Everyone remembers their first crush. That first time you feel this lightheaded feeling and nervousness when they walk by. It doesn’t even have to be that first crush for all those happy sensations to come back.
But when you are bullied in a certain way, feeling things like this may not be the best course of action.
This past weekend at my reunion, I had resurgence in negative memories regarding a certain subject. One of the reasons I am so strange in relationships is because I don’t know what to do. I dub these issues Romantic Bullying.
This past weekend, a long time friend of mine that I haven’t seen in awhile starting acting odd toward me. Another friend asked me on his behalf, “So what do you think of [name of other friend.]” I said, “In what context?” Then they gave each other a high-five and said simultaneously, “Classic evasion maneuver.” There were several other incidents over the two nights, most notably when I was offered a chair to sit in at the bar because I was wearing a dress. That same friend stated, “You know, there is a way both of us can sit in that chair. Think about it.” And then he had the audacity to wink at me. It occurred to me that this was a situation just like all these others I’d encountered previously in my life. He was pretending to hit on me.
The damage from this type of bullying is real. I don’t know when someone genuinely likes me. I don’t build trust off this. I consider everyone acting toward me this way as a joke. If a guy genuinely likes me, I don’t know what to do and it is surreal. I also get paranoid because I don’t actually know. Now that I will be searching for romantic partners, I have a lot of pieces to heal.
In 7th grade, like the beginning of most emotional damage, this took me by surprise. The crush I’d had since 4th grade had begun to talk to me. He paid attention to me. He acted like he liked me according to my Teen magazine. Though, there was a moment where I knew something went horribly wrong. In Reading class one day, he started calling me “his Dove.” Then the other girls started laughing. And then the guys started. It ended up being over the top and annoying. It was then I finally realized what he was doing. He knew about the crush and was trying to destroy me with it. He was inspired by another girl in my class who was giving him all the ideas and pulling the strings.
In my yearbook, that year he and his friends write awful horrible things. The following are direct quotes:
“My Dove, Don’t fly away from me over the summer. I will see you around. Call me. You know the number.”
“Oh MY love. I love [you] so much [I] can’t contain myself. Meet me at the fountain at 7:30. Be comfortable.”
By then I had it figured out. But it hurt a lot. I was only someone to be made fun of. I was not someone to be liked.
Something similar happened in 8th grade but was quashed when I started crying every single time that other guy talked to me. I made it too risky for them. After constant bullying since 1st grade, the teachers knew that if I was crying someone was at fault.
It did NOT get better in high school.
My freshman year was the worst. The same girl orchestrated what she believed was the holy grail of fake crushes. She took the best looking guy in our grade who was in 5 of my classes, to set things up and to pay attention to me. People insisted on us taking pictures together. It soon became a well known joke.
That wasn’t the only fake crush orchestrated on me that year. Some boy in my English class had written a fake love note to me. The girls on my van [we had vans instead of buses] starting saying a guy there had a huge crush on me and made fun of me and him right there in front of everyone.
The yearbooks were just as bad.
From the main guy who pretended to have a crush on me and he took up an entire page:
“I <3 U. Will you please go out w/ me!? I like you a lot Your hot! You make me tingle. I love you. Please be mine. <3 always 4ever.”
Then there were these gems:
“You seem like a nice girl. I’ll probably see you on the news or something after I am in jail. You are really smart and kind. Have a good summer. [Made up phone number]”
“I wish I got to know you better this year. I mean you seem like a really cool person and you are really hot too. I’ll cya next year. [Phone number of guy # 1]
“I wish I got to know you better. Your really Hot and nice. Hope I see you next year. [Phone number of a random other guy in class.]
I did not change the grammar.
As you can see, it was a joke if a guy liked me. How is this supposed to be healthy?
There were a couple other minor instances, but I was so used to them by the time they came around it didn’t bother me. Needless to say, I didn’t have a boyfriend in high school.
When people think of bullying, they don’t think about this type. They always assume a kid is getting pushed into a locker because they are small, or different. They don’t tend to think of saying “Oh he likes you!” as a type of bullying. I’m here to tell you it is just every bit as damaging or embarrassing.