Tag Archives: The Pedant

Adjustments

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.

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The Pedant replies

So just as a recap:

I’ve been unhappy in my relationship with The Pedant for a while. I emailed him about it. He has a history of getting all defensive and making excuses when I tell him my needs aren’t being met (instead of, you know…actually addressing the problem), so this time I specifically told him I don’t want excuses or backstory, I just wanna know if he can do the things I need in order to be happy. That’s it.

The Pedant replied that yes, he could do the things I specified, but that there really were some things we should discuss. I told him to go ahead. Annnnd that’s when he sent me the usual torrent of defensiveness, which, as far as I’m concerned, basically amounted to “what we should discuss is that my motives were pure and my behaviour had valid reasons behind it and you’re just a meaniehead making baseless accusations.”

Thanks to the support of my brilliant regular commenters here, I managed to break the cycle and resist the urge to argue The Pedant’s points in hopes of making him understand my point of view. I wasn’t quite ready to let him go entirely, but I was feeling pretty sick of his shit and needed a break from it, so I pointed out how shitty he was being and then said I needed not to talk to him for a bit. This was about two months ago.

I assumed that being on a break from The Pedant would make me miss him and feel nostalgic and stuff. Instead I felt relieved, so I spent a while enjoying that. And then I did some soul searching and realized that even if he suddenly did all the things I’d ever wanted and became the perfect boyfriend, it’s too late: I’m at that point where my resentment runs too deep.

So I sent him a breakup email two days ago. No big list of reasons or attempt at explaining my emotional state this time, because we all know by now how The Pedant reacts to that and also if we’re not going to be seeing each other anymore then it doesn’t matter if he understands me or not. I just said that upon reflection the relationship wasn’t working for me and it feels too far gone for repair, so I’m ending it. I said I’m open to friendship at some point* but typically need about six months of radio silence from an ex in order to make that transition.

The Pedant wrote me back yesterday.

This latest missive is…weird. It certainly affirms that I made the right choice in ending things.

Basically, the email took the form of him rehashing each of his “we should discuss” points from before in order to make more excuses and try to convince me that his intentions were good – capped with an apology. So I guess he’s trying to learn from what I said and actually acknowledge my feelings and express regret over them but he just doesn’t know how to shut up after that and stop talking all about how I interpreted him wrong and he didn’t mean anything by it and blah blah blah? I don’t know.

But almost every point The Pedant made was along the lines of “I said we should discuss X because I was totes planning on telling you [thing he thinks I want to hear] about it!”

I won’t bore you with the whole stupid email, but here’s his final and most aggravating point that exemplifies pretty much everything annoying about the whole thing:

When I said that we should probably discuss that I have in fact spent more quality time with you than I have with Raver Chick [his live-in girlfriend] over the past year, I wanted to tell you that that was intentional on my part: what little time I’ve spent with you has been the lion’s share of my available free time, because I wanted to give you the greater share of what free time I had. I had wanted to tell you that sooner (and give you more details in person) but you ended your November 6th letter by saying that you needed to avoid speaking to me, and so here I am typing it two months later after you’ve already decided things.

So, couple things:

  1. Ummmm okay? So, if he had this info that he thought would comfort and reassure me, why didn’t he fucking say so? I tell him I feel taken for granted and he responds by cryptically saying that we have “things to discuss” instead of responding upfront with “OMG no I actually like spending time with you even more than with Raver Chick”? Nah, I call bullshit. His “we should discuss” email was pure passive-aggressive bullshit and now he’s backpedalling.
  2. I can’t one hundred percent say that his statement about spending “more quality time” with me than Raver Chick is a lie**, but in the past year, they’ve gone to a music festival together that was in another city and lasted for several days; they’ve gone for a three-hour walk together just to look at the fall foliage; they’ve been to several concerts; she posted a video on FB of them kissing in a local tourist attraction while some passer-by applauded. And those are just the things I know about. Also, like…they live together. They sleep in the same bed every night. Meanwhile The Pedant would come see me for maybe two days a month, tops, and TBH after we were done fucking a lot of those visits were just us lying around watching Netflix. I don’t think the math could possibly add up to me having more quality time with The Pedant than Raver Chick does.
  3. Also, just as a point of interest, on many occasions The Pedant has contacted me saying “Hey, Raver Chick is out for the weekend, want me to come over?” Like wow why not just say “hey, backup girlfriend, my favourite person isn’t available so what are you doing tonight?” I call so much bullshit on the idea that he wanted to see me more than her.
  4. Holy shit all I said was that I wanted more of him than I’d been getting, not that I wanted him to see me more than Raver Chick or like me more than Raver Chick (I don’t want either of those things!). It’s not a competition. Telling me openly that he’d rather spend time with me than his nesting partner in hopes that it’ll mollify me is fucking gross. Raver Chick and I are FB friends by the way. I could send her a screenshot of him saying that if I chose to. I won’t…but I could.
  5. And then that final, petulant sentence, letting me know that he had all this amazing stuff up his sleeve that would fix everything with us but I wouldn’t let him come over and say it in person so now we’re broken up and it’s allllll my fault. Jesus Christ.
  6. Oh and notice that when I first said I needed a break from him and didn’t want him to talk to me, he acquiesced (mostly). He allegedly had all this amazing secret info up his sleeve that would totes fix everything, mind you, but I’d told him I needed silence and far be it from him to go against my wishes! Then I broke up with him entirely and asked him not to talk to me, and suddenly he was fine with talking to me to tell me all that magical intel that would have fixed things…and then make sure I knew it was my fault he hadn’t told me sooner.

The Pedant did end off the whole email with “I’m sorry I couldn’t be better for you” – the one apology in the whole thing that seemed like it might be sincere and not passive-aggressive.*** And it gave me closure, finally, and I cried and cried and cried.

And – as always happens once I realize a relationship is over – I was finally able to let out the anger I’d been repressing before for the sake of trying to make relationship work. I ranted to The Dandy for a while about how shitty The Pedant treated me for the past bunch of months, and I noticed that I kept protesting “I’M NOT CRAZY, DAMMIT!” – I’m not crazy for hating that The Pedant borrowed hundreds of dollars from me to take Raver Chick out when he never even bought me dinner anymore. I’m not crazy to be frustrated by him being literally hours late every time we made plans. Anyway I heard myself repeatedly saying “I’m not crazy!” and it twigged for me that this is a symptom of gaslighting and that The Pedant is…really probably not a great person.

Leaving was the right choice.

 

 

*And by this I meant “maybe one day we can banter on Facebook without it being weird or stirring up baggage,” not that I’d want to hang out in person. With sex off the table I really have no reason at all to subject myself to his flakiness, chronic lateness, etc.

** Partly because “quality time” is a subjective concept, and lord knows if I questioned The Pedant’s statement he’d start splitting hairs over that and arguing that taking Raver Chick to a music festival in another city isn’t as “quality” as coming to my place, fucking me, and then passing out for sixteen straight hours.

***Re: my sadness that he never took me out anymore: “I wanted to apologize for not making enough money to treat you properly.” Like he’s hinting around that I’m a golddigger or some shit. Like I ever said a single damn thing about him needing to make more.

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Ok I did it.

I sent The Pedant a breakup email. Not a wishy-washy one where I was leaving room for him to hopefully say “Nooo! I’ll change! Let’s talk!” like I’ve sent him in the past. A unilateral “thanks for the good times but I’m done now” email.

And now we see whether he responds, and if so – how.

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Oh btw

The Pedant messaged me the other day. He said, “Your last email didn’t say how long ‘a while’ was going to be, but I wanted to wish you a happy new year regardless. Let me know when you’re up for speaking to me again.”

I didn’t respond; I didn’t know how to. Hearing from him was filling me with a lot of complicated feelings and really all I wanted to do was break up with him on the spot but I didn’t wanna fuck up his holiday season with that kind of sadness.

Seven hours later The Pedant messaged me again, clearly antsy and trying to goose me into saying something to him: “(I figure any apology is best delivered in person at this point.)”

Most people are big on talking in person and hashing out feelings while making eye contact. This thing of having FeelingsTalks and BreakupTalks in person is really important to them for whatever reason. Neither The Pedant nor I care too much about that sort of thing, though. We’ve had huge important relationship talks via email before and I tend to prefer it; I can express my thoughts in a more tactful and organized way when I have time to compose them in writing, and if The Pedant’s reaction is gaslighty or sketchy in some way, he can’t deny what he said later because it’s all right there.

That second message, then, is not The Pedant observing normal social protocol. It’s him dangling a carrot on a stick: he’ll give me the apology I’ve been needing so badly, but only if I don’t break up with him yet. It’s him realizing that things are probably winding to a close with us and hoping that if he can just get into a room with me face-to-face our sexual chemistry will take over and I’ll forget to dump him.

At least I’m pretty sure that’s what it is.

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Pedant thoughts

The last thing I said to The Pedant – via email – was that I need to not talk to him for a while. That’s what I said, and that’s what I meant: it wasn’t a breakup, just a break.

But during this hiatus I realized I miss him less than I thought I would. We connected really well sexually and there were many things I liked about him as a person but each plan we made to hang out together came with at least as much angst as anticipation because he was almost always hours late arriving. Years ago I stopped making plans with him that involved going anywhere because he would fuck me over so often; we’d miss movies, restaurants would close by the time he got there, I’d be waiting at some public meeting place for two hours getting approached by all kinds of random weirdos, etc. Finally I told him I would only ever have him come over to my place so that if/when he fucked up his time management, at least I wouldn’t have to get off the couch or put pants on.

But yeah. Every time The Pedant agreed to come over, I always got a surge of “Oh, yay!” followed by a surge of “Ohhhhh fuck.” He was consistently late and he always expected me to do fifty million things to set up a perfect playspace but contributed basically nothing.

Also, he’s treated me as slightly lesser than Raver Chick* (and OtherGirl before that, and also placed me firmly lower than nightclubbing and concerts and concerts and did I mention concerts?) in a million subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

And these issues of me wanting to feel more important to The Pedant than I do, and wanting to feel closer to him than I do, have been ongoing for almost our entire relationship. He’s grown and changed so much since we started dating, and gotten better at meeting my needs, but he still isn’t all the way there. I obviously want more than he can give. And I think I’ve passed some kind of tipping point where even if he suddenly and magically changed into the perfect partner for me, it’s too late and I’m too hurt. I don’t deal well with change at all so it scares me to say this but I don’t think I want to see him anymore. And as tempting as it is to kinda just keep stringing him along so that if I miss him later on I can just be like “I’m ready to start talking again now!” and try to pick up where we left off, I think I’ll feel in limbo if I do that and I do need to make a clean break.

I tentatively plan to drop the hammer tomorrow via email. I’m simultaneously scared that The Pedant will vanish without a fight (thus proving that I’m not that important to him) and that he’ll argue that my feelings are wrong and I should stay with him (proof that he’s such a selfish, tunnel-visioned asshole that he thinks the relationship is fine for him and therefore it’s objectively fine for me, too, and my issues must all be in my head).

 

*Who I guess I’d named NewGirl in that linked blog post, for lack of any better idea yet.

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Funny.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I finally responded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the important thing is that you WON.

I need to not talk to you for a while.

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