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Guy ‘tormented’ by bully as a kid asked out by her years later; wants advice. UPDATED

Guy ‘tormented’ by bully as a kid asked out by her years later; wants advice. UPDATED


What's the opposite of a meet cute? A meet ugly? On the internet, stories abound of each — and this one's somewhat of a mixture. About a week ago, a man posted about a chance encounter with a former bully. He wrote:

"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 s**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 more pink and my hair have 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 much 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.

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 s**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. She seems apologetic and she asked me out, what should I do?

Comments were mixed, but generally supportive of the date.

TrailLemec wrote:

She clearly feels remorseful about things she did as a child. She might have felt peer pressured to mess with you and didn’t really want to. Your call, obviously, but I’d go hear her out and see where things go.

People can change and she could be a great person now and a good romantic fit or even new friend. And working through this with her might help ease some of the trauma from the past.

Tmchd wrote:

If you go, tell her that the bullying has affected you greatly and you still felt triggered by her and her 'cronies,' the other bullies. It's been 15 years but you couldn't forget it because those are BAD memories of childhood. See what she says to that.

If she actually apologize to you over the bullying sincerely, maybe there is a chance to reconnect as a friend (not jump into lover/bf-gf category). Maybe.

But again, you're not obligated to 'get over' it on her term, it's your painful history. You're not obligated to date her even if she's remorseful and apologizing later. Good luck, the choice to go or not is truly yours.

Jayhedron wrote:

She expressed interest in you, you are clearly somewhat interested in her.

So go on a date with her. Over the course of that date, talk about the past, how it hurt you and how she specifically hurt you (if there are cases that you can remember). See how she responds, see how you respond (aka how you feel after talking to her directly about it), and then go from there.

Clearly, the comments did enough to assuage any doubts. Because soon enough, we got the following update:

I (27M) wasn't sure about doing an update post but quite a few of you gave me some good advice (and some didn't but I want to focus on the good ones) so I thought it would be fair to update you on how the situation evolved.

After reading your advice, 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 show 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 what to thank all the people who gave me advices in the comment section of the previous post. TL;DR : I decided to forgive her and we decided to start over as strangers and see what happen.


Sources: Reddit
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