I ask him, "Hey, that screening of 'The Watchmen' you wanted to come to is next week. Monday night. That's the same night as your pilates. Do you want to come and cancel pilates or should I ask someone else to the movie?"
I meant this question exactly as I said it. A simple statement of fact. He and I had discussed the press screening awhile ago and I thought he would want to come since it's a "boy" kind of movie. He said he did. But when I checked the date today, I realized it was the same night as his favorite weekly event besides wine tasting - pilates.
So I was telling him this and asking him what he wanted to do. No big deal.
He responds, looking up from his computer screen, "Huh, what?"
Problem #1. I have to repeat myself since he really wasn't paying attention to what I said the first time. I do not like repeating myself.
I ask him again, "That screening of 'The Watchmen.' You said you had wanted to come with me. But it's on Monday, your pilates night. Do you want to come and cancel pilates or should I ask someone else?"
He responds, "Uuuh, yeah. I do want to see it...shoot. Can I think about it and let you know later?"
I want to kill him. What is so hard about deciding to go to a movie?
So I say this, trying desperately not to sound as irritated as I am. "No. Just tell me. Do you want to go to the movie or not? It's not that hard of a decision."
I sense a fight.
He is also clearly trying to restrain himself from sounding as irritated as he is.
I repeat, less irritated and more heartfelt. I sense we are at a point where we could either break out into bickering or just cut the shit and say it like it is. "Just tell me. I'm asking. Please. Do you want to go to the movie or do you want to go pilates? I'm fine either way, I just need to know what you would like to do."
From the look on his face, I think he might have actually heard what I said. This is familiar fighting territory. Me trying to make a plan. Wine Guy trying to avoid one.
He breaks, "Ok, Ok. I just really don't want to miss pilates, OK?"
I breathe a sigh of relief. Not just because I got an answer to my simple question, but because it confirms something I have suspected our entire relationship. He's stringing me along.
I exclaim inappropriately, "I knew it! I knew that all this time you have been just stringing me along ---"
He interrupts, "No, I wasn't. I do want to go to the movie. I just know that I'll feel awful if I miss pilates. And I am afraid I'll make you angry if I say so."
I almost laugh - is that what has been going on all this time?! "Oh my god. You have no idea. When I get mad it's not because you don't want to do something with me. It's because you won't give me a straight answer! That drives me more crazy than anything! I have plenty of friends to ask, dude." (Yes, I say dude in times of complete honesty. I am from So Cal you know.)
"OK, OK...." He clearly wants to end the conversation, thinking the problem is solved so he should be able to get back to his computer. I need him to understand how huge this is.
"No, you need to understand how huge this is. From now on, don't worry about making me angry if you want or don't want to do something. Just tell me and I'll deal. OK?" I am slightly giddy with how much a small shift like this could change our daily communication.
I can see this as gone as far as it's gonna go in his world. And I think maybe he understands. I hope he does. We spend far too much time fighting over stupid things like this that are clearly about something larger. And I think it has created a vicious cycle:
- I plan things.
- I ask him first to accompany me - he is my boyfriend after all.
- If he doesn't want to or isn't excited about it, he tries to postpone committing, assuming that telling me "no thanks" will make me angry.
- Meanwhile, I am getting angry about him pushing me off.
Now I am ferociously typing my epiphany while Wine Guy watches inane America's Funniest Home Videos, waiting for me to watch last night's Daily Show with him on the DVR. Always a plan we can agree on.