I’m totally jealous of The Dandy’s relationship with Dandette, and that seems really weird and dumb to me. I’m dating him and she’s not. And I’m poly so in theory him dating someone else wouldn’t be a big deal to me, anyway. So why do I care that he lives with his ex and still seems pretty close to her?
First off, I think after a few years of feeling essentially solo-poly, I’m really craving a main partner* right now – a serious relationship with someone who (like me) doesn’t have other serious relationships going at the moment. I’d like to be someone’s focus and vice-versa, at least for now. The Dandy is my focus. I think I’m his…but the fact remains that he lives with his ex, with whom he has a comfort level and a history that I want. They act like an old married couple. I have recently learned that Dandette (who is unemployed) wakes up early every morning just to make The Dandy coffee before he goes to work. That is such an act of intimacy and care and kindness. I want to be doing that for him (well, not that but a similar act that doesn’t require me to wake up early). I also learned that after she makes the coffee, she comes into his bedroom and puts it on the nightstand. That…feels like a couple thing, not a roommate thing. Especially since, until recently when I expressed squick at their weird boundaries, The Dandy slept naked. It bothers me a lot.
Also, I have a huge, huge fantasy of a man rescuing and taking care of me, especially financially. It’s what I’d hoped for when I married my ex-husband (he was more socially competent than I was, he wasn’t severely agoraphobic, he had higher earning potential…he was my way out of the shitty roommate situation I was currently in). It’s maybe slightly what I wanted when Minx moved in and thus halved my rent (please oh please, someone just make it so I don’t have to pay ~$1000/month just to have a roof over my head…get me out of this constant pinch of poverty and make it so I actually have money left over at the end of the month and can build up a savings again for emergencies…).
I have since realized that I don’t think I can live with another person ever again, both because I really enjoy my space and quiet time and because I feel like I’ll inevitably piss the other person off and they won’t want to stay and then I’m fucked. The way rent is soaring in my city, if I move into a big, expensive apartment with a boyfriend and the relationship ultimately ends, I won’t be able to afford anywhere on my own anymore. I need to maintain the tenuous toehold in independence that I currently have. Plus I worry that if a man offers to take care of me, I’ll forget entirely how to take care of myself and just revert to the doormat I was when I was married, thus giving him all the power. The thought terrifies me. So I don’t feel like I could move in with a partner or even let him pay for my necessities. But I want to. Oh, how I want to. And Dandette already has that. From The Dandy, no less. Their apartment is huge – my entire place could fit into their living room, possibly more than once – and The Dandy was letting Dandette pay far less than half of the rent, presumably because he makes so much more money. And then her mental health went sideways and she couldn’t work anymore, so now he just pays all the rent. Dandette gets to fall apart if she needs to. I don’t. Ever. And yeah, I’m jealous.
Some of my feelings here are not jealousy but irritation. The Dandy has indicated that he really wishes she’d move out. He told me, once, that when they were together she would ask him to dominate/top her but then scream at him afterwards that he did it wrong – this makes me so incredibly angry on his behalf that I kind of want to kill her. She’s a burgeoning alcoholic. She doesn’t work. But The Dandy would feel like a monster if he kicked her out, given that she’s broke and having severe emotional issues and has nobody she could even stay with. I told him that they are broken up and she’s not his responsibility, and he said he knows this, but still. And yeah. It’s hard. If I were him I probably couldn’t kick her out, either.
And on the other hand the two of them have this ease together. The way The Dandy talks about her, you’d think he kind of hated her and that the two of them would just keep to separate corners of the apartment and be all awkward and stilted. They don’t, though. The Dandy has called me on the phone to chat and she’ll be right there inserting the odd comment into our convo in the background. Until recently they would hang out around the house naked. She brings him coffee every morning. They have domestic little chats about whether the dog’s been fed yet or who’s gonna do this or that chore. When I was over last night Dandette was talking about some mutual friend of theirs who’s been irritating her: “I’m gonna go to Tom’s party on the 25th and you’re coming with me so I don’t kill him.” Just casually assuming she could boss him around like that. And he said okay. So like…what the fuck is their deal?
At the root of it all, I feel that The Dandy never got enough space from Dandette to fully get over her. I mean I don’t see how someone can get over someone if you’re still living with them and never even drew boundaries like putting clothes on around them. It’s like they stopped fucking but literally everything else stayed the same. For me, anyway, getting over someone requires a very distinct separation to kind of hammer home that it’s over so I can process everything. It requires distance from the other person while I get my shit together. Minx and I may cuddle and sometimes sleep in the same bed, but that only happened after she moved out and we didn’t really talk for a few months. We built that friendship from scratch; it’s not a continuation of the relationship. With The Dandy and Dandette I’m not so sure.
And I don’t know how The Dandy not being over his ex might fuck things up with us, but I think there’s a chance it will. And I don’t like it.
*I don’t use the word “primary” because I associate it with people who do hierarchical poly. I don’t have different sets of rules for different partners.