The day Dandette checked herself into the mental hospital, I was not in a good headspace. My own mental issues were spiking. I was freaking out at the prospect of living, indefinitely, with someone whose moods are so up-and-down. I was upset that she told The Dandy where she was going but not me. And I wanted to get out of the house before Dandette returned, just in case she was still freaking out; I couldn’t handle it.
I texted The Pedant basically begging him to come for coffee or something and comfort me. He wasn’t able to right away, and he flat-out said he was broke so I’d have to pay. That was fine by me. I took him to Swiss Chalet and he was his wonderful, comforting self.
He seems to have gotten over his previous conviction that I need him to know what anxiety is like. It’s his emotionless clarity and logic I’m after and I think he finally gets that (thank god. I was getting sick of arguing the point). I specifically told him, over big plates of chicken, that the apartment is too fraught and full of feelings right now and it was comforting to be around someone who’s kinda flat. “Does The Dandy not give you that?” he asked.
“Actually, he does. He’s not a terribly emotional person, and it’s one of the things I really like about him. But you’re a lot better at talking me down. It feels like someone told The Dandy ‘women need you to just nod and listen while they vent’ so that’s what he does – even when I am directly asking him to do specific things to help me.”
“And that’s not at all what you need.”
“Well, it has its place sometimes. But I mean sometimes my anxiety makes me unable to decide between two arbitrary choices and I’ll ask him to tell me which one to pick, just so I get unstuck, and he won’t. I asked him about this once and he said he’s afraid of having that responsibility in case the thing he picks doesn’t work out for me.”
“Ah. Whereas I don’t have that fear. I know that I’ve made the best decision I could based on the available info so there’s no use worrying about it.”
“Yeah, and you also know that I’m not gonna blame it on you if things turn out badly.”
“That, too.” And he regaled me with some stories of exes who were not so reasonable.
We talked a bit more about how I like it when someone offers suggestions etc when I talk about my problems, and that them empathizing – like, feeling my distress and reflecting it back at me, as many people would – tends to make me even more anxious and I don’t like it. I said that The Pedant consistently being there for me when I need him demonstrates to me that he cares about my well being, and that’s all the caring I need – not for him to be all caught up in whatever my problem is. He said that he’s not emotionally invested in my problems whatsoever (which, put that way, sounded a little cold) but that it is indeed important to him that I’m happy (which is maybe the first time he’s ever said that to me, and is as close to an “I love you” as I’ll probably get from him for the next few years).
OH and I guess he thinks of us as “dating” again. A while back he had asked if I was okay with us being “friends with benefits” (I guess he felt a need to differentiate me as less important than his other girlfriend?). I was like yeah, FWB, whatever. My observation with The Pedant is that once he loves someone, those feelings never actually go away, and he did tell me he loved me at one point. Certainly he was treating me exactly the same way as he ever did when he thought of me as his primary partner.
But the other night he said that he wants to introduce me to NewGirl sometime; that they both felt they should introduce any other serious partners to each other, and given how long he and I have been seeing each other, we certainly count as serious.
He also said that he mentioned to NewGirl that I have a housemate going through mental health issues that are making living here difficult for me, and she said I could crash at their place sometimes if I wanted(!). That…is amazing. I am frankly stunned by her generosity.
I asked The Pedant “If I’m over and NewGirl is there, what’s the etiquette? Do I need to not be physically affectionate with you, or…?” and he said nah, it was all totally fine(!), including us fucking in the next room where she could hear us(!). Now, The Pedant sometimes makes stupid assumptions, and also NewGirl hasn’t been poly before, so I’m not 100% believing that it’s total carte blanche. But it seems like I can at least kiss him in front of her and gauge her reaction and that she’ll probably be okay. The rest we can play by ear.
The Pedant asked if I’d like to crash at his and NewGirl’s place that night and I was tempted but ultimately said no. Too much newness (new dynamic seeing him with someone else, new bed to sleep on – in this case a shitty old single futon with no sheets because they have more apartment than furniture – new kitchen that may or may not have anything in it I can eat). I had to work the next day and needed rest. But I appreciated the offer very much.
I can’t remember what-all else we talked about during that evening (during which we sat in Swiss Chalet til it closed and then found a park to sit in some more). He just generally talked me down from my crisis and held me while I cried intermittently and managed to slip in about a thousand little compliments about my appearance, lifestyle, personality, and relationship skills (possibly the best one was something about wanting to be there for me because I’ve always been so excellent at supporting him, and when I said “I try” he replied “actually you make it look pretty effortless.”)
Oh and near then end when I was feeling substantially calmer we went on a whole segue into sex talk. I was talking about how wonderful it is to have Dandette around doing the lion’s share of cooking and cleaning. He said it’s too bad we weren’t seeing each other when I still had my stable day job (we were, actually, but Minx was still living with me so it’s moot) because he was unemployed back then and could have been my houseboy. He went on at length about how he would have unfucked my hugely cluttered, filthy apartment little-by-little and also had dinner waiting for me when I got home (“And presented it to me kneeling, in nothing but your collar” I interjected, and he gave a tiny little gasp as he is wont to do when he’s turned on. :D). He added that it’s certainly not something he felt he could do for very long. “Well, it would’ve been a hell of a month or so,” I said (honestly figuring I was pushing my luck even thinking that long). He said “Well I would have gone longer than that.” RAWR.
He walked me up to my apartment door and we kissed and I longed to fuck him but knew it wasn’t the right time and we said goodbye instead.
Inside, The Dandy was making himself cheesy garlic bread and Dandette wasn’t home yet but expected to be released shortly. I bade The Dandy make me a piece of cheesy garlic bread, too (gluten free though) which he cheerfully did. And – although The Pedant had left me feeling a lot better than I was before – I guess I still had a lot of angst, or The Pedant had distracted me with his sexiness rather than defusing my original angst, or something. Because I started venting to The Dandy about a lot of stuff and ended up in his arms, crying my fucking face off.
Somewhere int here, I mentioned to him how I’d specifically asked him for verbal comfort before to help with my anxiety and he hadn’t done it. He looked baffled and had no idea what I was talking about. I recounted the conversation and he said he just hadn’t gotten it, somehow, and that if that happens in future, just ask him again in different words.
I explained to him (not for the first time) that I have a really hard time asserting my needs in the first place when I’m anxious because AssholeBrain likes to tell me I’m a liar and a faker for attention and really there’s nothing wrong. So when I say I’m not doing well and I get no “Oh shit, how can I help?” response, I assume the other person has looked at me and assessed me to be doing just fine so I really am a faker. And I can’t – cannot – bring myself to go “Yeah but seriously though I need you.”
On an unrelated note, I also expressed guilt feelings that I was venting to him when he already had Dandette and her issues to deal with (and added that every time I’ve told someone about our household menage and they’ve said “Heh heh, lucky guy, gets to have his cake and eat it, too” I wanna punch them in the fucking face) and The Dandy was very sweet and said I’m allowed to be going through stuff and he wasn’t overwhelmed by it or anything. So I felt a lot better.
Incidentally, though, I still haven’t been sleeping well and when I came home from work this evening I told The Dandy that I thought I might need a nap after dinner to try to reset me – and that it would really help if he spooned me and petted my head for ten minutes or so, so my brain would calm down enough to maybe let me rest. And he never approached me to do this or brought it up again since.
I honestly wonder if he ever even listens to me when I’m upset or if he just sits there with a comforting expression and nods at intervals while mentally planning out what to watch next on YouTube.