i didn’t ask for boundaries.

I knew I left Brendan thinking, “What the fuck?” but truthfully I was thinking the same thing. It’s hard to describe how I felt, but space seemed good. I told myself I’d take a day or so to try to get my thoughts and feelings together and then I’d reach out. Fights with Brendan always feel so devastating and final, but they never are.

A couple hours later though, Brendan texted me. He said, “I’m sorry I didn’t say more earlier, but I agree with you. Take all the space you need.”

Uh, excuse me?? Now I was really confused. I definitely wanted to be on the same page, but I hated the idea that he was allowing me to take all the space I needed. No! Grovel and beg for me to come back! So now I was really mad at him — not that he would’ve known since we weren’t talking. The ball was in my court I guess, but I really felt like he should be the one trying to get in touch with me.

The following week, things were still silent and Winnie wanted to know what was up.

“Brendan is at his house. So he can’t play with you,” I explained.

Winnie gave me a skeptical look like, “Wow, so you scared another one of my favorite people away?”

It was absolutely fine though because Winnie and I probably needed to spend some quality time together (without the buffer of a man) anyway. I could pretend that her bad attitude and behavior had nothing to do with Brendan’s absence. After I put the baby to bed, I sat on the couch, pulled out my phone, and sent a meme to Brendan on Instagram. It was my way of showing him that while I was still mad, I wasn’t that mad and I was waiting for him to reach out to me.

But he didn’t reply. He didn’t even open it. Not even the next morning when he was firing off work emails. Oh, so he was alive? Was I being ignored? I was suddenly angry again — it was like he was the one who wanted space and if that was the case, why didn’t he just ask?

I spent the weekend incessantly checking Brendan’s Instagram for signs of life, feeling sorry for myself and unsuccessfully trying to pick a fight with Brady. On Monday morning, I sent an email and got an out-of-office bounce back from Brendan. Oh? It was one of those vague ones like, “I’m currently away and have little access to email. For urgent matters please reach out to Miguel or Yesenia.” So where the fuck was he? He never mentioned a vacation to me.

Miguel showed up to the office in the afternoon. He wanted to talk about this project that has been giving us nothing but trouble and I was like, “I thought I was working with Brendan on that,” snottily.

“He’s out of the business right now so I can help you with that,” Miguel explained like I am three years old. “Is it cool if I help you?”

“Yeah, totally,” I said, feeling bad. I wanted to ask him exactly where Brendan was, but Mike was standing right there.

Later on in the afternoon, Miguel was in a separate meeting that I wasn’t in and I texted him, “Want to get a drink after this?”

A few minutes later he texted back, “Yeah, let’s do it.”

Don’t ask me what I was doing because I don’t know. I think because I missed Brendan and wasn’t speaking to him, Miguel and his proximity to him was as good as I was gonna get. We walked to a nearby bar, one that we had to walk down some steps to get to, and Miguel put a hand on the small of my back to guide me. Hmm. As long as he didn’t get the wrong idea it was fine.

We ordered drinks and I started interrogating him about his wedding and his relationship and the usual. Y’all know me. He was just giving the same old generic answers so then I was asking what his least favorite thing about Jasmine is and what they normally fight about. Basically, I needed to know if he was aware that Jasmine liked to let sketchy men grope her for drugs — not that I was going to blow up my girl’s spot if he didn’t know.

“To be honest with you, Reese, I don’t have any complaints. I couldn’t wish for a better relationship,” he said.

Oh please!

“I know it sounds crazy, but I always told myself I wouldn’t get married unless I felt like this. And you know it took me a long time to find her…”

It was sweet, I guess, if it’s all true. I would love for someone to speak about me the way they speak about each other. Speaking of which, eventually I was like, “So where’s Brendan?”

“Brendan? I don’t know. He didn’t tell me where he was going, just that he needed some time off. I think he’s getting burnt out,” Miguel said.

“Oh. So he didn’t go on vacation somewhere?” I asked.

“I’m not sure. Want me to text him and ask?” 

“No!” I exclaimed. Was he crazy? Don’t even tell him we hung out!

“Uh, okay,” he said.

The next morning I woke up hungover. I nearly forgot about hanging out with Miguel, but then I checked my phone and saw that he texted me.

“I hope you’re feeling better. Let me know if you want to talk,” he said.

Feeling better? Talk? And then I remembered crying on Miguel’s shoulder all night (literally crying) and complaining about my life. He’s so sweet, he just sat there and listened to me. He even offered to cancel his plans with Jasmine to stay and hang out with me, but that was my cue to go. How embarrassing and awkward.

I thought at least word of my tantrum/meltdown would make it back to Brendan and he would finally call me. I figured he’d probably want to know why I was hanging out with his business colleague and making him uncomfortable.

But nope. Nothing. Nothing! If I wasn’t so upset with him I would’ve been concerned that he actually was dead or something. But I knew he wasn’t dead — clearly — he just didn’t want to talk to me. I started having a recurring dream about our last conversation and with each iteration Brendan would get increasingly more mean and nasty. I’d wake up in a cold sweat.

Meanwhile, Mike and Paige were pissing me off. We were under pressure to wrap up our projects before the end of the quarter and they were hounding me about every little detail. I was a bit…distracted and having trouble keeping organized. I found myself scrambling before meetings as I tried to quickly gather information and follow up with people. I tried to help myself by deleting Instagram from my phone (so I didn’t sit there scrolling through Brendan’s, Danielle’s and Reagan’s profiles), but it didn’t actually help because I’d just open a private desktop tab and do it there.

That Saturday I dropped Winnie off with Brady and since I didn’t have anything better to do I stayed hanging out with them until after dark. Brady was being particularly nice (and he had been since crashing my birthday dinner) and ordered dinner for us. We watched movies and played games on the floor and honestly, it was a good distraction. I didn’t even think about Brendan until I was headed back to the city. Kristina texted wanting to hang out but I ignored her.

The next week, I guess I was getting used to the new normal. Brendan and I weren’t speaking and, as far as it seemed, over, but that didn’t stop me from checking his Instagram and LinkedIn every hour on the hour. I was barely staying afloat with all of my work and my inbox was out of control (I normally organize my messages by project or sender or urgency and… that wasn’t happening). Every time Mike or Paige asked for something that should’ve been done days or weeks before, I’d have to drop everything to quickly do it, but then I’d still stop and check Brendan’s LinkedIn to see if anything was updated. It never was and I was driving myself insane.

On Wednesday morning, Brendan finally emerged from hiding. He sent a one word reply to an email with the signature “Sent from my iPhone.”

It’s like, oh you’re alive? Well, fuck you! I read it forty three times trying to decode a secret message or his whereabouts, but to no avail. And since the message wasn’t particularly insightful and wasn’t addressed to me, I couldn’t even reply.

Trying to get additional scoop, I texted Miguel. I wasn’t going to outright ask, but was Brendan now “back in the business?” He provided no clarity and was like, “Let me know if you want to get drinks later. Jasmine and I have a ballroom dance class tonight and I wouldn’t mind being a bit buzzed for that.”

Hmmm. No. As fun as that sounded I was not about to risk humiliating myself again. I didn’t reply. Hopefully Miguel found a shot or two of whiskey on the way to the dance class.

On Saturday, Winnie and I hopped in the car and headed to Brady’s. We’d gone to breakfast at Starbucks and grabbed a to-go coffee and pastry for her dad. I wasn’t thrilled about having to drop her off for the weekend (usually I don’t mind a bit of a break), but at least they wouldn’t care if I hung out with them for a bit.

It started off like always where Brady asked Winnie about her week and I criticized the state of the home (“Oh, you still haven’t been to the grocery store?”) Brady was asking me if I’d heard about things on the news and I was being mean to him like usual. We turned on a movie and Winnie fell asleep and I should’ve left, but then Brady and I continued sitting there talking. We weren’t even talking about anything at all interesting, but I was glad I at least didn’t have to go back to my lonely apartment right away.

We took our conversation to the kitchen so Winnie could sleep I guess. I don’t even know why Brady wanted to talk to me since I was all doom and gloom and being a bitch. But secretly I think he sort of likes me being mean to him because he kept grinning and laughing and we were kind of flirting.

So we were standing there drinking pamplemousse La Croix and I could feel that Brady was standing dangerously close to me.

“Oh, shut the fuck up,” I said to him.

“Okay,” he said.

And then he leaned in and I put my hand on the back of his head and we started making out. Huh? What the actual fuck? Brady? What was happening? And my body was acting like this was normal (the hand on his head, pulling him closer). I think I just wanted to feel something after moving like a zombie for the last few weeks. But I still felt absolutely nothing. It felt like making out with my hand. It was like that Ava Max lyric: “She’ll kiss your neck with no emotion.” That was me. I could feel Brady getting a boner against my stomach and he continued leaning into me so the edge of the counter cut into my lower back and that was all I could focus on.

Eventually I pushed him away from me.

“What are you doing?” Brady whined like a child.

“I’m leaving,” I said.

“Now? But why?” he continued whining.

“Because I want to go home,” I said with no explanation.

So then I left Brady and his boner and headed back to the city. I didn’t feel particularly bad or guilty or anything really, just zombie-like. Lola sent a selfie of the two of us with the caption, “Miss you!” I ignored her.

I spent most of Sunday in bed even though I told myself I was going to catch up on work. I had been avoiding my inbox and I was not in the mindset to address it. I ordered Shake Shack for lunch, but took one bite and lost interest.

On Monday morning, I got up and dressed and headed into the office for another miserable day of work. But to my surprise, Brendan, Mike and Miguel were standing in the lobby of our suite. Mike looked small and ugly compared to Brendan and Miguel, but they all looked like they meant business. I waltzed right over to them and said, “Hi Brendan!”

“Hey Reese,” he said back, smiling at me.

“Reese, we were waiting all day on Friday for an answer from you and we still haven’t gotten a reply,” Mike said to me.

What the fuck was he talking about? I had no idea.

“Okay, I’ll reply now,” I assured him.

“That would be great,” he said, no-nonsense.

I lingered for a few seconds waiting for someone to talk to me before eventually going to my office to see what Mike was talking about. I was sure to leave my door wide open, just in case anyone wanted to stop by and see me. I sifted through my email and found the chain from Mike. He and Paige were asking if a vendor partner would be able to work with our extremely tight project timeline — a vendor I hadn’t even contacted yet. Oops. So I needed to figure that out asap. I kept an eye and ear on the door while I tried to get an answer for Mike and several agonizing hours went by.

Eventually, Brendan popped his head in my door. I was just sitting there staring at the door so it kind of startled me. He looked cute with his little backpack on.

“Hey, good seeing you. I’m heading out,” Brendan said. Behind him, I could see Miguel lurking and talking on the phone.

I glared at Brendan because really? Good seeing you? After nearly a month, that’s all he had to say to me?

“What?” he asked.

“Nothing. Goodbye!” I said.

“Okay. Bye.”

Obviously that tripped me up and I couldn’t concentrate for the remainder of the work day. I figured out the answer for Mike so at least that got him off my back but my inbox continued piling up.

As I was leaving the office at 6, I texted Brendan saying, “We need to talk.”

I had been waiting for him to reach out to me, but of course that motherfucker was still acting mute.

“I would love that,” Brendan said, which I appreciated. I left him on read while I tried to think of how I wanted to handle this and then he said, “I’ll be home later if you want to stop by.”

I definitely did. So I dropped my work stuff at home, went to an express Pilates class then came back home to shower and change. Then I called an Uber Black to take me to Brendan’s apartment. I don’t know what I was expecting from our conversation, but considering I’d been depressed since the last time I was at his place, I hoped we figured out something.

My virtual key was apparently still working so I let myself in and found Brendan and Kendall sitting on the couch playing a video game on the PlayStation or Xbox or whatever.

Reeeeese!” Kendall said excitedly without even looking up from the TV.

“Hi,” I said.

Brendan looked at me out of the corner of his eye and nodded, but didn’t say anything. Whatever. They were playing some sporting game and I watched from the armchair.

“How’ve you been?” Kendall asked me.

“I’ve quite literally never been better,” I lied and he grinned, again not even taking his eyes off the TV.

Brendan kept glancing at me out of the corner of his eye and I was getting antsy so I took a few laps around the apartment. Nothing looked out of place and there were no stray panties or anything so that was good.

Finally the game ended, Kendall hugged me goodbye and then Brendan and I were alone. He was sitting relaxed on the couch wearing a Fear of God Essentials hoodie and kept looking at me timidly.

“I thought you wanted to talk,” I said bitchily even though I was the one who suggested it.

“I do. I thought you did too,” Brendan said.

And then I just broke down and started bawling like the crazy insane psychopath that I am. Like full blown chest-quaking sobs. Brendan finally got up from the couch so he could hug me and comfort me.

Neither of us said anything while I tried to calm down and then finally I managed, “I don’t understand. Why. You haven’t talked to. Me,” all hiccupy and sobby.

“Uh, because you said you needed space,” Brendan said, confused.

“I did and you agreed! But don’t you think you had enough space by now?” I said.

“I have, have you?” he said.

Yes!” I screamed. “But you didn’t even act like you wanted to talk to me!”

“I was giving you space, Reese,” Brendan said calmly. “I don’t know how else to do that besides give you space.”

“For three weeks?!”

“I…didn’t know how much time you needed. I deliberately didn’t reach out to you when I wanted to so I could respect your boundaries,” he explained.

Brendan and these boundaries! I don’t remember asking for my boundaries to be respected.

“But you agreed! You wanted space from me? Why?” I demanded.

Brendan explained that he thought he made me uncomfortable or overwhelmed with how he expressed how he feels about me (maybe a bit but I love it) so he wanted to back off. I let him know that I didn’t appreciate going from 100 to 0 and I missed him and was very unhappy (understatement of the century) when we weren’t speaking.

“Well, now I feel like shit about that,” he said.

I totally shouldn’t have let him feel shit about it when I was equally at fault, but…oh well. I felt like shit too.

Eventually Brendan was like, “So what do you want? You have to really spell it out for me because I’m apparently not good at reading your mind.”

I smirked and let him know that I want to be with him for literally ever and didn’t want anyone questioning that and I definitely didn’t want to go 3-4 weeks without speaking. He was like yeah totally, I agree with everything you said, but am I freaked out about that?

I shouted, “Obviously!”

Ugh. I was so relieved to have made up with him. It’s kind of scary how off the rails I was when we took a break and I don’t know what to do about that. I mean, I guess I could’ve just been upfront about my feelings and wanting to talk to him, but I wanted the space and I think my reaction told me everything I needed to know.

We stayed up all night talking and having makeup sex and eating chocolate in bed. I closed my eyes at five thirty so I could get a couple hours of sleep before I needed to go home and meet Brady and Winnie. I woke up with Brendan spooning me and my phone blowing the fuck up. Eddie, my doorman, had called, Brady had called and texted, left a couple voicemails and was actively calling again. Apparently he was outside my building.

“OMW!” I texted him back and then screamed and cried, jumping out of the bed.

“Are you okay? What happened?” Brendan asked, thinking someone had died probably.

I explained what was going on and how Brady and Winnie were going to kill me and he offered to drive me the 18 or so blocks back home to meet them. I felt like such an asshole pulling up with Brendan, but I wasn’t even thinking about the fact that Brady and I were making out in his kitchen a few days earlier.

When we arrived, Brady and Winnie were standing outside his car with Eddie standing guard and I barely let Brendan put the car in park before I hopped out.

“Reese, are you fucking kidding me?” Brady greeted me.

“Oh my God, I am so sorry! I don’t know what happened,” I said.

Brady glanced behind me and said, “Oh, really? You don’t know what happened?”

Brendan, not reading the room or atmosphere whatsoever, had followed me out of the car and said, “Hey, good to see you,” to Brady.

I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. I wanted to die! Brendan and this “good to see you” bullshit!

Winnie was apparently more excited to see Brendan than me and hopped over to hug him.

“You too,” Brady said politely and then gave me a disappointed look like I’m his child. “I’m late for work now so thanks.”

“Sorry,” I said meekly.

I turned around and Brendan and Winnie grinned at me — at least everyone didn’t hate me.

Standard

15 thoughts on “i didn’t ask for boundaries.

  1. Kei says:

    Yay! I’m so happy that you updated, can’t wait for more. This post with the break came off as playing mind games where you say one thing but expect him to act differently and clamor after you. Boundaries are great and I love that Brendan respected your request for space.
    I appreciate that you wrote out all the inner turmoil going on in your head while still trying to maintain ‘level headedness’ to not reveal it in your everyday life. I think it really shows growth and constraint.
    The communication with Brendan and that it was a relief moment where you could cry everything out to him was sweet ❤️

    • Lindsey says:

      I agree with you. Reese’s quote, “but I wanted the space and I think my reaction told me everything I needed to know.”

      Hopefully things start getting better at work. Brendan seems good for you. He is upfront with his feelings (unlike Brady was) & he doesn’t engage in the game playing. He needs to put his mom in her place, but other than that, I love him.
      Margot is just protecting him and even though it sucks, time will prove to everyone what you two already know.

  2. Okay, what is up with Brady trying to get some?! Do you think maybe he’s been hoping that the two of you will get back together and that is really why he was so mad when you were late and pulled up with Brendan?

    I am glad that you and Brendan talked things out, and if you were trying to get your feelings in order, space was just what you needed, I think. After dealing with Brady’s mom and sister-in-law, for years, though, I’d be sick of putting up with more of other people’s shit. I don’t blame you for wanting to have some space after what happened with Brendan’s family. I hope it works out for you two, though, because he seems to make you happy!

  3. Amanda says:

    I love, love, love that you are slightly off kilter with Brendan. Like you don’t seem to be able to manipulate him (I don’t mean that in an evil way). I think its going to force you to be more open and deal with issues rather than with how things were with Brady. It’s kind of like you graduated to an adult relationship. Are you going to tell Brendan about kissing Brady?

  4. Carrie says:

    Ffs Reese – figure yourself out. You can’t ask for space then get pissed about being given said space. You have got to stop playing these stupid passive aggressive games. Nobody likes or wants those games in a relationship. Honestly I’m getting a little worried you’re going to ruin Brendan. What happens the next time you have a disagreement? You going to run back and make out with Brady again? And then Not tell Brendan? Figure yourself out.

    • Anna says:

      Well, this is unnecessarily critical. I read this post with a completely different perspective than this. That Reese asked for space and actually took some time to understand what she felt confused about shows huge growth. The kissing Brady thing isn’t great, but she stopped it. This whole blog is about her journey figuring herself out which is an on-going process for most of us.

      • Lindsey says:

        Ugh!
        I hate it when I reply and then do something stupid and erase my writing. I completely agree with you Anna.

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