(Tread gently. This article contains potentially disturbing content.)
Found another one yesterday.
We were talking on the phone about our dating history. I chuckled and mentioned how he’s considerate. He replied that he’s rather selfish in ‘love’. I didn’t get it at first, but he started rambling about his last casual relationship. He said that there had been times when his partner was uncomfortable during sex and would tell him to stop. One day, she told him to stop as it was painful for her, but he didn’t, being fully aware of the situation, as he was “near completion”.
The next day, his text said “I don’t think what I did was wrong cuz I was making love Then again, difficult to describe emotions.”
Still somewhat honest, I suppose (or at least that’s what we tell ourselves).
I wonder if we had gone ahead, would he have ‘loved’ me the same way?
The other one, I met him at a diner for our third date. He told me that he had just come out of his shell after five years, and that he regretted his last relationship, especially the things he had done. He thus decided to stay away from relationships and work on himself.
We were on our third drink, definitely tipsy, and I couldn’t wait any longer to ask him more questions about the relationship. I had to protect myself. We talked about the issues in his last relationship, the fights, the typical on-and-off toxic relationship pattern leading them to mutually break things off.
He did things without consent; he admitted to it. But, he also assured me that he has changed.
I still had to ask, “Did you both have sex?”
“Not during the relationship”
“Oh, so after it?”
“Yea, there was this time when she wanted to meet. I called her to my place and we got drunk. I confirmed with her that she wanted to have sex. We did it. Then she went on to take a bath, and I found her in the bathroom, her wrists cut open, blood oozing out. I took care of it though. Really did. Cleaned (/hid) the bottles. Called up her friend to tell her that she’s with me, she’s fine. I’ll take care of her (/I am scared and this way I won’t have to face her friends, family, or doctors). In the morning, she left.”
“You shouldn’t have had sex.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“No, really you shouldn’t have.”
“I didn’t initiate it, she was horny and she wanted to do it.”
“So, when was this?”
“Last year!” (/been alone for the last five years)
And well, that was our last date. Two out of the three dates we went on, we were both drunk, not surprisingly. I kept thinking later if this is why he insisted on getting drunk before we met for the first time. Or, is this why he likes drinking?
He did it so smoothly. He almost managed to make it look like I was taking him out to drink. Of course, I wanted to drink, again not surprising.
I wonder if he understands the subtleties of the power dynamic.
I used to have a friend who shared her first sexual experience with me that had been carefully planned over time. They were both restricted to their parents’ homes, and ‘Oyo’ and other such hotels weren’t an option. Finally, the wedding of the brother of a mutual friend turned out to be an appropriate opportunity. Everything was decided: how to get there, what she was going to wear, how the mood would be set, etc. How could it not be, given that it is not every day that we find a chance where we can find a private space to have sex?
On the day, unfortunately, she didn’t feel like it. It hurt, and they decided to not go forward. Her boyfriend made a poker face, acted out … then proceeded to give her the silent treatment. To please him, she gave it another try. And they had ‘sex’.
She told me she liked it, “aise toh sabke saath hi hota hai” (it happens to everyone).
I wonder how it would have been if she wasn’t persuaded into it.
It occurred to me today, how distorted my ex’s mind-set was.
Soon after the break-up, we started sharing our therapy journeys every week. We wanted to stay in touch (well, I wanted to) somehow, and formal weekly trauma-sharing meetings was the best we came up with. He told me how some of the experiences he’d been having while casual dating were providing a lot of healing for him. After one such experience, I think he cried upon the realisation that his touch was not ‘bad’ or ‘dirty’. I don’t know why he thought that was the case in the first place.
I understand the impact of healthy relationships, especially trustful sexual encounters. So, I congratulated him on his breakthrough.
Looking back, it seems strange, almost sad that he couldn’t contain his anxiety, couldn’t bear the shame of what he did wrong. He must have skimmed over so much turmoil, that he couldn’t accept the reality of harming someone.
Didn’t wait to work on himself, maybe reflect on some things. Didn’t wait to notice that he was manipulative. Just wanted to dissolve his anxieties via burdening another woman who’d let him know that he is “not that bad”.
Quick and sharp, I must say. When I felt uncomfortable being intimate with him, I was told that I was ‘abusing’ him.
I wonder if he knows how his boundaries (or the lack of them) were the problem, not his touch.
It’s a weird perception to live with. The narratives we feed on, and continue. The abusers not feeling shame when they should, not fearing the influence they have. Versus, all the victims training themselves to live in a reality that doesn’t hurt their (mainly) male counterparts. That treasures their trickery, and celebrates their flaws.
‘aise toh sabke saath hi hota hai’
I wonder how long I have to wait for the world to understand me.