It’s here again! The horror stories from dating front lines that I’m hoping you’re enjoying as much as I do! AS usual in the Ex-Files: all names and some facts have been changed to protect identities, but all stories DID happen to me (or a girlfriend I love). Want more Ex-files? Check here, here, here, and here. Love bugs, let’s remember that if you want to be written about warmly, you should behave better–or you can find yourself in the ex-files.
Without further ado: the one who yelled.
Real talk? I’m a yeller, or I can be when I get angry enough. However, because most people don’t really respond well to yelling, I try to keep it to a minimum. As in, I don’t yell if I can help it. It’s been my experience that yelling doesn’t get you want you want. This guy, didn’t feel the same way, however.
I met Mike through friends, and he seemed nice enough. Charming, able to carry a conversation, cute, and he made me laugh. We had a few dates that were great- the conversation, the banter, the wine.
But loves, this is where I let you know that there were some red flags I didn’t pick up on. Why? He was charming and made me laugh, I was just getting to know him, I live in two cities and dating is hard. I’m not sure. I like to think that if I were to go back, I would have saved myself some time (and Mike an appearance on the Ex-Files), but I don’t know that I would have been forceful about them. You might be getting more worried than necessary about now–nothing bad happened, Mom!
But loves, Mike was angry. Not all the time, and not at me, or waiters, or valets, or anyone around us. Mike was angry at the women in his past, especially his mom and ex-wife. In our “get to know you” chats, how these women had wronged, belittled, underestimated, and hurt him (while Mike persevered and was the victim). It wasn’t constant. It wasn’t violent. But it was there; so much so, that at one point I asked Mike if he was over his ex, and if things were ok. He claimed that it was fine, and promised to stop talking about it so much.
For our third date, Mike took me on what seemed to be an amazing date. It was Christmas time. He let me go shopping for a minute, we watched fake snow, and we settled into one of my favorite restaurants. Mike sat down and proceeded to order us a bottle of wine, 2 appetizers, and a steak for himself. He then proceeded to let me know that I was expensive to take out to eat (*side note: I’m not scared to split checks, and I’m always willing to own what I order. At this time as I had put in only a salad, the comment seemed a bit out of the blue). However, the conversation was great, and it was (fake) snowing, so I joked it off.
The restaurant began to fill up, our waiter was friendly, and the night seemed to be on the right path. Then: The Yelling. While our wine and appetizers were flowing, and our waiter was chatting, a couple at a neighboring table leaned over and asked about one of our plates. At the same time as the waiter, and the music, and Mike took that moment to ask or tell me something. It was loud. I couldn’t hear. So, I asked him to hold on and repeat what he said. Mike yelled, about how I wasn’t allowed to speak to him that way, about how awful I was, about how he was not to be blown off. What was once a noisy room was now silent. I was incredibly emabarrassed.
This is where I wish that I could say that I left. No matter the situation, I know I didn’t deserve to be screamed at and belittled. I was embarrassed, mad, and ready to go. I wanted out, but I also wanted people to stop staring, for it to end, and to do this in private. So I did what women have been doing for years, I tried to make it right. I attempted to calm Mike down, quiet him, make it seem ok for everyone there. And it worked. We made a show of going on, and it was ok. We left and I went home, upset at both him and how I had handled it. (Side note: I think this is the only time I ever have been screamed at like that in public). Mike and I made a plan to meet for coffee a few days later. He stood me up. But loves, I may have dodged a bullet.
Another side note: if someone is ever threatening or violent to you, leave. Peace isn’t worth it.
Hope that your week involves no bad and yelling dates, but if they do-tell me all about it! We’ll put them on the Ex-files!
We all have an ex that won’t die. There’s a reason they call it “I miss you season”; every once in a while, an ex who’s been gone makes their reappearance. Then trick can be deciding if you should give them a second chance or not! Here are just a few of my stories of exes that came back to Haunt me!
What’s up, love?
Mario went on 2 dates over a few weeks. It was clear from the beginning that neither of us were really looking for anything serious. He was lovely–but there was no click. So when things fizzled out, I thought nothing of it. However, like clockwork, every 2 months I get a text. Everything from “what’s up, love?” to “I miss you”. At first, I thought these were a little sweet. But, as this trend has continued, it’s become annoying. We didn’t really have anything. And no matter what he’s coming back for, it’s not here.
The One I Haven’t Met
There’s always that group text you can’t really get out of’ mine involves people from college. And in the group, I don’t know everyone–but everyone is friend’s of someone I do, so I thought nothing of Dave began occasionally texting me outside of the group, it was mainly about our college team, and it was fun. However, over time, it was clear that he thought there was a connection above football. I gently let him know that I was seeing someone, and wasn’t interested. Dave was lovely and we went back to being “group text” friends. Yet, at least once a month I get sent a random meme/thought/suggestion we get together.
Raise your hand if you’ve been haunted by an ex. We all have. From the “I miss you” text to the un-orginal “U Up?”, there’s always a feeling when someone is about to reappear. (Apparently the kids now call it “Zombie-ing”) These pop-ups can be pleasant, or down right scary (depending on the ex). I have a friend who has a theory, they all come back. And most of the time, she’s right.
So, I would love to know : who’s an ex that’s haunted you?
Wishing us all a haunting free week and amazing shoes! XO RA
Loves, dating horror stories are everywhere; this is my monthly attempt to be just a bit more like Carrie Bradshaw, expel some of my dating demons, and hopefully make you laugh (and feel better about your own dating life). Names and some unimportant facts have been changed to protect people; but the moral of the story is that if you want people to write warmly about you, you should probably behave better. Want more ex files? Try here, here, and here. You can also search Ex Files on the right (and check out my recent Instagrams, sign up for our newsletter, buy some SkinPrint!)
But without further ado, The One Who Got Married:
I found this charming story in one of those Facebook threads about horrible Tinder dates, and I had the realization that I, too, have a story about some one getting married. (A. Yes, I’m as horrified about that as you are B. Those “dating horror” story articles always make me happy as it makes me feel less alone C. WHO GETS MARRIED WHILE DATING SOMEONE ELSE?)
When I was in my early 20s, struggling in LA, I happened to meet a charming Irish drummer. I could barely understand anything he said due to his thick accent, but he was cute and sweet, and did I mention he was a drummer? I was in my 20s, it was enough. We didn’t have anything hot and heavy, or remotely serious. We went out for drinks twice, I went to see his band once. That was it, but he was sweet and called me at least a few times a week. On one such phone call, he asked me to go to Vegas with him for the weekend. I was working 3 jobs at the time, and couldn’t make it. He went, he had a good time, he called me the week after, I thought nothing of it.
However, he did begin to pull back after his Vegas trip. We made plans that fell through, he scaled back calling, we both lost a little interest. I didn’t really care; I was working 3 jobs and busy, and while I liked him, I didn’t LIKE him. But when he called me and asked me to come to his show the following weekend, I was in. (He was cute and he was a drummer). The day of the show, he called me to let me know that he had something to tell me. As it turns out, when he was in Vegas he got married, and his wife was going to be at the show. He said it was a “green card marriage”, but that his wife was taking it seriously, so I shouldn’t act like we were seeing each other at the show. I let him know that I wasn’t comfortable dating a married man, and we never spoke again.
This became a funny story, not something that I was upset about, because WHO GETS MARRIED and then thinks it won’t affect his dating life? As he and I never spoke again, I was left with many questions: Did his marriage last? Did she know he was dating? Did he really expect me to be ok with it? What would have happened if I went to Vegas-would he have asked me to marry him? Is he still drumming? We may never know.
The main lesson? Don’t get married while you’re dating someone else. It’s just weird.
However, I have to admit, this month telling you a dating horror story was a little bit difficult for me. Not because I don’t have stories, because I got STORIES. But. There comes a time when you’re mining your love life every month when you realize that there are times that the horror story is partially due to your actions. (CLEARLY this is a rare instance, but when it happens, aren’t we the better person? The one that can take responsibility and learn and grow?) So, on that note: here is Jumping to Conclusions.
Jumping to Conclusions
One of my most favorite sayings is “Never assume. It makes an ass out of you and me”. It’s also how I remember to spell the word (my spelling issues are for another blog). But the thing about assumptions? They are usually based in something–if nothing else, fear.
Evan and I had been dating-on and off, for over a year. Had he been an asshole? Yes. Should I have listened to my friends and the red flags and let him go? Yes. (Stories for another day) But, once again, I had let myself get sucked into Evan’s charm. (Really he was just moody, but he was a writer so it seemed romantic, and my first “real” relationship in LA so it all seemed so BIG). Good and bad news about me? I’m loyal–way too loyal at times. And truly believe that once you agree to try again with someone you really try.
So, Evan and I were trying again. Friends of mine had invited us to the Hollywood Bowl for a concert. And Evan and I had agreed to go. However, as the days leading up to our “group date” sped by, Evan disappeared. Not answering texts. Not answering the phone. Not a peep from the man.
And. I. Was. Pissed.
Starting over is amazing, and can work. But, the thing is, you’re not always able to let go of some things. And it can hurt doubly when someone knows how to hurt you and it feels like they are doing those behaviors on purpose. Disappearing and leaving me hanging when we had plans? It very much felt like Evan was hurting me on purpose. Also–it’s so embarrassing when a guy does this to you in front of your friends.
So, I handled the situation like any hurt 20-something year old would.
I called Evan and left him a scathing voicemail letting him know what an asshole he was, and how done I was.
Days went by.
As one does, I cooled down.
Then I heard from Evan.
Why had he gone radio silent? His lung had collapsed (after fighting a cold that turned out to be a very serious infection). Evan had been in the hospital and unable to contact anyone.
I felt so horrid for jumping to conclusions.
We made up.
And while this may have been a relationship that wasn’t for me, this experience did teach me not to jump to conclusions all the time–or at least, not leave them a voicemail about your assumptions.
I’d love to hear all your horror stories! Have you ever been the bad guy?
Wishing us all a week of no jumps and amazing shoes! Xo RA
In my attempt to not only be Carrie Bradshaw, but entertain us all with the horror stories that can make up single life it’s Ex Files! Every month you get a look at some (real) bad dates that I have endured, and lived to tell the tale. Names and some facts have been changed to protect people, but I own the stories!
But this month I give you: The One who was VERY IMPORTANT
Some dates end up being horror stories because of the behavior after the date. Some dates are horror stories because of the behavior on the date. This story that combines both types of horrors. And while I maybe should have seen it coming, I was fooled into thinking it could be a great date. The issue? The way to my heart is my shoes. That can’t be a surprise. So when I met George at the supermarket and he complimented my shoes, I couldn’t see anything else. (And they were amazing shoes.)
After flirting and waiting for our juices together in line, I had learned that George was a doctor and a lover of the outdoors. We made plans to get brunch and go paddle boarding on Saturday. I was excited, I was slightly new to town, a fan of paddle boarding, and a man who sees my shoes always seems like a great idea.
Maybe I should wait to see if men can see more than my shoes?
The Saturday George and I were set to meet I prepared-my hair was cute, I was excited. He was over an hour late.
Mind you, he did call and let me know he was having car problems. At first, he thought he would only be 10 mins late. Then it was 30. Then he let me know that I should go ahead and eat without him, that we would meet up for paddle boarding. So I did.
George finally arrived, not prepared, and nonplussed that he was so very late. We headed over to his apartment (across the street) so he could change into his board shorts and we could get to the water.
While I understand car issues, and everyone is late now again, my biggest disappointment was that the charming man I’d met at the grocery store didn’t show up. This George was annoyed at every little thing, from my hair to the traffic, but as we chatted about the plan for the afternoon I discovered that George was most annoyed with my not making him the sole focus of my day.
When I had made plans with George, I thought I was clear that I was free all Saturday till about 3:30 or 4, as I was having dinner with my Grandma. George has orginally thought that was sweet. However, after being so late, George no longer thought the fact that I couldn’t devote my entire day to him was sweet. He was upset that he “wouldn’t have as much time on the water as he wanted”. And he was most upset as “he had a friend going out on a boat, there were going to be hot girls there, and he wanted us to join, but we wouldn’t be done in time”.
Yes, he legit complained that he was going to miss out on hot girls on a boat. And I let George know that if he really wanted to go on the boat that he should, there would be no hard feelings from me. He didn’t leave, but was very upset that he was missing out. I should have left then, but I didn’t.
We went paddle boarding and it wasn’t bad. I did get yelled at for not “being as good” as George was. And George did let me know more than once that he was upset that my bikini wasn’t skimpy, and that I had a time limit. But the date wasn’t the worst ever. I had no intention of a second date, but still.
George and I finished paddle boarding and I made it to dinner with Grandma on time. A few days after, I received a text from George inquiring about a second date. But, he had a caveat.
As it turns out, George let me know that he is VERY IMPORTANT and when he makes plans with someone, he expects them to respect his time and be free for the whole day. He let me know that if I couldn’t commit to that, we shouldn’t go out again.
We didn’t go out again.
Also, if you’re so important that you need people to clear their schedules for you, maybe that’s something you should pay for?
Wishing us all a week of being important and amazing shoes! And great dates!
Loves! It’s that time of month again: I dish out stories from the front lines of dating and you grab your popcorn! Need more check this one and this one out!
With no further ado I give you:
The One Who Commented on my Weight
There isn’t one among us who hasn’t put their foot in their mouth at some point; I know that I’m guilty of that sin. However, there are times when you put your foot in your mouth, and times when you choke on it.
I met Ben at an audition. (Yes, in the running for one of the most LA things I’ve ever written). He was charming, funny, and your average LA Actor type. We exchanged numbers and decided to meet for dinner the next week after work. Nice. Normal. Nothing to be over dramatic about.
Before our date there were the usual texts, just enough to give you hope for the evening of; the only issue with hope is that it can be dashed. Now, let’s be clear, the date wasn’t completely horrid (and to this day I don’t think he meant to be malicious). We went to an improv show and laughed. We went to dinner, and things got awkward.
Dinner with actor types is always a minefield, between shoots, cleanses, and general pickiness, you never know what food issues the person you’re with has. It can be a comedy of errors or a night of horrors. The general rule of thumb though is you handle it with grace and humor, and then you can go back to your friends and complain about them. So, I thought nothing of ordering my meal with double veggies instead of carbs (it’s just what I do). However, in retrospect the carbs would have been easier to deal with.
Without waiting for an opening, Ben decided to comment on my order. He also choose to let me know that I “should try working out to control my weight problem”. Yep, that’s the quote. I don’t believe that one’s weight, workout regime, or food order are anything to comment on (unless you want to go to spin class with a person or some of their fries). Now, years later I’m still not sure what the appropriate response to this comment is (was). Ask for tips? Mention that I have it under control? Admonish anyone for thinking that weight control is an appropriate place to start?
Ben, however, took my silence as eagerness for information. The next 45 mins were spent with Ben giving me all sorts of workouts I could do. He recommended running (so I could lean out), lifting (so my arms could look great), and playing basketball (because he enjoyed it). I may have been silent but I sat there giving Ben the death stare, sighing, and grabbing my knife tightly. Ben might be a funny actor, he wasn’t the best at picking up social cues.
After dinner, we went our seperate ways. I hear from Ben occasionally (one time he even complimented my legs). I don’t wish him ill, and (again) I truly don’t think that he was trying to be mean. However, the comment and the lecture on working out was a bit much for me (side note: my day job at the time was Spin Instructor, he knew that).
How would you have handled that?
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Loves! It’s here! In my ultimate attempt to become Carrie Bradshaw, and satisfy my friends’ need to hear my awful dating stories (and sadly, there are a lot), we give you: Ex Files, dating horror stories. Yes, these stories really happened, yes, names/dates/places have been changed to protect those involved, and yes, if you wanted to be remembered well, behave better.
Enjoy! XO RA
The One Who Asked For His Money Back
I met Rick through friends, which is allegedly the best way to met people. On paper it made sense: I like sports, he was a sports writer, his bff was dating my bff; and if we could all just fall in love and live side by side, it would be the stuff that sitcoms dream of, in a word, perfect. Also, he was great with a witty text. (Side note: I may put too much stock in a witty text.) Nevertheless, when Rick asked me to dinner I said yes. I was even reasonably excited about the date, in the way that sarcastic women who secretly believe in fairy tales can be. A proper gentleman, Rick had called days before and we had made a plan: dinner and drinks on Thursday at 7, he was going to pick me up.
Thursday came. I was ready, early, just like my Mimi taught me. 7 came. 7:15 came. I got a text from Rick letting me know that he would be late–and I mean, we all know traffic is crazy, right? 7:30 came. As did 7:45 and another text-I should go ahead and eat, because Rick was super late. So me in my super amazing dress, and stunning shoes (like I have another kind) heated up a Trader Joes meal. Great date so far. 8. 8:30. Finally, 9 and Rick was waiting for me outside, and while the sarcastic gal in me wanted to rip into Rick (look, that kind of late is rude, period), I didn’t –I was betting on great drinks. And the drinks were great, we went to a martini bar, Rick apologized profusely, and I sat with my drink and prepared to learn more about this guy. Things, sadly, went downhill from there.
As it turns out, Rick had always wanted to play baseball as a kid. A normal goal, and maybe one that would have been in reach-you know, if he ever played. Yes, that’s right, Rick never played baseball. Not little league, not middle school, not high school, other than playing catch with his dad and friends, Rick had never picked up a bat. However, this didn’t stop him from trying out for his college team. (Takes guts, which I do applaud) To no one’s surprise, after years of not playing baseball, when Rick tried out for his college baseball team, he didn’t make it. Did that push him to train, try hard, and try again? Nope. Rick took it as a sign that his college coach was not a good coach, spent 4 years thinking about baseball, not playing, but decided to try out for the Minor Leagues. Spoiler alert: that didn’t end well either. I got to hear about this for hours, all while my acting skills were on full display, as I tried to pretend that this was normal date conversation. But don’t worry! Rick also insulted my sports teams, demanded to know if I thought he would be good at baseball, and let me know how trivial he thought my career was. The martinis were good, and I earned those suckers.
Thankfully, even the worse night comes to a close, and after what only felt like an eternity (but was closer to 2 hours), Rick took me home. Freedom was so close I could taste it. We turned on my street, Rick asked where he should park (you know, so he could come up). The fact that I didn’t sputter or have a heart attack is a testament to my ability to stay cool in a crisis. But to think–Rick thought the night went well, so well, Rick thought he would be invited up. I came up with some excuse about an early morning, gave an awkward hug, a punch on the arm (to really send home the message) and sprinted out of the car. (Maybe there’s a track team I can try out for?)
I thought I was safe. A week went by and Rick was silent. And if this story ended here, this would simply be another bad date, not that memorable. Loves, it went downhill. (Maybe there’s a making it worse team Rick could try out for?) Just when I thought Rick would be someone I could run into and be ok with, he sent me an email asking me out, and letting me know how much he was into me. I could ignore it. I could suffer through his adult disappointments. But I’m an adult, and while it’s not always comfortable, I believe in being adult with people. I let Rick know that I wasn’t available for the night in question, and while I enjoyed his company (Acting classes do pay for themselves, dad!) that I thought we would be better friends. Again, days of silence. I thought that was it. Until, the next week. Rick emailed me to let me know that “when makes an investment, he expects a return. He made an investment in my drinks, got nothing out of it, and would like to be repaid for the drinks I had”.
First–so many issues with that. Second, let’s be clear, I was out of Rick’s league and if I charged for my time by the hour the martinis could have cost $100 each, and he would still owe me money. Mind you, this was a good 10 years ago, and while it horrifies me that more stories are coming out like this (people, be better), and while I was sassy and confident then, I had no idea of how to respond to this request. WTF is wrong with you didn’t seem like the best option to someone I would most likely have to see again. So, I waited a few days, and then sent an email (crafted meticously with more than one friend) letting Rick know that I was sorry he was so disappointed, that I too was disappointed we didn’t hit it off (loves, I deserve mad points for not letting him know that his baseball story was crazy), and offering to buy rounds when our friend group went out again. I never heard from Rick again.
I dodged a bullet, but now again I wonder about Rick (turns out he found a woman who loved his stories and they have 3 girls–karma is really the best payback) and how many women he tortured.
My revolving door of exes is a running joke in my family. After high school, I didn’t visit home without a new boyfriend in tow. My family teased me but overall they were supportive and nice to Every-Boyfriend-They-Would-Meet-Once-And-Never-Again.
Though I’ve never been the “blinded by love” type, because of my serial dating, I’m now tuned into things that will be issues down the road. Call me a self-proclaimed expert in red flags due to my misadventures in romance.
Until this point, I’ve only been able to use this superpower for self-deprecating jokes, hilarious (but lurid) tales, and dating advice for my single friends. However, my well-honed douchebag radar will be better used if my mistakes help others from getting involved these stereotypical types of toxic boyfriends:
1. The Hulk
Until this point, I’ve only been able to use this superpower for self-deprecating jokes, hilarious (but lurid) tales, and dating advice for my single friends. However, my well-honed douchebag radar will be better used if my mistakes help others from getting involved these stereotypical types of toxic boyfriends:
1. The Hulk
Ronnie from Jersey Shore is my poster boy for the classic Hulk. Chaos follows him everywhere he goes and in every relationship. He refuses to see that he is the common denominator.
A picture frame went whizzing past my head and smashed on the wall behind me. The glass splintered, and a chunk hurtled through the air where it embedded in my foot. My red-faced boyfriend yelled, cursed, and slammed the door, leaving me alone while blood pooled around my foot. It’s hard to remember what he was mad about this time.
You know this guy. When you first meet, you’ll believe he has an energy about him — magnetism, perhaps. You might even say things like: “He’s so passionate.”
Reality check, though? He’s just angry.
His temper matches the Hulk and it doesn’t take much to set him off. He’ll punch walls or get in fights — for reasons big or small. And if a guy looks at you or even breathes in your direction? He’s outraged. While he may think he’s “protecting your honor,” you’ll soon discover the roller coaster of emotion is tiresome and annoying.
Guys like this think they’re a big man but underneath that anger is fear. Regardless of the reason, this kind of uncontrolled and misdirected anger is a ticking time bomb. Don’t get caught in the Hulk’s wake of destruction lest you become a victim too.
2. The Sloth
My next boyfriend and I had been together for six months and things were going great… for the most part. We got along and never fought. I was happy, and he treated me great.
So what was the problem then?
Six months together and still no job. No car. Not going to school. He doesn’t have a hobby, hasn’t read a book in years, and he answers questions about future plans with indifference.
There’s no drive, no ambition, and Mr. Sloth has stalled out in life. Sure he’s surviving, but he’s not growing. There’s no new thoughts, efforts to try new things, or anything besides steering the proverbial car in the same direction while coasting on fumes. This boyfriend isn’t interested in change because change requires effort.
While The Sloth is a mostly functional adult, sticking with this guy will suck the life out of you. The longer you stay the more he’ll take the wind out of your sails and keep you both floating aimlessly in the doldrums. Plus, when you ditch him, he’ll be so indifferent it was like you were never there to begin with.
3. The Leech
The next boyfriend was perfect — smart, funny, and good-looking. Of course, I’ve only known him a few days but we’re having fun getting to know one another. One day, however, he comes over to my apartment… and never leaves.
I went to work one day only to find The Leech sleeping in my bed when I got home! I barely knew the poor guy, but he hung around like a lost puppy for three days until I politely informed him to get out of my house.
Similar to The Sloth, The Leech’s identity is in flux. Your friends are now his friends. Your house is his house. He likes what you like: the same movies, music, and food. He’ll have whatever you’re having. Oh, there’s an opening at your job? Guess who your new co-worker is.
The Leech latches on for dear life and can grow controlling using his well rehearsed manipulation tactics. He doesn’t want you to go out with your girlfriends tonight. What are you wearing? When will you be back? He checks your phone and worries about whose Instagram story you’ve watched. Because The Leech doesn’t have much going on in his world, he tries to hijack yours. Thank u, next.
4. The Kid
I’ve fallen sucker to The Kid several times. I love to interpret blatant signs of immaturity as a sign I can swoop in, play teacher, and “fix” things. I even used to proclaim, “I love a good project.” Ew. This was both self-aware and incredibly stupid.
Note that The Kid doesn’t have to be younger than you. It’s a catch-all term for many things. He might be naïve, immature, inexperienced, or just plain dumb. He loves to tell stories about his “glory days” because he has no new stories to tell. The Kid is still content playing in a splash pad while you’re busy being an adult, but you still hope to bridge the gap.
This guy was my kryptonite. There’s this wonderful bright-eyed and bushy-tailed aura around them. They’re fun and energetic , whereas I’m not. They like to live fast and do exciting things — I like to stay home and read books. These relationships started fast, exploding like a firework, only to fizzle out just as quickly when I realized I didn’t want to be their mom or teacher. If you’re starting out a relationship, and they’re already two volumes behind, it’s time to close the book and move on.
5. The Narcissist
During college, one of my boyfriends professed his love for me. There was just one problem… he knew nothing about me. We’d gone out a few times, and to be fair, I knew a lot about him — only because he ever talked about himself! Our first date I wrote it off as nerves, but by the third date, it became a running joke to count the number of questions he asked me. I also tallied the number of times our conversation moved beyond anyone but him. I didn’t need two hands to keep count.
Everyone knows what a narcissist is but seeing one firsthand was simultaneously hilarious and sobering. One evening we sat next to a lake while he talked about how great he was. Throughout the one-sided conversation he stared lovingly at his reflection, not bothering to notice anything else for a solid 15 minutes. It was like watching the Roman myth of Narcissus play out in real life. I kept looking for a hidden camera certain this was all a prank. But it wasn’t, and I learned a valuable lesson: If you find yourself with this guy, just remember you’ll always come in second. And not for another woman, but to his ego.
6. The Pretend Friend
The “Friend Zone” sucks, which is why you should always be up front about your intentions. I made it clear from day one I wanted to remain friends and wasn’t interested romantically. He says he wants the same and I relax. After all, I love to be around him. We can talk and laugh about anything. But the truth always slips out and was right in front of me — he wants more.
Late one night, The Pretend Friend tries flirting and I grow uncomfortable, so I try letting him down easy. I’m worried because I don’t want to lose him as a friend, and I don’t want to hurt his feelings. Yet, I’ve also had to turn him down so many times already, I can feel my resolve wear. Maybe I should just give the relationship a whirl? He’s great, after all. Deep down, I wish we could remain friends but if I have to pretend to like him romantically so he’ll stay, well…
Whenever I have a vulnerable moment, he’s there to swoop in to take advantage of my exposed emotions. Whenever he’s feeling brave, he takes another crack to wear me down. On my end, it’s a genuine friendship, but on his? The Pretend Friend is biding his time for the relationship to materialize while using underhanded tactics. The friendship is nothing more than a stepping stone and I’m the prize.
This one hurt the most. I’m a hard shell to crack so when I let people in, I remain loyal. The Pretend Friend takes advantage of an authentic friendship hoping to push you into a relationship you don’t want. You’re happy being friends, but it’s not enough for them. They don’t respect you, your friendship, or your wishes because advancing their agenda is always the priority. Don’t become a tool in their arsenal for them to get what they want.
The Right Kind of Imperfect
My husband and I were best friends for several years before the relationship turned romantic. I love to joke I knew everything that would annoy me beforehand so there weren’t any surprises. While a joke that saying also held true. While no relationship is perfect (and every good relationship takes work), dating is the way of finding your right kind of imperfect.
We each have our own issues, so the key for me was to ask, “What can I live with?” I learned that if you go into a relationship expecting to change someone, you’ll always end up disappointed. The Lazy Guy never turned into a go-getter. I could never salvage the “friendship” with the Pretend Friend. A great question to ask is, “If nothing changed, would I still want to be in this relationship?”
The answer to these questions are different for everyone. We each have different non-negotiables. Boyfriend with stinky feet? Not great, but I can live with it. Yet, for someone else, this might be a total no-go. Family drama or baby mama baggage? Not ideal, but not worth throwing the towel in. Other people, however, may wish to steer clear. Gambling problem? That’s a deal breaker for me, but no doubt there are plenty of partners feeling lucky to roll the dice.
I’m also more than aware that making a list may sound calloused, but I’m mature enough to realize I probably made someone’s Do Not Date list. I could be a few ex-boyfriend’s “Nag” or “Crazy Bitch.” I’m sure I’ve been the villain in a few stories. Perhaps I’m even one guy’s “Thank God I Dodged That Bullet.” I wasn’t their kind of imperfect and was young and immature — and that’s okay. The failures and lessons learned made me into the person I am today.
The important thing to remember is that when you ignore toxic smoke signals in a relationship, you stand to get burned. Instead, I hope that we each learn where to see smoke — and those of us who know what it leads to — are brave enough to yell “Fire!”
(Make sure to give her a follow over on HeartSupport
I’d love to know: who was your worst boyfriend?
Wishing us all a week of good boyfriends and amazing shoes! Xo RA
It’s ex-files, where we stop chatting fashion for just a minute and talk dating horror stories. An attempt to be like Carrie Bradshaw? Sure. But let’s be honest, dating horror stories are both horrifying and funny. Names may have been changed to protect identities, some details moved about. Hungry for more? Try: Tinder on an Airplane, Jumping to Conclusions, and The One Who Asked for his Money Back. There are quite a few more when you search “ex files” in the search tab!”
The Break Up Text
There is an infamous Sex and the City episode where Carrie is dumped by Burger via post-it-note. Which is horrifying. Have I ever been dumped via post-it? No. But I have been dumped via text message. And loves, I get that there may be times when a breakup text is warranted. Maybe it’s unsafe to do it in person. Maybe you’ve only been out once and it’s a quick “this isn’t a match for me” text. However, much out of those contexts, is a break up text ever ok?
Steve and I had been seeing each other reguarly for over a month. Long afternoon dates that stretched into evening, all day long text conversations, future plans had been made. In fact, the day of the breakup text, I saw Steve at a mutual friend’s lunch. We had just had a date two days before, it went great! We had plans for that very evening. So, I was a little taken back when Steve was a little cold when I saw him at the lunch with friends. Like, weirdly cold. But, not one to take everything super personally, I thought not TOO much of it, and continued to prepare for our date that evening.
Then I got it. A text letting me know that he no longer wanted to see me, that he wasn’t attending our planned event that evening, but that he wanted to be my friend.
As you can imagine, I was shocked, angry, and stunned by his timing. When called out for his poor timing (like really, you couldn’t make it through the night?!?) and his method (we had LITERALLY just been face to face), he got horrifically defensive and called me crazy.
(BTW one of the most amusing things to do is Google “Crazy Men Women Gaslighting” and let it tell you that your ex is a psycho path)
Needless to say, I don’t have a lot of respect for the breakup text. And I still think Steve was a coward for doing it. But???
I’d love to know your thoughts on the breakup text!
Wishing us all a week of non-awful texts and amazing shoes!! Xo RA
Loves, I hope that you get as much joy out of reading these dating horror stories as I do sharing them. Need more ex files and dating horror stories in your life? Check out here, here, and here. You can also search “ex files” on the left (or on top). Grab your snack of choice and settle in, these dating horror stories are something.
This month? I have some opinions on Valentine’s Day, you’ve heard them all month. (You can also check this out. Is it weird if I mention that it’s never too late to give someone a gift?). I shouldn’t have been surprised when I got comments and emails asking me if my feelings on Valentine’s Day had anything to do with a bad date.
And that would make sense. After all, I’m the queen of bad dates. (See above). So did I ever have a horrible Valentine’s Day date that soured my view on the holiday? Honestly, no. I have nothing against love or dates, and there’s not been a huge episode that made me: “Hate the Day”. Getting asked so often, I sat down and thought about it. This is my one Valentine’s Day dating horror story:
I was in 8th grade. So was he. For the life of me, I can’t remember his name. He was awkward and so was I -in that about to bud, middle school way. We were in many classes together, and neither of us were popular, but neither of us were on the bottom of the social ladder. There’s a chance he liked me, I was not at place of self awareness that I even considered that. And it was Valentine’s Day. We were too old for the “class party”, but many people gave out little Valentine’s, and of course the few “cool” kids who were “dating” gave each other presents. Me? I don’t think I thought about Valentine’s at all. This guy, we can call him Bob, and I had our last period of the day together (I think? I know it was art). Did I mention he was awkward? (And so was I). He spent the class alternating between staring at me and avoiding me. Then at the end of class shoved a very fancy chocolate box at me. It clearly meant something. I opened it and over half the chocolates were already eaten.
That’s it. That’s my big, bad “Bad Valentine’s Day” dating horror story. Loves, it’s so tame. But, it does make me laugh. And let’s be really impressed I remember it. (And let’s be more honest, isn’t it a nice repreieve from some of the horror stories you’ve heard?)