This is where it turns bad. I’m not sure if it was my fault or his. Maybe it was a combination of both, although I’ve done my best to escape taking responsibility. Most people don’t want to admit to their part in the breakup of a friendship, or relationship. Therefore, a lot of people bash their exes, and probably why we had so much fun bashing our own exes. Relationships of any type are complex, and sometimes the breakdown of them can be as well.
Things were going well, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that he liked me. He would spend extra time smiling at me during work hours, go out of his way to talk to me, and he was exclusively asking me for help when he came to my department. I still didn’t know for sure, and I felt myself pulling back because of it. I was quieter when we were in the cash out booth together. I was also starting to do things that I know were pushing him away, such as making jokes he didn’t like. Like I said, I’ve been in an abusive relationship and sometimes push people away. This situation of not knowing whether he liked me made the situation worse.
Sometimes he would give a push towards liking me, but other times he was closed off. I didn’t know what his hobbies were, or anything about other than him liking video games. Sometimes when I asked him a question, he’d tell me that he had a rough past. He was closed off in some ways that I wished he wasn’t. His ‘rough past’ was also a red flag, since I didn’t know what it consisted of.
One day he asked me if I wanted to go for a walk in the French Quarter. He said it would help us both with our goals (we to lose weight, and him to get stronger). He had asked about the gym in the same way, which helped to fuel my confusion. I told him about the last time I’d gone to the French Quarter and how a man kept following us around. He assured me that he could ‘protect us’, but I didn’t ask him how. I told him I’d rather go to the zoo, and he said he could do the zoo. I said maybe. I began to feel guilty about switching his ‘free’ plans for one that cost money, and just changed the subject.
He started to bring up things like the idea of him going through a partner’s phone, which didn’t sit well with me. My ex used to use my phone to insult people when I was asleep, and he pushed everyone out of my life. I didn’t tell him this, but it caused me to push him further away, and he started being more assertive. Saying things to try confirming my interest in skinny men.
He also started driving the conversation to take a more sexual tone. He’d ask me about things that made me feel uncomfortable. He also started commenting on women’s look a lot more. He’d always said things like a woman had to be ‘hot’ for him to be interested before, but now it seemed like the only thing that mattered to him.
Our conversations started to make me feel nervous. Sure, he’d asked me about sex before, but now it seemed to be the only thing on his mind. That and insulting me. We stopped talking as much as we had. One day, I overheard him telling a team lead that he was going somewhere with another coworker. I didn’t know who, since I didn’t hear that part, but I knew it was a female since the team lead asked if it was a date. He told her that he didn’t think that was allowed. I still mistakenly thought we were friends, so I asked him about it later (as I’m always happy for my friends’ successes and thought I had misread his interest in me). He told me that he wasn’t dating anyone, but later told me and others that I was trying to insert myself into his relationships or something along those lines. I wasn’t. I’m a curious girl, and I’m always happy for my friends whenever they find success. Though, I do find it a crappy move to try starting two relationships at once, but I recognize that’s because I don’t get interested in two people at once and usually space out my relationships. I still wanted to be his friend, so I tried to find out what his hobbies were. He was rude to me, and told me talking to me was like traveling through a sewer.
I won’t lie. Hearing this hurt my feelings. While we did joke back and front with each other, he made it clear this was no joke. He also told me that I had insulted his character, which I never meant to. I thought we were getting along, and I had enjoyed picking on him about his age. I also knew that sometimes things came out wrong because of my inability to communicate properly. I apologized to him, but I realized he wasn’t my friend. I decided to distance myself from him, but I wasn’t sure how to do this at work.
The next morning, I looked at the schedule to see that he was coming in for a later shift. I considered giving him the silent treatment, but instead I decided to seek out help. I asked one of the other team leads if they could count my register with me and gave them a brief rundown of what had happened. They agreed, but I made the mistake of saying this in front of some of his coworkers. They told him what I had said. Things escalated from there.
While I was counting my register, he decided to come in the cash out booth. I ignored him. He also kept telling a coworker that the radios we had to carry ‘turned me on’. He repeated that over and over, clearly looking for some type of response from me. I don’t know if someone had told him what I said at that point, or if he was just being stupid. The only thing I knew was that I wanted him away from me. I told the coworkers in my department to help him so that I wouldn’t have to deal with him. I told all the team leads in his department because I didn’t want to deal with him anymore. The more people who are involved with something, the messier it gets, so it didn’t take long before we both ended up in the manager’s office.