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A while back, I was watching Oprah, and she was interviewing this woman who had previously dated a man who turned out to be crazy. After they broke up, a stupid judge (who I think was later relieved of his/her position) lifted the restraining order despite the woman's protests, and the man came and found her and set her on fire. She suffered serious burns over most of her body and now leads a very painful life.
Oprah kept insisting throughout the whole interview that there must have been some sign, some indication that that he was dangerous, violent, crazy. How could things have gotten this far without the woman having any clue that this man was dangerous? The woman timidly admitted that there had been signs, but she hadn't responded to them.
My story is not nearly as intense as hers, but the principle is the same: listen to your instincts!
I met this guy when I was out with my friends, and he seemed pretty nice. We started hanging out a lot and became pretty good friends. He was really nice for the most part, but when he wanted something, would get pushy about it. I'm a fairly accommodating person, so I sort of let it go at first. Fast forward a few months, and we are spending a ton of time together and discover we are attracted to each other, so we start dating. He's still a little too pushy at times, but always insists that he respects me and cares about me, so I figure that when it comes to the important things, he'll listen to me.
Fast forward a few more months and we are sitting in the car. It's late, I'm tired, and I'm a bit annoyed with him over something, so I'm really not "in the mood" for anything physical. I also have to finish packing for a super-early flight in the morning, so all I really want to do is go to bed. He, on the other hand, wants to make out. I tell him 3 times that I really don't want to kiss him right now, but he keeps trying anyway. I insist that no, I don't want to, and he needs to stop. Instead, he literally grabs me and tries to forcibly kiss me. I try to push away but he won't let me go. I shove him off of me and flip out at him. We have a huge fight, both of us storm off, and we don't talk for a week.
Then he calls me at 8 am to tell me that apparently I hit him in the eye, and I should apologize. I told him that I will never apologize for defending myself when I feel I'm being attacked. His response: "I didn't attack you. It's not like I was trying to rape you. I just wanted a kiss." My response: "If I told you I didn't want you to do it, you don't have the right to touch me at all."
We're no longer together, and I've refused to see him, despite all of his explanations and excuses for his behavior, his apologies and the flowers he bought me.
Hindsight is always 20/20, and I can easily look back and see multiple moments where he was pushy, not respectful, and didn't honor my boundaries. No one deserves to be treated the way I was. And in this instance, I wish I'd listened to the gut feeling that would have helped me avoid it.
I know it's cliche, but it's so important to remember: listen to your gut.