Christian Grey is often regarded as the modern-day Mr. Darcy: He's incredibly wealthy, brooding, a man of few words, and really attractive. And while we don't argue any of those points — he's super hot, we get it — his behavior toward Anastasia Steele is far from romantic.
He stalked her.
Remember when Christian just showed up unannounced to Anastasia's job at the hardware store? What about when he found her at the club during her graduation party? What about knowing where she lives even though she literally never told him? There's nothing cute about appearing at someone's workplace, social gathering, or home without the other person specifically permitting you to (which she never did.)
Stalking, which Christian eventually admitted to doing, is classic abusive behavior. Showing up unannounced at workplaces, expressing a constant need for communication, and sending unwarranted gifts (Anastasia never asked for nor expressed a need for a laptop, a cell phone, or a car, but Christian still gave them to her) are all forms of stalking, according to Love is Respect.
He tool her back to his place after she was too drunk to give consent.
After Christian picked Ana up from her graduation party (which she never asked him to show up to, btw), he took her back to his home despite her being too drunk to consent. She then woke up, unsure if she had any sexual interaction with him. Even though he clarified that nothing happened, he still copped to undressing her ("I didn't have much choice," he insisted) and sleeping next to her.
There is NOTHING romantic about this. He took her home, got her naked, and slept next to her, despite her virtually never consenting to any of those things because she was too drunk to do so.
He tried to control her eating.
Not only does Christian's contract try to dictate how Anastasia should eat ("no snacking between meals, with the exception of fruit"), he provides her with an actual food list. Not only that, but he threatened her with actual physical violence if she didn't eat:
"So help me God, Anastasia, if you don't eat, I will take you across my knee here in this restaurant and it will have nothing to do with my sexual gratification," Christian told her in "Fifty Shades Darker."
What a stand-up guy.
Christian isolated her.
Prior to handing over any contracts, Christian asked Anastasia to sign a non-disclosure agreement which forbade her from telling any of her friends and family about what transpires in their relationship.
Asking a partner to keep things from people they're close with is classic abuse. According to Break the Cycle, abusers try to isolate their partner by cutting them off from family and friends as a means of control within the relationship. That isn't romantic, charming, or "their way of showing they care" — it's messed up.
Christian was a possessive creep.
Hey, guys, guess what? Constantly telling your partner, "you're mine," isn't sexy! Also, having rough sex with your partner because you want them to remember that "you've been there" is fucked up! Yet Christian does both and then some.
Christian needing constant affirmation that Ana "belonged" to him is an example of his ultra-possessive tendencies. Heads up, Christian: Anastasia is her own woman, and no amount of "hard fucking" is going to change that.
He's EXTREMELY jealous.
Remember when Christian got pissed off when Ana took a call from her friend Jose? Or when he bought every single photograph of her just because he didn't want other people looking at her face? HOW IS THAT OK?!
He also forbade her to have any autonomy over baring her body.
While on their honeymoon in "Fifty Shades Freed," Anastasia had the audacity to sunbathe topless. Surprise, surprise, this rubbed Christian the wrong way, and he covered her body with hickies to remind others that her body belongs to him, and to him only.
A partner making decisions for you and for your body isn't cute, it's abusive. What you wear or don't is up to you, and no one — husband or otherwise — is allowed to have any say, or punish you when you don't follow his whims.
Christian's reaction to Anastasia's pregnancy is far from doting and loving.
When Anastasia revealed to Christian that she got pregnant, his first reaction was confusion (which makes zero sense, considering the two are married and having sex approximately every other minute) which then turned to anger. He literally banged his fists on the table, nearly flipped over a chair, and called her stupid.
FYI, banging your fists and yelling is an intimidation tactic abusers use to exercise control over a situation, a relationship, and over their partner.
He gives her approximately zero space.
After Christian sends Ana the contract, she rightfully said she needs time and space to think about it. So what does Christian do? He constantly messaged and emailed her, asking her about it. Later in the book, when Ana went off to visit her family, he literally followed her there.
Also, remember when Anastasia got what she described as a dream job, and then Christian literally bought the entire company? Yes, it's possessive, but it's also an indicator that he doesn't allow her to have any time to herself, and how all her actions must somehow, even indirectly, involve him.
He constantly threatened physical violence.
Hardly a chapter went by in any of the "50 Shades" books without Christian threatening Anastasia that he will bend her over his knee if she either rolls her eyes at him, refuses to eat, or doesn't follow his very exact instructions.
This isn't sexy or flirty. It's controlling, it's manipulative, and his threats take place both before and after she agrees to sign a contract as his Submissive.
In short, Christian Grey's behavior is far from romantic.
Multiple studies have linked his behavior to those of someone abusing their partner. His love of physically, emotionally, and mentally controlling Anastasia has nothing to do with BDSM. What the "50 Shades" trilogy has done is glamorize a relationship rife with abuse, rather than paint an accurate depiction of BDSM.
Sorry, Christian, but you're far from our #MCM, Thirstday, or any other type of crush.