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I Find Myself…

I was fifteen, and I thought I had met the love of my life.

Of course, when you’re fifteen, everything is the end-all, be-all of your life. You think that the day you fail your history exam is the worst day of your life; that your first job will kick-start your career as a successful businessperson; and the boy sitting at the outdoor table by the bus ramp with a cute smile and big arms is your future husband. At fifteen years old, I was sure I would love no one else but him for as long as I lived.

Because I was not raised a Christian, abstinence to me was always more of a personal preference than a spiritual promise. At fifteen I was not ready to have sex. I’d had only two boyfriends before, and only one of them ever got close enough to kiss me.

And then it all changed.

He was 6’3″, Hispanic, and had no plans for the rest of his life. He had a beautiful smile, was the ultimate smooth talker, and he loved to hold my hand. In short, I was doomed to fall for this guy. I met him at lunch one day; he offered me his seat. I guess that was the first time I ever liked a guy at first sight. Four days later he asked me out. Within two months of dating, I knew I loved him.

He was not a virgin, while I was as virgin as it got. I told myself I was okay with that, but honestly, it kind of bothered me. It made me feel like I had some sort of unknown standard to live up to. Within three months of dating, sex naturally came up as a topic of discussion. It made sense, of course; I was a girl, he was a boy, and we were in high school.

Still, I was really not ready to have sex.

We had been dating about six months when he started to complain about not having sex. I made it very clear to him I wasn’t ready. He’d tell me he understood, and that would end the conversation for the day. By the second or third time we’d argued about it, he told me he was tired of doing it for himself.  He wanted his girlfriend, the woman he loved to make love to him.

It made me feel guilty.

When we had been dating about seven months, he sent me a text message saying that I was the best thing in his life and if I left him, he’d probably kill himself. I was in class when I got the text and had to ask to be excused so I could figure out what was going on.

That was the last time he mentioned it, but it stayed on my mind always.

By nine months, I would catch his hand traveling a little too far for my comfort and I’d stop him. One night, after the homecoming dance, he asked me to take off my dress, but swore he wasn’t trying to sleep with me.

Later, his family moved and he had to change schools. I promised him we’d find a way to see each other. I’d visit him at his new home every weekend. We would lay on the couch and he would hold me all day. Our relationship was more innocent than it had ever been.

For a while, we were just content to spend time together. For our first anniversary, he took me to a nice dinner and asked me to prom. We had a relationship based on honesty, and I told him he was the one I wanted to marry.

After that, he began to bring up sex in conversation again.

We would argue about it, and then not talk for days. But no matter how I fought or said no, I could feel my defenses slipping. He knew what to say to make me feel like maybe I was wrong:

“But you love me, and I love you, and I want to show you that.”

“It wouldn’t be a terrible thing, it would be you and me becoming one.”

“It’s meant for two people who love each other. You do love me right?”

We would argue and then he would stop speaking to me. He would start to say something about sex and then stop, making me feel like he felt he couldn’t talk to me about it. I thought I was losing him.

Finally, I compromised: we would do it on prom night. Not long after saying that, his hands began to wander again. When I’d stop him, we’d fight and he’d pull away from me.

I fought with myself on a daily basis, telling myself that if I didn’t do it, he’d leave me. I thought I couldn’t live without him. And so one day, I didn’t say no. He convinced me that I’d enjoy it, so I gave him my virginity.

That night, I cried myself to sleep. I wasn’t ready, and it sucked. He said he felt closer to me, and I said the same. But I never told him how I really felt. He started to ask more often, even demanding it once. I’d give some lame excuse, he’d see right through it, and I’d sleep with him. This happened for another six months.

Just before our second anniversary, he had gone a short while without asking for sex. I found out he had been sleeping with his ex-girlfriend. She confronted me at school one day, revealing it to me publicly.

I was mortified.

I left him eight months ago. I recognize that even though I loved him, I was not ready to lose my virginity at such a young age. For a long time, I blamed myself for it, saying I’m the one who should have said no, I should have stayed strong. But then again, I was afraid he would leave me.

Now I know I am not at fault. I learned that what he did is called sexual coercion. I was nothing more than another conquest. I have trouble getting close to men, and not trusting many people. I am clinically depressed and in college, still in love with a guy I wrongfully had sex with. I am seeking help. In sharing my story, I have found myself again.

The Rest Of My Life

Anyone who claims the teen years are the “best of your life” is lying.

This is his struggle:

I was born in 1998, and until fourth grade, I was the big kid everyone knew and liked; I was popular and well-respected. No one bullied me. That all changed in fifth grade when I moved to Arlington, WA and started over at a new school.

My first – and worst – mistake was mistaking a jackwagon of a “friend” (who’s not much of one now) for a girl I liked.

You see where this is going – I was called “gay” and “bisexual” until the end of seventh grade when people forgot about it.

In the summer before eighth grade, I had my first real girlfriend. Over that summer, she sexually abused me, and I was traumatized.

After I ended it with her, I was scared of girls, until I met my previous girlfriend whom I dated for seven months. She was too scared to tell me when I was doing something that made her uncomfortable, so she left me. She broke my heart when she told that I made her feel like a “slut.”

It killed me to hear that.

After that, I screwed up, continued texting her, tried to be around her. That was a colossally bad idea. Things got so much worse.

People who’d been my friends turned on me because I’d hurt her, even though I wasn’t aware I’d been hurting her. Only few people tried to comfort me, trying to help my broken heart.

One day after a long track practice, I was finally getting over her, and a few buddies were fooling around, relaxing and telling stories. We were chatting about cars, girls, and fishing and I brought up some stupid (yet true) things about my ex-girlfriend. One of those guys told her.

After a month, I texted her, asking who’d told her what I’d said. She confirmed it was one of the guys from my track team. I lost control and punched him in the mouth – not because he’d told her, but because he’d lied to me; telling me he hadn’t told her.

Her parents showed up at a fourth of July parade and stopped to pet my dog. I looked in her Mom’s eyes and shook her Dad’s hand. My ex hid her face behind her hair.

I learned that her new boyfriend is one of my most trusted (well, WAS trusted) and close friends. I have ADD, an unusual form of OCD, which means that it’s far harder for me to get over things. Something a normal person forgets about in, say a week, takes me months. Since what I’m trying to get over is heartbreak, it takes more than months to work through.

I was sentenced to eight hours of community service for juvenile assault. I’m finding ways to express myself – music, friends, and cars.

I’m now helping a friend who was sexually abused get back on her feet, and spending more time with my girlfriend. Wish me (and my friend) luck, The Band!

Thanks for reading, The Band.

Do you have any advice for me?