Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The worst boyfriend ever

I have a theory that everyone needs a horrible romantic relationship at same point in their life. I'm not talking about abusive here, but rather someone who takes you for granted, is too jealous, is unreliable, even unfaithful. 


The reason for this? To find your boundaries. 

We are all a little clueless when we first start dating. If you were like me, your role models were your "mature" friends who had boyfriends from 13 onwards (when I was still in the awkward caterpillar eyebrow and twelve sizes too big t-shirt phase), sitcoms, or Sweet Valley High. We are told it is supposed to a perfectly smooth ride, with talking on the phone all night every night and slow dances. We have no idea how to react when he doesn't like our friends or he doesn't want to go to the school dance with you. We don't know which of his quirks we think are adorable and idiosyncratic, and which are just plain mean. We have no idea how we are supposed to be treated. 

As harsh as it may seem, being treated like a doormat, for most of us, will show us exactly how we don't want to be treated. 

As such, even though I can say that my first serious boyfriend, Logan, who I dated for 10 months in Grade 10, is still one of the great dirt bags to walk the earth, he taught me a hell of a lot. Logan is the only guy who will ever treat me as miserably as that, because after him, I could see his traits in other guys from a mile away, and would avoid them like the bubonic plague. And if anyone ever started on any of his style trips on me? I have the faith that even my 16 year old self could have walked out the door.

Logan was probably everything a desperately insecure 15 year old girl should not have been kissing. Judgmental, angry, jealous, controlling, though mighty cute, funny, and seemingly dedicated. 

He decided he liked me the way I was, and thus, I was forbidden to change. He would turn around and walk away from me, shaking his head in disgust, if he didn't like the clothes I was wearing. He would grumble angrily if my new CD didn't meet his approval. I even hid my class projects from him for fear of his disapproval, such as the time I did a biography on Drew Barrymore, as I knew he thought she was a "slut".

He was insanely jealous, and would try to fight any guy who was friendly towards me. When I tried to stop him, he would accuse me of wanting to be with them, so I learned to just stare at the ground as he shouted and shook his fists. He would also wildly confront anyone who expressed concern for me. He never hit anyone, but that was more to do with their skills at backing away and negotiating than a flattening of his temper.

I made the mistake of letting him be my first everything, losing my virginity on my bedroom floor. He then believed he had the right to me at anytime, as though sex was solely his decision, and I was merely an accessory to it. I distinctly remember sleeping in the same room as a friend, and him chastising me to tears because I wouldn't have sex with him there. I actually tried to curl up and sleep on the bathroom floor, as though the cold tiles were more peaceful than lying beside him.

My sister was stronger than me in all of this. Despite being all of 12 years old, one time after he had berated me over the phone, I left to walk to his house, she called him, this big 16-year old, and told him to stop being so cruel to me. 

I actually set to my reminiscing about Logan yesterday over dinner, when my friend, after laughing at her distress at her first time being dumped, asked me what my most horrendous "dumped" story was.

I started laughing hysterically at how truly awful it was.

And I told her about how, in French 10, we did a fashion show. My friends asked me to be their model for a pair of shorts and a tank top. I asked them if I could wear a jacket with it. They said yes, but ended up giving away the jacket to another catwalker, so I strutted my stuff anyhow. I didn't tell Logan, but someone else reported back to him.

He asked me to meet him on the street, and proceeded to call me every name on the book. Slut, whore, tramp, you name it. In the midst of these slew of words, I was told he never wanted to see me again. The cherry on top was when I ran away, crying, he threw snowballs at my head.

I fell asleep in my parents bed, clutching my stuffed bunny. 
And I took him back the next day. 
One of the conditions of us getting back together is that I had to ask my french teacher to delete the video of me in the fashion show.

He dumped me four times in total. The fourth time, I didn't accept his pleas to come back. These pleas proceeded to bended knees, to tears, to persuading friends to knock on my door, to 3am drunken visits that began with poetry and ended with him storming off with vows to kill himself.
I still said no.

Perhaps a better victory would have been to say no the first time he broke up with me, or the first time he called me names. 
But I'm still proud the final answer was no.

As painful and unfair as it was to go through so young, I am infinitely glad I went through it at age 15, rather than at 18, 20, 25, like I see friends going through now. It is almost like one of those diseases, like the chicken pox. At least if you get it when you are young, you are immune to its later, more dangerous adult form.

And, small town that it is, that was not the last I saw of Logan. Later that summer, his poor heart apparently recovered enough to sleep with a visiting friend of mine in my bed. On my 19th birthday, he was coincidentally at the same bar, trying to fight the ex-boyfriend I'd dated after him, still holding a grudge years later. 

And just as I was wondering if I was holding onto my grudge a little too fiercely, I saw him at a friend's birthday party around five years ago in UndergradCity. He began hitting on my friend, but when he heard how we knew each other (she had dated the Ex's friend for a year-- a guy who was a bit of a ladies man in high school), he said to her "Well, if you dated him, I hope you got yourself checked"... as in STDs. He accused a girl he just met, and was trying to seduce, of having STDs.

Some things never change.

43 comments:

Arielle said...

That's completely awful, all of it! Almost unbelievable in how much of a jerkface that guy is. But as you said, at least it happened years ago and now you can laugh at it.

Princess of the Universe said...

That reminds me in a lot of ways of my first boyfriend. I too got it all over with in my teens.
I agree with your premise though, you should have one crappy relationship to strengthen yourself and learn from...

Yoda said...

Well, at least he didn't give you STDs.... There's got to be some good in him, innit?

lspoon said...

Wow. Holy crapface.

Matt said...

So you don't think Drew Barrymore is a slut?

I kind of do...

Ant said...

I think blogger has eaten my last comment so I'll just give an executive summary:

What a gigantic prick.

surviving myself said...

Wow - snowballs? Man, that is just putting things a little over the top. Yes, the name-calling was a little much too.

Meghan said...

Wow. He sounds pretty spectacular on the doucheometer.

Lily said...

Wow, I'm really sorry you had to go through that at all, especially the snowballs part! SERIOUSLY!? Honestly though, I know what you mean. I had my worst boyfriend at 22. He wasn't abusive or name-calling, but he's the one that taught me to NEVER be someone other than my true self for ANY guy. He kept me at arms' length, just enough to keep me wanting to be thismuch closer and thinking that things were almost perfect and if I was a better girlfriend, they would be. We never got there and eventually, he got burnt out (he wasn't much of a relationship type to begin with), and I had a wake up call. I ended it with him, told him I knew I deserved better, and never looked back. It's never easy, but I like your idea about the chicken pox... better then than now.

Babs said...

I like your idea of having to go through at least one bad relationship.

seriously, throwing snowballs at your head? I would have killed him.

brookem said...

god. that stuff just bites the big one.

but i agree. i think we need to experience a little dose of the bad (of the heartache) from the wrong men, to really find out what we will and won't accept from the RIGHT man.

Sassy said...

Sounds like my ex-husband. Yep. I married mine. BUT, I am so glad I went through it as an adult - I don't think I could have gotten out of it at 15, and I think it would have had a much worse, and lingering effect on my self worth...
Cheers to kickin' the bastards to the curb, no matter what our ages were!

lissa said...

wow. i can't believe how awful he was. i def think your theory is right. i had my experience with a dirtbag about a year ago and it def did help me with my boundaries and assertiveness.

zura said...

That is a whole packet of BAD. Wow. I agree with your theory, though. I dated my worst BF from age 21-23. Overbearing and selfish, his own low esteem accused me of trying to undermine him, to be "against him" as the rest of the world was, and he had a bad temper that made me walk constantly on eggshells around him. I grew a nice fat complex during that time, because of course I thought he was right and that everything was too often "my fault".

When I finally broke up with him for good, he was so pissed off because he felt he had more "right" to break up with me than the other way around! I walked out of there and started growing my self-esteem right back up to where it was supposed to be. Now, he's the poster boy for "what kind to never date ever again, ever" Good riddance to douchebags, I say.

S. said...

Wow. Forget flowers, chocolates and serenades...accuse me of having an STD!! I'm yours 4-EVAAAA!!!

What an ass.

Crushed said...

He does sound like a bit of a knob jockey...
Yes, I guess each relationship teaches you something. Thing is, they kind of take things from you too.

You were lucky, you got the crap ones over and with young.

Mandy said...

What an ass! I dated a guy for a while too who treated me like crap. It happened once and it won't ever happen again. I am glad that I went through it at a younger age as well.

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

Wowwww.

But you know, I think that your learning from this experience just says a lot about YOU and how you handle things. Because for a lot of people, having an unhealthy, emotionally abusive relationship that young doesn't "teach" them anything, it just sets the stage for a lifelong pattern...

Lizzie said...

I learned my lesson at 20 from a boyfriend who counted my calories, forced me to workout with him, liked to show my friends his "package," broke up with my five times and never ONCE told me he loved me.

He has a body covered in huge moles and is mildly balding now. KARMA.

Katelin said...

oh good god he sounds awful. but i totally agree that we have to either date or know a dbag at least once so that way we learn to not do it again. seriously, boys.

Greg said...

Jeez. Whole lot of jerks out there, though. When I was dating, all I asked of a partner was that they humor me. (The STD thing was implied.)

Sarah said...

My last boyfriend threw emotional snowballs at my head. I've actually dated LESS nice guys as the years have gone on. I should probably look into that...

Maxie said...

I've had SEVERAL jerkface boyfriends! But half of it was my fault... I was such a drama queen in high school. I think I broke up with my boyfriend 27 times sophomore year. Yea... i'm kind of crazy

Jade said...

OMG! I can't believe you went through all of that at 15. I would never have been able to handle that.

My worst relationship happened when I was 30. This guy was a total tool, but I learned so much about myself that I can never regret that relationship. I wouldn't be the person I am now if I hadn't gone out with him. I like who I am now, and I am a stronger person for it.

He's still a tool, though.

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

I've missed reading your blog....but I'm caught up!

themanhattantransfer said...

Umm Sweet Valley High gave me the same delusions about high school that Felicity gave me about college.
No twin sister; no Ben and Noel to hang out with.

I was so duped. Love your blog!

Paula said...

He sounds absolutely CRAP! And I find it so sad that in over ten years he doesn't seem to have learned anything!

K. said...

Wow, now that's a story.

I wish I were as strong/smart as you! Even though I had a couple horrible stories in my teens, I still didn't *really* learn until after my most recent ex... But I guess all that matters is that I learned.

Thanks for sharing what must have been some pretty tough memories. :)

SMARTBuddy said...

Great post. The analysis is, of course, so much easiser when looking back. At the time emotion or whatever else can get in the way of the logical thinking that is possible 10 years later.
It is great to learn those lessons early though, if you can. I wish I had.

Hope said...

Oh wow. Just wow.

t.k.foster said...

Yeah, wow, I would have never imagined you dating someone like that. But many people in high school dated disasters, so you're not alone. Be glad you didn't end up with him and hope no one ever does.

EF said...

Relationships, the breaking-up part, are like broken Coke machines. You know you are going to try to get that damn Coke out that you just paid for, you're just not sure how many times you will rock the thing back and forth before you figure the effort just isn't worth the buck you paid.

The older we get, the less we rock the machine.

Deutlich said...

Yikes!

courtneyryan369 said...

Thank you for this! Someone else who understands...

We had to date the assholes to appreciate the good guys - and know what we could and could not take.

Then practice saying, "no".

longredcape said...

Ugh. UGH UGH UGH. I totally had a boyfriend that awful in junior high/high school.

Now? He is living in a trailer a few hundred yards from his parents' house and his girlfriend is a crazy alcoholic who jumped out of the back of his truck when they were driving down the road a few weeks ago.

On Facebook, he has the strangest status messages that make no sense whatsoever, and every time I see his new status message I get the overwhelming urge to write on his wall, "YOU are a fucking WEIRDO."

I agree. Thank God it was then, and not now.

(shudder)

WKC said...

Tragically, some people also need time and failures before they figure out how to properly treat another person...or, you know, not. Bleh.

Surfergrrl said...

you know there really is no manual to how you should act and be treated. even if you have good role models, sometimes you just have to go through it yourself. Knowing you now, it's hard to believe you would put up with that, but like you said...

what, he sounds like a total douche!

Psychgrad said...

It just makes me wonder what happens in this guy's house growing up to make him believe that this behaviour is normal/acceptable. I pity any woman that ends up with him, assuming he doesn't see the error in his ways.

Rachel said...

I agree completely. And wow, what an asshole. It was probably good to get it over with at such a young age, however, that seems to be when feelings are most tender.

benjibopper said...

"if you get it when you are young, you are immune to its later, more dangerous adult form." so true, and so astute. it's also worse if you get it at an older age. i got it (let's call it datingajerkitis) when i was 21. took years to recover.

Mrs4444 said...

I completely, completely relate to your story. My relationship was exactly like yours, though mine was from age 15-21. I literally thank God that he finally joined the military and I got the space to step back and see the whole thing for what it was. And, thank God for therapy, too, as I was able to figure out why I had been so pathetically attached to him. Loved this post.

Lauren said...

How AWFUL.

Thank god you got out, you know, okay. And that it's all in the past.

poodlegoose said...

Oh, god, that sounds terrible. I'm so glad that you got away from him. And I'm glad you learned from it instead of letting it hinder your future relationships. Because even though having a bad relationship first go 'round could be 'better,' they can have serious ramifications on future ones.

What an asshole.