Posted on | January 12, 2013 | 25 Comments
Instapundit had this headline:
OK, so this was intriguing, but the whole “revenge porn” theme was forgotten as soon as I started reading the article by the (obviously pseudonymous) “Rhoda Kelly”:
I started dating Rob toward the end of high school. He was five years my senior.
Whoa. Full stop. Isn’t this a gigantic red flag? I’m not saying that it is impossible for a 17-year-old and a 22-year-old to have positive romantic experience together, but it was like the first clue (besides the headline, of course) that this story wasn’t going to end happily ever after.
He added me on Myspace, and we talked online occasionally. Then, after hanging out in real life only a handful of times, he insisted that we become a couple.
See there? That’s three warning signs right away:
- Older guy dating teenager.
- Meeting via online social-networking.
- Guy insists on quick rush into “couple” status.
Just on the basis of that, I figure there’s not only something wrong with the guy, but there’s something wrong with this girl, too.
Maybe I’m old-fashioned. Maybe I don’t “get” the whole online-dating thing. But it seems to me that, unless the girl was of the lonely/desperate misfit/oddball type, she’d be meeting guys through the regular real-life routines — a guy from school, someone she met through an after-school job, “friend of a friend,” whatever. When somebody asks, How did you meet your boyfriend? and your answer is, He added me on Myspace, excuse me for thinking there’s something wrong with you. So I keep reading and find out, yeah, my hunch was right:
I liked him. He played guitar in a punk band and was a gifted graphic designer. He was quiet and cynical, but sweet to me.
Fast-forward three years, after the initial sweetness diluted considerably, and what was left was a controlling, territorial, sardonic, and deeply troubled man who I knew I had to leave, but who by then was like an extension of me. We both struggled with psychological disorders: I was diagnosed with major depression when I was nineteen, and he would have such severe depressive episodes that he couldn’t get out of bed to go to work many days. Or he’d stay awake for two weeks straight because of his recurring nightmares about being abducted by aliens. Once, believing me to be an alien, he lay in my bed sobbing uncontrollably. Later, I looked up alien-abduction dreams and found that many studies pointed to childhood sexual abuse as a cause; after we broke up, he told me that he had in fact been molested as a child.
OK, you can go read the whole thing, and you’ll eventually get to the part where she gets drunk and lets him take a video of them having sex, then finds out he’s posted it online as an act of revenge after they broke up, but that’s not what the story is really about.
What the story is really about is a vulnerable misfit/oddball chick who has trouble attracting a boyfriend in her real-life environment, and instead hooks up with some weirdo she meets online.
Insufficiently aware of her own vulnerability, and apparently incapable of recognizing that Mr. Controlling Older Guy She Met Online might have problematic “issues” of his own, Little Miss Oddball is therefore shocked to find that this leads to a Harmful Relationship That Ends Badly.
The “revenge porn” thing may be the hook that sells the story, but more important is the lesson about How Not to Find Healthy Relationships.
If you’re in that lonely/desperate situation where you’re willing to accept “He added me on Myspace” as an invitation to romance . . .
Do I even have to finish that sentence to explain why it’s a signal that you might be vulnerable to a bad relationship?
Seventeen-year-old girls aren’t always good judges of character. This is why, in ancient days of yore (i.e., when I was a kid), parents made it their business to keep an eye on their 17-year-old daughters. And the default parental position was, Keep Away From My Daughter, Creep.
Lots of bad things happen to people who stray from the wise ways of the ancient days of yore, and being victimized by “revenge porn” is certainly one possibility. All things considered, though, “Rhoda Kelly” should be thankful she’s alive to tell her story. A lot of stories like hers end up with headlines like, “Woman Slain by Obsessive Stalker Ex-Boyfriend.”