If you have to say you are something, chances are that you’re not that thing at all.
By Ossiana Tepfenhart — Written on Aug 26, 2023
Photo: JackF, Canva Creative Studio | Canva
Editor’s Note: This is a part of YourTango’s Opinion section where individual authors can provide varying perspectives for wide-ranging political, social, and personal commentary on issues
Boy, my friend Jenni* had a date for the ages. She, being sane and safe, decided to tell her date that she didn’t want him to meet her at her house. He agreed and said he understood.
Besides, she lived in a rough neighborhood. She was scared to have to rely on cops for a first date gone bad. Police don’t show up fast in high-crime areas — if they even do at all.
He said he understood. So far, so good.
They had dinner, Jenni gave me a greenlight safety text, and then she went home. She said goodbye to her date. The drive was uneventful.
She was about to open the door when she heard footsteps coming up behind her. She turned around, keys in hand, ready to attack whoever was running up to her.
It was her date, and he brazenly told her to wait up. No, it wasn’t because she forgot her credit card or because she dropped something. No, it wasn’t because he thought he misunderstood her when she said bye.
Nope, he actually thought the date’s end meant that he could just follow her home like a lost puppy. That’s right.
Jenni’s date thought that eating with her meant that he could follow her home despite her asking him to wait a bit before sleeping together.
He assumed that he was entitled to that.
She blinked, “What are you doing here?”
“I mean, we can hang out at your place now that you see I’m cool, right? C’mon, let’s go in. I’ll let you make me some coffee,” he said, looking expectantly.
“No, that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works. I still don’t know you well enough for that. I told you I had bad experiences before. I didn’t want you over until I got to know you better.”
“I mean, we talked. What’s the problem? You know me now.”
“Dude, I told you no. I don’t know if I can trust you.”
He looked at her, and said, “That’s silly, though. You can trust me. I’m not that kind of guy.“
Jenni is one of those girls you don’t want to get into a fight with. She’s a Bronx native, and she can scrap. She was no longer scared. She was pissed.
She looked at him and started to shout: “You have five seconds to get out of here, or you’re gonna need new teeth. My homies in the apartment next over will come out here and curb-stomp you. You dig? Step back or you’ll be mincemeat.”
The dude called her names and left. She got back inside her apartment, called her friends, and didn’t spend the night asleep because she was so angry. She talked a big talk game, and honestly, that was a smart move.
My friend’s date is a more extreme example of a phenomenon that many women have experienced.
Most women have met guys who assumed that boundaries didn’t apply to them because they made a series of nice gestures on a date. They’ve also seen men who take personal offense to boundaries that were established as a result of the actions of other men.
Usually, the way they write it off is simple and at the same time, very gaslight-y. They explain, “I’m not like that,” or “I’m not that kind of guy.”
Okay, well, here’s the thing. Women can’t believe that. It’s not that they don’t want to believe it, but that they literally can’t believe it because they know what happens if you trust the wrong person.
And let’s face it, if you have to demand an exception to their rules, you’re probably the wrong person.
The type of guy who expects to be the exception to boundaries is usually the very type of guy who shouldn’t be near women.
Boundaries are a lot like those two yellow lines on a road. They are not a suggestion, they are a rule. They are telling you that, no, you should not cross those lines — or consequences will be had.
A person who refuses to listen to boundaries tries to bend the rules, or gets upset when you don’t keel to their desires is a person who doesn’t have your best interests in mind.
It’s also a sign that you are dealing with a potential abuser.
After all, if you can’t trust them to respect your wish to feel safe, why should you trust them not to hurt you? Whether people realize it or not, feeling physically threatened is a form of psychological damage.
Boundary pushing is already uncomfortable, but most women already know something even worse about this situation. You see, it never stops at just one boundary. It only gets worse from there. There’s the gaslighting, the questioning, and the being told it’s unreasonable to expect people to respect their wishes. You only need one abusive relationship to know how it rolls.
I have yet to see someone who pulls the “I’m not that type of guy” card while pushing a boundary who is capable of having a healthy relationship. If you have to say you are something, chances are that you’re not that thing at all.
This behavior is something I’ve noticed as a growing trend. Did anyone else notice that there seems to be an ongoing trend with men who make a sport of stepping on their date’s boundaries? Like, maybe it’s just me, but it really feels like there’s a major problem with dating and boundaries.
Whether it’s refusing to use a protection, getting angry over wanting to take things slow, or something else entirely, boundary disrespect has gotten worse over the years. I mean, it’s never been good for me personally, but some of the horror stories I hear are outrageous.
Over the years, I can’t help but notice that there is a very specific type of guy who seems to get off on smashing boundaries and getting women to do things they don’t want to do. That type is growing in numbers. That type is a dangerous dude.
Weed out the trash and ghost him. One of the things that I noticed with these types is that they tend to be easy to weed out. The moment you notice this behavior or hear the “I’m not that type of guy” speech, ghost ’em. You’ll be glad you did.
Obviously, you also should take a page from Jenni’s playbook and avoid meeting guys at your place. You don’t know how crazy or weird they are behind that Tinder profile.
Don’t give them the opportunity to disappoint you over and over again. I mean, why put yourself through that?
Another friend of mine also gave another tip that seems to work well with this. If you aren’t sure whether he’s a boundary pusher, mention something small that you make as a boundary — such as you not liking martinis, or you not liking cologne. Or, ask to change the date venue he suggests.
A guy who respects your boundaries and needs will not step on that tiny boundary. So, if you told him you can’t stand cologne and he comes wearing cologne, excuse yourself and leave the date. If he insists on Venue A after you told him you need to change venues, cancel the date.
Guys like that are banking on you “being nice” and looking the other way. Don’t accept that. It gets harder and harder to say no after you’re already saying yes to their demands.
Guys like this often will apologize and ask for a second chance. There’s no point in giving them a second chance. They already know they did wrong. If they respected women at all, they would have respected your boundaries.
PS — Guys, this is true when the shoe’s on the other foot, too. Boundaries matter, and if you can’t agree on them, she ain’t the one.
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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others.
This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.