The Girl’s Guide To Avoiding Abusers

Updated: Jan 9

What your mother may not have told you, because she didn’t know herself

Photo by Ali Tareq on Unsplash

Within weeks of moving to Toronto from Connecticut, I met a guy named Sam at the mall. His pickup line was so unusual I didn’t recognize it for what it was. He did a double-take and when I looked at him, he said, “Oh, I’m sorry, it was so weird, you look like my dead friend.”

We talked, he said let’s get some coffee. I was en route to apply for my new Canuck healthcare card, so I said sure, I’ll meet you after I’m done. He said he’d rather join me and we talked in the waiting room.

Long story short, there was something not quite right with him. He was was ‘love-bombing’ me. Trying to make me fall in love with him way too soon. Like, the first day. Lots of compliments, telling me how successful he was, trying to make plans with me. I told him I was going to New York in September for a family wedding; he said he was going with me. I said oh no you’re not, I’m going by myself. He asked why and I said I just met you today and already you’re making plans for September?

‘Making plans for the future’? It was like he’d read a script somewhere of how to make a woman think he was serious about her. And I’d known him for only two hours.

“You’re not going to New York with me.”

“I want to go with you.”

“We’ll see. Your job right now is to get to the weekend with me, you don’t need to worry about three months from now.”

Other things didn't jive. He'd call and want me to meet him right now. If I said I had plans he said, “Cancel them.” A few times I did, since they were errands, not something that involved anyone else, but he had no respect for my time.

Early on, I sensed he was a phony. He claimed he was in love with me, that he wanted us to spend our lives together. (Did the pickup manual say that’s catnip for chicks or something?) While I waited to apply for my healthcare card in the Service Ontario waiting room, I’d said I didn’t want children. He said that was great because he didn’t either. A few weeks later, as my suspicions grew, I tested him by saying, “I think I might want to have children after all,” and of course he acquiesced, Oh that’s a great idea.

Then Mr. I’m-So-In-Love-With-You didn’t call for a month. I blew the whole thing off. Then I accidentally dialed him as I’d forgotten to remove his number from my mobile (I hadn’t bothered to put it in the directory) and hung up immediately, but he called right back, claiming he’d lost my phone number and couldn’t call me. He probably did…since he hadn’t put it in the directory either. Or written it down anywhere. Because he was so besotted with love or something.

Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

“Let’s get together and have dinner,” he said, naming an evening, because I was mad.

“Sorry, I have plans tonight,” I lied, testing him.

“Cancel them,” he said.

“Fuck you,” I replied. “Thursday evening works better for me.”

“I have plans that night,” he said.

“Cancel them.”

“I can’t.”

“Yes you can. Tell her you’re going out with me instead.”

“It’s not another woman.”

I wasn’t sure it was at all true, but I didn’t care.

“Thursday night is convenient for me, if you can’t go out to dinner that night then let’s forget the whole thing.”

He insisted he couldn’t and tried to talk me into tonight, so I told him to fuck off.

I’ve always wondered what the deal was with Sam. He was a ‘type’ of some sort. I’ve considered whether he might be a narcissist, but nowadays everyone gets slapped with that label, and I never got to know him very well. Maybe he was a psychopath. Maybe he was a player, or a pickup artist, or just some random manipulative dick. I’ve often wondered if he found someone else and if he was making her miserable. I suspect he has.

Unfortunately for Sam, no one ‘love bombs’ me effectively. He complained about the ‘walls’ around my heart. Point taken, but in his case they were there for good reason. He wasn’t in love with me, and he was trying too hard to try and make me fall in love with him. He was playing me somehow, and I’ll never know what his mad plan was. He picked someone too old, too wise and far too jaded to pull that shit with.

I imagine, though, that if he found someone much younger and less experienced, that premature I-love-you-let’s-make-plans-for-forever crap worked just dandy.

Recognizing bad men and other potential abusers