Twelve million Americans between the ages of 18 and 32 are affected by domestic violence every year.
Jack Robinson was from Milwaukee. He was a 21-year old auto mechanic who had spent most of his adult life chasing and idolizing women. He enjoyed playing video games, joking with coworkers and hanging out with friends. One day, he hoped to meet that special someone.
Jack Meets Shelly
Unfortunately, Jack hadn’t had much success with women. For reasons he couldn’t understand, they usually didn’t approach him. Hoping to change this, he had adopted an almost larger-than-life persona that he believed they would find hard to resist–or so he thought.
Jack knew that modern-day mating rituals require stamina and hard work. Before his cotton-candy dreams could come true, his pedigree, zip code and medical history would be scrutinized and compared to those of others. He made sure he was prepared.
Fearful of rejection and unsure about what would work best, Jack convinced himself that he should be seen as a hybrid–a girlish Taylor Lautner and a swaggering Chris Pratt. It was a tall order, but he tempered his anxiety by reminding himself that, should he fail to close the deal or get a phone number, he could salvage his ego with a beer and a visit to the nearest girlie bar.
Jack lived in a mega-universe of horny studs, all competing for the same thing. With average looks and a lack of confidence, he knew he was not exactly Zac Efron, perched atop the dating food chain.
Still, when he met one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen, he decided it was time for a change. He resisted feelings of hopelessness and assumed a casual stance, ignoring his racing heart and the sweat trickling down his sides. Forcing a confident grin, he walked up to her and said, “Hello, my name is Jack.”
The woman stared back, but he didn’t flinch. He worried that she might see through his cocksure veneer.
She smiled. “My name is Shelly.”
“Hi, Shelly. Can I buy you a drink?”
The tension inside abated. Jack steered her toward the bar and she ordered a cocktail. As they talked, warmth radiated from her. He learned her name was Shelly Peterson, and that she was a patient care assistant at the local hospital.
As minutes turned to hours, he leaned in, absorbing each word and gesture. When her glass was half-empty, he bought another round. His heart felt flush, but he kept the conversation light; he steered clear of controversial subjects and deeply personal questions. Soon, he was hyperaware of his physical self. He planted his feet apart, propped a casual elbow on the bar, and raised an eyebrow.
Shelly’s body language said she was open and relaxed. Jack’s mind raced and he savored thoughts of what might happen next. Would they have sex? It didn’t matter, he decided. They were having a lot of fun. Besides, he already had her number.
The connection was instant: their two beating hearts sprouted wings with every flattering word, each pleasurable touch. Spirits soared wildly, free of the twisted wreckage of half-forgotten lovers.
Jack had much to learn about his new-found companion. She was an enigma, a cache of unexpected delights. He worked hard to behave just right on every date. He kept the conversation light–no religion, no politics. After sharing their innermost selves, they shared their flesh, wrapped up in each other’s pleasure. In the months that followed, they got to know each other well, inside and out.
Eventually, the relationship became serious. One night at the chic Stanford Restaurant, Shelly’s eyes met Jack’s. “Men have hurt me in the past.”
Jack swallowed a mouthful of steak and his eyebrows arched. “Oh?”
“I once caught an ex cheating on me. It made me feel so worthless.” Shelly’s eyes welled up as her shoulders curved forward.
Jack’s protectiveness was instinctive and immediate. “I would never do that to you.” He reached across the table, taking her hand.
“He really hurt me. I don’t ever want to go through that again.” Shelly wiped her eyes with a napkin and tried to smile. Her fingers trembled.
Jack was overwhelmed by the desire to hold her and keep her safe. “I’ll see to it that you don’t,” he said softly, squeezing her hand.
Shelly stared into his face for a few moments. “Are you sure?” Her tone bore more than a hint of accusation.
“You can trust me. I’m not like those other guys.”
Her demeanor softened. “Thank you,” she said, demurely picking up her fork and returning to her salad.
In that moment, Jack vowed to give her all the comfort and attention she would ever need. The decision made him feel good. It made him feel strong.
The Next Level
Ten months later, Shelly told Jack, “I think I’m falling in love with you.”
A buzzing noise slowly spiraled in his head. “Me, too,” he proudly declared. He kissed her warmly.
“I think we should take our relationship to the next level,” Shelly said.
Jack adored Shelly, so he readily agreed. “Sure! Why not?”
“We should be exclusive.”
Jack hesitated. “Exclusive…of course.”
“Jack, you could be the one for me. We could have what my parents and grandparents had.”
“Thank you.” He blushed.
And just like that, the trajectory of his life changed. Jack’s every move was now aligned with Shelly and her goals. A fresh and exciting future awaited them.
Monogamy: First Month
They celebrated their one-month anniversary at her favorite restaurant. Halfway through, Shelly asked, “Where do you think is the best place to raise children?”
With his fork frozen halfway between the plate and his mouth, Jack blinked. He had never considered kids and didn’t know what to say. Thinking about her question, Jack’s eyes mindlessly followed the denim-clad bottom of an attractive woman who walked through the door.
Shelly kicked him under the table. “Why are you looking at her?”
Jack flinched. He lowered his head and his stomach sank. “Don’t you ever look at other guys?” he asked quietly.
“Never!” she said, a wounded look in her eyes.
“No?” Jack didn’t believe her. He felt chastised and small. He never thought that merely looking at someone would cause any harm, especially to Shelly, the love of his life. He wanted to ask her why she felt like this, but he did not want to do so when she seemed so upset. He was on eggshells until they finished.
On the way home, he decided it was probably best to smooth things over rather than risk upsetting her again. He promised he would try not to ogle other women in future.
When they arrived back home, Shelly turned suddenly and asked, “Do you think she’s prettier than me?”
Jack felt like he was being scolded by his mother. His throat constricted and he rubbed the back of his neck. “Of course not.”
Shelly flared her nostrils. “This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed you checking out other women.”
“But sweetheart, that stuff doesn’t mean anything. I’m with you, aren’t I?”
“I’m watching you.” Shelly’s eyes narrowed to menacing slits.
“I’m sorry, baby. I won’t do it again.” He tried to kiss her.
She turned her face and brushed him away. “If you want me to stay with you, you’ll have to treat me right.”
Jack’s heart sank. “Okay,” he mumbled, fumbling with the key.
He opened the front door and skulked into the house. He headed straight for the bathroom, slamming the door shut and flipping the latch. He could hear her whining morosely in the hallway, “You promised you’d never hurt me.”
Monogamy: Fifth Month
As days and weeks passed, Jack floated through a dreamy wonderland of love and intimacy. Every morning, birds chirped and the coffee perked while the couple lay nestled in each other’s arms. Whenever they argued, make-up sex always brought him back into line with her views.
Then one Friday morning, Shelly asked, “Are you going out with the guys tonight?”
Jack was already halfway out the door. He paused midstride. “Of course. Just like every Friday.”
“When are you going to get tired of that?” she asked, suddenly annoyed.
“Umm…never? What do you mean?”
She put her hands on her hips. “I always thought you’d grow out of it.”
“Out of what? Having a blast?” Jack felt a rush of adrenaline course through his veins. “I’m twenty-two. It’s practically my job to have a good time.”
“Are other women there?” Her face looked pinched and strange.
Jack’s heart skipped a beat. “It’s a bar. Of course there are women there.”
Shelly pressed her lips into a line. “You know that makes me uncomfortable. Do you talk to them?” Her eyes were blazing.
Jack suppressed a groan. He shook his head and gulped. “Come on, baby. I don’t go there to meet women. I just like hanging out with the guys.”
She lifted her chin, indignant. “I don’t believe you.”
Jack’s skin began to crawl. He could feel a flush spreading across his face.
“Are you seeing someone else?” she asked, as she jabbed a finger near his face.
“No! Of course not. I love you, Shelly.”
She squared her shoulders and turned to him. They stood toe-to-toe. “Do you hit on other women?”
Jack’s stomach was doing somersaults. The others were all single and spoke openly about women. Sometimes he played along just to get a laugh, but that was all. He felt guilty, but he wasn’t sure why, since he hadn’t done anything wrong.
“Tonight you’re coming straight home after work.” Shelly folded her arms across her chest.
“What? But the guys—we’ve been doing this for years!”
“It’s either them or me,” she said. “The choice is yours.”
Jack felt as if he’d been kicked in the gut. “Leaving?”
“I’m your girlfriend. You should be spending all your time with me.”
Jack stood there. His mouth tasted bitter and his stomach coiled into a knot. He thought about the many wonderful Friday nights he had spent laughing and backslapping with his friends. His eyes lost some of their shine.
“You said you loved me!”
“I do.” Jack pulled himself to his full height. He sincerely wanted to see her happy.
“You do what?”
“I do love you,” he sighed, feeling frustrated.
Shelly shifted her weight and crossed her arms over her breasts. A smug smile played on her lips. “Well, then,” she said, “I’ll see you here right after work.”
Jack’s mind began to sift through a million memories at once. Could he go without her love, their intimacy? After a moment, his mind cleared. Lifting his head, he beamed. “I love you to death,” he said.
“Then from now on, you’ll spend Friday nights with me.”
“Of course, honey.”
Jack had surrendered. Those boys’ nights of drinking, cajoling and child-like foolishness were over. At work, some of his co-workers began to act a little frosty. He told himself it didn’t matter. He wanted to make Shelly happy, whatever the cost.
Monogamy: Eighth Month
Jack tried his best, but Shelly wasn’t satisfied. She kept telling him to treat her right. Perhaps they had different notions of what that meant, he thought. Jack Googled those words and found dozens of detailed items; all required one change or another on his part. He began to tremble.
Jack worked his way down the list, putting in extra time and effort. He lowered the toilet seat after each use, picked up after himself, puts his shoes away, stopped passing gas outside the bathroom, and remembered to take out the trash. He did anything he could think of.
Soon, though, Jack began to forget who he was. He became a virtual servant to Shelly and her needs. His soul became empty and dark as his identity faded. He drank a few beers each night because they dulled his inner thoughts. He returned to his favorite porn sites and masturbated a lot. It was the only excitement he had left in his life.
The door opened. Shelly came in and her eyes widened. “You’re watching porn,” she shrieked.
Jack almost jumped out of his skin. He hid his face and waited for her to leave.
“Is this love?” she shouted.
“Hey, Shelly. I’m only jacking off. What’s the big deal?”
His irate girlfriend paced the room like a bullfighter. She turned to him and said, “Give me your Facebook password.”
Jack’s muscles tensed. He eased his shorts back over his knees. “Can’t I have some privacy?” he complained.
“I thought we agreed that couples shouldn’t have secrets from each other.”
When Shelly reached for Jack’s smartphone, he nudged her hand away. He grabbed the handset and held it tight against his chest. Sweat appeared on his brow. He raised his chin and gave her a defiant gaze. “I don’t have to prove anything to you,” he said quietly.
“You’re a liar and a cheat,” she screamed in his face. “Give me your phone!”
Jack sighed. He was weary of her aggressive demands and groundless distrust. He tightened his grip. After giving in and changing so much since their relationship began, he needed one part of his life to be just his own. “Get away from me.” he asked, pleading.
Shelly’s eyes darkened as the back of her hand slammed his face. “Give it to me!” she shouted. The rage in her voice was palpable and frightening.
Terrified, Jack let go of the phone. It snapped back with her hand, bashing her in the mouth.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
Shelly touched her bloody lips. “You bastard,” she moaned. Tears streamed down her face. She dialed 911.
When the police arrived, Shelly’s injury was still visible, while the red mark on Jack’s face had already faded. After taking just minutes to hear his side, Jack was arrested, a domestic battery charge on his record. Shelly was sent to the emergency room, where she found comfort in the hands of hospital colleagues.
Lessons Learned by Jack Robinson
- He will not be responsible for a girlfriend’s past emotional injuries or allow her to hold him emotionally hostage.
- He will ensure that boundaries are immediately set if a girlfriend attempts to treat him disrespectfully, because potential sex is not worth actual humiliation.
- If a girlfriend is distrustful and suspicious about everything he does, he will break things off forever and eliminate the toxic relationship.
- He will not tolerate slapping and other violent acts by a girlfriend. He will contact authorities, leave her immediately, and never have physical or other relations with her again.
- He understands that the legal system is often biased against men and will be sure to keep evidence on hand if there might be any doubts about his innocence.
About the Author
Tim Patten is a retired software engineer and author of newly released MGTOW Building Wealth and Power. He also wrote WHY I CHEAT – 11 campfire stories for men’s ears only. Both books are a celebration of masculinity and pay homage to the modern men’s liberation movement.