||For a very long time, I thought that I was being histrionic. I thought that I was making a mountain out of a molehill. And yet, all of the lingering stains from what happened to me kept interfering with my life. I realized that I needed to address what happened to me. It was confusing for me because there was no physical abuse, there were no instances where I yelled "no", there were only times that made me cry. Broken trust. Tarnished confidence. And lingering issues that just got worse and never got better.
I started dating S when I was 16. I had just moved to a new city, so I didn't have any friends really. I knew a guy over the internet in the same city as I that I had met a few times. His best friend was S. Well, I guess that S really liked me because he asked me out and I accepted. We hit it off pretty well in the beginning. By the time it was said and done, we dated for 2 and ½ years.
Things started off just fine. I have no regrets about that part of the relationship, just that I should have gotten out when I realized the direction things were going in. But it was a while before even that realization came over me. Looking back I see the signs. He was very controlling. He started off by saying things like the type of music I liked was "stupid" and so I felt obligated to listen to stuff he liked. I've always had the tendency to try to make people around me feel comfortable, even to the detriment of myself. Then it was certain things that I liked to wear or do. By the end of the relationship I couldn't even change the radio station to something I wanted to listen to, or wear fingernail polish. I was his perfect little piece of clay. I was miserable. I didn't have any friends except for him, and when I did try to hang out with someone he would get insanely jealous. I would be so uncomfortable about his discontent that I never hung out with them again. Once when I had a girl from school over, he insisted that he be there and absolutely hung on my shoulder the whole time telling her how we were one person. It was very uncomfortable to say the least.
He had a very high sex drive, which didn't bother me, except looking back on it the majority of the things we did together involved us looking for places to park so we could make out or have sex, or go to my parents' house because they didn't have a problem with boyfriends staying the night or being in my room with the door closed. It was a daily ritual, I would pick him up, we would drive around for (sometimes) hours to find a place to go have sex, then usually end up at my parents' house to do the deed. But I never felt particularly sexual. It was something I wasn't opposed to, but I didn't want it either.
I went to college after we had been together for 1Â½ years. By then things were bad. I was completely under his thumb and had stopped enjoying (as much as I ever had enjoyed it) having sex with him. I never said no, but was never excited to be doing anything. So there was a long period of time - maybe a year in the middle of the relationship - that we were having sex every day but I had absolutely no emotional connection in it at all and I never had any say in it. It wasn't acceptable for me to say I didn't want to. I don't think it even crossed my mind that it was an option to say to him. When I went to college things got a lot worse. He was a year younger in school, so I was leaving him behind. He used to call my roommate and harass her if I wasn't there, then would yell at me over the phone telling me it wasn't "decent" for me to be going out at night. I went home every single weekend to see him. So I never made any close friends at college.
Things went downhill very quickly from there on out. I remember incidents in which he would be having sex with me (dare I call it rape?) and I would be crying during sex because I so didn't want to be doing it. And he never noticed at all. When we got into an argument - which was often at this point - he would throw all of the things that I had given him (love letters, gifts, memorabilia) into the street for cars to run over, or he would break up with me and I would come crawling back to him. He just stomped all over me, and I couldn't bear to be away from him even though it was torture.
At this point he started shoving me around. He never hit me, but he would threaten to beat me up. That was when serious red flags went up. I grew up in a very loving household with both of my parents there, and so I wasn't falling into any pattern by being with this abusive person (which is how I think I had the strength to get out eventually). But those scars of any kind of physical-type or verbal abuse have long since faded away and the sexual abuse is what has lingered.
I remember once we were being sexual and he couldn't get it up. Our relationship was terrible at this point, which I think was the reason. He was VERY angry about it and so reluctantly we stopped and I drove him home. When we got there we sat in the driveway and he pushed me into the back of the car and proceeded to rip my clothes off and pull my pants down. I did fight back this one time. I just couldn't believe he was trying to do that to me.Â Before he succeeded I was able to push him off. But he wasn't remorseful at all. He just went inside and I sat in the driveway and cried. It was just anger because he wasn't able to get it up earlier. He had to show himself he was a man somehow. It really scared me - both that he had really tried to rape me and also that he didn't feel any remorse for it.
But other times I have so etched in my memory. Times where he would sneak me into his house (his mom had it out for me and I wasn't allowed inside) and force me to have sex there in his house when he knew I didn't want to. I cried. I displaced my emotions. I dug my fingernails into my skin until welts appeared that didn't go away for many days. Times when we were at his friend's houses and he would bring me down to their basements and force me to have a quicky with him. And the one time his mother did allow me to stay the night in the living room on the pull-out couch and he came in half way through the night and forced me to have sex with him with his mother right down the hallway. I remember feeling so overwhelmingly helpless and angry at him and at me for "not stopping him" but then stopping him would have made him angry. I had scabs from my fingernails that time.
I knew I needed to get out of the situation, and broke it off over the phone after months of being raped and humiliated. Months of him telling me he would beat me up, years of him controlling me to the point that I had no personality of my own anymore. He was so devastated he threatened to kill himself, but I didn't back down. I knew I couldn't stay in that relationship. It was killing me.
So fast forward ½ a year and I fall for this really great guy. I'm not kidding, he really was great in so many important ways. The problem became this: in the beginning of the relationship I was fine sexually, but as we got into it a couple years (right around 1 year is where I saw it starting) I wasn't able to have sex anymore. I was absolutely terrified and froze up every time he would try to touch me or be intimate. I felt fear come up from my gut every time it was attempted. I really wanted to have this sexual relationship with him, but I was so paralyzed with anxiety that I never enjoyed it. So we had sex less and less and he was more and more frustrated. And so at night he started touching me. I mean really sexually touching me. Putting his fingers inside my butt and fondling me "down there" and on my breasts too. When I was sleeping. He wouldn't even remember that it had happened the next day, but afterwards there was no way I was able to be sexual with him. I had that black fear and gross-ness crawling all throughout my body every time we attempted to be sexual. And I blamed myself for not being sexual with him. Because when we were able to be sexual a few times, the night touching stopped. I really convinced myself somewhere along the way that what he did to me wasn't a problem, that the problem was just coming from me. But I know deep down that he sexually abused me too, and I know that was a big reason for my inability to be sexual with him on a regular basis. That kind of thing doesn't just go away.
For a while I went to counseling, and things did get better with my ex, but we never were able to get to the point of us being compatible in our sexual lives. I feel like I've gotten past a lot of my past, but it's always there. It haunts me. It scares me. Maybe I'll never be able to have a healthy sexual relationship. Maybe after I get a year into a relationship I'll turn off sexually again. Maybe I just think I've gotten past some of this, but it's just lurking under the surface waiting to come out again when I'm sexual with someone. I don't know.
I know I'm trying to be strong. Eight years is how long its been since I left the initial guy, and I'm just now starting to get over the abuse. I used to be scared to death that I would run into him and would think that I saw him around every corner. That has stopped, but the scars remain. I carry them with me, and realize that I'm a stronger person now. I can make it through anything if I can make it through this. I know I'm half way there...Maybe I am a strong person after all.