Hollywood gaslights women into believing predatory behavior is romantic. Here are behaviors society tells us are romantic that are actually abusive.
Sure, some women want to be wined and dined, but if he goes all out on the most expensive restaurant in town and big gifts immediately, he might be trying to control you.
Some men use their wallets to manipulate women into dating them…and more. They’ll scream that they spent a ton of money, so you owe them a second date.
Disney fairy tales teach us that love, at first sight is real, and when you find it, you express it fully.
It’s all false. It’s impossible to love someone you don’t know fully. It’s not true love; it’s love bombing, a manipulation tactic designed to make you let your guard down. You feel cherished and desired, but once they have you, they’ll start to show their true colors.
The “I Need To See You”
When you break up with someone, you are not obligated to see them ever again. Some will make a heartfelt plea that they need to see you just one last time.
Don’t give in. They want to see you in person to break your boundaries and manipulate you into giving them a second chance.
I’m Nothing Without You
Some take their romantic desires to terrifying levels. They use people’s guilt against them, forcing them to stay in relationships they don’t want to be in.
Threatening self-harm is never romantic. If someone thinks they’ll die without you, they need therapy, and you need to get away.
Public proposals seem so romantic in the movies, but they can be creepy. Proposing lavishly and publicly makes it nearly impossible for the other party to say no, even if they aren’t ready for marriage.
The only time a public proposal is okay is if you and your partner have already discussed getting married, you both know the engagement is coming, and your soon-to-be fiance has expressed a desire for a big public display.
Constant Phone Calls
When I was in college, I had a boyfriend who would call every five minutes. The phone would never stop ringing. I thought it was cute then, but now I realize how creepy it is.
I wasn’t allowed to have my own life or break from him. He needed to be front and center every second.
Wearing Her Down
The rom-com trope showing the awkward guy winning the girl after constantly badgering her and wearing her down until she finally says yes just to get it to stop isn’t romantic; it’s gross.
It teaches boys to disrespect women’s boundaries, keep pestering after they hear no, and that persistence pays off in romantic pursuits. These lessons aren’t true. If she does eventually say yes, it’s probably because she feels so pressured she can’t say no anymore, and if a relationship ultimately results, she’ll probably be unhappy.
There is no universe where stalking is romantic. Don’t unexpectedly show up to her work, house, or school uninvited, especially when you don’t have a relationship.
Don’t follow her home, check her schedule, watch her house, or snoop through her mail.
Rushing to “Take Care of You”
Society pushes the narrative that men must be providers, but some use providing to control their partners.
They’ll convince you to quit your job, move across the country with them, live with them, and give up all your social safety nets for them. It seems like a dream come true during the honeymoon phase, but once you’re dependent on them, their tune will change.
“You’re not that type of girl” and “You’re too good for that” are insidious compliments that keep you in line. When men try to compliment you by elevating you above “other women,” they’re really putting you on a pedestal that’s nearly impossible to escape. Now, you must toe the line he sets or face his wrath.
Online dating is a cesspool, and now women have to navigate yet another insidious scheme: wokefishing. Find out why men lie about politics and why women refuse to date them.
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Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.