She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to… Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all.
I met some friends for a weekend of fun recently. We were all going to the same convention, and it was a mixture of people who'd been previously and first-timers. It was my second time going, and I was looking forward to meeting a bunch of my online friends in person.
One of the first timers, whom I'd met through a live streamer's chat, apparently fell in love with me as soon as he set eyes on me. He spent the weekend telling me he loved me at every opportunity and saying that his fiancee wouldn't mind him having a second girl.
It's no secret in the group that I'm asexual. I've explained what this means several times, and I know this guy was there on at least one of these occasions. This didn't deter him over the weekend. Or since. He still insists he loves me and that I should return and reward his affection.
How do I get him to back off without alienating both of us from an otherwise brilliant and supportive community?
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UGH. I am so sorry that you are dealing with one of those people who only hears what they want to hear.
(And also, one of those people who “fall in love” when they know nothing about the other person.)
They’re my favorites. (Can you feel the sarcasm from the other side of your screen?)
Of course, your sexuality won’t stop him. Because he only hears what he wants to hear. Or rather, he is superimposing his own story onto you.
This is, sadly, not uncommon. I have experienced this many times in life.
And I know, I know, #NotAllMen, but straight cis-guys, I’m looking at you.
People (mostly straight men) deny the existence of straight male privilege. But it exists. And it is that very privilege that has led this guy to believe if he pushes hard enough he will get what he wants. And the logic behind if I keep pushing, she’ll cave…. that’s rape culture.
What I would do is this: The next time he waxes on about his romantic feelings for you, just tell him you are not interested. Don’t put it off on your sexuality, because he is not respecting that. Tell him YOU are not interested in HIM. Put the onus back on him.
And, should he continue, let your mutual friends know what is happening and why he is making you uncomfortable. They are not going to alienate you for setting a boundary with this pesky guy. And who cares if they alienate him? Maybe that’s what it will take for him to get the message.
This is something that we, as women, have to deal with ALL the time. A few notches up and you end up with a sexual predator like Harvey Weinstein.
PLEASE, don’t ever apologize for asking someone else to respect your boundary.
For so many years, I let people (mostly men) bend and push and ignore my boundaries. But, I’m too old for that shit now.
You’ve got this. Set your boundary and don’t worry about how setting that boundary is going to affect his social life. That’s his problem, not yours.
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