Book Two:

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Boiled in Oil
by Melanie Anne

Part Two: Broken Promises

Chapter 38

On the Rocks

September 6, 1993

Last Friday night at Andy's, I lay awake at 3:30 in the morning, thinking, while he had his arm over me. Now I understand why I won't be able to leave Mary for a long, long time. Even though I would rather be married to or living with a man, Mary is so understanding, so undemanding, and our humor and friendship are so compatible that the relationship comes out being very positive on the plus/minus balance sheet. VERY positive.

My relationship with Andy, on the other hand, has always had a great number of negatives in it. He is lazy, self-centered, non-assertive, and freeloading. On the positive side, he USED to come on to me very strongly, still gives me a lot of attention, and entices me to relax and not do anything (I need a break sometimes!)

Over the months, however, as the novelty of being desired by a man began to wear off, the relationship started to degrade. I know that Andy has not changes one iota. it has been me that has changed. But since a relationship is just that - a relationship - the distance between us has changed as well.

He stayed the same, I changed, we changed. And from where I stand now, the negatives are very close to balancing out the positive. In fat, Friday night at three in the morning, I realized I didn't want to put anymore energy into the relationship at all. I just don't want to put up with the negatives anymore.

I almost got my clothes on and went home in the middle of the night. But I held out, knowing that would open a whole can of worms I didn't want to deal with right then. But in the morning, I was rather terse. I was friendly enough, but didn't just submissively accept his bullshit anymore, and none of his games.

For example, Andy lives in a large room separated from the house where his father lives. There is no restroom in Andy's room, so we need to use the one in the house. Andy and his father don't get along at all. So, on Saturday morning, both Andy and I needed to use the restroom and his dad had gone in there with a paper to read. Andy walked with me right under the window and said, "Yeah, he sits in there for half an hour at a time..." but before he could finish, I kissed him, cutting off his words, and said, "I'm going to go now." Now, I was going to leave anyway, as he had to go to Kung Fu class, and I had brought my car. But I decided I didn't want to be a part of his sniping at his father. THAT would have been a negative.

Then today, he had invited me to a birthday party. I thought it was at seven in the evening, but it was actually in the afternoon. He just showed up and expected me to go with him. I was busy cleaning out the garage for a big garage sale and told him I couldn't go until seven. So, he went on ahead and I met him there in the evening.

When I arrived at the party, most everyone was already drunk. Not Andy, nor some others, but most. This is an odd group of gay and TS and bi and lesbian friends of Andy's who are kind of a rat pack. They get together for parties and get smashed every couple of weeks.

Anyway, one of Andy's friends, Michelle, decided she wanted to fix Andy up with another girl at the party who was interested in him. He also likes her, by the way. And just for the record, Andy has had a number of lovers in the gender community over the years. For all I know, he used to be with her.

Well, Michelle also wanted to set me up with her ex-boyfriend, so she drunkenly staggers over and grabs him and plops him down next to me. Then she sits on the other side of me so he and I are pushed together. Now this guy was interested in me. And in fact, he was rather interesting. But this party was like, well, I kept wanted to tell these people, "Get a life!"

There were two kids there too. One of them was Michelle's. He was about seven, and he's hanging around with all these drunken gay guys. I mean, not that anyone abuses him, but what kind of an environment is that for a kid? Still, I was personally not too uncomfortable; I fit in most anywhere I am. So, I had a drink, but only one, and nursed it for an hour and a half.

When I had arrived, Andy and I stayed together, but after Michelle's interference, I wasn't close enough to talk to him for the rest of the party. Then, the party decides to move to someone else's house. Michelle and her boyfriend both invite me along. I know where THIS is heading! I know Andy wants to go (he'll go wherever there is free food and drink - like my place!) Anyway, I decline, saying I had things to do at home. Which I did - like writing this diary entry! Andy decided to go on anyway (of course!) but walked me to my car and we had a good sexy good night kiss. But I drove home feeling absolutely wonderful that I had not accepted a negative balance for the sake of a few crumbs of positive.

This is a different me. All the staples of my life are splitting into positive and negatives and lining up side by side to be measured. So, I now know that I want a real man, not a sometimes one like Andy. And I want a real relationship, not a playtime one. And I'm not going to leave Mary unless I fall head over heels in love with somebody, which could happen, but not today.

September 9, 1993

Steps in examining a situation or relationship

1. Is there good and bad?
2. Can the bad be eliminated?
3. At what cost?
4. If bad cannot be eliminated or if the cost is unacceptable, does the good outweigh the bad?
5. If yes, leave it unchanged while looking for something better.
6. If no, cut your losses.
7. When evaluating something potentially better, do not pass judgment until the new situation or relationship has gone one full cycle.

**************************

The moment we move to protect ourselves against manipulation we have been manipulated.

September 10, 1993

The best way to insure a steady supply of new problems,
is to solve old problems.

September 13, 1993

I broke up with Andy last night. That was the end of my first relationship with a man. I had made love with a man on two occasions right after surgery, but had never had a full relationship with one. Still and all, it was an odd relationship as I remained with my family (wife, kids, and pets) and only stayed at Andy's on Friday nights. Andy has asked me many times to go away to Scotland with him, which is where he dreams of living some day. Unlike many women, I have no desire to follow my man anywhere he goes. If I don't want to go, he can go without me.

Still, I care for Andy and have always tried to give more than I took. What did I take from Andy? I took the experiences of being held and hugged and loved and enclosed by the love of a man, both in public and in private moments. I have found it so fulfilling to be encircled by those great arms so that I felt small and vulnerable, yet protected. I took from him an experience of listening to folk music by candle light, naked in bed. I took from him femininity, which he wanted but I held all to myself.

What did I give? I gave cooking and cuddling and deferring and supporting. I gave hopes and dreams and direction. I gave initiative and outgoing drive.

I could have stayed with Andy forever, but for two major problems that remained unresolved so long that their negative effect on me grew as they chaffed over time. First, I wanted to make love with him all the time. But in 10 months we only actually made love once. Sure we cuddled and slept together once a week, and we both (at the beginning) provided stimulation for the other. But Andy did not like condoms and I refused to make love without his having an HIV test.

So as the novelty of the relationship wore off, I found myself increasingly frustrated by spending the night with a man who paid less and less physical attention to me, and wouldn't get the test. He had plenty of opportunity. I asked him dozens of times to get it, and even offered to pay for it, but he never took that initiative to have it done. Even last night as I told him over the phone that I did not want to be lovers anymore and mentioned this as one of the reasons, he said he was planning on doing it this very week. Maybe he honestly was planning, but I'll bet it still wouldn't have happened no matter how much he intended to do it.

That was one problem, and a big one, yet I could have lived with even that, enjoying our time together as intimate friends, were it not for the second problem. Andy and I were invited to a party thrown by a friend of his. Once we arrived, this friend maneuvered me to a couch and bluntly told me that her friend, Michelle, was interested in Andy and she wanted them to be alone. I allowed this, as it was important to me to see what Andy would do. He sat on the grass with Michelle, without knowing this had been arranged, and spent the entire party talking to her. He had such a puppy dog joyous look on his face - so much interest and anticipation. It was then I realized he used to look at me that way, but had not for several months.

Still, I am open and made it a point several times over the week to tell Andy that I was open to sharing him with whomever he wanted to be with. All that I asked was that he fill me in on who he was seeing and when and how intimately. I have always given him that information about me. I expected forthright honesty in return. Instead, he told me nothing about what was happening.

He asked me last week if I would come over Saturday night instead of my usual Friday so that I could go with him to his Martial Arts School's open house. I agreed, happy that he was finally asking me out somewhere other than his apartment. Then, an out of town friend called and said they were flying in and wanted to have dinner on Friday. I said I would ask Andy if he would like to come as well. I asked and he said he could not, as he was going to a party with Michelle.

Now, this was not a problem except he did not inform me until I found out by asking. That is not the openness I wanted, and I pointed that out to him. He said he understood. So, I went Saturday, stayed over that night. I intentionally did not mention the HIV test and went out of my way to be romantic with him that night, but he hardly responded at all. I came home on Sunday and that evening, he came by for a while, then had to leave about six. I asked if he was going to a class or something, since I did not think he had one that night. He told me he was going over to visit Michelle. Once again, the information was not offered until I inquired. And there was more.

I thought about it for four hours. No matter how I figured it, the hurt and frustration I was having was larger than the pleasure I was gaining. The novelty had worn off, I had learned to be comfortable in a relationship with a man, both publicly and privately, and I had absorbed as much of his cultural outlook as I desired. We never went anywhere but his apartment anymore, he wouldn't make love to me, and no longer treated me with interest.

I called him at 10:30 PM at home. He answered after several rings. I told him what I have said here. He was subdued, and sounded saddened, yet made no effort to talk me out of it. In fact, he hardly talked at all. So at the end I asked him if he was alone. He said he was not. I told him that was what I had thought, said goodbye and hung up.

It is now almost 4:00 on Monday afternoon. He did not call back last night. He did not call this morning nor today. I imagine that says a lot right there. No flowers, no apologies, no trip over to work it out, no contact at all. I imagine that was all he needed last night to make him finally take the initiate and make love to someone. Unfortunately, after all the waiting and broken intentions, it wasn't me.

I must admit there was no warning to Andy about this. But I'm sure he could have seen the signs. He had started out fixing up my house, and I would cook for him. He was helping me with my home video business, and I let him use my new computer for games. But then it was all games on the computer for him and no repair or business. And I still cooked and supported him.

I had a long talk with him several weeks ago about how that arrangement was hurting me. He would stay in the back bedroom where the computer was, playing it until 2 in the morning, while Mary and I tried to get to sleep in the bed in the same room. After my talk, that stopped. Since that time, things kept degrading slowly. The life went out of our relationship. I don't know whether I was just being used for what I could give him or if he really cared. I don't know if the relationship was dying because I grew strong enough not to need him anymore or because he got tired of being denied his toys. On the other hand, as much as he gave me, he denied me much as well.

Perhaps it was just time for it to end because we grew away from each other and the tension was building.

All I know is, he was with Michelle last night without telling me and he did not call back after I broke up. So who broke up with whom? Was the relationship over when I would not move in with him, when I would not let him play all night on my computer, or at the very start? Was I always intended as some sort of stop gap fill in relationship, or was he disillusioned and led on, believing I would leave Mary and he and I would be together? I cannot tell, because I would need to know his side, and he never shares that with me. Typical female complaint, I guess....

Anyway, his computer is still at my house. I'm sure he'll be by to pick it up soon. I wonder if he'll come when I'm there or sneak in when I am gone so he does not have to encounter me? Last night, I said he could continue working with the business if he wanted, but our intimate life would not continue. Will he do that? Was it a mistake on my part to offer? Only time will tell.

So, I only cried twice so far. And each time was just for a couple of minutes. But I want to cry now, and very badly. I know that I am better off out of a situation that had deteriorated and was getting worse. But I cannot help but miss the good, even if it was shackled to the bad. The bad times were not caused by anything he did, but by what he did NOT do. My memories are about what happened, not what didn't happen. So the pain ended when I was out of the relationship, yet looking back, all I see are good times gone.

I know this perspective is only true once it has ended. But still it hurts to miss those wonderful days at the beginning when he made me feel like the most loved and desired woman on earth. I wonder if those days will ever come again?

*********************************

I just remembered. The last few weeks Andy did not initiate any hugs or hand holding at all. It all came from me. He responded, but with less and less enthusiasm. I really think it goes all the way back to when I denied him computer privileges. I'll bet that at that moment, consciously or unconsciously, he decided it was time to look for greener pastures. I wonder if he saw Michelle even before the party and didn't tell me. I wonder if he was weaning me from him, trying to make me quit our relationship so he would be free. That's what happened to me, just like it happened before with Teri. The only difference is, this time I saw it coming earlier and jumped ship before I was left drowning.

So, who dumped whom? Does he do it this way all the time? Is this his standard modus operandi? To be head over heels with someone until there are any constraints and then ignore her while searching elsewhere? Was I really dumped two months ago and only now woke up to it? I'm getting very mad here, but not enough to take action, since I could be completely wrong.

5:35 PM

I just called Andy on the phone. I don't know why I did; I just felt that I had to. Part of it was that I didn't know how he had taken my call last night emotionally. I know that like all men, he is a little boy inside, and I was not sure if he jumped for joy to be rid of me after I had hung up, or if he went into a suicidal depression. Somewhere in between, it turns out, but I didn't know that when I called. Also, I felt I had not said everything I wanted to and I wanted to make myself clear, so that he knew exactly what had been eating at me.

So I called. At first, he was somber, but as I progressed he perked up. I told him again that he could still run the business or not as he chose. Whatever he wanted to do was okay by me. I told him I had watched the premiere of a new television series, "Seaquest", last night. In it was a character (male) who had been married to another character who was now his commander. There was sparring between them, but they still had their memories of when they were lovers and kept it from being truly vicious. I told Andy that I could see that working with us. We could still work together and just not be lovers, because I still liked him, I just couldn't stand the hurt of being with him. Like I told him last night, "I like WHO you are, I just don't like HOW you are."

Another reason I called was because I missed him. The tears were welling up within me and I needed to make contact. I knew that I would be a wreck by evening if I didn't do something to get rid of the sense of loss, and keeping Andy as a business partner would certainly accomplish that. PLUS, I was not unaware that at some future date, if he tired of Michelle and any other relationships he will have down the line, we might some day get together again, just as we did this time after not seeing each other for three years.

But this time, we will see a lot of each other and maybe that is a better way to build a relationship than to sleep together. It certainly works for Chris and me. Of course, this may just be a foolish female dream: that a guy can work with her and be her friend and not get involved. Maybe guys can't do that, I don't know, but its worth a try.

If Andy really loved me, I would have expected him to say so in this conversation. He didn't. I would have expected him to at least have called before I did, or when I did call to say he wanted to come over tonight and talk. He did say that we needed to talk, in person - not on the phone - and soon. But the soonest would be tomorrow night when he has class or Wednesday. So what does that non-immediate approach mean? I don't know. Are people supposed to know these things or is it something everyone wonders?

I told him if we just stuck to business, he could see Michelle or anyone else without any effect on or by me, as that was his life. And if he wanted to make love to her without a condom and take a chance on HIV, that was his business. I joked that I imagined I would be safe, since you can't get AIDS from someone by being in business together.

He laughed, but I was tearing up already, getting the feeling that he was going to let me go. I know I said goodbye, but I didn't really want to be let go. I wanted him to change and be the kind of lover I thought he was going to be. It hurt all over again as I imagined him coming over to video in with Michelle on his arm, kissing her the way he used to kiss me. GOD, how could I have gone through 36 years as a man when my mind works like this?

Anyway, although there is more pain ahead (I am fairly sure), I do feel better for having called. I made my points, I may not have to lose him entirely, I at least get to see him again on Wednesday, and I suppose we might even patch it up. On the other hand, in spite of all my noble claims to the contrary, I know it hurts me when he is with someone else. (So how does Mary handle it when I'm with Andy? Does she hurt as much? Somehow I think not, but why?) One thing is for sure... If we are in business together only, I'm going to tell him I NEVER want to see that bitch anywhere near my house or our business or I'll scratch her eyes out!

September 14, 1997

A letter to some online friends:

I had a big one-sided fight with Andy over the phone Sunday night after the support group meeting. Partly because he was seeing another woman and partly because he has delayed getting an HIV test for months, I refuse to fool around without a condom, he tried it once, didn't like it, so we haven't had real whoopee in about half a year and only that once! All of this and some other stuff has been building up.

I've spoken with him on the phone since then (I called him, just to see how he had taken it all). It looks like we may still be business partners, but I don't know if we'll be lovers anymore. I have some real peeves that need to be addressed, or its out of the question. I don't think I've ever been so mad in all my life. I have to admit I love him, but right now I hate him too. I never used to understand that kind of thing, but now I do. The love comes because there is something special in the things he says and does that really go right to my heart. But I hate him because of the things he DOESN'T do that cut me to the quick by their absence.

So, he is coming over tomorrow to talk in person instead of over the phone (and also do an edit session for a client) and I intend to have it out with him. Wish me luck!!!

September 14, 1993

I've had a weird day of it. You know, I just realized something: I used to think I was bad off because I got married as a virgin and only went out on two real dates in my life before I met Mary. But the sex wasn't the problem, it was the lack of experience in relationships. I only had two real friends (if you can call them that) in my entire childhood. One was Todd and the other Bill. Both of them were sneaky little opportunists, but I was enraptured with them. Todd was my friend in Elementary school, Bill in High School. Other than that, no one! I was in scouting and such, and had a lot of acquaintances, but no real friends, save these two. And they (like most of the people I have been involved with) were only after what I could provide them. I seem to be a magnet for needy people.

So, here I am getting married at 23 years old without even having gone out on two dates with the same person. I can clearly see now that the problem wasn't the low number of dates as the lack of experience in a long term relationship.

I just don't get close to people I guess. Not outside of business situations. I'm pretty sure its me, too. Here at the office, I got asked out by friends to various get togethers for a while, but somehow that just dwindled off to the point that no one asked me anywhere in the last year or so. What a bummer!!!

If it wasn't for Andy, I wouldn't have been doing anything at all. Therein lies my weird day. I'm looking at my relationship with Andy, why I wanted it so much, why I struggled to keep it for so long, and why it was so easy for me to give up. I'm tired of being used. What is it with people? Can't they just get together and enjoy experiencing each other's company? Do they have to be tuned into gimme, gimme, gimme?

I ran Andy's personality through the story development software today. When I came to the part about his point of view, it was a total blank to me. Yet, when I came to the section on the Objective storyline, I had great empathy for his situation. Finally, when I came to MY subjective storyline, I wanted to beat him to a pulp! Suddenly I saw how I had been used four years ago, how I had been used now, and how he had used so many others around him. God, I hated him at that moment.

But, of course, I love him too. He has many wonderful qualities. Its just that he also lacks a few essential ones. Well, I spent two hours filling in the software storytelling section on a story called "Andy N Me". By the time I was finished, I could not believe how blind I had been. But I began to think - if this happened to me with Andy, with Fred, with Larry, even with Chris and the raise - maybe it isn't them so much as me. Maybe it requires my personality in conjunction with a needy personality to get into this kind of fix.

So, I looked at what might be MY problem. What do I have too much of in my character, or of what is there too little? I'm not saying that these other folk are not my problem, but that there must be something in myself that attracts these kinds of people, and I need to change that to save myself.

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