I was supposed to call; I didn't, and he freaked out. Is this normal?
December 1, 2011 1:41 PM   Subscribe

I was supposed to call; I didn't, and he freaked out. Is this normal?

I'm unsure if this late-night transaction was normal; I'm unclear now after a misunderstanding, and need a consensus.

Background: I am female and have been dating a man for a month who I met through an online dating site. We've been getting along almost too well and it's borderline surreal. I really shudder to say this, because I know how ridiculous it sounds, but I feel like he might be the one. He feels the same way about me. I consider myself mostly skeptical and practical by nature, and he claims he is too, and I've been pushing this back a bit, to slow down the process, since it's been so intense.

One morning, while professing some feelings to me, he told me to contact him after my day's events were done (at 10pm), but I did not hear that part. So apparently we agreed that I'd contact him, but I didn't, not having heard. I came home exhausted that day, fell asleep in my clothes at 11pm, and woke up at 12:30am to my phone making sounds. I checked it and saw that I had a text from him at 11pm, asking me if I was OK, and 5 missed calls after midnight, in the span of 20 minutes. To me, it seemed overdone, and I got creeped out and a little scared. I went to the bathroom, and there was a knock at the door. He was there, looking really scared and intense. When I said, "What are you doing here!?" He said he thought something bad happened to me, but after seeing my scared/annoyed reaction, he was hurt and left abruptly.

He later explained that he basically feared for my safety, had checked the perimeter of my apartment, checked the news for any crime information near my area, had a weapon in his pocket in case someone had broken into my apartment.

I'm unable to shake this feeling of creeped-out-ness. Did he overreact? I'm not sure why me not answering my phone would result in his jumping to such a dramatic conclusion. Should I be more understanding of his perspective? He is diagnosed ADHD, and takes Adderall, if that makes any difference. I do not know much about that condition. We are both in our early 30s.

I still want to make things work with him, but the feeling of being scared has stayed with me since 2 nights ago. I don't know if that's irrational or something I should heed.

Please email me if you prefer: ttemp347@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (122 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Speaking as a guy: That level of freakout is definitely absolutely overreaction and you are totally justified in your feeling of creeped-out-ness. Trust your gut on this. It's not irrational.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:46 PM on December 1, 2011 [54 favorites]


Sounds like my mother when I was 14 and occasionally forgot to call to let her know where I was; she'd call every single person I'd ever met to make sure I was alive. Even if he's not all that creepy or controlling (which he could be; you'll find out one way or the other if you stay with him), do you really want to be with someone with that level of anxiety?
posted by Melismata at 1:46 PM on December 1, 2011


A couple of calls and texts are okay. The showing up at your house is overboard. Way overboard. This reeks of obsessive and/or possessive tendencies to me.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 1:46 PM on December 1, 2011 [23 favorites]


So I am a worrywort - if my husband doesn't call on schedule I do freak out BUT I recognize that I am a worrywort, and I don't start calling hospitals just because the dude won't respond to a text message.

Personally, I would be incredibly skeeved by this behavior (and honestly I would question the narrative that he's presenting - that you promised to call him - in the first place). That doesnt' mean that he's in the wrong, just that it doesn't fit within the bounds of what I consider to be acceptable "I am worried" behavior.
posted by muddgirl at 1:46 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


While he may, in fact, have been genuinely concerned for your safety, the way he went about things tell me this is not a dude who responds well to tense situations. And this isn't even a tense situation -- it's not as if he didn't get a chance to walk you home at night and wanted to make sure you got home okay.

However, showing up at your front door, univited and armed is not how you show people you are concerned. It is how you show people that you have the tendency to show up at their door, uninvited and armed. This is beyond "dramatic." He may have had the best intentions, but you know how the rest of that saying goes.
posted by griphus at 1:47 PM on December 1, 2011 [70 favorites]


I've definitely had this impulse before, though ordinary with someone I've dated a lot longer than a month. (This might be my own cultural bias, but honestly) the weapon in the pocket is what creeps me out most about this story. The number of people who get accidentally injured by guns in a situation like this is a lot higher than the bad guys who do, and it takes a pretty big semantic leap to go from "Oh, I hope something bad didn't happen to anonymous" to "I've got to get in my car with my gun, drive over there, and hurt whoever's trying to hurt her."

He owes you at least a pretty good explanation of what he's doing, but if you're feeling scared, chances are you feel scared for the right reasons. People can be awesome in all other respects and still way too mentally unhealthy to be dating anyone. That might well be the case here.
posted by Apropos of Something at 1:47 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, I can tell you that if my husband is even 30 minutes late getting home without letting me know, I involuntarily imagine elaborate scenarios in my head about how he's dead on the side of the road and I will have to call his parents and tell them their son is gone and then figure out how to live the rest of my life alone blah blah blah.... So, I don't think it's abnormal (or at least unusual) to be worried when someone is supposed to call you, they don't, and then you can't reach them to find out what's going on. The only thing that gives me pause is that you've only been seeing him a month, but if, as you say, the relationship has been really great up to this point I don't think this is necessarily a red flag. It may be the beginning of a weird pattern of behavior, but if I were in your shoes I would at least give it a chance to just be a one-off thing.
posted by something something at 1:47 PM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


That's weird. I don't think it's wrong to give him the benefit of the doubt since it's only happened once, but I would definitely be keeping my eyes open.
posted by auto-correct at 1:48 PM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is not normal and you are not overreacting. This is creepy and you have every right to be freaked out. Trust your gut.
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 1:48 PM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


To clarify, I've had the impulse that something bad might have happened, and I've sent the "are you okay?" text a few times. I've never gone over to someone's house in that case, and I've certainly never done it while packing.
posted by Apropos of Something at 1:48 PM on December 1, 2011


From what you wrote that all adds up to major craziness and creepiness. I tend view adults as people who can take care of themselves for the most part, and behavior like that doesn't.

You have been dating him for a month and know him better than the internet, so maybe try having an honest talk with him to understand his intentions and set very clear boundaries with him. But this is definitely a major red flag so file it away and watch out!
posted by Mr. Papagiorgio at 1:48 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow. Big red flag. Be thankful it happened this early in the relationship. If he doesn't instantly recognize how weird and creepy his behavior was, cut the cord before he insinuates himself into your life even more.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:48 PM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


My first thought about the weapon ... he thought you might have gone home with someone else. This is deeply weird.
posted by cyndigo at 1:49 PM on December 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


Do you live in what could be considered a bad neighborhood? Do you live alone?

I think his reaction is a little extreme, but I wouldn't call it "creepy." He may have had some experience in his life that's left him a little paranoid. A good friend of mine was robbed at gunpoint in the stairway of her apartment last year; I was a lot more paranoid about letting her walk home by herself and worrying about her getting home safe until she moved to a better neighborhood. If I'd called a bunch of times when she'd told me she'd be available and I couldn't reach her, I might very well have gone to her apartment to check on her.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 1:49 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Also, I am a dude who also gets rather freaked out if my girlfriend is out late and etc. but I have never had the inclination to go track her down.)
posted by griphus at 1:49 PM on December 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


That is so far over the top that top isn't even visible anymore.

A very very watered down version of this happened to me once and I ended it immediately. Unless there is some extenuating circumstance you haven't mentioned (health problems, bad neighborhood, recent trauma) - I'm not even sure how to justify it enough to be on the fence.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 1:50 PM on December 1, 2011 [16 favorites]


Wow, if someone I had known for a month showed up at my place with a weapon at midnight, I'd be seriously freaked out too. I'd tell the guy flat-out that you are really not cool with that behavior and set some really clear boundaries (i.e., never show up to my place uninvited,) if you even want to continue the relationship.

I wouldn't, personally. Between the "this is so good it's surreal" and the sudden uber-overreaction, I would be inclined to think "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is." That sounds like the beginning of a drama-filled relationship with a massively controlling dude who also a) has a weapon and an inclination to grab it and b) really really poor judgment.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:51 PM on December 1, 2011 [35 favorites]


griphus: However, showing up at your front door, univited and armed is not how you show people you are concerned. It is how you show people that you have the tendency to show up at their door, uninvited and armed.

Cannot nth this enough.

I still want to make things work with him, but the feeling of being scared has stayed with me since 2 nights ago. I don't know if that's irrational or something I should heed.

IMO one should never dismiss/squash gut feelings like these, no matter how "irrational" they are, or even if you feel like they're silly or can't quite put them into words.

I am female and have been dating a man for a month who I met through an online dating site. We've been getting along almost too well and it's borderline surreal.

This actually kind of sounds like mirroring to me.
posted by cairdeas at 1:52 PM on December 1, 2011 [19 favorites]


Wow. So, speaking as a worrywart who's been on the other side of this and not gotten a pre-arranged "I made it home safely" message... he massively overreacted. MASSIVELY. This is a huge red flag.

He's making you feel unsafe? You're not overreacting. Listen to yourself.
posted by pie ninja at 1:54 PM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nthing that this is not normal. Someone who would jump to the conclusion that they need to physically attack someone at my house because I don't make a phone call and don't answer my phone at night is at the very least high-strung. I don't think I could personally deal with dating someone who acted like that.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:54 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think you're scared because, whether you've articulated it or not, you've sensed what he was really doing.

What he was really doing was sending a message to you: that he is extremely vigilant in enforcing anything he tells you to do.

And that's all without you even agreeing to call him! (You couldn't have agreed, since you didn't hear him.)

Of course he overreacted.

I doubt anyone will tell you not to heed your instincts. Your feelings matter. They can't be dismissed as "irrational."
posted by John Cohen at 1:54 PM on December 1, 2011 [129 favorites]


John Cohen: What he was really doing was sending a message to you: that he is extremely vigilant in enforcing anything he tells you to do.
Yes, this too.
posted by cairdeas at 1:56 PM on December 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


You know, I get the "oh shit they're dead" fear if someone doesn't call or come home on time, but then I dismiss it as irrational. I will occasionally send the "hey, you okay?" call or text if I can't quiet that worry down. I get that.

But a weapon? Goddamn. I wouldn't want anyone that quick to grab a weapon to know where I lived. Stay safe.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:56 PM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think this seems totally batshit crazy. I think everyone has had that paranoid "OMG THEY'RE DEAD" moment, but hardly anyone GOES OVER TO INVESTIGATE WITH A WEAPON. Usually, especially in this event, you say to yourself, "oh, they probably forgot to call." Like, this is much different than, say, one's spouse not coming home at night. You've been seeing each other a month -- hell, you've only KNOWN each other for a month. This is a complete overreaction.

This would be a dealbreaker for me, because, That sounds like the beginning of a drama-filled relationship with a massively controlling dude who also a) has a weapon and an inclination to grab it and b) really really poor judgment. EXACTLY. If your instinct is telling you to put the kibosh on, I'd listen.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 1:58 PM on December 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


I would run like my ass was on fire. His reaction is beyond "over-reaction" to the point of dangerous. I'd break up with his ass over the phone calls alone. After One Month- he does not get to hunt you down for not checking in with him.
posted by Blisterlips at 2:00 PM on December 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


The very most "benefit of the doubt" I'll give him is that because you'd both sounded like you were gearing up for A Big Intense Talk, his emotions were heightened and he got carried away.

However, you ABSOLUTELY still should tell him that "yo, dude, you went WAY overboard."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:00 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


....Wait -- I'm now seeing that he was ARMED.

Okay, yeah, this now merits a "what the FUCK dude, I'm a grownup!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:01 PM on December 1, 2011


Shit- what's he going to do if your cell phone dies at work one day? Do you want this kind of trouble in your life?
posted by Blisterlips at 2:02 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]



What he was really doing was sending a message to you: that he is extremely vigilant in enforcing anything he tells you to do.


I wish that I could favorite this 1000 times.

I had a situation where I forgot to return a call and the guy came over and pounded on my door until I called the police. I promise you that it was not because he was "worried".

In every instance in my own life and in the lives of my friends where something like this has happened it was not "because he cares so much" but "you will be punished for not doing what I say/you agree to" with an extra helping of "don't you feel guilty for making me so scared/worried, next time just do as I say"
posted by Shouraku at 2:02 PM on December 1, 2011 [39 favorites]


Nthing everything everyone said about this guy being controlling and bad news.

Also, just showing up armed in a situation like that, apart from all the other issues, is an enormous glaring red flag. No one who was a responsible gun owner/user of weapons (knife? pepper spray?) would do something like that, ever. The fact that he did means he has weapons for "crazy-ass motherfucker" reasons. Do you want to date someone like that?

DMTFA, but be very careful how you do it and make sure a lot of other people in your life know what's going on. Document all of this. You should probably even go ahead and talk to the police, to get the ball rolling, in case you need a restraining order.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 2:10 PM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm also going to point out that there is a reason why you have to get to know someone slowly. People who have crazy expectations, demands, go overboard in controling their SO's tend to also be VERY CHARMING. They know how to seem to be exactly what you are looking for. They weed out people who won't be controled by pushing your boundries and seeing if you take it.

You feeling super intense about him is not for sure a good sign. He might be shaping what you see of his personality to draw you in.
posted by Blisterlips at 2:11 PM on December 1, 2011 [18 favorites]


I am not that concerned about the gun - we recently had a question from someone who takes gun when he accompanies his wife to alarm calls at her work. For some people, tons of people, a someone is raping my friend situations call for a gun. However, why did he think it was such a situation? Why did be think it was his job to be in charge of your safety?

Tell him that you think he over-reacted and you need a couple of weeks to think about how you feel. This will wither give you time to think thinks through, or show you how inflexible he is.

My sense is that this really a crazy-town move, but it's possible there are special circumstances not visible to us on the internets.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 2:12 PM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


You know those REALLY big flags they use in parades and have to have like fifty people to carry? That's about the size of flag this exchange raises.
posted by FlamingBore at 2:12 PM on December 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


I agree with the folks who are saying that this is pretty much batshit insane (I think John Cohen is right on the money), and would like to add: I know that you're feeling a lot for this guy right now, but it's only been a month. It sounds like you guys are in the crushed out phase, which can be an overwhelming and intense time. It can also be a time where your judgement is not what it should be.

You may feel you know him well, but a month is just not that long. You've learned something pretty important about him in this instance.

On preview: seconding Blisterlips.
posted by Specklet at 2:13 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's not okay. That's really not okay.

The text was totally okay. One late night phone call - *maybe* two if and ONLY if you have a generic voicemail/answering machine that doesn't sound like your voice so it was possible that he thought he misdialed... that would also be in the realm of okay but heading in the general direction of 'clingy' or 'overreaction' given that it's only been a month.

Beyond that, and you've gone past controlling in serious get-the-fuck-out land.

Showing up armed specifically because there might have been violence that went down at your home and pounding on your door in the middle of the night? Beyond the pale. I don't usually say this, but DTMF.

Nthing that he's showing vigilance in enforcing what you do -- also, he's making it clear what he thinks the limits are for what has to happen to you in order for you to not call him.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:14 PM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, and one more thing...

When I don't hear from a SO who was supposed to call, at the most I call the police and ask them to do a drive by just to see if everything appears to be OK.


I am not a cowboy or John McClane, but apparently your date thinks that he is...
posted by Shouraku at 2:19 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have you talked to him about this? Have you asked him why he came over?

My first thought after reading his reaction ("looking really scared and intense"... "he was hurt and left abruptly") was that he has been in a situation where a friend was threatened/injured in a similar situation and he felt regret that he didn't do anything about it. It sounds like he might have some PTSD-like symptoms.

I do completely agree that it was an overreaction, but if you like the guy so much, maybe give him the benefit of the doubt and at least ask him why he decided to take such drastic measures. (You can do this over the phone, if in person is too intense.)
posted by Flamingo at 2:23 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, he wasn't angry when he came over. He was concerned and worried. That doesn't (necessarily) sound like someone who's trying to "show vigilance in enforcing what you do".
posted by Flamingo at 2:24 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Skeevy. be very wary.
posted by theora55 at 2:25 PM on December 1, 2011


I do completely agree that it was an overreaction, but if you like the guy so much, maybe give him the benefit of the doubt and at least ask him why he decided to take such drastic measures.

My one caution to you is be really, really honest with yourself if you have any tendency towards being co-dependent or people-pleasing/submissive. If you do, I think going this route would be a really risky thing for you.
posted by cairdeas at 2:25 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


One last thing: assume something was wrong and he showed up just in the nick of time, armed, dangerous and alone, ready to take on whoever was keeping you from calling him.

What the hell would happen? If he had a knife he bought at the mall, was he going to get into a knife-fight? Stab some guys? Get it taken away from him because he had no idea how to handle a knife and promptly stabbed himself? Did he have a gun? Was he ready to show up at your house and start shooting up the place in an attempt to rescue you?

This does not sound like a guy who thinks things through before entering a situation that he thinks mortal danger is involved.
posted by griphus at 2:31 PM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


I seriously doubt that he came over with the gun because he was worried about any burglar. He was worried he'll find you with some other guy. I've been burning with intense jealous fantasies earlier in my life and left messages and unanswered calls, and always later explained it as being worried about 'safety'.
posted by Free word order! at 2:33 PM on December 1, 2011 [15 favorites]


Flamingo, we know his explanation: he said he thought something bad happened to the OP, and later explained that he basically feared for her safety.

This?

I got creeped out and a little scared.
I'm unable to shake this feeling of creeped-out-ness.
the feeling of being scared has stayed with me since 2 nights ago.


makes me think that giving him the benefit of the doubt is NOT what the OP needs to do.

I can see how you can't make the jump from his behavior to labeling him as "someone who's trying to show vigilance in enforcing what you do", but read the above comment from griphus: showing up at your front door, uninvited and armed is not how you show people you are concerned. It is how you show people that you have the tendency to show up at their door, uninvited and armed.
posted by Specklet at 2:46 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


This would scare the shit out of me... not least because he was "hurt" to learn that you were disturbed by it, and that his explanation later (presumably after he had had time to cool down and reflect) was to continue to try to get you to come around to his point of view as the rational (or even noble?!) one, and make you second-guess your feelings like you're doing now. It should matter to him that he made you scared and upset, and that you think his actions were menacing. His completely-out-of-bounds behavior that night was one thing; his lack of empathy now is another, and I find it even more chilling.

Someone who is The One for you would be horrified at the thought that they had made you this uncomfortable. They would not be trying to twist this situation to make you feel guilty that you're not more "understanding of their perspective."

He is revealing things to you about how he views himself, the world, relationships, and you personally, and I shudder to think about what it would be to be married to someone who thinks that what he did, and how he is handling it now, are in any way okay.

At the VERY least, please tell him that this incident has made you very uncomfortable (it's the truth) and that you need some unspecified amount of time to sort out how you want to proceed. That is a perfectly reasonable request, and someone sincerely interested in your happiness and wellbeing, and ideally being a positive part of your life, will grant it to you willingly.
posted by argonauta at 2:47 PM on December 1, 2011 [13 favorites]


Totally normal. For a psycho. For someone you want to date, not so much.
posted by Sternmeyer at 2:51 PM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


The multiple calls and texts and showing up would be just irritating and weird, considering you've only been dating for a month. Unless you guys have been spending every day together (which would be a little intense for people in their 30's), the first month is usually still time to be someone's acquaintance and friend instead of totally intimate partner. People don't even like talking & texting every day during this period of a relationship.

What takes it from irritating and makes it super odd is that he checked your apartment, checked the news and brought a WEAPON in his pocket! Woah! I live in New England, so this would just be considered totally batty, but having lived in the Southwest, I know that in other parts of the country, people feel differently about weapons.

It's just foolish, really. Does he expect to find you tied up? Does he expect to find someone trying to break into your house while you're asleep? If he does find this, isn't he more likely to be outgunned? What would he do if there were two people instead of one.

His behavior has nothing to do whatsoever with ADHD. He may have some other stuff going on in his life. Really, you have to ask yourself if this man's world is one you want to share. Do you want to be close to someone who jumps so quickly into fantasy?...who has judgment like the kind shown in this situation?

On the other hand, people do really weird things when they're bitten by the love bug. Maybe he hadn't slept in two days because his mother is ill. Maybe he saw some really violent stuff when he was a kid. Maybe he was in Iraq. People do really weird stuff. If you like him enough, you could stick around and see if he keeps up with stuff like this. I'd be curious why you think he's "the one." Do you really think this? You'll have to ask yourself.
posted by shushufindi at 2:53 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sooner or later the crazy always comes out. This time, you are lucky it was sooner. Run from this man.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:02 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Giving yet another datapoint as one of those people who jumps to "OMG THEY'RE DEAD" if someone is late or not answering their phone...I would a) never go to these lengths, and b) be seriously creeped out by someone who did. And too, I wouldn't freak out if I didn't hear from someone I'd been dating or known for a month or so, just because there are too many variables. For example, if I can't get a hold of one of my parents at a time I expect to be able to, I start getting worried, because I know where they should be/are likely to be, and know that they always answer their phones or return the call if me or my brother calls. For someone whose routine and habits I don't know so well? I'd chalk it up to something harmless like they fell asleep, they left their phone in the car, their phone is on silent, etc.

Is there anything in his background that you know of that could account for this behavior? I'm inclined to say, "he's a creeper, DTMFA," but if he's say a former cop or a veteran or something, this kind of behavior is somewhat more understandable if still creepy and over the line.

At any rate, I really caution continuing in a relationship with this guy. Consider any number of future, harmless incidents, and how he might potentially react to them: you're at the movies with friends, then go out to dinner, and don't answer your phone because you kept it on silent. He tracks you or your friends down, freaked out about your safety. You leave your cellphone at work, and figure any calls/texts can wait for a night, and head home. He freaks out and shows up at your place armed again. All the time he just says he's worried about your safety, it's only that he cares about you so much, he's hurt that you don't understand this and aren't willing to always let him know where you are...Is this a pattern of behavior you would really be okay with?
posted by yasaman at 3:03 PM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Adderall, like all stimulants, can cause paranoia if too much is taken or someone simply has a bad reaction.

Paranoia is a bad, bad thing when combined with a weapon.

Tread extremely carefully.

If he were to take the initiative to call you, apologize, admit that it was paranoid and wrong, and go off of Adderall immediately, and have an immediate and noticable (and reassuring) personality change, I'd giving him a second chance.

If he thinks it's justified in any way, or if he acts like it's normal (!!!) then no. Hell no.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:09 PM on December 1, 2011


Sorry, that should say "I'd consider giving him a second chance".

But really, when dating, the answer to "should I listen to my gut", when it's telling you someone is scary, is YES. You have self-protective instincts for a reason.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:10 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


And, to be clear, he's probably not paranoid from stimulants, he's probably a controlling and violent fucknut.

Most of the people I know with ADHD are generous and good-natured, sometimes to a fault--if frustrating at times. This is not standard ADHD behavior at all. Standard ADHD would be to forget to call because of video games.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:16 PM on December 1, 2011 [19 favorites]


I wouldn't be able to write that post if I were you because I'd be too busy running for the hills and changing my phone number. That is beyond over-reacting. That's creepy controlling warning flag skywriting behaviour.
posted by marylynn at 3:23 PM on December 1, 2011


Normal reaction: texting or calling you once later to say, "Hey, I thought you were going to call. Everything okay?" and letting it go after that. Because people have different schedules, they miscommunicate, they forget. It's only two hours. You catch up with them the next day, maybe a little annoyed until they explain.

Abnormal reaction: texting and calling repeatedly, showing up at your apartment, "checking the perimeter", reading crime reports, and bringing a weapon because two hours went by without a phone call.

You are not being irrational.
posted by katillathehun at 3:26 PM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


To be clear and not just alarmist, here's what I'd consider an appropriate set of behaviours: When he doesn't hear from you at 10pm, he sends a text. No reply. Hrm, maybe something has happened, he thinks, but... that's just over-reacting, she probably had a busy day and forgot. Okay, so I send another text (or leave a v/m) at maybe 12:00 and say "Hey, so I thought you were going to call me tonight but I must have mixed it up. No problem, hope you're well. Can you shoot me a text in the morning to let me know you're okay so I don't start thinking something bad's happened? Cool! Have a great day!". Note the extreme casualness I've attempted to put into that message so she doesn't think I'm a crazy stalker! Awesome for me.
posted by marylynn at 3:29 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


At best, he is an accident waiting to happen.

p.s. If he was legitimately worried, why didn't he call the cops?
posted by tel3path at 3:30 PM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm unsure if this late-night transaction was normal; I'm unclear now after a misunderstanding, and need a consensus.

I also think it's kind of interesting that you wrote this. Of course this could be a fluke of phrasing, but -- you didn't just say that you needed outside opinions, you said that you needed a consensus. That makes me think you were maybe aware on a certain level that there would be a consensus here.

I think your instincts and sense of normalcy are more accurate and reliable that it seems you think.
posted by cairdeas at 3:30 PM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh hell no - someone coming over at midnight, roaming around with their piece?!? After a month of dating? Risky, controlling behavior is an immediate red flag.

Dump his punk ass and stay prepared for blowback.
posted by porn in the woods at 3:34 PM on December 1, 2011


Anytime something seems too good to be true too fast, you have to worry about being manipulated. I should rephrase, you don't... until they pull something like this. Then you realize they may just be telling you what you want to hear/mirroring your behavior in some sort of weird way.

Watch closely to see if he attempts to control you in some other way. Knowing where you are at all times isn't him worrying, it's controlling. He might rationalize it to himself as worrying about your safety, but nooooooooo.

I worry about people's safety when they are in actual danger. Not when they are getting off work and going home like they've done a thousand times. I would go insane otherwise.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 3:36 PM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, and I saw a few comments saying there might be mitigating factors... and yeah, there might be. But don't you think his reaction would've been overwhelming relief and not "he was hurt and left abruptly"?

We've all had those paranoid moments and I think the normal reaction is to chuckle and admit you were being silly and feel very grateful they were alright. Not mad that the person doesn't respect how much like The Batman you were being.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 3:39 PM on December 1, 2011 [15 favorites]


So apparently we agreed that I'd contact him, but I didn't, not having heard.

No, you didn't. You didn't agree to contact him. This didn't happen. You just said it happened, and then you said it didn't happen.

His entire behavior is premised on an agreement HE IS THE ONLY WITNESS TO.

Whatever your evaluation of his behavior if one believes in the non-existent agreement, consider what that behavior looks like in its absence.

But don't you think his reaction would've been overwhelming relief and not "he was hurt and left abruptly"?

Just what I was thinking.
posted by endless_forms at 3:44 PM on December 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


I really shudder to say this, because I know how ridiculous it sounds, but I feel like he might be the one.

Sorry but it is ridiculous (so is the phrase "the one"). You do not know someone after a month. In the beginning stages of dating, people are always on their best behavior and he could be the controlling type only showing you what you want to see. That being said, what he did is so fucking unbelievable that I had to read your question twice to make sure that I hadn't read it wrong somehow. His whole side of the story sounds fishy and I'm going to agree with the others that said that he was probably making sure that you didn't have some other man over. Please, for your safety and well being, DTMFA.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:45 PM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


The only time this is okay is when you and the rest of your squadron are under fire and someone didn't make it to a scheduled meet point.


In all seriousness, these actions remind me a lot of my ex;s behavior when he was in the grips of extreme cocaine addiction and/or amphetamine psychosis.
posted by elizardbits at 3:49 PM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Impulsivity, not thinking things through, sounds pretty ADHD. It doesn't sound like you know him well enough to know if he has a handle on his behavior and he is probably beating himself up about it. It could be a lot of things, we don't have enough information to go on, but it was definitely an overreaction and since you are uncomfortable, slow it way the fuck down. You don't know this guy very well yet, so you don't know if this is normal for him and a sign of his regular behavior or not. Talk to him about it, if you like him enough. Trust your gut. If you wanted to cut off contact with him altogether, then I doubt you would have bothered asking.
posted by provoliminal at 3:51 PM on December 1, 2011


Whether consciously intended or not this action will linger in your mind as a possible response to any future miscommunication, let alone argument, or fight. What if things get worse and he gets controlling or abusive and you want to leave -- do you think you might be afraid to, because he has shown he is capable of showing up with a weapon at your door? The weapon clinches it for me, and the fact that he revealed it to you, when he could have kept part secret once he knew you were safe, and would have, I think, if your safety and peace of mind was what he really wanted.

The bottom line is that even if there is a chance this was a clueless overreaction on his part, giving him that benefit of the doubt may constitute a grave risk to your personal safety if you're wrong. If he really was a nice guy, well, nice guys cannot behave in a way that is consistent with dangerous people, and you have to let him go for this, because the fear and worry will always be there.
posted by PercussivePaul at 3:55 PM on December 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


Another thing ... besides what he did that night ... it's been a couple of days, and he apparently hasn't recognized that what he did was at least weird.

It's not as if he at least said, "Oh, I over-reacted, sorry I scared you" or somesuch.
posted by maurreen at 3:57 PM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


The well is now permanently poisoned. I think it is over with this guy. And nthing everyone who spotted this as a red flag for crazy possessive behavior.

FWIW - I think that feeling of too-compatible-to-be-true! is actually some form of " mirroring" on his part.

Hon, he sounds unwell. RUN.


(actually. walk softly away so as not to spook him. you don't need a stalker out of this.)
posted by jbenben at 4:04 PM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I should add -- if he really is a deceptive manipulative type -- he will try to fool you into thinking is a clueless nice guy. This is why you have to let him go even if he makes a convincing case.
posted by PercussivePaul at 4:06 PM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think the guy is a nut case. Even if we imagine a world where showing up at your door with a weapon after multiple failed attempts to contact you isn't completely crazy then we still have to deal with the fact that he told he had a weapon. As others have written that's a message to you. He could just easily have chosen not to let you know about it.
posted by rdr at 4:07 PM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


but read the above comment from griphus: showing up at your front door, uninvited and armed is not how you show people you are concerned. It is how you show people that you have the tendency to show up at their door, uninvited and armed.

Yes, okay. Opinion changed. I agree that this is not what you want to be dealing with.
posted by Flamingo at 4:08 PM on December 1, 2011


Nthing, if it helps, that this isn't just one giant, red flag. It's several. Taken together, I would walk away with zero lingering doubts.
posted by moira at 4:13 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


This would be out of line behavior for me, and it sounds like it is for you too. All that calling, texting, showing up armed, and excessive worry sounds like a recipe for disaster. Coupled with the fact that you already feel like the relationship is getting way intense, way fast, I can't nth how not normal this is.

If you want to salvage the relationship, you need to have a serious talk about expectations, boundaries, and etc. Even if he was just genuinely worried and therefore jumping the gun, you already wanted to slow it down, and now is a perfect opportunity to put some brakes on and re-assess after a few weeks to see if this is a pattern or just a one-off.
posted by sm1tten at 4:15 PM on December 1, 2011


I've been thinking about this a lot. If he *was* just a really nice guy with incredibly bad judgment who freaked out, he'd be on his hands and knees about HIS bad behavior, and not casting himself as Prince Charming. The fact that you've been upset for 2 days is your gut telling you to RUN.
posted by cyndigo at 4:19 PM on December 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


If it's not controlling and dangerous, it's dumb. Two hours? I would not be able to put up with this guy.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:19 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am about to share with you the root of all relationship wisdom,

If something about someone else's behavior feels weird to you, it probably should, and investigating why will lead you to the wisdom behind why it felt like something weird and not something known. This dude's behavior seemed weird to you, and you've gotten a lot of excellent advice to this question from folks who have followed similar threads of weird feelings before. Really I hope we can convince you to not only carefully and calculatedly DTMFA, but also to trust your instincts and then think through them.

Women in particular are generally socialized to not trust their instincts, to devalue them, and to consider them irrational. This only serves one purpose, to make women more vulnerable and manipulate-able.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:19 PM on December 1, 2011 [51 favorites]


I really shudder to say this, because I know how ridiculous it sounds, but I feel like he might be the one.

This event is so many light-years out of the realm of healthy or acceptable behavior that it definitively disqualifies him from being "the one." (My caveat about the concept of "the one" here.)

This does not mean that you haven't experienced something very intense with him this past month. Clearly, you have. However, I want to state this plainly: intensity (aka chemistry), in and of itself, is not a reliable signal for long-term compatibility. Intensity without appropriate boundaries, for example -- which is exactly what this is -- is an inevitable recipe for disaster, because the intensity isn't really predicated on a meaningful understanding of the other person as an independent, autonomous human being.

I want you to keep this in mind because I think there's a good chance that if you try to call things off with him -- which I think is the only healthy, self-preserving thing you can do, as you have just been given the red flag equivalent of a Soviet-era May Day parade -- he will use the intensity/chemistry of the past month as an argument to try to get you to stay with him, as "proof" that you should be together and as a reason/excuse/justification for him showing up at your house armed.

Because you've felt this intensity, too, this might actually seem like a compelling argument in the moment, and a reason to override your (excellent) gut instinct. Do not fall for it. Hang tough. This is such profoundly disturbed (and disturbing) behavior that it suggests to me that he is either delusional (i.e., he's had a break with reality and he really thinks you were in danger and that he needed to show up with a gun to save your life) or sociopathic (i.e., he knows perfectly well you were fine, but he needed to show up with a gun to maintain control of the situation). You must not let this relationship continue. Please break it off with him -- safely, in public, and let other people know what you are doing.
posted by scody at 4:21 PM on December 1, 2011 [24 favorites]


I'd like to share some of my own experiences/history with my extremely protective boyfriend who has ADHD (as well as anxiety disorder and depression also, btw) in order to to give you a basis of comparison, OP.

My partner is medicated with THE HIGHEST LEGAL AMOUNT of Adderall (feels like a zombie at work without it) and never has he behaved like the man you're describing.

I used to live in the most cracked-out, terrifying part of Bed-Stuy and, since he was worried for my safety, he would send me home via car service after dark and insist on getting a text message if I rode the subway home during the day. If I forgot, he would text me again with a frowny emoticon or call me. That's it. No big deal.

So now you know how a loving person on a massive amount of Adderall behaves when he's concerned for your safety. With this crazy guy you're dealing with serious issues unrelated to ADHD.
posted by devymetal at 4:23 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think your instincts are screaming for you to get away from this guy and for very good reason. But you, like most of us, have the Big Problem -- when we have high hopes for a relationship with someone, we tend to ignore our instincts when red flags are raised in favor of giving them the benefit of the doubt.

This Big Problem is exacerbated by the fact you have to take it on faith that a bullet will be dodged by breaking up now (unless they freak out worse when you break up thereby validating the break up). This is very hard to do. Unfortunately, your only other option is to continue the relationship in order to find out through experience whether you will be riddled with bullets.

I strongly vote for running away from this guy as fast as possible because you told us that you can't shake the feeling of being creeped out. That is your instinct talking and I trust it. I hope you will too.
posted by murrey at 4:34 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


It seemed out of line to me when you said he called and texted multiple times after midnight. I'd be backing away at that point.

He showed up at your house? Dumped, never to be seen again.

He showed up armed???? Think about starting to keep track of all interactions so that when you have to get a restraining order in the future you have all the documentation.

Here's the thing about begin scared of a person. That is NEVER EVER EVER ok in a relationship. You should NEVER be scared of someone in your life for any amount of time much less two days. You are lucky in this situation because you found out early in the relationship so now you can get out much easier.
posted by magnetsphere at 4:40 PM on December 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


I agree with most everything other responders are saying... my additional $0.02 is that (having been around the block a few times), I can say with absolute certainty that with people like this, their behaviour tends to get weirder and weirder with each incident (whether real or perceived).

If he doesn't respect you enough to let you call enough in your own time frame without wigging out, then he doesn't truly respect you at all.
posted by chatelaine at 4:43 PM on December 1, 2011


Another thing... after my own experience with a guy who behaved similarly, a counselor told me that guys who act like this are very manipulative, and that part of their manipulation is making you believe he's the nicest guy in the world. Just think about it, hun.
posted by chatelaine at 4:46 PM on December 1, 2011


If he does not think he overreacted and is not able to accept responsibility for his behavior, there is something definitely wrong, but the idea that this is the result of Adderall or all people with ADHD are lovely, well-behaved people are ridiculous.
posted by provoliminal at 4:52 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


This part interests me:

One morning, while professing some feelings to me, he told me to contact him after my day's events were done (at 10pm),

I am absolutely not justifying the guy's behavior -- but I'm wondering whether he might be very immature rather than totally nuts. It is kind of Dating 101 not to blow up somebody's phone when they don't answer, and you damn sure don't show up at their home. Even the most controlling psychos know this. So it just makes me wonder whether he's just a really immature, naive person, because I think psychos are better at hiding that they are psycho.

That doesn't change the fact that you should probably move on ... But just curious, what have your interactions been like since that night?
posted by jayder at 4:57 PM on December 1, 2011


You're only a month in. This behavior is crazy. I'd break it off.
posted by spaltavian at 4:59 PM on December 1, 2011


What was the weapon? He's a nut regardless but I think it's a little different if it were a gun vs. a sharpened pencil or something.
posted by tristeza at 4:59 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


You're a grown up, you've made it home by yourself many times before and will many times in the future. You need to consider what kind of person comes to someones house armed in the middle of the night because they didn't get a text message. Its a huge leap of logic to skip from no text from the girl i'm dating to she's probably in the kind of trouble that requires vigilantism on my part.

He skipped right over you're phone battery being dead, you being tired, you forgetting, your best friend/mother/sister calling to chat for ages, an old friend dropping in, the event you were going to ending late and you not wanting to bother him and the huge, vast wealth of other perfectly reasonable reasons for you not to text him to you being in grave danger.

So unless you were going to to fight a duel in the middle of the roughest part of town against John Wayne - what he did is a spectacular over-reaction to the circumstances.

I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone who called me several times that late at night over something like this and a man who showed up armed at my house would make me truly worry.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 5:00 PM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


If he is legitimately misguided because of anything to do with ADHD, your breaking up with him is the only way you can safely and effectively communicate to him that he coincidentally resembles a terrifying psycho.

And yes, as jbenben says, step away quietly so as not to set him off.
posted by tel3path at 5:02 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, sorry, totally forgot to address the part I quoted. The "professing some feelings" thing. What feelings did he profess? Was there any sense given there that he was progressing too quickly? I don't doubt that he may be a controlling freak, but I still think it's possible that he's super dramatic and means well, and chose the worst possible means of showing that on that night.
posted by jayder at 5:02 PM on December 1, 2011


Just want to reinforce the message that if someone is gut-level frightening to you, you should pay attention to that fact.

Your fear is justified by his behavior, and there are also good reasons to be cautious of people who come on very intense at the start of a relationship. But even if none of that were true -- even if the only issue here were that you're instinctively scared of him -- that is not a situation in which a healthy relationship can occur.
posted by emshort at 5:04 PM on December 1, 2011


Okay, I'm a worrier. I often worry about the people I care about and, when I was a teenager, would call someone multiple times if I didn't hear from them until I got older, realized that was crazy behavior, and stopped.

That being said, if my boyfriend (let alone a guy I had been seeing for a month) didn't call at 10/10:30 ish like he said, I would probably give him a call sometime around 11. If he didn't pick up, maybe once more around 11:30. (Reasoning: maybe he got home late, maybe his phone was silent, maybe it had been dying earlier and he just turned it back on, etc.) If he still didn't pick up, I'd probably send a text before I went to bed along these lines: "I guess you fell asleep or your phone died or something? Oh well. I'm going to bed, so let's talk tomorrow. Text me when you get this so I know you're alive!"

And that would be it. Would I be a little concerned? Sure. Would I do my best to suppress my concern and not think about it too much because I know that he's a capable adult and I don't want to seem crazy? You betcha.

(Though honestly, I would probably be a little more annoyed that he had forgotten to call me like he said he would than worried, but I do understand that these things happen.)
posted by Emms at 5:05 PM on December 1, 2011


Though honestly, I would probably be a little more annoyed that he had forgotten to call me like he said he would than worried, but I do understand that these things happen.

Except the OP didn't forget to call because she never agreed that she would be calling him at a specific time.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:09 PM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Please, please listen to your fear. It's telling you something very important.

There are no mitigating circumstances whatsoever that would make it ok for this man to show up at your house with a gun.

None. Whatsoever.

I'm frightened for you not only because you're involved with someone who has very bad judgement, no understanding of healthy boundaries and a gun, but also because you are willing to excuse this very real threat as a misunderstanding.

This was a deliberate show of force, not a disagreement over whether you owed him a call. Please take the very good advice to break this off, in a safe public place, sooner rather than later.

Be careful and take good care of yourself. I'm really sorry you're dealing with this.
posted by Space Kitty at 5:09 PM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


He was there, looking really scared and intense. When I said, "What are you doing here!?" He said he thought something bad happened to me, but after seeing my scared/annoyed reaction, he was hurt and left abruptly.

This is the part that makes me nervous. Appearing "scared and intense" can look a lot like appearing "angry and nearly explosive." It's possible that you read his emotional cues just right, but I need to point out the more likely another possible explanation, he was angry.

That said, he showed up at your house in the middle of the night. This is a behavior. You had an emotion in response to that. He reacted to your emotion, and so "he was hurt and left abruptly."

This is not an appropriate thing to do, being hurt and leaving because you've caused someone else to be scared. Apologetic? sure. Embarrassed? maybe. Relieved that nobody else was terrorizing you? absolutely ok. But hurt and leaving abruptly? nope, not gonna fly. You get permission to feel the things you feel in response to behaviors that are outside the norms of social conventions and rational approaches to safety. If he was worried enough to approach a potential crime scene with a weapon, he should have notified the police.

Count me among the folks who doubt the veracity of his story. I vote manipulative and very very smart about some parts of it, while also being (luckily for you) profoundly stupid about at least one part of it.

Leave. Notify friends and family. Record the incident with the weapon. Better still if there are any emails where you wrote, "dude it really bothered me that you came to my house at _time__ on __date___ with a __specific weapon__ after I did not respond to your rapid fire texts and calls." If there is such an email, print out a copy of it and his response, which I assume will be something along the lines of "I was expecting you to call. This is how I respond to being __afraid or whatever__ I'm ___hurt___ that you don't appreciate my response." But call the police now to file a report of the incident, don't wait until he does an additional crazy thing.

And think about moving as soon as possible. Like, this weekend? Better safe than sorry.
posted by bilabial at 5:26 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are no mitigating circumstances whatsoever that would make it ok for this man to show up at your house with a gun.

None. Whatsoever.


I can think of several. Being two and a half hours late for a phone call is not one of them.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:19 PM on December 1, 2011


This is the epitome of deal breaker behavior. There is no possible scenario in which this behavior should even be considered on the boundary of normal. It is so absurdly abnormal that it would be foolish to try to salvage the relationship. Joining the chorus of those who suggest ending things with him gently and as soon as possible. Please stay safe.
posted by TheCavorter at 6:20 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not normal behavior, and it's not the behavior of someone who is mature enough to be in a relationship.

I used to be close to people who would do or have done something like this, and they all shared these traits in common:
-Being inexperienced in relationships
-Low self-esteem. They tried to make up for their perceived lack of value by being overly protective and inappropriately generous
-Secret contempt for others and an inability to form real long-term friendships. On the surface, they appear to be generous and good at cultivating intimacy between people. However, they generally turned out to be undependable, snobbish, and to be harboring grudges over perceived slights. Those grudges were never resolved via discussion, but instead used as an excuse for passive-aggression.
-Putting their significant others on pedestals and not being able to see them as real people with flaws. Thus, an unreturned call wouldn't be a sign that she forgot to call--because of course she has a perfect memory--it was a sign that something terrible that happened or that she had rejected him.
-Increasing emotional blackmail ("I'll be so lonely without you") and possessiveness as the newness of the relationship wore off and the girlfriend started spending more time with other people

If I were you, I'd leave before finding all these things out about him.
posted by millions of peaches at 6:28 PM on December 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


Earlier this year, a dear friend of mine was seeing a guy, and one evening when upon not hearing from her, he went to her apartment building, got inside, and pounded on her door, yelling her name, while she was in the apartment. She was mortified, and broke up with him shortly thereafter, partly at my behest. So yeah, DTMFA.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:31 PM on December 1, 2011


Although millions of peaches' description sounds likely to me, I'm surprised only a few people have suggested that he might have brought the gun because he was expecting to find you with somebody else. Even if he wasn't entirely aware that that was part of his reason for doing so.
posted by Adventurer at 6:36 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The more I read that description of the events the crazier that guy sounds.

If you continue dating him, be advised that it is only going to get crazier. You know the old 'familiarity breeds contempt' truism? Familiarity breeds craziness, too.
posted by winna at 6:50 PM on December 1, 2011


he's making it clear what he thinks the limits are for what has to happen to you in order for you to not call him.

This.

2 hours and he's at your front door? That would be fucked up whether he had a weapon or not (lots of people are assuming a gun when for all we know it was a paperweight. STILL FUCKED UP either way).


He thought you had another guy over.
posted by Windigo at 7:07 PM on December 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


He certainly seems to feel that you are responsible for his bad feelings. I'm a worrywort myself (but I don't really think he is one too, I agree with the people above who think he is controlling and unwell), and I often feel worried when people aren't in touch when I expect it. But those are MY feelings of discomfort and anxiety, and it's not their fault that I feel the way I do. Sometimes we just have to sit with our uncomfortable feelings until they go away.

And now you're responsible for his hurt feelings because you were frightened when he turned up out of the blue WITH A WEAPON? Any sensible person would be alarmed under those circumstances. Trust your instincts.
posted by thylacinthine at 8:09 PM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


"He was there, looking really scared and intense. When I said, "What are you doing here!?" He said he thought something bad happened to me, but after seeing my scared/annoyed reaction, he was hurt and left abruptly."

This is the part that makes me nervous. Appearing "scared and intense" can look a lot like appearing "angry and nearly explosive." It's possible that you read his emotional cues just right, but I need to point out the more likely another possible explanation, he was angry.


This is actually something I snagged on and wanted to say, but wasn't sure how to articulate. I don't know how much experience you have around angry people, but anger could easily be mistaken for afraid/intense.

Mouth tight? Jaw possibly clenched? Eyebrows down and together, or even worse, way up with eyes wide while the jaw juts?* Body tense even after/especially after he found out you were okay? Shoulders may have been pulled back, body may have been leaning forward, generally looking larger, more aggressive? Large gestures? Possible sneering? That's anger right there, with a little bit of disgust thrown in at the end.

Here's how his face/body should have looked if he was merely paranoid/afraid (which honestly? still way creepy and overboard and run-away-worthy, especially taken with the rapid intensity of the relationship and his communication with you during and after the event): body tense and possibly hunched or drawn in (though potentially, it could have looked a lot like angry body language if he was ready for a fight, because hey, that's aggression), mouth wide and tight, insides of brows up, eyes wider open. Movements may have been tight and jerky? If his emotion was immediate relief when he found you safe, his body would most likely have relaxed.

I wish everybody could read "The Gift of Fear." Most of us will run across unsafe people in our lifetimes, and it's important to know when those times are so that we can act in our best interests and keep things from escalating as much as possible. Listen to what your gut is telling you. Anger or fear, this guy acted way outside of bounds and will do it again.

*I've been looking for some kind of scientific article or even vague internet info to back up the eyebrows-up-eyes-wide-jaw-jutting as an indicator of rage or extreme disgust, but can't find it anywhere. I've seen it many times immediately before an attack, though. Most resources will rightfully point to the eyebrows-down-and-together, mouth-tight etc. as anger indicators.
posted by moira at 8:19 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whatever - you really need to have No Contact for a couple of weeks until you, yourself, have had to time sort out what you think.

If this as all some weird one-off culture clash. And his intentions were not loony, then he'll be a nice guy in January.

If he's a psycho (or just not worth the risk of finding out), then a period of No Contact will give you time to understand what you need to do.

You are in control of your life. If you really don't know what to do, then you don't have to anything right now and anyone who respects you will back off, go away, and leave you alone to simply not do anything until you are damn good and ready to do what's right for you.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:44 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


If his behavior had been normal and reasonable, you wouldn't have been scared by it (and you *certainly* wouldn't still be feeling scared now). Your feeling scared is all the proof you need that his behavior was scary!
posted by whitelily at 9:54 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I also think it's very telling that you were a little scared even before he showed up; your account of what happened says that you felt a little scared after seeing the five calls after midnight. I could be way off-base here but I'm guessing that that fear was not based on the phone calls alone. I'm guessing there have been other tiny hints, tiny things he's said or done that you've (almost subconsciously) thought were cause for concern, but brushed them away without dwelling on them. And when you saw the missed calls, you reacted with fear, not just to the calls themselves, but to all the things about him you've been questioning.

I apologize if that's way off-base, but that's what I thought of after a second read-through of your account.
posted by whitelily at 10:15 PM on December 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


In the words of the move, I think it's time to GET OUT. Also tell some people about him.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 12:34 AM on December 2, 2011


"lots of people are assuming a gun when for all we know it was a paperweight"

Actually what we're assuming is that he was telling the truth about having a weapon. We don't know if he had one at all, we only know he told the OP he had one.

In doing so, he left her imagination to fill in the blanks: that it was a gun, or a paperweight, or a lead pipe. She is also left to imagine what will happen next time she doesn't call.
posted by tel3path at 1:43 AM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


also- why would he tell you he had a weapon?

giving him the benefit of the doubt- dude gets freaked out and talks himself into going over there, getting some pepper spray 'just in case' and heads out. the second he sees you are fine and realizes he just woke your tired ass up he should be mortified and sure as shit not tell you about the whatever he had in his pocket. what was he trying to communicate to you?

there is absolutely no part of this that makes any sort of sense.

Disengage, tell a ton of people that he freaked you out. Tell them what his name is, his phone number and where he lives. Don't make a big deal about it to him- setting him off is not what you need to do- but do not hang out with him any more. No more alone time with him. ever. Do not do that girl thing where you go out for drinks one more time to be "nice."

it also wouldn't be a bad idea to have a couple of friends you know will be available to call if he should say- come back to your place with a weapon.
posted by Blisterlips at 3:47 AM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


there is absolutely no part of this that makes any sort of sense.

This. Everything he did sounds completely whacko - but when the OP says WTF, he folds and leaves. Either he's not yet an accomplished controlling psycho, he's an entirely other kind of crazy, or he truly imagined his response was expected. (Being that wrong about what's expected could be yet another flavor of danger-danger-danger.) 

And the OP has all this could-be-the-one swirling around.

The question really confused me. 

I truly hope the OP has set and is sticking to a No Contact rule and really thinking slowly and carefully about who this man is and what the last month has been about.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 5:04 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I couldn't be with someone that did this, no matter what the reason (we don't need reasons to not want to be with someone). As mentioned, the immediate intense feelings (on both sides) coupled with the calls, coming over, and weapon is a bad sign to me. My experience would make me predict that he would start showing up to check if you were home/at work (and if you weren't there that meant you "lied"), checking up on you in other ways, etc.

However, if you want to, you could definitely feel him out as to the motivation (anxiety, maybe even co-morbid OCD, etc) and make a judgment/give a second chance to NOT do this kind of thing.

Again, whether this behavior was due to OCD, stimulants (another direct experience I've had - the cocaine/meth/aderall/whatever as well as the coming down from those can do this) or just being a manipulative jerk, you don't need to justify walking away.
posted by Pax at 6:19 AM on December 2, 2011


Either he's not yet an accomplished controlling psycho, he's an entirely other kind of crazy, or he truly imagined his response was expected.

I think this is an interesting point to consider, OP. He doesn't have to be someone who maliciously and intentionally controls, abuses, and manipulates his partners. He could be mentally ill, or not. He could be abusive, or not. He could have bad intentions, or not. Whatever he is, he has shown you that his behavior toward you when he is stressed out (whether he was angry that you didn't call or truly thought you were in danger) is unhealthy.

I'd also suggest you consider scody's advice from another thread: "The One" is not a person, but a relationship. If your relationship with this man includes him behaving toward you in ways that are objectively unhealthy, that scare you and leave you shaken days later, and that he can't understand are problematic, then this relationship is not "The One."
posted by Meg_Murry at 6:28 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It also wouldn't be a bad idea to have a couple of friends you know will be available to call if he should say- come back to your place with a weapon.

If he comes back to her place with a weapon, the police should be her first call.

OP, I suggest you read Help me hone my creep-o-meter and Give me the benefit of your hindsight. I think there may be another, similar thread, though in the end I think the same material gets covered and recovered.
posted by endless_forms at 6:33 AM on December 2, 2011


Sounds like you may have a future stalker on your hands. You've been dating a month - he is not your parent or your spouse. And even if he were, this would be overboard.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:44 AM on December 2, 2011


I've been in a similar situation to this, but with a friend - he was coming over while I was at the doctor's, I stopped to get some bread on the way back, and I returned to see him on the other side of my front door, sweeping up a broken glass from my kitchen floor. I was pretty vulnerable and confused at the time and the idea that he had been so worried about me that he wanted to check I was OK seemed positive - it was only when I looked back that I realised it was very not-ok. Nothing similar happened, but he eventually abruptly broke off the friendship after saying that he wanted to go back to college and not be contacted for three months, then got upset when, after a very short but intense friendship, I decided to give him a call to see how he was doing. I was left feeling like I'd done something wrong, which might be why you're questioning this now. You're working out how you triggered this reaction.

However, this is NOT OK. I am someone who worries and will phone someone a lot if I really really need to talk to them, as I have a condition that has something in common with ADD and panic if I get stressed out about something else. I would never turn up to said person's house with some kind of weapon. I did once turn up to someone's house after having no answer, and worrying because they had told me that they had been feeling very low, but I think these are the only circumstances in which I would feel the need to arrive on someone's doorstep and surprise them. From what you've said, this wasn't the case.
posted by mippy at 9:09 AM on December 2, 2011


mippy, what happened when you turned up at their house?
posted by endless_forms at 9:19 AM on December 2, 2011


"lots of people are assuming a gun when for all we know it was a paperweight"

Actually what we're assuming is that he was telling the truth about having a weapon.


At least five comments have referenced the "fact" that he had a gun.

I agree that, gun or paperweight, this is not acceptable behavior.
posted by dfan at 10:16 AM on December 2, 2011


He may not have had anything - he later "explained" his actions and then he said he there hand been a gun in his pocket. Maybe in his mind, having a gun would somehow prove he was truly worried and therefore justified in knocking on the door.

It's an odd story all the way around.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 12:10 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I suspect if you say you need a couple of weeks like most have suggested, he's going to start begging you, pleading with you, saying he didn't know you'd be upset, please oh please just give him one more chance, please? If he does, run.
posted by IndigoRain at 1:02 PM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


RUN.

This may sound extreme, but you may need to lay low for a bit while you figure out how to get him to back off. He showed up at your house with a weapon, uninvited, based on some sort of notion in his own head. If that's how he reacts if he allegedly thinks something has threatened you, you don't want to find out how he'll react when he thinks YOU are the threat.

If you have a paper trail, start sending it to a place where it can't be destroyed. Inform the police, your family and friends, everyone. I've dealt with stalkers, and most of them will not accept no for an answer; you will need to be on your guard, and use all of your networks to remain safe while this dude tries to keep you within his grasp. Thank you for listening to your gut.
posted by Ashen at 1:40 PM on December 2, 2011


Okay, I'm a bit late and everyone is so right-great answers already- but I wanted to add onto the pile anyway.

I saw Gift of Fear suggested above- I'm surprised more people didn't suggest it, actually. I've seen it recommended on here so frequently that when I posted this question a week ago, I knew that would inevitably crop up among the answers, so I just went ahead and got it and started reading it. Now that I've read it, let me add on to the wise voices already telling you:

-Read the Gift of Fear. So helpful in identifying the crazy. The thing about people like that is, somehow, they have the ability to make YOU feel like the crazy one. Don't let that happen- read this book!
-For the love of God, RUN don't walk away from this dude. If he is willing to use a weapon against [unspecified person who may be threatening you] then don't doubt for a second that he will ultimately be willing to use a weapon against YOU when (not if) you upset him in some way.

I've spent a lot of time obsessing over my ex and agonizing over how I didn't see the red flags. All I can conclude is that, at the time when I entered into the relationship, I didn't have any knowledge of what the red flags were. I wasn't yet on Metafilter, had not heard of The Gift of Fear, and had never witnessed a friend or family member deal with a crazy, abusive, or stalker-y person. I'd only been in normal relationships with normal people and assumed that everyone is normal. NOT EVERYONE IS NORMAL. You're lucky because we're all here to tell you, please, benefit from our collective hindsight and terrible experiences with people like this. It doesn't matter if he seems like "The One." Crazy people can be intense and it's easy to confuse good intensity with bad intensity. Also, nthing mirroring.

I agree with the suggestion that you send an email saying that it was not cool for him to [describe incident in detail here] and SAVE it. In case it escalates. Best case scenario, you break it off now and that's the end of it, and you can breathe a sigh of relief over the bullet you dodged. If things get more complicated, you'll be glad to have documentation. Same goes for the texts and calls.
posted by Argyle_Sock_Puppet at 3:57 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


he's going to start begging you

And he may want you to explain your point of view, or more chances to explain his... And that's all off the table. You have a need and that need is to table any and all discussion until you, yourself, get to a place where you know what you want next steps to be. If he doesn't respect that, end it.

People in healthy, normal relationships sometimes need a break because, oh maybe their mom has medical issues or they are cramming for the bar or whatever. Partners in those relationships can respect that need.

This is a one-month thing, your emotions were over the top and then he did something bizarre. A time out is the very least you owe yourself.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:42 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Big red flag here. Way over the top reaction. I'm betting this guy is very controlling. I'd dump him.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:59 PM on December 2, 2011


Total, total, total creeper. Your gut is telling you this. Trust your gut.
posted by eleyna at 1:36 AM on December 9, 2011


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