It’s one thing to tease your girlfriend about something cute like how she gets cold really easily or how she uh…sleeps with a sleeping mask.
It’s quite another to insult her about something personality-related, just to make her feel bad about herself.
There are entire books dedicated to losers like these — “emotional abusers” who tear down their loving and adorable girlfriends with unwarranted, subtle jabs to their confidence.
Daniel, the guy I dated a few years ago, wasn’t so subtle.
Granted, he was in a bad mood at the time and was the POSTER CHILD for the “misery loves company” movement, but still.
Daniel and I had a three-year, off-and-on relationship and during one of the “on” times, I invited him to my house for a Labor Day party.
He was my proper boyfriend at the time and I was excited. An hour after the party started, I started to wonder where he was.
“Where are you?” I texted.
“Coming,” he responded.
I frowned. It was irritating that he wasn’t even close to being on time to his own girlfriend’s party.
Heaven forbid if I had asked him to bring the keg or ice or something.
When he finally came over, almost two hours late, he announced that he had a terrible migraine headache and headed for my room to lay in my bed…alone. In the dark.
My friends gave me weird looks as I said I’d be right back and I walked into my room to check on the situation.
He was in pain and pissed. How fun for me.
But I was nice about it. I gave him a washcloth (and, uh, my sleeping mask) and said I’d be back in awhile to check on him.
When he didn’t emerge 45 minutes later, I walked back into my room.
“You talk too much,” he said immediately when I walked in, washcloth over his face, still laying in the dark.
“WHAT?” I said.
“I’ve been listening to you this whole time talking to your friends in the kitchen. And you talk too much. And everybody thinks it’s really annoying and I’m the only one who can tell you.”
“WHAT?” I said again, super hurt.
Daniel had hit my insecure button and I suddenly felt like the worst human being on the planet.
IT’S TRUE!!! I almost wailed into a downward spiral. I’LL NEVER TALK TO ANYONE EVER AGAIN!!
But then I snapped out of it.
“Wait a minute,” I said. “So…the THIRTY people at my house right now for a party all think I’m annoying?”
He didn’t respond.
“And YOU’RE supposed to be my reality check?” I asked.
I suddenly laughed about how ironic it was that I was being told I was annoying by someone who was laying in the dark by himself with a washcloth over his head.
Is someone who comes to a party and lays in bed alone the whole time not annoying himself?
And since when did he speak for my friends??
Not surprisingly, we broke up, and I moved on to dating people who actually like me and the things I have to say.
My advice to anyone dating an “emotional abuser?” Imagine him alone in the dark, with a washcloth on his face. And then try to take him seriously.
Daniel may be long gone, but what’s still near and dear are each and every one of my friends — you know, the ones who can’t bring themselves to tell me how super annoying I am.
P.S. I look way cuter in that sleeping mask than he does.