Dating is complicated. It’s unpredictable, and after the honeymoon stage ends, we tend to question if we really liked the guy or if it was just the heat of the moment, boredom, or the sex. From guys that liked me too much to guys that apparently didn’t like me enough, dating has tended to embody the twisted feeling of being in a roller coaster; sometimes I’m laughing my lungs out, screaming or feeling like I want to throw up.  

Moving to San Francisco, I realized dating was so different from back home in Peru. First of all, it was pretty easy to meet people in restaurants, bars, even on the streets and grocery stores (as weird as that might sound), so at one point I thought it shouldn’t be that hard to find my perfect fit, right? I was wrong. It doesn’t mean that all my experiences were terrible, it means that every single person that has crossed my life had taught me something unique about myself and helped me grow even when I was utterly heartbroken. 

From long-distance relationships to ones that actually felt like we were living in different countries, even though we were ten blocks away, I’ve accepted the fact that we need to go through the weirdest experiences to figure out what we truly want. Most importantly, what we deserve instead of getting stuck in a relationship that lacks commitment and is nothing to what is portrayed on social media. 

“You seemed familiar, I think I’ve seen you before,” he said while I was waiting for the light to cross the street. I was like, seriously? I just shrugged and said, “I don’t think so.” I was new to the city, so the chances of that being true were pretty much 0. I didn’t want to be rude, so we had small talk. He evoked confidence and cockiness, and I found myself attracted to his dominant vibe, to be honest. However, I didn’t buy his pick up line even though he ended up getting my number. He texted me the next day to invite me to his friend’s yacht. In my mind, if he was trying to impress me, that wasn’t going to work. I lied and said I had a boyfriend because I already knew he was the persistent type. And boy, did he!

Fast forward a year later, he asked me out one day, and I agreed. At that point in my life, I already dated an athlete, a guy that wanted me to meet his parents after the first week, and the guy that was nice to me but who I had 0 chemistry with. As soon as I saw him outside my apartment, I realized he had a clean-cut, elegant look that made him look hot even when he wasn’t that physically attractive. At the bar, I noticed two things. He talked a lot about how successful he was, which is acceptable, but at one point, it’s annoying and about money. He kept going on about someone famous he dated, and all his latest trips around the world. However, he also asked a lot about myself and was a complete gentleman, so I decided to give it a chance. During the first week, I noticed he was pretty demanding and always wanted me to be at his place even when I told him I had school and was busy. He was calling and texting all the time, which didn’t seem weird, but he would get really annoyed if I didn’t answer him. I could tell he was kind of a control freak and the jealous type, but I thought it was too soon to judge him. 

One night, at one of his friend’s house I was sitting next to a girl who started complimenting me on how pretty I was and we started talking, I was intrigued because she looked very young. She was actually the daughter of one of the ladies at the house who was flirting with a random old guy that was there. Who brings her daughter to a party and starts flirting with a guy in her face? It was the kind of awkward people do reality tv shows about, I swear. She asked me who I came with and what she said next stuck to me. She told me to be careful with the guy I was seeing because he tended to be obsessed over girls that looked like me. I started to ask what she meant, but we got interrupted, and I never got my answer. 

Throughout the night, he kept asking to come home with him, but I was exhausted from work and school, so I said no. He gave me an ultimatum saying that if I didn’t go with him that night, then he wouldn’t call me again. I laughed and said he was crazy to which he just shrugged and said that he wouldn’t want to be with someone “like me,” whatever that meant. I shut the door in his face and left pissed thinking, who does he think he is? When I woke up the next morning, I had six missed calls at 3am and countless texts saying he was sorry and that he overreacted and to please call him as soon as I could. For someone, that was supposed to be the “dominant” and confident “not care” at all type he was confusing af. He apologized a lot of times, so I decided to give him another chance. 

I don’t want to say things got worse, but they definitely didn’t get better. He would call me even though I was in class and started asking me to consider working for him, which honestly is a bit weird since we just started seeing each other. One time he was repeatedly calling when I was at the movies with a group of friends even though I texted him saying I would call him back after. I was annoyed and pissed, so I did what everyone does but shouldn’t do. I started making lame excuses instead of being upfront. Don’t judge me. At one point, he sent me texts saying that he could be with any supermodel but wanted to be with me. Is that supposed to make me feel better? I ignored him for weeks until he said he was done with my ‘bs’ and my “playing hard to get” strategy, which didn’t exist. 

Following a couple of weeks, he started posting photos on social media with a model showing how much they loved each other with sweet captions. My jaw-dropping emoji face was a mix of relief and confusion since he kept texting two days ago. One of my friends did what I should’ve done since the beginning: googled him. She found out he was actually placed on probation after he pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors related to his harassment of his ex-girlfriend. The worst part was he needed authorization before traveling out of the state and that he violated those court terms three times back then. It wasn’t just one court document, they were many, and all the descriptions fit the type of guy I was dating for the last month. 

Even though I was astounded, it also made sense. I knew something was wrong, but I still wanted to give whatever we had a chance. Even though the sex was off the charts, I’ve learned one can’t be blindsided by the physical chemistry of a relationship. Your instincts are never wrong, and when you feel something is not right, chances are you are right. 

Always pay attention to red flags, they are there for a reason. 

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