I met Derek at a friend’s party. He was pretty cute–he sorta looked like a blond Tyson Ritter. We hit it off and made each other laugh, so we exchanged numbers and I agreed to go out with him later that week.
Our first date went well, though he was a bit showy and a little loud for my taste, but I attributed that to nerves. On paper, he was rad: Cute, funny, studying to be an engineer, polite and he had a motorcycle. (I love riding). I went out with him two more times to feel everything out and decide whether or not I liked him. On the third date, I decided I really didn’t like him.
We were waiting to get seated at a restaurant, so we sat at the bar watching some of the TVs and chatting when some guy friends of mine that I hadn’t seen in forever walked in and made a beeline for us. There was nothing romantic going on between any of these dudes and me–they were pals I’d had for years.
I hugged everyone hello and introduced them to Derek, and we all talked for a bit. Realizing I was on a date, my dude friends kindly started to leave for another section. They’d just turned around and started walking when Derek decided he wasn’t getting enough attention–and slapped me in the face.
I was more stunned than anything else, because, well, there was no warning. We weren’t play fighting. We weren’t really fighting. No one forgot a safe word. It was out of nowhere.
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and was just like, “Wait. You just did what?”
Derek responded by laughing–and then hitting me again on the other side of my face. By then, I’d run out of cheeks–of that kind, at least–to turn. I was still somewhat stunned, but I was coherent enough to know I needed to get the hell out of there.
I’m not sure how no one else saw what happened (he likely timed it strategically), or if no one just wanted to get involved, but that didn’t matter to me at the time. I left Derek sitting at the bar, caught up with my guy friends, and we left together. I didn’t even tell them what happened until we were far enough away that they wouldn’t turn their cars around and go to kick the crap out of him. I didn’t go to the cops or anything, though it probably would have prevented him from pulling that crap with someone else if I did. Plus, since no one did anything when it happened, I figured it’d be my word against his. At the time, I just wanted to get out.
In retrospect–hindsight’s always 20/20, right?–I can sort of see some signs. He was very “me me me,” and one of my girlfriends said he seemed a bit off. Still, a lot of the traditional dating violence signs–isolating you from your loved ones, negging you to the point that you think you’re worthless without him–weren’t there. Yet. Then again, it was only date three. Who knows what could have went down if I stuck around longer?
Have you ever been involved in dating violence? What would you do if you witnessed dating violence while you were out? Tell us in the comments!