By the time we’d been living in La Maison for a few years, I’d noticed a pattern: my partner and I would have sex – indicating a level of trust and willingness and openness on my part – and I would start to feel good about our relationship again then some how, something he would say or do would both me and instead of talking to him about it, because I was afraid of his reaction based on the one or two times I tried to and based on watching him rough house with the animals (they’d yelp, I’d say “be careful” or some such, he’d say “it doesn’t hurt them’) I’d try to blow it off but what happened instead was that eventually I didn’t want to have sex with him any more because, as he pointed out over a different issue, I didn’t trust him.
Other factors were also at play here; but the fact remains that when he died in June of 2018 it had been at least 12 months since we’d had sex; probably closer to 18; possibly closer to 24; and at least part of the reason why we hadn’t is that I was withholding sex from him because I was mad at him but couldn’t talk to him about it.
And when he finally broke though all our layers of not talking to ask me – on our way out the door to somewhere when we couldn’t talk about it any further – “Don’t you want to have sex with me at ALL?” and I said “No,” that was the end of our romantic relationship and the beginning of his conscious refusal to touch me in any way. He’d unconsciously been not touching me for many months before then, and I don’t know why. I brought it up to him a couple of times; how I’d try to touch his foot with my foot when we were in bed together, for instance, and he’d move his foot away from mine. He never had any answer for me and it’s absolutely possible that he really didn’t have an answer to share because he wasn’t aware he was doing it. Maybe he didn’t trust me, and this was one way it manifested.
One night, I asked for a bite of his medible, a chocolate chip cookie made with CBD butter. Just a bite of a Mrs. Fields’-sized cookie. I don’t know why I asked; I’d pretty adamantly stayed away from pot for decades up to that point. But I asked, so he gave me a bite and pretty soon I started shivering and having flashes of anxiety. He played his video game and read his blogs and told me I’d be ok. And I did finally fall asleep and I don’t remember being that hung over in the morning but dammit, I was scared and i said so and he didn’t even look at me.
We emotionally and then physically withdrew from each other until we became the very thing I feared when he told me about his relationship with his ex-wife breaking down that day in their bedroom at Caer Leonis: roommates who didn’t much like each other but slept in the same bed anyway out of expedience. And I don’t want to blame this all of him, this is not in any way All His Fault, but neither do I want to take all the blame and beat myself up for the way this ended.
And all the time we were waiting for the ambulance to arrive that last day, I was pettish and grouchy because this was the 3rd time in 2 weeks that I’d had to call the paramedics and godsdammit why wasn’t he taking better care of himself? And I spent most of that time outside waiting for the ambulance to get through the maze of street construction going on at the time that still isn’t complete while he was trying to breathe through the pain of his heart failing and his lungs failing and his brain failing because he could not get enough oxygen… and then the ambulance finally FINALLY arriving and just as they’re getting the CPAP mask on him his arm falling down from his lap because he’d lost consciousness. If we’d had an oxygen tank, like I asked 3 different doctors about, might that have saved him – or just prolonged the inevitable? He could never have flown to OK, and he could never have made the drive, especially not in MY car without his driver’s license and you know what? That’s one thing that I’m still really angry about. The entire time we were together, he never took care of his driver’s license, even though I asked him to, several times. So every time he got pulled over – 5 times, maybe, in 14 years – there’d be the reason he got pulled over (forgot to signal or improper lane change or speeding, and once just driving while black and luckily I was in the car with him for that one because that cop was mean and who knows how it would have gone down if I hadn’t been. He pulled us over at the top of an overpass, impounded the car, and demanded that we call a taxi to get us home, from Richmond to Edoras, and that little adventure cost us well close to 2k) plus driving with an expired license. And honestly, I swear to Deity, between my partner and my friend’s soon to be ex-husband, if I start dating again and they have a legal issue like this or non-payment of taxes that they haven’t dealt with and it’s been a few years? I am not going there. Executive dysfunction is one thing but just not caring enough to do anything about it? You’re not putting my good credit or my insurance rates at risk, not ever again.
I don’t hate sex. I’m asexual, but especially when I was younger, I liked sex well enough. I had some serious emotional issues around it; I thought it meant one thing while most people thought it meant something else; and more often than not, sex just led to a big emotional mess for me. My ex-husband told me that my being asexual was going to be a problem when I started dating again, and later, thinking it over, I realized that it shouldn’t be. If I’m open and honest and up front about not wanting to have sex but definitely wanting to build emotional intimacy, with the possibility of sex in the future once I learn to trust them, then if that’s a problem right out the gate, clearly I am not for them and we need to go our separate ways, no harm, no foul.
There’s a thing in the film “Grease” about Danny respecting Sandy and that’s kind of it, honestly. Respect in this specific context = waiting until both parties are ready and not one giving in because the other is raring to go. Sandy thought Danny giving her his ring meant that he would treat her a certain way; a continuation of the emotional intimacy they had built when they were at the beach over the summer; Danny thought it meant he’d have a steady sex partner. Please, please tell me you can see the difference!
And not that one’s better than the other; some people like eggplant parmesan but not crab cakes and some people prefer crab cakes but not eggplant, and that doesn’t mean that one is better than the other, it just means that different people have different tastes and preferences and neither is bad and neither is better, they’re. just. different. But that’s the thing about “Grease”: it very subtly plants the idea that emotional intimacy is bad and square and old fashioned and unhip while not so subtly pushing the idea that being hot and sexy and turning 180 degrees away from everything you used to believe is better and cool and how to be attractive and the only way to get the guy – like that’s the most important thing in life.
Here’s hoping that dumping all this stuff out of my head will help me sleep in this heat.