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…Well fuck.

I didn’t mention this before because obviously there were far bigger things afoot but I had a first date with someone from FetLife recently.

There wasn’t any visceral attraction – not on my end, anyway. But he’s cute and interesting and we have compatible relationship goals. I felt like maybe if we hung out more, things could bloom, or at the very least I’d have a new friend.

This guy, though, lives in a neighbouring city, so in order to come see me, he has to pay for the train. And he’s pretty poor.

Last night we made plans to hang out a second time. The plans were for today. But I woke up to a message from him, apologizing profusely and telling me he was too broke to come into the city and could we meet up in a few days when he’ll be here for a doctor’s appointment anyway.

Initially I said okay. Then I got more and more irritated by him cancelling and messaged “Okay I have to ask: you didn’t realize you were broke twelve hours ago when we made these plans?”

I mean…what could possibly have happened there? I figure it has to be either a) he went out someplace last night and spent all his money, even though he knew he was supposed to come see me today and that this would require train fare at the very least or b) he has a bit of cash to last him a while but he miscalculated and realized he needs to use it for things other than seeing me today.

Either way it just feels like The Pedant all over again, making me pay the price for his lack of foresight.

The guy responded to me. He didn’t tell me specifically what had happened but by inference I guess it was my option (b). He said that he assumed if he turned down too many opportunities with me I’d get bored and drift, and that he really did believe that he could manage to make our plan work, but then he realized he couldn’t. And he said that in general he is awfully poor and it’s hard for him to maintain friendships/relationships with people because of it.

Canceled plans are a pet peeve of mine, as are men who don’t know their limitations – they’ll overextend themselves for fear of disappointing me, but then fuck it all up so I’m disappointed anyway, when saying “no” to whatever it was upfront would have been far less hurtful.

I wrote the guy back and told him that by horrible coincidence I’d just broken up with one of my partners, for reasons including inconsistent plan-keeping and screwing me over via mismanagement of his money, so our canceled plans today kinda hit me right in the baggage and I think I need to not pursue an in-person connection with him, at least for a while.

He actually took it very well, considering his fear of me losing interest in him if he didn’t say yes to every outing I proposed was exactly coming true. He said that he is working on fixing his financial situation so hopefully it won’t always be like this, and I can feel free to reach out to him again if or when I feel able.

Class act, this guy. Too bad he lives so far away.

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Funny.

I told The Dandy about my response to The Pedant (including, by necessity, a bunch of context about how he reacts when I tell him I’m having issues in the relationship).

Fascinatingly, The Dandy says that The Pedant behaves the exact same way in political arguments online (I’m not super into discussions about politics so this is not a side of him I’ve really seen): people will explain what they believe and why and he’ll attack them and scream that they’re wrong without actually having any concrete reasons why they’re wrong. We’re all just supposed to believe that a thing is wrong because The Pedant said so.

So, that’s darkly hilarious. Also sad because a relationship is not an online debate and it’s pretty stunted of him to treat it as one.

Also, the main reason I even tell The Pedant how his actions come across to me is because he asked me to. I mean when we were first seeing each other he said that he’s on the spectrum and often doesn’t understand other people’s feelings and thought processes, and that people have cut him out of their lives without him ever knowing why. He requested that if I ever wanted to stop seeing him, to at least tell him why so he can know what he did. I thought I’d go one better and explain what was happening before I quite got to the point of wanting to leave, so that he could understand and have a chance to fix it. I give him the details of my feelings because I’m under the impression that I’m educating the poor little Aspie boy about how most people’s perceptions work. And despite him having literally asked me to do this, he takes it not as education but as a challenge to poke holes, play Devil’s Advocate, and prove to me that my feelings are wrong.

When I’ve had more minor issues with him, I’ll often just skip the reasons and go straight to “hey could you not to X? It bugs the shit out of me. Kthx” and he has said “Oh, okay” and stopped doing X, no problem. So now I’m thinking that I made a huge tactical mistake in giving him the feelings/context that he specifically requested from me, and that all of my big “relationship issue” emails would have been better received if I’d simply pared them down to the part where I tell him what I need and ask if he can do it.

I really want to tell him this – that I was providing background because he claimed to want me to so he’d understand, so it’s bullshit that he then treated it as a challenge to a debate. But my last email ended with a pretty solid mic drop and I don’t want to undercut it by being all “AND ANOTHER THING…!”

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I finally responded.

Here’s what I wrote in response to The Pedant’s last email:

So, looking back on our major relationship conflicts over the years, there’s a distinct pattern:

  1. I mention that certain incidents/behaviours/etc have been making me unhappy because they appear – on the surface – to indicate that you don’t value me highly. Not accusing you of ACTUALLY NOT VALUING ME or of hurting me on purpose, mind you. Just explaining how things come across to me.
  2. I give you a list of concrete, actionable things you can do that will make the problem entirely go away. No hinting, no passive aggression, just: you have not been doing the thing, I need the thing, please do the thing.
  3. You write back a deluge of gaslighting and excuses with no acknowledgement of my feelings or apology for your actions having hurt me (And don’t address my stated needs, IIRC, except for this time).

So, okay. If you accidentally step on someone’s foot and they flinch and say “ow,” you don’t tell them that you DIDN’T step on their foot, right? And you don’t give a lengthy explanation for WHY you stumbled and stepped on them, expecting that this will make anything better. You just APOLOGIZE. Your intent is irrelevant, your reasons are irrelevant, the point is someone got hurt because of something you did, and you feel bad about it, so you say you’re sorry.

AFTER the apology, it’s okay or possibly even helpful to give further insights – to rehash things and tell your side. But when you skip the apology and launch immediately into backstory and excuses it just comes off like you care more about proving me wrong than you do about me hurting.

I’m not playing along. I will not be baited into picking over the minutiae of our every interaction in hopes of proving to you that my hurt is valid so you’ll finally acknowledge it. I know that’s not ever how any of this ends.

So, look – you win. I believe, truly, that your intentions have always been above reproach and that I just misinterpret you sometimes. I genuinely believe that even if your actions LOOK exactly like the actions of someone who takes their partner for granted, the likeness is coincidental and you don’t in fact feel that way.

…Of course, this changes absolutely nothing on my end. I’ve still been sitting here for god knows how many months stuck in hurtful misunderstandings and not getting my relationship needs met with you, and you haven’t expressed even a modicum of sorrow or regret over this.

But the important thing is that you WON.

I need to not talk to you for a while.

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I know that The Pedant is waiting for a response to that email (he even asked me via text the other day to please respond to it soon, which makes me wanna punch him in the dick). But I keep opening it and staring at it and then just…closing it again.

I’ve decided that I need a break from him. Whether the break will end up being permanent or just serve as time to get my head together, revise my expectations of him, and give him time to miss me, I don’t know. So I’ve been composing various responses in my head by way of letting him know I need time apart. One of my imaginary responses explained it by saying “an apology is lovely but doesn’t automatically make me stop feeling upset, so…” and then I realized, oops, he hasn’t given me an apology. He’s just acted pissy that I could possibly have interpreted his actions the way I did.

And that’s part of the problem. Intent doesn’t matter. Impact does. If you accidentally step on someone’s foot and it hurts them, you apologize. You don’t protest that you didn’t mean to hurt them so they’re not allowed to be upset. You don’t claim that it never happened at all, or demand that they feel bad for telling you that you hurt them. You just apologize.

Also, though, as much as The Pedant is trying to gaslight me that my feeling of being low priority is all in my head, it’s…kind of objectively not? The fact of the matter is: The Pedant has free time, but doesn’t choose to spend it on me. He has some disposable cash, but doesn’t choose to spend it on me.* And he BORROWED. MONEY. FROM. ME. TO. TAKE. HIS. GIRLFRIEND. OUT.

And – wow. In looking for that post I linked up there, I read through the details of the first time I broke up with The Pedant and it jumped out at me how similar that was to this whole…thing happening now. Just like this time, I wrote him an email saying “Your actions look a lot like the actions of someone who’s not that into me and it’s upsetting me. Here is what I need from you to be less upset, can you do it y/n?” and he wrote back a bunch of excuses with no apology.

The other major time things went sideways for us (the thing with the fucking keys) was pretty much the same: I basically said “the way you’re super late every time you come over to see me makes it feel like you can’t be looking forward to seeing me all that much and/or you don’t value my time. What would make me feel better is if you worked on the lateness and also made copies of my housekeys that you already have and refuse to use (because pink) so you can let yourself in. Can you do that y/n?” which triggered a furious stream of gaslighty bullshit from him.

You would think that my habit of spoon-feeding a partner concrete, actionable steps for how to make me happy would make conflict resolution nice and simple, but apparently not. I shudder to think how things went for The Pedant with girlfriends who were neurotypical and not so self-aware.

So…yeah. The Pedant has been pretty good at making small changes I’ve requested from time to time, but when big stuff happens, he loses his damn mind and is useless. And for the time being at least I am done.

 

 

*He’s addicted to Hallowe’en decorations and has happily told me about his various “scores” this year – a pumpkin-shaped glass candle holder that was on clearance for just $30, some skulls made from recycled glass, etc etc etc. And of course last Hallowe’en there was the $150 or so he spent on projection lights. And he mentions getting smoothies from Booster Juice most days that he works. And he still goes to concerts a fairish bit – like, small local bands where entry is $20 or so, but I’m just saying. He’s not so poor that he never ever has money to spend on non-essentials. It’s just that when he does have cash, his first thought isn’t “let’s take Cowgirl to dinner, or at least chip in for the groceries she buys when I’m over.” It’s “Oooooh, glass pumpkin on sale!”

 

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Well fuck you too then.

Nobody likes sudden pain out of nowhere – I realize this – but it seems to freak me out more than it does a lot of other people. And one specific thing that happened before and sent me into a panic attack was my cat, Bastardcat, jumping from the floor to the couch and landing directly on my shins with his claws out. I hadn’t even realized he was close by or about to jump up – just suddenly it was like knives fell out of the sky and onto my legs. And it sent me straight into a panic attack but I knew that if I tried to pull away from the terrible sensations, Bastardcat would probably scramble to keep his balance and the clawing would get even worse. So I froze, hyperventilating and screaming Bastardcat’s name until he got off me, and then I cried and cried and cried. And The Dandy came in because he heard me crying, and I told him what had happened, and he comforted me. So my point is, there’s precedent of me panicking over a cat jumping up on me, and The Dandy is well aware of this.

Last night a similar incident happened while I lay on The Dandy’s bed and he was just a few feet away on the computer. Bastardcat jumped from the floor onto my shins, and although his claws weren’t out (or at least not all the way out) this time, it still scared the living hell out of me and there was still that knowledge that if I moved I’d probably get clawed by accident. BastardCat decided to walk around on my legs for awhile before finally moseying off elsewhere, so basically I was trapped under the threat of imminent pain with no way to safely escape it. I wasn’t actually crying this time because BastardCat hadn’t hurt me per se, but I was panic-breathing and kind of wailing BastardCat’s name in terror repeatedly, and The Dandy was right there, perfectly aware that all of this was happening, and didn’t pick the fucking cat up off me!

Later, in my own room, I asked The Dandy why he didn’t intervene. He had no real answer for me and I am just so exasperated and pissed off and disappointed. Every now and then he intuits a thing I need and just does it (like the time he could tell I was on the verge of a panic attack and figured I was hangry so he fed me), but for the most part I feel like I have to ask him specifically for what I need, every single time. That I have to pull myself together enough to be articulate even if I’m panicking hard or so depressed I can barely move. And it fucking sucks.

Like, I’ve explicitly told The Dandy a ton of different things about how my brain and body work and given him an overview of what I need at different times*. And I’ve told him that the more my mental health goes sideways, the harder it is for me to ask for help. But he either can’t or won’t notice what’s going on with me and put two and two together by himself.

The dream would be to have a boyfriend who comes up to me and proactively says “I know you haven’t been sleeping well lately. D’you want me to throw something on Netflix and pet your head for a while?” (Netflix and head-pets are the best thing in the whole world for putting me to sleep and I’ve told him this.) Instead I have to ask The Dandy for it and half the time he never gets around to it.

The whole time I was confronting The Dandy about not rescuing me from the cat, he had a belligerent, defensive expression. It got to a point where I was…maybe not yelling, but being pretty emphatic, anyway, saying things like “I mean what the fuck, you just sat there!” and “am I always going to have to specifically ask for every single thing I need, even if it’s blindingly obvious? Jesus, would you even put me out if I were on fire?!?” and finally The Dandy just walked right out of the room without a word. I know he does this when he’s mad and trying not to say something he’ll regret. On one hand I figure it’s just as well because I would not have liked seeing him angry. On the other hand I wonder just what the fuck he thought he needed to say to me. As far as I’m concerned there was no reasonable cause for him to be pissy at me; he was objectively shitty earlier and I was calling him out on it.

A while later (like 10-15 min) The Dandy came back into my room with a completely pleasant demeanor to tell me some cute thing the cats had just done. I acknowledged that he’d spoken and then went back to doing stuff on my laptop. In my peripheral vision I saw The Dandy continue to stand there, awkwardly. I looked up again and he gave me a smile and maybe tried to shoot the shit a little bit, but didn’t say anything at all about our recent little blowout. So…I guess that’s code for “you’re right, I’m sorry, do you still like me?”?

I’m so tired.

So very, very tired.

 

 

*admittedly I never explicitly said “if I’m freaking the fuck out because a cat jumped on me then take the fucking cat off” though. Silly, silly me.

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Meanwhile, at home…

When I moved in with The Dandy, there was a dog in the household (and there still is).

Here is how that happened (forgive me if I’ve told this story before; if I did, I couldn’t find it).

Dandette has a sister who is a drug-addicted trainwreck. The sister had a small child and a small dog and was trainwrecking too hard to properly care for either of them. So (years ago, when Dandette and The Dandy were living together romantic-like and he and I weren’t together yet) Dandette’s parents gave her a fucked up and totally unenforceable ultimatum: you and your boyfriend are required to take either the kid or the dog off our hands. Pick one.

Instead of telling them to go fuck themselves, Dandette actually brought this ultimatum to The Dandy. He said no to both options, but she was afraid to stand up to her parents so she was like “Please oh please let’s just take the dog I promise I’ll feed it and walk it and take care of it pleeeeease?!?” and The Dandy ultimately caved.

(Predictably, Dandette didn’t take care of the dog. Not good care, anyway, and not consistently. This freaky big-bladder doggo can go a full 24-30 hours in-between relieving herself, and we know this because at some point Dandette slacked off on walking her to a point where doggo was only going out to shit and piss once a day and not seeming adversely affected by it. Doggo is the kind of dog where her hair keeps on growing and growing and needs to be brushed and trimmed regularly, but Dandette didn’t do it or stopped doing it or whatever and when I finally took the shears to doggo I discovered that most of her coat had pretty much matted into a solid piece of felt. Doggo’s toenails – once I’d plowed through enough of her overgrown foot-fur to see them – were ludicrously long.)

Now, I love dogs. But I straight-up do not want the responsibility of caring for one. It is not a thing I would choose for myself, at all, at this point in my life.

Also TBH even if I wanted a dog, I wouldn’t have chosen this one. I like big, short-haired dogs who require minimal physical maintenance and are smart AF. Doggo is a sweet but utterly stupid pile of disgusting-looking tangled fur and fucked-up teeth.

But when I first moved in, Dandette did the majority of the dog walking and in theory was going to groom doggo any minute now, for real, so whatever.

Then Dandette moved out, thus leaving doggo with two people who never actually wanted her. And despite being all “Oh don’t even worry, she’ll be my dog and I’ll take care of her and you won’t have to worry about a thing, please let’s just tell my parents we’ll take the dog,” Dandette hasn’t said a single peep since moving out about bringing Doggo to live with her. No arrangements made of any kind.

So The Dandy and I want to rehome Doggo.

I felt conflicted about this at first. I fiercely believe that taking on an animal is a lifetime responsibility and that people who ditch their animals are scum. Butttttttt. The Dandy never technically agreed to take care of a dog* and I definitely didn’t – I got thrown into this situation with no say in the dog factor. And because neither of us wants to be taking care of a dog at all right now, we both kind of resent her for existing, so we’re…not particularly affectionate with her. She’s just kind of there.

Doggo deserves a home with someone who actively wants a dog and is happy to have her around. I have come to the conclusion that rehoming her is in fact the kindest thing to do. I am ready and willing to start actively putting word out to my responsible, dog-loving friends that we have a doggo up for grabs.

Except I realized that the first thing anyone will wanna do (understandably!) is confirm that doggo is healthy and we’re not trying to pawn off an animal who will immediately cost them shitloads of money. And doggo hasn’t been to the vet since I’ve been living here – over a year – so she’s overdue for her checkup and shots. Also from a marketing standpoint it would really, really be a smart move to get her professionally groomed so she looks as appealing and cute as possible.

I told The Dandy that I would start hardcore looking for new humans for doggo just as soon as he takes her to the vet to get her shots etc. And he’s waffling about it. Like he clearly resents doggo so much that even doing this one boring chore so we can get her out of our home forever is making him all balky n shit.

All of this to say that last night I brought it up again. It came up at that point that doggo has never been to the vet in all the years that The Dandy and Dandette had her, so The Dandy assumes she’ll probably have a ton of stuff wrong with her that he’ll then have to pay for. He grumbled “Ugh, why should I have to spend time and money on this dog because the person who was supposed to take care of her couldn’t be bothered?”

I assume he meant it rhetorically but I was pretty pissed by then and said “Because you probably knew even back then that Dandette was incompetent at adulting but you agreed to take a living creature into your household anyway because you didn’t have the balls to tell her no?” And then (or maybe this part came first) I ranted about how completely fucking irresponsible it is not to immunize a dog who regularly goes outside and interacts with other dogs. I feel like there’s a little bit of leeway with immunizing indoor cats (although I still do it) but not so much with an animal that goes outside.

Amazingly, The Dandy didn’t get pissy or defensive. I don’t think he said anything at all in response (but like not in a silent-treatment way, just in a regular having-nothing-to-say way). And a bit later when I said that I want to shear doggo but am dreading it because she hates it and needs to be repeatedly chased/corralled/pinned down and also snaps at my hands/arms, The Dandy said “Well, I would assume that the vet would have a groomer on staff so maybe we can kill two birds with one stone.” Which seems an awful lot like he might actually do this simple fucking preliminary step so I can do the actually-much-harder-and-more-ongoing job of finding a new owner.

I’m generally getting pretty sick of having partners where I do the bulk of the emotional labour and when I ask them for one minor thing to facilitate the whole process they sulk about it, though.

 

*He should have told Dandette NO entirely and I’m exasperated by what a fucking doormat he was with her, but nonetheless.

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I could probably use help getting my thoughts in order.

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:

Good afternoon,

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.

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3.  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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 😥

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