Society definitely teaches men some really cruel and unrealistic things about women. It ends up warping their attitudes and later affects the relationships they develop (or try to develop, in other cases). Men are also taught that women are crappy communicators, or simply don't communicate at all. Perhaps that contributes to men's behavior around women, which can come off the wrong way. It can seem entitled at best, frightening or violent at worst.

After Redditor rocketbot99 asked the online community, "Men who used to be creepy around women and stopped, what made you change your ways?" men shared their stories.


"Once I got sober..."

It took me recognizing I was addicted to alcohol, tobacco, pornography, and sex. I had been aggressive toward women and objectifying them since I was a child. I think this happened because I was exposed to sex at such a young age. I thought all relationships were supposed to be how movies and shows were so I just emulated what I saw.

Once I got sober I realized how much of a monster I was and took the necessary steps to really implement change in my life. Lots of therapy. Lots of crying. Self-reflection as to why I was emulating that specific behavior, and quitting my addictions. It's been a journey, but I'm happy to say I've been in a loving committed relationship with proper boundaries for a year now.

Ghetto_Pinnochio

"Talking to women..."

Talking to women, becoming friends with women, changing my circle of friends, growing up, learning empathy, and the final nail in the coffin was sobriety.

ruberusmaximus

Yes...

...it can be as simple as that.

And to those of you out there tackling your issues and facing the long road of sobriety: You're rockstars.

Let's continue.

"That was decades ago..."

Growing self-awareness that I wasn't the centre of the goddamn universe.

Went through a chasing-potential-girlfriends-too-hard phase in my earlier adult years, including mistaking simple offers of friendship and work colleague status for actual interest. It wasn't "stalking" level and it never reached the point of discipline (or even commenting), but it was probably to the point of being a little unprofessional and uncomfortable for the girl involved.

That was decades ago and I'm now with a company that doesn't tolerate that sort of thing.

theoriginalretro

"I would always get really close..."

In middle school, I was a mid-puberty, horniness-stricken, little perv. I didn't do a good job of concealing it either, I would always get really close to my one friend because I liked her at the time, and looking back it was so wrong to do.

It took me looking at what they were thinking and how my behavior affected them to really stop being creepy. Hindsight helps a lot as well.

userone1

What's that saying?

Hindsight is 20/20? You bet.

Let's continue.

"This sounds weird to me now..."

I'm guilty of this, though naively and innocently so.

This sounds weird to me now, but I actually grew up in a household that valued back, neck. and shoulder rubs.

I did this for a long, long time to people I was friends with, men and women. In my head, it was just a way of saying I cared.

In retrospect, it undoubtedly gave of a super-creepy vibe.

I stopped once I saw it in context of someone else doing it to a woman, and her facial reaction to it. Then it just clicked. "Oh...OHHHHHhhh...wow, that's inappropriate..."

virgilreality

"They aren't laughing..."

They aren't laughing because I'm funny, they're laughing because they're scared.

kirixen

"Then I got married..."

When I was in my late teens and early 20s I was constantly "chasing girls" as the expression goes. Nobody ever seemed to take offence to it, that kind of behaviour seemed expected. Plus, I always seemed to be able to find someone who was interested in hooking up.

Then I got married so obviously I stopped. I found myself single again 10years later and quickly reverted to my old ways. It wasn't long before I realized that things that I could get away with at 21 no longer worked at 32. In fact, based on the reactions of a couple of women, I realized I was being creepy. Of course, the women I was pursuing were also older too.

I realized I had to take a more mature approach. Things went much better after that, but I still cringe to think of some of my early attempts to get back in the game.

WYMYZR

"When I broke up with..."

When I broke up with my first serious girlfriend, I was totally heartbroken.

I called her all the time, cried on the phone. I even threatened to kill myself and told her so. This went on for some time.

Eventually, I threatened again to kill myself and went to bed drunk. I woke up to a voicemail from her crying her eyes out begging me not to do it.

I was so ashamed about my behavior. I realized in that message what I had become. It was absolutely her right, as it was mine, to end a relationship at any time for any reason, without being hounded and traumatized by the ex. I was evil and toxic.

I apologized and promised never to do it again. After that, I left her alone. I was still heartbroken, but I found comfort in my friends, and in activities and hobbies instead. I had several failed relationships after her, but I never again treated a woman this way. This was over fifteen years ago and now I am married. I have been tempted many times to contact her and apologize some more for my behavior, but the truth is, she is better off without me in her life. I hope she is well.

Fire_TheTorpedo2011

"I realized..."

I realized that I wasn't a knight in shining armor, and they weren't princesses to be adored and saved.

Rather than trying to ingratiate myself with them, I just started casual conversations. If they gave curt responses and standoffish body language, I politely exited the conversation and moved on.

By caring less, I succeeded more.

DancinginAshes

"That single event..."

Maturity finally caught up with me.

I had one particularly bad experience with a girl "A" who I think was genuinely interested in me at one point, but I was super awkward and didn't have a clue how to act right, so I never really made a move beyond sad attempts at flirting, and so I think she eventually just thought I was a weirdo who wouldn't leave her alone.

Then one day we were both in a big group of people just talking and a mutual friend completely out of the blue suggested that A should ask me out, and what followed was possibly the single most uncomfortable moment of my entire life to date. "A" pretty much turned white and she was out of there. I'm sure she believed that I had put our mutual friend up to it. I had not. If anything I was just as horrified.

That single event shattered my self-confidence so completely that I spent the next year and a half actively avoiding any kind of conversation or interaction with girls, because I had concluded that I must be a Creep and therefore the right thing to do was to protect girls from my Creepiness by isolating myself.

Eventually, I kind of figured myself out and by my early 20s I was still awkward as hell but I managed to have a couple of relationships and plenty of platonic female friendships.

Granxious

We certainly appreciate all of these candid replies.

Self-reflection is not easy. Self-reflection is difficult and uncomfortable. It's supposed to be. We're happy to see more men out there owning up to their behaviors. It's a relief. Attitudes now are not even the same attitudes of 10 or 20 years ago. The more men come to terms with the reality of how their behavior can and does affect women, the better off we'll be as a society.

Have some stories of your own to share? Feel free to sound off in the comments below.

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CW: Suicide

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