This article originally appeared on VICE AU.
No one likes getting rejected. Whether it's for a job, a nice share house, or someone who didn't want to get breakfast the next day – we've all been there. Rejection sucks, but accepting it with dignity is part of being an adult.
Now I have a bone to pick. Because sometimes male adults who've been told some version of "no I don't want to date you/fuck you/see you again," turn into angry, self-indulgent children. And I understand that men often feel like they're the ones expected to instigate the first date, or follow up afterwards, but making yourself vulnerable doesn't excuse vile behaviour when it doesn't work out.
I've experienced this a lot, and maybe you have too. So I reached out to friends and asked them if they'd had similar experiences they'd be willing to share, simply to illustrate how this isn't an isolated problem. Many of us are being abused in private, in ways that wouldn't happen in public. And I like to think that making texts like these public will help to make it clear they're not OK.
Here's a selection of screen grabs from women who've said no, and men who got abusive. The first one is mine, but the rest were contributed by friends. And note, most of the names have been changed.
This guy was a 30-year-old tradie. We met via Instagram
He messaged me at midnight, on Instagram, a few months ago and we had sex. Then about a week ago, he sent me a message saying “I want to date you,” without any context. I replied, letting him know he was being a bit overwhelming and I wasn't interested. He replied with this:
This guy was a 20-year-old correctional officer
"We'd only been on a few dates when he told me he wanted us to get married for a visa. I told him I didn't want to date someone with an agenda."-Bree
This guy was a 36-year-old surgeon
"I matched with a rich dude on bumble, went on a lavish date that didn't impress me as much as he wanted, just because the conversation didn't flow. He messaged me after dropping me home (where I'd already passed on a goodnight smooch) and said he'd had a nice time. I told him that I'd had a nice time too and thanked him for dinner, but also politely declined a second date."—Erin
This guy was a 33-year-old graphic designer
"This was a dude I was talking to on Tinder and foolishly, I gave him my number. I had to cancel the date we planned because I had to work but we continued to text on and off. Our schedules weren't lining up, and as I am not great at sustaining online interest, I told him that maybe we should just wait until we had more time, then organise a date in a few weeks. He wasn't into that idea."—Jane
This guy was a 29-year-old DJ
"I had sex with this guy one night, and let's just say the communication was off. He got really rough—like too rough and I had to tell him to chill out, but the vibe was already ruined. I didn't end up feeling overwhelmed, or gross or anything, but I definitely didn't want to see him again. He messaged me a few times in the week after, trying to catch up again."—Mel
This guy was a 24-year-old bartender
"After being friends for years, he told me he had feelings for me. I told him I had to process this before giving him an answer and after a few weeks, I knew I didn't feel the same way. In my eyes, the friendship wasn't over, I just didn't want to date him. It was difficult, as he'd been there for me through so many relationships, the disappointments, the assholes, the cheaters... the lot. I think that's why his reaction to my "rejection" stung so much."—Brooke
This guy was a 26-year-old musician
"We'd met at one of his own gigs. I'd been seeing him for a few weeks and I was fresh out of a relationship so I just wanted something casual. I'd told him this but the night before this message, we'd had sex and he told me he loved me. I didn't react in the moment, but the next day I told him I wanted to be alone for a while before committing to him, or anyone."—Rebecca