this is a thing that happened today

It’s a day when Lora goes out, so that Jon and I can have a few hours of alone time. Jon and I are having sex. I hear his phone buzz. A minute later, it buzzes again. In another minute, it’s buzzed again. Lora is texting Jon him. She calls once. Then again a minute later when he doesn’t pick up. At this point, he checks his phone (yes, I just said my partner checked his phone when we’re having sex). Then he texts her. I say “I would really like to have your attention now”. He says “I know, I’m really sorry, I just want to make sure that she has her keys”. Kind of reasonable, but…she couldn’t go grab a coffee nearby if she didn’t have her keys and he didn’t answer for ten minutes?

She texts back. He checks it, but doesn’t answer (I guess she has her keys). So she texts again. Then calls. Twice. Jon shoves the phone under the blankets, but I can still feel it vibrating through them against my leg, as we’re fucking. We finish fucking. I go to the bathroom. Honestly, I go to cry by myself and ask myself if I really have to ask my partner to not check his fucking phone when we’re fucking fucking because I feel shitty when he does that. This reminds me about Rabbit Darling‘s post about Askholes. As much as I love Jon, I think he’s being an Askhole in this moment.

Afterwards, I say to him, “You know, I’d really appreciate it if you said ‘Hey, let’s stop fucking so I can see what’s up with Lora.’ And after you do, we can go back to fucking. Uninterruptedly.” As I say this, I’m clearly unhappy. Emotional. Teary. He says “I understand that you’re unhappy about that and I’m really sorry. I didn’t realize that it bothered you, and you’re right, I shouldn’t do it”. And I say “Jon, I know that communication is good, and we should communicate clearly about everything, but do I seriously have to ASK you to not check your phone when we’re fucking (are you becoming an Askhole, Jon?)? Is that a thing that I should actually have to bring up? It’s not something you’d figure out on your own?”

I go on to say to him, these are the things that really upset me, because you don’t even notice them, or take a few seconds to think of them as problems. How do you not notice them? What should I think about the fact that you don’t notice them, or stop to think about them? Am I bad in bed? Unimportant? Both?

And I think to myself, is this a sign of abuse? If you’re so worried about your other partner’s moods and ability to take care of him/herself that you can’t go ten minutes without checking your phone in case s/he is texting you or calling you, what does that say? If you stop in the middle of having sex with your other partner to check your phone (because she’s blowing it up every minute), what does that communicate to your other partner? What the almighty fuck is so important that it takes precedence over having intimate time with your other partner? Is Lora actually going to freeze to death in the ten minutes that it took Jon and I to finish having sex? Assuming she didn’t have her keys? (she did)

Later, I overhear Jon bringing it up to Lora. He tells her that it’s really distracting when she texts & calls repeatedly if there isn’t an emergency and she knows that he and I are having alone time together. She promises to try her best not to do that, but tells him that when he doesn’t answer within a few minutes, she gets worried that there is an emergency or something horribly wrong, and that’s why he can’t answer. So she texts again. And calls. Again. And again.

I guess something like “My partner is watching a movie” or “My partner is taking a shit and didn’t take his phone” or “My partner is fucking his other partner and would like some time to do that” wouldn’t occur to her. About this ten minute gap of no communication.

This isn’t even remotely the first time they’ve had this conversation. The first time that I was aware of them having it was over two years ago when Jon and I started dating seriously and he started spending time at my place. Any time he was over when Lora wasn’t working, it would start. The phone calls. The texts. More phone calls. Then more. And when he answered, she’d scream at him about ignoring her and wanting to replace her with me. They did (in theory) get that straightened out eventually – or at least, we started having cycles where she was good at not doing it, and then she slowly started doing it again until he had to have another big talk with her about it.

Which is why, when he says to me “I’m going to talk to her and it’s going to get better”, I can’t believe him. How am I supposed to believe a sentence that comes out of his mouth (no matter how sincerely it’s said and meant) when I measure those dozen words against several years of dealing with this to some degree?

At this point, I think Jon needs to say to Lora “Here’s the deal. When I’m spending quality time with Liz, I’ll keep my phone on in case of a legit emergency, as in, you get into a car accident or get mugged. If you need something, text me. If you don’t hear back, please understand that I’m spending the same kind of quality time with Liz that I spend with you, which means I’m not checking my phone every ten minutes. The next time you start constantly texting and calling me and there isn’t an emergency, I’m putting the phone on silent. And then you and I will have a discussion about how inappropriate and disrespectful it is when you get home.”

Would that really be such a terrible thing to say?

Am I crazy? Because lately it feels like I’m losing my fucking mind when I have to bring something like this up as a problem. Again (ok, the “during sex” part is new. But the calling and texting problem. Not new. Several years old. Times I’ve been told “I’ll talk to her. It will get better”: At least half a dozen. Still happening? STILL HAPPENING). It’s like…if this is what I’m up against, then no wonder I don’t have high hopes of this being a workable living situation. It’s like a bad comedy where the happy ending is that they can’t all live together happily ever after, so they go back to moving into separate homes. And then they can all live apart happily ever after. The End.


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polyamorist, cat-lover, hopeless optimist when I'm not being a firm realist.

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