Say what you mean and mean what you say: Allowing your partners to know what consent means to you

I rediscovered something about myself this week. I can’t cope with ambiguity in expectations. I also can’t deal with people not saying what they mean. And I definitely, absolutely cannot deal with a person who says no but doesn’t mean no.
I was with a woman this week who said, “No, stop,” while I was doing something to her. Immediately, I stopped what I was doing.
“Why’d you stop?” She asked me, breathless, surprised.
“You told me to stop,” I said.
“Oh,” she said. “Well, I didn’t mean it. Keep doing it.” And when I hesitated, she begged, “Please.”
We were at her place. We went there because she had suggested it. After dinner a couple hours early, I had asked about getting drinks. That was when she suggested that the girlfriend and I come over to her place.
We said, “Sure.” Then hemming and hawing started.
She said, “No, no, my apartment is probably a mess.”
“Okay,” we both told her. “Then drinks, it is.”
“No, no,” she answered. “Let me text my roommate to see whether she would be willing to have guests at home.”
“It’s no big deal,” we said, “let’s go out got coffee or drinks or something.”
Then this girl started saying, “Well, no, then you’ll be spending more money on drinks… We could just go to my house…” And we stood in the entrance of the restaurant for twenty minutes while she alternated between, “Come back to my place,” “I don’t really want to go out for drinks,” and silence.
After five minutes of this (Hell, after maybe a minute and a half of this!) I was ready to go home instead of continuing. But she kept telling me she was worth it and we’d get past the indecision, so I decided to wait it out.
Finally, the girlfriend asked point blank, “Okay. Drinks or your place? Pick.”
She picked her place.
I gave this woman another chance because she convinced me that she was worth it, that she would say what she meant, and that she would mean what she said. She couldn’t do any of those things. Her intentions and her words didn’t match, and I can’t function that way.
I know better than this. I shouldn’t have let her string me along, but I did. I firmly believe in full and willing consent (in fact, I really freak out without it), and if you’re a maybe, you’re a no. There are other people who are delighted to be a yes – I don’t have the time to wait out the maybes.

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