Saturday, May 1, 2010

Benny is in a relationship!

Awkward Facebook moment: seeing that the guy who tried to fist me after I safeworded and left me tied up is listed as "in a relationship."

It's fairly clear that there's nothing I can say to her. I don't know the girl at all, and I'd come off as a psycho ex, or just plain psycho. And maybe it would be psycho; I don't have the right to go around trying to sabotage his relationships.

Hell, maybe he won't hurt her. He was (at least in the latter half of the relationship, at the beginning we actually dated but by the end he wouldn't go outdoors with me) very clear about me being a sex girl, not a respectable girl. If they're Facebook-official, that probably means she's a respectable girl and will be treated totally differently. (Besides, she's skinny; Benny was pretty clear that being fat was up there with being kinky on why I was not a respectable girl.)

I suppose I could message him, although I don't really know what I'd say; any form of "you better watch it" is a very empty threat at 3200 miles and just cements me as crazy in his mind. Maybe I just need to let him know, in an almost-friendly way, that what he did was abusive in my mind, because I'm not sure he knows he did anything wrong. It's hard to do even that without being psycho though.

I guess the easy answer is to unfriend him and put it all out of my mind. It drives me crazy when otherwise politically-active people refuse to take any action against the abusers in their own lives, but I figure that Benny's, I don't know, only sort of a real mild borderline case, he didn't like beat me or whatever, my vagina didn't actually tear it just bled a little, so I should mind my own business. Ugh.

Dear Internets: if someone only abuses you a little bit and it's like really borderline and probably not like abuse abuse or anything, do I:
A) Message his girlfriend with a detailed account and warning, and maybe a mention of that birthmark on his thigh
B) Message him with "hey, just so you know, what you did to me was so not cool and I really hope you remember that so you can be cool with this girl"
C) Go about my business and not make waves


  1. Will you feel worse about being thought of as a psycho ex by someone you don't know, or of finding out later that she got abused after you didn't say anything? (Presuming that comes to pass.)

  2. My two cents:
    I'd definitely remind him of the incident and tell him it's abusive. I know a lot of guys who don't seem to get the concept that no or a safeword means "STOP", not "Oh, keep going, I need some convincing." Especially for a guy who puts people into "respectable" and "not respectable" categories...he probably needs some reminding. If he's an ass about it, then you might want to re-visit messaging her. There's ways to phrase it that don't come off as psycho-ex, rather as someone trying to look out for people. And this way, if you DO choose to message her and she asks him about it, he can't say you never brought it up to him.

  3. I would message her, but I would do so in a very qualified way.

    Hi. I see that you're in a relationship with Benny, I wish you well. I'm messaging you because I had a thing with him a while ago, and I would feel irresponsible if I did not let you know why it ended. ...

    Then say what happened, not too detailed, but emphasizing why it was wrong. Like you did in your post about him, explain that you understand why he acted the way he did, but that that just shows that he's insensitive and self-centered. Say, like you do here, that you don't consider it too big a deal, but it shows that he's not paying enough attention to know when he's being abusive, which could lead to worse behaviour.

    Explain that you know that maybe he's changed, or that he'll be different in this relationship. But what happened could also have been a warning sign. And you thought that it would be better to be safe than sorry.

    I think that's the kind of message that I would would respond to reasonably.

  4. My feeling is that a girl who's just started going out with a guy is all in love and would write off anything you said as the crazed babblings of a spurned lover.

    Option 2 might be best, but option 3 would ultimately give you more peace of mind, I think. If you write to Benny, chances are that won't be the end of it: he won't go "Oh wow, thank you, now I have learned my lesson." I'm guessing he'll either be belligerent with you or he just won't respond at all and that'll drive you way more crazy than if you just let it go.

    A lot of guys do the Madonna-whore thing where they only do kinky stuff with the "unrespectable" girls and are vanilla with their real, respectable maybe with her he'll just be normal and nonviolent. Let's hope so.

  5. i agree with marissa. But mention the birthmark, too. :)

  6. I like to think that if I were you, I'd choose option A). But it would be really hard and embarrassing.

    At my last workplace, the person who was writing development specifications for our products had grossly insufficient English for the position, and I failed to e-mail her boss. I regret that. It's a much smaller thing but much less embarrasing too.

  7. I honestly can't think of any way you could contact her without it seeming, to her, like sour grapes. Especially since you never defriended him.

    I think if it were me, I would contact him but not mention her at all. Say that "this has been bugging me for awhile and I really need to get it off my chest." If done in a reasonable way, it might actually succeed in raising his consciousness, which presumably is the outcome you want.

    I'm not saying you're not entitled to anger/indignation, just that coming out of the blue it might not have a lot of credibility at this point.

  8. I agree with web. If it will give -you- peace of mind, contact him, let him know how you felt, then place him on your block list because really, there's no reason to ever have anything to do with him ever again.

    That might be my vindictive nature talking, though! :)

  9. Shut up, unfriend him, and move on. Anything you say will look like sour grapes and you are a psycho. Everyone needs to learn about their lovers for themselves. The only--ONLY--reason do warn the authorities (not the lover, the authorities) is if you believe he is a danger to others. If he is a danger to other people, call the police and have him arrested. If you cannot meet that standard--be quiet.

  10. rather being considered as a psycho than taking the risk for that woman to be raped by this abuser (he is one, no excuses). every abused woman finds excuses why this happened to her. or worse: why especially this case was no rape so she must not consider herself as a victim. but it happened to you and you have become his victim. and: if you are strong enough to take this, you have a responsibility, now.

  11. Most recent anon - Wow, way to be black and white and dickish all over. I can't go to the police with a story that starts with "yeah, I let him tie me up and hurt me, just not exactly likeTHAT" and ends "and all that happened months ago in a different city with no witnesses or permanent injuries.". But that doesn't make it 100% okay and a total non-issue just because it's not prosecutable.

  12. C, definitely C. B if you feel it would give you the closure to get him and his life out of your head. Never A, it isn't the place of anyone to sabotage another individual's relationship without some compelling reason to do so (for example if one of those involved is a blood relation or close friend who is at risk in some way). But definitely never get involved in the affairs of someone who you have never met, especially when their experiences may not mirror your own.

    Besides, creating facebook dramas is never cool.

    Just my two cents.

  13. Why is a risk to a close friend or relative more important than one to a stranger? In what sense is seeking to address this issue "creating drama"? - just because the medium through which Holly found out about the relationship is Facebook doesn't make it less real.

  14. @IDiom
    it isn't the place of anyone to sabotage another individual's relationship without some compelling reason to do so

    I think the "compelling reason" is coterminous with the risk, and does not extend to one's relationship with a person.

    I would say that if it occured to Holly to consider these options, then she clearly recognizes that this guy is risky to be around.

    And in my opinon, the person in danger of being harmed is the one who should informed of the risk. She should have as much control over her situation as possible, and that means being able to make informed choices.

    Whatever choice you make, Holly, it should probably include defriending at some point, since you don't know how either of them are going to react. If you end up messaging the girlfriend, telling her that that's what you intend to do could help convince her that you're not just trying to be vindictive.

  15. You're thinking *far* too linearly here.

    You could:

    a) Email her and ask her if she's the "new addition to the Saturday orgy."
    b) Email her and tell her how you hope she enjoys his rape fantasies, you sure did.
    c) Email her and tell her that you hope that her vagina isn't as tight as yours, so he can successfully fist her, unlike you, and oh, is Benny still visiting Bahston in July, and does she want to get together and...

  16. I think you should tell her, with whatever level of detail you feel comfortable with. Abusers tend to have a cycle of abuse, and it's unlikely that this will change just because he's in a new relationship.

    She may disregard your warning at first, but at least when he does something that pushes or crosses her boundaries she'll be more likely to see that his behaviour is abusive.

  17. B is the right thing, if you really think he didn't do it on purpose. I mean, he definitely screwed up, right? You say it was borderline, but it was the border between being dumb and being abusive, not the border of him actually having made the right choice.

    People can change. The odds of him becoming a different person right now because you sent him an email? Pretty low. He might send you a defensive or abusive reply. Maybe he'll have to hear it from two women before it sinks in. Maybe it'll be three, and at first he'll think he's changing his play style because some people are crazy and oversensitive, not because he was in the wrong.

    (But maybe you'll BE the second, or the third...)

  18. I've tried to warn people about other people before now (on Facebook, in fact) and it got me absolutely nowhere because she went straight to the person concerned and told them and then there was drama which stressed me out and she did not believe me anyway.

    That said, entirely up to you. But she doesn't know you or have any reason to trust your word over his. If you know any mutual friends, it might be worth a heads up that they keep an eye out for her, but that's the most I can think would be useful.

  19. I don't know what the right thing is for you to do, here. I don't know whether your ambivalence about Benny's actions is because there are actual ambivalent things about what happened, or because it didn't feel like what you'd expect abuse to feel like, and gosh that's an awful lot of fuss to make when it's *really all right now* isn't? (You may have guessed that, from what you've told us about the events, I'm inclined to believe that latter--you said stop, he didn't stop, didn't take steps that showed he recognized what a problem this was, on some level it's just not any more complicated than that. But, I don't think I should be telling you what to think about your own life.) I think there's a really important thing that no one here has said yet. Whatever you decide to do--talk to Benny, talk to Benny's gal, talk to nobody, whatever--whatever Benny does next is Benny's responsibility and fault alone. If you don't tell him and he hurts somebody else, that's because he's an abuser, not because you didn't make him stop. Speaking from experience, it's really easy to look back afterwards and say "Oh, well of course I should've done x, how crap am I?" But it's not that simple. Nobody is responsible for a given rape but the rapist.

  20. I would message her once, and defriend him, and end it there. If she's having "is this not-OK or is it just me?" bells in her head, a bit more evidence on the It's Not OK side of things might help. And if not, then whatever, she got one more weird internet message from a stranger.


  21. What flightless said.

    How he treated you wasn't 'kinda sorta abuse', it was abuse, full stop. You really can't take responsibility for everything he does in the future and she may well think you're a crazy stalker, but (and I'm assuming you don't actually know this girl here) why does that matter? Worst case scenario, she thinks you're a psycho ex and ignores you. Best case, she wises up and realizes what kind of douchebag she's allowing into her life.

    Definitely defriend him afterward, though.

    Just my $.02

  22. "Whatever you decide to do--talk to Benny, talk to Benny's gal, talk to nobody, whatever--whatever Benny does next is Benny's responsibility and fault alone. If you don't tell him and he hurts somebody else, that's because he's an abuser, not because you didn't make him stop."

    Excellent point.

    "she may well think you're a crazy stalker, but (and I'm assuming you don't actually know this girl here) why does that matter? Worst case scenario, she thinks you're a psycho ex and ignores you."

    Actually, that's not the worst case scenario. These things tend to escalate. You obviously haven't watched enough bad court t.v. shows. ;-) It could totally backfire on Holly.

  23. Web,

    I don't know how badly it could really backfire, though. She's across the country now - it's not like he'll show up at her apartment to accost her or anything. Not without spending a bunch of money on transportation first.

    He could potentially internet-stalk her or call her, but she could block him on Facebook and change her number. IF he gets that stupid about it.

  24. Defriend him first of all. If you feel he violated you, why remain in contact? After that, it's probably best to mind your own business, unless she's someone you have a personal relationship with.

    If someone had reached out to you with a similar message back when you were enjoying your rough sex experiences with this guy, you probably wouldn't have taken it seriously, instead she was a scorned ex who just didn't share your fantasies.

  25. I suspect you've already made up your mind, but I love the metaphorical sound of my own voice--er, I mean, I wanted to express my thoughts:

    The best likely outcome of A is what mabdreeams said: that she'll tell him and then forget about it, making it functionally equivalent to option B plus he'll be mad that you wwent to her (particularly if he doesn't realize he crossed the line); it's also possible that she'll pointedly ignore warning signs because then (in her mind) you've "won."

    B might be more effective for her safety if you have some sort of enforcement mechanism or at least an information channel; I gather he made a point of minimizing the number of your mutual acquaintences in Seattle, but would you know if he were to mistreat her? And what could you do if you found out he was? And how much of your life do you want to devote to him at this point anyway (note that "a lot, if it keeps him from hurting someone else" is a valid answer)? That said, on the off-chance that he didn't know he did anything wong, telling him, and being clear about it, might help him avoid doing wrong in the future. If he doesn't want to not do wrong there's not a whole lot you can do about that.

    * * *

    If I got something from an ex of my girlfriend along the lines of Marissa's suggestion, I would think "jealous and passive-aggressive"--and the more calm and reasoned and balanced the message, the more passive-aggressive it would look. On the other hand, passive-aggressive runs in Mama Ostropoler's family, so that's how I expect everyone to act all the time anyway.

    I think if it were me, I would contact him but not mention her at all. Say that "this has been bugging me for awhile and I really need to get it off my chest." If done in a reasonable way, it might actually succeed in raising his consciousness, which presumably is the outcome you want.
    I agree with this; it's probably most effective if you let his Facebook-official relationship stay as subtext.

  26. I think a lot of people have already offered far better advice than I have.

    I just wanted to say that that's a cruddy situation to be in. :( I totally understand your feelings of "oh, I hate when I see people NOT act when they should! But then I don't do it!" I think a lot of people end up in that situation. It's totally understandable.

    Good luck with figuring out what you want to do and acting on it. And remember, if he acts a jerk, you have a swarm of loyal readers who will leap forward to defend you ;)

  27. This is a really tricky situation. I can sort of relate. I know my abusive ex is with someone and has been for some time. If he's going to abuse her it's probably already started, but part of me wants to contact her somehow and warn her or ask if she's okay or at least let her know that if she's being hurt she's definitely not alone and it's not her fault.

    But if their relationship is like ours was she'll likely tell him about the email, he'll say I'm a psycho ex, and then I'll be back on his radar with a vengeance. I can't say that it's not worth it, but it would probably do more net harm than good.

    Of course, Benny might actually have enough human decency to listen to you if you remind him that he crossed a line (and I think a pretty big one). Hopefully he learned something when you got rid of him, but in my experience the ones who would learn from that scenario are usually the ones who would never, ever create it.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

  28. I think you have a good chance of educating him (not that it's your job) because his problem is that he tried to make something work technique-wise no matter what, including past unwanted limits of pain and blood, not that he routinely treats people as things. However, he needs Kink 101.

    That being said, if an ex messaged my GF with something similar and I was unable to convince her to delete the message unread or had not already deleted it from my GF's account myself I would regard myself as having insufficient influence over the relationship to really play the appropriate masculine role. I don't know any women would sustain a relationship with a man who confessed to boundary-pushing in this context, "Yeah, I hurt someone once because I was a self-centered asshole about one technique I had to make work and now I'm extra-careful about boundaries." Men Should Just Know(tm.)


    Did I read that wrong? Were you trying to say something else other than "if someone tried to warn my girlfriend I was an abuser, I'd delete it from her inbox before she read it"? Please, tell me that's not what I read.

  30. There are elements of my relationships (past/present, hence plural) that are probably abusive, by strict feminist court-mandated course definition, in the sense of "isolation of partner." My current GF has never met any of my exes, and I have unfriended the more drama-inclined exes, as well as not displaying my relationship status. Of course, I have never, ever engaged in even mildly abusive behavior. Benny left links in place which will lead to his having to explain his behavior if you message his current GF, so actually his best bet is to really get help with his behavior. As in counseling before he becomes a sex offender. The tickling/holding down/unwanted penetration thing indicates that he gets off on unwanted-by-his-partner pain and harm, the ticking especially. "Why Are You Hitting Yourself?" comes to mind.

  31. Eurosabra - When you say isolation, do you mean isolation from your exes (not that weird), or isolation from everyone else in your life? Because not hanging out with your exes is normal, but making your girlfriend a secret from everyone is kinda fucked.

    And are you "isolating" her from your exes on purpose, or you just don't ever hang out with them? Specifically, are you isolating her from your exes because you're afraid of what they might say, and that you might not be able to convince her otherwise?

    And deleting someone's email or making them delete it unread is really, really fucked. "But the email is all lies" doesn't justify it, and talking about the "masculine role" scares the HOLY LIVING FUCK out of me. If it's lies, certainly tell her so and explain the concept, but prior restraint isn't the masculine role, it suggests that you have something to hide.

  32. Well, in the sense that there are no present-past links simply because I've moved around a lot and unfriended various people. But in general our lives are now supposed to be an open book so that we can prove (among other things) we are not abusers. Benny's lack of communication watertightness means that he's a thoughtless predator, not a careful one, with a "respectable woman" complex.

  33. There are elements of my relationships (past/present, hence plural) that are probably abusive, by strict feminist court-mandated course definition

    In other words, he's an abuser, but it's only feminists who think so, and their opinions don't count because feminists hate Manliness™.

    I see.

  34. HEY EUROSABRA - Do you have AIM or Skype or any other real-time chat service? I'd like to talk to you one on one. I promise that I won't give you a hard time and that everything we say will be private, I'd just like to set my mind at ease here. Email if you're willing.

  35. Again, it's simply that none of my exes can reach each other because the educational/geographical/when I was TAB/now I'm not/mono/poly parts of my life separated, in terms of who has stayed with me and who hasn't. I've also been treated to a full police investigation in another context because of what the neighbors thought they heard, and as Ostropoler notes (who should know abuse from his experience in Medzhybedzh, to put in a sly Jewish inside joke) the fact that I like control and have partners who agree to it makes me an abuser. After all, I've even been investigated.

    As I said in relation to Benny previously, my soul is rather cramped, and while I never did anything as abusive as he did, I did enough mild boundary-pushing that I was "That Guy" and constantly subjected to email drama aimed at disrupting whatever relationship I was in. So I learned (1) to respect boundaries regarding romantically touching someone you've just met on non-erogenous zones and (2) to make my relationship partners Internet unfind-able by the parties involved in (1). After the damage control aspects of Keeping People from Finding Out (People Think) You Are That Guy, the abbreviated method of Not Being That Guy has much to recommend it.

  36. Jesus fucking Christ? Do you have girls in your basement? I feel bad even being flip here, I just don't know how else to respond.

    You've stated that you like being in control but also that you're in relationships where you don't explicitly discuss it, you just assume they like it.

    You've been fucking INVESTIGATED, presumably for your goddamn woman pit.

    You've "romantically touched someone on non-erogenous zones" in such a way that they wanted to warn other people about you.

    And now you fixed everything by controlling who your current partner is allowed to talk to.

    I used to think you were sort of funny, Eurosabra, sort of this bumbling loser who can't get a girl and makes all these goofy arguments about it. Now I'm fucking scared of you.

  37. I did enough mild boundary-pushing that I was "That Guy" and constantly subjected to email drama aimed at disrupting whatever relationship I was in.

    I love how warnings about your admitted propensity for abuse is "drama aimed at disrupting your relationships." Sort of how putting car thieves in prison is government action aimed at disrupting their source of revenue.

  38. "It puts the lotion..." Oh, wait, I get as flip as you I get banned. I'm cranky, I have a past as That Guy, a few past partners who wanted me to read silent implicit consent until I introduced them to the concept of the safeword, and neighbors who once phoned the cops. Obviously, I'm the devil.

  39. I don't ban people. But you're coming off super creepy here, you should know that, and it's making me and other people worry about the state of your current relationship. It's frustrating because only you (and your partner) can really know what's going on there, but you're giving off very unsettling vibes about it.

  40. Well, as Ostropoler shows, there really isn't any exoneration once accused, so I'll stop belaboring the point re: my innocence. I really don't have anyone on a leash (hard when both I & current partner are semi-disabled) and it's more just a case of "I was That Guy and I sympathize with Benny should he get a poison-pen letter to his GF however much he needs to be called on his shit and in the past I took measures to prevent that kind of letter." YMMV, as I said, my soul is kind of cramped.

  41. Wow, I'm reading these comments two years later in 2012, and Eurosabra is hella creepy. His logic sounds far too much like my abusive ex's logic for keeping me 100% separate from his exes, despite the fact that he was still close friends with both of them. Long story short, my ex was a lying, manipulative, emotionally sadistic, violence-threatening, narcissistic asshat who cheated on me with several different women, including both exes AND his "best (girl) friend." And he had ZERO care or conscience about the hurt he was inflicting. When busted, he just coolly piled on more lies and changed tactics, twisting and turning to find what might work. *shudder* I tried sending a letter to his next target (because I came to realize that's what us women are in his mind) to warn her, but she blew it off as just so much "unnecessary drama." Anyway, wanted to chime in and express my disgust with Eurosabra's comments here.

    As for what to do in your situation, it's obviously moot by now, but I don't think these are black or white questions. I hope that you did reach out to Benny to reassert that what he did was traumatic for you, and that he needs to be careful not to do something like that again - but I totally respect it if you didn't do this because it didn't feel right for whatever reason. As for the new lady, that's really tough. I very much understand wanting to warn someone, but she's highly unlikely to believe a stranger. Perhaps if he had been a physically abusive repeat offender ex, that would be egregious enough to get past her rose-colored new-relationship glasses, but sadly, I suspect even that wouldn't get through for most women.