Healing Every DayI'm nearly 21, and I moved away to go to college 2 1/2 years ago. I began attending church with some nearby family, and at this church there was a man who soon became a friend. After about 6 months, he started wanting to spend time with me alone and sharing personal information with me. At first I just considered him a great friend and was happy to hang out with him. One day he told me that he was having marriage problems. I should have seen that as a danger sign and walked away, but I was 18 and stupid and I did not.
Sometimes his wife joined us when we went out, and she was a friend as well. They were a young couple. She was always generous to me and she and I even had lunch together one time and went shopping. She and her husband had been married for 5 years. This man told me that his wife trusted him and knew that we were hanging out. He assured me that there was nothing going on, despite the whispers and rumors I knew were flying around at church about us. Deep down, I think I knew that he was lying to me, but it was easier to believe him. If I hadn't, I would have lost one of my only good friends that I had so far made in a new city. And I had begun to wish that I could one day marry a man like him.
Some close family and friends warned me of the dangers approaching, but I refused to see what they saw. I thought I was loving my life, and finally there was a man who went out of his way to hang out with me, laugh with me, and give me confidence. I thrived on the attention after coming from a broken home where my mother made it very clear that I was not important to her. As long as I deluded myself that he and I were just friends, I thought that this scenario could continue infinitely, so I didn't dare acknowledge what I'm sure I already knew- that this married man was lusting after me.
There came a time when he began to declare feelings for me, and I could no longer disguise my own. He talked of divorcing his wife for me, and in my selfishness and stupidity I believed him yet again. I had become obsessed with him and I would do anything to keep myself in the fantasy world we had created. He was conflicted; he insisted that marrying his wife was a mistake, told me I understood him far better than she ever had... and yet he would not leave her.
Our relationship soon became physical. He would kiss me and regret it, but a few days later do it again. I knew it was wrong, I knew how unfair it all was to his wife who was trusting him in vain, but whenever I thought of walking away, I was afraid. I had come to depend on him for fulfillment and could not figure out how to live without him. Eventually I lost my virginity to him, and I knew at that moment, though I refused to acknowledge it, that it was all going to end, and soon.
After that night, he was less interested in hanging out with me other than to have sex. Soon he had an attack of conscience, said he was sorry for everything and that we could not have a romantic relationship, but that he still wanted me in his life. I couldn't bring myself to remove him from mine. I began to wish we could just be friends again, but knew we couldn't go back.
There was still the matter of his wife, who loved him enough to trust him even though all the evidence said he was cheating on her, and who he still wouldn't tell the truth about what he had been doing with me and keeping from her. He made excuses to me as to why he couldn't tell her, all of them feeble, until even I finally had the guts to tell him that I didn't think I could stand by and not tell her the truth. Meanwhile, I was becoming noticeably depressed, not knowing what to do with all the hurt I felt.
I felt unhappy, jealous, and used. He had insisted that I could tell no one what had happened because of the consequences it would entail: the disgrace of us and our families and the end of our relationship as a whole. Because I cared more about what he wanted (and secretly, what I wanted) than what was right, I kept my mouth shut and tried to trap all of my feelings inside where no one who knew and loved me could see them. I failed miserably. Anyone who knew me could tell I was I was hiding some horrible secret, and I had become silent and withdrawn after 19 years of vivaciousness. Smiling and laughter were fake, and putting on a show at church like nothing was wrong made me feel like I had just run for miles. Finally, my aunt confronted me and I told her everything. She was there like my mother should have been, and she comforted me and told me what I needed to do: get that man out of my life.
I still wouldn't do it. I thought I loved him. I didn't know how I would live without him. But I had forgotten what it was to truly live. I had made this man an idol and forgotten Jesus Christ, the God of all comfort; I had forgotten the freedom I had in the fact that the Lord loved me, and was all I needed. My aunt told me that the longer I kept that man around, the more hurt I would feel. I knew she was right, and still I wouldn't listen. Only when the man, afraid that someone else would tell his wife the truth before he could, finally admitted his adultery to her, did he leave my life. She didn't want him to see me, and even then I couldn't blame her. But there was a selfish part of me that hated her, though I had no right to, for taking him away from me. He was angry at me for telling someone, he blamed me for his situation and for the hurt his wife was now experiencing. I shouldered that blame because I thought I deserved it, and because I still thought I loved him and tried to take the burden from him.
He was forbidden by his wife to contact me in any way, and so began the slow process of learning to live properly. For months it was so hard I thought I would rather die than wake up in the morning and have to face it all again. I couldn't get it off my mind; I missed him terribly and yet was disgusted with myself for hurting so many people. I went home to my daddy because he was the only man I was not afraid of; I finally told my best friend that I had been lying to her for months while she had been worrying about me. So slowly that I couldn't even discern it, I began to make progress. I began to take pleasure in my family, my old friends, and most of all, my God, who was right there waiting for me even though I had turned my back on Him. I went through 9 months of counseling, where I was reminded of God's promises for me and of the fact that Jesus paid for even those most horrible of sins when he died on the cross for me. I also realized that it was not my job to take the blame for a man who had willingly ruined his marriage- I had enough blame of my own to deal with. I left my old church and began attending a new one near my school, thus completely cutting him off from me, and myself from him. There I made knew friends in my college town, friends who appreciated me for who I was and not what I could offer.
Now, nearly two years later, I have a huge circle of friends that I love, and a boyfriend who loves me at least as much as I love him. And it's REAL love. He respects me, never pushes me to do anything I'm uncomfortable with, and is just as convinced as I now am that sex should be saved for someone you truly love and are married to. Sometimes, the grief of my past still hits me like a tidal wave, but it hurts less and less. The only thing I still regret is that his wife never received a proper apology from me, mine being not completely sincere at the time and her being too hurt to accept it in any case. Now, I am thinking and praying about apologizing to her properly, and I know God will help me with that. God is healing me every day.
I don't want that man. I don't need that man. And you don't either!
1. Don't get into relationships with married men. If you are already in one, get out! It will hurt like crazy, but you will find much more happiness in the long run.
2. If someone is truly important to you, is premarital sex really worth the risk of the hurt and loss that can sometimes come with it? God knows best- save sex for marriage.
3. Keep putting one foot in front of the other if you are facing the hurt of losing someone- I never thought it would get better, but it did!
4. Don't make ANYONE, in ANY relationship (friendship, romantic, etc...), a god or idol in your life.
5. Don't be afraid to share your story and get help; it doesn't mean you are weak, it just means you are human. :)