This morning, I thought about my current chain of “relationship issue” emails with The Pedant – specifically, I thought about how he said at least once (but I think twice) something along the lines of “Yeah well if my chronic lateness upsets you then you’re gonna be upset for a long time because it’s not changing anytime soon.”
Some would see this as an obscure threat, or a stubborn refusal to try to fix the problem. I see it as a warning, and as a bit of self-protection. He is straight-up telling me that this will not be an easy fix, and implying that if I can’t stand his lateness, I might as well bail right now. He’s been worried before about me breaking up with him out of the blue. I think this is more of the same.
And changing lifelong habits is fucking hard and fucking scary. I’m in the process of this, myself, with the cognitive behavioural therapy sessions I’ve been doing. I’m ashamed of how fucked up my life has become and terrified that my best attempts at change won’t end up working. I believe The Pedant is probably feeling the same way, although if I know him as well as I think I do, he won’t admit those feelings even to himself.
So to soothe the possible harshness of my previous email (in which I told him he’s rationalizing away the lateness that is fucking up his life, and asked him for a list of what he’ll do to fix the lateness) and to make it clear where my head is at, I wrote him another email:
Addendum: I’m fully aware that improving your time management skills will take a long time. I’m not looking for instant change, just sincere effort, one step at a time. I figure that’ll probably start paying off for me a year or three down the road, so that’ll be something to look forward to. (And in the meantime: keys).
I’m in this for the long haul.
Meanwhile, I’ve been chatting with some well-meaning but consistently a-bit-too-harsh friends on FB about The Pedant’s and my little relationship hiccup and they’re mostly telling me I’m being too lenient and I need to make an ultimatum and blah blah blah.
Nah. I stand by my choice. Partners have told me to “snap out of” my anxiety because if I didn’t shape up, they’d leave, and all that did was freak me the fuck out. I choose to tell The Pedant that I need him to start fixing some shit and will be supportive while he does it. Also, The Pedant has a subtle-but-clear-to-me pattern of being insecure when he doesn’t know what’s going on, but unwilling to ask for reassurance. He often had erectile issues with me before but those stopped once I told him I had feelings for him (and came back the first time I had sex with him again after our breakup). Shortly after I suggested we become fluid-bonded there was this tremendous shift in his behaviour toward me, as though my interest in increased intimacy had caught him off-guard but he was really really happy about it.
If he can’t or won’t come up with a concrete plan to address his lateness problem, or at least ask me what I think he should do, then I may have to go. But if he can be just the tiniest bit proactive I think that’s all I really need right now.
I’ll admit it was tempting to write out a plan for him, myself, and just hand it to him. I’ve been observing and analyzing this boy for years and I have ALL THE IDEAS, oh yes I do. But I sorta did that with Minx, and somehow this turned me into basically her mom. Like she just went totally passive and assumed I’d take care of everything. It happened with my ex-husband, too. I hated it. I will not let that happen again.
And anyway, The Pedant will never learn to be introspective unless he practices. So I’m gonna hang back and see what he comes up with, if anything.
Since I sent the email, we’ve had some unrelated casual chats via text, including him troubleshooting an issue with my phone (and it warms my heart that he’s helping me during our time of strife or whatever – I’m like a little kid sometimes, convinced that if my partner and I are disagreeing about something, he actually hates me). Maybe that just means that he hasn’t read my emails to him yet. But I hope it means that he read them and feels assured that I love and accept him – I just want him to improve himself, in a way that will make basically every aspect of his life better. And so maybe he won’t end up writing me a pissy response.