This is part of my “Rewinding to Rochelle” series that sheds light on what an abusive relationship can look like.
Trigger Warning: This contains content that may be upsetting to some readers. While the incidents are real, all names are fictitious.
Rochelle and I sat down at restaurant. I don’t even remember which one.
Rochelle: What should I eat?
The Dating Introvert: I’m not sure. I haven’t been here before.
Rochelle: I want to date a guy who knows what’s good on the menu and can tell me what to pick.
There are only two possibilities here. Either:
- Rochelle wanted me to have visited all restaurants beforehand, to prepare for a date with her: This was obviously unreasonable.
- Or, she wanted a guy who could “take charge” – the kind of guy who would order the steak for himself and then tell the waiter that “she’ll be having the salad”, without even giving her a chance to speak.
In hindsight, the conversation was disrespectful as she was putting me down, by basically saying that I wasn’t good enough. This was just another example of the abuse I dealt with throughout the relationship.
As for wanting the kind of guy who could “take charge”, she was seeking a toxically masculine figure. She wanted a sexist man who would dominate her and put himself first, because she confused misogyny with confidence and power.
In the years since, I’ve realized that she always sought out uneven relationships, where either she abused her partner, or her partner would abuse her. I wish I were making this up – in a future post, I will write about the violent man she dated next. I hope she gets help and breaks out of this cycle.