I have a bit of an ongoing issue with someone who I think is a ‘missing stair’. About a year and a half ago, I met this guy through a sports team I’m in and we became acquainted but not close. He had a reputation as a ‘gutter-punk’ type who’d steal your cigarettes or crash on your couch, but he seemed to have outgrown it by this point.
I became aware of some gigs he was co-organising being cancelled as accusations of sexual assault came to light. By the end of the next day, multiple women had mentioned having similar experiences with the guy. A friend and I in the sports team contacted our management who recommended he step back, but felt they couldn’t expel him as the accusations were accusations only.
A few months later, I started dating a person who is friends with this guy’s girlfriend. My girlfriend doesn’t trust him either, but feels that if he is abusive that it would be unfair to abandon her friend who may need support should it transpire this guy is the liar and (frankly) rapist that he’s reported to be. And I agree. I think this guy’s girlfriend has (at best) bought into his sketchy excuses or (at worst) can’t leave due to some kind of duress and might need people in her corner.
As a result, I’ve encountered this guy socially a few times. He’s aware I reported him and I’ve made him fully aware that I can’t ever trust him again and not to read me being civil as friendship, but he continues to try and brute-force his way back into my good graces. Some friends have had the confidence to tell him exactly how unwelcome he is (which has ended in physical altercations in some cases) but with me he seems to engineer situations where if I blew up at him, or even enforced firm boundaries, I’d be the one turning a ‘civil chat’ into drama and ruining evenings. It feels awful every time.
Every time my partner and I acknowledge him, we both feel awful and feel like we’re betraying other people we know who end up in tears or fits of rage when this guy shows his face. I feel like I’m enabling the missing stair, but can’t think of what to do that wouldn’t turn into a screaming match or worse, especially as his girlfriend, who is an otherwise pleasant person, is very defensive about the situation.
We’re not in any other contact and I’ve blocked him on social media, but short of leaving town, I don’t know what to do about this guy and feel like scum for every time he’s wheedled me into tolerating him. This guy’s needled me into hugging him before and the thought makes me wretch. My heart sinks when I hear his voice. What do you think, Doc?
Carpenter In Training