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How do I un-traumatize myself?
April 18, 2011 3:19 PM   Subscribe

I tried to break up with my boyfriend over the weekend, and it didn't go well. I've agreed to give things another shot but I don't think I can get over what happened during the breakup.

Caveats: This happened at his place; I was staying over and he was my ride home. This went on for a few hours. I'm 20 and he's 24. I'm a girl. He'd told me about being suicidal in the past but said he was passed that, and he hadn't given me any reason to think otherwise. He isn't having these feelings anymore.

I asked him to sit down and suggested we break up. The normal crying, anger and bargaining ensued. The thing I can't get past is he was briefly suicidal, and it scared the living crap out of me.

I got up to use the bathroom and shower and heard banging around in his room. I went back in to see what was up because I was afraid he might be suicidal and sure enough he'd gotten out his pistol and had it lying beside him with one round in the chamber.

I tried to get it away from him and he eventually ejected the chamber so it wouldn't accidentally go off and hit me, which scared the crap out of me because I briefly thought he'd pulled the trigger. I spent the better part of the day trying to take his guns/ammo but it didn't work because I don't have a car or a place to hide them. Instead I just sat in the room with him.

I told him how scared and hurt I was later on that day and he's apologized several times and agreed to get therapy but I can't stop thinking about it. I can't begin to describe how scared I was and I can't stop thinking about what would have happened if I hadn't decided to skip the shower and see what was up. I almost didn't do it.

I've asked him what would have happened and he said he didn't know. I tried to get him to say he didn't really mean it and was just upset but that doesn't appear to be the case. I can't stop crying thinking about what might have happened and I'm afraid of what will happen if things don't work out.

I haven't told anyone except a few close friends. I know this sounds silly, but I didn't call the police because he's a gun hobbyist and I didn't want to take that away from him unless I was really really sure.

Before this things were fine. I only wanted to break up because I wasn't feeling a spark/chemistry. He pointed out that it'd taken me longer than six months to feel that spark with other people, and since I tell him he's the first person I've dated that treats me well (true) he at least deserves that much. I agreed with that reasoning, which is why we're trying again... not because of the suicide thing.

But now, I don't know how to feel. I'm torn between feeling loving towards him and being extremely angry. I feel hurt, upset, angry, not only about the incident but also that I had to wrestle with him multiple times to try to get that thing away. I'm a musician and it bothers me that I hurt my hands and potentially risked a career trying to help him. Which is a totally weird feeling to have amongst the anger that he'd whipped out the gun in the first place but there it is. He's asked me to give him two months and if this hadn't happened two months would be fine. I can understand the pain and anger. I can work through that just fine. Even if he'd just told me he was having thoughts, ok, I can deal with that. But add on getting out the gun and not giving it up and it's just so... I don't even know how to describe how I felt. My feelings for him right now are so ambivalent that I worry I'll spend the next two months just trying to get over this one thing.

Has anyone been through this? Does the reliving the incident/fear go away? Is it normal to be this emotionally affected? I've read about things like this happening and most people seem more able to chalk it up to faking and walk away than I was.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (198 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
I couldn't read past the word "pistol." Maybe that's where you should draw the line, too.
posted by swift at 3:21 PM on April 18, 2011 [147 favorites]


This is not an okay way for him to behave and you are not helping either him or yourself by returning to him under these circumstances. Take care of yourself by cutting ties with him and get yourself some help which you very much deserve. He is not your responsibility, YOU are your responsibility.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:27 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Get. Out.

Leave. If he knows where you'd go, then tell him that if he tries to make contact with you that you'll get a restraining order. Go down to your police department, tell them what you've told us, and ask them for their recommendations (I'm sure other people here will have better suggestions, but holy crap, you have to start somewhere, and that's better than nothing towards ensuring your own safety).

It's not your job to save him. It's not your job to keep him alive. If there are firearms and emotionally unstable people involved, you're in danger too. If he's mucking about with chambered rounds and emotionally charged situations like this he's not a "gun hobbyist", he's a freakin' menace.

Ensure your own safety first, and the way to do that is to get out out of that situation and stay out.
posted by straw at 3:27 PM on April 18, 2011 [58 favorites]


It sounds to me like you might be experiencing some concerning symptoms that would line up with having experienced a serious trauma. I want to strongly encourage you not to try to handle this alone; seek out friends, family, mental health professionals, and/or whomever you need for support.

You do not owe him two months more of your life. You do not owe him one second more than you feel ok and comfortable about giving.
posted by so_gracefully at 3:28 PM on April 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


His behavior here is profoundly disturbing. You are not equipped to help him, and speaking frankly, I'd cut him out of your life for the sake of your own safety.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 3:28 PM on April 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


he's the first person I've dated that treats me well (true)

I meant to add: This is not true anymore. There is NO POSSIBLE DEFINITION by which this is treating you well.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:28 PM on April 18, 2011 [104 favorites]


run. very fast. very far. maybe he was treating you well until he PULLED OUT THE PISTOL!!!
posted by elle.jeezy at 3:28 PM on April 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yikes -- I'd get very far away from this guy, and I'd certainly call the police. A gun "hobby" is probably not appropriate for someone this unstable.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:28 PM on April 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Having been in a somewhat similar relationship in the past let me tell you what I learned:

He's not treating you well--he's manipulating you.

Your happiness and well-being should be your priority--not his. He's trying to make you feel guilty by making stupid threats. At a certain point, you need to follow your instincts and leave him.

I hope this doesn't sound overly harsh, but....if he does something stupid because of it, that's his problem--not yours. You cannot and should not feel responsible for another adult's dumb decision.

This doesn't mean you don't care for him, but if you start down this road of caving to his threats of self-violence, it will likely never stop.

p.s. you didn't only risk damaging your hands while wrestling the gun away, you risked your life--keep it in perspective.
posted by Zoyashka at 3:30 PM on April 18, 2011 [28 favorites]


There is only one response to this situation: EJECT. Immediately.
posted by gnutron at 3:30 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm a musician and it bothers me that I hurt my hands and potentially risked a career trying to help him. Which is a totally weird feeling to have amongst the anger that he'd whipped out the gun in the first place but there it is.

That's not a weird feeling to have at all. You have a right to expect your partner not to risk ruining your chances in life, professionally or otherwise.
posted by wansac at 3:30 PM on April 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think 20 is too young to be hanging around with suicidal "gun hobbyists". What if the gun had gone off and killed you? What if he had decided to shoot you instead? You didn't break him and you're not going to fix him. You don't OWE anything to him.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:31 PM on April 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


Is it normal to be this emotionally affected?

Yes, definitely. I've been through this both directly and helping a close friend deal with somehting like this.

However, I agree with everyone else. This is not your responsibility, you can't fix him. One of two things is going on: he's blackmailing you emotionally to stay, or he's really really disturbed. Either way this is not a good situation for you.

I'm not sure what the police would really do in this situation, might depend on the state/gun laws. Just threatening suicide isn't going to be enough to take away someone's firearms in most places. I don't know this would accomplish anything.

Even if he's not faking, get out.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:31 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


You are suffering from PTSD and he is at best manipulative and at worst a menace. This relationship was already over: make it so and DTMFA.
posted by carmicha at 3:31 PM on April 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


I know this sounds silly, but I didn't call the police because he's a gun hobbyist and I didn't want to take that away from him unless I was really really sure.

Not just silly, but irrational... you're worried about his very life, but put his hobby's safety ahead of that? Think about it.

The gun show he put on for your benefit was exactly that... it was staged with noises to draw your attention, and set up so you would see it and pity him. And that's a terribly unbalanced thing to do.

#1 priority: YOU. Break up with him. This act alone is enough reason; you cannot allow yourself to be in a relationship who uses such emotional blackmail on you - and who plays with guns when upset with you! (Whether or not you believe he would ever intentionally hurt you is irrelevant. Accidental gun shots kill just as well as intentional ones, and he clearly lacks responsible gun-owner judgment.)

#2 priority: his life. Notify the police, and any and all friends you have in common. Let his family know, if you have contact with any of them. People who will continue to be in his life deserve the chance to watch out for him.

#3 priority: his sanity. He cannot get healthier if you reward his unbalanced behavior with "success", like calling off the break-up.

Do it. Any one of these reasons is reason enough.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:31 PM on April 18, 2011 [42 favorites]


My cousin shot himself after an argument with his wife. My nephew-in-law shot himself after his girlfriend broke up with him. I don't think either were likely to have done anything if the guns hadn't been easily accessible. Both of them left infant children and sobbing relatives behind.

He needs help. He needs a lot of help. That gun needs to not be there. You need to not be there.
posted by desjardins at 3:32 PM on April 18, 2011 [31 favorites]


I think this is one of those times when breaking up over the phone is not only acceptable but completely appropriate.

If you think you can't handle it over the phone then send an email.

This person is not safe to be with. He showed you that his own wants are more important than your safety. Put that in the email. Tell him that you don't ever want him to contact you again.

Block his number from your phone. Put all his emails into a spam folder. Unfriend him on Facebook. Make a clean and complete break and DON'T LET HIM MANIPULATE YOU INTO CONTACT.
posted by TooFewShoes at 3:35 PM on April 18, 2011 [18 favorites]


...I've agreed to give things another shot...

I hope you change your mind.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:35 PM on April 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


Is it normal to be this emotionally affected?

By someone pulling out a handgun and wrestling with you over the weapon? In a word: YES.

You need to get out. His behavior was so far past unacceptable that I don't know where to begin. Leave.
posted by Justinian at 3:35 PM on April 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Has anyone been through this? Does the reliving the incident/fear go away? Is it normal to be this emotionally affected? I've read about things like this happening and most people seem more able to chalk it up to faking and walk away than I was.

Even if that were true -- my god, don't squelch your own feelings just to try to be more like "most people"!

I have been through an analogous situation, also with her using/threatening to use violence against herself as a response to relationship difficulties. My view is that there are many difficult, complex issues that can come up in a relationship -- but violence is not one of them.

Once violence enters the picture at all, the relationship must end.

Bringing out a gun as a tool to deal with relationship turmoil is, in my view, unforgivable.

Being a "gun hobbyist" doesn't excuse or mitigate anything. Kurt Cobain was also a gun hobbyist.

Just reading your question, after I saw the first mention of the gun, I had to stop reading for a second because I was so disoriented. I, internet stranger, had to stop and regain my bearings. I can't imagine how scared you must have been. He might have known he wasn't going to cause harm, but you had no way of being sure he wasn't going to use it against himself, or you.

You're 20 years old, and you already wanted to break up with him even before this. Don't waste your time. Draw a line and take a stand. Again, I recommend drawing the line at violence -- even if it's "just" violence against oneself or "just" threatened violence.
posted by John Cohen at 3:36 PM on April 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


What the fuck.

Guns don't belong anywhere near a relationship. He is not your responsibility.

You need to leave.
posted by iamabot at 3:36 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


No one in this thread is exaggerating. THIS IS SERIOUS. This is dangerous, for both of you.

I don't think you trust your judgments at all. You doubt yourself, and you let him convince you that he is more reasonable and has more trustworthy intuitions than you do. But he pulled out a gun. He is not more reasonable that you, and his intuitions are not more trustworthy than yours.

You don't owe him a relationship. You don't owe him equitable circumstances, compared to your past relationships. You owe him nothing, except a call to the police.
posted by meese at 3:37 PM on April 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


I'd just like to add that I heartily agree with everyone else's comments too, and I'd be surprised if there's any dissent in this thread.
posted by John Cohen at 3:38 PM on April 18, 2011


There's absolutely no way, no freaking way what he did was in any way responsible, thoughtful or loving. That was out and out sheer bullshit manipulation. And I say that as a gun owner.

Get away from this guy. Wrestling you for a loaded handgun, good christ, I wouldn't want to be around him in any capacity, let alone in a relationship with the guy.
posted by jamaro at 3:41 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


OP, I want you to do me a favor. I want you to reread everything you wrote up there, but pretend your best friend wrote it. Now. With that in mind... would you agree that your best friend should give another chance to this guy, after he threatened to hurt himself unless she stayed with him? Or would your eyes be bugging out of your damn head listening to all the crazy pouring out of her mouth about the guy with the friggin' gun and all the emotional problems? Would you be all, "Oh girl, you should totally stay with him, he sounds like a keeper!"? Or would you be like, "Damn. That guy is crazy and you need to get the hell away from him right this second, what the hell are you thinking agreeing to stay together with this creep?!"
posted by palomar at 3:42 PM on April 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


OP, please tell this story to a friend you can trust. You need someone to support you right now. And then you need to never hang out with this guy again.
posted by auto-correct at 3:42 PM on April 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Dump this guy. Not in person. Be firm. The only reason you need to break up is "I don't want to be in a relationship with you." Refuse any offers for in-person chats. Talk to the police like they said upthread. Go and stay with a friend for a few days, ideally a friend he doesn't know.

This is 100% unacceptable behavior from someone you want to be dating, much less someone you don't want to be with and are dating on sufferance. Get out now.
posted by amber_dale at 3:43 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


He stopped being a gun hobbyist the minute he pulled out the pistol with the implicit threat of using against himself, or you, or really anybody. Run the fudge away from this guy, and don't look back.
posted by dirtdirt at 3:43 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


He's blackmailing you. He's preying upon your compassion and pity for him so you'll stay with him.

And really, at this point, he shouldn't have guns. He threatened to kill himself. He had a loaded gun. There's no room for error here. It's up to psychiatrists and the courts to decide if he's a danger to himself and others.

You deserve better. This is not normal. This is not in any way okay.

If permission is what you need to leave, then I think we're all being clear here. Get the hell out. And don't be alone with him ever again.
posted by inturnaround at 3:45 PM on April 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


This is an incredibly dangerous situation. Please get out, now, and stay out.
posted by rtha at 3:47 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


You have a right to expect your partner not to risk ruining your chances in life, professionally or otherwise.

In all fairness, she risked ruining her own chances in life by trying to wrestle a gun away from him.

OP, it's okay to tell him you need out, end of story. Pulling guns out isn't fair or reasonable and it's okay for that sort of behavior to have consequences, like you leaving.

It's not your job to take care of him or his feelings right now. Though it doesn't seem like it, he IS an adult. Don't let him tell you he can't live without you or any BS like that. You are not his mom and even if you were, again, he's an adult.

As for you feeling traumatized, it's because that was really traumatic. Despite the rationalizations your brain is trying to give to you, you aren't over reacting.

I strongly recommend you tell friends and family about this. This doesn't have to be your secret to bear. You don't have to sacrifice your sanity to protect his reputation. IME, the more people you tell the less it will haunt you and the more you'll get perspective on which of your reactions are and aren't reasonable.

If time goes on and it's still affecting you in a big way, you might want to talk to a therapist that deals with PTSD or something like that. The one I went to was only a session or two. It might seem silly, since it's not a BIG deal, like going to war, but your it's completely worth the improvement in your quality of life.

Also, I'm really pro-gun but this is fucking bullshit and he knows it.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:50 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


You should tell the police about what happened. Break up with him after you have done this. It's understandable to feel somehow responsible for something like this, but the kind of person who would shoot themselves because of being dumped is the kind of person who would shoot themselves, period. You didn't make him that way. You need to get out for your own safety.
posted by elpea at 3:53 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have been in a very, very similar situation and was manipulated into carrying on a relationship that made me unhappy until the police had to get involved.

DON'T EVER RATIONALIZE PUTTING YOURSELF IN HARM'S WAY TO PROTECT ANOTHER PERSON'S HOBBY/EMOTIONS. EVER.

If you carry on this relationship, he will continue to manipulate you. It worked once; he knows now how to control you. Is this what you want? Will this make you happy? Do you want to hide what happened and lie for him? What would your friends/parents/coworkers/ANYONE say if you confided in them about what happened? Can you hold this secret in indefinitely? That's what he's asking of you. This is a matter of controlling you, not loving you.

You didn't feel a spark before, and now he's holding you hostage emotionally. This is not love, it's insecurity and self-hatred... FOR HIM. Run now, or you'll never know what it's like to have a normal relationship. Please!!!!!!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:53 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've been in a situation something like this, with a suicidal spouse. I know what it feels like to feel responsibility for someone who's dangerous to you and whom you are completely unable to help. It's terrible; you have my sympathy.

That said, get the hell out now. You cannot help him, but he can and will do terrible physical and/or emotional harm to you if you stay.
posted by jon1270 at 3:54 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


AskMe doesn't speak in unison often. I know you love him and are concerned, but the best thing you can do for both of you is end this.
posted by honeydew at 3:55 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Personally, I wouldn't call the police on him unless something else happens after you've broken up with him by phone.

But I surely would tell a friend or two or 12.

If you're super worried about his reaction, tell one of HIS friends to check in on him.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:56 PM on April 18, 2011


Bringing out a gun as a tool to deal with relationship turmoil is, in my view, unforgivable.

This. Take good care of yourself.
posted by chatongriffes at 3:57 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is called manipulation, and if you continue to reward his manipulation, he'll continue to do it, and it will likely narrow down from breakups to whatever the next thing he doesn't want you to do might be. Don't trap yourself in this cycle. Call the police for his own safety and yours, and then move on. It's better for you and, in a way, better for him whether he believes that now or not.
posted by katillathehun at 3:58 PM on April 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


What helped me in dealing with someone threatening suicide was to realize that they were threatening to kill someone, which in many cases is called Murder. That's not something that anyone should hold over someone else, and anyone who would consider killing a person is not someone you should be around. At all.
posted by Four Flavors at 4:00 PM on April 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


He is either incredibly and irresponsibly manipulative, or dangerous, or both. No more seeing him. And I am all for doing it by phone and asking one of his friends to follow up.
posted by Xoebe at 4:00 PM on April 18, 2011


After what just happened, he now thinks he knows exactly what it will take to guilt/scare you into sticking around.

Prove him wrong.
posted by hermitosis at 4:01 PM on April 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


What. The. Fuck.

This situation is very very far from normal and even further from acceptable.

> I've agreed to give things another shot

You are very close to making that a literal statement.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:02 PM on April 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Once someone in a relationship does something like pull out a gun in anger, whether they are threatening themselves, threatening you, or threatening to shoot a wall or a pet, that relationship has revealed itself to be a completely unsafe place for love or affection or safety or comfort. You have got to find your way out of there.

The next time you break up with him, it is okay to do it via email, or at the very least in a public place, or with one of his friends in the next room, so that you can immediately leave. You do not need to wait around for him to be okay with the fact that you are breaking up with him. But really, you do not owe him an in-person breakup anymore, because the last time you tried that, he pulled out a gun.

You do not need to keep the fact that he threatened suicide a secret -- you should tell a close friend or family member of his, so that you are not the only person with this information.

You do not need to handle this alone, and should not.

His well-being is not your responsibility -- you should tell someone close to him about the suicide attempt before you break up with him, and then end all contact with him.

You should know that this is severely aberrant behavior. This is not normal. This is not something that is okay. This is not cool. Most men do not do this when people break up with them. Most men are sad or upset or angry, but they do not pull out weapons. This guy is bad, bad, bad news.

To answer your question about the trauma more directly: a few sessions with a therapist are probably a really good idea, both to address the lingering trauma, and to sort out your emotions around this relationship in general.

Leaving aside the question of whether this person treats you well, I promise you from the very, very bottom of my heart that you will find other people who treat you well. People who treat you well all of the time, not just the 95% of the time that they are not pulling crazy stunts like this. People who would never in a million years dream of terrifying you by pulling out a gun in anger.
posted by jennyjenny at 4:05 PM on April 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


You've been with this guy for less than six months and he's completely dependent on you? To the point that if you break up with him he would kill himself? This is not ok. This is seriously not ok.

Break up with him again, on the phone. DO NOT GIVE A REASON. As someone said above, the only valid reason is "I don't want to be in a relationship with you." That's it. Do not let him badger you into excuses that he can rationalize his way out of. You do not have to give him a reason. Just break up with him. This is not ok.
posted by brainmouse at 4:06 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well this is pretty much going to be what everyone else said. "NO NO NO NO NO!" Bad relationship, no no no!

WTF? a gun?!?! Get out, and I would report it to the police.

Relationships are not based on fear or threats. You need to get out of this one.
posted by fifilaru at 4:08 PM on April 18, 2011


Call 911. He made a threat to himself, and he has a firearm.

They can prevent his suicide, you cant.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:09 PM on April 18, 2011 [22 favorites]


Everyone has pretty much covered what I would have said. You cannot let someone else's happiness or lack thereof control what you do with your life. It is then no longer your life, it is a prison.

Get out of the relationship and call the police. This needs to be addressed, but not by you.
posted by xedrik at 4:16 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you need any further encouragement to get out now, think about what happens in two months. You're still not feeling any spark. You say, "well, I'm glad we gave it more time, but I just don't feel it." And he does... what, exactly?

1. "Gee, that's too bad. Welp, sometimes it just doesn't work out. Take care."
2. "You're leaving? But I loooooove you! I'll kill myself if you leave!" (Repeat of today's scene.)
3. "You bitch! I thought you loved me!" (Gun is now pointed at YOU.)

#1 is not going to happen. If he were capable of having a normal, rational response to a breakup you wouldn't be asking this question. With #2 you're right back exactly where you are now. With #3 you're quite possibly dead.
posted by MsMolly at 4:16 PM on April 18, 2011 [22 favorites]


It is not your responsibility to make sure he is taking care of himself. It is not okay for him to put the responsibility of his suicidal thoughts on you. You have no obligation to him. Break up with him. Pulling out a gun when you want to break up with him because you don't have a spark is not treating you well.

There is a whole world of available people who will not manipulate you that you can date.
posted by Zophi at 4:20 PM on April 18, 2011


You are being held hostage. At gunpoint.
posted by Crotalus at 4:21 PM on April 18, 2011 [20 favorites]


A good friend of mine was once in a similar relationship to this. The guy she was with would threaten with suicide on a regular basis. To me he was obviously doing it to manipulate her. Think about it...you're breaking up with someone...there's really not a whole lot they can say to stop you from doing that. But giving you the idea that they're going to commit suicide...it can cause you to lose sight of things in bad ways very quickly. You find self starting to panic, you feel like you have to stay with this guy because if you don't he could kill himself. By staying with him you feel like you're helping him. The truth is, nobody can help this guy accept himself. I'm not gonna say this man is a bad person or that he doesn't theoretically treat you ok. But I am gonna say that he's definitely not in the right frame of mind to be in a relationship with you or with anybody else. Even if he's not really suicidal, he needs help and needs to learn that his behavior is extremely unhealthy and unacceptable. Break up with him. Perhaps a public place would be best to do it in. Or do with a friend near by. Then leave and don't go back. Tell him you'd like to cut off contact. It could be forever it could just be for a while. This will be hard, but it's for the best. Hopefully things will go ok. Let him figure things out on his own. But I would walk away. Like everyone else has said on here, he's not your responsibility.
posted by ljs30 at 4:23 PM on April 18, 2011


Dear OP,

Please get in touch with the mods and let us know when you are OK.

If this guy knows where you live, you should go stay somewhere that he can not find you, right now, as you sort this out your next move.

Please put yourself first. Yes, the feelings you describe sound like classic shock+ptsd. You've been through something VERY traumatic. It's understandable you agreed to "try again" in the moments after the gun incident. Out of shock and fear, I would have said anything the guy wanted to hear, too.

After you take the very good advice to get yourself safe and contact the authorities, please think about a few sessions with a counselor. Or more than a few sessions, if you want.

Take Care,

-jbenben.
posted by jbenben at 4:24 PM on April 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


>OP, I want you to do me a favor. I want you to reread everything you wrote up there, but pretend your best friend wrote it. Now. With that in mind... would you agree that your best friend should give another chance to this guy?

If I could favorite this 1,000 times, I would. Please ... treat yourself like you would a dear friend. You deserve all the kindness and support in the world right now.
posted by virago at 4:29 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok, so I'm guessing that while you wrote the question asking IF you should dump the guy, the real question you were asking was HOW to dump the guy given the situation. By now, you know its not safe for you to be in a relationship with him, nor is it safe for him to be by himself with a gun.

You tried to end it politely, he wouldn't let things go. The next step is to end it.

As others have said, you can do this by email or the phone. For your safety, this is also recommended if it hasn't been explicitly stated. Next, since you cared for this person you probably want to cut him off at the pass of offing himself. That means you get two choices: choice 1 is - you've met his family/had a conversation with them. If so - call them. Get them involved immediately. Tell them what happened, tell them that he needs their help. Offer to wait until they are in place to end it (in place meaning - they need to drop everything). If they drag their feet, then its informing them of what option two is - (what hal_c_on said) - 911. The relationship needs to end - it needs to end quickly and it needs to end in such a way that he and you have nothing to do with each other. That means - if his family doesn't set this as their #1 priority, that the police need to - that means you are getting him committed (or at least his gun taken away by the police) and you are getting a restraining order set against him. If family fails, or you don't know them - you go straight to the police over this - there is no fooling around with this. Him + Gun = Danger. Him + You = Danger. And get to safety.

This is a level of crazy which I assure you - you want no part of.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:29 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I agree with everyone, of course. I also want to say that I think you did a good thing by telling him you'd give it another go, not because you should give it another go, but because you (temporarily) defused the situation.

Now it's time to take the next step. Which is getting the hell out of there and not letting him know where you are. Tell him you're going to the store. Then you need to call 9-1-1, as mentioned above, because he is a threat to himself and he has a gun. Do not warn him first. Let them handle it. Depending on where you are, it's likely that they'll put him on a 72-hour hold to evaluate his mental health and determine the likelihood that he'll harm himself or someone else. This is what needs to happen.

If you're in touch with his family (or, to a lesser extent, his friends), tell them that you've done this -- only afterward, although they may already know by then -- and that you'd like to be kept informed of his progress. If after a couple days or weeks he's stabilized, THEN you can be in contact with him (but please not in person, and not alone) to tell him gently why the relationship cannot and will not continue.

Tell him you'd give it two months letting him manipulate you, yes, but it's also very much to your advantage. You need to use that advantage now.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:31 PM on April 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


Tell him you'd give it two months letting him manipulate you...

I somehow dropped some words. They're on the floor underneath my desk. Meant to say: Telling him that you'd give it two months was essentially letting him manipulate you, yes, but it's also very much to your advantage.

posted by mudpuppie at 4:33 PM on April 18, 2011


Don't try to stop being angry and upset with him, you are 100% right to feel that way. You are free to end any relationship any time you want to, for no other reason than that you want to. His responding by bringing a loaded gun into the mix is the clearest confirmation possible that you are doing the right thing by wanting out. No verbal argument on his part can top that.

Get yourself safe and then call the police. Don't go back to his place.
posted by beandip at 4:35 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:36 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Agree with all of the above. I also wanted to point out that two of the biggest reasons handguns are discharged in the home are suicide and murder of an intimate partner.
"According to federal data collected from police departments, in 2000 approximately 40% of female homicide victims ages 15-50 were killed by either a current or former intimate partner. In over half (57%) of these cases, the perpetrator used a gun. ... Among female homicide victims, murders by spouses, ex-spouses, and intimate acquaintances were nearly 7 times more prevalent than murders by strangers." source
He's already been suicidal AND threatened and manipulated you, abuser-style. And wrestled with you over a loaded gun! THIS IS NOT A PERSON WHO SHOULD BE A GUN HOBBYIST. Please do not become one of these statistics.

Your local domestic violence hotline can also help you if you need somewhere else to turn. Please report back through the mods and let us know you're okay.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:37 PM on April 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


he's the first person I've dated that treats me well

He's not treating you well. Treating you well would not involve attempting to manipulate you into staying with him by threatening suicide and telling you that you "owe" him a relationship.

He's a danger to himself, and he's a danger to you. Please don't try to get comfortable with that. Please stay very, very uncomfortable when you are encounter this type of situation. That discomfort and fear is your brain trying to keep you safe and alive by telling you that this situation is very, very wrong and you need to get out of it now.
posted by Meg_Murry at 4:38 PM on April 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


For consideration:

We don't know what this guy's friends or family are like.

We don't know if they will condone the ex bf's behavior, blame the OP, or if they will react swiftly and rationally given the circumstances.

OP - if you feel this guy's friends or family might not take this seriously, go straight to the police. (And I'm worried going to this guy's friends or family might backfire even if they do take you seriously.) Explain to the police that your ex has a loaded weapon and threatened to hurt himself in your presence. They will handle the rest.
posted by jbenben at 4:41 PM on April 18, 2011


(PS ... you're only 20. He's only "treating you well" compared to the dramarama/selfishness that is teenaged boys (and girls, for that matter). Under no definition of an adult relationship is he "treating you well." And six months is a damn long time at age 20. How about some less-high-stakes dating? You have all the time in the world.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:41 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or chat with someone at LoveIsRespect.org
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:42 PM on April 18, 2011


I grew up in what you would probably call a "gun hobbyist" family. My dad had (probably still has) guns; my brother has guns; I have guns. Many of my friends from high school carry concealed (lawfully) to this day. I grew up going to gun shows and I am pretty well familiar with "gun culture".

I say this because the general somewhat-leftward-tilt that you find on MetaFilter can sometimes lack perspective on topics like owning weapons. Someone right at the top of the thread said something about not being able to get over the word "pistol", for instance. So you might be wondering whether this whole OMGHEPULLEDAGUNONYOU!!!! thread is a little bit of an overreaction by well-meaning people who just don't understand the kind of people who own guns or other weapons.

This is not an overreaction. Nobody that I know who understands guns, who uses guns AT ALL responsibly, would EVER pull a gun out for the reasons you describe. You pull out a gun for a couple of reasons, and in a couple of circumstances. In almost all of those circumstances, the very first thing you do is clear the chamber. The only time you don't clear the chamber is when you expect to have to fire the gun shortly thereafter.

Let me repeat that. The only time you don't clear the chamber is when you expect to fire the gun shortly thereafter.

Based on what you have told us, you were not at a firing range. You were not hunting game. You were not in a situation where a violent crime was taking place, or likely to be about to take place. Those are the only situations I can think of where a responsible person would expect to fire a gin.

What your ex-boyfriend did was completely inexcuseable. It was the kind of irresponsible that gets written up in the newspaper.

I don't know what to tell you about changing your address, getting a restraining order, or so on, but please understand that what your ex-boyfriend did was so close as makes little difference to one or both of the following: a) threaten you with deadly force or b) threaten himself with deadly force as a way to manipulate you. I don't think I'm overstating it. Trust your instincts. You know that this was deeply, deeply wrong of him.
posted by gauche at 4:48 PM on April 18, 2011 [73 favorites]


By calling the police you will be helping him, and protecting him from himself. That's a gift and you'll be brave to do it. Please stay far far away from him. You have your whole life ahead of you and he is trying to mess with that. Don't allow him to have that power over you.
posted by pink candy floss at 4:51 PM on April 18, 2011


Y'know, I am super-into guns. I've always had guns. My parents have always had guns. The guys I have dated have always had guns.

If any one of us had ever, ever brought out a loaded gun in a non-defense, non-target-practice-or-hunting, non-gun-cleaning situation (much less threatened suicide or fought over it wtf!), it would have been a dealbreaker. Period. This is not what responsible "gun hobbyists" do.
posted by vorfeed at 4:52 PM on April 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'm a musician and it bothers me that I hurt my hands and potentially risked a career trying to help him. Which is a totally weird feeling to have amongst the anger that he'd whipped out the gun in the first place but there it is.

No, no, no, NO. This is a totally healthy and normal feeling to have. The good news is that this shows that your sense of self-preservation is working just fine. The bad news is that you keep talking yourself out of listening to it. If you keep trying to make things work with him, you're going to trust these instincts (and yourself) less and less. He behaved in a deeply selfish way, showing you that you can't depend on him to be a source of support. Choosing to listen to him means that you are choosing not to trust your own judgment, so you'll have to rely on his. And you know that you can't rely on his judgment, because he's shown that he doesn't have your best interests at heart. It is very important that you maintain your faith in your own judgment; your friends may help you out of scrapes but the person who will be creating the life you want for yourself is you. Don't give up that faith in yourself for the promise of a good relationship; a good relationship will make you trust yourself more, not less.

Is it normal to be this emotionally affected? I've read about things like this happening and most people seem more able to chalk it up to faking and walk away than I was.

It doesn't matter whether he was faking or not. What matters is that he is behaving recklessly with a firearm and holding you responsible for his emotions. As other people have said--he attempted to manipulate you into staying by holding his own life as hostage. This is behavior that fundamentally breaks the trust that makes a good relationship possible. Your feelings of alienation and hurt are normal and I strongly encourage you to respect them and get out.
posted by millions of peaches at 4:53 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Call the hotline, they'll probably have a lot of good advice.
Call a locksmith and change your locks.
Call a friend and ask them if you can stay. Tell them why. Tell them not to tell him.
Call your family & other friends, warn them of the situation. He may try to get to you through them.
Call the police.
Call him and call it off.
Call the phone company and change your number(s). Do this after having called him, so he won't get the new number.
Go to your friend's house. Stay there.

Please, OP, listen to us. This is the real deal. You're in danger.
posted by likeso at 4:54 PM on April 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


Never talk to this nutter after you call him up and tell him that he's gone too far and it's over. "You need professional help. Goodbye." I know it hurts, but there is someone out there who has his good qualities without threatening suicide or brandishing firearms. New Guy may just be waiting on the sidelines for you to finally break up with Suicidal Guy. If you're up to it, you might also tell him to tell his family or you will. I don't think you're in physical danger from this guy.
posted by rhizome at 4:54 PM on April 18, 2011


Before this things were fine. I only wanted to break up because I wasn't feeling a spark/chemistry. He pointed out that it'd taken me longer than six months to feel that spark with other people, and since I tell him he's the first person I've dated that treats me well (true) he at least deserves that much. I agreed with that reasoning, which is why we're trying again... not because of the suicide thing.

Everyone else expressed appropriate shock about the fact that the guy pulled out a gun when you tried to break up with him, but looking at this part specifically: If you weren't feeling a spark with him before, you certainly aren't going to now or any other time ever. There is no reason to stay in a relationship with him, and every reason not to. It will not get better, if it ever had a chance to before this happened, which it probably didn't anyway.
posted by wondermouse at 4:57 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


rhizome, can't risk it. Gotta proceed worst-case-scenario. This shit is unpredictable.
posted by likeso at 4:59 PM on April 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


A significant percentage of young men are emotionally unstable, and also subscribe to a romantic "philosophy," wherein only the love of a good young woman can save them from their troubled selves. It's basically bullshit, but it does incorporate some truth in that a lot of young men are dealing with incredible levels of inner frustration stemming from changes in sexuality, changes in societal roles, changes in parental and peer expectations, and some inner self-doubts of a serious nature that they're at all equipped to handle the whole mess, themselves. Also, good young women are just fascinating to young men, and in their company, said young men can often temporarily forget a lot of their "troubles," which is, in a way, something like being "saved." So, that's the storyline of a thousand rock songs, and numerous bad movies and cheap novels.

In real life, it's not the duty of good young women to save troubled young men. Troubled young men need to save themselves, and get some experience, and get on with being men, and becoming husbands and fathers, or doctors, lawyers, airline pilots, poets, musicians, deep sea divers, or toll booth operators, as their talents fit them. Good young women have their hands full becoming older and wiser themselves, and if there is any role that they can constructively play in the lives of troubled young men they know, it is to admit that they can't really save anyone, even with sincere promises, and great commitment. In fact, by holding out some hope that they can save someone else, good young women often get in the way of some necessary self-evaluation by troubled young men.

Don't fall for an invitation to being a heroine in a rock song lyric. You may not be his answer, even in a temporary sense; you may be part of his problems, like another bag of powder is to a drug addict. Break off your relationship with him, gently but firmly, and without judgement; until he's developed many years more maturity any contact with you is likely to simply fuel some pretty unrealistic notions he's holding, not only about you, but about himself and his prospects in life, too. In 10 or 15 years, he might be a very interesting lunch date, but until then, it's quite possible that there is nothing you can say to him that he won't seize on, regardless of what you mean by it, for purposes of his own.

As for the gun angle, what he's done is called "brandishing" in many legal descriptions, and it is a felony in many jurisdictions, because it is dickish, ill advised behavior that has often lead directly to further gun play, and accidental or intentional discharge of weapons, sometimes with serious injury or death as a result. Real gun hobbyists never brandish weapons, but young men having a hard time managing their emotional immaturity do. As a gun hobbyist myself, I think that you should be as candid about his behavior with your parents, police, and if necessary, his family, as you have been here in your post - it is not your call to protect or not to protect his future gun rights, or to strip them from him. His behavior, and his record of behavior, is the standard American society sets to do that; when he demonstrates responsibility and sober behavior, he'll likely be able to be a gun hobbyist, again, even if he shouldn't be, now. Right now, assuming your word is 100% factual, and reserving full due process benefit to your boyfriend in determining whether it is, or not, it's quite possible he shouldn't be in possession of firearms or ammunition.
posted by paulsc at 5:05 PM on April 18, 2011 [39 favorites]


Has anyone been through this?
I have been through this. The suicidal threats probably won't stop because it is now established that threatening suicide will make you stay. Seriously, this continued for another TWO YEARS and eventually shifted to threats against my life (and my friends and family) when I no longer believed he would actually do it. I had to flee in secret and move to a different town.

He did not kill himself after I left. He didn't even try. It wasn't my unconditional love and support keeping him alive the whole time, as I believed (because that's what he was telling me and WOW does that do wonders for an already shattered ego). It was all a big waste.

Does the reliving the incident/fear go away?
It will eventually, but not until you are far, far away from this guy in both time and emotional distance. It's been 15 years and I still get a bit panicky when I hear his name or certain music he used to play constantly. That's my deal, and you may not be as prone to catastrophizing and drama queening as I am, but my point is that this is a Big Damn Deal that you should take seriously.

There is a lot of good advice here about you should do, but the decision to do it is not an easy one and comes at huge emotional cost. However, I CAN PROMISE YOU that it costs less than the alternative. If you ever want to chat about this, feel free to send me MeMail.
posted by Eumachia L F at 5:10 PM on April 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


I have been in a similar situation. Not involving guns, thank god, but involving threats of suicide via pills, jumping off bridges, etc. Some of which ended with calling 911 and an overnight hospital stay for my then-boyfriend. I ended up getting back together with him for another YEAR and going through all the same shit in round 2.

This will not get better. It will not be easier then next time you try to break up with him. In fact, it will probably be worse, both because he has learned it worked the first time and because he will likely see it in his twisted mind as an even bigger betrayal the second time.

The only way this can end well for you is to break up with him and cut off all contact. You have no control over whether it will end well for him - that's up to him. In my case, my ex did do all kinds of self destructive things, and ended up driving away all our mutual friends with his anger and bad behavior, but he did not commit suicide and by all appearances on Facebook, seems to be doing fine. He still seems to be kind of angry at the world, but in retrospect he was like that before too.

Please, get out of this relationship. By phone or email if you have to. If you want, you can contact his friends and family to give them a heads up and let them know he needs some support, but that's it. You can't be there for him on this - he has to get through it on his own however/if he can.
posted by misskaz at 5:13 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Before this things were fine. I only wanted to break up because I wasn't feeling a spark/chemistry. He pointed out that it'd taken me longer than six months to feel that spark with other people, and since I tell him he's the first person I've dated that treats me well (true) he at least deserves that much. I agreed with that reasoning, which is why we're trying again... not because of the suicide thing.

Oh, and what happens after two months? Is he going to do his best to be especially nice and sweet to you for two months, and then it's ultimatum time and this threatens to happen all over again? If he were really a good guy who meant well even after doing all that, he would've come to his senses, let you go, and not begged you to stay with him for two more months which, again, wtf..

You probably don't feel young, but you are. Relationships can be so much better than this. Just because it's always taken you over six months to feel a spark with someone doesn't mean it has to take that long every other time. It just means you haven't found someone who suits you yet.
posted by wondermouse at 5:22 PM on April 18, 2011


But add on getting out the gun and not giving it up and it's just so... I don't even know how to describe how I felt.

That's because it's so completely over the line that you probably have no language with which to process it. This crosses every boundary that every reasonable person has. You cannot be involved with an unstable person who has a firearm and loads that firearm when in the middle of a confrontation. Go someplace safe, not your house, call him and tell him you don't want to see him again, and call the police. Tell them that he has threatened suicide and that he owns a gun. If there's a chance that he might actually shoot himself, they may be able to stop him and put him on a 72-hour hold (IANAL, just someone who's heard anecdotal evidence that this is possible). But your responsibility to your own safety is more important than protecting him from himself - you should never see him again.
posted by Ragged Richard at 5:24 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


To answer your actual questions:

Yes, it's normal to be going through this. You may want to get counseling. Getting through this will be much more difficult if you continue to be in a relationship with someone who has suicidal tendencies (and acts them out). That's one reason so many people are saying you need to dump this guy. I don't know what will make the trauma go away, but a mental health professional will.

The other part of your question, the part you didn't ask but everyone seems to be answering anyway, is "should i have called the cops on him?" I'm a criminal defense attorney, and I am not going to give you legal advice on your situation. All I'm going to say is, once you ring that bell, it cannot be unrung. The legal system for domestic violence is predicated on the assumption that victims will not always make good decisions, and therefore, once you bring the power of the government into the equation, you have no guarantee that your wishes will be respected. Just something to keep in mind.

And I'm sorry that you've had to go through this.
posted by Happydaz at 5:28 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gun owner here. Not acceptable behavior no matter how you slice it.

Stick around for two more months? Can you envision laughing about this story one day with your grandkids? "Joey, did you ever hear about the way grandma and grandpa stayed together? Yep, grandpa threatened suicide and I stuck it out." I didn't think so.

I do think you did the right thing at the time to defuse the situation. I think the best course of action is to find a time in the next few days to contact him either via phone or email when you know he is in the presence of someone else and tell him you thought a lot about the whole thing and you are breaking up. End of story. Do not look back, do not pass go, etc.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:37 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. I just read through this whole thread looking for even ONE person who supports sticking it out with this guy. There is not one. That is a remarkable thing.

I will add my voice to the chorus. He needs help, but not from you. In fact, you are probably the only person on the planet who for sure can't help.
It is good that you defused the situation. Good that you are away and safe. Good that you are asking these questions. Good that you stay away from him and never go back. If he threatens something again, like in a note, or over the phone, call the police and ask them to help. Or a suicide hot line. Or his mother. Just don't try to do it your self, because you will not help him, and will end up being hurt your self.

You are young now. You have the rest of you life to find someone who will treat you better, but you have to leave this man first.
posted by SLC Mom at 5:54 PM on April 18, 2011


I'm a young man who's thought 'bout the early termination in the past and I'll tell you, I never told anybody 'bout it partly because of this business right here - the business he seems to have gone into and thus shown him despicable.

I mean the people who love you are gonna search for the reasons of your death and if they feel themselves implicated will serve as judges upon themselves, gonna start framing the cause-effect and their place within. That's where the potential destruction, outside the existence of the suicide, lays and where it must be avoided.

But he's done the opposite, he's made you frame it as if it's your fault, like when you say "I can't begin to describe how scared I was and I can't stop thinking about what would have happened if I hadn't decided to skip the shower and see what was up."

That's bullshit plain and simple, people that love you will never make you feel that. As if his state lay at your feet rather than his ailing back.

And loaded guns? And wrestling with them?
posted by past at 6:16 PM on April 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'd like to ask you to consider something else.

He pointed out that it'd taken me longer than six months to feel that spark with other people, and since I tell him he's the first person I've dated that treats me well (true) he at least deserves that much.

This is wrong. Even the nicest person in the world doesn't deserve someone to develop romantic feelings for them. What a good person deserves is honesty. You were honest about your feelings, and instead of reciprocating that honesty he tried to manipulate you into staying, thus proving that he's not a good person after all.
posted by MsMolly at 6:19 PM on April 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


Has it occurred to you that when the gun was loaded he might not have been thinking of pointing it at himself? Nthing GET OUT. Do you really want to be a statistic? There's a whole cluster of scenarios this could have turned into, including you dead and him sobbing his way to jail about how you done him wrong. Or the timeless classic, you first & now we're both dead. Emotional problems are one thing. Unstable and armed is another thing altogether.
posted by Ys at 6:21 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Threatening suicide is the 2nd most cowardly, manipulative, mentally unstable way someone can react to a break up. Bringing a loaded gun into the equation is the 1st.

Run away... please.

This thread has made me shed many tears.
posted by Diag at 6:31 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do not speak to him again, period. He is a master manipulator. He will only need to mention feeling suicidal and you'll feel so bad that you'll agree to stay again. Send an email or letter and then stay with a friend for a couple of weeks. Show your neighbors a picture of him and his car and ask them to call you immediately if he comes by your place. This is that serious. You need some distance before you'll be able to put this into context. And when you can do that, I'm positive that you will not look back and say, "you know, I probably should have stayed with him." Please take care of yourself and let us know you are ok.
posted by dawkins_7 at 6:32 PM on April 18, 2011


Nothing to say that others haven't already said - OP, please take care of yourself and let us know via the mods how you're doing and that you're safe.
posted by sonika at 6:47 PM on April 18, 2011


A person who introduces a loaded weapon into any conversation needs serious help and intervention. You may need police and/or domestic violence shelter assistance to stay safe. This is a situation where it's better to be a little over-cautious. He needs help fast; call the police, his family and anybody else who may be able to intervene, and then stay out of it.
posted by theora55 at 7:11 PM on April 18, 2011


I hate to pile on here, but please, call a domestic violence hotline and do all the other things you were told to in this thread. Your responsibility here is to not become a victim.
posted by SMPA at 7:19 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know what the exact odds of him actually killing himself in the next year are. But I do know they're not much higher than the odds of him killing you. Unstable people do unstable things.

You are not equipped for this.
posted by spaltavian at 7:29 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


nthing everything that has already been said. Get out, and let us know you're okay.
posted by Comic Sans-Culotte at 7:29 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's just as likely to shoot you as he is to shoot himself next time. Seriously.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:33 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


This person has no business having access to a firearm. Period.

Actions have consequences. You wanted to break up with him and he pulled out a gun. This is either manipulative in the extreme or a sign of mental and emotional issues that make it pretty darn clear he needs to find another hobby.


I know, hindsight is 20 20 but what you should have done is called the police or a hotline and had him evaluated. If he was just being manipulated that should teach him a lesson but if he was seriously in danger of harming himself he needed the help.

You cannot save him. You are not his personal Jesus. He has put you in a circumstance that you do not belong in. You need to get out and do so in such a manner that is safe for you and safe for him-by which I mean I would do it either in public or over the phone and then if he says the first suicidal thing you call 911 muy pronto.

full disclosure. I have no problem with guns in general, my hubby is a gun enthusiast and I am fine with healthy people owning them. He is not in that category at the moment.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:15 PM on April 18, 2011


*manipulative* gah to the fast typing...
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:15 PM on April 18, 2011


This is NOT the relationship you want. Run. RUN NOW.

Listen to the advice given upthread, and think on it deeply. You may be risking your own life.

You said, ...he's the first person I've dated that treats me well..., and I'm hearing warning bells. It could be, as mentioned before, at age 20 you've not been around any men who behave as grown-ups in a relationship. But are you sure you're not picking losers? Do you have a positive role model for what a good relationship should be? I don't really want to go off on a tangent here, but I find it hard to believe that a guy that would try this major manipulative tactic wouldn't have given some warning signs that he likes to play the twist-you-around game. Even if you think he never did, it doesn't matter. Anyone that toys with a drama of suicide is not stable and just as apt to turn the gun on YOU as to shoot himself.

DTMFA, then start thinking about a mature, kind, generous, honest, and non-manipulative guy you deserve to be with.

I'm with jbenben, please contact the mods and let us know you're OK.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:54 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not only would I call the police, but I would try to get him committed if at all possible. Either he is a clear danger to himself (suicidal + guns) or he is a manipulative asshole who could stand to learn a few lessons about how seriously people view this bullshit. Either way, he does not need to be around firearms and you do not need to be around him (with or without firearms).
posted by anaelith at 9:05 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, anon, I have been in shoes like yours. I got to be an expert rationalizer and excuse-maker for my partner, and it took a lot of friends telling me the same thing before I figured out that I had to leave. Really, leaving seemed like an irresponsible decision at the time, because he was mostly very kind to me (except for the times he wasn't), and very considerate of my well-being (except for the times he threatened me), and very good at apologizing for having hurt me (except then he'd go and do it again). I thought that since he was suicidal it was my responsibility to stay and help, and that if I left and he killed himself it would be 100% my fault.

You've gotten a lot of good advice in this thread, but to reiterate: please, please, please get out right now. Please don't see him even one more time, even to tell him you're leaving him and never want to hear from him again. Please don't feel guilty or responsible for his mental state. Please do everything you can to stay safe.
posted by bewilderbeast at 9:16 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe someone else has said this, I haven't read all the comments yet, but something I've learned over the years is that when you feel compelled to keep things secret from people, it's probably a really bad thing.

Your situation is bad. You need help and distance immediately. I'm happy that you don't live together. Now please stop seeing him. Save yourself.
posted by clone boulevard at 10:15 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


God, he pulled a gun. A gun. Why is this even a question?
posted by Xany at 10:42 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


rhizome, can't risk it. Gotta proceed worst-case-scenario. This shit is unpredictable.
You're right.
posted by rhizome at 11:35 PM on April 18, 2011


Yeah, I'd call the cops and, if I talked to him at all, say that you realized with a little distance how incredibly unhealthy this dynamic was, and that you couldn't be a part of it anymore.

"I hope you get the help you need, but it can't be me."

I mean, if you were just waiting for one more comment before you dumped him and moved on.
posted by klangklangston at 11:48 PM on April 18, 2011


I am the 100th person to tell you to GTFO.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 11:53 PM on April 18, 2011


Agreeing with everyone above. So much. There are just a few things I'd like to point out: Take care of yourself, please, and don't deal with him again in person!
posted by taz at 12:02 AM on April 19, 2011 [10 favorites]


Leave immediately and break all contact with him. You don't even owe someone like this an explanation.

Contact a domestic abuse shelter/the police for advice on staying safe.
posted by MighstAllCruckingFighty at 12:50 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please listen to everything everyone has said here. They have the life experience to know what they are talking about.

In addition, even if you had not known that he had been suicidal in the past, I think it was a poor choice to attempt a breakup when you were staying in his home, especially relying on him to take you home. I think you should have had your own transportation and probably done this on neutral territory as well. If the situation had been reversed, would you want him going to take a shower and then expect you to drive him home? Or would you more likely prefer to part immediately to sort out your emotions?
posted by IndigoRain at 1:15 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just in case you need another voice, OP: my trainwreck of an ex-fiance also threatened suicide when I tried to break up with him. He didn't have a gun, thankfully, but he was absolutely adamant about how he was going to do it, and when he was going to do it, and how it was his only possible option. Like you I didn't think he was faking, and I didn't think he was intentionally trying to manipulate me either.

Long story short, I left anyway, and he didn't kill himself. He ended up getting help and from what I know is in a much better place now, and a much better place than he would have been if I'd given in. And that's why I wanted to say this, because I know how easy it is to see your situation as your wellbeing versus your boyfriend's. It's not. He's not going to be happy and healthy and non-suicidal if you stay with him - he's going to have all the problems he had before, plus the knowledge that he doesn't need to address them because his mechanisms for controlling scary situations are 'working'.

My feelings for him right now are so ambivalent that I worry I'll spend the next two months just trying to get over this one thing.

Well, of course you will. It's a hugely traumatic event. Him not only doing something like that, but expecting that you'd be able to carry on a relationship as normal afterwards, suggests a really worrying mindset on his part.

There's a great blog post here on the subject of why people stay in abusive relationships. I'm not posting it here to convince you that you're in an abusive relationship, but because it really hits the nail on the head when it comes to someone acting like this:
Second, it would be a lot easier if abusers were sneering villains. But they are not. They are often charming on the outside. More importantly, they are often in genuine psychological distress. It often seems like a combination of two things: first, feeling as though if their wife left them, some truly terrifying abyss would open up in their minds and they would fall down into the darkness forever, and second, thinking that to prevent this, they need to keep her from leaving, to control her (as opposed to, say, trying to build the best marriage ever.)
[...]
In my judgment, when abusers say things like: I need you, I'd be lost without you, I'd die if you left, many of them are not just kidding or being manipulative. They are serious, and they are often right. If you love someone who is in genuine distress, you normally don't want to make things worse for them. And that's what leaving looks like, up until the moment when you say to yourself: he will not change, at least not while he's involved with me; this will not get better; and that being the case, I am not helping him by staying.
Please get out and stay safe, OP.
posted by Catseye at 3:00 AM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Don't see him again.

Call the police and tell that what happened. If he is suicidal you'll be doing him a favour. If he's not you'll be doing the next abuse vctim a favour.
posted by biffa at 3:22 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I only wanted to break up because I wasn't feeling a spark/chemistry."

So, you don't feel any chemistry with the guy and his response to you trying to break up with him was to start fucking around with a loaded gun.

Run. Like. The. Wind.

Seriously.
posted by Decani at 5:21 AM on April 19, 2011


If his first instinct when you stepped out of the room was to go for a gun, you need to get yourself the hell out of there pronto and stay that way permano.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:34 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


God almighty, don't ever go near him again. This is horrifying.
posted by venividivici at 6:22 AM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just in case you're one of those people who has favorites turned off, it may be helpful to point out that the first comment has over 100 favorites. In AskMe, sometimes people (myself included) use these as a way to sort of +1 that advice. So, take that as you will.
posted by booknerd at 6:27 AM on April 19, 2011


I had a similar but not identical experience: my first decent boyfriend (very 'romantic'), he'd felt suicidal previously but said that since he'd been with me his life was so awesome he'd never do it, but no spark. When I broke up with him he threatened to commit suicide and I only just barely managed to resist his pleas for me to stay with him. If there'd been guns involved, I would have done exactly the same as you, out of self-preservation.

Your reaction at the time kept you safe for the moment - well done. Now comes the difficult next step: you need to ensure your future safety. There is excellent advice in this thread already. The only thing I have to add is that you should tell as many people as possible about this, so that there are lots of people looking out for the safety of both of you.

If it helps, my ex never did commit suicide. If your ex doesn't have friends or family who will be supportive and common-sense about this, he needs a professional who is trained to deal with this stuff. Nothing you do can make him feel better - even if you stayed with him forever, he'd know it was only because he threatened both you and himself, and would resent you for it.

The best thing you can do for him is luckily the exact same thing you need to do for yourself: get out of his life, and make sure everyone knows what happened.
posted by harriet vane at 6:28 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd like to add here that you absolutely are not a jerk for asking this question, or for not realizing at the time exactly how crazy and wrong this is We are a bunch of neutral observers, so it is pretty easy for us to just take it at face value.

Sometimes things can get incrementally weird and you find yourself in a situation that you never would have let happen (wrestling with guy over a loaded gun) if that situation had been laid out for you from the beginning. But it wasn't. You started in a normal place and then one little step and then another little step and then another, and so forth, and then you realize where you are and how insane it is. So yeah. It can happen.

But seriously, you asked, we answered. Not safe, not ok, not normal.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:31 AM on April 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


I am going to ignore the gun thing. In fact, pretend there was no gun and all he had done was said the following:

Before this things were fine. I only wanted to break up because I wasn't feeling a spark/chemistry. He pointed out that it'd taken me longer than six months to feel that spark with other people, and since I tell him he's the first person I've dated that treats me well (true) he at least deserves that much. I agreed with that reasoning, which is why we're trying again... not because of the suicide thing.

Reasoning? That's not reason. YOU DON'T OWE HIM A CHANCE. You don't 'owe' anyone a chance. If you do not feel it, you can leave. You can leave a relationship at any time for any reason. In fact, you don't even OWE the other person a reason for leaving - certainly not some relationship that is only a few months old.

Hell, you don't even do that for a dress. You try it on, it doesn't fit right...you don't buy it thinking "maybe I'll change my mind and love it in two months."

Basically, my point is that even THIS is effed up. That he has you so manipulated you can't see straight and think of this wheedling as being 'reason.' And it has now progressed to a gun. In less than 6 months.

Please get help.
posted by Windigo at 7:28 AM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


What spikelee... said: Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

You have to get out of this relationship. Everyone is correct in saying that he may turn the gun on you next time. If he kills himself, you are not responsible! Put your own safety first.

And please post an update!
posted by xenophile at 7:45 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


You've gotten many, many responses, all saying the same thing. But because this is so important, I'm going to reiterate what everyone else has said.

Break up with him. Do not do it at his place. Do it either remotely (email/phone) or in a public place like a cafe.

You are falling into the trap of thinking you can 'fix him.'

You are 20 years old, and there are many, many, many other people out there that are going to be helpful, supportive and loving boyfriends, and many of those you'll end up breaking up with, as well, until you find the one that just fits.

This guy does not fit. Anything he does is not because of you. Any reactions he has, bad or worse, you have no responsibility for, and you need to understand that. You do not owe him anything, and you should not feel guilty about not feeling guilty, or feel guilty for any reason.

His demons are his demons, not yours.
posted by rich at 8:15 AM on April 19, 2011


Please update. It is heartwrenching to think of two young people in such pain.
posted by desjardins at 8:18 AM on April 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


110 comments and not a decenting one in the bunch, this should tell you something!
posted by wheelieman at 8:29 AM on April 19, 2011


From the OP:
I'm safe and sound at home right now. I haven't left him yet... at first it was because I didn't have the heart to do it. He's been going through a difficult time lately with major surgery and the resulting medical bills (no insurance), loss of a job before he could even start because of it (been unemployed for two years and had to go to the hospital on his start day. they said they couldn't hold the position.) He's feeling abandoned by his best friend and family and told me that he feels like everyone in his life abandons him. He's agreed to get therapy but can't even afford the gas money to get there. He said that without me he'd have nothing, and he didn't know what would happen. That's still all from the same day. I had no idea he felt abandoned by his friends/family until that day.

I e-mailed one of my friends the thread and he got out of bed at 3 in the morning to tell me to GTFO. That really, really struck me. But I don't know how. I'm afraid that the mental health system will fail him because of his financial situation; if he needs meds, how will he afford them? Will they really hold him until he's not in danger or kick him out after 3 days because he can't afford it? And it's like, it only took some three minutes for him to get the gun out and load it... I can't imagine what could happen if there's just one misstep. I am in touch with his family and friends but I'm unsure how much they would help since I'm still unclear what's going on there.

I'm still torn up over this and I'm almost crying writing this. He's apologized numerous times for what he did but after reading askmefi's responses and seeing how fucked up this is, I can't see him the same way. I don't think he understands the gravity of things. even I didn't at first. It seemed like a natural thing to have it out, it's usually out anyway (although it wasn't that time) but to get it out and load it during a heated moment... not cool. It was only loaded the first time we wrestled with it... I thought that was a misunderstanding at first but it eventually dawned on me that for him to even try to take it back while it was loaded was really, really dangerous. That didn't occur to me until after I read the answers.

It wasn't a deliberate decision to break up with him at his place. I stay with him on weekends and I'd been worried over the chemistry thing and I woke up that day and just "knew." So I did it. I would have been afraid to do it at my place or on neutral grounds because I wouldn't have wanted him to drive home. That's no longer an option this time 'round since he named crashing his car or laying on a railroad track as an alternative way to commit suicide if I took his guns with me.

Thank you so much for your support, it really helps and I've gotten wonderful advice here. I'll update what happens when I have broken up with him in a way that's safe for him and me.
posted by jessamyn at 9:35 AM on April 19, 2011


I am SO glad you're safe. Think this out carefully, and stay alert. We're here. [HUG]
posted by likeso at 9:41 AM on April 19, 2011


He said that without me he'd have nothing, and he didn't know what would happen.

I'm afraid that the mental health system will fail him because of his financial situation; if he needs meds, how will he afford them?


If someone shows no concern for your welfare and continually manipulates you, you owe him nothing. You owe it to yourself to put your safety first.
posted by cp311 at 9:52 AM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


As someone who has a family member who is mentally ill, the important thing to keep in mind is that you can't singlehandedly save a person and aren't responsible for that person's mental well-being. Despite how much society tells you otherwise, I know from experience that you can give and give, but unless that person wants to change and has proper support from trained professionals, he won't change.

The moment he let you wrestle him for that loaded gun was the moment that he put your life in danger and you should never be placed in that position. I have done and will continue to do everything I can for my brother, but if I should ever feel that he is a danger to himself or other, I will make sure that he is committed or is otherwise placed under the protection of individuals who are trained to deal with such situations. It is not something that you can fix yourself.

That doesn't mean you have to abandon him. You can provide plenty of support over the phone and email. Whatever you do, don't go see him again. Tell him that you want to support him and will do so, but only over email and the phone until he gets the help he needs. Call his family. Call his friends. Tell them that he needs their support. You can use a web resource like Moral Support Me to help him from a distance.

If you tell us what state you live in, we can help you find resources for low income people who suffer from mental illness. There are good social support systems that can make sure he won't fall through the cracks, but they vary from state to state.

But again, you are not responsible for this man. You are not equipped to help this man. He needs the help of trained professionals.
posted by avagoyle at 10:08 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm glad you updated and I'm glad you're OK.

The mental health system in this country is certainly very much broken, but broken is better than nothing. You are not a mental health professional. Staying with him will do nothing to improve his situation. What kind of relationship is this? Eventually you will want to be with a man who can love you. This man cannot love you. So eventually, inevitably, you will have to leave him. What then? How long will it take for him to get help? You don't know. Meanwhile your life is stagnated at best and ripped apart at worst. You are unable to pursue healthy relationships. 20 is an awesome age, full of possibility. You do not need to spend your young life in terror.

The two men I mentioned above who killed themselves - my cousin and my nephew-in-law - both did it after fights/break-ups with their significant others. No one has ever blamed the women, not even for a second. You should not blame yourself if you leave him and something happens. These men were troubled for years. They should not have had access to guns. Your guy should not have access to guns.

Call the police. He is a danger to himself. He is a danger to others. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY. There is a person on mefi who has written about being a train engineer that operated a train who killed a suicide victim. It haunts him, years later. Your boy will take others down with him, if not you. He deserves help. You are not the person that can help him despite your noble intentions.

If you happen to be in the Milwaukee area, let me know and I will help you find resources in the legal and mental health systems. Or I will just have a cup of coffee with you and listen to you. But please, stay safe. Call someone. Don't do nothing and hope this will pass over. It won't. One or both of you will end up emotionally traumatized or dead.
posted by desjardins at 10:15 AM on April 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


One thought I don't know if has been addressed (tl;dr): Family. There are times in a young woman's life, where it really is worth going back to family and saying "I need help." I don't know what your situation is, but I can tell you that I have a *ROTTEN* relationship with my father. When the chips were down, he was still my father, and I went to him and said, "I screwed up. This man is scary." And he was On It. Because I was his daughter. Even if it is embarassing, even if you are worried that they might react inappropriately, be mad, or disapprove of your actions, please consider reaching out to your family. Tell them there is a Situation & ask for their help.
posted by Ys at 10:16 AM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm glad you are safe. I wanted to give you some perspective on something for the future:

You wrote: It seemed like a natural thing to have it [the gun] out, it's usually out anyway."

It is not OK for a gun to be casually displayed, without a trigger lock or other mechanism or container that disables its ability to fire. The gun should be not be out unless it is a) being cleaned or b) being used. The next time you notice someone with gun laying around out in the open, I want you to automatically assume it is loaded and then immediately leave. The sort of person who has a gun sitting out like that is not the sort of person who should have a gun.
posted by jamaro at 10:20 AM on April 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm afraid that the mental health system will fail him

If he kills you, then he's not going to get good mental health care in prison.
posted by endless_forms at 10:21 AM on April 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


From the mefi wiki: Low-cost/No-cost sources of medication and health care
posted by desjardins at 10:22 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


First, if you call 911 and he is put on a psych hold, he will be dealing with social workers, et al, who can help him in finding appropriate, affordable help far more than we ever could. THIS IS NOT YOUR PROBLEM. You are not responsible for finding him mental health care.

Second, I don't know what your personal situation is w/r/t firearm ownership, or what state you're in, but taking his guns away may have been stupid anyway ... in my state, unless you have a valid license to own a gun, it is a felony for you to possess or carry one unless you are under supervision at a firing range. Further felony counts can be brought for ammunition possession. Each individual gun possessed is an individual felony. Doesn't matter if a legal gun owner transfers it to you in good faith ... if you don't have the license, it's a felony.

There is NOTHING good that can come of you getting further involved here. You're putting yourself at risk of violence when he next decides to wave around guns; trying to remove the firearms puts you at risk of multiple felony convictions (depending on state); trying to "save" him puts you at risk of domestic violence; and YOU CANNOT HELP HIM. You are not a mental health professional. The only way you can help him is to report him to the proper authorities so he can get the help he needs -- after multiple threats of suicide and brandishing a weapon at his girlfriend, he needs a LOT of help. And don't reward his bad behavior by sticking around.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:34 AM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm very glad you're home and safe. Please take the excellent advice you're getting here. We don't want to read about you in the paper.
posted by cyndigo at 10:35 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll update what happens when I have broken up with him in a way that's safe for him and me.

You may or may not already be aware of this, but it sounds as if you're still giving him control over the situation and actually ENCOURAGING him to keep things dangerous. By making the breakup contingent on his safety, all he has to do is threaten himself and you stay around. You might imagine that you're giving him time to gather himself so he can deal with reality, but he's not in recovery mode and is not going to behave the way you expect. His goals do not match yours, and he is not negotiating in good faith. He is virtually certain to abuse your goodwill every time you give him a chance to do so.

The only thing you can do to help with his safety is to alert his family and the police. With that accomplished, break up with him from a safe distance. Do it very soon.
posted by jon1270 at 10:36 AM on April 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


Your first priority is breaking up with him in a way that is safe for you. Like other posters said upthread, a few wrong words and that gun could have been pointed at you.

Once you have a safe distance that he cannot breach (this is critical) then go ahead and make the calls you feel the need to make to see that he is all right.

Take care of you first, OP. He sure as hell isn't going to.
posted by cmyk at 10:41 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


N'thing the "it is not your responsibility to save this person" and "you can't solve his mental health problems alone". Social workers may be overworked, they may appear to not care, but they're there, they have experience with this situation, and if they appear to not care it's only because they've got a thousand other cases just like the one they're dealing with and they can't get too personally tied up in any particular one because it would just totally rip their psyche to shreds.

If you still feel the need to save him, he's still the one in control. The best thing you can do for him right now is to get out of his life and replace your presence with people who can maintain enough detachment to not let him control the situation like that. Those people are social workers and other similar professionals.

And something basic to remember about every situation: If you don't take your safety as the highest priority, then the only thing you're doing is setting up the situation for a second victim. It's why they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first when you're on an airplane. It's why the first step in any first aid or emergency response is to fully survey the scene to make sure it's safe. It's why in disaster recovery you set up one person whose job it is to stand back outside of the situation and monitor what's going on, and not try to help with the rescue.

If you aren't safe, you're a liability. Keep yourself safe.
posted by straw at 10:43 AM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


no matter his intent, no matter whether you believe he could only ever shoot himself, no matter whether you believe that he'd never knowingly use the weapon on you:
a lethal weapon in the hands of someone who is out of control is a lethal weapon that will be used in an out of control manner.
get away and do not put yourself in a situation to be in a room with this person ever again.
posted by qnarf at 11:03 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, he got you to stay with him for two months more.

Killing you, then himself is an easy way for him to make sure you are together forever.

Stay away from this guy and let professionals help him.
posted by benzenedream at 11:08 AM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thank you for updating us. Please, please continue to do so.

I'll update what happens when I have broken up with him in a way that's safe for him and me.

You cannot make it safe for him, and it is not your responsibility to do so. He has already demonstrated that he cannot and will not make it safe for you.

Your responsibility is to make it safe for you. That is not simply your primary responsibility: it is your only responsibility. It is something you can control. You cannot control his own safety, except by calling 911 and reporting that he is suicidal and has access to guns. You can choose to do that or not; it may or may not solve his problems. What will absolutely not solve his problems is you staying with him.
posted by rtha at 11:10 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Gun hobbyist?" There is no gun hobbyist anywhere who would think this kind of thing is remotely acceptable. I'm in the UK and we have strict gun control here, but I highly doubt that there is any part of the USA where what he's done is legal.

You are too shocked to think straight. Please believe me when I tell you that any kind of gun misuse is grounds for immediately ending a relationship no matter what else is good about it, or him.

Please get away from him ASAP. As long as you're in his presence, your life is in danger.
posted by tel3path at 11:12 AM on April 19, 2011


If you are asking *how* to dump him, my vote is for just don't. End contact. Don't explain, don't give him a list of things he can debate, just stop interacting with him. You are not qualified to provide assistance for his mental health issues (and seriously, every time you start to think, "oh but I-" NO. Do you have an MD or PhD? Are you a law enforcement officer? Then no, you cannot, and you should not practice medicine or therapy or law enforcement without a license, certification, or local employment in that role.), and he is not qualified to interact right now with people he might kill.

He's not okay. You can't fix it. Continuing to interact with him may make it worse. What he did was unforgivable. End contact.

[I promise this will all come together in your head once you have a little distance. You're too close to what happened right at the moment to think clearly about it. In the meantime, you might grab a copy of The Gift of Fear. I wish everyone was required to read it in order to graduate high school.]
posted by Lyn Never at 11:15 AM on April 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


Hi. I own guns. I have had a horrible breakup when I was at the absolute bottom of my game. Hell, she really should have left me sooner. Anyway, know what I did? I packed up my guns and drove down to the local police station and asked the cop behind the counter to please hold onto them for me for a bit. Went back for them six months later.

I have some sympathy for this guy. With that said, um, jail might well be a good short-term (year or two) solution to his dilemma?
posted by castironskillet at 11:17 AM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, Lyn Never has some really good advice.
If you are asking *how* to dump him, my vote is for just don't. End contact. Don't explain, don't give him a list of things he can debate, just stop interacting with him.
posted by castironskillet at 11:21 AM on April 19, 2011


You've been dating for just a few months, and suddenly He said that without me he'd have nothing, and he didn't know what would happen. No. This is not the truth. He managed without you for 24 years. Seeing him for a few months doesn't make you responsible for him. He's manipulating you.
Unrealistic Expectations
The abuser may expects you to be the perfect husband, wife, mother, father, lover, and friend. He/she is very dependent on you for all his/her needs, and may tell you he/she can fulfil all your needs as lover, friend, and companion. Statements such as: 'lf you love me, I'm all you need.', 'You are all I need.' are common. Your abuser may expect you to provide everything for him/her emotionally, practically, financially or spiritually, and then blame you for not being perfect or living up to expectation.
He's been going through a difficult time lately with major surgery and the resulting medical bills (no insurance), loss of a job before he could even start because of it (been unemployed for two years and had to go to the hospital on his start day. they said they couldn't hold the position.) He's been unemployed for two years – but now that you are in his life, suddenly it's a crisis and he'll kill himself if he loses you "too"? No. You are being manipulated.
Being overly needy - always needing help or some type of emotional support from you
Potential abusers often start out with a poor sad puppy or bleeding heart type of behavior. They express feeling downtrodden, saying they always come up short or mistreated by others. Always wants your help to fix or overcome this "problem".
He's feeling abandoned by his best friend and family and told me that he feels like everyone in his life abandons him. Um, no.
Blame-shifting for Problems
Very rarely will an abusive personality accept responsibility for any negative situation or problem. If they are unemployed, can't hold down a job, were thrown out of college or University or fall out with their family, it is always someone else's fault, be it the boss, the government, or their mother. They may feel that someone is always doing them wrong, or out to get him. He/she may make a mistakes and then blame you for upsetting him/her or preventing him/her from doing as they wished to.
It was only loaded the first time we wrestled with it... I thought that was a misunderstanding at first but it eventually dawned on me that for him to even try to take it back while it was loaded was really, really dangerous.
Threatening Violence
This would obviously include any threat of physical force such as "If you speak to him/her again, I'll kill you", or "If any wife of mine acted like John's did, I'd give her a right seeing to". Threats are designed to manipulate and control you, to keep you in your place and prevent you making your own decisions. Most people do not threaten their mates, but an abuser will excuse this behaviour by saying "everybody talks like that.", maintaining he/she is only saying this because the relationship or you are so important to him/her, tell you you're "over-sensitive" for being upset by such threats, or obviously want to hurt him/her. Threats can also be less overt, such as "If you leave me, I will kill myself", or "You are so wonderful, I will never let you go/couldn't live without you".
He's agreed to get therapy but can't even afford the gas money to get there.

Maybe he could sell his gun[s]? Just an idea.

Here's the thing, I really do understand how you feel; I've felt the same thing, and also been manipulated into staying when I didn't want to because of the unfortunate circumstances someone who didn't want me to go. But a) he is taking advantage of your kindness to use and control you, and b) the truth is that you barely know him. You are not his life partner, or his wife, or even his girlfriend, though he would like to convince you otherwise. It's not as though you've been together for years in a committed relationship, and you are standing by him in his time of need. It's that he is just now beginning to reveal himself to you. And what he has revealed lately is that he is willing to risk your life, threaten and terrorize you, and that even if you don't want to be his his girlfriend, he is willing to have you against your will – he is willing to have a girlfriend who doesn't want to be with him, who will stay only because of threats, fear and pity.

There will be more to be revealed if you stick around... much more, and it won't be pretty, and just like bizarre stuff like having guns sitting around in the open all the time – it will somehow come to feel "normal." Nobody agrees to an abusive relationship from the beginning; they are conditioned to accept it over time. Do not open the door to that. The choice you make now determines everything. Either he can manipulate and control you, or he can't. And if he can't, if you walk away, he will find someone else. He really will.

So walk away. If you want to try to help him, do it from a distance... but I would bet the farm that he doesn't really want that assistance, and will never use any resources you provide to get that kind of help. That is not at all what he wants.
posted by taz at 11:27 AM on April 19, 2011 [15 favorites]


This article sounds relevant to your situation.

It's about a 19-year-old woman who was murdered by her 21-year-old boyfriend after she broke up with him. At the end of the article it includes tips on how to break up with someone acting unstable.

Emily broke things off in March, intending to stay friends. Kevin e-mailed her incessantly. In one message, he worried about his thesis, pressing her to help. Then his obsession swelled into talk of suicide. "Emily was tormented," her father says. "She tried to help him move on. Her concern was that Kevin not take his own life."

Although Kevin's personality didn't mirror the stereotype of an abusive boyfriend, threatening suicide is among the classic red flags that someone could become violent, according to David Adams, EdD..."They get locked into conversations where the guy says he'll kill himself," Adams explains. "It's a desperate strategy to keep the relationship going. He's manipulatively given her life-or-death power over him."

But there is a grim truth behind that strategy: Many of the killers Adams interviewed said they had initially intended to kill themselves in front of their victim, in order to leave her with eternal guilt. Then rage took over, and they killed her instead. "Such men feel: 'By rejecting me, you have destroyed me, so I have to destroy you,' " says Adams. And in fact, often both people die: Thirty percent of men who murder their intimate partner then commit suicide.
posted by castlebravo at 11:29 AM on April 19, 2011 [20 favorites]


But again, you are not responsible for this man. You are not equipped to help this man. He needs the help of trained professionals.

Repeated for emphasis.

So glad you're safe, but please, PLEASE stay that way and stay far, far away from this man. Your empathy for him will make you an excellent partner to someone else some day, but you honestly can not help him. No girlfriend could. He needs help that only a professional (preferably one with the power to separate him from his guns for a while) can offer.
posted by sonika at 11:37 AM on April 19, 2011


I have been mentally ill for most of my life. I have injured myself; I have attempted suicide; I have been hospitalized, voluntarily and involuntarily. In my lowest moments I have said and done things to people I loved, including my romantic partners, that were beyond the pale, and I have been forgiven, surely, more times than I deserve. That part of my life is behind me, but the wounds and scars—literal and metaphorical—remain.

I haven't been exactly where your boyfriend is, but let's say I know the neighbourhood well enough to give a respectable guided tour. So here goes:

— The fact that he owns even one single firearm is terrifying to me. I say this entirely without judgment: given the psychological state he's in, access to firearms is critically dangerous to him and everyone around him. Having his "hobby" forcibly suspended while he gets the help he needs would be a good thing, not a bad one.

— He's manipulating you directly and deliberately, but he's not a villain. He is in a debilitating amount of pain, suffering from a condition he can't manage alone. His own mind is turning against him. He's scared and he's desperate for any measure of control—and he's trying to exert that control over you. It's tragic and awful and in absolutely no way is it okay. You're not a life preserver; you're a human being.

There is nothing you can do to fix him. If I asked you to tune up my car, at best you'd have no idea where to begin, and at worst you could do some serious damage. The human psyche is a lot more complicated than a car. He needs qualified, professional help that you are simply not equipped to give, and stepping (far, far) aside to let those professionals help is the best thing you can do.

— You want to make sure he's okay, but who's making sure you're okay? In the end, we're all responsible for ourselves. Keep yourself safe. Keep yourself healthy and sane. Any kind of contact with him whatsoever is neither healthy nor safe for you, and there is absolutely no reason for you to continue jeopardizing your health and safety.

— Follow likeso's instructions for cutting him off, especially the part about calling the police. The best and only thing you can do for him right now is let someone—someone who's equipped to deal with this—know that he's waving loaded guns around, that he's "named crashing his car or laying on a railroad track" as ways he may commit suicide.

Please, OP. I speak from painful, horrifying experience: He is a danger to you, and a danger to himself. You can't help him. You can protect yourself.

Good luck, and be safe.
posted by Zozo at 11:43 AM on April 19, 2011 [30 favorites]


Let's take the focus off of how abusive and dangerous this guy is just for a brief second (but let's not forget it). Think of the person you love most in the world. Maybe your mom, maybe your sister or cousin or best friend. If he or she was threatening to kill her or himself and had concrete plans to do so, would you do nothing or would you call for help?

What would you do if someone else was threatening the person you loved most in the world? Would you do nothing or would you call for help?
posted by desjardins at 12:03 PM on April 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


If he is so broke, have him sell his gun collection to pay for his meds. But leave him anyway.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:12 PM on April 19, 2011


The tone in here is pretty consistent but I'm compelled to add more...

He's got a big, easily bruised ego, right? When a guy talks suicide at the prospect of losing a GF, it's because he's wrapped up a whole lot of his self-esteem in her. Many a guy, at some point in his life, has a trophy girlfriend. She becomes an emblem of the higher social standing that he's always felt he rightfully deserved.

Leaving him will pull the rug out from under that huge ego. He may start off crying like a baby but he'll quickly get very cold and angry over thoughts of you with other guys.

The normal crying, anger and bargaining ensued. -anger and bargaining aren't normal. He's going to be angry when you do eventually leave, so just do it now, on your terms....before he has the opportunity to ensnare you in any more dangerous dramatics. Withdraw yourself right now and be very wary of him.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:20 PM on April 19, 2011


Seriously, if you can't get a copy of The Gift of Fear, at least watch this and see if anything resonates with you:

Gavin de Becker Explains the Power of the Word "No"
posted by lucysparrow at 12:25 PM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


From the OP:
I called the suicide hotline to ask for advice and she suggested telling his Mom. I called the local police department and he asked me what I wanted them to do about it. He seemed skeptical of the story or something because he kept wanting me to repeat that on Sunday he was feeling suicidal, but now he's fine. Eventually he said there's nothing they can do to help. This is with knowing about the pulling the gun and everything. So I'm guessing that since he's not in immediate danger there's no help here.
posted by jessamyn at 12:31 PM on April 19, 2011


To address that the police seemed unwilling to help; PLEASE CALL AGAIN. I have to call the police several times a week for my job, and the dispatch operators vary in their willingness to help like crazy. It sounds like you talked to one of the (to put it very mildly) less helpful ones. Keep calling back until you get in contact with someone willing to listen to you and your VERY VALID concerns. If that doesn't work, physically go into a station. Tell them exactly what you told us. It can be very, very hard to stand up for your needs/rights when someone in a position of authority is playing them down, but this is not the sort of thing to mess about with. Please keep trying. A good place to start the call to the police would be "My boyfriend pulled out a loaded gun and threatened suicide when I attempted to end the relationship. He still has the gun and bullets, he's mentally unstable, and I am afraid for my safety and for his." I find getting straight to the point and then filling in the details after is a more effective way of getting the attention an issue like this needs.

Also
"He seemed skeptical of the story or something because he kept wanting me to repeat that on Sunday he was feeling suicidal, but now he's fine."
HE IS NOT FINE. Please don't downplay this. I know it's natural to want to not be a bother, and to want to be reassured that everything is okay. But this isn't. Just because your boyfriend doesn't have a loaded gun in his hand doesn't mean his mental state is improving.

Good luck. What a scary situation.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 12:57 PM on April 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


He seemed skeptical of the story or something because he kept wanting me to repeat that on Sunday he was feeling suicidal, but now he's fine.

Okay- I want to make sure you didn't downplay this to them. Did you make a big deal about the loaded gun? It's not just that he threatened suicide, which is bad enough but perhaps not something the cops would deal with two days after the fact. But you had to wrestle a loaded gun away from him. That is pretty serious and you have every reason to fear for your life if you try to end the relationship again, especially if he decides to pull some sort of "but you promised me you'd give me two more months" garbage and turns the whole thing against you. I don't have any kind of experience with calling domestic violence hotlines, but if you call the cops again and they are unhelpful maybe someone on one of those could help? Anyone know?
posted by wondermouse at 1:03 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I certainly hope that you're feeling supported here, and that you understand the tenor of our rather strident advice comes from not wanting to see you in the paper.

That said, go DOWN to the police station, insist that they file a report, get the names of the people you talk to ... if for no other reason than that your family can sue them for negligence in the future.
posted by cyndigo at 1:20 PM on April 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


nthing the no contact thing - even via email or phone. You cannot save this guy. If he feels that everyone has abandoned him it might be because he *pulled a gun on them* and they fear for their safety when they are around him.

Seriously - tell him and yourself whatever you need to to get out of this situation. Tell yourself that you will contact him in a year or tell him that he can send letters (that your BFF will burn upon receipt). Whatever you need to gain some distance (in both time and space) is what you need. Please, please don't go over to his house or let him into your house.

If the police don't do anything, it doesn't mean that you are safe. It just means they aren't doing anything.
posted by dawkins_7 at 1:30 PM on April 19, 2011


You're awesome for calling the hotline and the police! That is great of you to take those steps. Like the previous posters, I urge you to go to the police station and stress that he is a threat to himself and that you are afraid of him. Even if he apologized, he is not "fine."
posted by desjardins at 1:46 PM on April 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


What you need to stress with the police is that you're concerned that he may harm himself, or may harm you. You need to make sure that's the part they take away -- not that a couple of kids had an almost-breakup. Tell too much of a story and that's all they'll hear.

If you were to call 911, the questions they'd ask you are "Is he a danger to himself or others" and "Does he have access to a weapon." Those are the important questions, and the answers are Yes and Yes.

Honestly, I think that's what you should do, even though there's no crime in progress. Don't call the police department. You'll get some bored desk seargent who's happy not to be in the field and just wants the day to end without incident. Instead, call 911 and say "Mine is not a crime in progress, but my boyfriend is suicidal and threatened to kill himself when I tried to break up with him. He still has a weapon and I'm concerned for his safety."
posted by mudpuppie at 2:08 PM on April 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


Instead, call 911 and say "Mine is not a crime in progress, but my boyfriend is suicidal and threatened to kill himself when I tried to break up with him. He still has a weapon and I'm concerned for his safety."

Very, very good advice. I'm not sure the protocol exactly, but I was trained as an EMT and I wouldn't be surprised if they sent medical personnel to his house in addition to the police. The police probably can't do much if he's not committing a crime, but under the grounds you mentioned, EMTs can take him in to get him put on a psychiatric hold. Again, don't know the specifics of that, but calling 911 is a really good idea.
posted by sonika at 2:38 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


He's only not suicidal because he thinks you're still a couple. Break up with him over an electronic method...THEN call the police and tell them he is suicidal. Because he will be again as it worked last time. Good luck possum. My neighbour's husband of 18 years did this recently, but it was a noose instead. Although they have 3 young children together, she called emergency services and left him. Forever. And she's angry, and so she should be. His psychiatrist called it abuse. Because it is.

Seriously possum... breakup, call police, stay with a friend, update us. Take care of yourself.
posted by taff at 2:44 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


He seemed skeptical of the story or something because he kept wanting me to repeat that on Sunday he was feeling suicidal, but now he's fine. Eventually he said there's nothing they can do to help.

It's possible that what the police need in order to justify temporarily committing someone in your area is evidence that they are a current danger to themselves or others. So the officer might not have been questioning your story so much as trying to get you to use the magic words: "I'm afraid he might hurt himself right now." I mean, the guy could just have been an asshole, but the other seems a likely possibility too.
posted by MsMolly at 4:01 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's no longer an option this time 'round since he named crashing his car or laying on a railroad track as an alternative way to commit suicide if I took his guns with me.

You know, that's the one thing you kind-of gloss over in your update: it doesn't really sound like you've properly addressed the gun issue. He needs to get rid of the gun. He is not responsible enough to be a gun owner, and he is endangering everyone around him with his continued ownership of said weapon.

Putting everything else aside—the relationship, his sadness, your future, whatever—all that aside, he needs to lose the gun immediately.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:23 PM on April 19, 2011


[Folks - dial it back. This is a tough situation and the OP is in a rough spot, but keep your answers civil and take metacommentary to metatalk please, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 4:24 PM on April 19, 2011


OP, in response to your follow-up, let me just say: there are many people in the world who have really rough problems but whom you and I are not able to help. In many of these cases, we simply don't know about those problems, but they still exist. And that might be disturbing to think about, but we keep living our lives.

In this case, you do know about his problems. But you cannot stay involved with them. You have to extract yourself from the situation.

You are not in any position to personally rescue him. Let someone else do that job. You have to put your own safety first.

Don't let him communicate with you about those issues, or about anything. As others have said, block his calls, unfriend/block him on Facebook/Twitter/IM, filter out his emails (if you use Gmail, you can click the "Create a filter" link near the top of the page and specify email addresses to be automatically deleted).

Even if there were no gun/suicide/safety issue, charity and pity would not be good foundations for an otherwise unsatisfying relationship. You're 20 years old! You have a lifetime of rewarding, joyous relationships ahead of you. Go out and pursue your normal life. What he's trying to do to you is not normal or acceptable. Please don't fall for his rationalizations.
posted by John Cohen at 4:30 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


if you use Gmail, you can click the "Create a filter" link near the top of the page and specify email addresses to be automatically deleted

Good idea, but I'd say filter them to be archived unread instead – just in case you need them at some point, if things turn even worse (as proof of threats for legal action, if necessary). Even better, automatically archive, plus forward them to a willing good friend who can read them and let you know when/if threats appear.

posted by taz at 5:15 PM on April 19, 2011


I've read about things like this happening and most people seem more able to chalk it up to faking and walk away than I was.

I want to say that I've never heard of anyone who found this easy to do.

Most people start, as you have, by accepting a responsibility that is unfairly thrust upon them by a close friend/acquaintance/partner. It's not easy to walk away from a responsibility you've accepted, even if you've made a mistake.

However, in this case the mistake you've made is to accept two entirely incompatible responsibilities -- a responsibility to care for yourself and your mental/physical health and a responsibility to care for the mental health of someone who may be suicidal but who is definitely a threat to you mentally and physically.

For many people that is not as simple choice as it sounds. It is tempting to try to balance the two but it is extraordinarily difficult to manage that; Most of the time it seems to end in a long slow slide towards self neglect and codependency.

For a preview of what you're likely in for if you remain enmeshed with this fellow, check out the poster's comments in this thread.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:24 PM on April 19, 2011


Good idea, but I'd say filter them to be archived unread instead – just in case you need them at some point

Yes, this is better than my suggestion.
posted by John Cohen at 6:13 PM on April 19, 2011


Take this test.

And just in case you didn't catch it upthread, this is an important video to watch.

The test is a threat assessment tool developed by Gavin De Becker, the author of The Gift of Fear (the book everyone should read in this situation, often recommended on metafilter).

A lot of the people posting in this thread, myself included, have been in this sort of situation ourselves, and are trying to offer you a shortcut through a nightmare that can take years to get to the other end of.

The important thing to get through to yourself, even though it might be very, very difficult to believe because he is telling you otherwise, is that his mental and physical health are not your responsibility. You should not try to save this man from killing himself any more than you should try to remove a cancerous tumor from his arm. This is far, far beyond your pay grade and expertise. You need to hand this guy off to someone who knows what they are doing in terms of mental health and suicide prevention. His parents, the police, his friends, anybody but you. Because he is using these threats to manipulate and control you.

Anybody who pulls out a gun in an effort -- even a very oblique, self-directed effort -- to manipulate and control you is someone you need to get way far away from. It is, in fact, best for HIM to exit this dynamic as well. You are doing what is best for him by leaving, so that he will not have you around to perpetuate this dynamic with.
posted by jennyjenny at 6:22 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey, hon. How are you holding up? I know this must be overwhelming... the things that happened, all the fear and stress and guilt, and then all of us here telling you and telling you and yup, telling you. I'm awfully glad you sent the thread to your friend, and that you have a warm-blooded person there with you, in the know. Can you spend more time with him? Can you tell another close friend or two or three? Family? You really need an arm around you right now, someone to support you during all this. Someone who can help calm you down and help you keep strong.

Yeah, I see you're not getting the results from the hotline or the police just yet. Do persevere, though - like others upthread, I've also had to call multiple times/submit multiple reports until I got ahold of someone who took things seriously. I think the hotline should definitely be more helpful than say "tell his mother"! That response is very disappointing. Do call them again, and see if you get someone who will brainstorm with you on this - someone who knows more about the immediate resources which might be available to you in your area. And the police? Well, maybe you can't get to a police station easily, or maybe that's just too much right now. 911 might be the way to go, so if all else fails, you can get EMTs involved. Ask the hotline about this. And yeah, don't downplay any of what happened. If you're asked "is he in immediate danger?", you say "yes". Because he is.

I know you don't feel like you can just abandon your boyfriend to his fate. I know you feel that somehow, you should be able to help him, or at least not make matters worse. But I also know you now realize that you might not be the person he really needs. You're in over your head, hon. His life was complicated long before you came into the picture, you didn't cause this, and you can't solve it. Ooof! No, I'm not going to lecture you, we're past that, right? You heard all of us, and I know you've taken what we've said to heart. Hang tough, be strong, we're thinking of you.
posted by likeso at 8:21 PM on April 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


There's nothing I can say here that hasn't already been said. I agree that you should get out ASAP.

But right now I really wish I could just give you a hug. Be safe.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:09 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you happen to live in Australia, I guess you don't, but anyway....I have a spare room I'd gladly give to you for as long as you needed. If you are here and would like a safe warm home full of love and noise to escape to, mefimail me. I'm just a mother with two girls of my own, and I would be sick with worry if they encountered this at your tender age.... in fact, at any age. I studied psych at university and I can categorically tell you that YOU cannot help him. But...helping YOU.... well that's easy, imperative and I'm sure a joy.

Whatever you do, if you're not within a few thousand miles of Australia....go stay with a mature adult who loves and cares about you. Don't be alone through this.

And as I said...if you were near me, my spare room would have your name on the door in crayon by now.

Hugs and strength, dear thing. Hugs and strength.
posted by taff at 1:26 AM on April 20, 2011


Heh, I'm pretty sure you're not in Greece, either (– way fewer guns here, for one thing! :P) ... but I'm also completely sure you could MeMail (Metafilter Mail; click on anyone's user name, and you'll see a "send MeFi Mail" link right under their name in their profile) anyone who has commented in this thread for more info/advice/support/hugs. We all want you to be safe, and if you need more help with resources for you and him in your area, people here can help out.

You sound like a really smart young woman, but lots of us have had experience with being smart but inexperienced young women or men who had to learn some lessons in the most painful ways, and would really love to save others from some of that suffering.
posted by taz at 3:46 AM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Additional reiterations here;

- You are not responsible for him. You are responsible for making sure you are safe, healthy and happy. Don't let him manipulate you into taking that away from you because he'd make you feel guilty. Zozo said it best - you are not a life preserver.

- Awesome you took the first steps to call the hotline and police. That's the hardest part. Now just hold on just a little longer and get the police's attention. The police were waiting for you to ask them to do something, and it's likely that you subconsciously tried to downplay things when talking to them, so they couldn't act. Take the advice here and make the strong case that he is a current danger to himself and others (you). That is the only way they'll be able to act.

- Avoid him at all costs, starting *now* if you haven't already done so.

I'm sure I speak for most everyone here, as you can see from the responses, in that if you need any help/support/etc, contact any of the Mefites privately.
posted by rich at 6:42 AM on April 20, 2011


From the OP:
I broke up with him yesterday without incident. He said he wasn't going to try to kill himself because he was convincing himself that I was worthless and that he felt sorry for anyone who dated me. That really stings but I know he just said it out of anger. I know this decision isn't going to make anyone happy, but I told him I'd be willing to give him some more time a few hours later. I felt like breaking up with him was making a huge mistake after the finality of things set in. I missed being able to talk and joke with him and send him cute little things I find online. I missed his warmth, his smile, all the mushy things I'm sure you've heard a thousand times. He's my best friend, and yes he made a mistake, but I want to be there for him and work through it together. He does deserve it.

I'm one of those people who has many acquaintances but no real close friends. The only people I could talk to about this was an ex who was steadily suggesting we sleep together again, and an online friend who lives 1000 miles away. I told more people than that, but none close enough that anything other than "Oh geez, sorry. I thought things were going well." would have been appropriate. I know it isn't the popular opinion but I want to stick by this guy because I know he'd do and has done the same for me. We aren't together, because he wants me to be sure this is what I want and also needs some time alone. So I can't tell you how this will really end, but I will say that my feeling of having made a mistake is growing over time.

Thanks for all of the kind words and advice. I'm sorry that in the end I couldn't follow it.
posted by jessamyn at 7:46 AM on April 20, 2011


Breaking up is always difficult, as you are entering an uncertain place, and it's natural to feel more lonely and like it was a mistake. But that isn't any reason to stay in a relationship. It always feels like a mistake, but that is the uncertainty talking. Everything you mentioned is like comfort food you binge on and then realize you really don't want it, but keep eating it anyway.

You mentioned a couple times you woke up that one day and "just knew." That was the truth speaking to you through the haze of human's natural desire to resist change and uncertainty.

You are 20 years old. You're not going to settle down for your lifetime with this person, especially if you've had the epiphany once already that you should end it. You need to quit it now.
posted by rich at 8:10 AM on April 20, 2011


Oh, hon.

This isn't the loving thing to do for him. Sometimes the kindest, most honorable thing you can do for someone is to leave them.

This is like shooting heroin into an addicts veins because their hands are shaking too much as they come down. When you love someone, you don't want them to hurt, right? You want them happy.

But the hardest part about loving someone is knowing when hurting them is the most loving thing you could possibly do. It's about getting the heroin addict into rehab, it's about leaving the man who pulled a gun on you.

Please, please don't think I'm judging you. I'm the child of two drug addicts with personality disorders, and my first relationship was abusive. It's so easy to fall into unhealthy relationship patterns when there's not much to model at home, and it's SO EASY to feel grateful at being needed.

It's not always going to be this way. When I was twenty I hopped on a bus from Austin to New York, I made friends I will hopefully have for life, and I'm with the person of my dreams who respects me, loves me, and is kind to me. We argue, but we don't yell. She doesn't manipulate me. I feel sparks for her.

I want you to please do me a favor while you're on a break from him and figure things out. Several people here have recommended "Gift of Fear". I just read it last month, and it puts several things into perspective. You know your boyfriend better than we do, if nothing else it will put your mind at ease.

If you need someone to talk to, please don't hesitate to memail me, or email me @ jnaps33@gmail. I think you'll find a lot of people in this community who will help you out in the same way.

You're in my thoughts. If you do decide to stay with him, and he does something else that scares you, please don't be embarrassed to ask for help. If it were easy to leave an abusive relationship, no one would be in them and there wouldn't be hotlines or shelters.
posted by jnaps at 8:35 AM on April 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Absolutely! Seconding everything jnaps said. And we're still here. We'll be here. [hug]
posted by likeso at 8:40 AM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


After reading your latest response, I want to share what I went through when I was 20. I broke up with a man I was madly in love with because he was unstable and we had too many problems. I felt like absolute hell immediately afterwards and for several days after that. I missed him so much; he was my best friend too. But then, after about a week, it was like the clouds parted and I saw a whole world of opportunities in front of me. I seriously felt like a new person. I've also had trouble making close friends and this was a guy I talked to about everything - it was just that being with him was not worth the emotional turmoil- the ups weren't worth the downs.

I've also broken up with a guy who was stable and treated me well, but the spark had been gone for a while and I felt we didn't really relate in ways that were important to me, although I still wanted to be friends with him because I valued his friendship. I also felt horrible and missed him, but the same "clouds parting/new person" feeling came about a few days later. Several years later, we don't talk anymore- seemingly his choice, though it was never announced. I do miss the friendship and occasionally have wondered if I made the right choice, but it's not worth it to me when I have other things going on in my life that I can focus on without having to worry about sustaining a relationship I don't feel very passionate about.

You're the only one who can make this decision for yourself. It's never as easy to break up with someone as the advice givers seem to suggest it is. It just isn't. You're the only one who knows what you're willing to put up with to be in a relationship with another person. Just be aware that the way your boyfriend handles the breakup - first with the gun, and then with telling you you're worthless garbage who doesn't deserve to be loved - these are really bad things. I do not believe he respects you, and obviously he has lots of trouble with himself also that is not being properly dealt with on his end. And the fact that you don't even really feel chemistry there, to me that would make it completely not worth it at all. What's helped me out of these situations in the past is to just throw myself into other activities that kept me busy so I wouldn't think about it so much. Good luck and I hope you are able to find peace with whatever decision you come to.
posted by wondermouse at 8:49 AM on April 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


You sound scared. Being alone is, really, a very scary idea.

But oftentimes the scary thing is the right thing. You have the strength in you to do it. You can do it.

What you want--companionship, smiles, love--are good things to want. But you are actually giving them up by being with this man. Someone who really loves you doesn't tell you how awful you are. Someone's smile can only really make you happy if you don't have to worry it will soon turn to suicidal rage. Someone who is as sick as him cannot really give you those things you want, the things you need.

You can do it. You can stand tall. Tell yourself: you are worth a loving, satisfying relationship. Tell yourself: you are worth facing the fear of (temporary) loneliness for the sake of gaining (true) happiness. You. Are. Worth. It. Tell yourself that, and make yourself believe it.

You are worth the struggle that it takes to get a happy life. I'm telling you that, and I believe it.
posted by meese at 8:57 AM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, so you're not breaking up with the guy who told you that you were worthless and who you had to wrestle for a gun?

You can do better. C'mon. Do better.
posted by klangklangston at 9:17 AM on April 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


I missed being able to talk and joke with him and send him cute little things I find online. I missed his warmth, his smile, all the mushy things I'm sure you've heard a thousand times.

You're right. We have heard these things a thousand times. And there's a reason for that. These things aren't that rare. You can have them with someone else.

You don't have to follow 150 people's unanimous recommendation. Why you would decide to be with someone whose relationship toolkit includes violence and degradation, someone you had already decided you didn't want to be with, is beyond me. But you don't have to do what we tell you. You have a right to make your choice. I hope you make a choice that's consistent with your values and goals and what you think is right.
posted by John Cohen at 9:21 AM on April 20, 2011


Whatever you end up doing, please be strong, and please try to focus on your own best interests. Right now your best interests seem like keeping this man in your life because that's comfortable, because you can joke with him and send him links.

Please try to take a step back, though, and see that what's best for you may not be this easy road. What's actually best for you, in the long run and -- even if it violates what you think is best in the short term -- is removing yourself from this situation and from this person, neither of which value your worth as a person, and both of which could eventually cause you actual, physical harm.

It's called 'doing the hard thing' because it's HARD. There's nothing easy about it. But you've got to look out for yourself. You think you've done that, but you haven't. I'm sorry, but you haven't.

This is something you're going to go through again with him. Not the suicide threat, necessarily, or the gun tussle, but the breaking up. What's it going to be like the next time?

Please take care of yourself, and know that what you're reading here isn't judgment -- it's absolute support from a large, diverse group of strangers who seem to care a hell of a lot more about your well-being than your boyfriend does. (And, if I may be so bold to say so -- than you yourself do.)
posted by mudpuppie at 11:09 AM on April 20, 2011


176 responses to this question, all agreeing that this is not tolerable and that you may be in serious danger.

Do you read this site frequently enough to know how rare it is for a response to be completely unanimous?
posted by hermitosis at 11:42 AM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry that in the end I couldn't follow it.

Yes, you could. This is your choice- your terrible, irrational, dangerous choice. Own it at least; because he's not going to let you own much else in your life together.
posted by spaltavian at 11:49 AM on April 20, 2011


Scarleteen on taking the "Blinders Off: Getting a Good Look at Abuse and Assualt" A lot of good insight and resources there.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 12:11 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is a certain irony in watching you put your life back in danger & knowing, as much as we want to, there is nothing we can do to help. Only YOU can help yourself. We can only offer advice & sympathy. Please be careful.
posted by Ys at 12:18 PM on April 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yes, he may have said it out of anger, but he told you that you're worthless. What does it say about either of you that you're willing to continue a relationship? Nevermind your own self esteem, what does it say about him that he can call someone worthless and still want to be with them? It's a total mindfuck and no one deserves that.
posted by sonika at 12:26 PM on April 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


He does deserve it.

No, he really doesn't.
posted by Windigo at 12:48 PM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


OP, when I was 19 I dated a guy who was physically violent with me.
Hands down, the worst thing he did was something he said to me. It was: "8dot3, you are completely replaceable. You are like any other chick in Philadelphia. If you left me, I would have another girlfriend just like *that*. I could replace you in a second."
Did I leave him? Yes, but until for months later.

Please leave him. I've dated all kinds of people over the years, and not one has ever done anything even close to what that guy said to me. It's been 19 years since he said that, and it still wins, hands down, the award for being the shittiest thing anyone has ever said to me in my life. And it was from someone who claimed to love me.

Now, I know the situations are not completely analogous, since your boyfriend is telling you exactly the opposite, but the crux message was the same: that you are worthless and he has no respect for you. Fuck that. This situation will not get better.
Please update us as you can.
posted by 8dot3 at 12:51 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


broke up with him yesterday without incident. He said he wasn't going to try to kill himself because he was convincing himself that I was worthless and that he felt sorry for anyone who dated me.


Oh, honey. Don't you know that THAT, along with the rest of what you shared, tells me that this jerk is setting up to be a total abusive jerkwad who will make your life a living hell? Please don't take the chance that I am right. Walk away and find a man who won't tell you you are worthless whether he is angry or not. Because that along with the rest you have told us tells me this is NOT a relationship worth going back to.

Memail me if you want to talk. Heck, I will even send you my phone number if you want to talk to me. But DO NOT GO BACK TO THAT MAN.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:54 PM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's okay that you made this choice, as hard as it is for metafilter in general to accept, because it is your life and your choice to make. Even if we think it is not a good choice, it is your choice.

But please know that you have the absolute right to change your mind. You do not have to justify to anyone - not us and not him - why you want to stay in or leave a relationship.

But please do hold on to this thread. Let it sink in. Read the books we've recommended to you. Read all the archives of Dear Sugar. Trust that there is a gigantic ocean of support at your fingertips whenever you need it. And even if you don't have a lot of close friends in your life right now, that absolutely doesn't mean that you won't. There's a whole world of love out there for you, honey. The love of friends you've yet to meet, the love of loves you've yet to love. You don't have to settle for anything, and you don't have to justify, and you don't have to explain.

Do I, personally, hope that you decide to leave? Oh HELL yes, I do. Because the things you've written here just break my heart. But you are the one making the decisions here, not us. All we can do is tell you what we think, and share what we've lived through, and hope you know that we care about you, whatever you decide. Feel free to MeMail me for my number if you'd ever like to chat.
posted by jennyjenny at 1:05 PM on April 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Being lonely sucks. But if the problem is that you don't have many close friends, the solution is to build a new life in which you make some close friends. Boyfriends come and go, you need friends who will be there through those times. Please believe me that the sometimes-sweet, sometimes-crazy/mean boyfriend is not the person to fill that void with longterm.

You need friends. Considerate, stable friends who will not be mean to you or threaten you or themselves. I know you don't have them now, but there is only one solution - take steps to get them. Broaden your activities so you have more chances to meet people who might become suitable friends. Go to a mefi meetup if there is one near you (check IRL in the top right of the page).

Also - about breakups. It is very common to feel like you've made a mistake after breaking up, for exactly the reason you say, it's a disruption in a comfortable routine and friendship. This almost ALWAYS happens with breakups, even when the breakup is absolutely a good idea. The only solution is to take your time, be patient with yourself, and gradually build new routines. Make it fun to be on your own (were there things bf didn't like to do? you're free, go do them!), get in touch with old friends, make some new friends that you can share those funny images with. There's a sister site of Metafilter called Metachat, where there are frequent exchanges throughout the day of fun stories or images and friendly funny chitchat, which might be a good place to tide you over; worth checking out.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:49 PM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


You seem to be pretty determined. Fair enough.

One thing I would suggest is that you see if you can turn some of your acquaintances into closer friends. That's tough to do, but not really tougher than getting into and staying in a romantic relationship.

Regardless of how things turn out, everyone can use a few close friends.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:13 PM on April 20, 2011


How many jokes and shared links will it take to outweigh wrestling someone you're not in love with for control of a loaded gun? Will they outweigh the dread of worrying that if it happens again you might not be able to play music anymore, that one of you might get killed?

When the time is right, I hope you'll turn to MeFi for advice again, even though you didn't take it today. We're a renewable resource :) We're also pretty good for joking and sharing links with. You might like to look at Metachat.org as well to find some people to hang out with online, just for giggles. I bet you could do with a laugh right now!
posted by harriet vane at 3:45 AM on April 21, 2011


Hey, this is just to let you know I'm still thinking about you. I went out with my husband and some friends last night, and while we were having fun I was thinking about you, and worrying about you. This internet stranger thinks you are worthwhile. This internet stranger counts her lucky stars that she once made the right choice to leave a guy who didn't treat her right, and that she found someone who loves her and would do anything for her. This internet stranger wants that for you, but mostly...

I want you to want that for yourself.
posted by desjardins at 6:57 AM on April 21, 2011 [28 favorites]


Well, I just read this whole thread and I want to share my experiences.

When I was 20 I ended a 2-year relationship with someone who then seemed likely to self-harm. Like your boyfriend he was socially isolated and quite depressed. Like your boyfriend he was very good to me until the breakup.

So I went with him to the ER when his panic attacks made me fear he would kill himself, and I went to his apartment to talk to him and I really tried to be there for him, because he didn't really have anyone else. And I thought about getting back together with him, too, because part of me missed him and regretted the finality of the break-up.

And none of it helped him at all, it was just rubbing salt in his wounds.

He installed a keylogger program on my computer to track my online conversations, and I found out about it. And I know that he was hurting - he wouldn't have done something like that otherwise. But it was still, really, not okay. And it snapped me into focus - his pain was too much for me to heal, I couldn't be responsible for his happiness.

So I called his mother. His parents were vacationing many hours away. I said, look, your son is not okay and I can't deal with this. And they drove many hours and came and they picked him up and that was pretty much the end. And I don't kid myself that he was happy after that, I know I wasn't. But it was absolutely for the best - relationships built on that kind of emotional dependence are not healthy for anyone.

So obviously your situation is different but I hope that in the coming days you will reflect on your worth. You deserve to be happy and safe. It might seem complicated now but it is really simple.
posted by mai at 8:51 PM on April 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm with desjardins...have been thinking about you constantly and wanting good things for you too.

You sound like a kind, gentle and compassionate soul. I wish you didn't confuse compassion for a belief that you can help him. Really possum,  only professionals can help him. 

And of course you missed him when you broke up, you were grieving what could have been if he weren't unstable. Those feelings are very common when you break up with someone. Most people don't feel great about breakups, regardless of the circumstances. So don't mistake that empty lonely feeling for love or compatability.

In the meantime, I'm thinking of you frequently and really, really hoping for the best for you. You deserve it. 
posted by taff at 2:13 AM on April 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am among the many here thinking about you. I have been in a similar situation, in fact the suicide threat initiated the relationship. "I know I'm older than you and you're scared when I touch you but I have these feeling and I want to kill myself because I don't want to hurt you and if I ever hurt you I'm going to kill myself but I've already hurt you and I want to die" showing me the scars on his wrists and the blood stains on his porch.

Worked pretty good on my 16 year old self. Took me two years to get out. The first attempt to break up with him he smashed his head in the wall so hard he broke his back and was laid up for a month and required that I not break up with and care for him and obey him and allow him to do pretty horrible things to me (same as usual) but now without complaining or requesting he stop.

It was horrible and devastating. I mean it, if you need someone to talk to PLEASE reach out. There are a lot of hotlines and you can memail me anytime. I know about the confusing feelings and wanting to protect someone who seems like their life is in danger if you aren't there for them.

He might not be meaning to manipulate you with this but he is. He is sick and drowning people don't realize it when they are dragging other people under the water in their scramble to reach the surface. You can care about him, DEEPLY care about him, and find a way to get him some help and get yourself out. Chat me up anytime and also there are a lot of free hotlines you can call to talk to.

Please reach out. You can get out of this. You might not be able to make sure he is safe, and that is devastating. But regardless--- staying with him does not ensure he is safe. You are not a psych med.

Your presence will not make him safe from the pain he in or the danger he is to himself and others. Are you staying because you're scared he will end his life, or because you are scared he will take you out with him?

There are places you can go to stay if you are scared you will be in danger after you leave. I mean it, get help. Please, please please please please.
posted by xarnop at 9:42 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I missed this thread originally but am chiming in now in the event, Anon, that you may still be reading this.

I am extremely concerned for your safety and well-being. Everyone else has spoken very well to the issues of why getting out of this relationship is so urgent, so I won't reiterate them here. I just wanted to speak to where you said in your follow-up regarding the advice to leave: "I'm sorry that in the end I couldn't follow it."

This is your internal monologue lying to yourself (out of understandable fears, insecurity, etc.) that you are fundamentally helpless -- imprisoned by the situation in a way where there seems to be no good escape. So let me suggest a mental experiment for you. What happens when you simply rephrase the sentence to say "in the end this time I couldn't follow it found it too challenging to leave"?

Another young woman a few months ago was trying to extricate herself from her own toxic relationship (the details are different from yours, but the underlying fact was that it was a bad relationship she needed to get out of). I am saying the same thing to you as I said to her:
Saying things like "I can't do X" (and its cousins, "X is unbearable," "X is impossible," etc.) renders yourself helpless and without agency. You construct a scenario in which you essentially take away your own free will.

However, if you rephrase it this way -- "As much as I think it's a bad idea to date him again it is difficult to choose not to do it" -- you have removed your helplessness from the equation, while still acknowledging the truth.

Now, this might just seem like a subtle shift in semantics. However, it's actually an extremely powerful reframing of your entire role at this moment. It is one thing to say you CAN'T do something; it is another thing to say that it's DIFFICULT to do something. "Can't" cripples you; "difficult" challenges you. "Can't" says you are helpless; "difficult" acknowledges your agency. "Can't" makes you a child; "difficult" makes you an adult.

Claim your agency and adulthood. You can do this, even if it's hard to do.
I wish you all the best, Anon. You can do better. You deserve better. Your needs are more important than his. You can survive a broken heart, but you may not survive domestic violence. There are literally millions of men out there who do not treat women this way, ever. I am hoping with all my heart that you can tap into your strength (you have it in you, I promise!) to remove yourself safely from this situation so that you can eventually find out for yourself what a healthy, loving relationship can be.
posted by scody at 3:12 PM on May 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


I agree with the comments above.

I agree with this set of instructions:


Call the hotline, they'll probably have a lot of good advice.
Call a locksmith and change your locks.
Call a friend and ask them if you can stay. Tell them why. Tell them not to tell him.
Call your family & other friends, warn them of the situation. He may try to get to you through them.
Call the police.
Call him and call it off.
Call the phone company and change your number(s). Do this after having called him, so he won't get the new number.
Go to your friend's house. Stay there.


But also, maybe call his friends or family? See if you can have someone with him (but let them know - WITHOUT A GUN OR ACCESS TO GUNS) when you call to break up again. He needs help, but in any case - THIS IS NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. It is more important to be sure that you are safe than any other consideration here.
posted by nile_red at 8:46 PM on May 5, 2011


Hey, here's another random internet stranger who is hoping that you are okay. All this stuff in the thread, as right-on as it is, is probably not fun for you to read. Remember to value yourself above everything else. Can you be the best person you can be when this sword is hanging over your head? Don't you deserve the best for yourself? You do. I don't know you, but I'm here to tell you that you do.

You said you are a musician. How will this relationship negatively influence your ability to be a disciplined musician?

I mention this last because, I wonder, how are you allowing this man to define you? Is this the life you wanted yourself when you daydreamed of being an adult?

Above all, stay safe. Keep yourself safe, because you have so much to give the world, and you don't want to jeopardize that.
posted by angrycat at 3:32 PM on May 24, 2011


I'm late to the party, but I'm thinking about you and pulling for you. Most of all, I'm really proud of you for being in such an awful, scary, life-threatening situation and ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING.

Now, *not* doing something doesn't mean that you're a wuss or you're stupid; as we see in this thread and elsewhere, tons of smart, strong, seemingly normal people stay in these situations all the time, for any number of reasons. But actually doing something, especially when it means you're risking the possibility of escalation or something worse? You've got guts, woman. More than I'd have.

You're going to be fine, and you're on the way to making more good choices in the future.

If you're anywhere near Madison, WI, I'm around.
posted by Madamina at 1:19 PM on June 3, 2011


Please, please check in again. Regardless of what steps you've decided to take, I want to tell you how incredibly brave and STRONG to handle what you did immediately. You removed yourself from the situation. You notified people who could be around you physically for safety. You DID call the Police, and their vastly underwhelming reaction has nothing to do with you.

I can absolutely understand this situation. I dated a guy in my teens who regularly threaten to kill himself. It wasn't until I did finally left and cut off all contact that he was able to start to learn how to stand on his own. If all he had done was threaten to kill himself, I would have severely disapproved of his behavior, but might have understood being a tiny bit sympathetic.

He didnt threaten suicide. He systamatically pulled a gun out, loaded it, and sat it next to him. Not pointed at HIMSELF. Possibly debating pointing it at YOU. This is HOMICIDAL behavior, not suicidal. How can I make that determination without knowing him?

I have attempted sucide multiple times. Almost succeeded. But I NEVER placed anyone else in danger. I never used it to manipulate other people. I was always alone when I did it. It was my pain, and part of that pain was the thought of hurting people more than I had. I loved them, I didn't want to pull them down with me. THAT is what happens when you care for someone - you try to spare them pain. Not brandish a weapon, terrifying you, making HIS suffering become yours. That's pure selfishness.

However, the most recent statement you said he made to you terrifies me:

I broke up with him yesterday without incident. He said he wasn't going to try to kill himself because he was convincing himself that I was worthless and that he felt sorry for anyone who dated me.

This sounds like possibly him trying to depersonalize you. And if he can switch from 'I love her so much that if she leaves I cant stand living' to 'she's worthless, and no good to anyone' that fast, makes me intensely worried he's going to channel his swirling emotions into beliving that you're at fault for his pain, and come after you. With the gun still in his possession. I don't believe this is in anyway overstating the danger you are still in.

You mention not having close friends. Do you want some (or, pretty much everyone in this thread). I would love to talk or email with you. I'm in Lansing, MI, so if I'm close, I'd love to start hanging out. In fact, I'm pretty sure from what I've seen in this thread, almost anyone that is near would like to make your acquantance. Because you also really impressed me when you said:

I feel hurt, upset, angry, not only about the incident but also that I had to wrestle with him multiple times to try to get that thing away. I'm a musician and it bothers me that I hurt my hands and potentially risked a career trying to help him.

The statement about hurting your hands and risking a career? You have things you want to do with your life. You got more angry over the fact that not only could he have taken your life away, but he could have stripped you with your desires in life. This, to me, sounds like an amazingly strong, resilliant, defiance to have to live your life.

If you want to talk at all, or if you'd like us to find someone in this thread to just have a unconnected caring presence that is completely on your side, I bet we can dig someone up remotely close to you that would be overjoyed to meet you :)

Memail me if you'd like to chat. If you can't memail, see if you can either have jessmyn pass yours on to me, or I believe she can pull my email from my account.

Small piece of advice. This is a horribly traumatic thing to have happen. Either the emotional manipulation, or having to wrestle a gun away for your safety. The two together could be devestating. Some people do deal with things better inside their own head. Other people need someone to listen, if only to get it out in the air, and not in your head. Neither of those choices are better than the other. If you do need someone to talk to, and your more comfortable doing it anonymously, call the domestic violance hotline. Tell them how you're feeling, and your confusion. They will be more than happy to hear your story. Because you're HERE.
posted by waxlight at 11:40 AM on June 4, 2011


Please, please check in again.

For the curious, the OP has checked in here.
posted by lalex at 1:53 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


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