I’ve had a bad history with guys and I will be the first to admit it. My mom has never liked a single guy I’ve dated, for good reason. I’ve been with aggressive guys who trapped me to stay with them, and possessive guys who guilted me into not leaving them. She doesn’t even know about the shitty guys at school. The guys I couldn’t say no to, even though I wanted to. The drunk nights where I would wake up the next morning and feel kind of off as I laid in someone else’s bed. But after I met Noah, I thought I had turned my life around. He was safe and sweet. I was his first girlfriend ever, but I liked that. It wasn’t because he spent years being an ass, he just was overlooked and friend zoned by every girl he met. But I saw in him what no one else could see: a huge heart. He had a visceral reaction when I unpacked my baggage and let him see my painful past. He swore he would never be one of those guy who hurt me.
After formal, months into our relationship, we got home and I was exhausted. I had to be a sober sister, so he didn’t drink either to make me feel better. It was the longest night of my life between the buses being in the wrong place, having to hold the hair back of three different sisters, and not winning a single goddamn superlative, so all I wanted to do was sleep. My roommate and her boyfriend had the room, so Noah and I were on the couch again. I was falling asleep on his shoulder but he was poking me awake.
“Noooo, I just wanna sleep.”
“But I leave tomorrow morning.”
“We could have a quickie tomorrow then.”
“But I want to now. Come on.”
“Noah, I’m tired.”
“No, let’s go.”
He grabbed my hand and pulled me into the bathroom. As soon as the door was closed, my dress was pulled up and my thong was pulled down. I was just going through the motions. I had been in this situation before, but for the first time I tried to stand up for myself.
I laid down on the ground and I looked up at him with one last plea.
“I do not want to do this.”
“You will in a second.”
His full body weight ground my spine into the bathroom tile. I winced with pain with every movement. As tears of pain welled up in my eyes, I searched his face for empathy. It was met with merciless aggression. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t open my mouth. I couldn’t breathe. All I could do was wait until it was over.
He woke me up with a kiss on the head the next morning.
“Aren’t you glad we did it last night? There’s no time to do it this morning.”
I mean, it made sense. We have sex when we see each other, and that was the time that we could. I pushed it out of my mind and let it go for months, until it creeped back in. I replayed it over and over in my head. I know it was wrong, but why? He’s my boyfriend, I liked him a lot, why wouldn’t I want to have sex with him? I was his first girlfriend. He didn’t know any better. It was hard being apart all the time and we were dealing with it the best way we could. I knew how upset and sorry he would be if I brought it up, so once in conversation I casually asked him to be careful of pressuring me into doing things.
“I’m sorry if I ever made you feel like that, it definitely wasn’t my intention. I just like you so much and I can’t keep my hands off of you.”
That made sense, but it still didn’t sit right with me. The night still replayed over and over in my head. I felt the pain in my back and in my heart. I stopped feeling bad for him and started feeling bad for myself. Regardless of experience, how could he do something I clearly didn’t want? If it was a slice of pizza and I said I was full, he wouldn’t try to force the pizza in my mouth. I always imagined rape as something that a stranger does to you when you are too drunk. Not when you’re sober. Not when you are “in love.” I noticed he was overly touchy, but I thought it was because he was just teasing me. He got sexually aggressive when he was drunk, but I thought he was just being stupid. He promised he would never hurt me, but he ended up hurting me the most. When I broke up with him, he broke down. He had no idea how he was going to get over me, I have no idea how I’m going to get over what he did. I guess I’ll pack up my baggage and move on, just like I always have..
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