He brought me bacon.

It’s been nearly a year since I told The Neighbor I loved him.  A year of more lows between us than highs, honestly. Saying those three stupid words changed everything.

We went from exalted fuck buddies to a couple hammering out expectations and responsibilities basically overnight.  And it’s been really ugly.  He’s an island unto himself — a little squat cactus in my mind — and I am this ball of needs and changing moods, not temperamental, but in motion all the time — an orchid.  We are an unlikely pairing.

I’ve suffered from massive attacks of doubt and suspicion; he’s wrestled with his apathy and worry; our sex life isn’t what I want; I don’t think he’s cum because of me once this year; I feel unimportant; I imagine he feels beleaguered; I’m fantasizing about other men, other lives I could have.

On the other hand we’ve also grown more intimate.  I know him better and him me, he’s a bigger part of Peyton’s life.

And yet, we both agree we’re barely dating.

Last night marked the first time in 3 years that I asked to be alone, away from him.  After a 12-hour day I was down to the bone.  I didn’t have it in me.

He quickly came to my side in the kitchen where I was making us dinner and generously using the last of my bacon for him.  “Hy,” he said, inches from my face and holding my hips, “why not?”

I looked him in the eye and replied, “Because it makes me anxious all night that you don’t really want to be here and sad that we haven’t fucked.  I don’t like it when you drug yourself before even discussing it with me and you’re grumpy in the morning.  I want to cuddle with the dog on the bed and with the kitty and have an easy morning.”

“I wasn’t grumpy this morning, was I?”

“No, but that’s rare.  I’m just tired of it and don’t have it in me tonight.”

“You’d rather sleep with the dog than with me?”

I didn’t answer and went back to cooking.  He was right.

His hands dropped to his sides and I felt like I heard the air escaping from his balloon.  I don’t know what prompted me to be so honest with him other than I felt like it was the best thing for me to do.

I am sharing a relationship with a prickly cactus who might be giving his all, but to me feels like the bare minimum I can get by on.  That’s why we’re barely dating.

And by that I mean there is no future.  Not because I’ve decided there isn’t one, but because we don’t talk about it; he hasn’t committed even the next year to me.  He seems mildly tortured with worry that he can’t give me what I need or want and in his mind that’s a lifelong commitment.  He feels badly, awful, really.  I get sad because I’ve done everything I can to get out of my own way and enjoy him in the moment, but the truth is: without a committed future working this hard seems like too much.  Why am I doing this?  Am I robbing Peyton of man who wants to be in our lives?

Which brings me to where I am at this very moment.  I feel inept.  Stupid.  Unskilled.  I should know how to do this better by now. But I feel as ignorant and blind as ever.

When I was much younger, I ended relationships after a year when I felt unimportant.  With my exhusband I completely ignored all the lights flaring up inside of me and went ahead and married the guy.  I never tried to change the course with us; I accepted the little he had to give and moved on.  And today I’m accepting the little I get, but am unwilling to just move on.  I want something more, but have absolutely no idea how to make that happen.

In moments such as these I like to think about all the wonderful things TN brings to the table which I’ve never had before: he’s a staunch supporter of mine, he loves helping me and needs it, he’s generous, he’s passionate, he’s damn sexy, he’s strong, he’s a wonderful listener, he genuinely likes me.

But I can’t just go all Pollyanna on myself whenever the darker, sadder, uncomfortable shit rears its ugly head, can I??  I have to face it.  I have to state clearly what my needs are, own them, not be afraid of them and see what happens.  It might be that he can’t or won’t meet them and then I have decisions to make, don’t I?  I can’t do what I’ve done in the past and let this stasis creep up and ooze into the fibers of my relationship, an insidious mold growing larger spore by tiny spore.   But I’m terrified.

I don’t want to lose him.  I don’t want to be alone again; I do better in life when I have a stable partner.  I don’t want to feel that stark, shattering pain.

It would be such a sad ending to our tale if this was it; it just fizzled out a year after we shared our hearts after all those long months of yearning.

I don’t know.  Maybe this is how it ends.  With him sealed away from me and me withering on the vine, desperate for a little more sunshine…

After he did all the dishes without me asking he left with an air of sadness. I fell into an exhausted heap on top of a pile of clean laundry on the couch and watched an episode of Louie C.K.  The dog snoozed on the other end as Louie lamented the pain of divorce and the difficulty of attempted relationships post-marriage.  I giggled through heavy lids, my heart sad, but laughing, because he’s right: it’s torture trying to connect when you have no hope and you know it all ends anyway.

And then the dog became rigid and barked at the back stairwell.  TN filled the doorway and I couldn’t help but be lit up.  He still has that effect on me.

“Hy,” he said with one hand behind his back, “I couldn’t stop thinking after you made that wonderful dinner and did all those wonderful things for me — I mean, I just couldn’t live with myself!  How could I! — that you wouldn’t have any bacon for tomorrow!”  He brought his hand around and held out a package of the special, humanely raised pork that I love, Niman Ranch bacon.  He’d driven to a grocery store that was the furthest from our complex to get it.

I almost burst into tears.  It was the most romantic sweet thing he’d ever done for me.  Totally unexpected, totally unnecessary, totally out of love, totally what this little flower needed.

I patted a spot next to me and threw myself into his arms the second he sat down.  “Thanks for everything, Hy,” he said into my hair.  And then he kissed me long and firm and sweet.  There was still sadness there, but there was also a little bit of hope.  And a little bit of sunshine.

76 thoughts on “He brought me bacon.

  1. Hy, just let him love you!!! Sure you are going to have days/nights that you feel all wrung out from work, and the residual pains from past relationships, but you have to let the self doubt and pain go. There is nothing wrong at all from wanting and needing your own alone time, but stop feeling guilty about it and feeling like you’re failing the relationship by taking time for yourself. Tell him what you want and need… If he loves you, he will listen and stay. (So far he has!!! and it does not sound like he is scared!)
    He adores you and Peyton, and it sounds like he accepts you faults and all.
    Now, please close your eyes and think of what TN is to you, to your son, the positives, the memories, the joys….there you go!!! See? You are worthy of his love and don’t be so afraid.
    Joyce C recently posted…Intoxicated…..My Profile

    • Thanks for your note, Joyce, but I didn’t mean to imply that I felt those things for asking for a night off. That’s not a big deal, obviously. What I feel badly about is that I’m at this same place again, that my needs aren’t getting met – not the ones past the most basic. I feel guilty for that, definitely, but more than that I don’t know exactly how to fix it. And what is the secret to not being affected by past relationships? I want to know! 🙂

  2. Oh Hy. Apart from my love of bacon and a deep understanding of how something like that could make you so happy… this post makes my heart hurt.

    I recognize so vividly what you describe with your ex. I had someone say to me yesterday they didn’t believe I could have known from the start it wasn’t right yet still have married him and stayed for what was, in total, 15 years. But I did. And am terrified of making the same mistake again. Of settling for less than what I know I want.

    I think I would feel just like you do now when faced with the same situation. I hear how much you want more, and yet how willing you are to find all those little things that tell you you get what you need (not that I’m minimizing bacon…that’s an awesome gesture). There are no easy answers. I’m glad you are writing about it, but know even that can be difficult given it’s not secret.

    Thinking of you. xoxo
    Ann St. Vincent recently posted…There are no words. Except these.My Profile

    • Thanks, Ann. I really debated about writing this and kept to my usual guidelines of writing about me and not at all guessing at what he feels/thinks. Where it states it definitively it’s because we’ve discussed it. And while I haven’t brought this particular angst up with him in such a pointed manner, he already knows all of this. So it passes my internal test.

      To speak to the rest, with my exhusband he was all about future and I was under its trance. Someone to love me forever? Who wants to grow old with me?? Well, ok! Truth be told I should have dumped him after 2 months of dating. I’ve dumped TN multiple times in the past, but to no avail. He wouldn’t let me. And I’m glad he didn’t. I’ve had a wonderful time with him. I’m just trying to figure out if I can keep having the wonderfulness with him and right now it feels like I’m unskilled to make it happen. Fucking sucks.

  3. I’ve lived something so similar, and I never talk about it because… I don’t. You’ve been smarter than I and you are much better at handling this “discrepancy” than I was Hy. Still, this breaks my heart.

  4. Gosh, I don’t know what to say. You mean reality isn’t like the Alice in Wonderland you thought it could be 18 months ago? I’m not trying to be flippant, but there must be some sort of sweet spot between Alice’s world and the desperation you are currently feeling. If there is, do you think you can live in it? Can you make those long term compromises. Be prepared that lots won’t be perfect? That’s what you need to decide.

    Mike

    • That’s what I’m talking about, though! That happy medium. I have no idea how to achieve it. I’ve never tried to before and it’s scary.

      And for the record, I don’t think I’m wanting (or describing) a Wonderland. I just want more than the least amount possible.

  5. Well, you know I understand. I understand your comment on my post better too.
    To make both Ann and you feel better, I think I knew deep down that I shouldn’t marry my ex and stayed with him almost 25 years all in all! So see, you’re faring much better!
    There are a few things I really relate to in what you write. One of them being the anorgasmia. Having been there myself, I really think that it has to do with not being able/willing to open up to the other. And it does hurt after a year that he isn’t able to do so, I can understand. No matter how happy you are that he gets off by himself, sometimes you would like to be the one with whom, for whom it happens…
    That makes sense.
    The needs not being met… It is difficult! It is difficult because I think you, like me, are trying to make things work and forget yourself in the process. And there are a lot of things that are fine in your relationship, just like there were a lot of things that were fine in mine. Yet… too many things weren’t. At least for me. And I’m done waiting 25 years to realise that it’s not giving me what I need. Partly because I know that I’d end up resenting him for having wasted so much time eventually. And he doesn’t deserve my resentment, but my gratitude for what we had.
    I understand the need to look forward to a future together. We both wasted enough time in loveless marriages, we don’t have that much time to waste any more, do we? So I say talk to him about it (unlike what I did. I realise I should have done things so differently in plenty of areas!). And take it from there.
    I can also totally relate to that feeling of lighting up when he came back, when he brought you the bacon… I had that same feeling when I last picked G up. The swelling of the heart, the widening smile, the simple happiness of seeing him again.
    But for me, it wasn’t enough any more.
    It is difficult to decide. But my advice is: sit down one day, and really listen to your heart, to your gut. And see what they tell you. Depending on that, act accordingly. If you know that you love him unconditionally, great. I couldn’t be more happy for you both.
    If you know deep down inside that your needs aren’t being met and you need more… you’ll know what needs to be done. Because as long as you don’t make that decision, you are not ready to open your heart to anyone else, and neither is he.
    Dawn D recently posted…forced affairMy Profile

    • Anorgasmia is a tricky beast. It’s often the case that in the beginning (not all the time, but frequently) everyone’s cumming like happy little monkeys. Once intimacy and love are introduced, all sorts of masterful safeguards take place that aren’t under anyone’s control, mainly that release and opening up that occurs for them when they cum. TN isn’t convinced that’s the case, but from the MOMENT he said I love you he hasn’t cum with me. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. And I’d been noticing for months that it was getting fewer and farther between as we grew closer. It makes sense.

      As to the rest, I’m right in the middle of figuring this all out. We talked last night and it didn’t resolve anything (of course), but it was nice and helpful. He’s got a lot of stuffing going on that I had no clue about. What’s for sure is I’m tackling this in a different way than before and hopefully I’ll be happy with the results this time.

  6. So a few things.

    ((HUGS)) That’s first.

    The doubts, the questions, the wondering if he can be what you need, if you can make this work, if it’s worth it. Every single bit of that is normal. Poor SSir was practically dangling from the ledge for months while I tried to figure my own issues out – and at least I had the luxury of deciding what I wanted to do and was willing to do early on in our relationship. (Fear of pain drove me to it so early in our relationship – otherwise, I might have been in things a year or more before I decided what I wanted.)

    I had the marriage that I knew before we married should never happen. I’ve had the relationships that I let go on too long (even just weeks too long) because I was afraid of being alone, even though I spent more time questioning them and myself or feeling miserable than I did feeling happy. Those things happen to all of us. So here’s the thing that I decided – and that it seems you have to decide for yourself (and there are no right or wrong answers): how much work are you willing to put in? Relationships are really hard work (I spent many years refusing to believe that – I believed in fairy tales, I guess). There’s compromise. There’s doing what’s best for the other person (if both of you are doing that consistently, then things tend to work well – when it’s one-sided, there are definite problems, as you well know). There’s talking it all out – communicating as much as possible, as honestly as you can, without judgment or being judged.

    You being abruptly honest with him in that one moment was good for both of you. (And seemed to have produced bacon, which is always a good thing.) Maybe you need a little bit more of that – honesty (AND bacon). The hardest part is waiting and watching to find out if he’s willing to be just as honest and work just as hard as you.

    ((HUGS)) I wish I had easy answers, and I think you already know the answer. But it takes more effort than I ever thought possible. What I can tell you is that, with the right person, it’s worth the effort. Maybe that’s ultimately the question – is TN worth the effort that it will require to make your relationship work and does he feel the same about you?
    Kayla Lords recently posted…e[lust] 65My Profile

    • Thank you for the hugs. (HUG)

      I really sat up straight when I read this because I want to know how other’s have gotten through this. Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I know that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but I like hearing about how others tackled it. — And I totally can’t believe how many of us are in this strange club of I Got Married Anyway Club. So weird! And kinda sad!

      As I just told Dawn, we talked last night and it was good. Not a cure all, but I found out that he’s really struggling with some things I was clueless about. Anyway, we’re talking and that’s what I wanted most. Thanks again for all your support. xx Hy

      PS: Don’t forget GIFT Boobday is next week! xx

      • I spent months questioning everything. For me, it came back to honesty and consistency. Did he do what he said he was going to do? Did he leave me wondering all the time? Could I really tell him everything? For us, it worked out (clearly) but it required a certain amount of faith – in each other, I mean. And we got there with plenty of consistent and honest communication. ((HUGS))
        Kayla Lords recently posted…We Forgot to Take Care of Each OtherMy Profile

        • This sounds like exactly the kind of thing I’d like to do and it is beyond heartening to know a [very lovely, awesome, amazing] couple who’s gone through it ahead of me. I am SO glad you’re in this corner of my world, Kayla 🙂 xx Hy

  7. There is nothing as difficult as relationships and not knowing where it’s heading and not knowing what’s around the corner. If only we knew, but we all should allow ourselves to make our mistakes and learn from them, right. I felt a lump in my throat when I read the last two paragraphs. You two care for each other, that much is clear. Being honest with each other is the best you can do, and taking it day by day.
    Hope the two of you get through this okay!

    Rebel xox
    Marie Rebelle recently posted…Bad Girl Blogger AwardMy Profile

    • Ugh, you are so right! It’s driving me just a little bit nuts lately. I think even if we say we’re committed for another year I could relax. I’m not looking for forever… Thanks for your note, Rebel!! xx Hy

  8. Oh Hy, I never though that bacon would ever bring a tear to my eye, but damn it, it did! My heart is aching for you, yet that one little master stroke, the bacon, , TN ‘gets’ you, it’s obvious. Hang onto that glimmer of hope, work through if need be, men are hit no d readers as much as we need them to be, they’re usually so unaware of what’s going on in our heads that when it does all come out, they’re like wtf? Where’d this all come from? Bahahaha! I say this from personal experience & only now am I saying more out loud than ever & it works. I didn’t get bacon, it’s usually either frozen yoghurt, home made bread or a tool to fix something. Hang in there honey, I’m cheering for all three of you! :*

    • lol right? Fucking bacon! And I know he loves me, but we’re at the point where I need him to step it up and layer the love in with also making sure I know I’m important to him and special. I know that can often be the most foreign concept to some men because they love you! Isn’t that enough?! Well… no. Not ever, really. We’re all so damn complicated! I’ll take a page from your book for sure from now on and make it as clear as mud — I mean, as possible! 🙂 xx Hy

  9. Oh, baby. I feel you. I really do, my boyfriend and I aren’t perfect either. I’m happy he bought you bacon, that’s so fucking cute, but sometimes the sweet little gestures aren’t enough when there’s something fundamentally wrong with the relationship. I don’t know enough of your relationship history, I’m a new reader, that’s just been my experience. Wishing you the best of luck.
    Taylor recently posted…On DecisionsMy Profile

  10. I’ve been a follower of yours for a long time – since the very beginning in fact. I have never commented because, well because I never felt that i had something to contribute. But for this post I feel i must stand up and say something.. Share my thoughts. Please forgive my candid nature, but know it comes from someone who has been with you on thing journey (as much as a reader can) for a very long time…

    It seems to me the writing is in the wall. It seems to me that you know that things are over but you are holding on in hope.

    Be brave for this next step. For yourself. For your happiness.

    • Wow, thanks for your note and no need to ask for forgiveness! If you’ve been reading me for this long then you know I always welcome comments from my readers, no matter what the message is. And I’m not sure if the writing is on the wall, frankly. That’s exactly what I’m trying to figure out as we speak, though. You may be right and will be able to say that you called it way-back-when, but for now I’m not at all ready to throw in the towel. I don’t feel like I’ve spoken my mind yet and I know from experience that quitting before you really try leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.

      If, after TN and I lay it all out on the line, and we STILL are mis-firing then, yes. It’s time to end it and I’ll be looking for more words of wisdom then, I’m sure. But for now we are definitely in an Oh shit, we gotta fix this! stage. No drastic measures just yet.

      Again, thanks for delurking! I love lurkers 🙂

      • Phew, the anxiety I have felt the past hours since pressing “post comment” has been a little full on. I was tossing And turning, kicking myself that I chose that particular post to delurk! I hope you are right and I hope that I am wrong and as you say time will tell. But believe me, I would take no joy from being the guy that called it way back when…

        Just be honest and be open.

        And may I say, thank you for this blog. It is a little something in my life that truly brightens my days. You are a special writer and I love everything about this place.

        • Oh wow, really?? No! I’m so sorry you spent even a second worrying about it! You might have written what lots of others were thinking (and didn’t write). That’s what’s so great about this forum, this way of communicating with each other. I put things out there that don’t always garner a response I’d prefer, but that’s not the point. I’m not here just to have everyone cheer me on. I like the dissenting voice in part because it resides in me already.

          And thank you so much for the kind words. That really makes my day!

          • And I am going to make a point of posting here more often! I do cherish every word and look forward to each post, and shouldn’t have left it so long to break my silence.

            Thinking of you this Christmas!

  11. Hy, it’s clear that TN really cares deeply for you (he just doesnt act properly on it) and that you guys have a connection that’s not easily broken. Also, don’t forget it’s the silly season. Everyone feels distracted, stressed and pulled in 10 different directions, our emotions and over active minds think too much and doubt almost everything. Have you ever suggested a date night? It might help things towards another level……….But if I am all wrong here, open a bottle of wine, turn the music up and dance!!! (works for me)!! Lastly, I dont think a man’s mind is something we woman will ever fully understand LOL!

    HUGS from a sunny & hot SA xxx:-)

    • Hi Kim! Good point. And as I discovered last night when we talked, he’s got a lot going on in his big fat brain that I was totally unaware of. I’m trying to keep that all in mind. I’ll also probably do the wine and music thing regardless haha. Hugs back from a chilly USA!

  12. Can anyone give you what you want? I don’t mean that as a criticism, more a rhetorical question. I’m not sure my perfect woman exists, as half of what defined her would probably contradict the other half. She would cancel herself out of reality.
    There is invariably lush, healthy, vibrant, green grass in our own fields.
    Accidental Masturbator recently posted…Road rubberMy Profile

    • That is exactly the question I’m trying to figure out! And it’s a critical question to ask, for sure. You’re right about the lush grass right beneath us. It’s always a matter of seeing it, though, and that’s the hard part sometimes. xx Hy

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