Woman's List of Rules From Her Ex Sparks Debate Over Toxic Relationships

A woman has shared the list of rules she claims her now ex-boyfriend issued to her when she left for college, including not being within 25 feet of another man.

Carolyn uploaded a clip to her TikTok account, @ccarollynn, saying "I wish I was joking," as she went through each of the 11 commands, sparking a debate about toxic relationships.

She explained the list was given to her as she left to pursue her studies, although she didn't disclose where. "I thought it would be funny to do reading the rules my crazy, controlling ex-boyfriend sent me before I left for college," she said.

In the clip, shared on Tuesday, she shares a screenshot of the message, which shows her ex is listed in her phone as "mistake," while she initially texted back with "wtf."

Rules for Carolyn. Pay attention.

  1. Don't ignore me after you finish reading this.
  2. Never turn off your life360 find my iPhone or Snap location.
  3. Approve all outfits you wear past me and my mom.
  4. Do not come into contact with boys by 25 or more feet.
  5. Absolutely no drinking.
  6. No crop tops or tight clothing.
  7. Be in your dorm by 9pm every night and facetime me so I know you are alone.
  8. No frat parties, house parties, dorm parties etc.
  9. No wearing other boy's clothing.
  10. No comparing hand sizes with other boys, hugging kissing etc.
  11. Never take off the ring I gave you.

Addressing the first line, which sets the tone for the entire message, she says: "So for one he put 'pay attention' in all caps." And coming to the first point, as her ex demands she doesn't ignore him, Carolyn says: "You already know the outcome if you put that."

Coming to her wardrobe choices, she states: "I don't see what you or your mom have to do with what I wear, thanks." Referencing the absurd request she stay 25 feet away, Carolyn said: "I guess I just don't go to classes with boys or boy professors anymore, sorry dropping out."

She reckoned not going to any parties would equate to "no college experience," while she issued an apology to her brother for all his clothes she borrowed from him.

Her clip, which Newsweek saw, but is now unavailable to watch, amassed more than 3.4 million views. It was met with an outpouring of support and sparked a debate about toxic relationships.

In follow-up videos, she shared about the relationship revealing they dated for nine months in total, and "after three it got bad." Carolyn said the rules started off governing what she could and couldn't wear, and who she could and couldn't hang out with.

People shared their own similar experiences, with Heidi saying: "It happened the same way to me. The rules got so crazy that even if I followed all of them he'd try to find some way that I broke an unmade rule."

"I didn't know what he did was wrong until I wasn't with him anymore and I felt ashamed," Lily wrote.

Zee commented: "I didn't realize they did that with me until I ended it and looked back."

Vicky added: "I stand by you. Keep motivating these young women and boys. Control goes both ways."

In comments, Carolyn, believed to be from the U.S., clarified this man was an ex, rather than current boyfriend, and in follow-up videos, one of which can be seen here, Carolyn explained a little more about the background of their relationship.

The text spelled the end for them, as she said in a separate clip: "For me this is the point where I realized I didn't want to be in the relationship anymore. I made that very clear. I did notify his parents that I said that and that any responsibility would fall on them because I made them aware.

"And then I blocked him on absolutely everything. I do not stand for anybody to be mentally abused, physically abused, it is never ok. There are so, so many resources available. Please do not stay in a situation you do not want to be in, that should not be in. You all deserve so much better than that."

In another video, she shared more, saying: "This relationship started out with a little bit of rules, and then it did get extensively controlling. Unfortunately this is true for a lot of girls. Is that it starts out with a little and then they feel they have gained a lot more control over you. And it does get to be extensively controlling, toxic, abusive etcetera."

Ultimately, she urged anyone in a similar situation to seek help, saying: "I wasn't trying to glamorize anything, I know I was joking and laughing. I just want to say that that is considered abuse. It's considered emotionally controlling and emotionally abusive. And if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship or a domestic violence anything like that there are tons of help resources and hotlines that you can call.

"If you ever need help please get it."

Numerous people have praised Carolyn for sharing her story, with Alleycat saying: "Not laughing at the situation, laughing at the audacity."

"I cannot believe he thought that list would be taken seriously, like how much of a catch did he think he was," P asked.

Lee thought: "You handled this perfectly."

Hans commented: "Great response. I'm glad you were able to remove yourself from the abuse."

While Sweetbabylyss added: "Thank you for sharing. I'm sorry you went through that but I'm glad you shared the content, it made me laugh."

Carolyn declined to comment when approached by Newsweek.

File photo of a couple.
A file photo of a couple. A woman has shared the 11 rules her ex issued to her when she went to college. Yuliya Apanasenka/Getty Images