When I met him at an opening social my freshman year of college, my first impression was that he was a self-absorbed ladies man. I determined to stay far away from him, because I didn't want to deal with his ego. 

Fast-forward a couple months and it became difficult to avoid him altogether. We had so many friends in common and they all thought I was ridiculous to request that they not invite me to events they had also invited him to. I was uncomfortable around him from the beginning. I saw the ways he manipulated girls and how he toyed with their emotions, but for some reason, I didn't recognize when it began happening to me.

We found ourselves stuck at the same friend's house for a week during a holiday break and after interacting with him one-on-one, I determined that maybe he wasn't so bad; maybe I had judged him too quickly and too harshly. We parted ways after that week after exchanging phone numbers. We video chatted almost every day for the remaining three weeks of that winter break. 

During our video chats, I found out that he wasn't a virgin and that he viewed pornography "about once a week, but it wasn't an addiction." He told me that he just "liked how it felt," and sometimes was "bored enough to watch it." I knew I was uncomfortable dating someone who viewed pornography, but I dismissed this and thought we could fix it later. I thought that it couldn't be a major issue if it wasn't an addiction, right? I was so naive.

He complimented me in just the ways I craved. I believed everything he told me and became so dependent on his kind words and verbal affection. He even told me that he loved me and that I was different than anyone he had ever met. During our video chats, he also told me that he loved blow jobs and that if we dated, he was "sure they would happen." I was religious and had never given one, nor did I want to. I was saving myself for marriage and I expressed this to him. I told him that if we dated, I didn't want to give blow jobs or have sex. I confided in him that I was trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do in life. I told him that I was working on my confidence and didn't want to make any rash decisions. I'll never forget his smile on Skype when he said, "I guess we'll see."

I thought long and hard about that smile and finally determined that he probably meant he would try to convince me and that I would just need to have a strong "no" ready. We came back from the break and began dating immediately. Three weeks later, things became a blur. He went from being kind and considerate and complimentary to begging, coaxing, and even threatening for a blow job. He was constant and relentless, no matter how many times I said that I would rather not. I wish I had been more forceful in saying "no" and I wish I had left him.

I thought maybe I could do it to get him off my case. Maybe if I gave him what he wanted, he would back off a bit. I was debating in my head and probably in my body language; I didn't know what to do. He had been pressuring me for a week. He drew close to me, I voiced my hesitation and moved to turn away from him when he grabbed me by the head and went for it. He did all the work. He only spoke to tell me to keep my teeth out of the way. "Cover them with your lips," he said. My teeth cut into my lips and I walked away shocked. Should I tell someone? I didn't exactly say "no," but did my my hesitancy mean the same thing? He later told me that I had wanted it and he had followed my lead.

A week later we were listening to music in his room when he said, "Do you want to have sex?" I should have said more, but I was so caught off guard and all I said was, "We probably shouldn't. We don't have a condom." He said, "You're right. Let's just cuddle."

We were lying on his bed and he was spooning me when he pulled my pants down. I moved to pull them back up and he grabbed my hand. He told me to trust him. I asked if we were going to have sex and he said no. He assured me that we were just cuddling. I felt him against me and I was terrified. My mind went to another place. I didn't feel present. I didn't know what to do. Suddenly there was a sharp pain but I still wasn't there. I was stiff and silent. I thought maybe the pain was from him trying and not fitting. I felt relieved that maybe we couldn't have sex because it wouldn't work. Maybe now he would leave me alone because it wouldn't work. Maybe he couldn't do that to me.

Then he said out loud, "We're having sex."


He moved my hand to feel him. I realized he was right. He was having sex with me but I didn't feel anything but a dull ache. I began crying. Large tears rolled down my face as I realized it was too late and I couldn't stop him. 

I tried to tell a couple of my friends, but they told me "guys were just like that," "sex always hurts at first," "it's okay when guys initiate because they're supposed to," and "maybe you led him to believe that you wanted it." He brushed it off and only said that he had forgotten what a big deal girls made of losing their virginity. 

A week later, I had my first painful herpes outbreak.

I ultimately married him, because I believed nobody would ever want his sloppy seconds. His pornography addiction became overwhelming and he was not faithful. He became cruel. He was verbally, sexually, and even physically abusive. After two years of dating, two years of marriage, one child with him, and one year free from him, I am finally rebuilding my identity, my confidence, and my peace. I wish I hadn't been so naive, but I am so grateful for the wisdom and knowledge of abuse and addiction that I have now.

For information on how to cope with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as a result of sexual assault or rape, visit Pandora's Project here.