I had a dream last night that my ex-boyfriend Rob* randomly showed up for one of our parties. The other guests were instantly uncomfortable. Rob asked to talk to me privately. Despite many disapproving glances, I agreed and went off to another room to talk to him alone.
In the real world, Rob and I had a really shitty breakup, one of the shittiest I’ve experienced. The drama llama reared its ugly head, and I quickly found a parting I’d foreseen by a handful of months (and boy, did that foresight ever tear me apart) and had hoped would be amicable and that our friendship would survive blew up into a virtual spectacle as friends rallied behind me and turned their backs on Rob.
Nice to have the support, sure, but not AT ALL what I wanted.
In the dream, Rob and I discussed the breakup, the last afternoon we spent together. I talked about my reasons for not wanting to have sex that day, the layers upon layers of reasons I no longer thought a sexual relationship with him was a good idea, and how much his persistence and insistence upon going further with me physically confused and disappointed me, in myself and in him. I talked about how as much as I could see that technically a case for his actions being a sexual assault could be built that I found that label for what happened between us profoundly unhelpful in understanding how we got there and what to take from it – and incredibly triggery for what happened to me years ago.
It was clear to me in the dream from his body language that Rob was still attracted to me. I suppose this makes sense as the last time I saw Rob this spring he was very overtly undressing me with his eyes. In the dream, I gave Rob a hug and greeted him warmly, spoke to him as a friend, but wanted nothing more. It occurred to me that I had grown to expect so much more, that Rob’s brand of affection simply wouldn’t do anymore, that I’ve realized that the sexual and romantic fit between us is suboptimal. We both deserve better.
I felt a sense of resolution upon waking, glad I’d been able to tell Rob that I simply didn’t have the energy to deal with his wife anymore (we were all polyamorous, and our relationship was known and acknowledged by his wife and my husband and my boyfriend) and didn’t know how to say it in a way that wasn’t terribly inappropriate and that I was tired of being constantly misunderstood by him, that it was exhausting redirecting what he *heard* me saying as to what I was actually saying (other people have complained to me about this way Rob interacts with people, even as friends), that the level of closeness and intimacy we craved were radically different, and even if I could reconcile that discrepancy, I no longer wanted to.
It was a lot to hit him with at once, especially as he was suffering from terrible withdrawal off his antidepressants, the stress of being unemployed, and the stress of being a father to an infant.
It was nice to be able to tell Rob for once what the fuck happened to us without all the people in the way pointing at him and shouting, “Rapist!”