The conversation, as best I can remember.

Stayed a second night at The Dandy’s place (even though I was having serious doubts about him and about the relationship) because that had been our original plan. Had a gig this morning pretty near his house and he drove me there. We arrived half an hour early by accident, and so he parked the car and we sat there for a bit. I was having an internal struggle because on one hand I didn’t want to fight with him the day after his birthday but on the other hand I was feeling so upset that I thought it might kill me to hold it in and talk about it in a few days.

Finally I said, “I was going to try to save this discussion for another time, but it’s been weighing on my mind too much, so. Um. Your ex girlfriend…wrote a suicide note of sorts on your birthday cake.”

The Dandy nodded. “Yeah. That was weird.”

“It was. …I’d been thinking since dinner that I should ask you not to mention Dandette’s issues to me anymore since it makes me feel claustrophobic that you’re dealing with them and you don’t seem inclined to stop. But now I realize that won’t do any good; she’s decided to remind me that you deal with her mental health issues. Which is just so passive-aggressive.”

“I think she meant it as an apology for trying to kill herself,” The Dandy said, and I wish to hell I’d asked why he thought that (considering the word “sorry” wasn’t on there) and whether he thought it was appropriate to remind him of such upsetting shit on. His. Birthday. Cake. But I didn’t think to.

What I did say was, “Okay, even if that’s true – she wrote it on your birthday cake, which is just totally inappropriate. And she made the cake gluten free so I could have some, so she pretty much knew I’d be seeing it, which like…what the fuck?!? And it didn’t even occur to you to like smear the words to nothing with a spatula or bring out pieces of the cake without letting me see the whole thing, or anything like that.” The Dandy was staring at the steering wheel with a pained look on his face. “You’ve got a blind spot where she’s concerned. I mean, I could have known this girl for a week and predicted that she’d act crazy and jealous if you started dating someone new. And you somehow didn’t predict this, don’t notice that her behaviour is sketchy when it’s happening, and aren’t shielding me from it. Dandette’s mental illness isn’t even your responsibility to deal with, but you’re choosing to anyway for whatever reason. I’m not.  Nothing about her life has anything to do with me and I expect you to keep her drama away from me. Do you understand?” I’d accidentally lapsed into what I think of as my Dom Voice there but oh well.

“Yes,” The Dandy said. “I…guess I’m just so used to this sort of thing that I don’t really know what’s appropriate anymore.”

“I think that’s a fair assessment, and I really think you need to see a therapist to get your shit straightened out. Also, though, I’ve been meaning to ask: when Dandette went off the rails the other night, did she even try to call her boyfriend? You know, the guy who’s actually going out with her and therefore has more of a stake in helping her? Or did she just automatically rely on you?”

“She didn’t call anyone. Not even me. She just…tried something, and I happened to catch her.”

“You work all day and she doesn’t but she just happened to choose to try suicide while you were home? Like I’m not definitely saying she’s just doing this for attention, but…….”

“I think she was asleep when I got home from work. And then a couple of hours later when I was just about to go to bed I…caught her.”

“Just as you were about to go to bed,” I said. “That’s an interesting coincidence.” What I meant was, I think this was indeed a ploy on her part to get attention from him – not just that but to make him disrupt his life for her. She could have made her move while he was at work. She could have waited until he’d gone to bed. Instead she waited until he was about to do something else and then snatched his attention away. Also, it occurred to me afterward – how did he “catch” her? Apparently her plan was to slit her wrists. That’s not a noisy plan, nor one that requires a lot of preparation or accoutrements. If she really wanted to do it, she would have just fucking done it and he could have been in the next room and not known til later. But somehow she managed to get “caught.” Was she wandering the hall with a knife in her hand, loudly talking to herself about how it sure would be a shame if she had an…accident? Did she creep silently into the kitchen but then “accidentally” drop the biggest carving knife they had on the tile floor six times until The Dandy came out wondering what the racket was? What? I wish I’d thought to ask.

I think it was at this point that I said to The Dandy that I think he gets some weird enjoyment out of coaching Dandette through these incidents. White-knighting her, as it were. He sat quietly for a minute and then said “Yeah. Maybe. I like to feel useful.”

I suppressed a fierce urge to bellow “BE USEFUL TO MEEEEEEEE” and instead said “Do you not feel useful now?” I mean Christ, he does nice and helpful things for me all the time. Does that not register for him? Am I never going to measure up to Dandette because I don’t need him like she thinks she does?

“Not really. At work I just feel like a cog. I don’t feel like I have much of a purpose.”

I had a lot of things I wanted to say to that – things like “So fix your job situation, then” or “that doesn’t really justify continuing to live with someone who’s abusive and manipulative” or “you’re useful to me all the time; does that not count?” or “Duuuude needing someone to literally depend on you in order to live is deeply fucked up and I think I really need to bail” but The Dandy seemed to be having somewhat of an epiphany about his motivations and I didn’t wanna squash it with all my rage.

I told him that I didn’t know what to do now – that I wanted to keep on seeing him but if it’s going to work, I’ll need a concrete plan in place (I meant that he needs to have a plan to unfuck his life, like going to therapy or kicking Dandette out or possibly both, but in retrospect I guess I wasn’t clear; hopefully The Dandy gets that I didn’t mean “don’t feed me Dandette’s baked goods anymore” or something).

I told him that I don’t feel comfortable ever going to his place again while she’s living there, but if we always go to my place it’s going to feel weirdly like I’m colluding in him cheating on her, even though (say it with me now) they’re not in a relationship anymore, so I don’t know how to handle this. I probably free-associated some other things. The Dandy kept on staring straight ahead with that same pained expression. His passivity irritates the shit out of me, TBH. The smile and shrug when I saw the crazy message on the cake…the way he usually seems to freeze and doesn’t even answer me when I ask him a question about a heavy personal topic…the way he lets Dandette walk all over him…the way (I’ve noticed) he’ll never actually say “no” to a thing I ask; he just goes awkward and quiet…ugh. Dandette is all kinds of fucked up and his ex-wife from before that had rage issues so I suppose he’s been trained not to say anything that might make a partner mad but it’s still just so infuriating.

Finally I realized it was almost time for work and I apologized for having to leave so abruptly but…yeah.

I’m pretty much feeling like we’re going to have to break up, but morbid curiosity dictates that I go silent for a bit and see if he contacts me with an apology and a game plan. I doubt he will. But it sure would be nice, and if he did do that I might consider sticking around. I might be okay to emotionally support The Dandy through his bullshit with Dandette if said bullshit involved him working on getting rid of her. I just need that light at the end of the tunnel, is all.

But the thing is…from the moment he told me that Dandette still lived with him – that they’d broken up two years ago but she never actually moved out – my gut told me that he can’t have gotten over her and probably doesn’t know how to be alone/doesn’t really know who he is as a single person because he’s still all enmeshed in a quasi-relationship with her. Which means that even if he finally cuts her loose, his process of getting back on his feet emotionally will probably either require him to break up with me so he can really be alone for the first time in over ten years*, or he’ll manage to multitask but by the time he’s processed everything he’ll be such a different person that he won’t be interested in me anymore.

 

*The relationship with Dandette lasted five years, but before that he was married for six years or something – and he met Dandette just months after the ex-wife left. And of course he’s continued living with Dandette for the two years since they broke up. So…god, he’s been trapped in one shitty relationship or another for like thirteen years. Maybe more.

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I can’t with this.

The Dandy’s birthday is today and Dandette is off at some LARP thing for a few days so I stayed over at his place last night to take advantage of the alone-time.

The Dandy makes a shit ton of money and has very expensive and specific tastes, so I didn’t feel there was anything much I could buy him; he could so easily get something way better for himself. I did (by his request) get him some pajamas for when he’s at my place. And I bought him dinner, a gesture he seemed to appreciate.

During dinner he mentioned to me in passing that Dandette had to be switched to new medication because the one she just started on (for depression/anxiety) made her freak the fuck out the other day and try to kill herself and The Dandy had to talk her down. I pointedly asked if he called 911 (his excuse for not asking her to move out of the apartment is that she might kill herself if he did that. He said to me before that it’s a real danger because he’s had to talk her down from it before. I told him at that time that it’s not his responsibility and that in fact he was negligent for not calling in a qualified professional). He said he couldn’t call anyone because Dandette was actually being super energetic and emphatic – like I guess running for the knife drawer and he was physically holding her back. He said if he let her go long enough to dial 911 she would probably have managed to off herself.

So that story kind of cast a pall over dinner, for me. Not just because it’s awful that Dandette went through that and that The Dandy had to deal with it, but because I continue to be infuriated by The Dandy’s overinvolvement in her life. I don’t really buy that The Dandy couldn’t have called 911. He is large and relatively strong. Fucking pick Dandette up, throw her in the bathroom, and block the door. Also, btw, Dandette has a boyfriend. Why he wasn’t her first line of support I don’t know. I feel like The Dandy is a white knight who’s kind of getting off on this shit.

And the difference between his words and behaviour continues to baffle and infuriate me. He was actually super casual in telling me this thing about Dandette going nuts, like it didn’t particularly horrify him, it’s just a inconvenient and slightly amusing thing that happened. And every time he talks about her it’s with a kind of eye-roll like she’s this chore he has to deal with. But he financially supports her and insists on emotionally supporting her through her mental ilness freakouts instead of calling a professional or even her boyfriend. Recently he made a joke that he keeps her around because she feels so guilty about the financial support that she’s been doing the lion’s share of the housework. I find myself wondering if that’s not really a joke and he’s getting off on their power imbalance. It’s creeping me out.

Tangent: my very first poly experience was years ago when I fell in love fast and hard (and mutually) with a man in a consentually open marriage. His marriage was the stereotyical “hierarchal poly” bullshit that I’ve since grown to hate: “my wife and I are soulmates and nothing will ever come between us, which is why we’re not afraid to be poly. But we have rules that restrict how we interact with others.” That whole thing. So we fall for each other but he’s not allowed to spend more than one night a week for me. And he’s texting me in the interim pining to see me again…and never, ever, in our brief time together, spoke fondly of his wife. He didn’t talk smack about her, either, I just never really sensed that he was that into her (and indeed, he left her two weeks after we met, having realized what being in love is actually supposed to feel like). And so I became resentful that she got so much of his time. Like if he doesn’t ever get wistful and mushy while talking about her, and only ever tells me that he can’t wait to see me again and it’s killing him that we’re apart, then what the fuck am I sharing him for? If he’d clearly been in love with her I think I could have dealt with it but as it stood? Not so much.

And that’s how I feel in this situation with The Dandy, too. If he’d presented it as “she’s my ex but I still totally love her as a friend and we get along really well as roommates, and we sort of take care of each other” I think I could get behind this shit a little better (but seriously though when someone’s threatening to off themselves you call 911!!!) but he acts like he doesn’t even like her that much so it looks to me like she’s taking advantage of him or he has stockholm syndrome or something.

I think I need to tell The Dandy not to mention Dandette to me unless I ask. I get claustrophic just think of her being up in his space all the time and randomly having bursts of mental illness at him, and he doesn’t seem inclined to kick her out and doesn’t even seem that bothered by any of the crazy shit he tells me, so he can just handle it on his own instead of putting his drama all over me.

So anyway we get home from dinner and I remember The Dandy mentioning that Dandette made him a birthday cake before she left for LARP – and made it gluten free so I could enjoy it, too, which is quite sweet – so I asked to try a piece. As he cut us some slices I noticed that the writing on the cake seemed…off. I thought I saw the word “myself.” I came around behind The Dandy so it was right-side up to me. He’d already eaten some of the cake earlier so there were pieces missing but from context I realized the cake said “Tried to kill myself twice. Also, happy b-day.” And I just…I…fuck.

I have sometimes wondered whether Dandette’s “suicide attempts” have been mostly to get attention. I’m not saying they definitely are; she does legit have issues with anxiety and depression. But it’s a thing I’ve considered, especially given what a drama queen she can be generally. And now she co-opts his fucking birthday cake to be all about her(!) and that is frankly not helping her case.

The Dandy saw me notice the writing and just shrugged with a sheepish grin on his face and once again I just felt totally stressed out and claustrophobic. God, even in Dandette’s absence we can’t be free of her bullshit and focus on The Dandy’s special day. She managed to make her presence known.

BUT THERE’S MORE.

After cake, The Dandy and I cuddled on the couch and were talking about I-can’t-remember-what and I playfully annoyed him and he playfully said “Ugh, these older women” (I’m a year older than him.)

I said “THESE older women? Whatever, dude. Your exes were all fetuses.” (Actually his ex wife was a few years older. Dandette, though, is I think twelve years younger, and yes I was taking a jab at that)

And the Dandy said “jealous?” and I kind of wanted to punch him in the face because yeah, I am jealous of his weird codependency with Dandette, as it uses up resources I feel should be spent on me, so way to be insensitive. Also though, Dandette is a godamned trainwreck (and so was I when I was young) so implying that I must wish I were Dandette, or wish to be young, or whateverthefuck, is just so infinitely stupid that I can’t even.

I reeled in most of my rage and managed to sound relatively lighthearted when I said “What the FUCK would I possibly be jealous of? I’m a grownup capable of rational thought and my tits are still totally epic.”

The Dandy agreed on both counts and said I’m “the sanest crazy person he’s ever met,” which…thanks, I guess. But I was still seething. I think I may be PMSing so I don’t want to make any rash decisions (and I also want The Dandy to have a nice birthday) so I didn’t dump him on the spot, but I kind of wanted to. From the moment he told me about talking Dandette out of suicide yet again, I’d been feeling like my relationship with him is kind of doomed.

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stuff and things

The Dandy’s mom wanted to meet me, so he brought me home to Easter dinner. She’s really cool – she’s an ex-nun who left the convent at age 29 and became a teacher. One time when a student swore too much for her liking, she made him use “fuck” as every possible part of a sentence (noun, adverb, adjective, etc) in order to take the fun out of it. For the record, I would find that a fascinating challenge and it wouldn’t dull the fun of swearing for me at all.

She also told me a bunch of stories about what The Dandy was like as a kid (so smart and outspoken that he was a total pain in the ass and got in trouble at school all the time (I’m totally not surprised), and she always backed him up in parent/teacher talks). And every single food item she had on hand was gluten-free and soy-free because she knew those were my restrictions. And she gave me leftover cake. So basically I love this woman.

On the drive home, The Dandy and I got to talking about relationships and stuff. His mom had talked a lot about Dandette while I was over, and mentioned some get-together with Dandette and her family in which everyone seemed to be expecting The Dandy to propose but he didn’t. I asked The Dandy if he and Dandette had ever even discussed getting married or if people were just making assumptions. He said that Dandette wanted to get married – that she had an idealized vision of marriage and thought it would magically make their lives perfect. He knew that’s not how that works, and had no intention of tying the knot. The Dandy basically told me that he’s wary, now, of a partner seeming overinvested or wanting to be rescued. So I’m betting that’s why he couldn’t outright tell me he loved me – it symbolizes a scary level of commitment for him. But that’s sort of hilarious because in all other respects he’s full steam ahead: calling me his primary partner after we’d fucked, like, twice; initiating keeping a toothbrush at my place; talking about giving me a dresser drawer at his; taking me to meet his mom.

It seems as though my profession of love has in some way cemented things for him, though. There’s been an extra pulse of energy to him ever since. His hugs have an unguarded quality that they didn’t before. He’s always given excellent, long, warm, sincere-feeling hugs, mind you, but now he melts into them just a little bit more. Last night he came over and we ended up having sex and afterward he stayed inside me and raised himself up on his arms to look me right in the eyeballs for like…really long periods of time. He might as well have worn a sign around his neck that said I want to feel as intimate with you as possible right now.

Any time I express insecurity about my anxiety (as in, is it gonna be too much for him) The Dandy says “I’m used to it” meaning Dandette also has anxiety and depression – he has in fact had to talk her down from killing herself – so this is nothing new. I don’t actually find the sentiment “I’m used to it” comforting at all, perhaps because – despite his calm tone and reassuring body language – I hear it in a put-upon, guilt-tripping tone.

I brought this up with The Dandy, pointing out that I’m used to all kinds of shitty things but it doesn’t mean I like them or want them to continue, ergo maybe he could try to be comforting via a different choice of words. I think he gets it. He told me outright that he’s pretty sure he can handle me fine, and he’s said before that my anxiety freakouts are usually a lot shorter than Dandette’s and that I ask for his support instead of pushing him away or yelling at him that he’s not handling them right. So it’s really probably fine.

This shit’s been weighing heavy on my mind lately because I’m about to start another round of cognitive behavioural therapy and this will no doubt dredge up a bunch of buried shit that spins my head a bit. Basically I’m gonna be in hardcore navel-gazing/trauma processing mode for the next month and that’s probably not gonna be fun for me or anyone around me.

BTW The Dandy also made an offhanded comment once that cognitive behavioural therapy should probably work really well for me (he may even have said better than it does for Dandette) because I have a logical brain that just needs to be nudged in the right direction so I can talk myself down from my freakouts. So there have been these tiny indications that even though I get more stressed out and angsty than most people, and need help more than most people, he thinks I handle myself pretty well. I wish he’d come out and say it. So much of my anxiety lately is this recursive bullshit where I’m anxious that people will hate me because I’m anxious. I really need to hear from someone that I’m actually pretty badass and not coming off as terribly as I imagine – if they actually think it, that is. I don’t especially want to be humoured; if I have some huge glaring personality flaw that could stand to be worked on, I’d wanna know.

And yeah, normally I’m a huge proponent of flat-out telling a partner what I want – I don’t feel that telling him ruins the act or anything – except maybe now. “I like to be petted to sleep” and then him doing it is one thing; he’s doing it because I like it, and I experience this as love*. Spoon feeding him sentences to say to me about how cool and awesome I am feels like quite another thing. I mean I guess if he said the things I’d still experience that as an expression of love; he wants me to be happy so he’s doing the thing I said makes me happy. But I want the words to be the truth, is the thing, and I can never be sure if I tell him to say them.

Tangent: remember how I was worried that The Dandy isn’t as non-judgmental about my sex work activities as he claims because when I talk about it he’s often quiet and doesn’t contribute? I think we’re okay. The other day I asked him to take provocative pictures of me so I can send them to texting clients and not only did he do this, at one point when I was posing he said “Here, I’ll take one for the foot guys” and did a closeup of just my feet. It felt super fun colluding with him and I really do think he’s okay with it all. I mean, like, morally or whatever. I think if I came over and then kept being like “whoops, hold on, just a sec” to text clients he’d be annoyed, but who wouldn’t? I’m trying to draw boundaries and tell the clients I’ll be busy for a few hours/ignore my phone when I’m with The Dandy but it can be hard sometimes. Summer is my slow season for modelling and I’m panicking and wanting to rake in as much money as I can. Responding quickly to a guy’s first text might make the difference between us having an ongoing chat and him getting snagged by someone else who was quicker.

But there will probably always be more guys, there’s no guarantee anyone will turn out to be a regular, if it’s meant to be it’ll happen, blah blah blah etc.

Oh and by the way I recently had a very promising first date with a guy from Fetlife. The Dandy has been totally fine with that, too. I asked The Dandy if this is partly because if I’m seeing someone else, he knows I’m not overfocusing on him as the most important thing in my life. He said a little bit, but also the reciprocity. We both seem to be on the same page with being poly, where we don’t necessarily need multiple partners, it’s more about the freedom to have them (or just flirt or make out or whatever) if we feel like it. During that one convo on the drive home from his mom’s I was talking about what my ideal relationship would be like and I said basically, I’m a cat. I’d like to be his cat. Being stuck behind a closed door bugs me just on principle, so I want a cat door so I can go explore. Maybe sometimes I’ll be out for a few days, doing cat things. But he won’t freak out; he’ll know I’ll always be back. ‘Cause I’m his cat. I think he wants to be my cat, too. 🙂

Second date with the new boy tomorrow.

*I can’t remember if I mentioned this before but a while back I mentioned to The Dandy that petting my head/hair helps me sleep. Hours later when we went to bed, he spooned up behind me and we settled in for sleep and then suddenly his hand gave a sort of startled twitch and he began petting my head. So clearly he had suddenly remembered what I’d said and wanted to make me happy. Love that!

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Adventures in pay-texting

Some scattered thoughts about the pay-to-text-me site I’ve joined:

For the longest time I only got guys saying “hi” and then vanishing. Which is okay – I got my 25 cents or whatever just by saying “hi” back – but an ongoing convo would obviously be more lucrative.

The other day, for whatever reason, I got several guys who engaged in actual conversations with me. So for the past day or two I’ve been just texting fast and furious with several people.

I had assumed that the guys on the site would be the type to have totally generic (and terribly misspelled) conversations. Just total “Hey what u up 2” shit. I was pleasantly surprised to engage with a couple of guys who were actually sort of interesting. I still wouldn’t have bothered talking to them for free, but as a job it was pleasant, is what I’m saying.

One guy felt that we had some big connection and asked if I could foot some of the bill for our conversations so we could talk more often. Oh honey no. How did it not occur to him that I was on the site to make money? Anyway I told him I’m too poor and he understands.

Sometimes the conversations have gotten sexual. The guys ask me stuff about what I like and don’t like, bedroom-wise, and I find myself torn; I want to tell the truth so any subsequent dirty-talking might be to my liking, and yet I also want to be easily slotted into their fantasies so they’ll keep talking to me and I can rack up more money. Like if I say what I actually like, it might put a dude off. Or he might ignore what I said I liked and sext me about it anyway, which would still make me money but would be annoying on principle. So I’m trying to let the guys lead the conversation, but they don’t always give good clues about how to suck up to them.

One guy was sexting with me and I was doing my best to “perform” for him – big creative elegant spiels of dirty-talk – but it quickly became obvious that he just wanted an audience to show off to. So he’d type these massive missives about what he would do to me and how his exes all said he was great with his mouth and hands and how his cock was super awesome and blah blah blah, and I pretty much just went “Ooooh, hot” at intervals. Easy-peasy. I did not expect that.

The guy who claims to feel all connected with me is, I think, wanting me to play therapist. I did actually feel a kinship with him – he’s in a sexless marriage and so was I, once, and we have some pretty similar baggage – but when I mentioned my marriage, he didn’t go “Oh holy shit you too?” and commiserate as I’d anticipated. We didn’t bond over our shared experiences. He just kinda blew right by my statement and kept talking about himself. Which is absolutely fine – I’m being paid, so if what he wants is a comforting generic lady-person to go “there, there” while he talks, that’s totally fine. But him thinking we’re actual friends when in fact he kind of willfully rejects getting to know me is amusing.

These guys I talk to have profiles on the website itself where I can see their age and some photos, but when they text me, none of that info shows up on my phone, so I frequently find myself flirting with guys while having no idea what they look like or anything. It’s been kinda cool having a direct window into people’s personalities without the external stats intervening. I’ll never be meeting these guys in person, so I can feel free to flirt with them and take risks in a way I never would otherwise.

Making conversation with these strangers is helping with my anxiety and social awkwardness a bit, I think. I’m getting better at figuring out what to say to people.

I’ve asked a few of these guys for dick pics. I don’t honestly care that much about dick pics but I figured they’d love being asked for them, plus the dominant in me gets a huge kick out of asking these guys for particular kinds of pics and getting them. I may not find most penises aesthetically compelling, but getting a dick pic that is exactly what I asked for (“cup it so it’s mostly covered by your hand and I can only see the base.” “hold it like you’re about to jerk off” etc) is thrilling because dance, puppet, dance!  It also beats the hell out of receiving dick pics unsolicited (which has also happened). I just like being in the driver’s seat.

And I can genuinely find beauty in most bodies somewhere. So when I give unsolicited compliments on guys’ pics, there’s at least a grain of truth to them. I’m not bullshitting.

People often laugh about “fragile masculinity” and act like men are hilariously needy with the emotional labour they want from women, but honestly, who wouldn’t want a cute person of their preferred gender who says validating things and makes them feel special and awesome all the time? I’d love that. I think most people would. The only ridiculous thing is expecting to get it for free and/or with no reciprocation. If a guy realizes that there’s nothing in it for me to sit around validating him all day, so he pays me, I’m totally cool with that. I don’t think he’s ridiculous for needing what he needs. I think it’s a valuable paid service and I will do it as well as I possibly can, for money.

Anyway, overall the texting has been nice so far. And nobody’s pressured me to escalate to a phone call or video chat, which is awesome. Those things pay more but my crippling shyness makes me really, really not want to do them. These guys are happy just texting, so far. Let’s hope my streak continues.

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Romance

Welp, The Dandy spent the night last night and it was lovely. I found myself gazing at him with huge moon-eyes almost constantly. And I started having a big inner debate over whether to tell him I love him.

On one hand, it seems like he already knows. Already knows, yet hasn’t opted to say the words himself despite it being very low risk for him. Which probably meant he wouldn’t say it back (not feeling it? Feeling it but weird about expressing emotions?), which would bother me and possibly lead to the end of the relationship. On the other hand, the few times I had feelings for a guy but didn’t tell him, it always bugged me. Even after we broke up and I didn’t love the guys anymore it bugged me that they never knew in the moment that I had those feelings. I’m an expressive person and I guess I think that if someone makes me really happy, they deserve to know it.

So I wanted The Dandy to know I had feelings for him, but I also didn’t want him to feel obligated to say it back, ergo just dropping an “I love you” on him and then sitting there looking at him in deafening silence wouldn’t do. But did I really want to say it at all, though? I was still irked about that time he hinted strongly that he knew my feelings, and yet didn’t take that opportunity to say something first and put me out of the misery of uncertainty.

Meh, fuck it. Today as he was getting ready to leave my place, I intercepted him in the middle of dressing and caressed his face and he was standing there with his eyes closed enjoying my touch. I chose that moment to quietly say “You know I love you, right?”

The Dandy opened his eyes and grinned at me. He said yes, he’s known that for quite some time. I smiled at him but inside I was thinking “Yes, AND…….?!?!?” I mean if he’d just humbly said “I guess I do now” I could maybe (maybe) have stood it. But for him to (again!) make a big thing of knowing how I feel about him but not say it back? It feels like he’s rubbing my face in a power imbalance. This is far worse than when I said it to The Bunny or The Pedant and they just politely ignored me or deflected.

He pulled me in for a hug and stood there rubbing my back as my brain twirled in a thousand different directions wondering what the fuck I should do with the clear implication that The Dandy not only didn’t feel the same way I did, but was reveling in that fact. Then, almost as an afterthought, he said “Don’t worry, I reciprocate.”

“Left me hanging there for a few seconds, though, didn’t you?” I said pointedly. He didn’t say anything to that; no apology, no explanation.

The Dandy is quite expressive in the sense of being physically affectionate, being able to say what he wants out of a relationship, and being able to articulately talk about what went wrong in past relationships. But there’s a part of him that’s walled-off; there are things about himself that he either can’t or won’t talk about. Earlier today I pointed out that every time I move or remove my clothes to facilitate access for him, he makes some big comment about it. We were in bed and he’d just been caressing my chest above the blanket and I shifted the blanket down so he could reach more of my skin and he said something like “being a little obvious, are we?” Which is weird and gloaty and slut-shaming and not like him at all. And it was far from the first time that he’d acted like that. So I pointed it out and asked him “Is it such a novelty for you for a woman to get naked and want to be touched that you have to point it out every time, or…?” He lapsed into silence. He seemed like he was thinking about the question. But a few minutes went by and he didn’t answer me and I felt like prompting him would seem pushy so I let it go for now. And a few hours later when the whole “you know I love you, right?” went down, I figured it would look pushy (and he’d go silent) if I asked why he couldn’t say it back/why he didn’t say it first/etc. So, again, I didn’t pursue it.

But one day I intend to.

In other news, I went straight from a day in bed with The Dandy to going on a date with a guy from Fetlife. Dude is pretty cute, I enjoyed talking to him, our kinks seem to line up, and we kissed at the end. Like…for a while. So that was nice. We’ll see if it goes anywhere.

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The thing about Dandette

I’m totally jealous of The Dandy’s relationship with Dandette, and that seems really weird and dumb to me. I’m dating him and she’s not. And I’m poly so in theory him dating someone else wouldn’t be a big deal to me, anyway. So why do I care that he lives with his ex and still seems pretty close to her?

First off, I think after a few years of feeling essentially solo-poly, I’m really craving a main partner* right now – a serious relationship with someone who (like me) doesn’t have other serious relationships going at the moment. I’d like to be someone’s focus and vice-versa, at least for now. The Dandy is my focus. I think I’m his…but the fact remains that he lives with his ex, with whom he has a comfort level and a history that I want. They act like an old married couple. I have recently learned that Dandette (who is unemployed) wakes up early every morning just to make The Dandy coffee before he goes to work. That is such an act of intimacy and care and kindness. I want to be doing that for him (well, not that but a similar act that doesn’t require me to wake up early). I also learned that after she makes the coffee, she comes into his bedroom and puts it on the nightstand. That…feels like a couple thing, not a roommate thing. Especially since, until recently when I expressed squick at their weird boundaries, The Dandy slept naked. It bothers me a lot.

Also, I have a huge, huge fantasy of a man rescuing and taking care of me, especially financially. It’s what I’d hoped for when I married my ex-husband (he was more socially competent than I was, he wasn’t severely agoraphobic, he had higher earning potential…he was my way out of the shitty roommate situation I was currently in). It’s maybe slightly what I wanted when Minx moved in and thus halved my rent (please oh please, someone just make it so I don’t have to pay ~$1000/month just to have a roof over my head…get me out of this constant pinch of poverty and make it so I actually have money left over at the end of the month and can build up a savings again for emergencies…).

I have since realized that I don’t think I can live with another person ever again, both because I really enjoy my space and quiet time and because I feel like I’ll inevitably piss the other person off and they won’t want to stay and then I’m fucked. The way rent is soaring in my city, if I move into a big, expensive apartment with a boyfriend and the relationship ultimately ends, I won’t be able to afford anywhere on my own anymore. I need to maintain the tenuous toehold in independence that I currently have. Plus I worry that if a man offers to take care of me, I’ll forget entirely how to take care of myself and just revert to the doormat I was when I was married, thus giving him all the power. The thought terrifies me. So I don’t feel like I could move in with a partner or even let him pay for my necessities. But I want to. Oh, how I want to. And Dandette already has that. From The Dandy, no less. Their apartment is huge – my entire place could fit into their living room, possibly more than once – and The Dandy was letting Dandette pay far less than half of the rent, presumably because he makes so much more money. And then her mental health went sideways and she couldn’t work anymore, so now he just pays all the rent. Dandette gets to fall apart if she needs to. I don’t. Ever. And yeah, I’m jealous.

Some of my feelings here are not jealousy but irritation. The Dandy has indicated that he really wishes she’d move out. He told me, once, that when they were together she would ask him to dominate/top her but then scream at him afterwards that he did it wrong – this makes me so incredibly angry on his behalf that I kind of want to kill her. She’s a burgeoning alcoholic. She doesn’t work. But The Dandy would feel like a monster if he kicked her out, given that she’s broke and having severe emotional issues and has nobody she could even stay with. I told him that they are broken up and she’s not his responsibility, and he said he knows this, but still. And yeah. It’s hard. If I were him I probably couldn’t kick her out, either.

And on the other hand the two of them have this ease together. The way The Dandy talks about her, you’d think he kind of hated her and that the two of them would just keep to separate corners of the apartment and be all awkward and stilted. They don’t, though. The Dandy has called me on the phone to chat and she’ll be right there inserting the odd comment into our convo in the background. Until recently they would hang out around the house naked. She brings him coffee every morning. They have domestic little chats about whether the dog’s been fed yet or who’s gonna do this or that chore. When I was over last night Dandette was talking about some mutual friend of theirs who’s been irritating her: “I’m gonna go to Tom’s party on the 25th and you’re coming with me so I don’t kill him.” Just casually assuming she could boss him around like that. And he said okay. So like…what the fuck is their deal?

At the root of it all, I feel that The Dandy never got enough space from Dandette to fully get over her. I mean I don’t see how someone can get over someone if you’re still living with them and never even drew boundaries like putting clothes on around them. It’s like they stopped fucking but literally everything else stayed the same. For me, anyway, getting over someone requires a very distinct separation to kind of hammer home that it’s over so I can process everything. It requires distance from the other person while I get my shit together. Minx and I may cuddle and sometimes sleep in the same bed, but that only happened after she moved out and we didn’t really talk for a few months. We built that friendship from scratch; it’s not a continuation of the relationship. With The Dandy and Dandette I’m not so sure.

And I don’t know how The Dandy not being over his ex might fuck things up with us, but I think there’s a chance it will. And I don’t like it.

 

*I don’t use the word “primary” because I associate it with people who do hierarchical poly. I don’t have different sets of rules for different partners.

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Mental health

By the way, my tribunal for disability was in December and I still haven’t gotten anything from them, even though at the time the lady said I was approved. When I called them a couple of months ago they said it can take up to 60 days so I kept on waiting. Now it’s been around 100 days so I recently called back. The woman on the phone was surprisingly good at the whole customer service thing, in that she apologized for me being inconvenienced (a government worker! Apologizing!!!!) and said there was still no decision on record so she would email the lady from the tribunal and prompt her to send in her report.

I’ve been burned by customer service people before so I maintain a healthy skepticism about whether she’ll actually send that email. But the apology was nice. It’s been rough having a stable income dangled…just……..out…………..of…………………………reach for the past four months.

I’m pretty scared that the tribunal lady will have forgotten whatever sympathy she felt for me when she saw me ugly-cry in person and her decision will have changed to a “no” though.

In related news, I finally got in to see a psychiatrist over the possibility that I have ADD. He feels that I do, and has prescribed me meds to try. Although they’re expensive and I probably can’t afford them unless disability kicks in.

I want to be diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, too. The shrink actually saw some signs of it himself as we discussed my life story during our appointment.

I feel like a trendy moron, asking about ADD and autism right now. Seems like those two things are in the news all the time and everyone and their grandmother is all “I bet I have those!” But I do think I have them, thanks to all these trending articles talking about how they manifest differently in women. I don’t match up to how dudes with those issues act. But I do match up to how women apparently act.

And I know there’s no cure for either thing, and I’ve developed coping skills anyway, so arguably there’s no real point in me being diagnosed.

Here’s the thing, though: my parents would always gaslight me over my experiences, like dismissing things I had problems with as no big deal, just me being oversensitive, blah blah blah. Or they’d act like I was just an idiot weirdo for doing things differently than other people might.

But if my various hunches are correct, I grew up not just with an abusive parent, but also with celiac disease and severe anxiety and depression and OCD and ADD and autism (also synesthesia but that didn’t really affect my life so…). And by high school I’d developed enough coping skills to have friends and boyfriends and get As in all my classes.

I’m still weird; I still don’t blend with other people very well. And that makes me feel like a failure. But if in fact I do have all the various afflictions/syndromes/whatever that I suspect I do, then I’m not a failure for coming off kind of odd to people sometimes; I’m a motherfucking champion for making it as far as I have with basically no help or understanding or support.

So it’s a reframing I’m after, I guess.

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