I was peeping through an old photo album today in the middle of cleaning the cat box and saw the picture of someone I refer to as “the bad boyfriend”.
I met him through an online BBS back in the days of the 2 line modems (1988). Tall, very thin, with a beard, he seemed intelligent and mysterious. We went out a few times and before you know it, he moved in to my meager little 2nd floor apartment in downtown Baltimore.
We were together -maybe- 6 months and it was during that time I learned what it meant to endure someone gaslighting me. Things I KNEW to be true, he lied about. And told me I was crazy. Everything I did was wrong, he said. He wore what little self-esteem I had to a damn nub.
Why did I allow this? Well, honestly, I hated to give up the best sex I had ever had. Like, he put me in some kind of trance. (I was 28, what do you want?) He was so bad but so good.
Of course, I found out that he was cavorting with someone else during this time and when I finally made the decision to kick his ass out, I gathered all his stuff and put it by the front door. Then, realizing I’d never have the opportunity to sleep with him again, unpacked it all and seduced him that night for one last time.
Then I told him to get out. (It sounds so brave now. I was a mess then. Like I said, I ran with whatever shred of self-esteem I had left.)
Saw him one last time after I had moved to Richmond VA. We went to the movies and fought on the way home. When I got out of the car, I walked over where he was standing and asked for my house key back. As he was taking it off the key ring, I got into a frenzy and grabbed it. He lifted his elbow (on purpose) and clipped me under the chin, knocking me over on the road.
“Look where your life is, Lisa. Get up.” said the voice in my head. I gathered my glasses that had fallen on the side and walked up the steps to my mother’s apartment. I didn’t want her to know (and I never told her all that had happened because I couldn’t bear her “I told you so” on top of shredded self-esteem and a messed up life).
I never spoke to or saw him again. He did pop up years later online in a strange way and didn’t know it was me. I longed to fuck with his head as he did mine but karma and whatnot.
Why all the reminiscing? Like I said, saw his picture today and played Sherlock on the googles. Turns out, he died in September. His brother posted something on his high school FB page that said he was “found deceased”. That’s all the info I can find.
It’s been almost 30 years since all that happened (Jeepers! Where has time gone??) but I remember a lot of it because it took me a year or more to get back to who I was before he came barreling through. I remember filing pages and pages and pages of my journal, doubting myself as he lied and lied and lied.
We had a short time together but I gained a lot of important life lessons. NEVER doubt my spidey sense – ever. And never let anyone tear me down like that.
“He did pop up years later online in a strange way and didn’t know it was me. I longed to fuck with his head as he did mine but karma and whatnot.” To be tempted was such a completely human response. I’m glad you resisted. It’s good to keep your karma (and your whatnot) clear. ;)
So many of us have (at least) one of these men in our past. I wonder if it’s a phase we simply have to to through, like caterpillars becoming butterflies. And I wonder if its unique to we women of a certain age. Are there Millennial Bad Boys?