Questions about love and sex in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org (queries can also be sent anonymously using this form). Questions may be edited for clarity and length, and may appear either in print or online.
My ex-boyfriend was really gross (as in “kinky”-choking-without-any-consent gross), and I have to encounter his current boyfriend every time I walk around campus. Not only that, but I’m in a play with said boyfriend and I’m expecting to see the ex/strangler at the cast party. I really want to enjoy the party without any drama, but as far as I know the current boyfriend doesn’t know a thing. How can I keep the strangler as far away from me as possible in this situation without having to splurge details? Thank you!
— Choking on my own words
I’m going to make a few assumptions here: I am assuming that you’re not friendly with the ex’s current boyfriend. I’m also assuming you wanted to break up with the strangler, and that he didn’t leave you for the new guy. I’m assuming that even though the ex was gross, you broke up with him, told him what the problems with non-consensual choking are (and there are lots!) and have no lingering attachments.
The best way to avoid drama, Choking, is to not be in theater. No, I kid! But seriously, you only have control over yourself, so all you can do is not start any of your own trouble with these folks. The ex and his current sweetie — and any business they are up to in their free time — are not your problem anymore. It seems like being in the same spaces as your ex or his current partner is absolutely impossible for you; if so, it is a bad idea to stay in those places. While it cannot be totally prevented, you need to do what it takes to make yourself comfortable.
It sounds like you had some unfortunate BDSM mishaps with this person, which is problematic but maybe not worth dragging out into the town square for all to pass judgment upon. You’re safely out of the relationship. If you feel that things went beyond “gross” and you were seriously abused or endangered by this ex and that he is a danger to others, you can try having a private chat with the new partner about your experience.
Keep in mind, that approach rarely works to do anything other than galvanize the new partner and the ex against you even further, and you’ll be further embroiled in drama that you claim not to want. The new partner might be having a completely different experience than you did, and it’s unlikely that your warnings or information will help someone in the throes of NRE (new relationship energy).
Again, if you feel like the ex is a real danger to someone and you want to warn them, be advised that this may not have the desired effect, and might be considered “drama” by other parties. If it’s not that pressing, keep out of direct exposure as much as you can, keep your head down and keep moving on to better dating experiences!
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 219.