Had a bit of a blowout recently with The Dandy because once again I indicated that I was stressed out and I really needed to be petted and he wanted to do other stuff first. Like, I have expressly told him numerous times that it takes TEN FUCKING MINUTES to completely reboot me via snugglepets, and that when I say I need this it means I neeeeeed it and I want him to drop whatever he’s doing if at all possible. But he keeps acting dismissive when I tell him I need him.
So the other night – after waiting for him to finish sorting through a bunch of old pen boxes to see which ones to keep and which ones to toss, and after also being so wrecked from a long day at work that The Dandy noticed I looked fucked up and asked if I was okay and I said not entirely, I was like “hey can we put on Netflix and you can pet my back?” and he said “but the kitchen and living room need cleaning.” There is no earthly reason why they needed to be cleaned right then – it was almost bedtime and he would not be using either of those rooms until he got home from work the following evening. There’s also no earthly reason why he couldn’t have attended to my needs for ten minutes and then obsessed on cleaning. Also, literally two minutes before this, I’d begun to bag up the pen boxes he’d decided to get rid of and he told me not to. And yet when I asked for his company and pettings, he suddenly needed the boxes cleared out right away. WTF.
If I feel vulnerable and mistrustful with someone, I can’t get to the catharsis I need even if they do pet me. And The Dandy making it clear that he didn’t really care about bringing me out of my state of stress made me not want him to anymore. I mean I couldn’t get stress relief out of it if I thought he was petting me bedrudgingly instead of out of love and a need to make me feel better.
And I’m just so angry that I consistently spell out exactly what I need from him and why and he still doesn’t do it. But hey, technically the only one responsible for my well-being is me. So I went and took a bath, instead, to try to bring myself down. It doesn’t work as well as being petted but it’s something. And I locked the bathroom doors (it’s the kind of bathroom that’s got a door to the master bedroom and another door to the hall) because I was fuming mad at The Dandy and wanted to be alone.
After I’d lain there soaking for a while, The Dandy tried to barge through first one door, then the other (hello, maybe that first one was locked for a reason). Finally he said my name and I was like WHAT and he asked if he could come in.
There seemed to be no point in throwing a tantrum and telling him no, so I reached up and unlocked the nearest door.
He silently sat on the toilet lid and started petting my back and, like the time before, I eventually started to cry but in anger, not release. And suddenly it occurred to me that a whole bunch of stuff had been bothering me for a long time; stuff along the same theme.
I told him that I try to give him the things he wants and needs but tbh I don’t feel like I’m getting it back. I actively work at learning what he needs in various situations. He has some things that bug him – no real reason, they just do – and I do my best to avoid doing these things because I want him to be happy. Meanwhile, I’ve told him numerous times to please stop leaving cupboard doors open in the kitchen because there’s a good chance I’ll end up hitting my head on one of them at some point. It’s not an “ugh, this drives me crazy” thing, it’s an “I don’t want to gash my fucking head open” safety issue. And he still can’t remember.
I’ve told him numerous times to please take two seconds to fill dirty cat dishes with water so that by the time I’m loading the dishwasher, the dried cat food crud will just slide right out when I dump the water – otherwise I’ll have to either scrub the dishes to get the chunks off (the dishwasher won’t do it) or leave them to soak, thus cluttering the kitchen when I’m trying to make it clean. The Dandy hates clutter, too, and one would hope he doesn’t love the idea of making more work for me. But he still doesn’t soak the cat dishes.
There have been a bunch of times recently when I accidentally hurt myself – bent a fingernail back or stubbed my toe or something – and The Dandy heard a thwack and me squealing in pain but didn’t come see what was up or even call out “are you okay?”
We’ve had a bunch of times when I told him I was anxious and needed his help in some specific way and he didn’t provide it, either because he had something else he felt like doing instead or because somehow he thought “I need you to do X now” didn’t mean I was in fact requesting him to do X now.
We’ve been together now for over a year and he still doesn’t know how I want to be touched – almost every single time he pets me, he plunks the whole weight of his hand onto me and starts moving it back and forth and I have to say “lighter…lighter…LIGHTER…” until he’s finally giving me the kind of soft stroking with fingertips that I actually crave.
And as usual, The Dandy sat there silent while I aired my grievances. Which is par for the course – I know that he needs time to process things before he feels ready to address them* – but this brings another issue to mind: I have told him eleventy billion times that even if he can’t actually discuss my issues when I first bring them up, I at least need to feel validated. I need him to apologize or say “I can see why this would upset you” or something. But he still doesn’t do this. I know he has a really hard time ever saying “I’m sorry” so I found him a fucking article about things a person can say that are more important than “sorry” (repeating back what the problem is so it’s clear you understand, talking about how you’ll do better next time, etc) and sent him the link but he doesn’t do any of that, either.
And like I’m totally spoon-feeding him what I want and how to give it to me and some alternatives in case some of the things I want are too hard and he’s still not doing it and how much of this relationship am I supposed to fucking carry?
The Artist is on his way over to provide me with snugglepets. More on this bullshit with The Dandy later.
*And I only found this out after the eightieth time he appeared to be staring belligerently at me while I explained something that was bothering me – not answering me even if I said “WHY WON’T YOU SAY ANYTHING” – and finally it dawned on me to ask if he just needed time to think about shit, and he said yes. And said that it would work well to air my issues and then give him a few days before I ask him about them again. And when I was like “Okay but could you be the one to initiate follow-up because I don’t want to feel like I’m doing all the work here” he was like “I might forget though.” Because why would he possibly remember that I’m upset and work on fixing it, right? HA HA HA MADNESS.