When I was 15, I met my first boyfriend. I felt like a late bloomer. Always envisioning myself as a helpless romantic with no outlet, I couldn't wait to experience every single lovey-dovey thing I could.
Except from the beginning, there were so many red flags I flat out chose to ignore. I still didn't know how this person could have liked me: overweight, acne, no sense of self esteem, and not very pretty in my eyes. In hindsight, I now realize I can never love someone else without loving myself, and I still haven't fully forgiven myself.
He was 16. Or I should say, when we started dating he was 16. He told me stories, personal stories about his battle with depression and anxiety and this is what I thought, "We're made for each other. He gets it. That's why he likes me."
Three days after we started dating, he left for a trip and I wouldn't see him for weeks. We continued flirting, even going as far as talking about making out, etc. over text. I was naive, I thought, there's no way any of this could go south. I was his first girlfriend, we both were inexperienced.
Except, the first time I had him over, we started making out and he asked if it was okay for him to "play" with me. I said no, I wasn't comfortable. Things got heated. Next thing I know I'm sitting on the couch frozen, with his hand in my pants. I felt like I could just let it happen, it'd be fine. And all of the sudden I felt like crying.
Who the hell was I, and what did I do to the person I was? This wasn't me, this is what he wanted me to be. I grabbed his hand and asked him to stop, and after a minute of me asking, he stopped. Problem solved, right? My friends knew I adored him, I was infatuated with the idea of having a boyfriend. I had to let him do what he wanted or he wouldn't want me. I had to DO what he wanted or he wouldn't want me, because why would he?
I let it go on for five months. Five months of him grabbing my arm in public, and getting mad at me when I wouldn't be okay with PDA. Leaving bruises on my arms because he didn't want to not be possessive of me in the middle of a meeting, and when I spoke up, he said no. Even going as far, as to say me "hating" myself made him more depressed, and I was at fault.
I lived my entire life believing sexual assault survivors was only a term for people who were physically abused. And now I see that that is not the case, and I fall under that headline. The emotional aspect of it is still hard for me to grasp, and I don't think I really accept it yet, but I want people as young as me to know that it's not simply your job as a girlfriend or boyfriend to please your significant other. And the help you need is right there, take it.