Last Wednesday afternoon was an especially good one. Sweetie had played hookie from work and we went to our special library over by the city pool. We got out about a million books and then, feeling rich and satisfied, went over to the pool for a swim. I usually go by myself to the pool so I was extra-excited to be there with her. There’s been tension between us for the past few weeks and I was happy to feel it wash away in the sun and water—my heart felt truly free.
Part of the reason for this sense of well-being was that Wednesday night is my scheduled phone date with Mr. Sweetheart. Sweetie had already planned to take herself out and about so that we could have privacy and I had a cute nightgown picked out just in case I got asked what I was wearing. Plus! My visit to Mr. Sweetheart’s place was less than a week and a half away—I couldn’t wait for us to plan it!
Except. A post showed up in my facebook feed that said Mr. and Ms. Sweetheart were on a plane on the way across the country to visit friends. I’d known that they had a trip coming up but had no idea that it fell smack in the middle of our date night.
I felt hurt, disoriented, and left out, as if he didn’t really consider me a factor in his plans. I would have been happy to reschedule our call or even postpone it until after the trip if I’d been asked, but I wasn’t. I calmly left a voice mail saying as much, and he texted back when they landed. He was sorry for “not putting two and two together” and said he’d call but it wouldn’t be “full service.” It seemed pathetic to wait around for a call that he’d forgotten about, so I went out with Sweetie to pick out some new sheets and made some optimistic lingerie purchases while I was at it.
He told me to let him know when I was back from running errands, and when I did he called. He was very matter-of-fact about what was going on, saying he’d be better about the calendar but also just sort of breezing past the hurt. Knowing he was sitting next to Ms. Sweetheart made me feel like I had to reign in my emotions, too. He told me happily about the friends they were staying with and the poly meetup they were headed for. I felt ugly and stupid for having to be a complaint in the middle of his festivities, and would have given anything to be someplace other than sitting rejected in my pajamas as they joyously began their stay. I hated the role I was put in.
Businesslike, he asked me what my driving-to-his-house plans were for the following weekend. I felt startled by this since what just happened had not been resolved yet. It seemed crazy to drive that far for somebody who’d forget a date with me, but I pressed on figuring it’d be resolved by then.
Midsentence their friends arrived and that was that. With a businesslike “Okay, I’ll follow that up with you later,” he started ending the call and I was like “Are you kidding me? You’re hanging up on a conversation about how you…”I hatehate HATED being in this harpylike position so I hit “end call” without really thinking, and when I called back, he didn’t pick up.
What upset me the most was that instead of just enjoying Sweetie and my library books, I was now typing sad texts, turning off the phone, and crying my eyes out. It’s a leap that I take complete responsibility for, but I felt not just rejected by the Sweethearts but by the poly community as a whole—being cut off midconversation in the midst of their revelry made me feel like I’d tried to crash a party where I was unwelcome. What started out as a simple miscommunication had turned into what felt like a public humiliation, and (I have to say it!) not the good kind.
Still, I fully expected it to get worked out, that I would turn my phone back on and find some genuine effort to fix it, but there was none. (He’s gotta do SOMETHING,” Sweetie kept saying, as if we live in a movie and he could tool over and hold a boombox over his head.)
I wrote a gracious (if somewhat disingenuous) breakup text this morning because I didn’t know what else to do. I can’t be with someone who treats me like nothing as soon as his friends are around—I already went through it with The Man and once was too much.
But I didn’t WANT to break up. I wanted him to show that he cared, to somehow assure me that I wouldn’t slip through the cracks again. I wanted to hear from him so badly today that I thought I’d explode, but there was nothing, and I spent most of the day crying and feeling like a failure.
The thing is, everybody, this is the second time I’ve been forgotten in the last couple of weeks. When Steampunk Guy and I were making plans for our most recent shenanigans, he sort of drifted off mid-planning, for days. I had to remind him to finish making a date with me. That hurt less because it’s less of a relationshippy situation.
But still, I’m having a hard time not freaking out about being forgettable. The calendar is my sun, moon, and stars and I would never forget ANYBODY, friend, lover, event or otherwise once they’re on there. Why can’t I find this in another person? Why do I consistently choose partners who don’t/can’t see me as part of their lives? Is there anything else out there for me besides having a hot but tiny role?
Mr. Sweetheart, if you get around to reading this, I hated being the negative part in what seemed like such a fun night. I absolutely fucking detest the idea of not having you in my life and I so wish that things had gone differently. But somewhere in me I need to find the belief that I deserve to not be forgotten.