Tag Archives: dating angst

Moar navel gazing

My reluctance to break off long-term relationships isn’t because I’m afraid of hurting the other person’s feelings, btw.

It’s actually a lot more because I’m afraid they’ll laugh at me. “You’re leaving me because of that stupid, tiny thing?! WTF?!?!?!?” and since I already felt like the issue was possibly kind of stupid and minor-sounding, I’ll feel even stupider. I’ll question my judgment.

Like…the first persistent issue I can remember having with The Bunny was that he didn’t take compliments very well. I’m an effusive person, plus to me admitting desire for someone is a very vulnerable thing, so telling The Bunny I thought he was beautiful and getting sarcasm and deflection in return was a real slap in the face. It was genuinely difficult for me; I tried holding back my effusiveness but that was wildly unnatural for me to a point where it almost hurt. Conversely, saying whatever sweet thing was on my mind usually got me verbally bitch-slapped, so I was at an impasse. But could you even imagine me telling him I was breaking off our relationship – one where we had good sex and we liked each other and everything – because he didn’t respond to compliments the way I wanted him to?

With The Dandy I’d say things are good/pleasant/uneventful eighty percent of the time, but every now and then some stupid bullshit happens due to him not being a good communicator. Or there’s the thing where, after about two years of us dating, he still needs repeated reminding of how I like to be touched (it’s nice that he knows I like to be petted and does it frequently! But it’s a very light touch that really makes my nerve endings sing, and the majority of the time he plunks his hand down and moves it around like he’s polishing a countertop or something and I have to say “lighter” five times before it registers).

There’s legit a lot more good than bad here, I think. Or at least more not-bad than bad, and given that I live here and depend on The Dandy for a chunk of my livelihood, “ehhhh, our relationship is okay” is good enough reason to stay.

It’s just…I can see some potential seeds of badness here. Things that could grow and make me actively unhappy being with him. And I’ve tried to address these things and it hasn’t worked. And I don’t wanna look back on this time, years from now, and wish I’d left.

Last night I asked The Dandy if he would work on being more transparent with me like I need. He made the tiniest possible affirmative noise. Kinda noncommittal-sounding, really. I asked him how he’s gonna work on it and his face got that closed-down look and he just gave me a belligerent shrug.

And his stock excuse for not doing things I’ve told him I want/need (like being transparent with his words) is “It just doesn’t occur to me.” Finally the other day I told him that this is not, in fact, a valid excuse; I’m not just gonna go “Ohhhh, okay! It just doesn’t occur to him to fulfill my needs!” and cheerfully let it go. He has to figure something out to help him remember. Write shit down or something. I dunno. Of course when I said this his face got that closed-down, belligerent expression again.

Oh and I can’t help noticing that one of his big objections to seeing a therapist with me (way back when I first brought it up) was “I don’t have time for that!” but yesterday he announced that he might enroll in a woodworking class to teach him how to make the fancy cutting board he wants. So I guess he can spare an hour or two a week. :/

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Love and sex

So like I said, I’m afraid of crossing over some invisible line from “partner with some issues” to “invalid: do not fuck” with The Dandy. Also, lack of sex has always been a huge symptom in my relationships that things were starting to go downhill, so the minute it seems like sexual stuff is cooling off, I start to get antsy.

The Dandy hasn’t been up for sex too much for a longish while now. This is another area where he’s infuriatingly wordless and hinty; he’ll usually initiate sex pretty much just by showing me his erection and grinning (which annoys me a bit but I’m getting used to it), and if I initiate and he’s not in the mood, he won’t usually say “not right now” (which I would prefer!) – he’ll just kind of politely dodge me, so that if my initiation was verbal I’ll wonder if it really is a rejection (since I put my interest out there blatantly and am expecting a blatant answer) and if it was non-verbal I’ll wonder if he just missed my hint.

I even talked about the lack of sex with him a while back, telling him that I get that we’ve both been too burned out from work to have the energy for full-on intercourse but that doesn’t mean we can’t, like, participate in each other’s sexuality still. I’d be happy to be there when he wanks, and probably also get myself off in tandem. But he doesn’t invite me. I’d love for him to be there in some capacity when I get off, but since my partners have historically been all-or-nothing types (“I’m not in the mood for sex, therefore don’t even indicate to me that you have a sex drive at all because ewwww”) I’ve been too scared to ask him. And so I’d get myself off when he wasn’t around and couldn’t hear my Hitachi (because when I know he knows I’m getting off and he doesn’t come in to help, it feels like rejection and depresses the shit out of me), and I knew that he was getting himself off silently and opting not to include me, and it was feeling like our respective sexualities had become secret and separate and it was making me sad. I missed the intimacy.

The Dandy seemed to understand, and said that he’d be fine with me being present when he was masturbating*. But nothing changed.

And it was like his sexual presence was just gone. I mean I really like his junk and I hold it/fondle it/kiss it a hundred times a day, and he used to be responsive – maybe not a full erection every time I gave his cock some attention, but a little…fluffiness, a lot of the time. A little flexion and expansion that acknowledged I was touching him. But for the past few weeks there’s been nothing. His penis was suddenly just a spout he peed through, with no further significance or sensitivity at all.

And so I started to get the creeping dread, wondering if his attraction to me had died and our relationship had become one of those sexless brother/sister things.

Then I remembered his selfless birthday gift of painting my room. And how, a few weekends later, he’d helped me assemble my new bed and made the slats himself out of the remnants of my last bed when he didn’t have to. These felt like acts of devotion, not to mention they were both means of making me more comfortable and entrenched in this apartment with him. If he was secretly thinking of me as some invalid/burden and wanting to be rid of me (like he did with Dandette) I don’t think he would have done those things. He would have stalled and postponed and dodged and I would have had to do all the bedroom fixups myself or not at all. Probably. Or would he do these wonderful things as a kind of apology for not having feelings for me anymore?

Long story short, we had sex recently (twice in two days) and there seems to be an uptick in mushy feelings on both sides, so probably things are fine. I guess his job has just been doing a number on him lately. He’s vaguely said a few times that work has been shitty but he’s so stoic that it’s hard for me to tell if he means “today I was mildly inconvenienced by some things” or “my job is steadily grinding my will to live down to a nub.”

 

 

*Relevant: ages and ages ago I asked him “If I walk into the room and you happen to be jerking off, is that ‘me-time’ and you’d prefer that I left you to it, or would you welcome me lending a hand?” he said he would pretty much always welcome me getting in on the action. He seemed not even to really understand the concept of just wanting to rub out a quickie alone.

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Waiting for the catch

Every time I have a day off and don’t get a bunch of cleaning or other household tasks done, I worry that The Dandy is going to be angry with me. My ex-roommate, my ex-husband, and Minx all stopped wanting to live with me and they all cited, as one of their reasons, that I was a shitty messy apartment-ruining monster. Which was frustrating because every single one of them was at least as messy as I was, and just as lax about tidying up after themselves.

But my point is, almost everyone I’ve ever lived with has told me that I’m a complete piece of shit for not taking better care of our shared living space, and that they could no longer live with me because of this. And I would like for this not to happen again, especially since my quality of life stands to go waaaaaay downhill if The Dandy kicks me out. So I’m really jumpy with The Dandy (who is as lazy/messy as I am, but so were the others and that didn’t stop them from growing to resent me…).

I talked to him about this one time, though. I asked him if he was gonna secretly resent me for having the day off and not using it to clean the kitchen and do laundry. I know he resented it when Dandette didn’t keep the apartment ship-shape.

“You never declared yourself to be the housewife, though,” The Dandy said, pointedly. And that’s when the difference clicked for me.

However, The Dandy lets me pay only $500 in rent – less than a third of what the apartment actually costs. He also pays for the entirety of our huge grocery runs (I may buy little things we run out of in-between times but that’s it). So I kind of assumed he’d be wanting me to contribute more around the house to balance out the money thing (especially since a lot of my workdays are only three to six hours as compared to his eight or nine; I have more free time. I also have health issues that leave me exhausted a lot so I can’t do much with that free time but lie around recuperating, but every partner eventually tells me that they think I’m actually just lazy so I assume The Dandy will get to that point, too, sooner or later…).

Anyway it seems like The Dandy doesn’t expect me to do extra housework, after all – that he’s really just pitching in more money out of the goodness of his heart so that I can be more comfortable. But I’m afraid to ask him this directly because if I spell it out like I did above, he might have a “hey wait yeah!” moment and start thinking that I should indeed do more housework. And I can’t – not consistently, anyway – so then I’ll be fucked.

The other day he was ranting about how gross the living room is and I think I must have started to panic and assured him that my slow season at work is coming up and I’ll probably be able to start attacking the clutter once I’ve had some time to recuperate from working – he said that he didn’t expect me to do that. I was like “Wait, so ‘it looks like shit in here and I hate it’ isn’t a passive-aggressive way of saying ‘why haven’t you done anything about it?’?” The Dandy said no, he’s really, literally, just saying that it looks like shit in there and he hates it, no blame implied. And he added “hey, for that matter why haven’t I done anything about it, right?”

And I realized for the first time that I’ve spent pretty much my entire life steeped in passive-aggression and hinting. So much so that it never in a million years occurred to me that The Dandy might simply be making a statement about the mess* and not aiming it at me in any way.

So………huh.

 

*To be clear, it’s mostly not my mess. If it was my mess I’m sure things might be different.

 

 

 

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ROOM!

After The Dandy painted the walls of my bedroom, I was able to kick things into high gear (still often with his help). I finally got the dressers repainted, and secured pretty new drawer pulls to them. I repainted a wooden shelf unit thingy that I suddenly realized would be a perfect nightstand on the one side of my bed. The Dandy and I finalllllllly put together the Ikea bed I’d bought months ago. He took me back to Ikea so I could buy some bookcases to put my tv, DVD player, and DVDs on so I can watch cartoons while I try to go to sleep. I dug my hand-me-down antique pair of lamps out of the living-room clutter and bought shades for them and set them up on either side of the bed. I hung some of my favourite pieces of art on the wall.

It’s beautiful in here. It’s beautiful and it’s mineMy room, in a colour I chose, with my furniture that I bought, and my knicknacks and art in it. I seriously come stand in the doorway twenty times a day just to look at this room and marvel that it’s mine.

Here’s the terrible downside (you know there’s always a terrible downside): to save a bit of money, instead of buying the Ikea slat thing for the bed, The Dandy used the slats from my old bed – the loft bed that Mine had made me. And then we threw out the rest of the pieces, because they were taking up space and I have this new bed. Which is all perfectly reasonable.

But I’m a jumpy motherfucker with one foot out the door and that loft bed was gonna be my ticket to surviving in whatever tiny-ass room I’d be able to afford if I have to move out of here*.  My dressers fit underneath it, so I could live in a pretty small room and still have both a queen-size bed and some floor space/storage space. Now, though, the loft bed is gone and Mine and I don’t speak anymore. The Dandy is amazing at building things and could make me a new loft bed, but chances are if I was breaking up with him he wouldn’t much feel like doing so. And so I’m saddled with this cumbersome, space-hogging, hard-to-take-apart non-loft bed now.

live here now. It would be very difficult to live anywhere else. And that’s terrifying.

 

*I still compulsively look at rental listings. The only setups I can afford are roommate situations, and a lot of those listings say that the room up for grabs is only big enough for a double bed (or even just a single bed) and a dresser. But that doesn’t take into account that I could stack my shit!

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I miss living on my own.

I never wanted to live with anyone (but pets) ever again. Not a partner, not a roommate. When Minx moved out I knew with absolute certainty that I abhorred the idea of getting physically entangled in someone else’s life ever again. I wanted breakups (relationship breakups, friend-breakups, whatever) to consist of “Here’s your book that I borrowed. Thanks for giving me my blue shirt back. See you ’round” and that’s it, I’d never have to be around them again unless I chose to.

But then my shitty downstairs neighbours at my old apartment started stalking/abusing me and I had to get out and I couldn’t afford a new place on my own (and looked like a bad risk to rental agents, anyway, with my weird fucking freelance job that doesn’t have regular paycheques) so here I am, living with The Dandy.

And it’s good. My bedroom is about the size of the kind of studio apartment I might have been able to get under my own power, plus I have access to a huge living room and there’s a dishwasher. The Dandy pays the lion’s share of the rent and groceries and this has taken a huuuuuuge weight of anxiety off my mind and given me more leisure time and more cash to spend on fun things and self-care. I have my own room but I can spend the night in The Dandy’s bed whenever I want and he’ll pet my head until I fall asleep.

But I hate it. I hate it I hate it I fucking hate it. Because the power balance is skewed; if shit goes sideways in this relationship it’ll be almost impossible for me to find a new place to live. And The Dandy knows it. He hasn’t tried to twist the screws yet, but every time I have a relationship issue with him and bring it up, I wonder if I should STFU and just deal with his shortcomings in exchange for the sweet deal I’m getting living here. Worse, I wonder if he thinks this, also. I wonder if I’d have the guts to break up with him if I ever really needed to or if I’d be too afraid of dealing with my city’s shitty rental market here to risk it.

When I lived on my own, I felt like I could tell any guy I was dating to go fuck himself and it would affect none of my life in any practical way. I’d be sad, but that’s it. When I was living on my own, I could keep weird hours and nobody would judge me for it*. I could be messy and it wouldn’t affect anyone but me. I could have a depressive episode and not worry that my shitty mood was dragging anyone else down, or that my low energy was making me not hold up my end of keeping the household running and my partner would resent me.

What kills me is that I did actually get accepted into the first apartment I applied to when I was looking last year. The refrigerator was in the living room/bedroom because there was no room for it in the kitchen; the living room/bedroom was maybe ten by fourteen feet altogether; the bathroom was so narrow that I had to check to see if I could even walk past the sink to the toilet without turning sideways to squeeze my hips through (I could, barely). Most importantly, the floors weren’t concrete, which means the building may not have been very soundproof and I may have ended up with downstairs neighbours bitching about my cats running around yet again. But main reason I ultimately turned it down is that when I went in there a second time with a tape measure and a list of the measurements of all the furniture I planned to keep, I couldn’t figure out how to make it all fit. Later – after declining the place – I actually did figure out a new arrangement that would have worked, and I facepalmed. But so be it.

A month or two later, the rental agent from that building texted me that another bachelor had just come up – one that was laid out far better than the one I’d seen and almost taken. She said that particular floor plan was so awesome that people tended to stay there for a long-ass time and those units rarely ever came up for grabs, so this was a really rare shot. But by then I’d just moved in with The Dandy and Dandette and things were going well (no, let’s be honest here, I had some misgivings, I just didn’t want to go through the hassle of moving out literally weeks after moving in, and it felt mean to bail on them after they were so generous about making space for me in their home). So I never answered the text.

And now, as is usual with my anxiety, I’m living two parallel lives: one where I’m here with The Dandy and an alternate-universe life in which I took one of those bachelor apartments. Multiple times a day I picture what I’d be doing if I were living there and not here**. It’s exhausting, living two lives. But I can’t seem to stop.

 

*Except, as it turns out, the harpy downstairs who screamed at me, swore, and whipped something at my bedroom window because she heard me taking a bath at 2am.

**And it’s always better, of course, because AssholeBrain wants me to know that all my life choices are a mistake. I keep editing out the part where I’d have to work twice as much to afford the rent there and this would leave me with no time to ever do the dishes (by hand because no dishwasher). I keep editing out how the space would be so packed with furniture that I’d barely be able to move (and probably covered in bruises from trying to scootch in between shit and not quite making it). I keep editing out how I’d inevitably be hearing more sounds from my neighbours than I’d like, and they might very well hear – and complain about – noises from me.

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New boy

There was a student at one of the colleges where I work who I always thought was cute. Nothing unusual there; plenty of the guys who draw me are cute.

We friended each other on Facebook; quite a few work-related people have friended me or vice-versa.

And he recently asked if I wanted to hang out over a beverage or something. That, I didn’t expect. I recently joined a poly-dating-oriented group on Facebook and he turned out to be a member already, and the invite came soon after we interacted there, so I figure he realized we had more than just art in common and decided he’d ask me on a date. He’d dropped out of college by that point, so we won’t be working together, so I said okay.

Dating gives me such a headache sometimes; that whole thing of trying to figure out if I’m into a guy or not, or into him for the right reasons or not.

When I first met up with the new guy (I guess we’ll call him The Artist) – he came to his ex-school as my shift there ended, and we headed out to dinner together. Right from the getgo he was so talkative I could barely get a word in edgewise – just volleying his personality and opinions at me. I hate when guys do that (and yeah, a lot of them do). It’s like it doesn’t occur to them to be curious about me at all; they’ve decided they’re interested in me for whatever reason and now it’s time to force-feed me their entire brains and see how I react.

So during that first five or ten minutes of hanging out with The Artist, I thought “Ohhh shit this is not working for me but I still have all of dinner to get through.” I mean I suppose I could’ve just been like “NOPE” and walked away and gone home, but that would’ve felt pretty awkward and insulting.

I guess The Artist was just nervous, though. As time went on, his constant stream of chatter eased up a bit and sometimes he asked me questions about myself. Overall the conversation still skewed in his direction.

God, I guess at this point in my life I’m just suckered in by guys who are ready for a relationship and clear about their intentions. The Artist spent a lot of time talking about video games he enjoys, and they weren’t the typical first-person-shooter type things that I think of when I think of “gamers” but I still couldn’t get that interested in what he was saying. But he also spent a lot of time not-so-subtly laying out potential relationship groundwork: talking about his attitudes toward dating and what he’s looking for in a person and stuff like that. When I said I have two cats he said maybe he could meet them someday. He talked about his emotions to a larger extent than most guys do – even the ones I’m currently in relationships with. And, I mean, he is really cute. And I found myself slipping into relationship audition mode, myself; dropping hints or saying outright what I want in a partner and asking him pointed questions about things to figure out if he’d be suitable for me. We seem to have compatible attitudes so far.

Also…he accompanied me to my door after, which meant taking a bus fifteen minutes out of his way and then taking it back again alone to where we’d just been so he could go home. On the bus, I commented that he was nice and warm (I could feel his body heat from where our thighs were touching) and he said (not in a lascivious voice or anything) that I could feel free to warm myself up on him however I wanted. I burrowed one of my hands under his long hair to the back of his neck and kept it there for a minute or two. A bit later on our bus ride he explicitly told me that he asked to hang out because he thinks I’m cute (I guess just in case I thought it was strictly a friends-hangout). I said I thought he was cute, too. At the front door of my building he gave me a tremendous hug: warm and long and sincere-feeling. When we finally pulled apart I was sorta monitoring his face for signs that he wanted to kiss and I didn’t see anything obvious so I didn’t make a move. Neither did he. I like this, though. I’ve been having a tendency lately to kiss someone I’m interested in at the earliest possible time, and it’s starting to feel kind of boring and routine. Nice to draw out the tension for a bit.

When I got home he messaged me on Facebook requesting pics of my cats, which I provided. I thanked him for accompanying me right to my door like that and said I really liked that. He said “you’re welcome” and that we ought to hang out again soon and maybe he’d even take me out on a more formal date. So I guess he sees some potential here.

Then the next night at like 2am I was on Facebook and he messaged me asking at what point he ought to perceive my being up as a sign of procrastination/anxiety and tell me to go to bed (on our date I’d mentioned how sometimes anxiety keeps me up all night). Some might interpret this as presumptuous (and upon reflection I wonder if it is in fact coming from a presumptuous place) but TBH my initial reaction was “Holy shit, he’s striving to understand my anxiety and help me with it. He’s trying to customize himself to my needs.” And my knees went all wibbly.

(I am very into the idea of people I like customizing themselves to me and vice-versa. Like not compromising our actual personalities but learning the other person and adjusting to what they need. Almost every day I’m asking The Dandy stuff like “are you a person who needs to be alone for a while to decompress after work, or can we immediately start watching Netflix together?” or “when you’re sad, do you need distraction, snuggles, alone-time, someone to talk it out with, or what?” He doesn’t ask me those things back, though. Neither does The Pedant. If I tell them what I need in various situations they try to remember to do it, but they don’t actively try to figure my shit out so they can adapt to it. And sometimes the one-sidedness of that makes me sad.)

So this is what it’s come down to: I’m thinking of dating a guy who doesn’t share a lot of my interests and who is sometimes a bit boring and who talks over me, but who is cute and openly interested and seems relationship-ready and is making an effort to impress me. I can’t tell if my standards are too low or if I’m thinking outside the box in a good way. For a long time I thought common interests were the holy grail of relationship compatibility, but my longest current relationship is with The Pedant, who seems to come from a whole different planet. Maybe the only real criterion to bother looking for in a relationship is someone who treats you well and actively works at making you happy.

The Artist just turned 27, btw. I turn 45 soon. The hilarious thing is, 27 doesn’t seem that young to me – it feels like “Ehhh, well he’s definitely a grown-up and he’s probably had some failed relationships and other key life experiences by now, so I don’t feel like our age difference will be too big a deal.” Then I did the math and realized he’s eighteen years younger. That…is a lot. But oh well.

Incidentally, the day before my date with The Artist, I met up with a 21yo from Fetlife who’d put up an ad a while back as a sub looking for a dominant woman. I really need someone to give me massages on a regular basis – someone with far, far stronger hands than The Dandy or The Pedant – so I wrote to him asking if he might like being my massage-slave. He said that sounded very much relevant to his interests.

The 21yo was cute and personable and I enjoyed talking to him. Midway through our coffee date, when I changed the direction of our conversation from small talk to a pointed question about his massage skills, he said “…Actually I just realized that I don’t really have time for anyone new right now. I already have a dominant I see a couple of times a week plus some play partners plus I’m dating vanilla, too, so…” I thanked him for his honesty and said that I enjoyed meeting him anyway and if his schedule ever clears up, to get back in touch.

But yeah…earlier in the convo that kid also made some pretty red-flaggy statements implying that D/s to him was a dirty secret and he’d never want an actual relationship with a dominant, especially not one with an age gap (referring to that dominant he sees a lot, who is in her 30s) because what would people think?!?  …I forged ahead with our date anyway because I just wanted some massages, not a life partner, but I felt some trepidation; a guy that conflicted and Madonna/whore-y is a guy who’ll probably drop out of my life the second a vanilla chick wants to date him. And then he said the thing about how actually he didn’t have time for me anyway.

So that bizarro-rejection and general lack of commitment may have primed me to be smitten with The Artist, who seems to like me and want to make time for me.

The Artist doesn’t know yet that I’m dominant, mind you. Statistically speaking, he’s probably not submissive, so I likely won’t get any D/s needs met with him. Still, though – if he continues doing stuff like accompanying me all the way home just to make sure I get there safely, he’ll probably push a few of my buttons anyway. (And yes, I will tell him I’m dominant. I just don’t want to do it unless it seems like things are going somewhere.)

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Last night The Dandy checked his text messages and said “Dandette is asking about getting some of her stuff this weekend. She also wants me to come see her new place, which I have no interest in at all, obviously.”

“Why would that be obvious to me?” I asked. “Just the other day you implied that you wanted her in your life in some capacity.”

“I flip-flop,” The Dandy said. “I mean I was thinking of trying to be friends, but now that I know she’s been making up some story in her head that I’m gonna break up with you and I’ll ask her to come back…ugh, that’s just too much crazy.”

TBH I rather suspected that this would happen. The Dandy was with her for around seven years, held prisoner by her anxiety attacks and suicide threats, and probably got a big ol’ case of Stockholm Syndrome. I think he feels guilt at the relationship failing, or at not being able to save or fix Dandette. I think he’s beginning to realize how fucked up and abusive things between them actually were. But I also think he’s resisting seeing her as just a flat-out awful person because that would mean he was stupid enough not only to fall for an awful person, but to invest seven years in her*. So it probably soothes his pride to pretend that she’s great and the two of them just aren’t compatible as lovers but can still be friends. I don’t think this will be the last time he flip-flops about this. I anticipate a rough ride for the next six months to a year where he vacillates wildly between trying to give her the benefit of the doubt and realizing that he dodged a bullet.

And I’m sorry, I know I’m harping on this yet again, but it still BUGS THE SHIT OUT OF ME that the things Dandette has done to me don’t factor into any of this. He fully understands that what she did to me was sexual assault; he calls it what it is and doesn’t try to minimize it. He also knows that the thing where she jokingly threatened me with the sword was inappropriate – in this case he was the one who said it first to me because AnxietyBrain was making me feel like I might be upset over nothing. He said every kind of training with a deadly weapon will always tell you never to point it at someone unless you actually do intend to hurt them, and that threatening me with it was not at all acceptable, especially since I’m a layman with no idea how sharp it was or anything. For all I knew, the thing could have sliced my arm open. And he said it was just a ridiculously childish and inappropriate way to act in front of his mom.  So he knows that these are bad things that happened.

If someone I was close to sexually assaulted my partner and then – on another occasion – knowingly did a thing that drove them into a huge panic attack (let alone all the other, more insidious shit Dandette did to both of us!) I would be angry at them for it. I would yell at them for it and then I wouldn’t want to hang out with them anymore. And yet…here we are.

And I know The Dandy was an abuse victim, too, so his head is probably all screwed up and I have to try to be gentle with him. But I don’t know how to stop being angry about this. I’ve been in abusive relationships with people who terrified me; I’ve had such low self-esteem that I thought I deserved to be treated badly; but even through all of that, if someone threatened someone I loved, my usual terror would evaporate and I’d fill with rage and step in to defend my loved one. My dad (who was abusive and scared me shitless) screamed at the family dog once for no good reason and I got between them and said “DON’T YOU DARE YELL AT HER. SHE DIDN’T EVEN DO ANYTHING. STOP IT.” I was probably eight or nine years old at the time, confronting a grown man who I knew could throw me through a fucking wall if he wanted to. But I did it.

And at this point, Dandette has moved out. I don’t need The Dandy to reprimand her for things she’s done to me (although I wish he had). I don’t need him to intervene when she’s in the middle of doing something terrible to me (though I wish he had). I just want him to not be pals with her. I want him to not talk to her except to work out the practical details of her picking up the rest of her stuff. I want him not to say yes to going for drinks with her. And most of the time he can’t manage to do even that.

 

*I don’t think he’s stupid for not seeing the red flags, or for getting so caught up in his and Dandette’s fucked-up relationship that he didn’t know it was fucked up anymore. Abusers and manipulators are subtle about it; they lure you in under false pretenses; that’s kinda their whole schtick. It’s not The Dandy’s fault for being a normal, trusting person. But I think victims of abuse do tend to blame themselves for it.

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