I assume it’s common practice to do some amount of research when you’re dating or crushing on someone. For me, it usually goes beyond a simple Google search. I’m fortunate enough to have several friends who know everyone, along with every single person everyone has ever dated, who I can and do consult regularly.
If there’s a new fella on my radar, I make a quick inquiry with them and they can give me either an extensive background check or a simple “run the other way”, depending on my immediate feelings towards the guy. For, example, if there’s chemistry I’d like to explore, but I’m given a “stay away” warning, I proceed cautiously and make a point not to spend a good chunk of my day fantasizing about whether my last name would work better hyphenated before or after his last name.
(FYI, if you’re going to do research on me, I think you’ll find most of what you need to know on this very site. Or, you can do one better and ask me directly. I’ll probably tell you everything within the first two dates.)
For the most part, these warnings have been accurate and have saved me a lot of wasted energy and stress. But there was one heads-up from a few years ago that really takes the top prize and ultimately saved me a lot of serious danger.
My 30th birthday was a roast/This is Your Life-type party, thrown and organized by several of my closest friends, and attended by many. Towards the end of the night, one not particularly punctual bud showed up with several young but attractive guys she’d met a few hours earlier at a bar. I was kind of seeing someone at the time but was really drawn to one of these guys, who looked Brazilian and had beautiful hazel eyes. To my shock, he came right up to me, grabbed my waist and kissed me on the lips.
“That’s for your birthday,” he said.
I was stunned. And kind of aroused. I’d never met a guy with so much gumption. I quite liked it. The next day, my friend who’d brought the young’un told me the sweet-eyed fellow had asked for my number. I granted her permission to pass it along and by the end of the day, he’d called me and we secured a date.
The night before I was supposed to meet him for a seawall walk, I got an email from an address I didn’t recognize. The title: TO ANY WOMAN WHO COMES IN CONTACT WITH _____ .
I leave it blank because it was the name of the guy I was suppose to go on a date with the next day. And for my safety, we’re going to keep it anonymous.
It said: I am ____’s ex-girlfriend. I want you to know that he is verbally abusive and possessive and controlling. In the time we were together, he wouldn’t let me do anything or go anywhere. Sometimes he would come into my room and flick on and off the lights when I was sleeping just to fuck with me. He’s a psycho man and I’m not afraid to let every female in Canada know.
Well then, I thought. So much for an easy breezy seawall walk. I suppose I could have cancelled the date and chosen to ignore him, but being a journalist who appreciates all sides to a story, I decided to go ahead and see what would happen.
We met up at the seawall and he gave me a hug. I felt guarded and closed off, despite being majorly attracted to this guy. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should really be avoiding him.
After about half an hour of mindless small talk, I asked if we could sit down on a bench. I finally brought it up.
“Um, so, some anonymous person emailed me to tell you that you’re controlling and abusive,” I said. “I mean, I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of so I won’t judge you if it’s true.”
That was a lie.
The guy didn’t respond. It looked like there was something going on inside of him but he barely blinked and kept looking straight ahead.
“That’s interesting,” he finally said.
“Yeah, I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to think,” I said. “I mean, I don’t know you but that’s a pretty crazy email to get. Especially since I have no clue who this person is or how they found me.”
“I think I know…” he started.
I could see he was tensing up.
I asked if he was okay.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” he said.
He was kind of acting like a robot, albeit one that was suppressing a lot of angry emotions. He told me he was going to go home.
“This is kind of pointless,” he said.
I told him if he needed to talk, I was around, even though I really didn’t want to have anything to do with him ever again.
A few nights later, he called me at 11 p.m., wasted. He yelled at me incoherently for a minute and then I hung up. This happened a few times over the next week. I finally programmed his name in my phone as “Bad News” and knew not to answer when he called.
I suppose that warning email was like a traffic sign on a road with extensive construction. I could tell what was coming ahead of me, though I couldn’t exactly see it. So, I chose to patiently wade through the dangerous, unstable ground and then knew to take a completely different route in the future.
Hi reader! Let’s talk. Have you been warned about someone you were about to date? Send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. I love hearing from you! Oh, and Like me on Facebook because this apparently changes lives or something.
April 12, 2012 3 Comments