This person was 98% wrong for me, so why am I sad they're gone?
November 22, 2018 10:09 AM   Subscribe

I recently attempted to casually date someone, but kept pumping the brakes because of what seemed like boundary-pushing, as well as significant asymmetries in interest levels, values, and lifestyles. Then we slept together and it blew my mind, but I didn’t accede to his request for another date right away because he still seemed too keen. Now he appears to have stomped off in frustration, and I feel sad and doubtful. Am I thinking with my privates and romanticizing a loose cannon with whom I had extremely limited compatibility, or did I mess up because I’m an anxious spoilsport?

To cut to the chase : about a month ago we met at the bar where he works.* He bought me a few drinks despite no flirtation on my part, I gave him my number (something I have NEVER done in my nearly 30 years of life). He proceeded to call 10 times in 3 days and leave me two voicemails, which I found excessive for someone I had spoken to for maybe 15 minutes, so I said thanks but no thanks. He took it better than I had expected based on the phonecall blitz, saying he understood but that if I ever changed my mind to come back down to the bar and say hi. This was, of course, the most attractive thing he could possibly have said, and shifted my opinion of him just a little. He got in touch a few days later to ask again if I wanted to come stop by; I declined and we left it at that. I felt a little regretful since I *had* found him attractive and he had seemed sweet if overeager, but tried to put it out of my mind.

Two weeks later, bored and restless after a party that ended early, I did go into the bar on my way home, figuring he wouldn’t even remember me. He did, and immediately asked when we could see each other. I made it clear that for various reasons I probably wouldn’t be able to hook up with him if we did hang out; I assumed this would deter him, but he got back in touch anyhow and we finally agreed on a place & time four days later. The date was…fun and also weird ? I was enjoying getting to know him as he’s had a very interesting life (military service, working in popular venues in our large city, partying) which is totally different from mine (‘fancy’ grad school, book clubs, 9-to-5 nerd job). However, he kept repeating how into me he was, how happy he was I’d gotten back in touch, etc., to the point that I had no idea what to say. He also alluded a few times to beating people up (as in, ‘I know how to put asshole drunks in their place/let me know if anyone bothers you/har har’), which didn’t sit so well with me, but maybe I’m just a bougie prude? He also asked a lot of questions about the other person I’ve been seeing, trying to get me to ‘admit’ I wanted to break up with him, wanting to know what he does for a living, etc. He then grabbed my head in the middle of the bar we were in to try to kiss me; on the second attempt I told him sharply that if he didn’t stop I would leave. He apologized and didn’t repeat it, the night continued pretty smoothly until I told him I needed to go home, and the goodnight kiss was much nicer.

It all left me feeling a bit weird, since his level of enthusiasm seemed over the top and therefore like it could not possibly be about me specifically, as we barely know each other. He seemed simultaneously to be in the market for a girlfriend, and not at all over his divorce two years ago, which he brought up more than once with noticeable bitterness despite a couple positive remarks about his ex-wife (who as it happens went to the same small grad school as me, which sort of icked me out although he could not have known about that coincidence when he hit on me). Combined with the remarks about physical violence and the super-intense expressions of attraction/interest, it made me think that despite my very real sexual interest in him there were perhaps too many red flags to make this worth pursuing; I was willing to make a small allowance on the aggressive kissy stuff because this behavior is a bit more normal in the culture where we live. (I’m originally from the US—not that I didn’t encounter handsy dudes at home, but yeah.)

He did not appear to share my ambivalence, messaging me the next day gushing about having had a great time, heart emojis, etc. and asking me to have dinner that night. I thanked him for a nice time but said I just had too much to do before leaving for a long work trip, and that we should keep in touch to maybe meet up another time. Cue 6 more messages: hey I understand, but I want to spend time together, I like you, you’re beautiful, etc etc. I reiterated that I'd be in touch later the following week and left it at that, even though I felt a little callous.

I talked it over with two friends, one of whom thought he was ‘too obsessive’ and I should drop him (but she is a bona fide 10 and has way, way more sexual options than I ever will), while the other said that some men are just like this, especially in this culture, and if I was still a little bit interested I should give it one more shot.

Well, my libido eventually got the better of me and I did contact him last Monday to see if he was around ; he enthusiastically suggested eating somewhere together, which again seemed too intense, so I countered with late-night beers after an event I was attending. We met up, went back to mine, and proceeded to have three hours of some of the most intense and satisfying sex I have ever experienced. I think I am still shell-shocked from it and it is basically the entire reason I am writing this question—I am not quite ready to let go of the possibility of having it again. There were two catches, however :

-Between bouts, he again brought up his divorce, his ex, etc. (including telling me her name and asking if I’d ever heard of her at school?!—reader, I had not), which, no thank you;
-He busted out some pretty rough behavior, most of which was a-ok by me especially as I have never been able to get a partner to engage in this sort of thing. But I did have to insist at least three times that he NOT MESS WITH my throat/neck, as I didn’t know him well enough to be ok with that. He acquiesced, but I’m not sure that that was a good sign.

He also more or less explicitly stated he is looking for someone to be in a stable relationship with and that FWB did not interest him in our case. (But then, why press me so hard? Why wouldn’t he want time to decide if I really was someone he wanted a relationship with?) He urged me to go on a trip with him that he had been planning for this coming weekend. The request insantly gave me a sort of ‘NOPE’ feeling in the pit of my stomach and I declined, to his irritation. (‘But why ?’ ‘I have a dinner party with friends that we’ve been planning for weeks, I’m sorry.’ ‘Who plans a dinner weeks in advance? You can’t blow it off?’ ‘No, sorry.’ And so on.)

We had sex again the following morning which I again enjoyed, but afterwards I mostly just felt awkward, and declined to have breakfast with him as I had to get to work. He messaged me again this past Friday asking when we could see each other, then called 6 times in a row on Saturday, sending increasingly agitated messages when I didn’t pick up, finally ending with ‘???’, which to me reads as pretty aggressive. I was actually helping friends with a project and hadn’t had my phone on me; I sent him a text explaining this and that I was not available to hang out that night, feeling pretty annoyed at what felt again like pushy behavior. He has not responded to this final message and ignored an accidental phone call from me on Sunday (a butt-dial that I hung up after one ring, oops).

I think he’s given up on me (or is pouting?), and I know I don’t want anything long term with him, and yet…I feel sad and disappointed. If he weren’t in such a huge goddamn hurry we maybe COULD have continued hanging, but giving him the level of intimacy he seemed to be insisting on is just not possible for me (or, in my opinion, healthy for either of us). But then again, maybe I’m being too avoidant? I am an anxious person in general, and I have previously mistaken intense self-consciousness for a negative gut feeling about a casual/dating partner. Men have complained before that I can come across as cold or closed-off, even though that’s never my intention; I just like to keep things low-key during the early stages where we hardly know one another (this goes double if naked times are involved, since without strong emotional boundaries I’ve found that that tends to get too messy for me).

For the past three days I’ve vacillated between wanting to reach out/feeling like I’m being too harsh and prematurely ruined a thing which could have been fun, and thinking that my nervousness at some of his behavior (grabbing, the repeated phone calls, bitterness about his ex) was probably justified. The whole thing is clouded by intense lust, which isn’t helping.

My brain says this was always a dumb idea, but my crotch-heart complex is insisting that I messed up what could have been a super hot fling and possibly really hurt a person’s feelings in the process. I’m sorely tempted to try to sleep with him again. Or I’d like to at least send him a message saying ‘hey I like you and had a fun time, but this doesn’t seem to be working for either of us, no hard feelings, good luck’, but maybe that’s just undignified at this point.

What should I do? Is there any way to end this on a friendly, affectionate note? I’m so tired of just ghosting people/being ghosted, both platonically and romantically. Am I insane for even considering not just cutting him off? Thank you in advance for any input.

*Please note that hitting on bartenders is NOT a habit of mine, and that I’m fully aware of the ramifications of going out with someone who gets approached by dozens of hot drunk girls every night. It was actually one of the things that gave me pause: for a guy who is deluged with sexual options, he was bizarrely keen throughout this whole production, which made me leery.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (37 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is a ton for someone who you casually dated and had sex with a couple of times .

No person is worth this much thought this early in a relationship.

Cut him off find a different bar and just move on.
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:15 AM on November 22, 2018 [11 favorites]

Your gut has told you over and over to say no to this guy. Trust it. And in the future--i know its hard--dont go back after you already said no. It's only going to intensify his reactions. Not your fault, but it's a way to keep yourself safe.
posted by Amy93 at 10:17 AM on November 22, 2018 [6 favorites]

This guy sounds scary to me.
posted by lazuli at 10:26 AM on November 22, 2018 [26 favorites]

This guy has unbelievable boundary problems and a propensity to be violent, both sexually and non-sexually. I'm sure the sex was amazing, but amazing sex is not worth the very real risk that he will physically harm you if you establish a relationship with him.

One final message saying you don't think it's going to work out and you don't intend to contact him again and then run far, far away.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:26 AM on November 22, 2018 [13 favorites]

The laser-focused adoration combined with sped-up intimacy combined with violent comments combined with getting upset with you when you set boundaries combined with possessiveness sounds like a recipe for an abusive relationship.

I know it's really hard sometimes to separate gut feelings from anxiety, especially when the gut feeling is anxiety, so I think it can sometimes be helpful to remember that anxiety is a perfectly normal healthy reaction to situations that are, or have the potential to be, unsafe. Anxiety can have useful messages for us. It can also, like all emotions, run a little wild and overgeneralize, but that doesn't mean that anxiety is always wrong or bad or to-be-ignored.
posted by lazuli at 10:33 AM on November 22, 2018 [28 favorites]

Also (sorry for the serial posting...) I suspect you may be sad because he's already started making you responsible for his feelings and hooking you into a codependent dynamic.
posted by lazuli at 10:39 AM on November 22, 2018 [11 favorites]

Wow, this has like an entire navy of red flags sailing past. It's great you had amazing sex, file it away as a pleasant memory but don't contact him again - even "accidentally", delete his number if you need to. You've already sent final messages etc and getting in touch again even if you think it's just to say a nice goodbye will be interpreted by him as further interest in playing games.
I think in future, avoid changing your mind on people just because they're persistent in asking - it's likely to only encourage the wrong sort of people who don't respect boundaries.
posted by JonB at 10:41 AM on November 22, 2018 [12 favorites]

He also more or less explicitly stated he is looking for someone to be in a stable relationship with and that FWB did not interest him in our case....
I know I don’t want anything long term with him. I messed up what could have been a super hot fling .... I’m sorely tempted to try to sleep with him again.

Crazy-intense boundary-pushing aggressive- dude or not, it doesn't mean you get a free pass to use him for mind-blowing sex when he's explicitly stated that he's not interested in anything but an actual relationship.
Pass on this one, for both of you.
posted by OnefortheLast at 10:41 AM on November 22, 2018 [9 favorites]

But I did have to insist at least three times that he NOT MESS WITH my throat/neck, as I didn’t know him well enough to be ok with that.

this is pretty vague in order to I guess present it without any emotional information, but in context you don't appear to be talking about irritating neck-kisses. you are saying he tried to strangle you more than three times?

apart from this, you are describing a guy who would be a pleasure to sleep with once in a while, no more, but unfortunately cannot emotionally or socially handle even a casual relationship, so with regret you would have to never contact him again.

but it is not apart from this. with this, you are describing a man who is already violent and will likely kill a woman someday. that the two of you did other rough stuff that you both enjoyed and you didn't object to is as relevant as the quality of the drinks you had beforehand or the kind of car you drive. it is not an explanation or a mitigating factor although for some reason you seem to be thinking of it that way. it is incredibly alarming that you sound more concerned about the way he talked about physical violence to you than the way he already committed physical violence upon you. he is a criminal, stay away from him if you can, warn others if you can.
posted by queenofbithynia at 11:03 AM on November 22, 2018 [11 favorites]

Sounds like you’ve been dicknotized. It happens! You don’t need to be led by your libido, though. You can save up memories of this great lay for masturbation fodder or even to fantasize about with another partner. It sounds like this guy is bad news, particularly because he is a boundary pusher. It sounds like he likes the “game” aspect of seeing how far he can go, rather than any genuine interest in you. You’re smart to trust your gut here. There’s no harm in just having this special memory and incorporating it into future trysts with other, more trustworthy people.
posted by shalom at 11:09 AM on November 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is TERRIFYING. Seriously. In my experience with relationships like this, this is the last time you have hot sex. The next time, it'll be a little more about pushing your comfort zone and punishing you for saying no, until sex becomes 100% about his anger and desire to hurt you.


It's okay to be sad and regretful. Women don't end up in relationships with guys like this because we're all dumb or whatever. They make it seem worth our while! That's part of the sales pitch! Normal, smart, nice people are attracted to them because they are good at being attractive!

But still...NO. You are listening to your gut, which is smart, and your gut is RIGHT.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:35 AM on November 22, 2018 [19 favorites]

Also how did you hurt someone's feelings by telling them honestly that you wouldn't be available, then not being available, and then when you were available letting them know what was up? That is called "having a life that is not controlled by this dude's whims" and if doing that hurts his feelings, well, sucks to be him because he is not in charge of your life/time/availability.

I would never call my SO/bestie who I have known for nearly 7 years six times in a row unless someone was literally dying. It's incredibly rude and presumptuous and you not picking up is, in no way, something that you need to feel bad over.

People like this take advantage of our (your) natural kindness and empathy. I think you sound like a really excellent person, thoughtful and with a good sense of what you want out of life and out of relationships. This guy does not sound like it. It's okay to be sad about that. If you think about it, it is sad --- it's sad that people like him are unable to treat women in a healthy, mutually respectful way. It's sad that an opportunity you wanted to explore turned out to be stressful and scary. I'm sorry that this happened and I know that there are better options out there for you.

(Also...if I know this kind of guy, he's not responding because he's out there love-bombing/screwing another woman. The whole obsessively-into-you thing DOES NOT preclude them from cheating and/or pursuing other options.)
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:42 AM on November 22, 2018 [4 favorites]

Did he get your consent in any way before "busting out some pretty rough behavior" during sex?
posted by lazuli at 11:42 AM on November 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Nooo, don't look back! He's scary and obsessive and I can 100% guarantee it wouldn't have ended well (and I normally don't say stuff like that.)

I think you're affected by the good sex (but he wasn't listening to your boundaries) and maybe some self-esteem issues- you seem to think you don't have many options (what you said). I'm sure that's not true either.

Also- you're seeing someone else concurrently? Are you polyamorous? Maybe...focus on them? Or whatever, just bring your focus away from this guy. In a month or two you'll be wondering why you even considered dating him, probably.
posted by bearette at 11:48 AM on November 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


You have done an excellent job of being clear and having boundaries, and this guy has ignored and dissed you for them every single step of the way.

I don't care how good he is in the sack, a decent and trustworthy person does not have to be told THREE TIMES to stop choking his partner. That is only the reddest and waviest of an entire battalion full of red flags with this guy.

Ghosting him and blocking his number is the wise thing to do here. But be prepared for him to make a last-ditch assault on your boundaries, possibly by showing up at your place. If he escalates, make a safety plan, hold strong, DO NOT CAVE.
posted by ottereroticist at 11:59 AM on November 22, 2018 [7 favorites]

Did you have sex with my abusive ex boyfriend? He's bad news. Steer clear.
posted by sockermom at 12:08 PM on November 22, 2018 [5 favorites]

Read what you wrote and skip the parts about sex. You had several occasions of feeling uncomfortable. Even if you could trust him to respect your feelings and boundaries about sex, you can't do friends with benefits because he doesn't want that. Even if you could trust him, even with FWB you can't make them stay silent and stop expressing their personalities. People are an their best behavior when they're first interested...if you keep seeing things, it will get worse.
posted by wryly at 12:15 PM on November 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

This has all the hallmarks of a relationship sociopath trying to on-board someone to their freight-train of domineering mind-control, boundary shattering, emotional- and physical abuse with the ultimate destination your total subjugation and complete destruction of ego.


Send a polite "It's not going to work out. Please don't contact me again." Then block his number, delete it, and never go to that bar again, because he will not stop playing with your head if he sees you again.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:43 PM on November 22, 2018 [7 favorites]

N.B. The great thing about saying "Please don't contact me again" is that if he does contact you again, it's proof positive he doesn't respect your boundaries, and yet another red flag.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:45 PM on November 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

“This person was 98% wrong for me, so why am I sad they're gone?“

Because he was an exciting bad boy type.

You’ll never be the type of woman a guy like that settles down with. You’re just not. And a relationship with him would be awful and like everyone said above. And you would just not work, he would end up dumping you after a really tumultuous time. You had sex and nights out with a hot baddie- now leave it.
posted by catspajammies at 12:55 PM on November 22, 2018

This guy sounds scary. Like, super scary. If he was a normal decent person wanting to build a trusting relationship, he wouldn't go straight to the boundary pushing aggressive sex (no matter how much you liked it) unless you had an explicit conversation beforehand about what you were into. He wasn't concerned about scaring you at all. Hands around the throat with a brand new partner - wow.

The whole intense pursuing, then backing off, not listening to your requests during sex, pushing you to your limit, then pouting to get you to come running back...he's trying to find out how much you'll put up with to find out if you're ripe for abuse. I bet if you mention to him that there's someone else on the scene or even a hint of another guy, he'll explode. Run, run like the wind. You're actually very lucky he's giving you so many very clear indicators early on about who he is, so many women don't find out until much later. Lose his number, then change yours.
posted by Jubey at 1:16 PM on November 22, 2018 [9 favorites]

I feel like 97% of people in this thread don't get that strangulation/neck/breath play is A Thing and does not in any way indicate that this is a man who will someday kill a woman (JFCWTF). Intense and violent experiences are fine if that's what you want and not a problem.

However, having to smackdown the same hard boundary three times is an actual problem. If you want to have mind-blowing sex again, and he's clear you are 100% not interested in a relationship and is still good to go, I would only do this with explicit boundaries stated and agreed while everyone was dressed and sober, and I would have a safeword.

Whether, with all of those things in place, you would feel and be safe is something only you can judge.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:28 PM on November 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

I think a lot of people here absolutely get that Breath Play Is A Thing (but thanks so much for spelling it out!). The issue isn't that it's a thing. The issue is he's a complete stranger whose pulled this on her, out of nowhere, without any trust built or communication, and when she's made it clear she's not interested, HE HASN'T LISTENED. Plus a bunch of other boundary pushing red flags the OP has mentioned. The combination of all of it is what makes it seem like he has the potential to be abusive. I couldn't care less if people like rough sex in bed, it's about so much more than that.
posted by Jubey at 1:54 PM on November 22, 2018 [34 favorites]

I am a sexually submissive woman, I know that breath play is a thing and I would not date this guy again because he's going to try it again and that stuff is a hard limit for me. And he will try everything else again. This is not a guy you can trust to honour a safe word. He is a pushy, bossy, boundary-breaker. Which works for some people but not for you, OP, and thank the universe for that.

I also feel sad when my pussy had a good time but it had a good time with an asshole so my brain has to be adult and decide that once was more than enough. A former therapist once told me that mixed feelings are the hardest feelings. If always making the healthy choices felt 100% good we would never make unhealthy choices, right?

Please don't beat yourself up about being sad about choosing not to see this guy again, if that is what you decide. It is okay to feel sad. It is also okay to decide that there are genuinely great lovers out there with whom you can have fabulous sex who are not assholes and who are looking for FWB, like you, rather than a serious relationship, like that guy.

The two of you are incompatible. That is super common. So be sad, but only briefly if possible. Both of you deserve to have your needs met. The two of you are a bad match. Revel in the fabulous sex you had and know that there is other fabulous sex in your future, most likely with a more complementary partner. Good luck!
posted by Bella Donna at 2:03 PM on November 22, 2018 [9 favorites]

I feel like 97% of people in this thread don't get that strangulation/neck/breath play is A Thing and does not in any way indicate that this is a man who will someday kill a woman (JFCWTF)

every kind of sex and every kind of violence is "A Thing," whatever you may think that means. when you do it not only without being asked but without asking and against someone's will, it's a crime. and strangulation, like rape, doesn't have to be done or tried against someone's will three whole times to matter. once is way more than enough.

treating assault as something that worldly-wise people understand and only rubes are shocked by, something that experienced women just know to expect from men into bdsm, is so fucked up I can barely believe it. but here we are. women who like rough sex aren't second class citizens. they are not more deserving of this kind of surprise attack from a man they're sleeping with than any virgin walking down the street fully clothed and minding her own business.

Intense and violent experiences are fine if that's what you want and not a problem.

what a horribly irrelevant PSA to give to someone who already knows she likes intense and violent experiences, but who made a point of including the strangling part of it in the story because it was not what she wanted and it was a problem.
posted by queenofbithynia at 2:19 PM on November 22, 2018 [38 favorites]

I feel like 97% of people in this thread don't get that strangulation/neck/breath play is A Thing and does not in any way indicate that this is a man who will someday kill a woman (JFCWTF).

So did you read the part where the Asker specifically wrote that she did not like breath-play, even if it is A Thing?

But I did have to insist at least three times that he NOT MESS WITH my throat/neck, as I didn’t know him well enough to be ok with that. He acquiesced, but I’m not sure that that was a good sign.

It's really not cool to condescendingly point out to people who object to assault and non-consensual boundary-pushing that they're just prudes who don't get it. I think the man in the question very much sounds like someone with a tremendous capacity for violence against women because there are details in the very question of him being violent against a woman.
posted by armadillo1224 at 2:42 PM on November 22, 2018 [21 favorites]


I didn't even read past line three of your post. This guy is displaying the red flags for domestic violence. RUN away from this man. DO NOT have any further contact, not even to explain why. Just stay away. Then look up the warning signs for an abuser (for example they come on WAY too strong way too fast, they talk about beating people up, the crash through boundaries like tissue paper etc.).
posted by WalkerWestridge at 3:02 PM on November 22, 2018 [5 favorites]

I feel like 97% of people in this thread don't get that strangulation/neck/breath play is A Thing and does not in any way indicate that this is a man who will someday kill a woman (JFCWTF). Intense and violent experiences are fine if that's what you want and not a problem.

I'm not worried about not being kinky enough, friend. I'm pretty aware of the scene. That is how I know how many of my kinky friends and acquaintances have been assaulted by other kinky people. It usually happened like this. Boundary pushing that got worse and worse over time.

Choking/strangulation once without affirmative consent is already on very thin ice. (Same with anal play, same with ignoring protest/verbal "nos"). These are all activities that can be a lot of fun when people consent, but springing them on someone who has not already given an explicit go ahead is a really bad sign, in my experience. To do something like this three goddamned times after hearing a "no"? No, no, no, no, NO.

Most/probably all of the decent kinky people I know would immediately back off and have a boundary conversation if their new partner told them to stop doing something, or that they didn't like something. Why? Because it indicates that you're not reading their body language well, or that you've miscommunicated. Zero of the decent kinky people I know would keep doing something after a partner told them to stop. So please do not treat us all like we just run around choking people who don't like it.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 3:03 PM on November 22, 2018 [6 favorites]

you are describing a man who is already violent and will likely kill a woman someday.

Came here to say this. Well versed in kink, bdsm, lower class bar scenes and “bougie prude” fears vs real risks and dangerous personalities in that scene, and hospitalization/fatality level dv. This snt an exaggeration. At the very least, I guarantee, this guy is going to damage your ability to enjoy the kind of rough sex you’re considering going back for by being a date/relationship rapist. By itself, nonconsensual choking and breathplay is a red flag. When that comes from an unprecedently rough partner, who has been aggressively pursuing you bordering on stalking behavior, stalking his ex through you, bragging about violence, manhandling you (again going for your head/neck) in public? This is the kind of person who severely abuses and is likely to kill a partner. You can find someone into rough sex who isn’t actually dangerous. Don’t respond, and take steps to be safe if he decides to start stalking you. Getting in touch with his ex might not be a bad idea, to gauge what you might need to do to protect yourself if he’s fixated on you. This guy is a dangerous abuser. Stay as far away from him as you can.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 4:00 PM on November 22, 2018 [9 favorites]

just imagine if this man grabbed and squeezed the neck of a stranger with whom he was not sexually involved, in public -- another man in the bar he works at, perhaps -- and people described it as boundary pushing. imagine telling the victim he should have a conversation with this guy about safewords before he goes in that bar again.

and that wouldn't even be serious or scary like this is, because in public when you're dressed and surrounded by people who can call the cops or be witnesses in court or drag him off of you, there's only so far it can go before someone makes him stop. when you're alone with him and you've already had sex with him and already enjoyed some consensual acts of violence that you know other people will treat as all part of the same thing if you try and describe what happened, it's so much worse. and yet people treat it as if it's not as bad as doing it to a stranger. people who think they're enlightened.

safewords are for people who want to be free to say "No" and be ignored, as well as for people who have some kind of disinclination to say No and therefore need a coded substitute. liking violent or rough sex has exactly nothing to do with this kind of play-acting unless both people say it does. no ethical and rational person ever assumes that No doesn't mean No unless they have been told so. nobody needs a special euphemism for No unless they are specifically into that, and recommending that as a general precaution is just encouraging people to believe that it's easy and understandable to assault women by mistake.
posted by queenofbithynia at 4:55 PM on November 22, 2018 [17 favorites]

This guy sounds like he has barely-contained rage issues and violent tendencies, and is blatantly scoping you out as a target for his abuse.

He talks about beating people up, grabs women aggressively and tries to force them to kiss him, texts constantly and with increasing aggression if you don’t reply immediately, wants to immediately travel alone with you to some other place and gets pissed when you have other plans that you won’t change, acts super aggressive, acts super aggressive when you tell him no, and interrogates you to see if you know his previous partners. Then he tries. To. Choke. You. During. Sex. Yes, we all know that’s a thing with some people, in a very controlled setting and with specific mutual agreement beforehand. Someone who opens with the rough stuff and won’t stop even after repeated statements of “No, don’t do that” is clearly telling you that in future you can expect that it will be rough and that he won’t stop when you tell him no.

Well, now you know his ex’s name and his, look up their divorce record and see why they got divorced. I’d be willing to bet $10 that domestic violence was on there. In fact, see if he has an arrest record while you’re at it. I bet he DOES just want a stable relationship with someone—the kind where you’re chained to a radiator in the basement.

Being groomed for an abusive relationship is designed to make you doubt yourself and your own judgment. It’s supposed to make you feel like the entire relationship hinges on you buying in to his idea of “the truth” over your own perceptions. And him running away and pouting is designed to make you chase after him and be like, “No, come back, give me one more chance.” All the boundary-stomping and gaslighting and emotional hot-and-cold would make him a manipulative person by itself. But the fact that he is openly stating that he has been, and wants to be, physically violent should not just be a red flag, it should tell you specifically that the person he plans to beat up is YOU. He is trying to single you out and get you away from the herd, that’s what predators do.

Block him, don’t respond to any more contact from him, is your lease up soon? Move. Lose this guy.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:05 PM on November 22, 2018 [13 favorites]

This guy is terrifying and I'm surprised you have to answer the question, to be honest. There are red flags all over the place. Your first friend was right.
posted by thereader at 11:13 PM on November 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't know where you're located or your specific situation, but I think you might be overestimating the difficulty of finding other sex partners who are into the same kind of sex as you are but better at maintaining boundaries/ consent. I think an underlying theme in this is that you're pretty desperate for that, and you'd find it easier to not be tempted by people who aren't great for you if you make a focused effort on finding a good FWB (or relationship, if you're interested in that). In my area, Tinder and FetLife are the easiest ways to go about that.
posted by metasarah at 8:50 AM on November 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

Not being glib at all, please, please find a different bar to hang out at. This guy sounds frightening. Do NOT let him back into your life in any shape or form.
posted by Nieshka at 11:21 AM on November 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

From the OP:
In the interest of completeness, and also to try to force myself into a reality check, I wanted to follow this up. Right before my original question posted to the Green last month, the man in question contacted me again and I did agree to see him. Because apparently my conscience and my brain are both on strike at the moment.

I arrived at what I thought was casual drinks to find 2 or 3 of his close friends also there, inspecting me like a horse (they all immediately stopped talking the moment I walked in, which spooked me). He proceeded to call me, to them, a term that in the local language is generally only applied to one's girlfriend, which needless to say alarmed me. He proceeded to ask me to be exclusive, to agree we would stop seeing other people, to leave for a weekend together, etc. I explained that, while I enjoyed spending time with him, this wasn't possible. He seemed surprised and hurt, but otherwise took it well, though he seemed during the rest of the conversation to pretend the exchange hadn't happened. We kept talking for a while, and while the politics/culture/food bits were fun, there was still what I found to be an overwhelming level of personal detail on his part, notably about his family relationships (all very rocky).

We did go home together again. He did not attempt any of the behaviors I had previously objected to. He did however say/do other things that seemed YIKES, notably:
- after I said it was too early for exclusivity, he dejectedly accused me of thinking he was "a fuck-up", which made me feel horrible;
- after we had gone home, he disappeared for 1.5 hours smack in the middle of the night after supposedly having popped out to purchase cigarettes at the end of my street;
- came back (sans cigarettes) with a vague story about having come across a woman who had been assaulted and escorting her to the police station 2 km away (??),
- was openly irritated when I didn't seem sympathetic enough about this situation (because I was exhausted and also my gut felt like he was lying for reasons I still can't explain),
- and proceeded to drink all the liquor I had in the house (admittedly only about 100 mL, but still).

When I left for work around 9 am he asked to crash at my place until he had to start work at 11 am; I was very uncomfortable with this but had no time or inclination to argue him into leaving, so I told him just to be sure to close the door on his way out, ok have a good day, bye (fully expecting to come home and find my valuables gone, which thankfully didn't happen).

He messaged me that evening inviting me to come see him at work and informing me that he had actually stayed (waited?) in my apartment until 5 pm. I can think of no reason to admit to this other than to low-key rebuke me for not coming back earlier? It made me feel skeeved out, either way.

He attempted to phone blitz again throughout that weekend, to which I did not respond except to finally indicate on Sunday afternoon I wasn't available because I wasn't feeling well. He hasn't been in touch since then and I don't expect to hear from him again. (Yes, I have since gotten tested for STIs.)

I did later find a piece of scrap paper I'd given him with my door code on it (when he left to "buy cigarettes"), sitting in my mailbox, some time after we'd stopped speaking. I can't prove it was him who put it there and wouldn't know what to make of it even if he had, except that it's just the cherry on this sundae of weirdness.

I imagine that he's either a decent if very unstable man searching desperately for a relationship, in which case it makes sense for him to fade on an ambivalent partner, and at worst an abuser who has found an easier potential victim. I'm having a hard time convincing myself that his disappearance should not disappoint me, which raises some serious questions about my overall psychological health and relationship behavior. I sense that my birthday gift to myself in 2019 should be some therapy.

A huge thank you to everyone to responded to my initial question; even though I only saw those answers after the final "date", they helped me screw my head most of the way back on and not give in to his requests to see each other again, even when a part of my heart/brain/sex drive was telling me yes.

PS: To respond to suggestions about searching for his divorce decree/arrest record: I'm not sure the divorce info is publicly accessible in the country where we live, since Googling turned up nothing; as far as criminal records go, he did me the courtesy of outright admitting (unprompted!) that he has had clashes with the police during political demonstrations/raves/god knows what. I did cave and look up his ex-wife in our school's alumni directory and was struck to see that we are both examples of the same very specific physical "type", which is not necessarily sinister but still...ugh.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:31 AM on December 13, 2018

I'm very glad you're not seeing him but holy shit, pleasepleaseplease tell me you've changed your door code and he has no way of accessing your home? He was in your house all day (That in itself is creepy af) he's had every chance to rifle through personal papers, photos, laptops, diaries etc.

This guy sends up so many red flags. I'm super paranoid but I'd be checking for hidden cameras in the bathroom, key loggers on your laptop, you name it. You think he's unstable. I do too. Not to freak you out but I just want to make sure the reason he's not contacting you isn't because he already can see everything you're up to. Be careful and I'm very happy you took our advice and moved on.
posted by Jubey at 4:53 PM on December 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Question: does someone need to have a key to leave something in your mailbox? (You don’t have to answer here of course, but ask yourself this.)

Please do change your key code if you have not yet already.
posted by sockermom at 2:45 PM on December 14, 2018

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