I think this the first time I’ve broken off one long-term relationship while I was in another. Certainly it’s the first time I’ve broken off one long-term relationship while I was cohabiting with another partner. So I’m figuring out how to navigate this.
First off, I’m trying to make sure I don’t rant about The Pedant to The Dandy toooooo much. Not even because they both are/were partners of mine and it might be weird, so much as it just gets really fuckin’ boring. The Dandy lives here, so he’s around a lot and is a captive audience of sorts, but that doesn’t mean I need to free-associate at him every time a thought comes into my head about the breakup.
I did tell The Dandy that if I do need to talk about The Pedant sometimes, it’ll probably help a lot for him to validate my feelings. I think one reason my head gets so wound up about The Pedant is that he gaslit me so much and it’s probably gonna make me second-guess myself occasionally – like, was he really as insensitive and ridiculous as I remember, or was that my anxiety misinterpreting things?* So The Dandy confirming that yes, things really were that bad, I’m right to have ended it, I can find someone better for me, etc would probably really help. (And The Dandy knows The Pedant, so he wouldn’t just be talking out of his ass.)
And I gave The Dandy an overview of what might happen with me for the next little while (I have a post-breakup pattern I’ve noticed). To wit:
- By the time one of my relationships ends, I’ve been suppressing anger and trying to gracefully set aside differences for a lonnnng time in an attempt to make things work. After a breakup I don’t have to do that anymore and can finally let all my emotions out. Probably more and more things will suddenly pop up that I realize I’m angry about and that I’ll need to vent about, although I’ll try not to drone on for too long.
- I will probably be tempted to respond to personal ads on FetLife or otherwise search for new partners. DON’T LET ME DO THAT. Chain me to the bed like I’m a heroin addict in withdrawal if you have to. I’m just messaging guys because I’m trying to fill the gap in my life The Pedant left behind, but I’m still way too bitter to date so as soon as a guy responds to me with interest I’m like “fuck, I don’t wanna meet new people. I hate people. The fuck am I doing?”
- Breakups put me in a bitter mood where I feel like all relationships are doomed. It seems likely that I’ll start picking fights with The Dandy to prove to myself that this relationship sucks, too, or that I’ll blow up some minor thing that happens into proof that we’re doomed. I’ll try not to, but yeah…take me with a grain of salt.
That was just last night that I said those things and speak of the devil, we had an incident first thing today. In addition to the breakup I’m also probably PMSing right now, btw, plus I was hangry when this incident occurred. So, lotta stuff going on.
Anyway I woke up fucking starving and went to the kitchen to make myself some eggs. The counter was still a bit cluttered with dishes and things from the day before and I thought I saw movement among the clutter and yep – ARRRRRRGH – there was a cockroach on the counter next to the stove. I screamed and it scurried under the edge of a plate.
I ran and told The Dandy that there was a roach. He knows I have a tremendous phobia of them after having lived in a place back in my 20s that had an absolutely nightmarish infestation of them** and has typically been really accommodating, thank god. He came to the kitchen and looked at the corner of the counter I pointed to – didn’t even move anything aside, just looked – and said “Meh, I guess it’s long gone now.”
Long story short I didn’t buy that the thing was “long gone” from such a veritable playground of food and hiding spots, and I didn’t feel comfortable cooking myself breakfast unless that portion of the counter had been cleared off so I could definitely see that it was critter-free. So as The Dandy moved to head out of the kitchen I asked if he could at least put that pan and those plates into the sink before he left.
And he said “What pan?” without even looking at the fucking counter, which irritates the shit out of me. You guys, it’s not that big of a counter and I was only talking about one specific corner anyway and there was a single frying pan sitting there. This is not difficult.
“The pan. On the counter. Right fucking there. Can you put it in the sink,” I said.
“No,” The Dandy said, and I jumped to the conclusion that he was being a dick and intending to make me confront my roach phobia on my own. But then he said “That pan never goes in the sink, period. If soap even touches it, it’s ruined” so then my fury turned in a what the fuck is he even talking about sort of direction. It’s a fucking aluminum frying pan that we’ve soaked in soapy water a thousand times.
And then I realized that The Dandy still wasn’t looking in the corner next to the stove (you know, the corner I’d specifically pointed him to twice now), he was looking at the stove itself, where this fancy clay cookie sheet thing was sitting. That’s the thing that absorbs the taste of soap and can’t be washed in anything but straight water.
And then I kind of went nuclear on him and then went to my room and slammed the door, wondering how I would ever be able to be with someone who doesn’t fucking listen and who wouldn’t clear off one little patch of kitchen counter to assuage my phobia WTF.
At about that point I caught myself and realized I was probably doing exactly what I’d warned The Dandy about last night. Yeah, sometimes he doesn’t see stuff right in front of his face and it’s annoying, but it doesn’t mean he’s a terrible person. And he wasn’t refusing to clear the counter in order to be mean, he just didn’t understand what it was I wanted exactly. I don’t know why the fuck he didn’t look at the counter to see the pan before saying “what pan?” but whatever. He wasn’t being mean to me. And everyone has a brain fart sometimes where they don’t see something in front of them. None of this was a relationship-breaking issue – my brain was just trying to convince me that relationships all suck and are doomed to fail.
As I ruminated on all of this and tried to talk myself down, I heard the sounds of The Dandy running water and stuff. An hour later he came to my door and said “The kitchen’s clean now if you want to make yourself something.”
He’d cleaned the whole entire kitchen for me.
I finally ate something, which cleared up most of my low-blood-sugar irritability. I came into The Dandy’s room where he was on the computer and sheepishly kissed the top of his head. “How are you feeling?” he asked. “Better,” I said, cautiously. Not all better, though. I felt stupid about my behaviour earlier and yet still irrationally angry for some reason. So I couldn’t bring myself to apologize to him. But hey, he never apologizes to me; he always just comes in and is sheepishly affectionate with me and expects that it’ll magically fix everything. Surely he could take a little of the same treatment.
A bunch of hours later I felt a bit more back to my normal self and it felt weird and icky to me that the incident from before was sort of up in the air and not closed via an apology. I don’t know if The Dandy feels like an apology is closure or not, but I felt like I needed to make one. I hugged him and whispered “I’m sorry I got so angry this morning. Thank you for handling it relatively gracefully.” His facial expression in response to this seemed like something other than relief, to me, but I couldn’t exactly read what. Awkwardness, maybe? But he did smile.
Bleh, I hope I can shut off any further tantrums of mine before they happen. This is exhausting.
*Every single person I’ve told about The Pedant borrowing money from me to treat Raver Chick to outings, or being hours late every time we had plans, has been like “OMGWTFBBQ THAT IS RIDICULOUS!!!!” so that’s been satisfying. But I’ll need gobs more of that before my confidence is back up to normal.
**They’d run laps around my plate inside the microwave when I was cooking food, fall off the ceiling onto my head…at night there would be dozens of them crawling around on the kitchen counter and floor. I had to check under the toilet seat before I used it in case there was one hiding there. At the time I sorta got used to it and just powered through because there was no other choice. Once I was out of there and safe, though, I guess my brain just fuckin’ collapsed and now I just cannot deal with roaches at all. CANNOT. DEAL.