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Man runs into former middle school bully, she asks him out. UPDATED

Man runs into former middle school bully, she asks him out. UPDATED


Childhood trauma can really follow you.

In this case, literally. Seeing someone who tormented you in your youth as an adult can instantly transport you back to being that scared kid. One man was confronted by his middle school bully and was very surprised by what she wanted.

I (27M) met a girl (27F) who used to bully me when we were little. Now she is asking me out and I don't know what to do.


I (27M) was heavily bullied since the beginning of kindergarten until the end of middle school, when I transferred in a different town.

My classroom had 15 children, me excluded. Out of these 15, 7 of them used to bully me constantly and the other 8 simply ignored what was happening.

Out of the 7 bullies, 4 did some particularly heavy sh*t (I will call them the B team. You can guess what B stands for), while the other 3 did some random lighter things ( throwing paper scraps at me, stealing pencils and things like that. I will call them the C team) or acted as 'followers' for the B team.

What the B team did to me scarred me for life and I had to go to therapy to deal with it. If I met them today, I would make them pay for everything they did to me.

My hatred for the C team is not nearly as big but it's still vivid. Until last year I couldn't bring myself to forgive anybody in that classroom (both teachers and students) for doing nothing to help me when the B team was tormenting me.

Last year, though, my hatred started to fade following some serious events in my life. ( sorry, I won't share what events)

When I transferred, I swore to myself I would never go back to that town or talk to any of them ever again.

Despite that, my past has found ways to follow me: I work in a pub (not sure if this is the right term in English) part time twice a week and around 6 months ago I met Nina (27F) there by chance.

Nina was one of the 3 bullies of the C team and, while I have forgiven them now, it doesn't mean I want to have anything to do with her, so I tried to stay professional and act as if nothing was wrong.

Anyway, physically she hasn't changed much: I mean, she has grown up since middle school, obviously, but I could still recognize her ( I'm not sure if I made myself clear.).

The same cannot be said for me probably: in middle school I was fat, white like snow and I had light brown hair, while now I'm fit, my skin is a bit better and my hair has darkened in the last few years. When some of my friends look at my old photos, they struggle to recognize me.

We didn't talk for long as I was working and she initially didn't recognize me but when one of my colleagues called me to ask me something, she connected the dots ( I have a particular name that is rare in our country, as it's really old fashioned and nobody use it anymore. Imagine, I don't know, being called Aristotle today).

Once she recognized me, her demeanor changed drastically and she got out pretty soon.

She came back a couple of times in the following months and she was quite shy toward me whenever we interacted.

A few weeks ago she got mildly drunk and she started sobbing and ranting about what a crappy person she was in the past and how her life is sh*t.

It was the classic drunken rambling and I didn't pay it much attention, I simply stopped serving her alcohol and gave her some water but at some point she grabbed my hand while I was taking away one of the empty glasses and she apologized.

I have to say it felt weirdly good. She didn't come back in the following weeks but few days ago she texted me on social media, apologizing profusely for whatever she did while drunk and then she suddenly asked me out.

At the time, I was evidently too stupid or tired to understand clues and didn't understand it was meant as a date. She asked me out for a coffee and I thought she simply wanted to apologize in person or talk about the past in a more sober state. I realized my mistake yesterday, when I talked about it with a friend.

Now I'm torn on what I should do. On one side, what Nina did in the past has conditioned me greatly and I can't simply forget about it. On the other, she really looks apologetic and she seems to have changed. It's been 15 years and maybe I should give her a chance.

TLDR: I met one of my old bullies by chance. She seems apologetic and she asked me out, what should I do?

Here is the advice readers had for the OP:


I would go for the coffee. At the minimum, you'll each have the opportunity to reconcile some of the past that shaped each of you. Kudos to you for healing!! Im so proud of you. Perhaps she could use a little grace on this one?

You could help her heal herself and that in itself will be even more empowering for you. Nothing to lose here, everything to gain! Go for it and stay strong!


Resentment is a poison that only damages the container it’s held in.


My advice is to not go out with her. In the last year, with the help of therapy, it sounds like you were able to find peace (of sorts) with what happened. Dating her is going to bring up a lot of stuff from the past that you've put much time and effort into being at peace with. It seems like inviting an unnecessary drama into your life. Sometimes, the past should stay the past.


Why not? You made your peace with the past. You’ve got nothing to lose. Even if nothing comes out of it, maybe at the very least she can live with herself and move forward. Now you don’t owe her that of course or anything for that matter. Just a thought.


Don’t. There’s literally millions of women in the world and you should check each of them out before you date your bully; A, B, or C bully! Heck, even if you are hetero you should consider most of the millions of men too before even going on one date with your former bully. Your mental health does not deserve that bs.


“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” You are under no obligation to go out with this woman but man, I can't imagine holding onto my trauma from middle school.

Two weeks later, the OP returned with an update.

UPDATE: I (27M) met a girl (27F) who used to bully me when we were little. Now she is asking me out and I don't know what to do.


I (27M) wasn't sure about doing an update post but I thought it would be fair to update you on how the situation evolved.

I decided to meet Nina (27F) for that coffee. It was awkward but it wasn't that bad. She apologized profusely about the past. I thought her apologies would make me feel good but to be honest, I was wrong.

The truth is that I still think badly of the Nina who bullied me in middle school but I couldn't see that Nina in the current Nina ( I don't know if what I'm trying to say makes sense or if my brain finally decided to give up on me.). Her voice, her demeanor, everything except for her face is completely different.

I told her exactly how what she and the other bullies did affected me and then I decided to forgive her... more or less.

I decided to start over as strangers and told her as much. I told her that while I couldn't forget what she did in the past, I don't know the current Nina. It's been 14 years since the those times, more than half of our lives passed since then and I firmly believe people can change ( I did.)

So, if she wanted to try and get to know the current me, we could act as if that was the first time we met and move on from then. I don't know if this decision shows my maturity or my stupidity, I guess the future will tell.

I admit what she did next made my giggle a bit ( I think she took it from a film but I don't remember which one.). She stood up and got out of the coffee shop, then came back in, sat down and introduced herself. We chatted for a bit and it was ok.

I want to thank the people who gave me advice in the previous post.

TLDR : I decided to forgive her and we decided to start over as strangers and see what happens.

Here is what people following the story advised:


Sounds like great plan. You are right that a long time has passed and it is important to start fresh. I hope you eventually update us again on how things progress.


Happy for you man. I've had a similar experience from a girl bully in kindergarten and we met again when we were 20. Although the dating aspect didn't work out in the end for us, I'm happy I got a closure and apologies from her and we became cool friends. Good luck to you!


Man what a doormat.


It takes a lot of strength to find the willingness to forgive. It seems she does deeply regret her past behavior and wants to make amends. Plus she’s into you. So like you said just see where it goes.


You can give her a chance but if those old tendencies rear their head then end it quickly.


Be careful op. Bullies very rarely end up turning over a new leaf and sticking to it regardless of how long it may have been since they did the bullying and it’s actually not uncommon for them to find ways to remain in their victims lives simply because their brain craves that feeling of having some form of power over the person they know is afraid of them.

For all you know, “current” Nina will turn out to be no different to the Nina that you remember once she thinks you’re under the impression that she’s no longer a threat and that she can start pushing boundaries. Either way, I wouldn’t go further than just friends even if you are somehow certain she won’t slip back into her old ways.

Do you think he made a mistake or a breakthrough my letting this woman back into his life? Have you ever run into a former bully as an adult? Were you able to resolve things, or maybe even get some revenge?

Sources: Reddit
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