The first man I was with after the rape was an amazing guy. When he held me, I felt safe. The feeling was never forced, and I enjoyed my time around him. More than anything he had been supportive of me in a very rough time.
Yet as hard as I tried I knew there was something missing. On all accounts I could swear he was going to be a great catch and I looked forward to being with him, but he lacked that je ne sais quoi. Forcing myself to like him only made me withdraw from him more.
There was something wrong with me. Or was it him?
So instead I returned to dating. Disappointing.
After a number of dates I ended up with a guy at a Starbucks. First impression visually was disappointing, so I was surprised how different he looked as he sat down and chatted with me. Hmm. Perspective not flattering on the neck, but otherwise good. He definitely did not have a number of girls pining for him, but he also was not a jerk. We laughed and talked almost nonstop. Our quick “meet and greet” turned into an adventure.
The date ended at his house. Yeah…. Ridiculous, I know, but I was incredibly sexually deprived. Don’t judge. It was consensual.
Our date lasted almost a day. There was no Way I had planned on anything like this happening, but we had such a connection. He was nerdy and smart, yet he made me laugh the whole time. This is the same one who caught me on the escalator that day. The firearm he was packing made me crazy as I accidentally bumped up against it throughout the night. One kiss goodbye had turned into a make-out session. Then the date moved to his house. We had been trying to end the date for hours!He showed me his place, I met his dog, we watched some tv on his entertainment center. No pressure for sex.
When a guy treats me with respect and lets me open up to him without pressure, I respond. There is nothing worse than going on a date with a guy who is expecting to get some. Total turnoff. This guy was different. He may have wanted to be with me, but he was not going to push it, which made me want him more. Literally, over and over in my head the words, “He could be the one. This is the kind of guy I want to marry,” played on repeat. STOP IT! I had to tell myself. Stop being so female about this, just get to know the guy. Don’t get your feelings involved. You do not want to marry this guy, you barely know him.
That night we cuddled. We made out again, and in that he got off…… ok, I like to see a guy lose it, but I need mine too…. He said he would take care of me that night after a recovery period.
We cuddled to bed after he finished his nightly routine. The feeling of a warm body next to me as I slept was almost clandestine. Missing it for over a year, and then needing it for such a painful experience, the cuddling to me was so much more than a simple cuddle. Cuddling was therapeutic, and I needed all that I could get. Quickly I drifted off to sleep.
That’s when the nightmares came. One minute I am blissful, the next I am waged in a full-on battle. Different nightmare versions of the rape played for most of the night, but the main nightmares were about my ex fiancé leaving me. In the nightmare he was always belittling me and blaming me for the rape. Even though I had been living with the nightmares for weeks now, they were still vivid and difficult to bear. Multiple times during the night I woke up in a sitting position, taking in a deep breath as if I was about to scream.
God. What if he sees me acting like this? This will definitely freak him out and end it.
Even though he noticed, he never stirred from his sleep except to reassure me with a solid touch. Luckily he well knew what I was going through; he had been warned. As I struggled to return to sleep, my body shook uncontrollably. The experience had become the new normal in my life, but there was no one to scare with it. The last thing I wanted to do was scare this guy and scar him for life. The embarrassment was like a burning, searing pain that I could physically feel. Trying as hard as I could to stop the shaking, I was able to make the rough, hard convulsions into shudders, but they did not go away.
This is what I am reduced to? My ex fiancé left me when I needed him most, and I am stuck with this unending shame?
The hurt, pain, fear, and humiliation boiled over and I cried myself silently to sleep a few times. Sleep was hell, but so was being awake. The whole experience was exhausting. Yet, as I cuddled up to a sweet stranger, the unbearable pain was almost bearable.
For a moment, in his arms, there was a reprieve from this pain. Soon the unending torture was going to make me lose my mind.