A guy I’ve known for years—he’s always seemed to show interest—called me out of the blue. We talked on the phone for three hours, during which time he had phone sex alone. I flat out said, “No, I’m not engaging.” That was the first red flag. We talked on the phone every day for three, four days after that, during which he kept trying to get me to tell him how I felt about him. I didn’t feel any way about him at that point and told him just that.
On Easter Sunday, he invited me over and he cooked dinner. I had a drink and discovered later he was only drinking lemonade. He was a perfect gentleman until dinner was over. It felt like I was with an octopus. I had called him before I left my house, keys in hand, and told him I wasn't having sex with him and asked if he still wanted me to come over. He responded, “We don’t have to have sex.” The day after, he said he “may have come on too strong” and “he may have initiated a little foreplay,” but he didn’t do anything that would or should warrant an attitude from me.
I enjoy his friendship, and maybe this could go somewhere if he would ease up. Should I give him a third chance? —Anonymous
Your guy? This longtime friend? He isn’t worthy of your time. And he’s not interested in you for anything but sex. I don’t know what more he could do to show that other than to flat out say, “I just want to have sex with you.”
There’s nothing wrong with sex, of course, when it’s between two consenting adults. But you obviously aren’t interested in having sex with him at this time, and he wants it now. It is not OK to push you beyond your obvious comfort zone.
There’s also nothing wrong with phone sex … but again, when it’s between two consenting adults. That he would continue to do it after you said you didn’t want to is bizarre. That’s creepy and scary, and you correctly deduced that it was a red flag. You should have hung up on him when he wouldn’t stop talking (and/or breathing heavy?) and then blocked his number so you would never hear from him again.
For whatever reason, you gave him a second chance and he squandered it by badgering you for a few days about your feelings for him. And then you gave him a third chance—already—by going to his house. Again, he acted with no decorum by trying to get you drunk and then getting “handsy” against your will. In many circles, that’s considered sexual assault.
Maybe because you’ve known him for a while and you’ve always considered him a guy who was decent but not your “type,” you’re having trouble reconciling who you thought he was with who he is. Or maybe you’ve been single for a while and miss a man’s attention, so you’re entertaining this beyond its what-should-be-obvious expiration date because you think it’s better than nothing. If that’s the case, you need to know that “nothing” and being single and alone is better than this man.
Your “friend” really isn’t that at all. Actual friends, or even normal, halfway socialized people, don’t force phone sex on people. They don’t try to get people drunk to make them more malleable and less likely to say “no,” and they don’t try to have sex with people when they’ve already said “no.” That’s what rapists do.
That call from him the day after Easter, in which he downplayed trying to get you drunk and played off his assaulting you as “coming off too strong”? He’s showing yet again that he doesn’t see anything wrong with his behavior, and he’s dismissing your rightful feelings of being upset. This man has shown repeatedly that he does not understand boundaries or care about your comfort level; his behavior has become quickly and progressively worse. Your fourth chance with him could result in you being raped.
Instead of giving him attitude and trying to work this out, call it a wrap. Block his number, his email and all his social media accounts so he’s not able to contact you. There’s no need to explain why.
One more thing: That little voice in your head, the one that made you stop at your door, keys in hand, and call him beforehand to set your boundaries? You knew something was wrong, likely because in your recent interactions with this guy, he hadn’t shown any respect for you. Listen to that voice. Trust it. It doesn’t come at every sign of trouble, but when it comes, it’s a warning. Heed it.
Demetria Lucas D’Oyley is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love as well as A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously in Ask Demetria: “He Said I ‘Trapped’ Him With a Baby”