes these other dudes to relax and stop putting as much effort. (When I was in high school and watched other people trying to date, I was like “three months is the average amount of time needed for two people who don’t know each other to realize they hate each other.” Everyone kept having super-dramatic breakups.)

  2. Reblogged this on dave94015 and commented:
    Many relationships seem to end after a certain fixed period it seems. In another post, the author claimed most triads last only 17 months. This post indicates 8 months. The reasons?

  3. It’s no fun riding out the bumps in the relationship road…but if you want to get there…

  4. Andy

    As another long-time reader (and, appropriately, as one who just finished reading an interesting article on Chill: https://medium.com/matter/against-chill-930dfb60a577 ), I’ll add my two cents:

    On one hand, I do not think that The Pedant is maliciously, purposely fucking with you.

    On the other hand, I tend to take a dim view of the idea that all abusive people are 100% aware of the fact that what they’re doing is wrong and they’re just sitting there gleefully pulling strings. Never attribute to malice what you can attribute to stupidity and all that.

    On the other, other hand (hai, I’m a cat?) I don’t think The Pedant is abusive or anything like that.

    On the other, other, other hand, I think you and he have wildly different views of commitment and poly and the clash between those views may or may not end up wearing you down and warping your expectations in damaging ways.

    On the other, other, other, other hand (eep, heading into arachnid territory here…) they may not.

    I think The Pedant’s attitude about, “Welp, if I fall in love, I fall in love, and you get bumped down the roster!” is shitty as fuck. I once dated a guy who said more or less that and it stressed me out so much and made me so insecure I basically stopped eating the entire time we were seeing each other. It was a total deal-breaker for me.

    On the other hand, there are plenty of people for whom even hearing, “You will always be equally important to me, but if I meet someone else I like, I’m going to date them casually!” would be a stomach-churning deal-breaker of epic proportions, and it’s obviously not a big deal to you (or to me) at all.

    So it’s hard to say whether The Pedant is doing an objectively shitty thing. What’s important is if it’s a deal-breaker for you, how shitty it makes you feel vs how good The Pedant makes you feel and how well you can cope with it over the long term. Your reality is your reality and it’s not irrational to be bothered by his statement. If you’re bothered by it, it’s really not something you need to medicate away in the name of Chill. But then, it’s also not irrational to not be bothered by his statement. If you weigh the pros and cons, maybe you’ll decide this is something you want to learn to deal with and then you can go about changing your attitudes/expectations/meds in line with that. You don’t necessarily get to have your cake and eat it too, but you do get to decide where your limits are.

    • I’m not sure if The Pedant and I have different ideas of poly, but you raise a good point with that and I should totally talk to him and see for sure.

      “If I fall in love, you get bumped down the roster” is a really harsh way to put it, but it kind of sums up how I feel, too. Or rather: I reject the heteronormative, “monogamy-plus” model of poly in which one has a primary partner and then finds SECONDARIES who are TREATED as secondary because “my main relationship is the most important one and nobody can get in between us so don’t even try!” and the primary partner has veto power and there are all these rules in place to make sure the “secondaries” never forget that they are secondary. Hate that. And when I told The Pedant that I don’t subscribe to hierarchical relationships, he said he doesn’t, either. Certainly he’s never tried to have rules in place, either with me or with OtherGirl. He never suddenly told me that OtherGirl decreed I could only see him once a week or whatever.

      I subscribe to the non-hierarchical “relationship anarchy” model. Each of my relationships is a separate entity; there are no rules (like “veto power”) that let one metamour interfere in another metamour’s relationship with me.The only rules are “be transparent” and “don’t be a jerk.” I communicate openly and respect all my partners’ feelings as best I can, but otherwise relationships are free to shift and change and settle to whatever level the naturally want to.

      It has occurred to me in the past that if I were to fall blindingly in love with a guy, and that guy happened to have had a vasectomy, I might very well want the intimacy of being fluid-bonded with him. And chances are he and the Pedant won’t let me have that with both of them. So I’d weigh my options and possibly transfer the fluid bond to the new guy. I’d also likely have that whole honeymoon period with the new guy where I’d be seeing him a ton and maybe having less time for The Pedant, although I do love The Pedant and care about his needs so of course I’d make time for him even if my New Relationship Energy was pushing me to be with New Guy 24/7.

      So basically, being potentially “bumped down the roster” is what I signed up for (what would be the alternative – forcing someone to pretend he likes me the most, forever, just because I WAS THERE FIRST?).

      What bugs me with The Pedant is that he pulled a bunch of shit on me with no warning. I don’t expect or want someone to tell me “I love my new partner more than I love you, so I’m gonna see less of you.” I do expect a partner to tell me when he’s falling for someone else, and to advise me of any practical changes to our relationship with as much advance notice as possible. When The Pedant decided to be monogamous to OtherGirl he told me “Soooo we can’t do this again for a while” RIGHT AFTER WE HAD SEX. When he later decided not to be monogamous to her, after all, *I* was the one who said “so I assume you’ll be wanting to transfer barebacking privileges to her?” – it hadn’t even occurred to him to tell me.

      His falling in love with someone else didn’t make me a second-class citizen, but his not properly keeping me in the loop sure did. He should have treated me as though my feelings mattered. He should have come told me about the impending monogamy as soon as he and OtherGirl had that discussion, and let me hug him and process the information and maybe cry (and ideally given me one final fuck so I could savour it KNOWING it would be the last one for a while, dammit!).

      On a whole other note, OtherGirl came way outta left field for me because The Pedant had always presented himself as this lone wolf who was all “open relationships FOREVAR!!!!” – I always assumed he might one day meet someone he had stronger feelings for than he did for me, but the whole “we’re thinking of moving in together! And also we’re going to be monogamous for a while!” was a total surprise. Which I guess scares me because what else might he be capable of? What other surprises are in store?

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