I’d been introduced to the guy online in November, as he was a friend of two of my friends, and had just joined an online group moderated by a guy I’d been with long-distance for 3 years.
A relationship which would end just after Christmas, in a huge messy battle which not only took my connection with him as my best friend, but also my best female friend, and the church I’d been involved with where he was a member of their national board of elders.
He was close friends with my formerly 3rd best friend now turned best friend, and so we ended up getting pulled into 3 person chats.. and he started flirting almost as soon as the battle had begun. In february, it officially turned to a relationship, at the time online only as he lived about 3 1/2 hours away.
At the time, I was a college student, knowing that I was going to have to drop out one semester shy of graduation due to my stepdad refusing to allow a copy of their tax return to be used to allow me to qualify for student loans.
Needless to say, I didn’t want to return home. I’d been planning to move to the area of the three year relationship after graduation, but that was now out. I’d formerly been offered a place to live with the best female friend, but that was now out as well. So I really had no idea what was going to happen at the end of the school year.
He was more than willing to tell me whatever I wanted to hear. That all I needed was some stability. That I was exactly what he’d wanted. That he’d do anything for me. That he wanted to know every detail about everything that happened each day.
And so in April, I made the trip to spend the weekend with him. And he was just as obsessed about me in person.
And on sunday of that weekend, during a drive through the country, he asked if I would marry him.
Honestly, at this point, I don’t even remember what I said.
The next weekend, I really needed to study, but he was all upset and sad about my not being able to visit, so I eventually caved, and decided to go anyway and take my books along. He ended up sick for most of the weekend, so he slept quite a bit, but would wake up and call for me to come sit by him until he fell back asleep again to make sure I was still there with him.
Sunday came around again. And he was feeling better. And on the way home from dinner, he parked his truck on the street beside the courthouse, and told me that if I came earlier in the day the next friday, we could be married.
I don’t remember anymore what I said then either.
But the next morning, after driving home, my head was so swimming that I ended up skipping the two of my classes that weren’t critical.
And that afternoon, I wrote an entry on my blog. (Which wasn’t really called a blog at the time yet, it was still a public online journal)
In it, I discussed how confused I was feeling… how fast things were moving… how scared I was at the same time how much this was what I’d always wanted… how much this relationship was different from every other one I’d ever been in and that I wasn’t sure what to do with a guy who was more into me than I’d been able to get into obsessing about him yet.
The next weekend, I went to visit again. It was now May, 3 weeks after meeting in person for the first time, 3 months after starting to date online, 5 months after my world had crashed with the ending of the previous relationship, and 1 month before I had to figure out what my plan was for what happened next.
He didn’t mention getting married at all, but suddenly, he was kind of cool and distant the whole weekend… pretty much the opposite of how he’d been before.
Sunday afternoon came around again. I was wearing a skirt, and we’d been sitting on the side of his bed looking at something or another on his computer, when suddenly he became affectionate again.
Things got moving too far really fast, but this time, at the point where I told him we needed to cool it down (admittedly, later than I should have), he didn’t stop.
He pushed me backwards onto the bed, pinning me down, and then abruptly telling me “I read your journal.”
He still doesn’t stop as he tells me how he found it from some link based on some old email of mine that he’d found on some other online profile on a program I didn’t even use anymore… a long line of unlikely connections that had obviously taken some near stalking to accomplish.
Tells me that I ought to know better than to be telling people those things…. than to be thinking those thoughts..
Eventually, he pauses…. ready and in position… and asks me if I love him.
My yes was apparently also consent.
And I’ve always wondered what would have happened if I had said no. But given that he’d ignored my previous protests and requests to cool things off (before I was too shocked and stunned to even continue giving them), I suspect it probably wouldn’t have mattered.
As it eventually ends, he tells me that I need to choose between him and my journal.
He then leaves to go to the bathroom, and it’s only then that the shock and panic have worn off enough that I’m fighting tears… a mix of hurt over what had just happened, and from the first sign obvious enough to catch my attention that not all was as it seemed with this guy. The first clue I’d gotten of the abuse and chaos that would come to pass in the next two months.
He returns, now completely without clothes, and acts like everything is completely normal as he pulls me over to the side of the bed. He pulls up my journal on his computer, clicks to the login button, and tells me to log in. As I do, he removes my clothing that he’d pushed out of his way earlier, then after it loads, he tells me to hit the delete button, as round two began.
The symbolic timing of the two things happening at once always amazes me, though I doubt it was intentional on his part. The moment it was decided twice over that my thoughts and feelings didn’t matter when they were contrary to his, as I chose to comply rather than fight for myself.
While I don’t think the “no” at the earlier point would have made a difference, and doubted I could have ever said it under those circumstances while very much stunned and in shock of the situation… it’s this point where I often find myself regretting my decision, and wondering how much different things would have gone, for that matter how my life would have ended up, had I chose differently.