7:24 pm - 06/09/2014

Too hands on

Hi all,
I've followed this community for a while and have seen the occasional post asking for advice regarding relationships, so am assuming that's OK, but if it isn't please let me know and I'll happily take this down.
Last week I went out with a new guy. Everything went great, including a small kiss at the end. Two days later we went to a movie together. I am very reserved with physical contact and frankly am not comfortable with it with people I don't know well. He spent the evening initiating hand holding and knee grabbing-and for most, if not all of the hand holding he had to grab me by the arm and physically reposition me to be able to get to my hand because it was nowhere near him. Any efforts made by me to pull away or end the contact resulted in noticeable frustration from him or slightly more effort to get my hand. I didn't feel safe with a verbal "no" for fear that it would cause more anger or force, since trying to pull away was not met well. At the end of the night, in his car on an empty street, he went for a kiss/hug and I purposely avoided his face and just hugged him. He then grabbed me and kissed me anyway, and said "I'll call you" quite huffily as I left.
Immediately after the encounter I was frustrated and slightly confused. As time goes by I am angered by his blatant disrespect, but at the same time almost worried that I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. This is a huge red flag, yes?
I wasn't expecting to hear from him again but he has just started messaging me and am not quite sure how to respond. Right now it's just a "cool potential duet!" message (we're both musicians), and at least not a request for more seeing each other.
The main question is just is the grabbing/hand holding as big of a red flag as I'm thinking (right now, I'd say it's a huge red flag and dealbreaker) and any words of wisdom on how to respond to potential messages or requests to see each other again?
lanalucy 10th-Jun-2014 12:32 am (UTC)
You could always go with bluntly honest.

"I wasn't comfortable with the way you kept touching me. I felt like you were disrespecting my physical signals to stop. I can't imagine what that might be like in a more intimate setting. I don't want to see you again."

Or something to that effect.
terryo 10th-Jun-2014 12:38 am (UTC)
^ This. There is no excuse for that kind of behavior.
jeesh 10th-Jun-2014 02:45 am (UTC)
Yeah, this. Since you don't want to see him again, be honest like this. He should know that what he did was unacceptable. You resisted, he forced it. Tell the dude off.
valleyofwolves 12th-Jun-2014 04:03 am (UTC)
He should know what he did was unacceptable, yes, but considering the fact that the OP did not feel comfortable verbalizing a 'no,' it doesn't seem like 'telling the dude off' is something that is within OP's comfort zone.
shortsweetcynic 10th-Jun-2014 11:10 am (UTC)
i agree with this.
fallconsmate 10th-Jun-2014 01:01 am (UTC)
of course it's a big red flag. by your body language, you were telling him "no", and he was forcing you to do what he wanted in terms of holding his hand, and he forced a kiss on you that you did not want.

i would not feel comfortable about someone who felt his needs/wants were more important than my safety. not even to play music together.

your body autonomy is IMPORTANT, not just his needs. be safe with your body.
sky_blue_pink 10th-Jun-2014 03:49 am (UTC)
With these sorts of thing, I always go with my gut. This guy made you uncomfortable and wasn't very good at reading signs. If he asks to see you again and you don't want to, I personally would go with a polite response, along the lines of "It was nice to go out, but I don't think I'm really feeling it right now. Best of luck!" I find short and sweet usually does the trick.
archangelbeth 10th-Jun-2014 04:20 am (UTC)
Huge red flag! Someone with that much disrespect for your physical boundaries on the second date is someone who would probably escalate quickly any other times. If he doesn't respect a "no" for hand-holding, what else won't he expect?

I'd say... maybe, "I'm sorry, but I'm not interested in more social interaction with you. Please don't contact me anymore." And try not to be catchable-alone for a while, since that sort of behavior suggests he might try to impose himself on you.

Or Sky_blue_pink's more diplomatic version!

*crosses fingers for an easy slide out of this creep's radar*
frolicnaked 10th-Jun-2014 04:24 am (UTC)
For starters, you get to decide what is a red flag and a deal breaker for you. If you don't want to continue the relationship -- for whatever reason -- you get to decide that. You're not obligated to meet anyone else's threshold for what is sufficiently unacceptable behavior.

That said, I feel pretty comfortable saying non-consensual contact and refusal to respect boundaries would be a red flag and deal breaker for me as well. It seems, at the very least, that you were pretty clearly not on board with the physical contact that was happening -- and that, rather than stopping to clarify, he went right ahead with what he wanted.

You also get to decide what or how to tell him. It may be worth it to be completely upfront, that you were uncomfortable with the unwanted contact and consider this a deal breaker. There's also nothing wrong with going, "I'm sorry. It's just not working out. Please don't contact me again" and then no longer responding to his messages. You get to do what helps you to feel safest here.
barrelofrain 10th-Jun-2014 04:59 am (UTC)
100% agree with all of this.
tsemed_chemed 10th-Jun-2014 02:23 pm (UTC)
Yay you! Great comment!
celticmoni 11th-Jun-2014 05:09 am (UTC)
For starters, you get to decide what is a red flag and a deal breaker for you.

Boom.
neumeindil 10th-Jun-2014 05:41 am (UTC)
I agree with everyone else that if his behavior makes you that uncomfortable, it's clearly a red flag. That said, you don't have to be nice about this. It may make the point stick better than being as aggressive as he was, but let's be honest; *you* live in your body. It's yours to do with as you wish. You don't have to be touched, groped, held, or handled in any way to which you do not consent. And a lot of folks are raised to tolerate far more of that kind of invasive behavior than they really should.

Pulling your hand back and hiding it is CLEARLY not consent to anyone capable of reading body language and social cues. Tone of voice matters, but it's okay if your voice shakes. What's important is deciding where your boundaries are and defending them.

If it helps, here's some direct but not rude wording to use if you want. "You were far too forward on that second date and paid no attention to the fact that I didn't want to be touched or kissed. I can't trust a person that acts like that. Leave me alone from now on. Good night."
lanalucy 10th-Jun-2014 07:49 am (UTC)
Yeah. I like that wording, too. +1
mandaryn 10th-Jun-2014 08:15 am (UTC)
While I'm a firm believer in not having to explain when giving someone a "no" - that they should just respect it. I definitely think that giving him a reason as to why you don't want to see him again would be beneficial to him and others in the future. Letting him know that his repeated attempts to make physical contact despite your pulling away was extremely disrespectful. He may learn a lesson.

I think that if you're still interested in performing a duet with him, let him know that any further correspondence will be platonic.
valleyofwolves 12th-Jun-2014 04:04 am (UTC)
This guy should definitely be aware of his behavior being disrespectful but it isn't necessarily the OP's responsibility to educate him.
kaberett 10th-Jun-2014 10:34 pm (UTC)
I completely agree that this is a massive red flag and dealbreaker, yeah. Definitely would be for me. Honestly, in your position I'd just be tempted to ignore all future messages & block him as far as is possible.
consumedly 12th-Jun-2014 07:35 am (UTC)
I agree with most of the comments stressing on the fact that it is your decision what could and could not be considered a red flag and if, how or what you're going to do about it is and should be again entirely your decision.

That said I cannot point out that it's not only the forced hand holding, knee bumping and the forced kiss that raised the red flag for me. As I understand it you have been holding back the whole night and he took the initiative for basically every or almost every type of contact you have had. The fact that he had to physically move you ( I read that as manhandle you) so that he can do what he wants and the tense atmosphere throughout the night that has kept you standing on your toes makes me think more of him as a potential abuser than of a dating material. I just can't see past the you trying to pull away, doing it and feeling scared to a degree that leaves the verbal No unsaid, while you are clearly thinking and showing it in every other way. For me everything about his behaviour that night points out to a major red flag! And one more thing, do not ever doubt your instincts because they are not just that; more than half of the time there is a reason for them.
katem57 14th-Jun-2014 12:26 am (UTC)
Holy support, batman! I know that my comfort levels and my comfort levels alone determine what is and what isn't OK. Sometimes it can be hard to stick to my guns about not liking hand holding with the opposition I can frequently get ("just hand holding!?")-something I need to keep working on.
I did get a message asking for a "chance to laugh over the awkwardness," which got a buzz-the-hell-off response. His reply was that I should have expressed my discomfort because he would have called a cab for me. Or, on second thought, I should have just done that for myself. Oh, and he's sorry I felt that way-not sorry for his actions, just sorry for my response to them.
Picked a winner there, I did.
Friends that live near me know of the encounter in case he tries to pull something. I also have been frequently using the kitestrings app (I have to reply to a check-in message after being out with a safe code or my emergency contacts get a "help me" message-I also have a distress code that will initiate the message). Hopefully him living an hour away and current gas prices will be a deterrent, but I am being as careful as I reasonably can.
Thanks again for the support.
neumeindil 14th-Jun-2014 04:13 am (UTC)
To me this part,
"Oh, and he's sorry I felt that way-not sorry for his actions, just sorry for my response to them."
means that this part:
"Picked a winner there, I did."
isn't entirely accurate.

We can't tell by looking or having a short conversation if someone's going to turn out to be a pain in the ass, or potentially dangerous. You can't logically blame yourself for his inability to say "I'm sorry I was part of that. Thanks for letting me know," and moving on with life. He's the doofus that committed what would in some areas be considered simple assault and still doesn't get the severity of the issue. That's an error in his judgment, not yours. :)
tigress35 14th-Jun-2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
This is similar to a guy I dated once. It took me several dates to break up with him, because I wasn't self confident at the time and I thought that I should want to hold his hand or kiss him, though I pretty much hated being in any sort of physical contact with him. Unfortunately, it took him doing something rude and me then breaking up with him specifically for that for me to realize that my discomfort with him was because my gut was telling me all along that this was not a trustworthy or kind person for me to be around.
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