a tale of holidays past (part 4 of 5)

So Jon headed home to talk to Lora about our disagreement about where Jon would be spending Monday night. How did that go? I’m not going to sugar-coat it.

It was bad.

I learned how bad it was when Jon called me several hours later, crying so hard he could barely speak. He’d walked out of their apartment because the fighting with Lora had gotten so vicious that he was afraid. He was afraid that he’d say something to her that he’d regret and never be able to take back. He was upset because she was screaming about what a terrible person he was, what an inconsiderate, hateful, hurtful, horrible person he was for fucking with her.

There were a lot of really terrible things said by Lora. There’s no point in recounting them all. But they were all shitty, all nasty, all abusive. All really, really awful.

Eventually, Jon hung up with me and went back to their apartment. He texted me to let me know that he and Lora were talking, not just about this particular issue, but about a lot of issues. Lora kept saying that she wanted to compromise about this. So I asked Jon to ask Lora if maybe we could change the nights around. I did still feel very strongly about Jon coming to my friend’s open house, but if there was something about Monday night that was extremely important then could we perhaps swap and Jon could spend Sunday night.

Lora’s answer: no.

I asked if then perhaps Jon could spend the night after Christmas with me.

Lora’s answer: no.

I asked what kind of compromise was one the table. Lora said she was ok with Jon coming for the open house, and that she’d “owe me”.

This whole situation felt like quicksand to me. Lora’s proffered compromise felt not only weak, but nebulous. How do we define the parameters of her “owing me”? The thought was enough to make my eyeballs ache.

Finally, I hit a point where I told Jon that I just couldn’t deal with this anymore right now. He asked me what that meant. I told him it meant that I was going to bed. He wanted to know if I was OK with the suggested compromise. I told him I wasn’t, and mentioned my feelings about trying to figure out what Lora “owing me one” actually translated into. He said he understood, we said we loved each other, and I disengaged.

I spent a lot of that night wide awake and thinking. I also did a lot of kicking myself. Why couldn’t I just accept the compromise? Was it really that big of a deal?

I looked back over my diary while telling this story, trying to express how I felt then. I really felt like my feelings and needs were being disregarded. I felt incredibly hurt, not just by Lora, but also by Jon, because he promised me this time together, and I’d been thinking about that time and envisioning what we’d do with that time as a way to get me through the weeks when I wasn’t really seeing him at all. I’d imagined we’d have a lovely dinner Monday night. We could snuggle on the couch. I’d show him the presents that I’d bought Lora, but didn’t wrap yet. I’d tease him with his already-wrapped presents. We’d wake up and walk over to my friend’s place. Even though it was Christmas Eve, we’d get there right when we wanted to, because we wouldn’t have to worry about Christmas Eve traffic. We’d have fun for a few hours and then head to their place to spend the evening with Lora. I had a couple of books that I’d bought myself for easy, entertaining holiday reads, so that I could tuck myself away somewhere in the apartment while they spent a few hours having some alone time together. Then we’d spend some time hanging out with Lora and I getting to know each other before we went to sleep together (our first night sleeping all together!).

In the end, I wrote Jon an email describing all that. I told him how hurt I felt, especially in light of how seriously we all took Jon’s promise to Lora to spend Thanksgiving with her family. I told him how hard it was to have been imagining all these lovely things for weeks and to be asked to just give it all up and compromise. And I pointed out that, much as I hate to get “tit-for-tatt”y, when I thought about how much time Lora and Jon had together the last few weeks (while Jon and I mostly only slept together) coupled with the idea that it would be nearly a week before Jon and I had any alone time again, it really felt grossly unfair and I’d started to question if Jon felt as strongly about spending time with me as I felt about him. Was he really OK with this?

And I reminded him of one last thing, something I hadn’t mentioned yet in all this, because I didn’t realize until I was writing him that email how much it weighed upon my mind. In mid-Summer, I’d asked Jon to accompany me to a major work event. It was something of an honor to be permitted to go to this event, and it was a very posh, high-end ceremony. The event was in mid-fall, but the RSVPs had to be in months earlier. It was expensive, fancy, and I was thrilled that my company thought highly enough of me to invite me. Jon agreed to come, and I told my CEO that my partner was coming (and she knew that I wouldn’t be inviting a person and calling them my partner unless this was A Serious Relationship). Everybody was curious and excited to meet him, as I’d never brought a date to a work event before.

Two weeks before the event, Jon called me to tell me that he fucked up. He’d mistakenly agreed to work that night, and because it was an event with a major client of his company’s, he absolutely couldn’t cancel out of it without major blowback at work. A career set-back level blowback.

So I sucked it up, and I cancelled my plus one. It wasn’t a career set-back level problem for me, but it was A Big Deal. My boss was displeased. My CEO was surprised and disappointed in that way that CEOs can be when they start eying you and visibly wondering if you’re not the person they thought you were (I can at least say that I more than made-up for that social gaffe in my CEO’s eyes, thankfully).

I was pretty damn furious with Jon, and I told him that I would cancel because it was clear that it would be worse for him to cancel career-wise than it would be for me. But I made it very clear to him that his fuck-up did cost me work-wise, and while I did forgive him and understood that sometimes shit happens, this was the level of shit that needs to happen really damn rarely.

So I reminded him that I had dealt with that broken promise less than half a year ago, and having another large broken promise happen again so soon really made me worry.

I ended the email by finally reminding Jon of the number of times that I’d asked Lora to hang out, and how that was always a conversation stopper between us. I mentioned it specifically because I felt like part of her desire to have Jon spend Monday night with her (she said she was anxious because she’d spent so little time with me and didn’t really know me well) felt shitty to hear about in light of all the times that I’d tried to arrange for us to get to know each other. I told Jon that I was tired of trying to get to know her. I was tired of her ignoring my invites to spend time together and get to know each other. I told him that I didn’t know how to interpret her constant ignoring of my invites (along with all the other parts of this clusterfuck) other than that she really didn’t want to get to know me, and she was only saying that she wanted to because she knew that Jon wanted us to get to know each other. I told him that I was really concerned about how on-board she was with us being equal partners to him, given everything that had gone on the last four months.

I ended the email by telling him that I loved him, that I had no idea what to do, but that I couldn’t fight about this anymore. I was too wiped out.

I spent most of the rest of that day (Sunday) walking around like a robot. If this didn’t get resolved, I debated what to do for Christmas. I didn’t want to spend it alone, but I also didn’t want to go to one of the several friend-events I knew of, and be asked the inevitable “But what happened to your plans with Jon and Lora? Where are they?” questions.

So I made myself cocoa, and tried to read, but mostly stared blankly out the window and wondered. I wondered how I could have handled things better. I wondered if I was being too demanding. I wondered if I’d just fucked everything up into a state that was beyond repair. Eventually, I called one of my very best friends and weepily told her the whole story. She told me that my feelings were valid and understandable. She also told me that she thought what I had asked for was reasonable, that my concerns about Lora’s overall behavior pattern did make sense and that this was a time when it was OK to bring up multiple subjects, because they truly did all tie in together (one of the things that I was berating myself for is that I’m a big believer in the idea that in a fair fight/dispute with someone, you stick to the facts of one situation. It’s not fair to muddy the situation by bringing in all sorts of other previous fights. In this case, I had broken that rule, but I felt like I needed to, because this was a much bigger thing for me than just one broken promise, or just a single example of creating a schedule to suit Lora). She also said she didn’t know what was going to happen, but if what we did (not I, but we: me, Jon and Lora) “broke things beyond repair”, then it was best to know now how quickly it would all unravel, rather than trying to build something for years, and have it be ripped apart painfully after putting even more time, effort, and care into it.

I thanked her, told her that she was a life saver, then hung up and got ready for bed. I checked my phone and had a text from Jon, telling me that Lora had had work for much of the day, but that they were still talking, and that he loved me, was sorry and that he read my email and after much debate, wanted to know if he could show it to Lora. I said he could, told him I loved him too, and went to bed, trying not to wonder too much about what potential misery the next day would bring.


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

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