I Didn’t See It. Consent Violations for the Knowledgeable.

In my circle of friends, the issue of consent is discussed a lot. It is hashed and rehashed until we think we have it all down and we know what a consent violation looks like and what our responses will be in any given such situation.It is discussed so much that it gets tiresome at times. We’ve got this. We know this.

This is why I am deeply surprised that I did not recognize the consent violations that were happening to me for several months, in a relationship that I thought was just peachy and wonderful, except for one pesky detail.

It is with much pain and a bit of disgust towards myself that I realize that I was in a relationship with someone that did not respect my answer of “no.” When it came to matters of my body, he would say “but I just can’t help myself.” And “I only get so much time with you. I need to get my fill of you.” I accepted these answers. I felt sorry for him. I felt guilty that I could not give him more time, more of myself. So, when I said “no, I can’t do this, “and he said, “But…” I gave in. He is such a nice guy. He really is. He was never angry, never shouted at me, never pushed or hit me. He never obviously violated my consent the way I pictured it would be violated. He just didn’t accept no for an answer (how did I not see this?). His reasons were so sweet. It didn’t matter that I was exhausted. It didn’t matter that I reiterated my “no “on a daily basis when we were together. I set up boundaries and let him cross them all of the time.

The final straw came recently after he, I and my other partner were coming home after a late night at a party. We had discussed that the night was going to be short, that we all needed sleep. I again reiterated my exhaustion. Both of my partners acknowledged that they heard me and there was a plan to not wake me until the agreed upon time in the morning. Things did not go as planned. He did not take my “no” for an answer. Not only could I not sleep, but I broke down.

Months of images went through my head where I asked him for rest, for downtime, for us to just cuddle. I can’t remember a time when we were alone together that wasn’t in public that he respected my request. Again, “I can’t help myself.” And I said to myself, this is no big deal. I’m making mountains out of molehills.

Here I go again, trying to excuse his behavior in my head, trying to blame myself. If only I didn’t suffer with chronic illnesses. If only I were physically able to keep up with him. This is my fault for being this way. But it’s not my fault. I lay blame on myself that I allowed him to cross them. I accepted his excuses. The rest is on him.

That morning, after breaking down, I confronted him. He was immediately apologetic. He stated that he didn’t realize just how what he was doing was destructive. He promised to never disrespect me again. I asked him to leave. I haven’t spoken to him since and I don’t know if I will be able to do so any time soon.

He is a nice guy. He really is. He has lots of friends, and is respected and gives them respect. Maybe someday we can be friends like that. I don’t know yet. Right now I just need to heal and try not to beat myself up too much for not seeing the consent violations that were staring at me in the face.

Xposted with permission – Author: Lisa

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