I worry that The Pedant and I aren’t gonna last much longer. I dunno. Maybe I’m being paranoid.
He was so solicitous when I first told him I was having issues with the relationship; kissed me, massaged me, said we’d talk soon, said he’d most likely fucked something up with us by missing some signal or something from me because he doesn’t pick up on stuff sometimes.
Then I told him (on a different day, via text) some of the things that had been bothering me. In fairness, mid-rant I realized that a lot of that stuff was probably coming from me, not him. I’d taken his jokes about my supposed lack of sexual self-control with him and jumped to the conclusion that he was confusing my anxiety with weakness, as so many other people have. But he never actually said that. That’s on me.
After I sent him those texts, he didn’t go completely silent as he usually does when I try to talk about relationship stuff. He made small talk, he sent me a link to a dog meme. So that felt like kind of a breakthrough. Although I asked him several times to come over – hoping to have that talk he’d seemed so keen on before – and instead of saying “Oh I can’t right now, life got really busy” like a normal person, he just kept not answering my requests. He said later that he was too busy to answer me. But the thing is…he’d been answering my random small-talk stuff. It takes less time to type “maybe next week” than it does to type “Hypnosis was debunked decades ago. Consequently, it’s far more likely that everyone on that guy’s YouTube videos is a paid actor.” I’m just saying.
Usually I don’t let myself ask for reassurance from The Pedant because I’m not sure when it’s reasonable to ask and when my anxiety is being an asshole. He’s made it clear in the past that he can’t stand to be around people having anxiety issues so as you can imagine I’m in no hurry to show that side of myself to him. But it started to really bug me how he kept not answering my requests for a visit so finally I asked him if we were okay. He expressly said that we are and that his silence was just due to working crazy hours, and that if he ever did have an issue with me he’d say so. That made me feel better for a while. Although a nagging little voice in the back of my head reminded me that he is not the most introspective person and if he was angry at me would he even realize it? Or would he just “not feel like messaging me”?
He sent me his work schedule for the week, as he’s been doing for the past few months. There was a time that he had a late shift followed by an early shift and his presence wouldn’t inconvenience me terribly, so I told him to crash here if he’d like. He did. And he made a point of massaging me for a nice long time and paying other nice attention to my body, even though I hadn’t expressly told him yet that I want him to do that more. We had sex and it was good. And he snuggled me all night long – I mean every time I shifted position he’d glom onto me in a different way. Constant full-body contact.
The next day, after he’d gone, I felt the need to vent just a wee bit more of the pressure that’s been building in me lately re: the relationship. I texted him that I’ve thought of two concrete things that would make me exponentially happier with him: 1) keep his copy of my keys on his keyring so he can let himself in when he comes over; 2) analyze the reasons why he’s often late to things, and start taking steps to fix/eliminate them.
For the next couple of days he was silent. Didn’t respond to my chatty random texts, even. But I told myself he was just busy at work. I mean he’d just spent the night here and everything had felt fine.
One of my chatty emails was to tell him that an artist I’ve posed for wants to fly me out to a different province to be his muse for a week. I’m not sure whether this will actually happen but if it does, I’ll need someone to take care of the cats. I thought The Pedant might enjoy having a place of his own for a week (he lives with his parents) and he has keys anyway so I asked if he’d be willing to do that. No answer; no texts from him at all.
A day or two later, I got an email from him addressing a bunch of things. An email cranky enough in tone that I suspect his silence was out of anger.
He said he was “not in the slightest” willing to babysit the cats for even a second, because he doesn’t especially like them (which I knew) and because his cat allergies are bad enough that he has to douse himself in rubbing alcohol after leaving my place as it is (which I did not know). He said that I’m always making jokes about my lack of self control where sex with him is concerned and if I didn’t want him to join in then I shouldn’t start it. He said that if I insist on him keeping those keys on his person at all times then I’ll have to get some new ones cut in a colour scheme other than “My Little Pony” (the keys are the same set I once cut for Minx, and I catered to her flamboyant style by making one pink leopard print and the other with a motif of hot rod flames. The Pedant takes himself super seriously and can’t stand the idea of anyone seeing him with something pink, like, ever). He said that his lateness wouldn’t be going away anytime soon so if it makes my anxiety “go nuclear” then I’m gonna continue to have a problem with him for the foreseeable future.
On the same day, via text, he addressed one last thing: I’d asked him to make a brief phone call for me, like, weeks ago, and he finally did that and got the info I had needed. So, a gesture of truce, maybe, despite him seeming kind of angry.
I responded to his email saying, in a nutshell:
-Fair enough, I’ll find another catsitter.
-I’ll ease up on the I-can’t-keep-my-hands-off-you jokes but just for the record, it’s a pretty standard part of human nature for someone to make self-deprecating jokes but not want others to join in. Like, just as a general life-tip.
-I think it’s up to him to get new keys cut because it’s not my fault he won’t use the perfectly functional ones that I gave him. Also my front door key got bent somehow so that might make it hard to copy.
-Just one issue – his not having keys or his being late – I could handle just fine. On time but no keys? I’ll sit by the phone around the appointed time so I know when he’s here and can let him in. Late but have keys? I’ll live my life and he can let himself in whenever. But feeling like I have to wait by the phone all night and can’t go to the store or take a nap or even get absorbed in a movie because I don’t know when he’ll get here and I’ll have to go let him in – that sucks and is a big factor in me feeling taken for granted lately. Because although I’m certain he doesn’t mean to convey this, it feels as though he thinks I have nothing better to do than sit by the phone and wait for him.
-Now that I know how severe his cat allergies are I’ll try to de-floof my place a bit better before his visits. I want him to feel comfortable here.
So I sent that. And a while after that (on a whole side note) I looked at my banking records online and realized that I’d accidentally misjudged my finances and put myself in a bit of a clusterfuck. I texted The Pedant to angst at him about this. We had a conversation about it. He offered to give me fifty bucks to help me out and I said no, that’s okay, I would power through this myself. Somewhere during that conversation he sent me a reply to that last email…and yet he was still talking to me and in fact offering me cash, so he didn’t hate me yet, w00t. And later that night he called to tell me he’d found a thrown-out-but-functional iPod speaker/charger deck at his worksite and he thought I might like it ’cause I’d mentioned wanting to be able to listen to my music without using the laptop. I said yes, I would like it, and he said he’d drop it by on his way home, which he did. And came in to chat a little bit, and we kissed a little bit, though the kissing was all at my initiation.
I was so pleased that he was treating our argument and our relationship as two parallel things – that I felt safe to have this difficult conversation with him and know that life would go on – that I spontaneously messaged him the next day with “I adore you.” No response to that at all. No response to anything mushy I’ve texted him since then, either. Or for ages, really. I know I’m on a huge stupid emotional roller coaster right now but, I mean…what if he never acknowledges my mushy stuff or sexts me anymore because he’s drifting away from me? Is his sporadic small talk really any sign that we’re still good?
This is where I think things might be about to go sideways: that latest email he sent said, among other things, that he’s “never considered punctuality to be a virtue” and in fact looked down on exes of his who were always early for things.
I replied to his email tonight and called him out:
Yeah, well, doing what one says one will do IS a virtue, and TBH I think you’re rationalizing here as a defense mechanism: trying to pretend that being hours late to things makes you one of the cool kids or something when it demonstrably interferes with your life and relationships.
You’ve irritated people close to you. You’ve missed out on events you wanted to attend (or missed the first chunk, anyway). You’ve put your employment in jeopardy, or at least been afraid enough of this that you’ve cabbed to work. And if you make $15/hr and a cab ride to work is $60*, every day that you take a cab instead of using the transit pass you already have, you’re essentially working the first four hours of your day just to break even – a situation that, if it persists, will likely make it financially impossible for you to move out of your parents’ place.
Silly philosophical talk of “virtue” aside, doesn’t it seem that life would be better if you fixed this?
I have a feeling he won’t take kindly to me saying these things. My asking him to fix his lateness problem seems to have touched a nerve, judging by how he went silent after that message (and not the previous “venting” texts which were about different issues) and his answer was all defensive n shit (well I’m not changing anytime soon so if you’re unhappy about this, you’re gonna keep on being unhappy, blah blah blah).
Hopefully once he’s had a little time to sit with things, he’ll realize I’m trying to help him. But in the meantime I fear a reactionary outburst because I’ve sullied his dignity. And if he doesn’t ever get to a point where he can admit that he’s just rationalizing like mad because he’s afraid of trying to change and failing…well, that’s when the relationship lands itself in trouble. I’m sick to death of doing all the emotional labour in my relationships. I’m sick to death of working so hard at this relationship when The Pedant mostly seems like he’s just bumbling along doing whatever and not really putting much effort in. If he insists that he honestly doesn’t care about being stupid crazy late all the time, and/or doesn’t come up with a concrete plan to fix it…I don’t think I can live with that. I can live with him coming up with a plan and taking ages to develop new, healthier time management habits. That’s fine. But if he just flat-out won’t do the introspective work of figuring his shit out…
*He does make $15/hr, and I believe he told me once that a cab ride to work from his parents’ place in the boonies costs about $50 – if he gets the driver who’s done this for him a bunch of times and gives him a special rate. Usually it would cost more. And most weeks he sleeps through his alarm and takes a cab to work two or three times. When I think of how much money he wastes in a month it just about makes me cry. I COME FROM CHEAP PARENTS, DAMMIT. Money wastage stings me like a thousand paper cuts.