Plz read the previous post (or two) for context if you haven’t already.
Are you caught up? Ok so The Pedant texted me that we probably have some things we should discuss, and I said to go ahead. And he sent me an email with all the excuses and background stories I’d asked not to hear. Like seriously I don’t caaaaaare about any of that. I was perceiving him as acting like he was taking me for granted so I told him how to act so I wouldn’t feel that way anymore. Simples. But he’s always gotta drag a bunch more shit into it.
And some of the points in his email are making me want to give rebuttals, but if I did, we’d probably just end up bitching at each other over nitpicky shit and nothing productive would come of it. So maybe I need to just swallow my feelings here. I dunno.
Also I’m realizing there are a lot of issues here that probably can’t be solved. Nobody’s fault, just incompatibility.
But I want to keep on seeing him so I guess I’m hoping for you guys to give me some advice on how to…detach, or something? And/or advice on what actually to say to him, or if there even is anything to say?
Here’s a transcription of the email, interspersed with my thoughts:
I think we should probably discuss the fact that you assumed that I wouldn’t be around if you needed help, instead of asking me when you did.
I mean…that’s not my proudest moment. But I don’t think you can blame me for being reticent, either. Again: I’ve been asking for more time with him for years, off and on. The Pedant always seems to come over for days at a time and I do love those epic visits but the stretches in between are long, so I’ve asked him if he could drop by in-between times, on occasion. Like just come over for a few hours after work instead of always waiting until he had numerous days off in a row. My apartment is pretty much on his route home anyway; stopping by after work would be pretty convenient for him. He doesn’t, though. He’s said or implied that work leaves him too drained to visit me – when I ask to see him, he’ll automatically say “I don’t have a day off until next week” or whatever, as though coming over after work is simply not possible – but I know he’s gone to concerts after work. He’s gone to concerts after working a twelve hour shift and and then worked another twelve hour shift the next day, even. And these days his shifts are just eight hours.
And ever since he moved out of his parents’ place and in with Raver Chick he constantly seems to have plans with her or stuff that needs doing around the house; basically, The Pedant has trained me into waiting for him to suggest visits because pretty much every single time I suggest one, he begs off due to Raver Chick stuff. When I wanted to drop off furniture for him, his first response (after asking for a picture of it) was “When were you thinking of coming by? Raver Chick and I were planning to take a walk today to see the fall colours. We’re going to be gone for at least three hours.” Soon after that he amended this and said that if I just kept him apprised of when I was coming he’d make sure to be home. But seriously, I offer him free furniture, delivered in a van that The Dandy had rented for that day only and wasn’t asking The Pedant to chip in for, and The Pedant’s very first instinct was to act like our largesse was intruding on his time with his girlfriend.
If he won’t come over to fuck me for an evening, and can barely be arsed to tear himself away from Raver Chick in order to accept free stuff that he desperately needs, then why in the fuck would I think he would drop everything to come comfort me when I’m sad?
(Okay, he did come by for comfort once, when shit with Dandette was hitting the fan. Lately there isn’t any concrete terribleness in my life that I’m dealing with, though. I’m just clinically depressed and need to be spooned a lot. I don’t know that he’d rank that as enough of an emergency to bother with.)
While we’re at it we should discuss the fact that I had thought it went without saying that I’d be contracting you to decorate furniture and didn’t think you’d expect me to be fishing for freebies (frankly, I didn’t notice the look on your face which you thought I saw during that conversation).
Yeeeeah I call bullshit on that. How it went down was, The Pedant was weaseling around, ogling whatever piece of furniture we’d most recently found in the garbage room and going on and on about “If you ever see anything down there that you think Raver Chick and I would like…or if you see anything you would like and you decide to get rid of something you already have in order to make room for it…” nudge-nudge wink-wink, and then he said “I bet it would even be fun for you to decorate whatever you find! Like paint it and put new knobs on like you did for those dressers in your room. You could have creative freedom to do whatever you wanted and really turn it into a piece of art.” He was really hardcore trying to talk up how much fun this would be for me in a way that nobody feels the need to do when they’re fairly compensating you. And he was using a fake-cheery voice like when you’re taking your dog to the vet: “You wanna go for a ride in the car? Let’s go for a ride in the car!”
I was kind of speechless and just stammered and stared at him, and then he said “…I mean, I’d pay you, of course.” But I really do not believe that The Pedant – who’s been living with Raver Chick for I think two years now and hasn’t managed to get to a fucking Ikea and spend $100 on a dresser in all that time, who literally keeps his clothes in garbage bags on the floor and is trying to cadge free furniture off me, who couldn’t get his shit together to get a free mattress I offered him before, presumably because it would cost money to transport it to his place – I do not believe this man was mentioning me refurbishing free dressers for him with intent to pay me. I believe he was just continuing to try to weasel free stuff.
We should probably also discuss the fact that I wasn’t told that you wanted me to make a social call on that Saturday and was instead told that you needed my assistance to reorganize your place.
No, Pedant. What happened was, I’d asked if you could come help us with some furniture-moving sometime, and added that there was a bookcase in it for you, and you said “not for the next two weekends because I have plans with Raver Chick” (notice how, automatically, worknights are out of the question for some reason).
Then, a few days later on a Friday, you abruptly said “Did you still need help? Because my plans for tomorrow night got cancelled.” I said that The Dandy had a social engagement so that wouldn’t work, but thank you anyway. Then you said “So, will you be home alone tomorrow night, then?” and I tingled with anticipation and told you that I would. And you said “I’ll try to call you, then.”
(Is this even worth addressing with him for real, though?)
You and I may want to discuss the fact that my reduced spending on you has been a result of my own poor financial situation rather than lack of desire to treat you (there have been several months out of the last year during which I paid the entire rent on the apartment which I share with Raver Chick because her hours were cut).
This is where a lot of complicated feelings come up. Let me try to parse them out in a way that they make sense.
- This was exactly the bullshit I did not want. I specifically requested no excuses or background stories. Really, his whole email has a really catty tone and seems to be trying to circumvent my express wishes to keep this simple. I suppose he feels accused of things; is it unfair of me to cut him off and insist he not address that or try to justify himself?
- My main tenet, in being poly, is to focus on whether my needs are being met. I try not to rubberneck at a partner’s other relationships and get all twisted up over what he’s giving to them but not to me. I knew The Pedant has been pretty poor lately, so even though I missed him taking me out and generally contributing, I gave him a pass. But then he rubbed it in my face that he was taking Raver Chick places – by borrowing money from me to do it. Big places: a music festival in another city and an expensive local concert. And, like, I don’t even want to go to music festivals and concerts (this upcoming concert being a very rare exception). I don’t want the actual things he’s giving to Raver Chick. But I do want him to want to be interested in treating and impressing me, and the fact that he can’t find the odd few bucks to do stuff with/for me when he’s over but he’ll happily use hundreds of dollars he doesn’t even have (from me, did I mention he borrowed the money from me, his other partner? DID I?!?!?) to take his girlfriend on a special vacation and then to see her favourite band like a week later…it hurts. I had assumed that, because he was pretty poor, he just wasn’t going anywhere, but obviously I was mistaken; he’s simply picking and choosing. And he’s not choosing me.
- To be clear, this isn’t (just) about me wanting some old-school chivalry or whatever. I mean Acts of Service are a huge Love Language for me, and someone getting food for me is very much a part of that, but no. There’s also the fact that The Pedant only comes here for visits lasting several days at a time, and he used to chip in for groceries during these visits but now he doesn’t. I get the feeling he feels like he can do this now with no impact to me because I live with The Dandy, who makes a ton of money. But I am not wallowing in riches over here; I am simply getting by comfortably instead of being in a perpetual state of desperation. The Dandy pays the lion’s share of rent and groceries, which has allowed me to work less and now I’m not in huge chronic pain anymore, yay. But it’s not like I’m a kept woman or something; I still mostly live off my own finite, actually-quite-a-bit-smaller-than-before income. When The Pedant comes over and I go buy salad greens and deli chicken for us and a bunch of the sodas he likes, that’s a noticeable dent in my disposable cash. And if I don’t buy those things and The Pedant just eats whatever already happened to be around, it’s technically pretty much The Dandy who’s feeding him. Which is okay, I guess – The Dandy is a pleasant host who doesn’t mind feeding guests, up to a point – but I just really feel like The Pedant sees it like The Dandy has infinite money so it’s okay to sponge off him (and okay to sponge off me because I’m in close proximity to that money). I do not like that. Also, it’s my condoms, lube, and gloves The Pedant and I use and that shit adds up. And on a less material note he also expects me to do all the work of setting up bondage gear, laying out/charging toys, etc etc, and doesn’t ever offer to clean the toys afterward (and won’t clean them even when I’ve specifically asked) so yeah, things felt a bit more balanced when he was at least contributing some cash or outings to the relationship. But seriously, if he were at home instead of with me he’d have to eat for those two or three days anyway, and he manages to consistently feed himself. Sooooo maybe he can feed himself at my place, too.
- Do you know why I consistently have money in the bank to lend The Pedant? Because I rigorously save money by not going places I want to go or buying things I want to buy, and by always, always bringing food with me from home instead of buying more expensive stuff while I’m out and about. I’m a painfully anxious person who needs a nest egg in order to feel secure, so I sacrificed, hard, in order to accrue one. I continue sacrificing, in fact, because the nest egg isn’t as big as I want yet. Lending out a chunk of that nest egg compromises that feeling of security and I feel anxious and untethered. Lending out a chunk of that nest egg so The Pedant and his other girlfriend can go do fun stuff when I rarely allow myself fun stuff feels even worse. I’ve had a double mattress on a queen size bed frame for several years now because a mattress is a big expense and I keep putting off upgrading. I had quite a few years where I owned one bra. But The Pedant feels free to borrow money from me to go to a music festival, and then a week or two later there’s a concert he wants to take Raver Chick to but he doesn’t have the money because he just paid me back for the music festival so he borrows money from me for that. And he and Raver Chick have no furniture – presumably because they won’t stop spending all their money on fucking concerts and music festivals* – so The Pedant asks me to find him some free furniture. Dude has the impulse control of a fucking toddler – like hey, maybe if there are two different events you want to go to but you have no money, just don’t go, or pick one to go to and put it on your credit card and don’t go to another event until you’ve paid that off. But no. The Pedant needs to have all the shinies NOW NOW NOW and somehow I ended up being the mommy figure he thinks he can grovel to whenever he wants something and I’ll just reach into my endless bag-o’-plenty and provide for him. It’s gross and I hate it.
- Really, a lot of my angst is coming from me, not him. I get emotionally invested in the people I love. When The Pedant tells me he doesn’t have furniture and all his shit’s in bags on the floor, it stresses me out. It seems to stress me out more than it stresses him out, really, otherwise he probably would’ve skipped a few concerts and made an Ikea run by now. But my point is, I hate thinking of him living that way and it creates a bunch of pressure in my brain and I wanna bail him out. But then something will happen like me saying “Okay! I’m ready to give up my old mattress, come get it” and he doesn’t and then I obsess over that because I AM OFFERING HIM A SOLUTION AND HE’S NOT TAKING IT and it just stresses me out even more. I get all emotionally involved in the drama. It stressed me out when he asked for money for the music festival and the concert, too. Raver Chick seems to be an impulsive, scatterbrained procrastinator who exacerbates all of those same issues in The Pedant to a point where the two of them as a unit are useless fucking idiots, but I do like her. I didn’t want to be the reason why she couldn’t go on vacation with The Pedant, or see her favourite band on her birthday. So I let myself feel pressured into stuff because I don’t know how to let go and just be like “Yeah no I don’t feel like lending you money for the concert. If it was so important to you to go to this, you shouldn’t have spent all that money on the music festival.” I mean I guess I’m drawing some boundaries now by saying “don’t ever borrow money from me” and “stfu about furniture.” But I’m still gonna probably be thinking about The Pedant and Raver Chick and their shitty life skills. Actually I may have to set a boundary of The Pedant not even talking to me about his life – even when he doesn’t have the balls to ask me for stuff outright, he’ll tell me sob stories and make big puppydog eyes at me hoping I’ll take his hints and bail him out. Most of the time that I lent him money, back in the day, was because he just hinted super strongly about it. Only when I began to feel irritated by the imposition and refuse to take the hint did he actually learn to ask. Or, not even ask; I suppose asking feels too vulnerable. He has a truly unfortunate habit of phrasing his requests like he’s giving instructions to an underling: “I’m gonna need you to pay my cell phone bill for me because I’m broke and also don’t have time to go to the kiosk myself.” “I’m gonna need to borrow thirty bucks until my next paycheque.” Fuck off.
- But if I tell him not to tell me any details about his life (not the bad stuff, anyway) is it even really a relationship anymore though?
We should definitely discuss the fact that you concluded that you were being treated as an afterthought when I have in fact spent more quality time with you than I have with Raver Chick in the past year.
Well, “quality time” is relative, isn’t it, Pedant? She gets to sleep next to you every night. She gets to kiss you every day. She has many, many more opportunities to fuck you than I do, and she doesn’t have to use condoms. Also you recently went to a music festival together that lasted for days. Also you recently went to an expensive concert together. Also you recently took a three-hour walk together just to be together and look at the fall foliage. Also when I asked about you helping me rearrange some furniture you said you had plans with her for the next two weekends. Also Raver Chick posted a video on Facebook of the two of you enjoying [local tourist attraction] together. And you’ve mentioned a number of other outings you’ve had with her.
But that’s just me being irritated that you’re probably lying to me (or at least displaying some selection bias). Really, I don’t care how much “quality time” you and Raver Chick have together, aside from a sort of vague wish for the two of you to be happy. Like honestly, why are you telling me this as if I’m supposed to give a shit? Because, see, whether you spend every waking moment with Raver Chick or only five minutes a year, it doesn’t change the fact that I want more time with you than I’ve been getting. That’s the issue I’m looking to solve here – getting my own needs met. Hence my phrasing it as “can you see me more often y/n.”
If you and Raver Chick also have issues of time management, that’s your problem and has nothing to do with me. You live together – you have constant access to each other, by default, any time neither of you is at work – so really if you’ve managed not to have “quality time” then you have colossally fucked up. I’m not sure why you’re telling me about it like it has any relevance to my complaint.
That’s it, that’s his whole email and my thoughts about it (unless more thoughts come up, which they probably will).
What do I even do with this? Are any of my rebuttals worth telling him or would that just send us into a big endless blame-spiral?
Also, can I just say, The Pedant believes that he’s purely logical and not emotional at all but this whole email is just him being pouty and hurt that I assumed/deduced things about him that he doesn’t like. But I know he’ll never, ever admit this. And that’s irritating as fuck.
*I kid, I kid. They’ve also spent $70 at a second-hand bookstore that was having a closing sale (that would have bought an Ikea Billy bookcase to store the books they already have that are piled all over the floor, but okay, sure, more books seems like a great idea) and god knows how much more money on Hallowe’en decorations (I know for a fact that The Pedant spent $150 last year just on a bunch of those lights that project patterns on the wall, and this year he’s been basically hoarding skull and/or pumpkin-shaped candle holders). Also, The Pedant buys himself lunch and beverages at the mall where he works, every single day. I managed to throw some shit in a bag even when I was so overworked I felt on the verge of some huge mental or physical breakdown, and he works a normal 8-hour day and doesn’t have any problems with his energy levels, but for him bringing a lunch is too harrrrrrrd. 😥