A Woman Scorned: My First Fight with Ben

rejectHell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I’ve always liked that phrase, even though I wasn’t quite sure what it meant:

“A woman rejected in love can be very angry and dangerous. There is nothing as unpleasant as a woman who has been offended or whose love has not been returned.”

That describes me pretty well – especially last night.

First, Brad left for his second date with a new woman. She invited him to her house and made her intentions clear, so I knew what to expect. I decided to distract myself with some reading and research.

The distraction was working until Ben got home. As most of his days are, I imagine it had been a long, hard workday. He was probably hungry and tired and walked into a messy house with two screaming kids, who didn’t want to leave him alone. He immediately pointed out a pile of dust on the floor that had spilled out of an auto part he’d been working on the previous night. He’d tried to sweep it up, but my daughter wouldn’t give him the broom. I told him not to worry about it, that I’d get it later, but forgot. Not a big deal. I took care of it.

A few minutes later, he asked if I’d ever rescued his food storage container Brad threw in the trash last week. Somehow a container full of rotting meat had gotten left in one of Ben’s moving boxes in the basement. We found it the night before he was leaving town for Christmas. I wanted to take care of it immediately, but he insisted we leave it down there because he didn’t want to deal with it that night. I said, fine, I’d clean it while he was gone, but, of course, I forgot. A few days ago, we found it again. I brought it up to the kitchen and enlisted Brad’s help in convincing Ben it was too gross and should just be thrown away. While Ben was in the other room, Brad said “I’ll throw it away,” and did. Ben was upset. I told him if he wanted it that bad, I’d go get it out of the trash can, but never did.

Our First Fight

So last night Ben said  he was still pretty upset about it. It was a high-quality, glass container that couldn’t easily be replaced because it was part of a set. I told him I’d buy him another one. He said he didn’t want one. I kept missing his point, and we both got angrier and angrier, until I yelled, “I don’t know why you’re making such a big f**ing deal about a stupid piece of Tupperware,” and listed all the things he did as a roommate annoyed me (immature, I know).

I realize now, I should’ve just acknowledged that the glassware was important to him and apologized for disregarding his wishes and feelings. He had every right to be upset about it, and it was my invalidation of his feelings that caused the fight to escalate.

Fast Forward. Brad got home from his date glowing and gloating about what an awesome time he had with the new girl. I asked for the details and got them. Apparently, they wasted no time. Brad took her down before she even finished giving him the tour of her house, and, after a short break, they went at it again. He said it was amazing, reinvigorating and just what he needed. He even coined a phrase to describe the feeling he was having – “New Pussy Energy” – similar to the popular poly concept of  “New Relationship Energy,” only in a more “casual sex” context.

I truly was happy for him, but the contrast between his revitalized energy and the frustrated, starting-to-feel-old relationship energy between Ben and I was stark. On the one hand, I wanted some space from Ben. On the other hand, I was wanting attention, because I knew I wasn’t going to get any from Brad. So, against my better judgment, I invited myself into Ben’s room for the second night in a row.

For the first time, I wasn’t really into having sex with him, and it didn’t seem like he was into it either. I don’t know why we followed through with it, except that I thought  it would “fix” things. It had fixed things before.

We are both Scorpios. Our horoscope says we are one of the strongest “love” matches possible, but our capacity for intense fighting is apparently equally as strong, so much so that one horoscope said our relationship might not last long outside of the bedroom. Another one said we should be fine as long as we can tame our jealous, vengeful, vindictive, controlling natures… so that’s reassuring 😉

Anyway, what I finally realized this morning is I was mad at Ben for having the “audacity” to be mad at me. It hit me that the “butterflies” stage of our relationship is coming to a close – that he is no longer so enamored by me that he’s willing to overlook all the annoying things I do. I realized I can no longer get away with borrowing his shoes and smashing down the backs of them, leaving crumbs on his floor, cups on his nightstand or even wet spots on his bed. And more importantly, I can’t get away with dismissing his feelings by shushing him with an unwanted hug, like I’ve done with Brad for so many years. I actually have to treat him, and Brad, like human beings – with respect, instead of batting my eyes and playing innocent.

Organic mattress

I’m torn about this. In a way I take his getting annoyed about the little things as a personal rejection – not just of my behavior, but of my entire being, which I guess was why it was so hard to get into sex last night. I was somehow interpreting his disapproval of my behavior as disapproval of me as a whole. I illogically convinced myself that if he couldn’t put up with me messing up his stuff, he must not even be sexually attracted to me anymore – he must not think I’m worth the hassle.

I ran through this whole ridiculous monologue in my head last night, and when he seemed more annoyed than usual about his wet sheets, it was the last straw for me. I threw a blanket over his bed and left to go sleep with Brad without saying goodnight. “I’m not even worth changing the sheets for,” I thought to myself indignantly. “Fine! He can sleep in his dry bed alone forever!”

It’s only now I realize how silly I was being. I felt unloved and unwanted because giving myself to him sexually wasn’t enough to make the tension from our fight go away. But he probably felt disrespected and unheard because instead of listening and validating his feelings, I tried to put a bandage over the problem with sex.

Oh well. At least I’m seeing it now. Live and learn.

2 Comments

  1. […] recently I faced my fear of exclusion when he had casual sex with a woman I knew very little about at her house. It was the first time he’d gone away to have an intimate encounter with a woman, instead of […]

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