The Double-Edged Sword


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A week or two ago I had a conversation with a good friend about the Spectacular Asshole.  My friend was a little frustrated by the ways in which I seemed to be allowing Mr. SA to boss me around and dismayed by the effect it was having on me. He didn’t ask me to explain myself to him, but I attempted to anyway; probably as much for my own edification as for his.

After a long dramatic pause, the best explanation I could come up with for why I sometimes allow the SA to run me is that it seems to be the price I have to pay for a certain feeling he gives me. Because one of the ways in which he stays winning over any other man I’ve been with is his ability to make me feel cared for. The dynamic of our relationship is such that he makes me feel delicate and small. In need of protection and completely protected. And this dynamic frees me to admit that I want and need protection and care sometimes.

Case in point: some of you know that over this past long weekend I came down with a cold. I spent most of Sunday and Monday in bed (in case you’re wondering, this is why Monday’s post went up late) with my throat feeling like I swallowed acid, a pounding headache, and a fever of a magnitude that felt like I was near death. Because I so rarely get sick, I had no cough syrup, no Advil, no Halls, not even so much as a fucking tea bag in my house. The only thing I could do to ease the pain was suck on Crystal Light ice cubes. And that wasn’t doing much.

By Monday afternoon, I felt like I would have sold my left ovary for a cup of tea. But it was a holiday and nothing in my neighbourhood was open so I was forced to suffer in nothing close to silence. I called my mum to whine about how crappy I felt, but that did little to relieve me. All she did was a) berate me for not having cold remedies in my house and b) urge me to call my friend Lovesponge and ask him to bring me drugs.

Had I not been so sick, I would have laughed loud and long at that suggestion. Because I am not – nor do I ever foresee becoming – the kind of girl to call up a man and ask him to bring me something. Even if it is just a friend. There is only one thing I hate more in life than admitting I need help and that is asking for it. So no way in hell was I calling him to bring me drugs. Even though I knew very well that if he could have, he would have.

Later that day the bestie @emti fell victim to my whining. And while I chatted with her I had an epiphany that I could call Mr. SA and ask him to bring me tea or drugs. Or both. She thought it was a perfectly reasonable thing to do while I immediately balked at the suggestion.

Fast forward an hour or two later and my throat is on fire. I need honey but I need it to be in tea and I need those special citrus Halls that soothe my throat but don’t taste like burning ass. But I’ve got the chills and the shakes and I cannot wander aimlessly among the crackheads to find an open store.  So what do I do? I pick up the phone and I dial the Spectacular Asshole’s number. He says hello and I whine his name in my most pathetic voice. He immediately switches into caregiver mode and it’s all “What’s wrong Baby?” and “Why do you sound like that?” and “What do you need?”.

And just like that I felt a million times better. That’s the cared-for feeling that as a single woman I don’t get enough of. And after I whined to him about how sick I was and how much my throat hurt, I didn’t even have to ask him to bring me anything. He just told me he was on his way. I quickfast threw in my request for a tea and set about making myself presentable for his arrival.

The thing is though that when he got here, he didn’t bring the citrus Halls I like, he brought the scary ones in the black package that I have to suck in stages (pause?). He brought Buckley’s, which I am more afraid of than just about anything else in life.  And yes, he brought my tea but he also insisted I gargle with salt water. And stood there and watched me do it. Then forced me to take a spoonful of the Buckley’s and put me to bed with the nasty ass Halls in my mouth. And wouldn’t let me smoke! This man is a fucking tyrant, I swear.

After he left I was kind of annoyed. The combination of Buckley’s and saltwater aftertaste rendered my tea undrinkable and those Halls were killing me dead. So I sucked an ice cube while smoking a cigarette and then I went to sleep pissed. But when I woke up in the morning I had a text from him saying he hoped I slept well and asking me to call him to let him know how I was feeling and I had a grin a mile wide.

This to me, is the double-edged sword of relationships. For every great feeling you get from the person you’re with, there is a shitty feeling in inverse proportion. I love feeling protected by Mr. SA, but I do sometimes chafe against his bossiness. In the past I’ve loved the passion and intensity of my relationships while bemoaning the drama and volatility of them. I’ve loved the innocence and hated the stupidity, loved the secrecy and illicitness even while I felt slightly dirty for being hidden. That’s just the way life goes it seems.

But is that the way it has to be or do I suffer from an imbalance in my relationships? Is there no way to feel protected without feeling controlled? No way to feel passionate without also feeling crazy? What do you guys think? Are relationships meant to be filled with double-edged swords? Speak on it in the comments.

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bag lady. digital nerd. beauty junkie. shoe whore. i'm a sucker for big words and box-fresh kicks. know a little bit about a lot of things and have something to say about everything.

Comments 19

  1. Malik says:

    All decisions in life come with double edged swords. In order to gain something, you must give something else up in exchange. You have decide which options have the better exchange rate though. As for your questions, yes to both of them. Granted I do not know you personally, but based on what you reveal about yourself here seem to be attracted to ‘rigid’ or ‘orderly’ men. With that you are drastically lowering your likely hood to feel both protected and free at the same time because those types of men more often than not rank high in possessiveness and being controlling.

    By my own admission, I like women who are a bit off. So craziness is expected and welcomed when it comes to passion with me. I think you may need to reevaluate your ass-backwards viewpoint that all men are the same. You may Max, have to boo-up with a *gasp* nice guy in ordered to get the long term relationship and sanity benefits you crave.

    1. Malik says:

      Wait, I think nice guy may be both a far too narrow and vague description. How about just non-Rude boys/SAs that you constantly get attached to.

      1. max says:

        Your comments today are the perfect blend of extremely insightful and wildly off the mark. I have no idea how you accomplished that but good on you.

  2. Sam Sharpe says:

    “the best explanation I could come up with for why I sometimes allow the SA to run me is that it seems to be the price I have to pay for a certain feeling he gives me”

    This sounds like what a crack head would say in an attempt to explain away their toothless smiles, ragged clothes, withdrawal and nerve damage related twitching and general foulness. I exaggerate, but you know what I mean.

  3. Alana says:

    1) The picture…never actually visualized a 2 edged sword. Appreciate that visual

    2) The beginning of this post is absolutely beautiful. That feeling you get when you’re talking to someone that exemplifies an extreme level of concern for you. They make you smile randomly while sitting at your work desk doing V-Lookups in Excel (all my business). I feel you. Being single, I don’t always get that from the opposite sex. Am I feigning for it? Nope. But, it’s nice when it shows up and make my day even brighter (which is hard to do with my dramatic umphness of a personality).

    3) I can’t say that relationships are meant to be filled with double edged swords no more than everyday life is. In life, with so many goods, something not so good is probably associated with it. Great Job that you adore? Work hours might try to monopolize your social life. Beautiful natural hair? The maintenance is time consuming. <— Not great examples. However, what makes us think that we can circumvent the that sword associated with a relationship if we can't do it in our everyday lives? Right, you got it. Any relationship is part of our everday lives, so it will be sujected to the perimeters of our everday lives…good and bad. It's just life!

  4. IrieDiva says:

    oh lawd you’re speaking to my soul with this one. not much advice to give as i married my double-edged sword…i hope it doesn’t cut me too deep.

  5. emti says:

    “I didn’t even have to ask him to bring me anything. He just told me he was on his way.”

    That’s the problem right there…you didn’t ask for what you want. The SA is not a mind reader so he didn’t know that you think the halls taste like ass or that you think (as do I) that Buckley’s is an abomination unto God.

    Next time when you’re whining tell him “i want the citrus halls and honey in my tea”;-)

  6. Gemmie says:

    There is only one thing I hate more in life than admitting I need help and that is asking for it.

    the tenacious perfectionist in me is this way too!!! i try my best to not be so stubborn but its difficult.

    Is there no way to feel protected without feeling controlled? No way to feel passionate without also feeling crazy?

    if only i had the answer to this. i, too, have felt some serious imbalance in previous relationships. you get some of the things you want mixed in with a whole lot of other things you dont want nor need. at some point though, i think we have to decide what we’re willing to put up with. we dont always get everything we want (and i think thats probably for the best since what we think we want aint always what its cracked up to be), but we shouldnt have to feel trapped when we have some of the things we do want.

    since im still in the process of finding a healthy, balanced relationship, im not sure what that really looks like and at what price we pay to have it…

  7. GirlSixx is ChloeRayne516 says:

    Is there no way to feel protected without feeling controlled? Honestly… No I don’t see how it’s possible because it takes a strong alpha male to give us that strong sense of security and/or protection in which we know/feel he has our back 1000% so we become like a delicate flower in his hands BUT with that kind of security it comes with us being a little submissive and giving up control and allowing him to take the reigns which in some cases is another form of protection as well.

    1. O_D says:

      And don’t think that men(well those of us with hearts above minds) don’t have to battle with these decisions on how to treat a lady, and which ladies like to be treated with what sort of affection or lack of.

  8. Teflon says:

    Sometimes we have to embrace that woman that we “don’t want to be” in order to get what we want. When SA said he was on the way over that was your chance to say, “And I need citrus Halls, chamomile tea, vapor rub, cherry flavored butt paste, etc. Are you writing this down?” You didn’t do that because he would have been annoyed, and Lord knows we women don’t want to be annoying. But Annoying Annie would’ve gotten exactly what she wanted. Sounds like the attention/caring from SA trumped getting what you wanted in this case.

    1. Teflon says:

      Sorry, let me bring this back to the topic. You can be cared for (but occassionally controlled). He can be a Hero (but occassionally henpecked).

      1. Starita34 says:

        *Slaps my cosign on all of this*

        I agree with Emti and Teflon, sometimes we get so wooed by the romance that we forget that we play a part in this love affair too. Speak up, don’t be afraid to ask for help, tell him that you are sick and not trying to follow his orders right now, you just need xyz. So yep, it is a double edged sword, relationships will always be work…but at least they are a well paying job with good benefits.

        This was really heartfelt writing Max, kudos. I think SA got a hold on you!

  9. Julia says:

    Great post Max! This line really hit me:
    In the past I’ve loved the passion and intensity of my relationships while bemoaning the drama and volatility of them.
    It’s so true!! Relationships can feel like a rollercoaster – the higher you get the lower you drop, but the ride is so much more exciting.

  10. Mrs.Brightside says:

    My high school sweetheart and I are doing something similar to you and SA. Feeling each other out and observing changes that have or have not occurred since out last stint together. We talk in sex rather than common emotional phrases like “I miss you”, “can’t wait to see you”, and other romantic phrases. A text that says “next time I see you I’m going to blow your back out” says to me I can’t wait to see you. A chat message that says “this morning when I brushed my teeth water ran down and made me want to suck your dick” says to him I’m thinking about him. We have accepted it as our way to communicate emotion.

    At first it frustrated me because you hear of stories where guys say the super romantic and sweet things to chicks and it gives you butterflies thinking about how much he has to care to say and mean things like “being without you is like reliving my dog Pepper’s death” or something crazy like that. Then I realized that I’m comfortable with what we have because we understand one another. I mean, look at this too; a dude that far in his emotions can be questionable and a real chore.

    I say all that to say is being controlled all that bad. Having someone to do a little thinking for you while you are in the sanctuary that is your home; is it really that uncomfortable? Do you think your passion is crazy or justified? What are you basing that on? The big point; do you really want Mr. Max to be fetch and run kind of guy that lets you do whatever you want, however you want, whenever you want, without regard to yours or his detriment?

    1. OhMyGodYes says:

      WOW! This comment is just… WOW! If you are comfortable with a dude saying how much he wants to f$ck you instead of something “romantic”, if sex talk equates love talk, if you think a man being “far in his emotions” is “questionable” I dont know what to say about the direction the world is headed. But good luck with all that.

  11. OhMyGodYes says:

    Ummm, whenever I have had a relationship with a person who annoyed me but also gave me some good feeling, I’ve had to decide whether or not the bad outweighed the good and in most cases they did not. Who says that relationships have to be so much of a compromise that you put up with characteristics you don’t like just to have some you do? No, it’s not going to be perfect but I think that the right person is not going to have you smiling one minute and pissed the next.

    Imma tell you that the relationship I manage to have my teeth in at the moment is no double edged sword.

  12. CF8 says:

    I pause in givin advice because obviously I don’t know you personally nor the SA, so I won’t give advice exactly just a thought.

    Your comment “The dynamic of our relationship is such that he makes me feel delicate and small. In need of protection and completely protected.”

    If I’m not readin it wrong, it sounds like he’s managed to make you feel like you ‘need’ him (i use need for lack of a better word tbh) and thus you think you put up with his erm… aspects that you normally wouldn’t put up with.

    Do you feel like he has to make you feel vulnerable before he can ‘take care’ (in a way) of you? Would it make it easier if you tried askin for help from close friends so you wouldn’t have to give up one feeling for another?

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