Michael was home from college for the holidays when he met Taylor. Michael hadn’t had a lot of dating experience, but he knew he wanted a relationship.
After trying out some of the common dating sites like Bumble and Tinder and nothing panned out, he came across a channel on the social platform Discord. The channel was focused on one of his favorite video games, and he thought it would be great to meet someone with that common interest.
Michael met Taylor in the group, and they quickly made their relationship official. While they never met in person, things felt right and good for a while. They spent a lot of time together online through Discord, texting, and phone calls.
Somewhere along the way, though, Michael started to feel he and Taylor were too connected—spending too much time together.
And while it was great that he and Taylor could easily access each other with the help of technology, it was that very same technology that Taylor used to abuse Michael.
Taylor became unreasonable, expecting constant contact and discouraged Michael from connecting with family.
Michael saw other issues in his relationship, too. It seemed like he was always to blame for all of their problems. And Taylor became increasingly controlling in frightening ways, threatening self-harm and even suicide if he didn’t do what she said.
Michael realized his relationship was unhealthy, but he credits his parents with helping him find the courage to break things off. When they witnessed some his communications with Taylor, they recognized the abuse he was enduring. They talked to him about it and it helped him decide what to do.
Unfortunately, when Michael blocked Taylor on Discord, Taylor created new profiles and kept reaching out. When Michael blocked her number, she called from a different one. In time, Taylor stopped trying to contact Michael.
Michael shared that Discord allows users to create multiple profiles and blocks are not universal, so if you block an abusive person’s main profile, not all of their profiles or future profiles are automatically blocked, too. He thinks that if there’s one thing social platforms could do to help decrease digital abuse, it would be to make blocks universal and enforce it.
*Names have been changed for privacy*