I had an epiphany yesterday. I'm not good at articulating my desires, when they involve other people. General desires aren't problematic, e.g. "I want to spend more time with you". But when it's specific, like "I want to see you tonight, I'd like to walk home together, cuddle and talk for a bit, then cook dinner, then paint together, then roll around in bed til we fall asleep, then wake up in the morning with the sun, then fuck, then I make coffee and cook eggs for breakfast and then we both get ready to face the day's tasks"? Not so much.
It's fine when it's a need. Sometimes I really need a hug, or to talk something out. But when it's a peculiar instance of a greater want, I'm not good with expressing this.
For example, yesterday. As we hadn't spent time together in a couple of days, Grotto suggested we catch up and write/paint/do something creative in the evening. I said that sounded great, and invited him round to my place. I told him I was meeting a friend at 5 for a quick post-work drink but would be free after that. I mentioned there was something I had to check on at 7pm on the way home from town, but beyond that I had no other commitments. We messaged each other around 6 when I was done with my friend, and Grotto said he was having a drink with work colleagues at their regular bar, quite nearby, wanna meet here? Sure, I replied, see ya soon.
When I got there, he was unwinding from his first day back at work. The usual crowd was in attendance, and I had a quick catch up with everyone. Grotto was smiley... he'd had some good times with Bijou over the weekend and I guess things were going well. He wanted to chill and drink some more but I was keen to get back home. After a while, Bijou turned up (it's her regular drinking spot too) and we hugged and said brief hullos, all quite pleasant, Grotto grinning Cheshire cats.
Grotto's mates hole themselves up in the bar's smoking room, which is this odd claustrophobic cage with languid, almost lagubrious vibes. It can sometimes feel like the doldrums being there. I realised I was on a different buzz to him, having had a relatively unproductive day and keen to make something of the evening & night whereas he was recovering from the grind of the first office Monday of 2013.
I said - "hey, I wanna head off, do you just want to come round to mine later on?" "Stay," he said, "just for a while and then we'll leave." Ok. I went outside, drank some water, met some interesting folks loitering in the street, came back in... Grotto was nowhere near leaving, and I wanted to make my 7pm appointment (checking out a writing desk I'd seen online), so I told him I'd scoot off.
"I'll text you later on, and come round?" he said.
At that point, my bleargh kicked in. "Ah, nah, don't worry about it, we'll catch up some other time." I didn't want him to make plans with me that he'd break or regret later, if he'd rather not come over to my place. Seemed like people were having a good time and, esp with Bijou being there, he might be more inclined to stay out than see me. "Tomorrow?" he asked. "I'm busy tomorrow, and I think Wednesday too... (Ocean & I have a tentative date on Wed) how about Thursday?" "Ok, love." He kissed me, and the resident gay boys called us "breeders" (ah man, I remember doing the same to other hetero couples when I was only dating women, whoops)
On the way home, I had a crescendo of emotional nausea... What the fuck is wrong with me? Why was I so restless? Grotto seemed really happy, why couldn't I relax and spend time with him with other people? It was a good chance to hang out with Bijou there, but I passed it up. Yeah, I had this other commitment but me leaving was more than that. I... just didn't want to be there. I wanted to be either doing my own thing, or spending one-on-one time with Grotto. I wasn't in the mood for staying at the bar.
So why couldn't I just say that, and ask Grotto to leave with me? Why did I cancel our date? I definitely wanted to spend quality time with him, just the two of us, and in particular doing creative projects because it's been ages since we've set aside time and energy for that and we keep saying that we should. But... it's like, I only wanted that if he also wanted that. I didn't want to put my desire out like a need, with him feeling obliged to follow through, just cos we'd made plans.
I felt angry at myself, for being worked up but unable to voice what was bothering me. I composed a few texts to Grotto on the way home, but they were no good so I didn't send them. When I'd left the bar, it was on a cheery note, and he had no reason to suspect I was feeling bad now. Mm. I decided to let it be, not to spoil his night by sending serious texts. There was nothing I needed to sort out with him right now. It was more my mood, and I was just looking forward to getting home and channeling the funk of my emotions into some creative outlet.
At home, things were better. I started to untangle the knots of myself a little. Planned dinner. Then I get a call from Grotto - can he still come over? He wanted to see me. Well, fuck, that cheered me up. When he got here he was the sweetest thing, said Thursday was too far away, said he was worried that I was feeling awkward about Bijou. I reassured him that it wasn't that, which was a relief to him. It's really not that, I don't think, or at least it's a small part. I had already been thinking that Grotto seemed like he wanted to stay out drinking rather than come back to mine, and I felt like I was dragging him away from his friends to ask him to leave with me. Bijou arriving made that feeling even stronger, but it definitely wasn't triggered by her being there.
The rest of the night was great. Ocean came home soon after Grotto got here, so they hung out while I made ratatouille. We had dinner together the three of us, then Ocean read while Grotto and I made motions towards getting ready to write together. I was dubious as to whether Grotto would be up for it (it was 11pm by now) and sure enough he fell asleep while I was out of the room for 30 seconds. So cute. I set him up to sleep on the sofa bed, said good night to Ocean, and went back to sleep with Grotto. In the morning we may have succeeded in quiet-not-waking-Ocean-up sex, I'm not sure. Five mins after we were done, Ocean got out of bed and went for a jog
Gonna have to ask him about that later.
I made breakfast and packed lunch for everyone, while Ocean and Grotto got organised for work and teased me about my inability to get fingered in the belly button ("It tickles!" "But I'm not even moving it... come on" "Nooooo... !") Hug and kiss from Grotto as he headed out the door, and the same with Ocean about five minutes later. I could get used to this
It's Grotto's birthday on Thursday, and he wants to do drinks somewhere. I'm gonna message Bijou and see if she'd be keen to sleep over together at Grotto's place that night. I reckon he'd like that.
In the meantime, what I've learnt from my epiphany is that I need to find a way of saying this:
- I don't want to drag you away from what you're currently doing, if you prefer doing this
- I don't want to be an obligation
- I don't need this right now; it can wait til later or I can do without it
- There are many specific ways I enjoy spending time with you, and I find it hard to prioritise this way over other ways
- I like the fluidity of going with the flow
- I'd love to hang out with you right now in this particular way, if you're down for it too.