So, how things went down with the three of us is, it came out that The Dandy and Dandette had been sort of dating again on our hiatus and he hadn’t told me (and then broke up with Dandette again pretty soon after I came back). Dandette had thought I’d known this piece of info. I think she’d somewhat made her peace with everything. But then the lie surfaced and The Dandy handled shit really, really badly (he told her they hadn’t actually been dating, that time, and he’d only fucked her because he was lonely and desperate!!!) and of course Dandette got really upset and a bunch of feelings came rushing to the surface.
A few days later I ended up comforting her as she cried on the couch. She said she didn’t think she could live here anymore but she didn’t know where she could go. She said she’d always been in love with The Dandy and had always wanted him back and seeing that he was mine now just hurt too much. I hugged her and rubbed her back and wished there was something I could say. I was impressed with her for hating the situation but not hating me. She really is so much more strong and badass than I’d ever given her credit for. I mean, thanks to The Dandy covering up the fact that they’d been having sex again, there were all these times that I would visit and think “Jeez, Dandette and The Dandy broke up two fucking years ago and she’s still acting territorial, get the fuck over it already!” when in fact she either believed we were both dating him at that moment or else The Dandy had just broken her heart again and she was stuck watching him dote lovingly on me (depending on what time we’re talking about exactly). And even as The Dandy hoped Dandette and I would bond and become friends, he let me say these disparaging things about her acting weird and jealous and never once said “well, actually……..”
Anyway. Setting aside how terrible this all was for Dandette, the thing about The Dandy’s lie that affected me the most is that I sensed it. I’d see the two of them act overly familiar and I’d be like “So…you’re broken up, though, right?” and he’d say yeah, no sexual attraction at all, and then they’d get into a playfight that clearly aroused both of them and I’d quietly ask again later, “you’re really just friends?” and he’d say yeah, she was like family to him. (For that matter Dandette referred to him as her brother, once, but I think she was trying to suppress her real feelings; I don’t fault her for that or think of her as deceiving me). And I’m thinking “I don’t have siblings, but I feel like…this…isn’t….normal……..?”
It wasn’t the idea that The Dandy and Dandette might have unresolved feelings that bugged me (or…not much, anyway). It was the huge, huge gulf between the words and actions. That’s why I repeatedly asked him “but there’s really nothing going on?” – because it one hundred percent seemed like there was and The Dandy kept insisting there wasn’t and I felt like I was going crazy! It was actually a tremendous relief to learn what was actually going on. I’m not crazy. I did see sexual tension. They weren’t acting like siblings.
And it was crushing to see Dandette so sad, and it was obvious to me that The Dandy was still drawn to her in some capacity, so the next day when The Dandy and I were alone together on an errand at my old apartment I said “Look, do you love Dandette?” and he said yeah, he felt like he still did. And I told him that if he wanted to resume things with her (in addition to being with me) I’d be fine with it. I mean I’d already witnessed them being really damn couple-y; the only thing that would change if they made it official is they’d be making out and fucking again. Which would be weird for me at first but I was sure the weirdness would pass.
He said the main reason he hadn’t gotten back together with her before is that she really, really relies on sexual attention from men for validation, and he was afraid of her getting too dependent on him for that, especially since she already depends on him for food and shelter. He also said that he worried that she only wanted him because she’s kinda single right now and his dick was convenient to her. He would want to make sure her interest in him was genuine before proceeding. That’s fair. He also said, though, that in the past he’d been hesitant to get back together with her because her anxiety issues were huuuuge and he was the only one she went to for help. Now she’s in treatment and she’s got me there to help, too, so he’s not dealing with it all by himself. He said he felt like maybe they could get back together and it would work.
So we decided to talk things out with Dandette that night. Or maybe just I decided. On the way home from my old place The Dandy needed to stop by his aunt’s for a bit, so we did that. And she was very nice and it was a pleasant visit but I was antsy as fuck wanting to get out of there and have The Talk with Dandette. The Dandy didn’t seem antsy at all, and when we got home he acted perfectly normal and didn’t broach the subject of reuniting. It occurred to me that he had less reason to broach than I did; he wasn’t the one feeling like an interloper. I was stuck in the middle of their drama in a way that he kinda…wasn’t.
At any rate, we got home and said hi to Dandette and discussed what to have for dinner and Dandette declared an intention of throwing on some Futurama for us all to watch and I, with my usual deft subtlety, chose that moment to burst out with “So hey, here’s a question: you seem to rely on sex in order to feel desired, so if theoretically you and The Dandy were to get back together, but he wanted to have sex with me one night instead of you, or god forbid you guys just didn’t end up working out…how would you handle that?”
Dandette paused Netflix and sat frozen for a minute or two. Finally she slowly said to me “Are those your worms?” – she was referring to a thing The Dandy had told her in the aftermath of the Big Reveal – that he hadn’t thought it would be a good idea to have sex with her because it would “open a whole can of worms” (but then he did it anyway because lonely and desperate).
“I think they’re more The Dandy’s worms,” I said. (And yeah, I know it’s kinda bullshit that I was the one who had to pull those worms into the light. Feels like The Dandy spent a whole lot of time spinning his wheels and making excuses with Dandette after the Big Reveal, but never plainly said what was on his mind…)
When I’d been imagining this talk all afternoon, it went one of two ways: 1) Dandette agreed entirely too quickly that nah, it would be fine, we’d make it work” and then she cried and kissed The Dandy and told him she loved him and dragged him off for a reunion fuck or 2) The three of us had a really thorough, down-to-Earth talk where we made a game plan for how to make this work, and then Dandette cried and kissed The Dandy and etc. All day long I’d been bracing myself to deal with the weirdness of hearing them fuck, and also happily anticipating that moment of “OMG I never stopped loving you and now we’re back together.”
What happened instead was: I asked the question, she asked if those were my worms, I said they were more The Dandy’s than mine, and Dandette sat silently for another little while and then changed the subject. The rest of the night went as though nothing had even happened – but a day or two later I overheard her saying to someone that she and The Dandy were back together. But I know they haven’t fucked and I haven’t even seen them kiss and basically everything seems about like it was before except Dandette is less sad.
So the other day when The Dandy and I were alone, I asked “Hey, have you and Dandette talked any more about getting back together?”
“Not really,” he said.
“Because, like, we had that talk where I said that she depends on sex for validation and I asked how she would deal with that, and a little while later she started referring to the two of you as back together, but she never actually answered the question, is the thing.”
The Dandy chuckled and said “yeah.”
“And you never got a chance to talk about your other thing of whether she wants you or just convenient dick. We went straight from me asking a non-rhetorical question about relationship logistics to you guys deciding you were back together, with no discussion in between. I just feel like if this is what passes for communication between you two, there are probably gonna be some issues.”
The Dandy nodded. Then one or the other of us (I think him but I’m not sure) pointed out that there hadn’t been any sex or anything, either. We speculated as to whether Dandette was suddenly feeling a kind of “stage fright” (not wanting to screw this up because the stakes are so high) or if she only wanted The Dandy when she thought she couldn’t have him or what. We don’t know.
I encouraged him to try to have the difficult talk with her at some point (the implication being: this is your relationship, so it’s up to you to manage it; I’m not gonna mediate).
Like, I don’t care about this a lot, because our present ambiguous thing seems to be working and for the most part this is not my circus and not my monkeys. But ti’s weird. Also I’m seeing a definite pattern of The Dandy not trusting his partners to hear the truth of things, and that seems like it’s gonna be an ongoing struggle for all of us. Feh.