PQ 9.3 — Am I afraid to say I may need to leave this relationship?
It was the worst sex of my life. By far. I regretted it instantly.
My body basically rejected his. “No, not this one,” it said. Just like taste buds declare something disgusting.
This had never happened to me before.
In hindsight, I can look back and notice our physical chemistry was iffy at best. And that there was something disingenuous about the attention he paid me. Like each contact was a bid to be noticed rather than authentic interest in me. “See, I’m paying you attention. Pay it back.” Cleverly disguised as other things. Perhaps even to him.
And there was the matter of his wife dating my husband. At first, I strengthened the friendship with him to support the metamour connections. But when that happened, this man fell for me. And he fell hard.
I started to have dinner with him while his wife was out with my husband. The conversation was nice. He’d lived an interesting life, and we were both musicians. He introduced me to his friends. We played music together in his apartment.
But he wanted me. Talking and playing music? They were never going to be enough. I had love for him, too, but it was more of a friendly love. I certainly didn’t lust after him. But after repeated (though polite) advances, I finally caved. I was tired of saying no. And I wondered if sleeping with him might actually cause me to care for him more, in a deeper way. The magic of oxytocin.
It was a terrible fucking decision.
I knew I had to break it off, but I couldn’t see this going well.
Because as I sat there awkwardly on the couch waiting for my husband to finish his date with this man’s wife and come pick me up, the musician turned to me and said, “If I’d met you before my wife, who knows? Things could have been awfully different.”
I wrote to him the next morning, as directly and honestly as I could, The sex last night wasn’t good for me. I don’t want to do it again.
The musician went into panic mode. He wanted to know why. We can work on this! Just tell me what you need. What was wrong with the sex?
I don’t want to get into details, I wrote. That kind of discussion never goes well. We’re incompatible. Let’s leave it at that.
I’d really like to process about this, he wrote.
I sighed. I need some space. Could you give me a week? We can touch base after that.
Sure, he wrote.
He lasted 2 hours before he wrote to me again, digging for answers. I don’t think you understand how hurtful it is for me to have to wait. I don’t think you understand what you’re doing to me here.
And in fact, he continued to message me, a sum total of 10,000 words over the next five days. At every turn, he needled and insulted me. I tried many things: Ignoring the messages. Writing back simply. Requesting space again.
None of it worked.
Finally the conflict reached a breaking point:
Him: But without any rancor or hidden agenda, it’s worth noting that I was totally above board with you about everything. Feelings, attraction, personal detail. You weren’t. I make great efforts to avoid people’s triggers and meet them where they are, however you lied to yourself about what was going on and to me in turn. And instead of correcting it you bail.
Me: You are wasting an awful lot of energy on a liar.
Him: I’m determining if I am.
Me: I went in wanting to like you (seeing my feelings for you as a nuanced matrix of conflicting factors), I tried it thinking that the experience would make me feel closer, it was awful for me, and I’m done – and our interactions since then have solidified my decision. You can feel however you want, feel that I misled you, and that I did a shitty thing, and it doesn’t make you a hypocrite.
Me: Whether or not you mean to push, when you’re looking for answers, it comes off pushing and controlling, especially when there’s conflict. You don’t have to accept my version of events about what happened then or what is happening now. You can argue with them but that doesn’t make me see it or feel it differently. But here’s the thing to keep in mind – no one owes anyone an explanation about anything. It doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter what it is. No one is entitled.
Him: If you don’t feel like setting my mind at ease is important you’re saying a lot about your ability to maintain a friendship.
Him: I hope someday you can honestly ask yourself how you can hurt someone’s feelings, make it their problem, and then throw it in their face when they try to make it right. That’s some serious kind of fucked up.
And then he blocked me.
We had only been dating for three weeks.
What I’ve learned from this experience:
- To pay special attention to how potential romantic prospects deal with rejection. I’d watched this man get in a fight with a long-term friend over a truly petty perceived slight just a few weeks prior (he showed me the screenshots).
- To not go further sexually with people unless I’m half-climbing the walls wanting to. No hoping that oxytocin will smooth things over.
This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions & answers, please see this indexed list.