The first thing I need you to know is this: these stories are not made to scare you or cause problems in your life based on what you read. They are shared experiences I have written to educate and inform you. If you take something positive from them that is a bonus. I am not against online dating, in fact, I am for it, but safely armed with confidence and knowledge.
This story starts in the usual way, I met a guy on Tinder and started talking to him. We got along great so he sent me his number so we could text, which I was happy to do as we were vibing hard. He was upbeat and friendly and would message me a lot. Then he asked to video call me, which we did. He became very attentive, always calling or texting when he said he would, usually on his way to work in the mornings. He seemed to care about me and despite my reservations; I let him. Sometimes he would say very direct things like:
"Oh, you're putting on your makeup? One eyebrow is good and one is shit, you need to put some more there to make them even."
He was so proud of his knowledge and as I fixed my brow, I was impressed at his eye for detail. But it was the tone of voice that made me a little uncomfortable. I pushed it aside and tried no to be judgmental, it's not like he was being mean or anything, just honest.
After a week of constant contact, we decided to meet. He lived in the city, about 2.5 hours away, so I said I would drive up for the weekend and stay at his. Why in the world I would even do that is beyond me, like, how unsafe and reckless! But it seemed like a good idea at the time. Our calls and texts intensified the day before my visit, he would call me before work, after work, at night. I liked the attention I must admit. I was excited to meet this handsome man.
The day of my visit he called me and asked that I keep him updated on my trip so he knew I was safe, which seemed nice of him.
I was pretty nervous when I arrived at his place, but I pushed myself forward, was too late to run now. He met me at the door with a beaming smile and hug but never offered to help with my bag as I struggled with it through the door. I found that weird but yet again, pushed it aside as I didn't know him well. I looked around his house and admired his neat space, asking questions about some cultural things hanging on his wall. He seemed irritated as I asked about them, trying to learn something about this guy's heritage, but to him, it was almost like I was asking dumb questions.
We started watching music videos and chatting about musicians we loved as we drank his wine and ate the cheese I had brought. Yes, I am a good guest, I took a stack of local cheeses and crackers with me as my mother had raised me to always take something to someone's house. We were cracking up laughing and joking around. I liked this guy. But then his colours started coming through more, as he seemed to be annoyed when I said I couldn't stand an artist that he loved. He argued with me over it, saying how amazing their voice was and how could I not like them! I noticed him trying to cover up his true irritation, and I quickly changed the subject, apologising for offending him. It got around to dinner time and I asked what he wanted to do, but he said he had no plans. I suggested pizza which he was keen on but said he had no money in his bank account. WTF.
"My payday was today but sometimes it takes another day to go in."
Ok, so suddenly this grown arse man, who had a daughter, job and house, had not enough money for pizza, or to even go halves. I believed his bullshit lie and told him to order and I would pay with cash at the door. By that time I was dying to kiss him and get some action happening, so we made out quite heavily on the couch. I asked him if he had any condoms.
"No, why would I?" he responded.
Yet again I was thrown by his attitude and tone of voice, yet again I pushed it aside.
"I'll go to Woolies and get some," I offered.
He didn't put up any fight and asked me to get some milk while I was there. Okay... ?
I went to the shops following his blunt directions and decided to do something nice for him. I bought him some eco-friendly washing powder and dish liquid. He had explained to me that he got rashes on his skin sometimes and different detergents flared it up. I thought offering a chemical-free brand would be a nice gesture. While I was there another Tinder date messaged me. He was a nice guy and we had been talking for weeks so I felt like telling him I had met someone and I couldn't continue to talk to him was the polite thing to do. What a dumb arse. Another nice guy pushed aside because I was caught up in the bad boy web.
I returned to this guy's house, chocolate, condoms and milk in hand. But when I happily presented him with the detergents, he went weird. Ok, what I did was probably a little weird too. My heart was in the right place, as I explained that they were cheap and just a little gift for having me for the night, that it meant nothing more than that. He dismissed me as the pizza came and I paid for it. We sat on the couch again and drank more wine, laughing over food and having a great time. Then he leaned to kiss me, and it was on. Hot, furious, pent up sexual tension exploded on his couch in all of a couple of minutes. He got himself off quickly before he did the whole cliche:
"I'm tired now, I might go to bed."
I couldn't believe what he had just done. I drove all that way just to buy my own food and get humped for two minutes. For him to then want to leave me in his lounge room and go to sleep was pretty rude.
Too tired and drunk to do anything else, I asked if I could go to bed too and crawled into his bed. He flopped in next to me and went to sleep straight away. I felt used. Luckily the wine had me sleepy so I dozed off.
I woke up in the middle of the night; he was restless next to me. He got up to get water and abruptly offered it to me when he came back into the room. I felt sleepy and confused. We both tossed and turned and eventually fell back asleep.
In the morning I woke up and decided to try and get things back on track, make the most of my trip. So I offered morning sex, which he moaned and winged about until he gave me another two minutes of his time, before saying he was going to make breakfast like he was doing me some huge favour. By this time I was pretty ready to leave. I wanted to shower but he kept calling me for breakfast, so I shoved on my clothes off the floor and went to the kitchen. He was cooking up bacon and eggs and toast for me and made me a cup of tea. He was ACTING all charming, but something was off about him.
"You're not eating your food now?" I asked him.
"I'm not a breakfast person, I'll eat it later," he said as he put a huge plate of food on the bench and covered it with foil. The hell? I started to make small talk as he kept trying to get compliments out of me about his food. Breh, it's just eggs and bacon.
Suddenly, he flipped the fuck out and started telling off about me still being there. I was in shock and only halfway through my breakfast, trying to process what it was I had done! I tried to defend myself calmly, but he wouldn't have a bar of it, just my voice was setting him off more and more. He was saying shit like:
"Not even my mates stay this long in the morning, they get up and leave before I wake up."
"I have to go get my daughter I can't wait around all day for you to eat."
"Who do you think you are, you're so crazy."
"Look, you're making my rash flare-up, you're doing this to me. Look at what you're doing to me!!"
"This is all your fault!" he yelled.
The blood drained from my body and my heart almost stopped. Fuck, I'm in serious trouble. His whole atmosphere was dark. I mean, super dark. Mean, spiteful, angry darkness. I was scared. This big Islander who seemed so soft and playful had gone rogue, and I still had no idea why he was mad at me. He was gaslighting me, calling me all sorts of things, and getting red in the face. I genuinely felt scared for my safety, and I knew I had to shut my mouth and get out of the situation as quickly and as calmly as possible. My whole body started shaking as I ran a mental list of who I knew in the city that could help me out. Nobody. Everyone was out of town for the long weekend. I was in danger and alone.
He wanted me to eat and compliment his food so I did. He wanted me to leave, so I did.
Shower less, in my 'day before' clothes, horny and unsatisfied, half-fed and super freaked out, I quickly grabbed my belongings and took them to the front door. I tried to ask how his rash was, I tried so hard to make things right before I left, he had truly made me believe I had done something wrong. I tried explaining the detergents were just a gesture and I was sorry if it was too much for him. I thanked him for having me and asked if we were ok?
"Were good, we're fine, everything is fine why wouldn't it be??"
He didn't help me take my things to my car, it was all he could do to watch me leave.
"Call me when you get home so I know you're safe."
"Ok I will, thanks for everything."
He faked a goodbye and told me everything was fine as he gave me a half-arsed hug.
I cried half the way home. I knew I had scraped out of what could have become a very dangerous situation. As I played things over in my mind I could see the signs that were right in front of me that I had ignored. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, which is my downfall when it comes to narcissistic types. The whole ordeal scared me, and as I drove home I reminded myself nothing was my fault and that I would NOT be so dumb next time and put myself in such a position.
I called one person I knew in town, an ex. I was mid-tears and freaked out but he didn't care. He was so mad at me for being in the city and not telling him. So he told me off too. Big time.
"You can come up for a root but you can't even come and see your friend!" he yelled.
I hung up and cried more. What a shit day. I messaged the guy when I got home, letting him know I was safe, but no response.
What a bunch of lessons.
My ex messaged me a few nights later and asked for the guys' address. I so badly wanted him to get punished for his shit but decided I couldn't let a group of guys go to defend me at his house when he had a daughter. So I declined the offer.
I tried to see the best in him, yet I pushed aside the little red flags and looking back on it now, I see how little I valued myself as to let somebody treat me in such a way and to let things get so bad. I shouldn't have drunk that night and driven home, but I didn't. I got lucky. I got out safe.
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( Photo by Elijah O'Donnell on Unsplash )