After the relationship with my emotionally abusive boyfriend…
I rebounded twice with two different guys, looking to fill what was left emptied by him.
I was proud of myself that I was finally able to leave him. I was zealous in my new relationship with the Lord, and I was definitely stronger leaving the relationship than I was when I entered it, however, I still felt so unworthy, unloved, and not enough. LOVE hadn’t been enough, and I didnt know where to find it. I didn’t know what it entailed or why I wasn’t deserving of it from these men who also must have felt that I was unworthy and not enough.
A couple of months after my breakup, I met a guy in Cleveland, a friend of a friend, and we started talking on the phone. He was everything my ex boyfriend wasn’t, so it made him that much more attractive. He was kind, he talked to me respectfully, was funny, and had a gentleness to him that I wasn’t used to. We never titled ourselves “boyfriend and girlfriend”, but we “talked” for a few months and did the long distance thing.
One Valentine’s weekend he drove to Columbus to spend the holiday with me. We went to the movies and then hung out at my apartment afterwards. We were having a nice conversation, and I was telling him how I wanted to start changing my life around, and that I wanted to start attending church regularly, stop drinking (which I didn’t do much of), and that I wanted to be celibate until I got married (which meant no more intimacy for us). He said that was cool and that he admired that about me, and respected that. That made me like him even more.
Later in the weekend, we went out again and went back to my apartment after. As we were talking and enjoying each other’s company, he learned in to give me a kiss. I backed up and let him know that I didn’t want that kind of vibe that night. I didn’t know how to balance celibacy and relationships at that time, so I just decided not to do anything until I was a little more clear in my new found relationship with the Lord.
He said he understood, but then he tried to kiss me again. This time, I tried to push him off, he didn’t let up as easily. I got nervous. I had to use more force than I should have to back him away. Then his tune changed to, “come on, just a little bit”,…. and I was done. I got up as fast as I could off the couch, and kicked him out.
We never spoke again, but now he too is saved and newly engaged as well.
Meanwhile, after cutting that off, I was in a weird place of finding who I was in Him, and feeling loved by Him, while simultaneously in a place of emptiness and unworthiness. That despair accelerated my zeal for the Lord to where I was putting more and more energy into finding HIM. I finally found a church I enjoyed, started seeking out ministries on campus to join, and became a part of many different christian organizations, meeting other young adults with the same interests. I joined bible studies, church activities, prayer groups, and even joined The Ohio State chapter of the Christian sorority, Alpha Nu Omega, Inc. During this time, I was healing, searching, and finding a new me. I loved it. I was finding myself and it was a very freeing time where I was finally starting to feel healed and loved through the word of God and the new environment I was choosing to be a part of.
I was now becoming friends with people in the “Christian” circles, and became friends with a couple of guys that were a part of a christian rap group scene that performed locally at different events. One day, me and the guys were just hanging out one day, and one of them invited a third friend. He and I seemed to have hit it off right away. Joking and laughing, rapping, and just having fun together. After the hangout session, he walked me to my car, and we kept conversating. He ended up asking me for my number and I obliged. Soon after, we started “talking”, hanging out more, and going to events around campus together. We were never “boyfriend and girlfriend”, but I really liked him, and he did everything to show me at the time that the feeling was mutual. He would come to my apartment and hang out, and we would talk all night about…everything…even God. I told him about the longer relationship I just came out of and all that trauma, and I remember him telling me so vividly, “I’d never do that to you. I got you.” That made me feel so safe and trusting towards him and I started to think, “wow, God finally sent me someone who loves Him, and could possibly love me the way I deserve.”
One night, he and I went to one of my girlfriends’ apartments because I wanted him to meet her and we all hung out. We had fun laughing and joking around, normal hangout stuff. A little later in the night, one of her friends came over to hangout with us. She was cool, and she was fun, and she seemed a little over elated that he and I were a “pair” at the time, but I didn’t think anything of it.
Over the course of a couple months, I noticed that he and this new friend that came over that night were “secretly” hanging out more and more behind my back. He would come over to my house and hang out, and then I would notice she calling him and he would get real secretive. When I would ask him about it, he would always say it was nothing, or that she just had a question because they were in the same English class together. He then stopped coming over regularly like he usually did after certain classes, and he stopped wanting to go out with me to different places when asked. Then one day, I was back at my girlfriends house, and her friend came over again. We were all cool, and I enjoyed her company too, so it wasn’t like I didn’t like this girl or anything. We all spent the night, and in the morning before I physically got up, I peeked my eye open and I could see the girl was dressed, getting ready to go somewhere. I then overheard her talking to my friend about how she was getting ready to go to HIS moms house and meet her for the first time and how excited she was about it. I was so confused. I was mad and sad at the same time, but I just laid there because I wasn’t going to make a scene. I kinda knew that they had been talking on the low, but I didn’t know that they had developed a full blown relationship behind my back. He never said anything to me about it, and they kept playing it like they were just friends, but every now and then, she would make a comment or two about how she was or had talked to him, or was about to see him in some capacity. I always took that negatively and then didn’t trust her.
So while this drama was slow burning, I was busy being the president of my sorority at the time, and we were about to take new pledges. The enrollment process had started, and to my surprise, my girlfriend, and her friend, decided they wanted to pledge. I was excited for my friend to join the process, but I was not as happy with her friend joining because I knew that at his point, her and I were talking to the same guy and I had to be objective in my decisions and responses to accept her. My feelings were hurt, but at the end of the day, the Christian principles that me, my sorority, and organization held were much bigger than my petty man drama, so I went ahead and moved them forward in the process, as they earned
The process was tough for me, because over the course of weeks that it took to start the enrollment of the new line, he and her became a full blown couple almost right under my nose. He was STILL coming to my house and spending time with me, talking to me over the phone, telling me they were just friends (and I believed him #traumatrain)… but her actions said the complete opposite.
One night, my sorority had a roller skating fundraiser. All my sorority sisters knew he and I were “talking”, but no one really knew that he also developed this new relationship with this other girl and the emotional turmoil I was going through about it. The end of the night came and there was about an hour left of skating. As we were cleaning up wrapping up for the night, he and her walked through the door hand in hand. My heart completely dropped and everyone just looked at me with surprise. My sisters were angry at the audacity of the pair. It was the first time I had ever seen them officially together. I held back my emotions, tears really, I got up to go return my skates, and he came up beside me to rent some. I looked at him and all I could say, with an attitude was, “well hello”.
He didn’t even acknowledge me. She was standing right next to him, and said “I mean you could say hi to her, that’s rude.” He said what’s up, got his skates, and walked off with her again hand in hand. I was humiliated and so embarrassed. I wanted to cry, but not in front of my girls. They could tell I was upset though, but I saved face and finished out the rest of the event.
That same evening…
….after the skating event, I’m sitting at my computer, sad and journaling about what just happened, and I hear footsteps coming up the stairs outside of my apartment door. I thought it was just the neighbor, and then all of a sudden my door opened. It was him. I didn’t even have any words for him. He sat down without asking, making himself comfortable, and said, “man I’m so sorry, I didn’t even know you were gonna be there. She said she wanted to go so we went. I had no idea.” He did this half smile thing that I used to think was kind of cute, but at this moment, It made me more hurt and more annoyed, and I just wanted him out.
We had a big conversation about how all he had to do if he wanted to be with her was just tell me, and I would’ve walked away and been fine with it. He didn’t have to play me like he did. He made up whatever excuses and then I just ended up asking him to leave. What was crazy about it was that SHE knew he and I were talking and that I liked him. What HE was doing was telling her how he wanted to court her and marry her, and he knew she was his wife; and telling me how he liked me, would never hurt me, and kept leading me on and spending time with me. She would encourage him to stop talking to me because I think he got to a point where he was conflicted and didn’t know how to not hurt my feelings, but he did, and it ended up being a big mess.
One afternoon, I was leading a sorority meeting in our black cultural center on campus. The girl was pledging, and had missed some required meetings and events, and so one of the sisters ended up checking on her to see if she still wanted to be a part of the process. During this meeting, my sorority sister ended up telling everyone that she hadn’t been feeling well, and had missed the scheduled meetings because she was pregnant.
My heart dropped. Everyone looked at me because they knew he and I were a thing . I paused the meeting, and I left to go into the hallway. I just started crying. At that moment, I was just overwhelmed. I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t just be honest about the situation with her, and I felt some type of way towards the girl only because at one point I thought she was my friend, and I felt betrayed by the whole situation with them both. I just felt like it was all poorly handled and both of them just wanted what they wanted no matter who got hurt. It put me right back into a place of feeling so unworthy. “Why me?” “Why doesn’t anyone want me?” “Why am I not good enough?” “What’s wrong with me?” “Why does this keep happening?” …and the questions played on and on in my head.
I ended whatever was left of my situation with him, licked my wounds and kept moving. It was painful though. They both came all dressed up to one of my events I was hosting for my sorority one day, all “boo’ed up”, taking pics together, holding hands, etc. I felt like they were flaunting their relationship in my face and it was hurtful. But again… I had to save face that night, and pretend like it didn’t hurt, and continue my presidential duties during my event (This same night, I ended up meeting my exHusband too, which was ironic. Go figure).
What was interesting about this relationship was that, after we stopped talking for a while, he ended up getting engaged to her. He called me one day, and I was surprised that he reached out. He actually apologized for the way he treated me, and said that he felt bad because he knew how much he hurt me, how much I was there for him and had prayed for him, and he really appreciated that, and that I didn’t deserve what he did. I appreciated those words and told him how much that meant and that I forgave him. It was a conversation of closure that I never expected or required, but it was meaningful and let me know that I wasn’t crazy for what he put me through. It was healing for me that he was even able to acknowledge that, and even though I wasn’t expecting it, It helped me close that chapter with peace and allowed me to continue to move forward.
He’s now married with a beautiful family…with that same girl… living their best life. I look back and, again, realize, how God always has a plan. I wouldn’t have wanted that situation to work out any differently because their family was meant to be, just as mine was, and even though nothing about that situation went the way I wanted, it went the way God meant for it to be.