Why did he have this cruel behavior with me?
August 6, 2019 2:02 AM   Subscribe

I met a man who seduced me only to treat me in cruelest way possible when I gave in. Why would he do that? I would like to understand out of curiosity, not because I’m still interested in him

I met a man on my last holidays. He showed extreme interest in me from the very beginning. He showered me with compliments and told me he would come visit as soon as possible. We live in different countries and he flew 1,500 km to see me a few months after we met.

There was a problem when he came. I refused to have sex with him. I knew from the beginning that most likely I wasn’t going to have sex with him because I wanted to get to know him better before. I guess I should have told him before but I didn’t know how to bring up the subject. I did want to do other things with him like kiss, make out... He got angry though when I refused to have sex and told me that it was unfair that he had flown all the way to my country to find out that I didn’t want to sleep with him. He also spoke some cruel words and told me that my refusal to have sex with him was abnormal and childish. He also said he would go sleep with a whore then. I found it to be a very tasteless remark although he wasn’t being serious about it. I felt hurt by his anger, although I understood to a certain extent. After that, we spent some good days together in spite of the initial bump. And he said that he felt we were compatible and that he wanted to pursue a relationship and meet again as soon as possible.

We kept in touch for months before we could meet again. He would text me every single day and he would call me sweet names, tell me about his day, ask me about mine ... He would also call about four times a week. I started to develop strong feelings for him but I also had doubts because of the anger he displayed on his last visit. In any case, I decided that I wanted to get to know him better.

We decided that to meet next I would come to his country and stay at his place. I booked my flight and came. The plan was to stay there for two weeks and do some trips together in this time. He picked me up at the airport. We had a nice chat on the way to his home. He showed me around his flat, explained to me who were the people on the photos he had. He was being nice but also a bit cold. Since I knew we were going to sleep together this time, I was looking forward to it. But he barely touched me and kissed me. I felt slightly disappointed.

We went to bed and I started to feel even more frustrated that he wasn’t touching me. He turned the TV on and watched it without making any contact with me. I wasn’t expecting crazy sex on the first night but at least some cuddling and kissing, but nothing. I decided to address my concerns to him and I asked him why he was being distant. He said he was just tired. I approached him and tried to kiss him but he barely corresponded. I was overflown by emotions and I started to cry. It was not crazy loud crying, just some weeping. He asked me ‘are you crying?’, ‘why?’. The tone of his voice sounded as if he was annoyed. I explained to him that I was disappointed that he wasn’t being more physical and I told him that I was also overwhelmed by other aspects of my life, like work and family, which I was also thinking about. All the emotions and thoughts got mixed and I bursted into tears. He didn’t comfort me much, he just said I shouldn’t worry. I fell asleep.

As soon as I woke up he told me that he wanted to talk to me. He said that I was too emotional and that he didn’t feel that we were compatible. I said that it had just been a moment and that I wasn’t intending to cry all the time. He said that in any case he didn’t think it would work out and that he didn’t want to waste my time or his. He said that my crying was childish and out of place. He said that he would bring me to the city so I could find a hotel because he didn’t want me to stay at his place anymore. He said he could also bring me to the airport in case that I wanted to fly back. I couldn’t believe that he was saying that. I started to pack my things feeling confused, sad and angry and in disbelief. He left me at the the central square of the city and left.

I don’t understand how he could react in this way and determine that we weren’t compatible after some stupid crying incident. I also don’t understand why even if he didn’t think we were compatible he couldn’t just give it more time and see how things would go on those weeks. I’m very hurt and I’m still processing what happened. I think a behavior like that could only be explained by a borderline personality disorder or another mental issue. But I’m also wondering if I did indeed do anything wrong and if he was slightly justified to have this reaction. I would like to hear your thoughts.
posted by Fromthesouth to Human Relations (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
He's a dick. Don't waste your time armchair diagnosing him with a mental illness or bpd. Think about why you stayed in touch after he was cruel to you during his visit.
posted by shaademaan at 2:09 AM on August 6, 2019 [12 favorites]

Best answer: Total armchair guess: He liked to be in control of the image he was showing you. When you first met and when he came to yours, over text, he could choose what you saw of him, he could feel flash and edit himself however he wanted. When you arrived at his front door, he could no longer do that, you could see all the people connected to him, his taste in interior decor, the dust in his corners (literally and metaphorically). Suddenly it didn't feel to him like an exciting game where he was in control, but a real relationship where he had to bring the whole of his real self to the table. That was no longer exciting for him, and he took it out on you in the cruelest way possible.

Whatever the reason, he was extremely cruel to you from almost the get-go, I'm glad you're rid of him, and most importantly absolutely NO you did nothing wrong at all. He's just a cruel person.

And while I can understand other posters saying "OMG why did you stay with him, look at yourself!" maybe let's not get all victim blamey here. Many of us have stayed in situations that weren't optimal because we were getting something good out of them (company, flattery, someone who is interested in us) - this is a particularly striking version of the trope, and it's an interesting question for us all to examine when we're safely out of such situations, but the bottom line is this was his fault, not Fromthesouth's.
posted by penguin pie at 2:56 AM on August 6, 2019 [39 favorites]

Best answer: Maybe I'm being very uncharitable but have you considered that this whole thing was a power-play? That he'd always intended to get revenge because he flew out to see you expecting sex and you refused him.

This guy is a grade A douchebag. He wanted to hurt you the way you hurt him.

You did not owe this guy sex. He should not have assumed.

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, it may be wise to clarify expectations before someone buys plane tickets but you did nothing wrong.
posted by missmagenta at 3:18 AM on August 6, 2019 [59 favorites]

I used to tell my daughter, "It doesn't matter if a guy takes you to dinner and pays for it, that doesn't mean you owe him sex, it's your body, and you have the absolute right to whoever you allow to go near it."

Sounds like he was being petty and getting back at you for not putting out when he came to visit. Like a giant man-baby 2-year-old abusive asshole. Good riddance.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:20 AM on August 6, 2019 [19 favorites]

Best answer: Its also possible he's just really immature and can only handle superficial emotional connections over long distance relationships but when faced with a real person having real emotions, he bailed on the relationship
posted by missmagenta at 3:23 AM on August 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: In my experience, there are some really bad men out there who just want to know they have the ability to mess with you like this because it makes them feel powerful to jerk other people around. Good for you for standing up for yourself to the extent you did amid the confusion. Next time, know that anyone who tries to pressure you into sex the way he did is not worth being with.
posted by sallybrown at 3:41 AM on August 6, 2019 [20 favorites]

I'll cautiously buck the trend and, while concurring that vindictive pettiness is probably a big part of this, also argue that communication is key in LDRs, that y'all's communication is not great, and that he might've broken up with you because that specifically was a dealbreaker.

Talking about physical intimacy is awkward but it's important. No, you don't owe him sex, but if you have boundaries it's better to share those up front rather than defer them until it feels like you're springing them on him -- especially in a relationship where getting to be in the same physical place is infrequent and difficult. Likewise it's not clear you made your needs and expectations explicitly known on the second visit (and after the first, he may have been himself avoiding your previously established boundaries).

Did this dude behave badly? Absolutely, and probably the problematic behaviors you saw would have scuttled things at some point. But part of getting what you want is saying what you want, and if you talk more, and earlier, then both you and your partner can probably be a lot happier the next time around.
posted by jackbishop at 5:01 AM on August 6, 2019 [5 favorites]

You can be mentally ill AND a total asshole. The why doesn't matter.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 5:04 AM on August 6, 2019 [5 favorites]

Best answer: He compared you to a child twice. I don’t know what is wrong with him, I just want to reinforce for you that that was not okay for him to do. I wish you well in finding someone who will treat you better.
posted by eirias at 5:23 AM on August 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

You're not going to solve this one - there could be all kinds of reasons. For whatever reasons, maybe entirely about him or maybe about the dynamic between the two of you, he decided it wasn't going to work. And he's either a dude who did this as a stupid revenge thing, or he's a dude who doesn't believe in waiting around to see if initial feelings about incompatibility can be overcome, so once he decided he was out, he wanted to cut that tie immediately and did it in a jerky way. There are a solid half-dozen stories one could spin from the details you've given. Best to chalk this one up as incompatibility, take away what lessons you can (better communication and maybe fewer second chances when someone's been extremely jerky to you), and move on to another, better fit.

I'm going to gently suggest, though, that jumping from "dude behaved in an unkind and unpredictable way" to "dude has mental health problems" reads as unkind and a bit ableist, to this person who has mental health problems. I am capable of being kind and keeping my promises. I know plenty of people who are mean and flaky who are as neurotypical and mentally 'healthy' as the day is long.

You're not going to know what the answer is, but 'he's gotta be mentally ill!' is NOT the conclusion to jump to, absent other information than what you've given here.
posted by Stacey at 5:25 AM on August 6, 2019 [13 favorites]

It sounds a bit like a crazy revenge fantasy to me -- "I'll show her what it's like to fly half way around the world and then not get laid!" -- but we can't do anything more than guess. Does it matter, honestly, *why* this guy treated you like shit? It's not your fault and you didn't deserve it.

Yes, there could have been clearer communication around expectations -- sexual and otherwise -- around both of these trips, but don't take that burden on yourself. If he needed to be assured he was getting laid when he flew to your hometown, he could have asked the question. And even if you'd said 'yes' on the phone that wouldn't have entitled him to sex.

Some people are just assholes, you know?
posted by jacquilynne at 5:50 AM on August 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: My guess is that you got caught up in someone's game.

Chances are, you were relating to him as a fellow human, a potential friend and mate. He was relating to you as a target - prey to be captured, a trophy to be won, a story to be recounted.

Have you seen how salespeople work? Maintain a list, go through it constantly, make cold calls, establish contact, say or do what it takes to close the deal, meet the quota and get the payout. It would not be surprising if he approached the romancing of women in that way. This sort of seduction game is described in the book "the Game" by Neil Strauss.

In any case, you did good listening to your gut and getting the heck away. Give yourself a pat on the back.
posted by dum spiro spero at 6:47 AM on August 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

Why invite you to visit only to spurn you in person? Quite likely he issued the invitation because you were the best lead at the time. Then one of his other leads started to be more promising - maybe someone easier to manipulate, closer to giving him whatever he wants. So he had to push you out to be free to pursue that instead.
posted by dum spiro spero at 6:57 AM on August 6, 2019

Best answer: He also spoke some cruel words and told me that my refusal to have sex with him was abnormal and childish. He also said he would go sleep with a whore then. I found it to be a very tasteless remark although he wasn’t being serious about it. I felt hurt by his anger, although I understood to a certain extent. After that, we spent some good days together in spite of the initial bump.

Please understand that I am not saying this in any way to justify his behavior, because it was cruel and frankly bizarre, more as advice about protecting yourself in the future from getting drawn in by someone who would do this. This passage was auto-disqualifying. How was this not auto-disqualifying? THIS WAS AUTO-DISQUALIFYING. Basic standards and self-respect will not save you from abusive men--they are everywhere and their methods are infinitely varied--but it will filter out some of the more obvious ones. Don't get me wrong, you shouldn't have to worry about weirdo creeps like this, you shouldn't have to defend the obvious-to-any-decent-human-being boundary of "don't insult me and threaten to sleep with a sex worker because I won't sleep with you right away"...but, in a practical sense, until we figure out how to fix men generally, you really kind of do.

Having extracted the lesson here--because you did assert your boundaries, just later than would have been best for you--don't waste any more brain space on this guy. He never deserved any of yours to begin with. Go hook up with someone who actually likes you and wants to treat you well, and someday this will just be a ridiculous story you tell your teenage niece.
posted by praemunire at 8:12 AM on August 6, 2019 [5 favorites]

Best answer: What you've experienced is what the PUA/RP (that's Pick Up Artist and Red Pill if you're unfamiliar with the terms, men into PUA claim they aren't RP, men into RP claim they aren't PUA, both are functionally identical to outsiders) advises men to do, so likely he's fallen into that cult.

Their belief is that men can trick women into fucking them by following certain rules and behaviors, and that men can and must be in charge of every relationship and all women secretly crave being dominated by a cold and uncaring man. One of their mantras is "all women are like that", seriously.

One of their rules is that if a woman refuses to have sex on the first date the man should retaliate by leading her along with shows of affection and then punishing her by refusing to touch her, the theory is that this will make the woman mad with lust/love and cause her to do anything at all to regain the man's favor.

Likewise the comment about going to a whore. Another of their rules is that men must always present themselves as being basically unconcerned about sex on the grounds they can get sex whenever and wherever they want so that sex with you is a sort of favor they're bestowing on you, not something they actually need.

Basically he's a scumbag who is into a whole slew of creepy and false beliefs that he is convinced are based on inherent biological truths.

Note also that one of their central tenants is the idea that woman can and must be monogamous, but that men should and must always have multiple partners. They call this "plating", in reference to the parlor trick where a person keeps multiple plates spinning on posts and refer to the women they are fucking as plates.

Odds are very good that you were not the only woman the guy was pursuing, and he may have been trying to cheat on one or more other women with you.

Sorry you ran into one, they're pretty awful people.
posted by sotonohito at 8:30 AM on August 6, 2019 [38 favorites]

Best answer: I know you said it‘s just curiosity, but since it‘s still taking up space in your head:

- It‘s not your fault. Nothing you could have done (including having sex the first time) would have stopped a cruel man from treating you cruelly eventually. He is a PUA. They dehumanize women. It‘s what they do.
- You couldn‘t have known this. For any fully human person this is completely bonkers behaviour. When you reach out to make a human connection you need to trust. You can‘t expect ardent lovers to turn into Mr. Hyde like that. You only start expecting antisocial behaviour like that once it‘s happened to you. Congrats (sadly) it has happened to you. You‘re now better at recognising the signs.
- Going forward: Read the comments about red flags and decidefor yourself to ditch any future dude who starts displaying flags like that. Will future dude be as bad as that one? Maybe not. Will you be missing out? Extremely unlikely. Draw a line at the small signs of disrespectful behaviour, that keeps you away from escalating PUA behaviour.
posted by Omnomnom at 11:28 AM on August 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Sotonohito has it.

This guy was following a playbook. He was trying to bring you to heel, like a dog. It sounds to me like he dumped you when his manipulation didn't work out like he wanted and you didn't beg. However, I wouldn't be surprised if he contacts you again, expecting that now you will be desperate for his approval and affection. If he does, run away very fast. He's a member of an abusive, misogynist self-help cult. His bad behavior will only escalate.

Of course it was confusing for you. You went into this relationship with the completely reasonable expectation that you would be treated like an equal instead of someone to be psychologically conquered. PUA behavior often makes no sense unless you know what they're trying to do.

You did absolutely nothing wrong. You ran into a vile human being, that's all. That can happen to anyone, and it has nothing to do with you.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:38 AM on August 6, 2019 [6 favorites]

On the one hand, I think you guys could have communicated better about your boundaries and expectations BEFORE you flew thousands of kilometers to see each other, on both occasions. However, he handled these miscommunications in a deeply asshole way. He's immature and vindictive. I wouldn't automatically assume mental illness--sometimes people are just jerks. In the future better upfront communication might help weed out the obvious assholes.
posted by Anonymous at 12:35 PM on August 6, 2019

Response by poster: Thanks all for your answers. You are nice people who made me feel better! :-)

There are so many possibilities but you brought some interesting ones: immaturity, vindictive desires, lack of communication, general asshole or jerk tendencies, and even ascription to a mysoginist cult... I know I will never know for sure but it was interesting to read your ideas.

I want to add some things though. It really doesn’t seem to me like was trying to get revenge against me. I know I angered him by refusing to have sex with him but wouldn’t it be logical then, that when I was actually willing to do it, he would take what he couldn’t have the first time we met?

I also have difficulties to understand why or how we could be such a jerk to women like me but have good relationships with his parents, sisters, friends, colleagues ... I don’t know him so well but from the things he said to me and the photos I saw on his Facebook profile, he does have good relationships with them ... I’m not saying one thing excludes the other but psychologically, I’m wondering how both things are compatible or fit in the same personality ...

In regards to the lack of communication. I agree, I should have been more open and told him directly because it did involve a long flight... but I just don’t think there was any lack of communication on the second time . He knew that I was going to have sex with him because we talked about it. We also talked about the things we were going to do... I don’t see lack of communication on the second trip but maybe I’m missing something?

Finally, about the red flags. I did see them in a way but there were a couple of reasons why I ignored them. The first one and main one I guess, is that I liked him a lot. And the second one, that I thought maybe it was a bit early to tell and I would miss out on something nice ... I guess next time I shouldn’t just ignore them... but this is a learning process.

Thanks a lot for all your input and ideas.
posted by Fromthesouth at 1:24 PM on August 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: "It really doesn’t seem to me like was trying to get revenge against me. I know I angered him by refusing to have sex with him but wouldn’t it be logical then, that when I was actually willing to do it, he would take what he couldn’t have the first time we met? "

I would hazard that in his twisted mind, he felt that since before you didn't have sex with him when he wanted, he wanted to somehow inflict that feeling back to you. I would even go so far as to assume his entire intention all along was to string you along, get you to come out wasting time and energy, and find a reason to be mean to you and abandon you.

I would also think his previous maintaining of the relationship was also cruelly devised. A combination of it being nice to have someone to regularly text or talk to, the feeling of admiration and all that when you compliment someone and they a receptive, all the while not actually particularly caring about anyone but himself. It's more about the power of influence over another, he enjoyed having someone thinking and fawning over him in the background.

Plenty of monsters manage to have seemingly good relationships with others in their life, their friends and family will swear up and down they were "good people" even after they go and do something obscenely terrible. People will still think of murderers as good people sometimes, like, they are almost afraid it will reflect poorly on them to admit they loved such a monster, so they downplay the monster who didn't "attack" them personally.

You never deserved to get caught up with this predator and understanding such a shitty person will always be difficult for better people-- that's why they are better people.
posted by GoblinHoney at 1:51 PM on August 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Back when I was 18 and visited a long distance partner, he blew me off... speaking in monotones, just staring at the TV, etc. I learned later that he had met someone he was really into the day before, and didn't want to "cheat" on her, and was so immature that he handled this by treating me like $#%&.

(I was stuck there for the night because of a snowstorm, but left at dawn and never spoke to him again.)
posted by metasarah at 9:18 AM on August 7, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I also have difficulties to understand why or how we could be such a jerk to women like me but have good relationships with his parents, sisters, friends, colleagues ...

Think of all the abusers and rapists and other terrible people who get defended up and down by their family, friends, and colleagues because "Surely not him!" People who are shitty to willing or unwilling romantic/sexual partners get away with it because it happens behind closed doors and they put on a mask for the rest of the world.

Early red flags should be taken as the reddest of red flags. People are on their best behavior early in relationships, so if they're not good to you then, well, it's going to be so much worse once they think they have you on the line.
posted by Anonymous at 10:16 AM on August 7, 2019

He got angry though when I refused to have sex and told me that it was unfair that he had flown all the way to my country to find out that I didn’t want to sleep with him. He also spoke some cruel words and told me that my refusal to have sex with him was abnormal and childish.

This is the interpersonal relationship version of workplace sexual harassment. Sex isn't a bargaining chip. If someone's claiming that you "owe" them sex, run fast and far and consider yourself stronger because of it.
posted by bendy at 11:18 PM on August 7, 2019

So as not to abuse the edit window:

I completely understand the wish to analyze the behavior of others but honestly, unless you're in a position to ask them in person AND you trust them to tell the truth you can never ever know. I'm a broken record on this, but trying to read someone else's mind to figure out what they're thinking is a flavor of "setting someone else's boundaries," and not practical or sustainable.

I'd love to see you find someplace new to direct your emotional energy - blah blah hobbies, yoga, therapy, running, competitive yak-wrassling. It's up to you. I'd recommend 1) Switch all that energy into figuring out what you want 2) Make the decision to stop thinking about it - that's a huge step. Recently, after a year of thinking every day about a former hookup and thinking about them being the funniest person in the world, they finally just became ugly and mean and have faded from my thoughts.

Perhaps you'd prefer llama-wrassling. What do you think?
posted by bendy at 11:34 PM on August 7, 2019

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