Dodging Bullets

Between the end of my long term relationship and my move to Austin I began talking to a guy. Let’s call him Mr N.  I wasn’t really interested in a relationship, more just peeking my head out a little bit. He was in a Facebook group that I was active in that discussed issues facing the black community. We would agree with each other on a lot of topics and I appreciated the way he articulated his thoughts there. He sent me a friend request and I accepted. He was a nice looking guy and had a lot of the check offs of “my type” Tall, dark, bearded, articulate etc…. I don’t quite remember how it began but we struck up a little flirtation. It was online and fun and I didn’t think much of it. Then it progressed to the phone. He was cool to talk to and I think that I was enjoying the newness of it all seeing as though I had just gotten out of a 3 year relationship and prior to that a marriage. No marathon, falling asleep on the phone late  night sessions but we would chat on the phone and it was nice. About a month went by and he started talking about coming to see me in Vegas. I didn’t see why not. I helped him find accommodations and we set about planning to spend time together in real life.

He came to visit, and we enjoyed each others company. We did some outdoor activities, went out to eat and in general had a good time. There was something off-putting though. He was speaking about our future in a way that seemed to be out of alignment with the nature of the relationship. He was talking about which one of us would relocate and how we’d raise kids and all kinds of things that I didn’t think we were on the level to be discussing. I tried not to make too much of it and figured he was just more expressive than most. It was generally a good trip but something was just not sitting right with me.I couldn’t put my finger on it but something was a little off. He also took and tagged me in photos of us together, making it known that we were together in Vegas. I didn’t really like that.  It’s so hard in those situations because I remember feeling like, I had fun right ? right.

He didn’t do anything necessarily wrong right? Right.

You’re still attracted to him right? Right.

He only wanted to show you off, that’s supposed to be a good thing right? I guess….

So what’s the problem? I couldn’t really find one I just had the feeling that I had. 

This feeling was confirmed when I got an email a few days after he returned home. It was a very poetic message expressing his love for me, saying that he believed I was his soulmate and he could see us as a union.  The words were absolutely beautiful but it all seemed fast for me. Honestly, if I felt I needed someone, I would’ve probably eaten that shit up. I mean, here is this handsome, articulate man that had flown out to see me, showered me with affection and was professing his love. In our conversation after receiving the email he told me that he had made a painting of me. Again, a very lovely sentiment that, had I not had this feeling of resistance would have been amazing. Oh, AND he’s artistic? That’s a plus for me.

Except it wasn’t. I was still processing the news of the painting and when he started talking about planning his next trip. It was at that point that I knew I had to slow things down. I told him that we should probably slow down on the plans for another trip. I think I said something like “I don’t think you should come, I don’t know what I want right now. I’ve been talking to my ex and we are thinking about working things out” Now there was some truth to this but it wasn’t entirely accurate. I had been talking to my ex, I was kind of missing him, but we weren’t going to get back together. I just felt like I needed a reason to stop the progression of this relationship. He was upset and immediately blocked me on everything. I thought that was a bit dramatic but overall I felt very good about not taking things further and the fact that he cut all ties just made it easier to have a clean break. I moved on, moved to Austin the next year and didn’t really think those brief months of “talking” until…….

October 26, 2019. I get a DM from a name I don’t recognize. It went something like this: I know this is random, but you used to date a guy I ended up marrying. He was a cheater and severely abusive and it took me a couple years to escape him.You were the last woman he was with before I met him and you dodged a bullet. He said you were a vampire and a horrible person. I looked you up because I was curious and I remember thinking how awesome you appeared to be. How he portrayed you should have been a red flag. When we met he had painted a giant picture of your face. That was odd enough but a few weeks after we got together he bloodied it. That should’ve been a red flag for me. He now sells that image on his website. His abuse was so horrific, I now have Complex PTSD. He’s truly an awful person. I don’t know what made you distance yourself but sis you made the right choice.

 

She gave me the link to his site and sure enough there I was. Quite unsettling indeed. It took me some time to respond to her because while her motive for reaching out to me seemed well-intentioned, I was still gun shy about engaging in any exchange that felt like it had the potential for drama. I didn’t know if this woman was trying to get back at him by contacting me or what but I knew I was sitting in my living room with my family enjoying a relaxing Sunday football day and seeing that image was very jarring. I had a lot of feelings. I felt horrible for her, having endured abuse from this man, I was shocked by how he had portrayed me, especially seeing as though we hadn’t been talking that long and had only spent one weekend in each other’s presence. I was pissed that he was attempting to profit off of my likeness. I felt uneasy about the reality that there was someone out in the world who considered me a malicious vampire. 

But the overwhelming feeling was one of gratitude. Gratitude that I didn’t make the same mistake. Gratitude that I upheld a promise to myself. My experience with my ex husband was a lesson and I vowed to never, under any circumstance dishonor my inner voice or dismiss red flags ever again.  I was certain that Mr. N was not someone that belonged in my life but I had no idea that he would’ve ended up being an abuser.

 Adversity can be used to create the life you actually want. This is a prime example. One of the most important things that life has taught me is to look for the lesson. It’s very easy to let our minds imagine exactly what we want in a relationship but when life actually shows us what we do not want we must commit that to memory as well. It is one thing to possess intuition which we all do, but it is another to inhabit it. Intuition is less about your comfort and more about your evolution. It can be scary to move on a gut feeling or a sense that you get when there is no visible proof that corroborates what you feel but it’s necessary for any woman on a path of self-discovery. The ability to trust yourself in all situations.

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