Drunk Dialing

“I think the last time I was really drunk, I sent some fairly colorful texts to the guy I was dating at the time. “

While I was dating Israel, I had a standing agreement with one of his friends to take his phone any time they started drinking. I have a tendency to condescend to drunk people when I am not one of them. I didn’t want to do that, especially over the phone, over 1000 miles. So I asked his friend to take his phone so he couldn’t drunk dial me at 3 in the morning.

A couple years later, when I was fooling around with Cameron – over 1000 miles distance in the opposite direction – I spent a night out drinking with my sorority sisters. After the party, back in one of their rooms, I got on her computer to “check my email,” and shot one off to Cameron.

The next day, I got a message from him. It wasn’t the first X-rated message I had sent him but he recognized it for what it was. “Did you have fun last night? How much did you have to drink?” I hadn’t realized our years drinking together had left such an impression on him.

I am definitely a two-sided coin. People – guys – talk about finding a girl who is “a lady in the streets, an animal (to avoid using the more derogatory versions of the idiom) between the sheets.” I may not be 100% lady – I do clean up well, and I know my way around an etiquette manual – but that is a fair description of how I am as a girlfriend. I am, for the most part, a pretty reserved person. I have the vocabulary of a well-educated sailor but beyond that, I don’t share too much of my personal proclivities with the general population. Once in a while, my filter falters and I’ll make an off-handed comment about some things being easier “on my knees,” sending shock waves through the room.

But pour a little vodka on that filter and it all but dissolves.

A fact Cameron had picked up along the way. Apparently. At least in so much that he could identify the difference between my sober correspondences and my drunken ones.

Because I read back through the email I’d sent him the night before – as well as half a dozen carefully worded text messages – to see if my drunken condition came through in the form of rampant typos and I was proud to see that there were very few. It was all in the language I used to describe the things I thought we should try when once again in the same room together. I fancy myself a decent writer and through my various long distance relationships, I have developed a flare for a very specific area of storytelling. It stands to reason that flare would only be intensified as I become intoxicated.

Which creates some mixed feelings since I had yet to develop feelings for Micah by the time we shared a bottle of vodka.

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When the What Ifs Strike

“Would you ever take back any of your exes?”

It’s a question that is on every “getting to know your friends” questionnaire survey. Okay, maybe not EVERY one, but it’s one of those hypotheticals that people like to ask, thinking it will reveal some deep dark secret or hidden regret.

My answer is a firm…maybe.

What seems like a lifetime ago, I was engaged. I was going to graduate university and move to Texas to be with my soul mate, my best friend. Until he pulled the rug out from under that plan.

Before him, I had been chasing another flame. Literally, right up until the moment we kissed for the first time, I had been chasing another flame.

Cameron and Israel. A weird, awkward fling and the missing piece of my soul. But my “would you take back an ex” answer may surprise some.

Things with Israel ended badly. In a fiery plane crash of ugly crying and screaming. Basically a passionate whirlwind romance really can’t just fade away. It’s going to die a passionate whirlwind death. And that one did.

And then Cameron came back to me. I had pursued him through our time in university and then, once we were out, he started pursuing me. Hard.

And I not only let him, I encouraged him wholeheartedly.

Hell, yes, we can go out, get drunk, then come back to my house to screw like rabbits. This is everything I could have ever asked for. Why would you even question how I would respond to that? Oh, you’re going to do something else that weekend? Damn.

And then, I turned him away. For asking what was a horrible but probably experience-based question. When I really should have taken a day to cool off and told him why he was an asshole but yes, please come visit while you’re in town.

So, I can firmly and unequivocally say, without a doubt in my mind, if Cameron called me tomorrow and wanted to … anything – date, hook up, travel the world – I would tell him I would absolute want to think about it.

I’ve Google stalked him a bit, since I started this project. Truth be told, I’ve Google stalked a few of the antagonists in a few of these stories. And I have to say, he still looks like the same old Cameron. Maybe without a skateboard under his arm or a guitar on his back but the same green-eyed, messy punk-haired, diminutive, intelligent Cameron. And probably with that same Gemini split personality.

Micah might have my heart tight in his grasp, but Cameron could maybe steal it back, if he wanted it.

Boyfriend Application

The idea behind this blog was to talk about my history in relationships – and sex – and, to some extent, how that has shaped my present. Through the process, I have learned a lot. About myself, about the men with whom I have associated, about the relationships themselves.

I was in the kitchen, cooking dinner, the last couple of days and a thought kept coming to me: Tonight, for dinner, we are having blah, with blank, and yadda, and it’s amazing and who wouldn’t want to date me when I can cook like this? It was facetious, but I decided to have a little fun with it. So, I’m detouring around the memoirs for today to offer you a skit. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Boyfriend, a play in two acts. (Disclaimer: I don’t do script writing so this is more of a “pre-adaptation” format.)

Act One, Scene One – The advertisement

Wanted: One boyfriend. Opportunities for advancement include full partnership.

Job requirements: Must be able to think both “on your feet” and “outside the box” in multiple situations including, but not limited to, dates and emotional support. Must be able to adjust to fluctuating periods of spontaneity and stagnation (preferably by providing spontaneity). Must be prepared for anything. No college degree is required but the job does require periods of extreme intellectual exertion; candidate must be able to articulate thoughts and arguments clearly, must be able to engage in discussion topics ranging from politics to extraterrestrial life.

Compensation and benefits: Company provides chosen candidates with emotional support without judgement, good food (both home-cooked and on dates), great sex, and the potential for unexpected adventure each and every time you leave the house.

Act One, Scene Two – Company background

An eager job candidate takes time to research the company to which they are applying for employment. As such, please accept this comprehensive bio as your first step toward learning more about our company.

Founded in 1980, we have had three decades to perfect our business model. Understanding that there is always room for improvement, we are continuously advancing and learning more about how to make our company better. We learn from our employees and hope that we are able to help them learn in exchange.

As a company, we have, admittedly, had periods of hardship and inactivity. In the early-2000s, we were the subject of an attempted and aggressive hostile corporate takeover. However, we endured and remained an independent entity. Through the late-2000s and through the present, business has been slow but that inactivity has only given us time to work on our product offerings and business model so that we can offer our next candidate for employment the best experience possible.

I hope that this has helped you understand more about the company to which you are applying and possibly inspired questions, should you be invited to interview with us.

Act Two, Scene One – The application

[Writer has omitted standard, identification-based questions in the interest of keeping things interesting]

Job-specific questionnaire

Describe your skills in the kitchen. Can you cook? Do you enjoy cooking? What do you like to cook? Do you have a specialty? If you have answered no to any or all of these questions, are you willing to learn?

What was the last book you read? When did you read it? Did you enjoy it? What did you enjoy (or not enjoy) about it? Would you recommend it to a friend? Why or why not?

Describe your first day working with our company (answer is not legally binding; only exemplary). How would you spend the day? What would you do to make that first day memorable?

Imagine your first year with the company. How would expect your anniversary to be recognized?

What is your relationship to your previous companies? Would they recommend you for employment? If not, why not? Are you in negotiations with any of them to be re-hired? If offered a position with a previous company, would you leave our company to pursue such offer?

What is your availability for travel with the company? Travel may include anything from local, day trips (2-3 hour drive) to cross country weekend trips and may be planned at a moment’s notice. Travel may also include meetings with branch companies that have a vested interest in the well-being of our company. Are you willing to plan some of these trips?

Describe your skills in the bedroom (“bedroom” is a blanket term the company uses to describe any and all physically amorous situations – may not be limited to the room in the home where the bed is stored). Please keep answers honest. Unlike your description of your first day on the job, answers to this question may be legally binding and you may be called on to demonstrate the skills you list here.

Act Two, Scene Two – The Interview

Based on your answers to the questions on the job application, the company has elected to give you the opportunity to present yourself in a face to face interview. The purpose of this interview is to determine your suitability for employment with this company. However, unlike a standard interview, where a representative from the company asks you awkward questions for which you have no real answer, we are offering you an opportunity to ask us questions.

Please understand that there are no right answers, no right questions and what you believe to be a “good” answer may be the exact wrong thing, and vice versa.

Is there anything, at all, that you would like to know about the company?

Also, unlike many other standard interview situations, it is acceptable and encouraged to turn our own questions back to us. Are there any questions from the application process that you would like the company to answer?

Now, to our questions for you:

If offered this position, how soon would you be available to start?

Depending on how you have elected to spend your first day on the job, there will likely be some expenses involved. Who do you expect to cover those expenses?

How do you expect future job-related expenses to be covered?

How much time do you expect to invest in this job? Are you interested in career-advancement, should the opportunity arise?

Do you have other interests outside of the company?

Are you considering offers from any other companies? Please note that your employment with our company is not contingent on offers from other companies. However, if you are considering other offers, you will be given a probationary period in which to make your decision (the length of which will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the management) and during that period, you will likely be working in a “modified duty” capacity.

Curtain call

The company would like to thank you for your interest. We will be contacting you soon, regarding potential positions with our company.

The Weekend Everything Changed

The following program is rated TV-MA for descriptive sexual content. Viewer discretion is advised.

The idea, in the beginning, was to get Cameron’s girlfriend to cheat on him. I don’t remember if I ever knew why, exactly. I think it was a combination of things, honestly. I think someone told Israel he couldn’t do it and he developed some masculine need to prove he could.

I think Israel and Cameron’s (and my) mutual friend, Ramos, didn’t like her any more than any of the rest of us.

And, maybe it’s wishful but I think, maybe, Ramos thought Cameron was better suited to someone else. Someone he had let in on the “get Nikki to screw Israel” joke. Someone like me.

When Ramos returned from his summer at home, in Texas, Israel, and a third friend, Angelo, came with him. Ramos was spending a few days with Nikki in her apartment, waiting for the house he was moving into to be ready to move into. Nikki’s apartment was across the courtyard from mine in the same complex.

After dropping their luggage off at Nikki’s apartment, Ramos brought Israel and Angelo to meet me. “Israel’s trying to get Nikki in bed,” he announced, early in the conversation. We talked, on my patio, for a while. An hour, hour and a half. Ramos revealed Israel was majoring in English. I decided early on that I wasn’t ever going to make any kind of connection when it came to Angelo (I never did). And they left.

A few hours later, I crossed the courtyard to join the festivities. Which mostly consisted of vodka and drinks we’d bought from Sonic. High class.

That first night, we all had some good laughs, drank a little, listened to music, just had a stereotypical college summer night. Somewhere along the way, someone suggested that “someone need[s] to make out; I nominate you two,” gesturing to Israel and me. We laughed it off and carried on with the rest of the night.

That was Thursday. Friday, I came home from a girls’ night out, just as Ramos, Israel, and Angelo were coming back from another trip to Sonic. They invited me to join them and I did. The four of us sat in the living room of Nikki’s apartment long after she and her roommates had gone to bed, watching a Saturday Night Live marathon on cable. As we talked, Ramos and Angelo fell asleep, leaving Israel and I to bring up the sun.

They spent Saturday playing tourists, and we all got together again that night.

That night was different.

I was on Nikki’s patio, smoking with Angelo. Or smoking near Angelo who was busy dialing and redialing his girlfriend’s phone number and not getting an answer. Israel burst through the door out of the apartment and made some kind of exasperated animal sound. “I can’t take her anymore. She’s driving me nuts!”

I chuckled and asked if he meant Nikki. I hadn’t made any real effort over the past couple days to hide my disdain for her. Which was largely fueled by jealousy and my feelings for Cameron. “Yes,” he groaned. “I gotta get out of here. Do you want to go for a walk?”

So, we left.

Somewhere around midnight, Israel and I embarked on a tour of my university campus. I didn’t keep track of the time, but I’d guess it was half an hour, 45 minutes later, we found ourselves at the fountain plaza, which was the focal point of the central part of campus. We had found conversation easy ever since that first meeting on my patio and that night was no different.

I can’t tell you, now, what we had been talking about, but we decided to sit on one of the stone benches that surrounded the fountain to continue. I don’t know how long we sat there, talking about whatever we were talking about, before he leaned in to kiss me.

I am very much a kiss-on-the-first-date, sex-positive, no shame kind of girl. But until he moved, I had feelings for someone else. And he knew about that. He had incorporated my feelings into the conspiracy to get Nikki to cheat on Cameron. “If I can get her into bed, he’ll need someone to help comfort him.” He tried to kiss me anyway. And I pulled away, because I suddenly had no idea what I wanted. I was fairly certain Cameron didn’t want me, even if Nikki did cheat, and Israel and I had formed a genuine connection. But he lived 1000 miles away. In another state.

We hashed all of that out and I let him try again.

And I climbed into his lap, facing him, one leg on either side. And we made out like teenagers. Until we mutually decided we wouldn’t be satisfied ending the night with dry humping on a stone bench in the middle of my university campus.

A long walk in the daylight when I finished with my classes. I’d never made it in this condition before. What was once a long walk now seemed like it would never end.

We finally reached my bedroom and had barely got the door closed and locked before stripping one another. It was a scene from a movie, or maybe a prime time soap opera, as we rushed through something that resembled foreplay. I had just gotten my lip pierced a couple weeks before and I had to revise my customary oral sex foreplay rituals to accommodate the still-healing oral wound but he took it all very seriously.

And just as suddenly as it had all started, that prime time soap became a teen drama when he revealed his secret.

He was a virgin.

I stopped everything, not sure what to do with that. Thinking like a girl conditioned to believe virginity wasn’t something to be handed out like candy on Halloween, I didn’t know if I wanted that responsibility. Or was virginity even important to guys?

As I considered the situation, weighing my options – get laid and maybe, finally, move on from Cameron or masturbate myself to sleep and make things weird tomorrow – he explained that it wasn’t, necessarily, his choice. He hadn’t found a girl willing to take what he had to offer. Any girl willing to give him oral sex had refused to go any farther, intimidated by his …. er, gifts.

After we (both) finished, he got up to leave and I told him to stay – if he wanted to.

Sunday, they had more tourist activities planned so we split for the day. Sunday night, I returned to Nikki’s apartment, expecting to hear all about keeping Israel “out all night.” Ramos made one, quiet, casual comment, and that was all that was said, much to my surprise. And relief.

We left again, this time passing my roommates on the road before finding our way to a small amphitheater that I hadn’t even known existed and that I assumed was used for astronomy classes. We talked. For an easy couple of hours. And we kissed. He told me he thought my soul was sad and that he couldn’t believe my friends had never mentioned it before. And we made our way back to my apartment for a repeat performance of the night before. Our one-night stand became a two-night stand and would ultimately become an intense, tumultuous eight-month engagement.

 

The Heart Doesn’t Forget

I started this project with the goal – ultimately – of clearing out some of the cobwebs of my past relationships. I don’t know if I am accomplishing that, exactly, but I think I am learning a lot.

Some.

I am learning some.

Some of what I am learning – have learned – has been about the relationships themselves. I have gone back through my almost-eidetic memory and sorted through the moments that shaped my past, re-examining them, figuring out through that process whether it went wrong because of something I did or something they did (wrong because most of these stories have been about things that did not end in the most favorable of ways), or something either of us were, as people (Lennon is a narcissist [not to be confused with someone having narcissistic personality disorder] and also possibly a psychopath).

I have also learned a few things about myself.

One of those things being that my heart does not forget.

If I had spent the time to develop my memory as a child, I could be one of those people who remembers, literally, everything. Dates, times, colors, smells, everything. But that’s the brain part. The brain part needed to be developed, exercised, trained, to remember what Micah smelled like (although, I can guess, and I believe it would be a fairly accurate guess), or the tonal quality in Cameron’s voice.

But my heart remembers everything.

As I have sorted through some of these moments, a few things have become quite clear. The first is that some of the feelings I had in the past are still there, somewhere, deep down, buried under feelings for someone else.

Maybe it’s because Cameron and I never had the opportunity to see things through. Because I may have overreacted and shut down instead of talking to him and explaining why his question was a pretty dick thing to say and then hearing him out, asking why he chose to say something so incendiary, letting him defend himself. Essentially, approaching the situation from an adult angle instead of proving his point and flying off the handle like a crazy person. Instead, I slammed the proverbial door in his face and now I will never know, because I deprived myself, what could have come of us.

At the same time, I look at my situation with Micah and feel like it echoes what happened with Cameron. I made a decision, in both instances, that, ultimately, has left me with little more than a mounting collection of what ifs. What if I had told Micah how I felt about him? What if I had tried to have a serious adult conversation with Cameron? After all, we had been having serious adult conversations for months before that; why was this any different?

My second moment of clarity in all of this has been that I think I’d give Cameron another chance – or let him give me another chance – which is telling in a couple of ways.

I have been thinking, a lot, about what I would do if I bumped into Cameron somewhere in the course of my daily life. Give him a severe dressing down? Give him a severe undressing? A combination of both? And there is a part of me that would love for that moment, that what if, to become a reality. I’ve even played the conversation out in my head a few times.

Unfortunately, it always comes back to the same thing. “I miss you. I wonder what could have been. But now I am ass over tea kettle for someone else who I’m pretty sure doesn’t give a damn about my ass or my tea kettle.”

Because I am.

And the shit part of it is, knowing that I would even consider taking Cameron back, after all these years of not speaking to one another, tells me I’ll probably carry these feelings for Micah for years as well. That one day, a year, two, three years down the road, I’ll find him somewhere and we’ll talk and we’ll laugh and we’ll hug and, regardless to what is going on in my life at that time, I’ll fall in love with him all over again.

I have already made the statement, months ago, that I couldn’t bear to give up on something – with Micah – that I believed could be so good, if we could just get it off the ground and my heart is just stubborn enough to commit to that for forever.

I’m not saying that anyone in my future needs to be threatened by Micah – or Cameron. I have been cheated on and I have been the one someone cheated with; I won’t do that to anyone. Ever. But for as long as I am on my own, single, unattached, a part of my heart will always belong to the two of them.

And, if I’m honest, David, too.

Birthdays and Break-Ups

March 8 is one of those dates that will probably never leave me. Today is Israel’s birthday which kind of marked the beginning of the end for us.

Keeping in mind that “the end” lasted several months.

Israel pushed everything. Israel said, “I love you” first. Israel proposed to me after four months. Israel suggested – after watching his brother and his girlfriend pay rent on two apartments and live in one – that we move in together. Israel pushed everything.

With his 21st birthday fast approaching, everything that Israel had pushed began closing in on him and he no longer wanted to be the first of his friends to get married. And even if we didn’t get married for another five years (we had planned on graduate school but he had another three years of undergrad before we could do that), he would be the married one of all of his friends. Because we would be living together and I wouldn’t be just one of the guys; I’d want him to stay home with me while his friends went out drinking or had poker night or went to the strip club.

I tried to explain that I didn’t want any of that. I didn’t want to keep him from his friends. I didn’t even care if we had separate bedrooms (a single bedroom would be cheaper rent but if he wanted two, we could make two work). I hated watching girls do those things to their boyfriends. And I would want time to myself or to hang out with the new girlfriends I would inevitably (hopefully) meet when I packed up everything to move to a strange city and close the gap on our long distance relationship. Me. I was the one making all the sacrifices to give him what he had pushed for the whole time. I was moving so we could live together. I was leaving my family so we could get married. I was leaving my friends so that he could finish college.

And none of that bothered me. I was ready for the change. I was ready to take the leap.

But he wasn’t. To borrow from some random thug movie, his mouth wrote a check his ass couldn’t cash.

So he freaked.

Days before his birthday, he rescinded my invitation to spend my spring break with him. Even though he had access to my bank account to withdraw the money he needed to buy my VIP wristband to South By Southwest (SXSW), he bought his own and told me he didn’t want me to come down. Only days before that (sometime in the middle of February), I had turned down an offer to travel around the country as a Leadership Consultant for my sorority, an offer I later learned was not given to just anyone, an offer I would grow to regret not accepting.

The next couple of weeks were a hurricane of emotions. He was breaking up with me. He was calling me at 3 in the morning to tell me if he lived closer he’d be ringing the doorbell not ringing the phone. He was telling me he loved me more than anything in the world. He was telling me I was smothering him and that he wasn’t fit to be anyone’s boyfriend. He was telling me, through suffocated sobs, that he was supposed to be the one to save me.

And I just dragged along behind. I wasn’t even riding in the car on his emotional rollercoaster. I had been tossed out and was clinging for dear life to the back end.

SXSW (the music festival part) was the 14-16 of March that year. That weekend was between his and my spring breaks (respectively). The original plan was that I was going to miss the class on the 13th and 14th and spend the festival and my spring break with him in Texas. A few days before his birthday, he told me no. On the 12th, he told me he wanted me to come, that even though I couldn’t make it for the festival, he wanted me there for my spring break. I got out of class at 2:00 on the 14th, got into a Volvo headed south with three of my guy friends, and we drove 20 hours straight to the south of Texas.

The last time I ever saw Israel’s face was on March 24, 2003, at the edge of security in the Austin-Bergstrom Airport in Texas. And I told him, as he refused to kiss me goodbye (because “this isn’t goodbye”), that I could Feel it was the last time I’d ever see him. He had always trusted my Feelings, even more than I have after living with them my whole life. He even asked me on one of the descents from the height of the rollercoaster if I “felt” like we needed to keep trying. Because, to him, me saying I knew something didn’t hold nearly as much weight as me saying I felt it. He truly believed, even more than I ever have, that I was (am) psychic.

I told him I felt that I would never see him again and I watched him try not to trust that feeling. I think he knew it too.

Even now, as badly as I hurt, for as long as I hurt, if I look at the situation objectively, I don’t think he ever meant for it to happen the way it did. I don’t think it was supposed to end. I think he really did intend to put it all back together after he took some time to himself. But show me one couple who took a “break” and actually made it work again after and I’ll show you 100 who never made their way back.

**There are a lot of songs from that era of my history that were important. Israel and I were deeply connected through music and we shared a great deal of it in the months we were together. When he said he was the one who was supposed to save me, it was in reference to a song from one of my favorite bands that wasn’t one of his, Something Corporate. It was actually a very surreal comment for me to hear from him because it told me that he had been listening to my music while his mind was crumbling around itself.

Saviour was not one of those songs but there is a lot to this song that fits with this particular story. “That’s when she said, ‘I don’t hate you but I just want to save you while there’s still something left to save.” That’s when I told her, ‘I love you, girl, but I’m not the answer for the questions that you still have.’” It reminds me of that time, a lot, so I’m adding it here.**

Crossing a Fine Line into Dangerous Territory

“I’m sorry. I can’t meet you for breakfast. My fiancé found out and now she’s mad at me.”

That was the turning point. That was the moment when everything started to fall into place and I started to put together exactly what my relationship with Lennon had really been about. There had been red flags before that but something in that moment – that moment that came after weeks of hashing and re-hashing my feelings for Micah – caused it all to suddenly become as clear as it could have ever been.

I need to take a step away from the narrative for a moment to inject a warning: The rest of this post touches on the subject of emotional and sexual abuse. Please be advised.

I’ve had some time to chew on that moment and all that came before it. And I’m still not sure what to call whatever it was.

My gut reaction is to call it emotionally or (and) psychologically abusive. Gaslighting? Manipulative, at the very least. I had a dream, at one point, where I was telling someone about it and they told me (read: my subconscious used someone else’s face to tell me…), “an ‘unhealthy’ relationship becomes abusive when you are made to feel like you don’t deserve any other option.”

I had other options. I had Cameron. I had David. I took the Israel option. And that wasn’t even the half of it. Several of David’s friends would have jumped at any chance I offered them; a couple of them told me as much. And there were a few in the circle of friends I shared with Cameron, too.

I had other options. But even though I knew I could find … literally, anyone else who would treat me better than Lennon did, I couldn’t walk away. I don’t know that I thought I deserved his treatment, but at the same time, I’m not sure, in the moment, I thought it was bad. Hindsight is, after all, 20/20. And I think I thought I loved him.

It was little things. A lot of little things that added up to a much larger picture. It was him telling me that I might find a real boyfriend, if I’d stop screwing him, while I was on my knees in front of him. It was him lying on top of me, in nothing but a t-shirt, asking me how things were “coming along with Cameron.” It was him wrapping his arm around me and sniffing my hair while I told him about my plans to spend a week with Israel’s family over our Winter break.

It was the day he picked me up from my apartment and took me back to his. We kissed, rounded third base and started toward home plate where he turned on a video game and ignored the half-naked woman in his living room. And not only once.

It was the times he used location to control the situation, refusing to ever use my bed, even when I lived alone and he had roommates.

It was when he told me he wouldn’t touch me again unless I had sex with his neighbor. His female neighbor who was in an “open” marriage (I refused and he eventually gave up the quest…or she did).

It was when he contacted me when he wanted to (cyber) cheat on the girlfriend he had followed to another state.

And it was when he thought an invitation to meet for breakfast was code for something else entirely (that likely also started with a “b”), knowing that I was 100% invested in Micah.

It was an unhealthy situation, without question. But was it abusive? Was it emotionally abusive? Was it sexually abusive even though he always had my consent? My residual reactions leave me wondering. And I’ll probably never, fully, resolve it. It will probably never be more than just another, less-than-sunny chapter in my sexual and romantic history.