I Dated a Guy Who Talked Like a Baby
The evening was going well. Smoke floated slowly above my incense holder, infusing my living room with sandalwood and citrus. The amethyst lights draped around my bookshelf twinkled, illuminating the sofa with a soft purple glow. Music vibrated from the Echo Dot on my table, providing background noise for our lively conversation.
“Alexa, play The Way I Live by Baby Boy Da Prince.”
Not the most romantic song, but my date and I had the same taste in music. I discovered this while blasting my 90s playlist a few days earlier.
My date bobbed his head to the beat before smiling happily and saying, “I habbing so much fun. I wike you a lot.”
I froze. Did this 35-year-old guy seriously just speak to me in a baby voice? Baby talk has always been one of my pet peeves. Nothing grates on my nerves quite like mispronounced words spoken in a whiny, high-pitched voice.
“Run!” my brain screamed, but I silenced my thoughts. I was probably overreacting. My date was a nice guy, and we’d been having a blast getting to know each other for the last week. He had no way of knowing how much I despise baby talk.
We all have flaws and weird little quirks, right? Maybe I could look past this.
We were hugging goodbye when the baby talk started again. “You wook so pwetty,” my date said, pulling me closer to him. “Me not want to go home.”
I gagged inwardly and pulled away, faking a yawn. “Jared, I’m completely exhausted,” I replied, debating whether to tell him the truth about how his baby talk was a major turnoff for me. Honesty is extremely important, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. He seemed like a great guy, and it wasn’t his fault I hated his weird voice.
“You never sleep,” my date said, eyeing me suspiciously. “Did I do something wrong?”
I sighed, then launched into what I hoped was a polite explanation of how I couldn’t handle his whiny voice. “I’ve been having so much fun getting to know you lately, but the baby talk is a little much for me. You’re a great person. I’ve just never been a fan of baby talk.”
“I sowwy,” my date said, using his high-pitched baby voice for the apology.
I glared at him, and he shrugged. “I didn’t do that on purpose.” he explained. “I just use baby talk when I’m really happy or when I get nervous. I don’t even realize I’m doing it most of the time, but I can stop if you hate it.”
“Well, I’d never ask you to change yourself for me,” I said. “I just can’t stand baby talk, so it’s hard for me to deal with it. Everything else is fine, so I guess we’ll try to work through it.”
My date beamed. “Oh yay! Me so happy!” he said, clapping his hands together in excitement.
This was going to be harder than I thought.
The baby talk returned while we were cuddled up on the sofa a few days later. We were watching a movie, but the evening began with a Netflix and chill vibe. I can’t even remember what the flick was called.
My baby-talking beau kissed me slowly as the movie played, then asked if I wanted to go in my bedroom with him. I said no. Jared seemed okay with it and said, “We have more of an emotional connection anyway. I’m not worried about sex. I love talking to you.”
I told him that was sweet and agreed that he was a great conversationalist. Smiling, Jared gently moved my hair out of my face and whispered, “I fawwing in wub wit you. I wub you.”
Great. I couldn’t decide what made me more uncomfortable: baby talk, or a declaration of love from someone I barely knew. This was a mess, and I needed to fix it.
I took a deep breath and was about to share my “it’s not you, it’s me” speech when Jared started crying. “Don’t you love me too? Why does nobody ever love me back?”
I stared at him for a second, then said, “Jared, I think you’re a great person. I just don’t fall in love this quickly with people. We’ve only known each other a couple weeks, and we aren’t in an exclusive relationship. I’m not ready for this level of commitment.”
Jared ignored me and blurted out, “I have to tell you something! Something I’ve never told anyone. I want to tell you because I trust you and I love you and I’ve never felt this way about anyway else.”
I won’t share what he told me, but let’s just say it involved a series of traumatic events. How was I supposed to break things off with him now? I felt like a total jerk for even considering it. Instead of showing Jared the door at midnight, I ended up comforting him until 6 a.m.
A week later, Jared’s car broke down on the side of the road. He had a ride to work but was panicking about getting home, so I said I’d drive him.
“You’re a lifesaver,” he gushed as he climbed into my passenger seat. “I’m so blessed to have a wonderful woman like you in my life. You’re perfect. You’re my everything. You are so beautiful and kind and flawless.”
I was a little uncomfortable by his excessive praise, but I didn’t want to argue about it during the 30-minute ride back to his place. “I’m hardly perfect,” I responded, “But I’m happy to drive you home so you aren’t stuck at work.”
“You are perfect, baby. You are soooooo perfect. That’s why I wub you so much.”
Ugh. I cranked up my radio and tried to drown out the conversation. I had already told Jared multiple times that I wasn’t in love with him yet, but he didn’t seem to care. I had also tried explaining that his excessive compliments made me uncomfortable, yet he kept showering me with praise.
I blasted hits from the 90s and belted out my favorite tunes, secretly wishing the drive wasn’t so long. I was ready to drop off this guy and go home. Jared seemed to sense my impatience and asked if I could stop by the gas station so he could grab a few things.
We finally made it back to his house, and Jared asked if I wanted to come inside. I shook my head and said, “Nah, I just want to go home.”
“But I need you! Remember what I told you the other day? I’ve never told anyone else that. My ex wife didn’t even know. I’ve been thinking about the situation a lot, and I’m really depressed about it. I need to talk to you. Please don’t leave me alone,” he pleaded, his eyes filling with tears.
I felt bad for a moment, then realized Jared was only depressed about his childhood trauma when I didn’t do what he wanted. He was taking advantage of me, and I was letting him. This had to stop.
“Jared, I don’t think we’re good for each other. I’m going home.”
He looked at me in surprise as I began rolling up my car window, then knocked on the glass. “But I wub you!” he yelled loud enough for his neighbors to look our way.
I kept my window up and waved goodbye as I slowly backed out of the driveway. This situation was too much for me, and I was done. Jared, however, was not. My phone started dinging before I even made it down the street, but I didn’t stop to check my messages. I already knew they were from him.
Jared talked like a baby, but he manipulated me like an adult. I tried to be open-minded and deal with his quirks, but I couldn’t ignore his mind games any longer. We all have our limits.