If there’s one huge ongoing battle I have with The Dandy, it’s getting him to use his words more.
He is so fuckin’ weird sometimes. He’ll do stuff that even a neurotypical person would probably be confused by, like you’ll ask him to help with this thing you’re doing and he’ll say “okay” but instead of, y’know, coming over and helping, he’ll turn around and leave the room. And when you’re like “…ummmm…?” he’ll clarify: “I have to pee. Then I’ll help.” but like…say that part upfront. Everyone else I’ve ever known, if you’d asked them for help like that, would have said “Yes, but first I gotta pee” or whatever. They wouldn’t say yes and then just silently leave.
And the weirdest part is that on two different occasions I forgot to narrate my actions (both times I think The Dandy and I were (playfully?) antagonizing each other but it got to a point where I ran out of comebacks so I just wandered off to load the dishwasher or whatever). On both occasions, The Dandy grabbed my arm and was like “wait where are you going what are you doing are you mad at me?” So it’s not like he’s wired completely differently from me; it bothers him if I leave a room suddenly and without explanation, too. And yet he still never thinks to narrate his own actions.
Also though he’s a lot more subtle and hinty than I am a lot of the time and it hurts my head. I can interpret hints (I think? Most of the time?) but I feel so much more comfortable with directness.
And The Dandy will also make assumptions without asking for clarification or clarifying his own expectations/needs, which drives me batty.
Like one time recently it was just about time for bed and I came out of a nice hot bath and flopped on my bed in my towel to relax and air-dry for a bit. The Dandy came in, without prompting, and lay down next to me and started stroking my head and upper back the way I love. Probably he was trying to help me get sleepy because I’ve been having insomnia lately. My crotch feels good when stroked too, though – I’m not even talking about clitoral stimulation and orgasms, I mean just lightly scritching the mons or stroking along the labia majora feels really nice, and since I’d just bathed I figured The Dandy might not object to doing that*.
So I asked him to “pet my furry bits.” And he did, but kind of tentatively, and he avoided my more sensitive areas despite my repeated urging, so for the most part it was just a giant unsatisfying tease. I swear to you it even occurred to me that he might have been acting that way because he was trying not to turn me on (it was late and he surely wanted to go to bed soon; sex would have postponed that plan) and I was going to outright tell him “Hey, just FYI, I want to get to bed soon and I know you do, too; this isn’t foreplay for me, it just feels nice and I’m enjoying it on its own merits.” But I didn’t, because I’m frankly sick to death of constantly second-guessing his motivations out of anxiety (and often being wrong about them, since AnxietyBrain isn’t the most logical entity around).
This was the Sunday (I think?) of the same weekend we had sex twice. The next day he mentioned that his penis was actually sore from all the action it had gotten. “Were you afraid of touching me too intimately last night in case you ‘woke the beast’ and I wanted to fuck you again?” I asked. He said yup, that’s exactly what was happening there. And I was like “FFS why wouldn’t you just have said ‘hey, just FYI I like touching you but I don’t want it to lead to sex right now’?” The Dandy of course just got all weird and quiet and just shrugged. I pointed out that I’ve said stuff like that to him tons of times, and also that I’ve never reacted badly when he’s indicated he doesn’t want sex so it’s weird that he seemed to be treating me like some scary sexual predator he had to appease as best he could without starting a direct confrontation. I mean seriously WTF.
And anyway, it’s not like “an hour of time-and-energy-consuming intercourse” and “some chaste caressing that definitely doesn’t lead to anything but sleep” were the only two possible options. If he didn’t wanna bone but I kinda did, we could compromise on dildo-plus-Hitachi. I get satisfied and he barely has to do anything.
The Dandy of course didn’t ever give me any straight answers about what was on his mind or why he can’t or won’t just fucking tell me the parameters of what he wants instead of driving AnxietyBrain insane with his hints and deflections.
And then yesterday the same fucking thing happened again, basically. From 9am til noon, The Dandy needed to be logged into his computer to babysit some software deployment thing for his work. After that we had plans to pop into Home Depot for some stuff I needed and then go visit his mom for Mother’s Day (and she lives in a city maybe two hours away by car, so it’s not a thing where we’d ever just pop in for half an hour. Visits are long). In the meantime, though, I was feeling a buildup of sexual energy.
The Dandy’s computer is basically about ten feet from my bed (albeit with a wall in between). It was unclear to me whether his work bullshit would involve Skyping or conference calls, and my Hitachi is LOUD, so I didn’t wanna get myself off while he was working. If he was gonna take a shower later as part of the getting-ready-to-leave process I could have taken care of business then, but he doesn’t always shower before we go somewhere and if I’d asked “Will you be taking a shower today?” he would have asked why I wanted to know and that would have been awkward. I preferred to invite him to be part of my orgasm first and use the shower thing as a fallback if he said no.
So he finished work and I was like “c’mere, there’s business I want to attend to before we head out” *eyebrow waggle*.
“We need to get ready to go,” he said.
I said “Yeah, but we’re about to be at your mom’s all day so this is my one chance. And it’ll be faster if I have something pretty to look at.”
The Dandy (naked, having taken his clothes off once he’d finished his work) came and lay next to me on the bed. I took out my Hitachi and went to work…and he kept on just lying there. Like not even looking at me or anything. Staring at the ceiling. I know I said I wanted to use him for visual stimulation, but to most people that would mean putting on a bit of a show or something, or even embellishing a bit by actually touching and kissing me. Who says yes to helping someone get off and then lies there like they’re making grocery lists inside their head?! It seemed like he didn’t particularly want to be there and it was depressing as hell. In retrospect I suppose I should’ve stopped and asked him what was up. At the time I just figured hey, he came in here when I asked him to, and other times when I’ve asked him to come do sexual stuff with/to me he’s rejected me, so we’re probably fine on the consent front; he may not be acting enthusiastic about it for whatever reason but he willingly chose to be here.
When I got out my dildo and asked him to use it on me he did, though. I got off in five minutes flat (probably less) and he kept on stimulating me until I was allllllll the way done (so it seemed like he was enjoying helping and not just grudgingly doing the absolute minimum possible? I think?). A few seconds later I realized there was more in the queue, so to speak, and fired up the Hitachi again and came again within like forty seconds. “Okay, now I’m good to get ready and go out,” I proclaimed, happily.
The Dandy then hopped in the shower…and remained there for an hour. No exaggeration.
He’s told me before that showering is how he gets his head straight when he’s got a lot of stuff to process, so I got scared that his preliminary lack of enthusiasm for getting me off had some deep, deep root of hatred to it and he was in there figuring out whether it was still worth even being with me. When he came out and I asked him if he was okay and at first he didn’t know what I was even talking about. I pointed out he’d been showering for an hour and I know the shower is where he does his thinking and he was like “Oh yeah no I just got distracted thinking about how I’m gonna make this cutting board.” (He’s been obsessing lately on getting a fancy wood cutting board and now thinks he might just make it himself.) Normally AnxietyBrain would tell me that he was in fact plotting to break up with me and the cutting board thing was just a cover, but his tone was so light and surprised. If it was a lie’d have to be a criminal mastermind to pull off his attitude of pleasant, mildly-surprised absent-mindedness. So I think we’re good, on that front anyway.
I said “Okay, but just for the record, telling me I can’t take five minutes to get off because we have to hurry up and leave but then hopping in the shower for an hour is kinda bullshit.” I then had a realization: “Wait, did ‘we have to get ready’ mean ‘we have to get ready,’ or was it a secret code for ‘I don’t want to do anything sexual with you’ and I didn’t pick up on that because I’m not good at hinty stuff?”
“No, it really meant ‘we have to get ready.’ And I only said it because I thought you were looking to have sex, which would’ve taken a lot longer.” (FYI The Dandy always uses “sex” to mean “penis goes in vagina”. I’ve gotten in that habit with him too, now, although with anyone else I’d use the word lesbian-style to mean “stuff we do together that is fun and orgasmy.”)
I facepalmed. “Then say that. Say ‘is it sex you’re after, here? Because I feel like that would set our schedule back too much.’ Or ‘I don’t wanna have sex but we can do other stuff.’ You use your words. Right?”
He of course said nothing.
I added “Oh, and in future if you could manage to seem less obviously bored and resentful with doing sexual stuff with me, that’d be great.”
He still didn’t say anything but I could tell he knew exactly what I was talking about. There was no facial expression of “Oh shit, did I accidentally look like I wasn’t into it?”
Much later, as we drove back from his mom’s place, I gave an impromptu speech that explained some things further:
Okay so to clarify some stuff from earlier: as you know, I’m very probably on the autism spectrum somewhere, so sometimes I don’t pick up on subtleties. I have learned that there’s a thing people do called a “soft no” where they don’t wanna do a thing but instead of saying that, they kind of deflect. They’ll say “oh sorry I can’t” or whatever. I’m pretty good at knowing when someone’s giving me a soft no, except if they phrase it like an excuse. Then my first instinct is to take it at face value that they really do want to do the thing, they just shouldn’t do it, because reasons. And if I see a way around their reasons, I’ll say so – like, “Oh, but tomorrow is Saturday so you don’t have to wake up early. We can have sex!”
When I do that, I genuinely believe I’m helping remove the barriers between the other person and the thing they want. But the other person probably sees me as ignoring their ‘no.’ And they continue to deflect me until I give up, and half the time weeks or months pass before I suddenly realize ‘ohhhhh shit he never wanted to fuck me/date me/whatever in the first place and I didn’t pick up on it and I kept pursuing and he probably thinks I’m a rapist stalker monster’ and I feel terrible about it. I prefer very much for someone to be polite but direct when they reject me so I don’t have to wonder what they really mean.
Anyway, please don’t ever think I’m trying to blow past a “no” from you. I’d never do that on purpose. I just don’t get things, sometimes.
The Dandy smiled and nodded said he understood. I hope so, because I think he is the kind of person who would say “we have to get ready” when he really meant “I don’t want to engage with you sexually right now.” AnxietyBrain wonders if that’s exactly what he meant when he said it earlier, in fact. And it would crush me if he thought I was being rapey when really I just didn’t realize that he was using eighty layers of secret code over his actual fucking thoughts.
I don’t know why he’s so terrible at being transparent with me. I know he has some baggage left over from Dandette, who’d usually fly off the handle at rejection or at any perceived criticism of her. But: 1) I am not Dandette. I don’t react to things the way she does, and I’ve been dating The Dandy for I think about two years now – almost half a year of that with Dandette entirely out of the picture. At what point is he gonna figure out that he can talk to me?!? 2) The Dandy has said that he only has actual orgasms with someone (vs just ejaculating) when he feels safe with them. He orgasms with me; he didn’t with Dandette. It seems like he does feel he can be vulnerable with me. So…why does he still approach so many things obliquely instead of just saying shit to me?
*If there’s another big issue that keeps coming up for us (well, for me) it’s that he seems vaguely repulsed by my genitals. Won’t go down on me, ever. Doesn’t fingerbang me anymore. I feel like he really doesn’t want to touch my vulva with anything but his dick, and it bothers me a lot. I suspect some of these feelings of mine are anxiety/paranoia based, though, which is why I haven’t given up on asking him to touch me sometimes.