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‘My Andrew Tate obsessed boyfriend bans make-up, dictates my clothes and insists on sex’

InLalalaletmeexplain's hit column, readers ask for her expert advice on their own love, sex and relationship problems.

With over 200k Instagram followers, Lala is the anonymous voice helping womankind through every bump in the road. An established sex, dating and relationship educator, she’s had her fair share of relationship drama and shares her wisdom on social media to a loyal army of followers. Every week thousands turn to her to answer their questions (no matter how embarrassing), and her funny, frank approach to love and relationships has made her the ultimate feel-good guru.

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Content warning: domestic abuse

Dear Lala,

I’m currently in a relationship of just over one year with my boyfriend. I’m 20, he’s 21. He's an Andrew Tate fan and has a very strict view of women and their “roles in the world”, and how men and women are different.

I’m starting to realise I’ve felt very uncomfortable with his views and I’m quite fearful of raising this with him as his response a lot of the time is to sulk or talk at me. He also has a problem when I disagree with Andrew Tate and basically insinuates that I'm supporting “sl*g like behaviour” and therefore must have had my "time around town".

I don’t want to be with a man who views women as lesser for doing the exact same thing as men. I’ve brought this up and he completely dismisses it by saying women hold the power in sex. He claims women don’t have to try and chase to have sex whereas men do, so in turn women who've had a lot of sex are deemed not credible because all they’ve had to do is be there. Whereas for men it’s looked at as credible because they've had to put work in and have "something about them" for women to want to allow them to have sex.

He has mentioned other views in the past that I’m now incredibly concerned with. Such as “women bear responsibility for what they wear on a night out if that leads to inappropriate behaviour from men, because we don’t live in an ideal world”. As a result, I’m not allowed to wear certain tops and certainly not without a bra. I wore a top once that can be worn with or without a bra and he flipped. He also has an incredibly screwed opinion on women wearing makeup. He argues that women don’t wear makeup for themselves to feel good – it’s to gain attention from men and to know that men’s eyes are on them. I can’t even wear fake tan unless I’m seeing him – otherwise he thinks I’m doing it for other men.

I also fear saying no to him when having sex. I’ve said no twice in our relationship (although I’ve wanted to do so a lot more times, but I can’t deal with the reaction I get from it. I end up forcing myself to enjoy it but really, I’m not in the mood). The two times that I’ve said no he’s sulked and gone silent with me, which makes me feel incredibly guilty and apologise constantly.

I’ve noticed these things for a long time. I've just felt like I can’t raise these issues because he’s a very strong-headed, stubborn character and a complete know-it-all. Because of how he is, I can’t get a word in and if I eventually do, I get shut down. He constantly says I don’t meet him halfway and I don’t act like we’re a team who could battle the problem together. But how can I be in a team with him when he's the problem and I disagree with him?

Lala says…

Leave him. Now. You're in an abusive relationship. He is controlling you. He controls the whole relationship, he controls what you can wear and how you present yourself, he controls the sex you have, he controls your conversations and your arguments. And it will only get worse. It always does. His behaviour is dangerous and alarming. Coercing you into sex through sulking or going silent essentially means that each time you give in he is raping you. ‘Consent’ under coercion is not consent. You have the right to say no to sex whenever you want, and you have nothing to apologise for. Your body is your own.

There's no hope of making someone like this change their ways without significant professional intervention, and you should not attempt to try. This is not something you can couple’s therapy your way out of, not that he would ever agree to going to therapy, but the issue here is nothing to do with your relationship and everything to do with him. He does not like, value or respect women, therefore, he will never be able to have a healthy relationship with one.

It’s wild that he berates you for supporting women who've had several sexual partners whilst he's supporting an alleged rapist and human trafficker who's currently putting millions of children at risk. His views on women are clearly misogynistic. Seriously think about it, what kind of person believes that sexually liberated women are lesser than alleged rapists and human traffickers and that victims bear responsibility for their own rape? A f**king dangerous one, that’s for certain.

This is gender-based violence. His need to control and dominate you arises from his belief that men are superior to women. The scary thing about Andrew Tate and other misogyny influencers is that they reinforce these archaic views that we’ve been fighting to be free from for years. They legitimise coercive control. The entrapment of women using strict gender role expectations to force us into submission.

He will soon begin telling you that you can’t go out with friends because women don’t need to go out unless they’re trying to attract men. If you lived together, he would expect you to take on all the domestic labour because that’s your job, even though I’m sure you have an actual job. Life will be hell if this continues. The path to domestic homicide sometimes doesn’t involve any prior physical violence, but it always begins with jealousy, manipulation, and control. Control is at the heart of all of this, control escalates.

Being controlled is psychologically harmful and is equally as abusive as physical violence. You should feel safe with your partner, not fearful, your fear is enabling the control. It is important for you to know that you don’t deserve it, none of it is your fault, and you didn’t do anything to make him behave in this way. This is him.

Escaping an abusive relationship can be difficult and dangerous, so I would urge you to contactRefuge to help you to plan the best way to end it when you are ready. But this man hates women, and it is not safe to date people who hate you, so don’t hang around hoping for change.

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