Sunday, March 11, 2007

I guess I complicated things too much by asking

Ted was supposed to be here at 3pm Saturday, but I tried calling both of his numbers to tell him that I was running late. He didn't answer. I learned later that he mother had tried to call about 20 times. Between that and other things (of his invention), he was frazzled.

He finally arrived here about 3:30, having called when close and complaining about various stressors and what all he needed to remember before leaving his house. I think he felt rushed working with my timescale, which was what we actually agreed on. Thing is, I am apparently the only one of us time-conscious enough to follow through. That said, thirty minutes late isn't so bad for him, yet his take on it seemed to carry over on the evening.

We drove to the other city. Yup, it's the same city that I broke up with P and Luke in. Perhaps I should learn my lesson and not go back? Funny how relationships are seemingly fine one-on-one, but the stress of family/friend socialization is too much.

Along the way, Ted's demented mother called, he actually answered per my urging, and she yelled a lot, saying that she hated him and hanging up. I know how difficult for him this all is for him. Later in the second bar, his mother's neighbor called, too, but he didn't answer because he didn't want the bar sounds in the conversation, because she's very religious. I do not know if he listened to the message from the neighbor, but actually come to think of it now his mailbox was full as I'd tried to leave a message before 3pm, so there probably was no message.

(His mother was freaking out that she had no food. It is an ordeal taking her to the grocery store on Saturdays - she's fallen at least twice since I've known of her - and he'd told her a week ago to get two week's worth of groceries, but she refused, even as he prodded her throughout the store. In dealing with her, he pretty much has to treat her like a child and not encourage behavior he doesn't want. She yelled on the phone that she had not had lunch or dinner and it was his fault. The truth is that Ted feels she's quite dramatic, a PITA her whole life, and that she didn't have cookies or ice cream - there was plenty of food. Now he says he's going to start buying her groceries for her, because she won't buy enough when he takes her. He loved my idea that he should have a speed dial for Chinese or pizza so that he could surprise her at times like this.)

That said, his mother is always freaking out, so this isn't anything new - mother, neighbor, yelling, hanging up. He usually takes it in stride. I have so much respect for what he goes through.

However, when we were almost there, he spilled some Pepsi on his shirt and had a hissy fit about the spill, equating it to other spills in his past, ruining clothes, and generally being inconsolable. He was yelling about his shirt and I was baffled - heck it was charcoal gray knit, so really, what would show? He raged that one thing will go wrong, then another, then another, and he'll explode as a result. So he refused to open his trail mix because it didn't come with a zip up bag and he was sure he would spill it, too. Tizzy, I tell ya. He was acting like a child himself.

I was nothing but gracious through all of this, figuring he started off the evening on an odd foot, but it would get better. Everybody gets PMS of some sort, I guess. It was only at the end of the evening that I added all these elements up in taking notes, wondering where the dynamic went wrong.

We went to one bar to meet folks and it was fine. We each had one beer, then moved on to the next bar. We each had two beers there (my point being that we had 3 beers in over four hours, so we were not drunk), then went with the crowd on a walking tour in which he flirted unmercifully with the tour guide, but I thought it was rather cute. He had this imp face and was really enjoying himself; the guide goddess was a real ham, so they fed each other. Precious. He had that same exceedingly happy look as when he played pool/goofed with my son a few weeks ago.

Turns out, without me knowing, he'd taken offense at me having given him a heads up about another guy at the first bar. Ted knew this guy had stated an interest in me several weeks ago at the Valentine's thing. This guy had IM'd me about two weeks ago and I had ignored it as if I had not received it, me wrongly thinking one guy at a time is enough. Ted said to go ahead and invite him to our table anyway, because the guy is a nice guy. So we included him. No big deal.

I had no idea the scope of his insecurities or jealousy issues. For that reason, I had no idea of the potential scope of the following conversation, which occurred in the midst of an otherwise good time.

Almost an hour after arriving at the second bar with this other guy coming along, too (but Ted strangely sure to get between that guy and I during the walk over), to join the larger crowd before the tour, I finally mentioned the issue I'd brought up in my last post about being discrete because of his desire for privacy, that I figured PDA was out - which was true as far as I could tell, because there's been no couple-y PDA and we'd been there two hours by then. We acted like animated friends, nothing more. Although I didn't realize it at the time (because he kept grabbing my butt - even holding my hand once - and making me laugh during the walking tour as he joked about the PDA concept) he took this all wrong, but I later told him that I know his privacy is paramount in his actions. For example, I had understood his desire to soon stop doing stuff with this group to mean that he didn't want anyone to know we were going out, but I did not know if that was his true intention. He doesn't like people knowing his business. I thought I was being respectful.

After the tour, we went back to the first bar mostly so I could use the bathroom. Lee, the Republican guy with whom Ted had had a big verbal fight was there. (During my and Ted's fight later, I said that he and Lee had argued a month ago and Ted sternly corrected me to say six weeks, so who the fuck is counting and affected? Then he railed on me for pointing out how specific he was being and how it must really matter to him.) Anyway, I hugged Lee; Ted shook his hand. It was good. I figured we'd all be able to hang as a group.

I then realized my parking meter had just run out and asked Ted to go feed the meter, per our agreement that he'd pay for the second half of the evening's parking. He seemed indignant that I would ask, as I was simultaneously incredulous that he wasn't following through with the plan. Finally, per the way we often loudly, jokingly spoke to each other (as in him calling me Bitch or telling me to be quiet), I was silly and yelled at him to go pay for my damn car and held out my keys.

He apparently felt like a whipping boy and refused. So I said I'd go do it myself, because I didn't want a ticket. I was two blocks away doing it myself (and planning on proceeding to another bar by myself in this not-so-great neighborhood) when he came along behind me for a shouting match. Well, it was a one-sided shouting match as I had nothing to shout about. He'd had a difficult evening, I spoke to him and joked the way we always do, he misunderstood my intentions, and I apologized for what I said and how it was taken wrong.

Not good enough.

I also said my feet hurt from wearing boots and I didn't want to walk to the meter if he could do it in tennies. He countered that at the beginning of the night, he commented on my square toed boots and I replied that they are more comfortable with the extra room in the toes. From this, he felt I was lying that after four hours on my feet and a walking tour that I wasn't justified about the rest of my feet hurting. Man, my feet don't follow the rules.

At one point after I was tiring of the verbal abuse, I interrupted him and pointed out how he was yelling and I wasn't, that it was reminiscent of his parent's house, him yelling being precisely what he said he was trying to avoid. (He'd previously said he feared marriage because he did not want to recreate that atmosphere and had repeatedly over time asked if I yell, which I don't. This concept is a big deal to him.) I didn't use the word hypocrite, but it is what I meant. I also told him to notice who was speaking calmly, logically, and rationally, the very ideals he criticized and found lacking in his previous arguments with women... and Lee.

He'd also heard something in the bar that I didn't say. His ears heard me say something about him and therapy to get over the situation with Lee - or something - within earshot of Lee (in a noisy crowded bar?) I don't know where he got that from, but by the time he brought it up, I could not recall having said anything. (Heck, when we saw Lee, Ted and I had just left from sharing the men's single bathroom in this hole-in-the-wall bar - the women's was locked and he'd wanted me to see the graffiti anyway. I had to go badly after the tour and could not wait, my point being that we were in the midst of levity when this transpired.) Ted was mortified that I would say anything in front of Lee and later blasted me for saying he's sensitive. Also, I pointed out that on the ride over, he himself had just said his ears aren't what they used to be, that he was frustrated about his hearing.

A lot of stuff collided and I am still gobsmacked. Others would be pissed that this occurred in public in the midst of a city square with lots of pedestrians, but I'm not. I guess I'm more embarrassed for him, the public-conscious one throwing a fit. A newly dating pair from the group came by and talked to us, Ted being the one to fess up that we were arguing, as I would not be admitting it. That guy, a really attractive and polite yet interesting guy, had parked right behind me and had kindly gotten Ted and I an umbrella to share. I joked to him I preferred standing in the rain, as there is not an umbrella large enough.

We drove in silence back to my place - it was big of me to even have him in my car and that was part of the discussion beforehand, too - I did not want to drive him home after the way he'd spoken to me. Just before we got here, I summarized with some of the stuff above. With his silent treatment, I saw him blink his eyes in agreement (or so I choose to think, heh.) When we got to the parking spaces, he said nothing more than to ask me to let him know what he owes me - for the MP3 player I bought and loaded for him this week, for a couple weeks of food on Wednesday nights he'd planned to reimburse me, for gas/parking/whatever from the evening. I'd already calculated it as I drove, but he wanted an email with it "itemized or whatever" because he didn't want to deal with it at the time and I said I was telling him right then instead. I refuse to have to earn that $50 or $70 (depending on what he wants to follow through on) he owes me; I will not grovel for it because I have more dignity than that.

Cheap ass dick.

He walked toward his car and I nicely and sincerely called out, "Bye, Ted," and got nothing in response. I didn't give up trying, but he'd dug such a hole he could not get himself out.

Guess it's better to understand his character now than two years from now, huh?

Seriously, though, it didn't have to be this way. He has some misplaced ego problems and a sincere need to lay blame when anything goes wrong, while I am always trying to figure out the dynamics to see what were the roots of what happened so they don't happen again. We're generally good communicators, but there were some serious break downs that his pride made terminal.

Heck, even if I apologized for something specific, it is not that I think I am wrong overall and I think that's where his bruised ego got bent further. Innately, I think he wants a woman to behave irrationally so he can blame her for the tendency, then he's given free reign to behave irrationally himself in return. I guess he's never been with someone smart or eloquent enough to not yell back or to have the audacity to step back in perspective to call him on it all. That's where my label as bipolar bites me in the ass; I'm usually the evolved, centered one while others act crazy but expect crazy out of me instead.

I guess another, another, another one bites the dust.

I feel on top of this right now, but I also feel there is no hope. I loathe myself for keeping on trying this dating crap.

ETA: I decided to leave him a phone message to say I am sorry how things played out last night, that I am sad today, that I hope his mother is alright, and that I hope he is feeling better.

I do not want ice between us when we see each other again with the group, but I suspect he'll stop going. Entering this 'more than friendship' phase, I repeatedly told him that I just don't want to hate him, meaning that I didn't want a relationship to go awry, because I really did enjoy him more than anyone I've gone out with in some time. Remember, he was the first one my therapist ever heard me compliment as someone who I really liked how he spoke to my son.

Last night, I told him that I was angry at myself for liking him. He took offense at the angry part and did not focus on the liking part. Then I countered that it is natural for me to feel this, as I have been seriously betrayed and took the risk of letting him in.

I really don't want to hate him. Seriously. He had a bad night.

1 comment:

Cricket said...

You bring up something that is central to how people approach relationships.

Having been married for so long, I think that the purpose of relationships and the effects of the proverbial disagreement as actually actively seeking ways to stay together and to stick it out. The purpose of being in a relationship or having a discussion isn't to ultimately look for ways to break up.

Without this background, he approaches any relationship looking for an out. A disagreement makes things impossible rather than better. There is no constructiveness, because it should be all shiny all the time.

I assure you that most guys would have been mortified to have been yelled at like that in public by a woman. I could barely get a word in edgewise and, when I persisted, he just yelled all the louder. He was irrational, then he gave me the silent treatment. He acted like his mother.

Just like P and Luke and ex, he is exactly what he hates the most. Why do guys do that?