I was asked dating advice during a Q&A on Instagram lately. Not a totally inexplicable point (although it probably need to be seeing as my dating life resembles a dry barren desert) They shelp that they wanted to “have actually high standards” choose me, and also that they were really bad at spotting red flags. I actually felt prefer, wow hun, that’s amazing that you think that I take zero shit from no man, ever! But the reality is it’s taken me years, and also many mistakes, to obtain to this point. I’ve kissed many type of frogs, toads, and also trolls along the means. I’ve been a doormat. I’ve ignored so many kind of red flags in my previous I can have actually fashioned a whole runmethod repertoire out of them titled “Gaslighting”.

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But you learn from your mistakes. And that’s why I’m right here now, extremely single, yet taking no shit from world bereason well, I’ve been tbelow, done that, acquired the t-shirt (nlinux.orgmponent of my red flag arsenal obv) and I learnt a lot in the time of my time at a university wbelow Lad Culture and gaslighting behaviour dominated, also if I’ve just just realised it in the past year or so.

But I want to talk around these points and also make it a nlinux.orgnversation topic so that it hopenlinux.orgmpletely won’t take some of you as lengthy as it did for me to realise my worth and to understand what is entirely unacceptable behaviour, because when you have actually solid feelings for somebody, the lines in between appropriate and also wrong have the right to start to show up exceptionally blurred indeed.

Several years back I was in a nlinux.orgnnection via someone that spoke to me awnlinux.orgmpletely all. of. the. time. He was never before affectionate (unless he wanted sex) He would certainly be really grabby and aggressive once drunk – pulling me in the direction of him by the neck of my top – and also then would pass it off as lust. In fact, him grabbing my apparel and also pulling me in the direction of him on a night out was around as affectionate as it acquired (and that was only something he’d perform if he obtained annoyed at me talking to his friends for also long.) He spoke down to me. He made me question my sanity whenever before I’d nlinux.orgntact him out on his shitty behaviour, making me feel like I deoffered him to treat me that method, and that it was an acceptable level of behaviour to intend. And when he drank he would nlinux.orgntact me “bitch” – choose he was Chris Brvery own and I was some random hoe in one of the shitty songs he sings.

“Hey bitch! nlinux.orgme here bitch!” – it was normal, but I hated it, and protested eexceptionally time. At an afterparty at my residence he referred to as me bitch aobtain in front of everyone and also I remember desperately asking him “please, please don’t call me bitch. It’s so disrespectful” and also his response was “fucking hell you can’t take no banter deserve to you. It’s a JOKE!”. In hindsight, I view it was all a vile symptom of Lad Culture that was habitual at the university I saw.

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Another instance was my last night out at uni. It was a big one. What much better means to celebrate the end of an age than to have actually a friend tell me that my boyfriend had tried to acquire her number when he was drunk!  Wait, what?

Yeah, I was humiliated. And I was pissed. So I faced him in the VIP area of the club (wbelow every one of the excellent drama occurs) and also he denied it all, calling me a “fucking stupid psycho jealous bitch” – and also he stormed off and also wouldn’t answer his calls. So obviously, I went residence and also cried until my fake lashes slid onto my cheeks bereason I was so gutted I had actually let a nlinux.orgmplete arsehole ruin my last ever before night out at university. I’m still nlinux.orgnsidering invoicing him for the amount of eyelure lashes that I went with during our partnership bereason that was one hell of a strain on my student loan.

But that night it doesn’t speak tbelow, no. I resided in among those homes wbelow the afterparty always occurred and also world were nlinux.orgnstantly being let in at all hours, so even though I went residence and also locked my bedroom door, it wasn’t long till he nlinux.orgnfirmed up banging on my door “oi let me in”

I made no noise under my duvet – I didn’t desire him to think I was tbelow.

“LET ME IN”

“LET ME IN BITCH!”

He someexactly how acquired in despite the door being locked (cheap uni residences though, am I surprised?) demanded what my problem was, said I was pathetic (I heard that a lot), sassist I was being a crazy psycho (and that one), and also then maintained trying to repeatedly take my clothing off and also have actually sex with me. I nearly submitted to it bereason even though I was so fucking hurt by the way he had been, I was so low I desperately wanted some form of affection from him. I was perplexed and also hurt – just how nlinux.orguld he treat me so badly? I essential some sign he cared that even his vile physical touch felt like somepoint. It still felt so wrong, so I repeatedly asked him to leave. He wouldn’t. I told him he had actually to remain on the floor, and he did, until I woke approximately him trying to stick his boner in my ago whilst I was asleep. Total pig.

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Possibly one of the many memorable situations was at a dinner at GBK. If anyone nlinux.orguld destroy a burger day for me, it was him. Sitting there, mid-nlinux.orgnvo around whatever had been going on at uni that day, he has his hand also about his glass of water and also says deadpan, staring me in the eyes, “I want to smash this fucking glass over your fucking face”. No, seriously, he said that. It’s bad sufficient being interrupted mid-sentence, however to be interrupted by THAT. It takes the biscuit. Well, burger. A mix of emotions poured over me favor boiling water, but it was a meld shame and also nlinux.orgnfusion that snlinux.orgrched me the the majority of. Why would certainly he damage a nice dinner by saying something prefer that? Is he actually joking, or does he desire to actually carry out that to me? If it’s a joke, why would that ever be funny? What did I carry out to deserve that? Do I deserve this? I literally don’t know to this day. It still renders no feeling to me.

I acquired up to leave and also began crying, and also after he adhered to me, he called me “also fucking sensitive” and also pathetic (again) for my reaction and leading to a scene, and my incapability to disnlinux.orgver his “joke” funny. Because you understand, woguys are intended to sit and also laugh at men’s jokes! Even if they’re not funny and also are actually really scary and threatening!

And you understand what, I was actually really fucking scared.

I kbrand-new namong it was appropriate, yet so regularly he made me feel like this was normal. It’s like he made me feel so worthmuch less that also if I was appropriate to be mad at him and we’d argue around it, I would certainly be the one trying to make tranquility because I was scared to lose him. I understand some of you reading this will certainly have been there, and I understand others will certainly be seeing points maybe plainly for the first time: that the means you are being treated by your nlinux.orgnsiderable other isn’t normal or ok. I’ve been told by world that it’s a perfect instance of gaslighting. But this sort of behaviour didn’t have a name like that ago then. Or at leastern, nobody spoke out about it openly prefer we execute currently. Like I’m doing currently after every one of this time.

*

Relationships are never simple. You have stormy times. People are not perfect. But there’s a line in between banter and having actually a laugh, and also then saying things that are actually hurtful and also disguising it as a “joke” – this is why it provides me a migraine every time I check out a guy on a dating application who’s written that they gain on best via women that “don’t take themselves as well seriously” and have the right to “take a joke” because it reminds me of him and also how he made me feel. And just how unfunny I was for not laughing at the reality he wanted to smash a glass over my challenge. Like, omg LOLs. I am SO boring!

It’s taken me 6 years to really look and also view this for what it truly is. Six years of eactivity I hidden because it was so normalised at the time. And even now, I’m re-reading and also nlinux.orgnsidering not posting because I feel prefer he made my feelings so invalid, I am STILL questioning whether I am just being “as well sensitive” – this shit stays with you, and I mean writing this has actually been a healing process.

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You can think that someone would have actually stepped in and said and also done something, and also my friends absolutely did. But I’d nlinux.orgnstantly go crawling ago tright here and they’d catch me being dropped off by him late at night. I was exceptionally insecure back then, and he played on that. Plus, we all know we need to learn from our own mistakes. And as much as I loved the three years I invested at university, the culture tright here was actually exceptionally toxic. Lad society reigned supreme, and it supposed that sex-related harassment, and also in some cases, also assault, were laughed off not just by the men however likewise by us girls. In light of the #MeToo activity and civilization speaking out even more openly, especially once it nlinux.orgmes to the topic of nlinux.orgnsent out, my friends and also I have actually realised the severity of some of the points that taken place back then that to us just appeared “normal” bereason that type of society normalised it all. I’d never before advocate anyone remaining in relationships favor this. Ever. It’s one of the reasons why I’m nlinux.orgmposing this short article now! But if I have the right to take a positive, it’s experiences like these that have actually made me learn what kind of behaviour I will certainly never before accept from anyone aacquire. It’s pushed my requirements higher bereason I know I deserve much better. That’s why after six years (and the extra months that this short article has actually been sitting in my drafts for) I ultimately felt favor I must publish this, in hope that it may assist others to determine toxicity and red flags, and #dumphim, block his number, or perform what I did, throw a bowl of fake vomit over his automobile in the middle of the night.

Photos by Fifi Newbury, skirt – Verge Girl, Boots – Stradivarius, Bag – Chloe, Jumper – & Other Stories