My ex husband has a Pakistani friend who got married to a woman his parents picked out and whom I think he may have spoken on the phone to once or twice but that’s it. When my ex and I got divorced, his friend was still in his arranged marriage. He probably still is, eleven years later And it occurred to me that maybe lust and love and (to an extent) compatibility aren’t really that relevant to having a lasting relationship. Maybe – I thought to myself – the key to a relationship lasting is simply that both people make a conscious decision to stay in it. A decision, of course, bolstered by each party listening to and respecting the other and being willing to compromise so everyone’s needs are met as well as possible.

I mean, I loved my ex-husband and in many ways we were compatible; similar interests and values and senses of humour and all that. But in some ways we weren’t compatible, so I compromised on those things because I wanted the marriage to work. He…did not compromise even the tiniest bit. It would appear that he didn’t care enough about the being with me to do the necessary work. And so instead of meeting him halfway, I metaphorically walked all the way over to his side, trying to ignore my own needs, and finally ended up so drained and miserable that I had to leave.

Lately I have this terrifyingly huge desire to commit to someone. This is distinctly different from the post-Pedant-breakup desperation of a few months ago where every damn thing I did outside my apartment was partially motivated by “maybe there’ll be guys there!” (I’m not proud of temporarily turning into a living Cathy comic strip. But it is a thing that happened.) I don’t want to meet anyone new right now. I’m feeling really cynical right now and sort of hate men in general, actually. But The Dandy slipped into my life during my desperate phase and my defensive walls went up around him, so he’s in my life now. And I find myself very much not in a headspace of enjoying our time together at face value. I’m grooming him as long-term partner material, big time.

I’m not – as mentioned – falling in love with The Dandy per se. One day I feel totally smitten, the next I feel distant. Not sure if we have a lack of chemistry but I’m trying to shoehorn us into a romance anyway, or if things are actually good but my heart is doing that thing where it puts its shields up and prevents me from fully feeling anything until it seems safe enough to do so. But The Dandy is financially stable and emotionally stable and reasonably attractive and he has many personality traits that I enjoy. In other words, he looks good on paper, and so some huge nesting instinct seems to have come over me.

I haven’t actually said “be my boyfriend!” or “hey do you think this might go long term?” or anything like that. I’ve been impulsive about people before and gotten burned, and at any rate my very spotty attraction to him has me a bit worried and not wanting to jump into anything just yet. But I am sussing him out; oh yes. I’m already basically involved in the negotiations I believe two people should have when they’re in a relationship. Mind you, those negotiations are also valuable in a more casual or FWB arrangement. But I’m making them with an eye toward laying groundwork for something long-lasting.

I…don’t love that I’m being like this. My urge to get into something committed and long-term very much feels like a free-floating thing that’s just attaching itself to The Dandy, rather than me hanging out with The Dandy and eventually, organically deciding that I want to officially date him. And I don’t want to declare some big official relationship with him and realize shortly after that oops, nope, I really am not feeling the right chemistry, I was just wanting to fill an empty space in my life but he’s not fulfilling me, time to break up. (Presuming The Dandy would even say yes to a relationship; I shouldn’t assume he would. But honestly I’m fairly sure.) I don’t want to hurt him or string him along.

But anyway, here are some random things I wanted to note about this budding…relationship or whatever.

  • The Dandy knows at least a little about a wide variety of topics and I find this delightful.
  • We get into punning wars, which I also find delightful.
  • He is very physically affectionate, but maybe beyond even my comfortable capacity. I come into the kitchen to keep him company while he cooks and he comes up and gives me a hug. I come out of the bathroom and he intercepts me to give me a hug. Just standing there with me for several full minutes, squeezing me. I do that to say hello but after that it feels sort of weird.
  • I’ve started noticing some annoying verbal tics that he has, like if I accidentally start talking when he was just about to say something, he acknowledges my thing really quickly and dismissively so he can hurry up and get to his. I’m not sure if he’s really listening to me at those times. And the thing he’s had to say was never urgent enough to warrant glossing over me so fast. It’s not like “Oh hey since we’re passing by the store, did you want anything?” where if he’d waited too long, we wouldn’t be near the store anymore – it’s just random anecdotes and stuff. And last night he did that mansplain-y thing of repeating back exactly what I’d just said as though he were teaching me something. Godddddd I hate that!
  • He is a person who mostly listens when I vent instead of offering solutions. That clashes wildly with my personality. I want discussion and solutions. When I talk about a problem I’m having and he just smiles and nods it’s like…what, that’s all? I asked him about this, actually, or rather I observed out loud that he appears to be a listening person rather than a fixing person. He asked if that’s bad. I told him I’m very much in favour of fixing (and do it myself to loved ones who are venting). It’s not clear to me whether his quiet supportive listening thing is natural to him or what he thinks he’s supposed to do. But he knows now that he can suggest stuff if he wants to, at least.
  • When I was stressed out yesterday and texted him telling him all the dumb shit going on in my life that was freaking me out, he told me he could come by after work and give me hugs. And he did. And he took us out for sushi, too!
  • When he’s nice to me I feel like I should thank him with sex and I don’t know where that’s coming from. I don’t think he’s pressuring me, even subtly. I guess I feel like sex (and snuggles) are the only thing I have to offer him. He’s smarter than me, more socially competent than me, neurotypical, makes far more money than me, I’m in a weird headspace lately anxiety-wise and it’s making me kind of whiny and self-absorbed so I worry that I don’t even seem totally present sometimes when we’re hanging out…why would he stick around if not for orgasms?
  • I asked him last night to tell me some things he likes about me and his answers were…interesting. I thought/hoped/assumed he would mention the things I think are my strengths: my intelligence, my sense of humour, my self-awareness. Instead he talked about less tangible, more emotional things, all along the line of feeling he can trust me, feeling safe with me, feeling like he doesn’t have to put up a facade of any kind with me. And TBH my (silent) initial knee-jerk reaction to this (and it seems ridiculous in retrospect) was disappointment; I felt like he didn’t appreciate my good points, and also I guess the stuff he mentioned felt sort of generic. Anybody can be trustworthy – you just consistently don’t fuck someone over. Making gross-out jokes is a talent. But if my trustworthiness is what makes a big impression on him, clearly he does see that quality as kind of rare. And I do adore that he feels safe with me. That is…a tingle-making statement for me. I guess I think a lot about why a person chooses a specific partner over anyone else, and I have a lot of baggage around thinking that my mental issues are a liability that I need to balance by having huge, uh…assets. I know on an intellectual level that people aren’t quantifiable like that – that if you’re in love with one person who likes science fiction and cats and brownies but has anger issues and hates your favourite band, you won’t fall in love with everyone who has those qualities. And you also won’t automatically fall in love even harder with someone who likes sci fi and cats and brownies and is happy-go-lucky and loves your favourite band. The whole of a person is greater than the sum of their parts; falling in love has a quality of alchemy to it that I’m not sure is entirely logical. But still I obsessively wonder what it is that makes someone want me in particular when I feel like I don’t have many outstanding good qualities to set me apart.
  • I mentioned once to The Dandy that nebulous plans and lateness without warning drive me mad and I like to be kept in the loop, and he seemed to take note. And yet the next time we saw each other, he said he’d be here for 6:30 and by 6:45 I’d heard nothing from him at all. No “Leaving now, will be there as soon as I can.” No “Sorry, running a bit late, see you by 7pm-ish.” Nothing. I had no idea if he’d even left the house yet. And all my baggage and rage began to flood back. I could have texted him prompting for an update or ETA but I’m fucking sick of having to do that with people, and I don’t think it really teaches them to do better next time; it just teaches them that they can keep on being passive and late and uncommunicative and when I get sick of it I’ll prompt them. Instead I texted saying “I’ll be turning my phone off at 7.” My doorbell doesn’t work so turning off my phone means if he arrived after 7 (which is half an hour after he said he’d get here, so I don’t feel I’m being unreasonable) without having updated me, he wouldn’t be able to get in. He’d have to turn right around and go home. Pretty shortly after that he texted back that he was at my door. I’ve seen him twice since then and both times he texted me to let me know when he was leaving. Hooray.
  • He’s really into fashion and has an interesting, distinctive sense of style. I dig that. A lot. He’s got money to spend on his fashion endeavors, too. The other night I got to see the new pajamas he told me he’d bought: navy blue with a kind of Victorian wallpaper pattern woven in. I asked where he got them and he said he’d ordered them from England. I chuckled in spite of myself and said “of course you did.” Every piece of clothing he owns seems to either be vintage with an interesting backstory, or new and fancy/innovative in some way. I like listening to him share his enthusiasm about this stuff. I also have a huuuuge craving to try to impress him by buying him some really cool trinket or accessory but he knows more about these things than I do so maybe I won’t. It would bother me to spend money on an item that he didn’t end up liking; I’d feel hurt if he returned it and hurt if he kept it but didn’t ever wear/use it and…yeah.
  • I’ve mentioned before that The Dandy had a heart bypass a few years back. He has to take medication for associated issues. Every time he takes his pills, he makes some awkward little comment about it – once even sarcastically calling the pill-taking process “sexy”. I never really noticed the pattern until recently and now I really wanna let him know that I’m not put off by him taking meds. I’m happy to see him taking care of his health. I’ve gone out with so many guys who didn’t.
  • He probably would have stayed over last night, in fact, except his pills were at home and if he doesn’t take them punctually he very quickly begins to feel it. I told him that if he wants (and is logistically able) to keep a pill stash at my place, he can. He seemed surprised by that. Maybe it didn’t occur to him to do that or maybe he’s so convinced the pills are unsexy to me that he assumes I wouldn’t want them here? I doubt the issue is that the gesture is offputtingly, level-jumpingly “relationshippy” for his tastes. We already talk as though this thing with us will extend into the future. Last time I was at his place he half-jokingly remarked that he should clear out a dresser drawer for me. I am amenable to this.
  • Last time I was at his place he also went to undress and when I said “gyrate for me!” he did, and with a reasonable amount of panache. A lot of guys won’t (yes, this is a common request for me), and the guys who have were submissive-leaning folks who were either awkward and self-conscious but dug the humiliation factor or confident exhibitionists who had probably practiced their stripper moves in front of the mirror at home for years just in case. The Dandy is none of those things. He’s just comfortable in his body, willing to do things to please me, and not overly self-conscious. It’s a very new dynamic to me.
  • Also, I hadn’t thought to bring my Hitachi with me for that visit and for years now that’s the only way I can get off. We got frisky together, anyway, including a huuuuge long PIV session that left me astoundingly aroused. Usually these days an orgasm is nice but I don’t need one; that night I needed one. And I actually managed to have one, administered myself by hand while The Dandy fingered my g-spot. I was so grateful to realize that I can still do that that I ended up sobbing far beyond one of my standard stress-release crygasms. The Dandy wrapped himself around me and held me all through it without being freaked out or demanding to know what was wrong (I did tell him what was going on in my head, eventually).
  • The Dandy generally stays hard after coming and you can keep right on stimulating him – it doesn’t hurt him like it hurts every other guy I’ve ever given a hand job to. I haven’t set out to give him multiple orgasms yet but I think I’d like to. As it stands, he regularly keeps on fucking me even after he’s come, which I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, PIV tends to chafe me after a while; normally I’m totally good for that part of things to last under ten minutes and the main reason I’ll ever go beyond is if my partner hasn’t come yet. On the other hand, occasionally I want to come during PIV, which almost always takes a while because my partner’s body simultaneously turns me on, gets in the way, and distracts me (but the payoff is soooo fucking good), and with The Dandy I don’t ever have to have that fear of “what if he comes before I’m finished” in the back of my mind. Dude is a machine.
  • It’s still fascinating to me how well this is working so far despite us both being dominant. Mind you, my libido is kinda trashed lately from stress etc and when that dies, my drive for kink dies, too. Maybe when I’m a little more healed from the Pedant breakup and some other stressors are over with, I’ll be ravenous for submission and bdsm play and my interactions with The Dandy will be missing something for me. But he cooks for me and endeavors to give me whatever I need sexually (well, vanilla-wise) and these are two types of service I adore in a sub. Only difference is we don’t have an overt agreement that he will always do these things when asked, and he’s probably getting something different out of doing these things than a sub would. Still, though. I feel taken care of and attended to and it’s not bad.
  • Speaking of vanilla sex, though…The Dandy has never gone down on me. Not even a little bit. Not even a kiss in the genital region (actually he’s never kissed me anywhere but the mouth…he doesn’t seem to go in for full-body exploration like I do). I’m kind of torn about this. I don’t get off on oral anymore these days anyway, and most guys aren’t good at it, so no great loss. But I like knowing I could have oral if I wanted it. It bothers me on principle if a guy is grossed out by going down. And I’m kinda wondering if The Dandy is one of those. Incidentally, I’ve given him oral every time we’ve ever been naked, I think. So it’s not that he’s trying to be good at sex with me by mirroring what I do.
  • The Dandy has never received ass play. I asked if he was against the idea, and he said no, just nobody ever offered before. I offered, and he kind of just smiled and shrugged, and then we got distracted and I forgot to make my customary “I want you to be comfortable and not just do it for my benefit, so I’m just gonna put out there that I’m up for it and then never mention it again and if you actively want to try, it’s up to you to tell me” speech. So now I don’t know where he stands with things – if he’d like to try but is shy, or if he doesn’t want to but is too polite – and I don’t want to bring it up again and maybe seem pushy.
  • …but I hugged him from behind the other day as he was chopping things up for dinner and he waggled his ass suggestively against my hips, so that’s…something. At the very least he’s not overly hung up the idea that getting ass-humped makes him un-domly or un-straight. I like this about him.

There were more things I wanted to say, I think, but I’ve forgotten. This is plenty, anyway.

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