WARNING: THIS IS A LONG POST. This entry is the second in my series examining the relationships I’ve had in the last 6 years. After my father died, the men I was attracted to began to change, and this series was prompted by realizing, through an other entry, that I may be viewing these men as surrogates for my father and trying to gain his approval even after his death. With that…here’s relationship two.
The second was more recent and introduced to me by friends. I had dated several different men between my last relationship, but I didn’t end up being enamored by them. May be I’m too picky, or may be I’m drawn to men who aren’t right for me. Yes, I know that says a lot about me. Trust me though, some of it was laughable. When a guy asks you to be his date to a funeral for your 2nd date, you don’t stick around long. Anyway…..
My friends introduced us on the night of my 30th birthday because they felt we would look cute together. He was two years younger than me, and that was definitely a first. I had strictly been an older girl, never dating anyone below the age of 34 even while I was still in my 20s. Something about an older man always made me think they had more self awareness. I have learned that’s not the case, but it’s still something I prefer. The first few times we hung out were fun, but nothing came of it. A few months later, he reappeared and wanted to pick things back up. I told him I would consider it and eventually ended up hanging out with him. After a few months, he wanted to become exclusive and this is where things get a bit dicey.
Upon deciding to become exclusive, we had to change our status immediately. I wanted to wait till after brunch (hey…a girl loves her food), but he rejected that idea. It had to be done then and even went onto my social media account to change my status immediately. He also refused to leave for something eat until he could show me he was shutting down his profiles on dating websites. I had to watch him do this so I knew how serious he was about us. I personally didn’t understand it and thought it was fine if he just doesn’t go on them any longer. Still that wasn’t good enough, and I ended up waiting for a good 20 minutes while he went through trying to shut down his profiles. According to my best friend, this should have been my first sign that something was up and I should have left immediately. If he needs that much control over the status of the relationship that he goes onto my social media, then that control would spill out into other areas. I told her he was just excited.
It was at brunch that day, after asking for things to be exclusive, that he told me he has obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. OCPD is not exactly like OCD. It’s actually quite severe and doesn’t always have to do with rituals that people normally associate with OCD (excessively washing hands, having to check or lock the doors a certain amount of times, etc.).
Obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), also called anankastic personality disorder, is a personality disorder characterized by a general pattern of concern with orderliness, perfectionism, excessive attention to details, mental and interpersonal control, and a need for control over one’s environment, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency. Workaholism and miserliness are also seen often in those with this personality disorder. – Wikipedia
OCPD has quite a bit to do with control, but I didn’t do my homework on the disorder even after he informed me he’s been diagnosed with it. I assumed it was like OCD, and none of his quirks, such as keeping his nails so short or having to have be a specific length, really bugged me. I didn’t think much of him waiting to tell me about this until after we were in a relationship. It can be a very anxious thing to discuss with someone.
It was shortly thereafter that things began creeping in that started to unnerve me. I wear glasses usually unless my eyes are hurting, and he would constantly question me about them. He kept telling me I should get contacts because of how beautiful my eyes were. I would always have to go through the story of how I’m scared to touch my eye. Yes this is a real thing with me. I can’t even watch anything touch an eye in a movie or watch others take contacts out. I would tell him every time that….
“Touching my eye terrifies me. I don’t know why. When going to the optometrist, they routinely have to put a camera lens on your eye to take a picture. I’ve been told that children are easy to administer this test to. It really creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable.”
I went through the same story every time he would say something, which ultimately was at least once every time we were together. I would get a bit annoyed but I would just repeat myself and let it go. Then one day he began the process again, and before I could reply, he looked at me, made an exaggerated face, raised his voice an octave and repeated my normal response but in a mocking tone. At first it didn’t seem like a big deal, but eventually it began to wear me down. You can only take someone nitpicking something so much. I’d put my glasses away and only wear them if necessary.
Then came the hair…I had mentioned I wanted to donate it. He told me girls with short hair are either lesbians (a more vulgar word was used on his end) or old and would criticize me if I brought it up. Then my clothing became an issue. He’d call ahead of coming over and tell me to make sure I was wearing a skirt or something feminine that showed off my legs. I had to dress a certain way even if we were in my own living room. It got to the point that I would just know and eventually change before he came over. I didn’t feel like having to deal with arguing over why I was in jeans or yoga pants.
I naturally make faces. I don’t even realize I’m doing it, but I’ve been told I’m very expressive. You can always tell what I’m thinking, feeling or what not based on my facial expressions. Most people just laugh and shake their heads at me. It’s something that makes me the WORST liar. I can’t do it. What I used to do was voices. I know that sounds weird but sometimes I’d just go into an accent or silly voice when talking about something. Or if someone was mumbling and I couldn’t understand what they were saying, I’d jokingly make some inaudible noise. I began hearing from him how annoying these things were. He’d make sure to point out when I was doing it and tell me how childish I was or how much it got under his skin. One day he even stopped to look me in the eye tell me that it makes him frustrated with me and bothers him. While I can’t control the faces as it’s second nature, I slowly began changing that part of me. I still don’t think I’ve done it randomly since. It’s a part of me I never really got back.
Shortly, there were problems with the amount of time I spent elsewhere, with friends and family or even time I needed to spend alone. I had plans for a holiday weekend that I normally go away for. He had assumed that we were spending it together. If I just wanted to spend the night in watching Netflix and lounging since I was tired, he would constantly pressure me to have him come over or to change plans. If we were out with his friends and I said something he didn’t like, he’d interrupt and say something rude or he’d insult me in front of them. Everything culminated when I got hurt physically.
I had tried carrying my old air conditioner down the spiral staircase, and anyone that knows me, knows that I’m a klutz. I ended up falling down the stairs, with the AC (I rent…I wasn’t letting it go into a wall). I needed to go the hospital as my foot started swelling and I couldn’t put any pressure on it. Fearing that it was possibly fractured, I first contacted him but got no response. I contacted my sister and then of course my mother. My mom came to take me to the hospital and my boyfriend called to say he was just leaving PA. It would be about 3 hours, but he’d be at my place. I told him not to worry about it as mom was coming, but I would have to cancel our date later as I couldn’t walk. He then went into why my mom coming was a bad idea and having him come was the best option. I simply told him I wasn’t waiting 3 hours for medical care when I had someone on the way already. He checked up on me a few hours later, and everything seemed fine.
The next day, he wanted to do something and check on me. Since I couldn’t walk well and had my foot in an open toed boot, I was going to meet him in front of my house, this way I didn’t have to walk down and then up the stairs. I was waiting on the porch when my neighbor arrived and saw my foot. He immediately looked at me and asked what in the world had happened. We were chatting when my boyfriend arrived. He stopped in the street, left the car on park and just stared. My neighbor asked if I would like help down the stairs, and I told him no, I was fine. He then looked at me and said, “are you serious?! Look at your foot!” My neighbor helped me down the 4 steps while my boyfriend stared at him. Later on, my neighbor told me that it was not a friendly look. After I got in the car, he immediately asked who it was that helped me. I informed him that it was my neighbor.
While sitting in the car, he wanted to talk about the previous day and explained that he felt I should have waited the three hours for him. I explained that it made more sense for my mom who was closer to take me so I could receive medical attention. I then made the error in saying I only called her because my neighbor wasn’t home. My boyfriend then smacked the dashboard and yelled “It’s not his job! I’m you’re boyfriend! It’s my job to take care of you!” It was pretty shocking as I’d never seen him get angry like that. The subject was dropped after I explained that it wasn’t that neighbor I would call but rather his very female, plus very straight, fiance. We proceeded to the movies and didn’t speak much about it after that.
A few days later, he took me out for my birthday and everything seemed fine. He picked me up and was dressed up, flowers in hand and a card that had to do with an inside joke we shared. A few nights later I had plans with friends and we couldn’t hang out. He didn’t say much when I told him. He just went silent. Then I went away for a weekend. He wasn’t too happy about it and seemed shocked when I told him I had plans to see my family. He told me that he had thought we would spend the holiday weekend together. I told him I would come back early to spend time with him, and he just stayed silent. That ended up being the end of the relationship as he broke up with me over the phone on his way home.
I wish I could say this was the end of it, but a few months later, he began texting and calling again. He apparently moved a mile within my apartment, even though previously he had told me he would never move this far north. I was leery about letting him back in my life, but I eventually decided I could try and be friends with him.We started hanging out again and were seeing each other about 3 times a week. Randomly, before dinner one night, he asked if I would ever date him again. I told him I hadn’t thought about it as we were just friends. He looked at me and said that what we were kind of doing was dating. I simply replied that that was true. Then he ended the conversation with, “But I wouldn’t date you again.” Needless to say I was shocked and bit hurt by this. Why even approach this? I wondered if he only brought up the subject to say that to me, like he was trying to be cruel. I left after I finished eating dinner that night.
Another 3 months went by when I heard from him again. He began messaging me on Facebook, telling me he wanted to see me, not to be mean and respond. After a week or two, he was sending me sexual messages. If this happens to you by the way, all facebook does is tell you to block the person; so I blocked him. That started text messages and calling. He messaged me the night of my best friends bachelorette party with some very comments about my body. I didn’t respond. An acquaintance of mine who’s a lawyer told me to keep everything on file, and if it gets to it, he’d start the legal process.
Soon after, my ex began just showing up at my apartment, bringing soup when he heard I was sick or trying to get an invite in. I was increasingly getting messages and everything came to ahead over this past summer. After meeting my cousin, he made sure to tell me how rude she was and how she needed to be taught a lesson. He went on to tell me that I should give him credit for having such patience with me as it’s hard for a man to go backwards sexually. I should show him some gratitude for being okay with not having sex when he wanted. He then went as far as contacting my cousin to tell her how rude she is and how he didn’t appreciate her attitude when she tried to pay him back some money she owed him. I responded to him and told him if ever contacted my family again, I was calling the cops and having my friend go through with a restraining order. I’d love to say that was the last I heard from him, but after disappearing for a few months after that, he’s called and texted just two months ago. I was notified by LinkedIn that he was also looking at my profile. He’s now blocked on everything.
Now that I’m out of that relationship cycle. I’m actually realizing how scary this got by September. It started with small changes that didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. Gradually, they slowly started to tear me down, and as I pulled these parts of me away, I began losing myself. I was more accepting of things that should have been warning signs. I didn’t go as far as the previous relationship, but I wasn’t me any longer. It was only my best friend who saw the danger in this situation. She noticed it from the first time I spoke about him, yet I didn’t listen. I took his control issues of needing to tell everyone we were in a relationship, of how I looked, of how I acted, as nothing too serious. I didn’t even really see his intensity over who I hung out with and what I did with my free time as being a big deal. I just saw him as being excited about being together. It wasn’t until this last summer as things began to become a bit more intense and aggressive that I saw it.
He craved control over who I was and even the little things about myself that made me, me. At the end, the lack of control over me caused more aggression and anger on his end that continues. When a man says that a woman should be grateful that he’s respecting her body and wishes, there’s something that makes him suddenly seem more dangerous.
He had a large personality and was domineering very much like my father. I needed to be perfect and it wasn’t a hard hoop to make me jump through. I had spent a lot of time trying to be “perfect” growing up. I spent a great deal of time making sure I got straight A’s, didn’t get into trouble, etc. So when he had ideals that I needed to meet, it was second nature to simply say okay. I never thought twice. It never dawned on me that being me should be enough. Over the past few years, that’s what I’ve yearned for. It’s having someone accept me fully for who I am. I never took the time out to see the people who already do.
It’s taken a very long time to get over this, and there are times when I still experience anxiety over who I am and if I’m “good enough,” if there’s something I need to change or whatnot. I’m slowly learning it’s not me and aiming to get that goofy side of me back. I feel as if I’ll forever be changed though. I know now I did not deserve having someone pick me a part and slowly start making fun of who I was. Now, I hope I don’t hear from him again while back when the relationship first ended I only saw my failings that caused it. I could only think what did I do, what was wrong with me and what happened. He had spent a lot of time telling me what I needed to change and picking me a part that I believed I had done something wrong simply by being me.