So here’s how it went down.
The Pedant arrived a while after I got home. We greeted each other without touching and he set about transferring files from my almost-dead laptop onto a memory stick for me. After a few minutes I said we really oughta get the talking over with. I asked him if he had anything to say to me – I had a spiel prepared for him about how ridiculous he’s been being but if he already knew it then I wanted to give him a chance to say so. Or if he decided to defend his behaviour I could just skip to the middle of my spiel and save time.
Somewhat surprisingly, what he had to say was: “I think we should take a break from the relationship for a while. You haven’t done anything wrong, or anything. But there are some little things that have been bothering me and I need to by on my own and process them and figure out where we go from there.”
“I agree that a break is a good idea,” I said. In a way it was like seriously? YOU have issues with ME?!? because I do the lion’s share of the emotional work in the relationship and have let a lot of shitty things slide with him. But mostly I was relieved. I haven’t been happy with him in a while now, and yet it feels like it would take so little to get me happy again that I didn’t want to give up on the relationship entirely – not unless he refused to do those little things. I think perhaps that’s where he’s at right now – deciding if he’s willing or capable of giving me what I need. So fair enough. A break seemed like an excellent idea.
I gave him my spiel about his ridiculousness.He still can’t see or won’t admit that he was gaslighting me and threatening me. He still alleges that saying, in effect, “Every time someone requests what you’ve requested, I end up hating them” is just him innocuously letting me know how his mind works. Whatever.
He also alleged that he exploded in a fit of pique because he was upset to realize how much his lateness had upset me. “Upset like angry that I’d complained, or upset like sad that I was going through some stuff?” he said the latter. I said I didn’t get this at all. We’ve had plenty of other times when I had issues with him and he knew how to react at those times: validate my feelings, express sorrow that I’m feeling that way, discuss how to make it better. So what was different this time? He just kept on saying the difference this time was that he was upset, he was upset, why wasn’t I listening to him? I was like yeah I get that but you’ve never reacted that way any of the other times that he’d hurt my feelings or whatever. So what. Was. The difference?
Eventually I gathered the difference was that he saw this as a much bigger, much more relationship-threatening issue than any of the others. Him being late all the time is apparently a fundamental part of his identity or something, and when he realized that I’m one of those weirdos who wants their partner to do what he says he’s gonna do, he felt a sense of dread like it was totally gonna kill the relationship. So he freaked out, I guess.
I pointed out that it’s not like I’d made an ultimatum of “be exactly on time or GTFO,” for Pete’s sake. I’d told him that getting keys cut would alleviate most of the stress I’d been feeling, and for the rest of it I just wanted an inkling that he was starting to work on the underlying habits that cause him to be late for things. He kept saying something along the lines that the punctuality thing was just such a huge difference in our outlooks on life that it was probably gonna doom us.
I went back to the key cutting thing again. It had been over a month since I’d asked for that. I’d told him that I was unhappy and getting keys cut would make me exponentially happier. So…why didn’t he…? It would have taken a few minutes out of his life. He claimed that he was just working so darned much and so tired and blah blah blah. I was like “you work right downtown. You could have even popped out on your lunch break.” He claimed that he’s obligated to eat lunch on the premises. I somewhat wonder if he’s lying to me. I could swear he’s talked about going out to buy lunch before. And he said that after work he’s so tired he just doesn’t feel like doing anything but going straight home. “Okay, well, the fact that you chose not to take the five minutes to do this simple thing for me makes me feel like I’m unimportant to you,” I said. “As does the fact that it took you this long to come talk things out, really.”
“I’ve been working fourteen hour days!”
“You managed to get out to a concert, though, didn’t you?” I said, and he looked absolutely guilty and caught out. He stammered something about how having a relationship talk with someone is a lot more taxing than going to a concert. I let that one go without comment but honestly? I don’t give a shit that talking things out is taxing. We wouldn’t have had to even do that if he’d responded to my simple fucking request with “Oh, I’m sorry you’ve been feeling that way, I didn’t realize. I’ll get keys cut as soon as I can” instead of deluging me with a bunch of defensive bullshit and insults.
I did point out to him how absolutely weird it is that he did the deluge-of-bullshit on me apparently because he was upset that I was upset. I’d told him what it would take to make me not be upset anymore; if he was so horrified that I was feeling that way, he could have just…fixed it. Instead, he obsessed on the specific wording I’d used like he was trying to make me feel stupid about it. I may have mocked his text messages a little bit: “A tightness in your chest? I can’t believe you’ve been feeling a tightness in your chest. I just can’t get my head around that.Feeling tightness in your chest over this just seems so extreme to me. Tightness! In your chest! Well I’ll be darned.” And meanwhile I’D TOLD HIM EXACTLY HOW TO MAKE IT GO AWAY AND HE DIDN’T DO IT.
I said, “You told me recently that you’ve been having a hard time with visiting me because your cat allergies are so severe – which you never told me before, by the way, and that’s why I hadn’t done anything about it sooner. Most of my friends with cat allergies get a red itchy nose when a cat actually rubs up against their face, but otherwise they’re fine. I assumed that’s how it was with you. But when you told me that actually just the amount of shed cat fur on the couch and bed makes your skin sting and burn, I was like ‘oh shit I had no idea’ and guess what? Since the last time you were here I vacuumed, wiped down the walls with a microfiber cloth, and bought a $200 HEPA certified air purifier. What I did not do was sit here saying to you ‘stinging and burning? Gosh, I can’t even imagine that. Stinging! And burning! From cat fur? Really? Oh my stars!'”
I point-blank suggested that if he was so upset about making me upset then maybe, just as a wacky idea, he could try apologizing. I can’t remember how he deflected, but deflect he did.
During a lull in the conversation, while he continued pecking away at the computer saving my files and I sat on the couch next to him staring off into space feeling vaguely pissed off, he said that at the time that I brought up the punctuality thing, he’d been feeling as though things were going really well with us, and that I’ve been really good to him, so that’s why realizing that there was this big issue threw him for a loop. I told him that just for the record I’d been making accommodations for his lateness as best I could, and also trying not to make a big thing of it because I know the bad habits are super ingrained and that shaming him would only make him feel bad, not make him “snap out of it” and never be late again. He said he is fully aware that I’d been doing all of that. I’d actually had no idea he even knew how much effort I put into the emotional side of things to keep us running smoothly. He seems so oblivious to, well, everything ever. Hell, maybe he was lying right then to ingratiate himself to me. It did kinda work. I mean it was nice to hear that he sees me as treating him well and respects the effort I put in and stuff.
Really though my feeling from our whole conversation was that he was feeling whiny and petulant at the idea of having to put effort into the relationship. And I mean I don’t believe relationships should be horrible grueling work all the time or anything but they do always take a little work, even when you match up with someone really well. And I’m just not sure he’s up for it. He may very well rather be single than try to change his habits even one little bit. He’s made some concessions for me before – calling me when he knew I needed help with something, remembering to keep me better apprised of what’s up with his other relationships after I told him I needed it – but asking him to try not to be late anymore is a bit different.
During the course of our whole conversation he kept saying that he just can’t understand people who are super into punctuality and need someone to be precisely on time for everything. Every time this came up – every. fucking. time – I said “I’m not asking you to be perfectly on time for everything ever. I’m saying it would be nice if you arrived within, say, half an hour or an hour of when you said you would instead of texting me five different times saying ‘whoops, I’m gonna need another hour.'”
At one point he said that he just really hates feeling rushed and I was like “Ummmm yeah no when you make a plan to see me in four days, that is in no way you being rushed. You have four days in which to pack your bag at a leisurely pace, decide what time you need to get up that day and plan to get enough sleep accordingly, plot out a time to leave that allows some ‘wiggle room’ in case public transit fucks up somehow, etc. If I said ‘let’s go to a movie that starts in two hours!’ that would be you feeling rushed. But usually we make plans ahead of time, and it’s not my problem that your time management skills suck.”
We did have a pretty illuminating conversation about his attitude toward lateness, though – one I wish we’d had sooner. He kept saying that he doesn’t care if other people are late. I was like “Yeah I really doubt you have anyone who does to you what you do to me.” he said that he does have at least one friend who ends up being hours later than planned, and he just waits in the coffee shop with a book or whatever. I pointed out that a man sitting alone in public can generally do his own thing and be left alone, but when I try to sit alone in public, every horny dude and assorted weirdo assumes that I’m there to entertain them and they come over and talk to me. Which is why I told The Pedant years ago that I will not meet him in public places anymore; he has to come here. But even then, I often want to go get groceries or something and put it off because I’m expecting him any minute and I need to let him in. And then of course he ends up being late and by the time his dumb ass gets here, the store is closed. He asked me why I didn’t just go to the store, then. I said “well, what would you do when you got here?” he said he’d sit in my porch with a book and wait for me and it wouldn’t be a big deal to him.
It had not occurred to me that this is what would happen if I were out when he arrived. TBH, since he’s always doing the “whoops it’ll be another hour” thing, I’ve felt as though he couldn’t possibly have been looking forward to seeing me all that much, and therefore if he got here and learned that I wouldn’t be home for another half hour he’d just be like “Oh, then I guess I’ll just go home or hang out with my other friend instead, then.” Or, “Okay then I’ll just go do something else for a bit to pass the time.” And lord knows every time he even has one errand to run on the way to seeing me, it turns into some whole huge odyssey. So I figured if he went to entertain himself in some way because I wasn’t home yet, he’d end up out for another eight hours and come back to my place having sold his knapsack for some magic beans or I don’t even know what the fuck, and I’d have even less time with him.
I told him all of that and he was all baffled because it hadn’t occurred to him that I was thinking that way at all. And he said that his lateness thing isn’t a reflection on how important I am or how much he wants to see me. Which I believe is true – I’ve seen him be late for his own birthday party on several occasions and I know he’s constantly late for work, too – he’s late for everything. It’s not just me. But I still can’t get my head around it. When I have plans to hang out with someone I like, I wake up thinking “Yay! I’m gonna hang out with ___ today!” My own time management skills aren’t the best, plus sometimes my anxiety makes going outside scary, but worst case scenario I end up fifteen minutes late because I couldn’t find a clean shirt or something. I don’t languish around the house for five hours after I was supposed to have left like The Pedant does. So I just don’t get it. I don’t know if he gets my point of view, either. But at least we both aired our side of things.
At some point during all of this, The Pedant said “I assume that if we’re on a break you’ll want your keys back?”
I was like “Meh…it’s not like you’re gonna use them to sneak in here and stick my toothbrush up your ass or something.”
“Yeah, exactly,” he agreed. “We’re friends. Lots of friends have each other’s keys. And hey, if I have your keys it would mean I could come by sometimes while you’re at work and keep on working on this file transfer process for you.”
And I glowed to think that he would still want to do things for me – would still offer his puppyish devotion – even if we weren’t going out anymore.
So hey, here’s a gigantic milestone: after most of our talking/venting was done and we were just sitting in relatively companionable silence, he said “No matter what ends up happening, I do love you.” That’s the first time he’s ever directly told me that. I never thought he would, but I’d hoped. Oh, how I’d hoped. I didn’t wanna make a huge deal of it because he’d probably feel all awkward so I just whispered “same” and kissed him.
If you’ve been reading this blog a while and have an idea of who I am and what my relationship with The Pedant is like, you’ll have already guessed that we ended up having sex that night. I like to know when I’m having sex with someone for the last time (or the last time in a while, as the case may be).
The sex was somewhat disappointing – predictably so. I felt distant from him because of all the shit that’s gone down so I was mostly in it to manipulate his reactions and make him all sex-drunk and helpless so I could get back a feeling of control. Also, when The Pedant is at the top of his game with doing me favours and taking me out to eat and calling me just to say hi and stuff, I feel loved and I therefore fuck him from a place of love. He’s mostly withdrawn all of that lately, which means I’m not feeling especially loving toward him, which means the one-sided quality of our typical encounters really stands out for me and irritates me. When I’m feeling in love with The Pedant I have sex with him because I feel so much joy and love for him that I wanna just lavish it all over his body. When I’m not feeling so in love, I’m having the sex for its own sake. And on a purely physical level The Pedant doesn’t make things very mutually satisfying, so…
Foreplay just doesn’t occur to him at all. Which is weird because I know he knows the concept – after all, I spend so much time touching him and getting him all worked up. But no, he’ll absent-mindedly caress me as we watch a movie or he’ll massage that one spot on my back where I carry a lot of tension, seemingly just to earn my praise. But I cannot remember him ever caressing me for extended periods of time when sex was in the offing.
So sure enough I spend half an hour or more on my couch, kissing and stroking his body until he’s moaning and humping the air, and then we move into the bedroom and he said “I think we’d better take care of you first” meaning “let’s just directly start stimulating your genitals and get you off so I won’t have to do it later when I’m all stupid from coming.” Fine, whatever. I had him fuck me with my favourite dildo and then his fingers while I used the Hitachi. Despite feeling distant and despite wishing he’d put the same kind of effort into making my body happy that I do with his, I did come three times.
The Pedant was being a little too toppy-from-the-bottom for my taste. He knows better than to tell me to do anything, but he kept doing that passive-aggressive thing of couching everything as something I’d like. “Do you want to gag me? I know how much you love the way it looks on me” blah blah blah. He asked “would you like me to wear anything?” and TBH I spaced out and had no idea what that even meant. He doesn’t own any sex clothes and it’s not like he had outfits with him. Then I remembered that I own a butt plug so I had him wear that. The plug was in the same drawer as his collar, and he automatically put that on – the collar was probably what he’d meant to begin with. I hadn’t told him to put that on and it irked me that he did so anyway. I really wasn’t getting the kind of dominant buzz I wanted.
I fingered his ass a while to get him ready for the plug, then inserted it, then rode him until he orgasmed. My vag felt sore and beaten up from the dildoing earlier (he always tries to do a bunch of fancy angles and shit. I keep telling him, just go straight in and out. You don’t have to scrape off all the walls or anything. But he still does it). So I guess it’s a good thing that he came fairly quickly, given that my innards felt all raw. But I wish his cock had felt good to me and I wish I could have savoured it for longer.
Got a good front row seat on his O-face, though. As he started to come he grabbed my hips like he always does (if his hands are free), trying to stop me from moving. But I know if I continue it’ll give him a longer and better climax so I kept moving on him – but slowly – and I lightly fingered his nipples at the same time. When he starts to come, that initial contraction always makes him rear his head up off the bed. I made him rear up three more times and his face crumpled as though he was about to cry. It was hot.
He rolled away from me to go to sleep, and didn’t cuddle me much during the night. Certainly he didn’t glom onto me every single minute like he usually does. Maybe he was already preparing to detach from me emotionally. He seemed slightly distant in the morning, too. I came up to hug him, wanting to feel the length of his naked body against mine before I got dressed to go to my morning therapy session, and he let me but didn’t immediately open his arms as soon as he saw me coming like usual. Every little thing I did – kissing him on the cock before I got out of bed, coming to hug him as he stood naked checking his texts – I started wondering if that was one of the annoying things he needed a break from.
He takes forever to get ready and I had to go, so I left first. On the bus I abruptly decided that I wanted my keys back from him, after all. I’m angry that he mostly refused to use them and then acted like he wanted them now. Too late. Also his talk of using them to come do things for me began to feel like a power play – he knows I melt at acts of service, and has made a lot of promises recently that he hasn’t kept. It felt like maybe he just wanted to keep me on the hook so I’d be ready to receive him any time he decided he wanted to be dating me again. No. I need to take time away. I need to close this book without a bookmark in it. So I texted him saying actually yeah please leave the keys. He did.
He texted me letting me know where the keys were and telling me that he’d see me soon in order to keep helping me with tech support. And he said he might be able to get me a new power cable for my laptop if I let him know the info off the one I already have (which is being shared between two laptops, hence the need for a second one). Again, it feels like he’s trying to keep me on the hook. Or even if he isn’t, I need time. I can’t just segue from dating into friendship immediately. So for now I’m not responding. I thanked him for the keys and wished him the best of luck with the soul searching he’s needing to do and that’s it.