I’m angry, I’m hurt, I’m confused, and I’m disappointed.
I’ve had an issue with A for weeks (months?). I’ve talked to him about it. I’ve been light-hearted and joking. I’ve been kind about it, but it drives me fucking crazy. Often, I ask him out or want to make plans, but he just tentatively agrees to something. We call it the “tentatively maybe”, that’s how often it happens. I wait around for him to decide, keeping my evening open or a space available for him, and he decides whether or not it’s what he wants to do at the last minute. Once or twice, I’ve been surprised when he comes out, mostly, I’m resigned to him not coming long before he updates me on his plans.
While it’s been a frustration for a while, it hasn’t really been something that’s worth making an issue out of until a few days ago, when he crossed a line that meant I had to raise the issue, and I’m sad and pissed off and disappointed. We haven’t seen much of each other in recent weeks. Our schedules haven’t lined up and he’s needed a break and I’ve had visitors and life has happened. I’ve felt it quite acutely. I’m not sure how he’s felt about it.
Basically, what happened was that earlier in the week I was feeling like we hadn’t connected enough recently and offered to cancel a date I had with a new guy to be able to go out with A. He said it may work and that he had to discuss things with his wife. When we met the day before for a quick drink, he said he would be talking to her that evening and let me know. The next morning, I messaged him and asked him what his plans were. We had other conversations, which he answered quickly, but he avoided answering my questions about the evening. In the end, I cancelled the babysitter and decided to stay home because there was no point in going out when I don’t actually have plans.
Around 6:30 p.m., I texted to ask if there was a good reason he hadn’t messaged me. He immediately apologized. I told him I felt like he didn’t value me or our relationship. He responded with “I hear you”. I hope he does. But I’m not sure he gets it, and I’m not sure he’s willing to change his behaviour. The truth is, I feel like he treats me a bit like a 24 hour drive through. I’m always open for him to come when he wants. He leaves plans tentative until the very last minute. He makes tentative plans with me and then commits to plans with other people, often times just dropping on me that he made the plans with no acknowledgement that we had potential plans. For a long time, I just accepted that it was stress in his life, the craziness that has been all the stuff he is juggling. I don’t doubt that is part of it. Then I realized that he makes plans with everyone but me in advance. He commits to coffee with an old partner, he commits to going out for drinks with his friends, he commits to golf tournaments, charity events, and all kinds of other events. The point is, he can plan far in advance unless the plan is with me.
I’ve been trying to understand why this is. I have my theories, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I’m in love with someone and I’m not sure that he values the relationship with me. I don’t feel like my time, commitment, or feelings are respected. I don’t need to be the number one priority in anyone’s life, but it would be nice to be a priority, to feel like he wants to be with me in the same way I want to be with him.
He knew I was dissatisfied with his response to me, because I told him. His response was “that’s fair”. Once again, I was so annoyed. No acknowledgement of my feelings. No effort to assuage my hurt. No effort period.
Then, it got worse. We had made plans for Saturday afternoon. So, I asked him if we were on or not and he said he thought our plans were Sunday. He quickly talked to his wife and I got a text that said Saturday was good but I was so annoyed. We had discussed that Sunday was also free, but he never gave any indication that he wanted to see me, so I made plans with other people. Worse, he started joking about things, like the communication breakdown didn’t matter. In the end I just asked him to stop and the conversation ended.
To me, it feels so simple. I told him I don’t feel valued. In response to that, I would expect to get some reassurance that I mean something to him. That my feelings matter to him. But what I got were responses that sound good on paper but don’t acknowledge what I’ve communicated and seem to be designed to placate me.
I don’t know what to do about any of this. I don’t know if I can do anything about this.
I wrote what is above a few days ago. I decided not to post it before I talked to A in person. I also needed the time to process the feelings I was having. I’m a pretty good communicator, but in general, I’d rather do anything other than talk about my feelings. This is especially true with A. Largely because talking to him about feelings is an exercise in frustration. In fact, he took great joy in me groaning and saying he was a pain in the ass to talk to. But we got through it. He sort of explained a bit about how his conversations about me go with his wife. I was right, I’m a bit more of a loaded topic. It requires dialogue, not just an update on his plans. He “explained” that he wouldn’t be with me if I wasn’t a priority. In the end, I think we were both just annoyed with the conversation, him wondering why I was still talking about feelings, me wondering why he just couldn’t get it.
Truthfully, we spent much of the conversation laughing at each other, interspersed with me calling him names and groaning because he’s so fucking frustrating. I had shared our text conversation with G, who is my rock on all things dating, earlier in the week, and she just called him a “douche canoe”. I told A this and he laughed and said “Want to play with my oar?” And I did. So I did. It was fucking amazing.
That evening, I went out with G to roller derby. It was my first time at derby, and it was fun. It was especially fun to get a chance to chat with D’s wife as she and D were there. It was….weird…to see him. To recognize several of his movements and expressions and know that he was uncomfortable seeing me. We didn’t talk, but there was a bit of eye contact and a smile and wave as he passed me on his way out. It wasn’t as bad as I thought the first time I saw him would be and I have some hope that we will be able to be friends in the future. In fact, that is something I would really like, as he is a really good person, someone who knows himself well, and is patient and kind and understanding and has all the characteristics I would like in a friend, even if he the way he broke up with me was cowardly.
On the way to derby, I was updating G on the conversation I had had with A that day. We discussed how he isn’t meant to be a “primary” partner to me. I’ve never really considered him a primary partner, but the gist of it is that he has been my only partner for about six weeks. When he started out in my life, he was firmly placed in #3 spot. Then he moved to #2 when I separated from F. When D broke up with me, he moved to #1, a place he was never meant to be. He’s been quite honest about saying that it’s in his best interest for me to date, because he doesn’t have more time to devote to our relationship, and apparently I’m quite “demanding” now that I’m only having sex with one person.
G always has amazing analogies, and as we laughed about A’s oar comment after I told him she called him a douche canoe, she said this: “A is like your favourite lounge that you go to on Friday and Saturday nights for a few drinks and relax. You love it then. It’s a wonderful place to be. But it’s not the place you go in the daylight on a weekday. Because when you do that, you find that your favourite spot is just a dirty lounge.” I laughed and called A a dirty lounge, but her analogy notwithstanding, what it really means is that I’ve been expecting/demanding/asking too much of him lately, and forgot to see him for who he is and who I am and how we are together. While I want to be reminded that he values me and know I’m completely reasonable asking for good communication, I need to be cognizant of managing my expectations too. As G said, I just need to relegate him back to second fiddle again. So many analogies.