We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: trust is crucial in any healthy relationship – and (to quote the Moulin Rouge) “without trust, there is no love”. You should feel comfortable sharing your worries, problems and fears with one another, for example. You should feel safe in their company. You should treat each other with compassion – and respect one another’s opinions.
And, yeah, you should definitely feel able to spend time apart without worrying that they’re going to cheat on you.
One man in Newcastle, however, is apparently far too controlling to do any of that. And when his girlfriend told him that she was going out on a hen night, he decided to contact the staff at the club they were heading to and pay them to spy on her all night.
You read that right.
“Hi,” he breezily begins his message to the club (which you can read in full below). “My girlfriend is headed with a hen party to Filthy’s.
“I was wondering if I would be able to pay a staff member to keep an eye on her and make sure there’s no men at their table etc.”
No, we don’t know what he imagines to be encompassed in that etcetera: maybe he doesn’t want her to look at any men whatsoever, or talk to her friends, or drink cocktails, or have a fun and fulfilling life whenever he isn’t around. We imagine he would prefer her to be sat in some sort of isolation booth with noise-muffling headphones and a blindfold until he’s ready to take her home again – where he can keep an eye on her properly.
“I don’t want the staff member to let the group know that they’re watching, though,” he finishes, perhaps realising that his girlfriend and her friends (but apparently not the bar staff) would deem his request to be as sinister as it is.
Before we go any further, we would like to point out that behaviour such as this is a dangerous and unhealthy approximation of a relationship, and should you recognise such behaviour in your own partner, scroll down for useful information and links to organisations that can provide you with support.
Rather than take the money and do his bidding, Filthy’s decided to a) decline his request, and 2) share a screenshot of his text message to the bar’s Facebook page.
“For anybody else considering offering us cash to casually stalk their partners… we are a bar, not a private investigators / professional perverts,” the caption reads.
Adding a frivolous line highlighting the ridiculousness of the inquiry, it goes on: “We can however add some finishing touches to the reserved [hen party] area, such as personalised name cards and bubbly on arrival!”
While the majority of people found the post funny, there were plenty who pointed out – correctly – that this controlling text message is clearly indicative of an abusive relationship.
It can be difficult for many people trapped in toxic relationships to spot the warning signs, especially as many initially seem low-level and build up slowly.
These can include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Your partner constantly criticises, humiliates or belittles you
- Your partner checks up on you or follows you
- Your partner tries to keep you from seeing your friends or family
- Your partner has prevented you or made it hard for you to continue studying or going to work
- Your partner unjustly accuses you of flirting or having affairs with others
- Your partner has forced you to do something that you really did not want to do
- Your partner has deliberately destroyed any of your possessions
- You have changed your behaviour because you are afraid of what your partner might do or say to you
- Your partner controls your finances
- Your partner talks down to you
- Your partner has strong opinions on what you should wear and your appearance
- Your partner has tried to prevent you from leaving your house
- Your partner has forced you or harassed you into performing a sexual act
- Your partner has threatened to reveal or publish private information
- Your partner threatens to hurt him or herself if you leave them
- Your partner witholds medication from you
- Your partner makes you feel guilty all the time
- Your partner blames you for their bad moods and outbursts
- You are afraid of your partner
Emotional abuse essentially sees your partner bully and berate you as they slowly chip away at your self-esteem. To others, they can even seem charming but behind closed doors it’s a very different story. And, all the while, they are often successfully cutting you off from the people you love and who might be able to recognise the situation.
If you are worried that you might be the victim of emotional abuse, these signs of an abusive relationship sound all too familiar to you, or you have suffered domestic abuse of any kind, contact Woman’s Aid here, or call the free National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247. You can also contact Refuge by clicking here.