Putting this one behind a cut for some sexual coercion.
Long time reader, first time question.
I met this girl who seems really great, and I like her a lot-she’s attractive, smart and romantic. But we keep arguing about sex.
We were having sex last night and I wanted to stop. Nothing was wrong, I just wanted to stop, I genuinely don’t know why. She got upset and didn’t understand what was wrong.
She wanted to keep going, and kept trying to get me back into it. I told her no, and she said I wasn’t even trying, and I had to try. She said I was lying when I said I didn’t know why I wanted to stop, and told me that I needed to remember there’s two people in this relationship, and it’s not just about what I want. I told her she was acting like a rapist.
I thought if I didn’t engage, she’d stop eventually, but she just alternated between cajoling and berating me. At one point, she started hitting herself in the face. I told her to stop and grabbed her hand and she said “It’s always about what you want; you always have to get exactly what you fucking want.”
She finally gave up, and asked if this was going to happen all the time. There was another time a few weeks ago when we had sex, but I had work the next day, so I told her she’d have to leave at ten. At around 11 I asked her to go. She was upset because she hadn’t gotten off, didn’t want to leave, etc. I ended up yelling at her to leave after asking about five times.
She asked if I’d stopped for the same reason both times. I said no, and she very sarcastically said “Oh, so you don’t know what happened tonight, but you know it wasn’t the same thing as last time? You know that makes no fucking sense, right?”
The conversation continued with a lot of sarcasm—basically demanding explanations and then mocking everything I said. She said that if she wasn’t getting any here she’d have to start going somewhere else and I said go ahead. She ended up telling me that I was acting fucking retarded, and I was a fucking bitch.
At that point, I lost it—I got up, threw the covers off the bed, turned on the lights and told her to get the fuck out. She said she was sorry, she didn’t mean it and hadn’t known I’d react like that. I kept telling her to get out. I grabbed my keys and my phone and said if she wouldn’t leave then I would.
She held my wrist to stop me from opening the door, and I told her to get her hands off me. She did, but she stood in front of the door so I couldn’t open it and told me I needed to calm down so we could talk. I asked her to move, and she told me I was being ridiculous, it’s my apartment and I couldn’t just leave.
I ended up pushing her away from the door so I could leave. I sat in my car for a while before I went back. I meant to go to my parents’ house originally, but I was worried she’d leave the door wide open or trash my place.
When I came back, she said we needed to talk. I said I didn’t want to and she should leave. She said that we’re still getting to know each other, and if she’d known me better she wouldn’t have said that. I said it’s kind of obvious that most women don’t like being called a bitch.
I went to bed and told her she could come to bed or leave, but we weren’t having sex.
She asked if I wanted her to leave, and I said yes. She said that if she walked out that door she was never coming back. And then she asked again if I wanted her to leave, and I didn’t say anything. She ended up crawling into bed with me.
In the morning, we talked and she said she would work on things. She doesn’t think I understand that it’s a big deal for her and she feels like once we start, she needs to get off and she can’t just stop. I told her that she had scared me and she said that she never meant to do that. I don’t have a problem acting like a rational adult when I don’t get off, so maybe she’s right about saying I just don’t understand how it is for her. We have only been dating about a month, so maybe we really just need to get to know each other more.
She said that she doesn’t know what has happened to me in the past or what my other relationships were like, and asked if I’d been in abusive relationship. I haven’t, and it kind of felt like she was trying to turn it around on me. She never really admitted that her behavior wasn’t okay, but she was really nice to me in the morning, got me flowers and made breakfast.
I’m not sure if we had a normal fight or not, because I’ve honestly never yelled at a partner or gotten into any kind of physical altercation, so I’m a little shaken. I know some of the things she did were not okay, but I have a temper too and I have said crappy things to people when I’ve been upset before.
My longest ever relationship was only about 10 months, and I’ve seen my friends yell at their significant other, so maybe it’s not uncommon. I don’t want to ask my friends what they think, because I’m pretty sure they would tell me to break it off, so maybe that’s my answer right there.
I still really like her, and I can’t help but worry that I won’t be able to find anyone else, because I’m gay and the pool is smaller. I also have kind of a history of short-term relationships– I haven’t dated anyone for more than a few months in the past five years. So I guess I’m asking- is this normal? We’ve never argued about anything else, just sex.
Thanks for reading, sorry it’s a bit long.
This is too much fighting. It is not normal. It’s scary. You’ve only been together for a month (!), and she’s already:
- Coercing you about sex.
- Yelling slurs at you when she doesn’t get her way.
- Hitting herself in the face when you wouldn’t do what she wanted (!!!!!!!!)
- Sending you fleeing your apartment out into the night to get away from her.
- Refusing to leave your space when asked and violently interfering with your attempts to leave.
Don’t get me wrong, any one of these behaviors would be a dealbreaker at any stage of your relationship, but a month in is a good time to still be deciding if there should even be a relationship. Cut your losses and break up.
Every facet of her behavior threw my shoulders up around my ears, so it’s hard to pick just one thing your partner said and did as the worst thing, but here are my nominations for the bullshittiest things that have ever been bullshitted:
- “Remember there’s two people in this relationship, and it’s not just about what I (the LW) want.”
- “She feels like once we start, she needs to get off and she can’t just stop.”
When there are two people in a relationship and one of them says “Stop” and/or “I don’t want to have sex,” then you are done having sex. If you do not think that is true, you are a bad person. If you keep trying to argue/coerce/guilt/blame your partner into have sex with you, you are, as was so aptly pointed out to her, “acting like a rapist.”
Everyone can “stop.” Everyone. If by some (fake) outlier of (bullshit) biology you actually can’t stop having sex once you start, then it’s your goddamn duty to only have sex with the person who will never want you to stop…yourself and only yourself.
The part where she got you flowers and made breakfast the next morning after abusing you is right on schedule. It’s called the “honeymoon phase,” meant to show remorse, bond you tighter together after an emotionally upsetting and intense episode, and create the fantasy that the abuse will never happen again if you just believe in the good parts. Her behavior, including the part where she tried to plumb your past to make your reaction to her abuse a factor of your psyche or relationship history (vs. a normal reaction to her abusive actions), could come right off a checklist for intimate partner violence. The part where you’re scared to tell your friends? Check.The part where you’re wondering if it’s something you did or said to bring this on? Check.
Letter Writer, you stood up for yourself beautifully. Your instincts – to stop, to get away from her – were in full working order and doing their best to protect you. What happened is not your fault.
I’m not going to brightside you that there is some awesome giant lesbian dating pool where you live and that you’ll find someone new in a heartbeat around the next corner. But that does not mean that you have to subject yourself to abusive behavior in order to have love in your life! Please don’t let the fear of never finding someone else keep you tied to someone who treats you so terribly. Whoever is or isn’t out there for you, this lady is 100% not the right one.
Where to go from here?
How To Break Up With Someone Who Is Ungood At Taking No For An Answer: A Review
Believe in and plan for the worst. If you don’t need all these steps, great! But when you are dealing with someone who clearly does not respect you when you say no, it helps to believe the behaviors they’ve shown you and plan for how bad things can get.
Consult an expert. If you think it would help to talk this through, here are some resources:
- National LGBT Domestic Abuse Hotline T: 0800 999 5428
- National LGBT Domestic Abuse Hotline T: 0800 999 5428
You can also type “abuse helpline” + country or state where you live into a search engine. When you call, expect to find a friendly person who will listen to you and who will believe you. They may be able to give you advice about breaking things off safely.
Contact her and break it off. Be direct and make it clear that it is a unilateral and final decision. “________, our relationship isn’t working for me and I have decided to end it. I wish you well.”
Tell your friends what happened and that you’ve ended things. Think about crashing with a friend or with your parents when you send out the breakup text or email and for a few days afterward. They can comfort you and distract you, help you manage the barrage of replies that are coming your way, and if/when she dramatically shows up at your place you won’t be home.
You absolutely do not owe her a face-to-face meeting or a conversation. She will 100% try to tell you that you do owe her that, and she will 100% use that conversation to treat the breakup like a negotiation and coerce you into giving her another chance (hitting herself, refusing to leave, berating you).
You do not owe her an explanation or reasons for ending the relationship. As tempting as it is to try to show her the error of her ways, right now isn’t about convincing her of anything, it’s about getting free. Stick with short, subjective statements that can’t be argued with. “My feelings have changed.” “It wasn’t working for me.”
You won’t be friends. If she suggests this, and you don’t feel comfortable telling her no right then, it’s okay to change your mind later. “I thought about it and I’d prefer a clean break.”
Return her stuff promptly…by mail. Mentally write off any of your stuff that she still has as a sunk cost. If you get it back, great. If you don’t, console yourself with the fact that you’ve removed this lever of manipulation from her arsenal.
Use block/mute/filter on all communication and social media channels. Remove her ability to monitor you online. If she floods your inboxes with messages, make it so that you can’t see them. Change your settings so that people can’t see when you’ve read or received a particular text or message. Be careful about sharing your location (checking in to places) or RSVP-ing to events where others can see where you’ll be.
If you use your phone as your alarm clock, get an old-school alarm clock and put the phone in a drawer at night. Shield yourself from those pitiful/horny “I miss you” texts in the middle of the night, and from your own temptation to answer.
Expect an “extinction burst” of increased attempts to get your attention and contact you. Once you’ve told her not to contact you, do not reply to anything she says. If she calls you 39 times and you answer on the 39th call, you’ve taught her that it takes 39 attempts to get your attention, and she will continue contacting you for at least another few months. This is really hard, and you will feel like you are being cruel, and she will play on that guilt. If you can stay resolute, she will most likely eventually withdraw.
If she threatens self-harm:
a) that is not your fault,
b) you still don’t have to talk to her/meet her/let her into your life. It is okay to refer her to (or call in) outside resources.
Given the way that she hit herself after you refused sex, this is not an impossible scenario. You’re not alone in experiencing this.
She may deploy other people to try to get your attention. If the circle of queer folks is small where you live, chances are you have at least some overlapping social connections. You may start getting messages from these folks along the lines of “Why are you being so mean/unfair to X, she just wants to talk to you!” Have a script ready. It can be something like “Yes, I ended things between us and I asked for no contact. I know you care about her, but I’d appreciate it if you didn’t try to broker a peace deal or pass messages along between us. I really need a clean break.”
I can also see her being anxious to control the story of what happened and to mask the fact that she abused you. You don’t owe anyone a positive picture of your ex’s behavior. You don’t owe anyone all the dirty details. You’re the boss of what, who, and when you tell. I suggest being circumspect with folks at first because you need to figure out who you can trust to respect your boundaries, but with trusted people, you don’t have to hide what happened here.
Remind yourself that you’ve only known her for a month. In the last 30 days you did not take on responsibility for this woman’s entire well-being, nor did she become the totality of your romantic prospects and life. She survived somehow before she met you and she will figure out how to live her life after you.
“You always have to get exactly what you fucking want” is something she hurled at you as an insult. I say, embrace this as a badge of honor. You DO always have to get exactly what you fucking want, which is freedom from sexual coercion and a partner who doesn’t treat you with contempt! You will not stand for anything less than exactly what you fucking want in your relationships!
Know that we are all rooting for you to cut this woman loose as quickly and safely as possible and enjoy the dance of freedom.