I was roughly 20 years old when I got into my first serious relationship. I had been severely depressed and desperate to find someone who would love me. In my mind, I was ugly, fat, and unlovable. I turned to the only thing I knew of at the time: Craigslist personal ads. That’s where I found him—let’s call him J.
J seemed great. We both agreed to bring a friend with us to our first meet-up so neither of us would feel uncomfortable. It was summer time, so we went swimming down by the river. Things went great.
After our first initial meeting things progressed rather quickly. Mind you, I was a virgin when I met him. I had every intention of saving that moment for someone special. A few times he pressured me and I resisted, but the next time I felt awkward and guilty, so I gave in. I should have run when I had the chance. After that, I went through all the actions of being in love. At times, I even thought I was.
*I must preface this next part by saying that I was never taught about rape in school. I was raised in a Christian environment where women were taught to obey their partner. I was not aware that non-consensual sex in a relationship was still rape.*
The first time he raped me I can recall so vividly. It started out as consensual sex, but then he wanted to have anal sex with me. I told him no, I wasn’t interested in that whatsoever. He said OK and kept on. Little by little he moved to that position even though I kept saying “stop,” “no,” and “you’re hurting me.” When it finally ended, I was crying, and I just locked myself in the shower until the water ran cold. I didn’t leave because he said he’d never do it again and he apologized profusely. I believed him.
Fast forward a few years and we’re standing in front of a judge at the courthouse. I’m shaking. Not because I’ve got butterflies, but because I’m having strong doubts about whether he is the one. However, my confidence was so low that I thought he was the only person I’d ever find in life, so I said, “I do.”
A few months later, we move in with friends half way across the country, away from my family. I’m miserable, homesick, and my own husband doesn’t want to have sex with me unless I pretend it’s a struggle. Again, I should’ve known.
I ended up meeting a nice guy living close to my new home town. He was sweet and he was definitely interested in me more than my own husband was. We met up, and yes, I ended up cheating on my husband.
Down the line, my husband found out about it. I didn’t want to be with him anymore. I had come to realize he was abusive, verbally, emotionally, and sexually (although I still hadn’t fully realized the third one yet). When he found out, I had the other guy pick me up. That’s when I made the decision to leave J. I told him I wanted to end it. It wasn’t worth fixing our marriage. He was no longer interested in me anyways.
That’s when he told me he wanted to force me to the couch and have sex with me for the first time in months. I said no, he did it anyways. I cried the whole time and he didn’t care.
That night I spent the night with the man I cheated on J with. This man would become my future son's father and eventually just another ex.
I’m now in the process of getting a divorce from J and in a happy relationship with a man who treats me and my son like miracles.
You can never forget, but you can recover, you can be happy, you are not alone, me too.