Underneath a Sex/Love Addict’s Bed

Yesterday, I moved apartments. A friend advised me, “You should probably move your bed before the movers get there; make sure there isn’t anything embarrassing.” That turned out to be sage advice, indeed. Along with the solo socks and hair bands, here’s what I found when I moved my bed:
-a hot pink mini vibrator (score!)
-a condom wrapper
-fishnet stalkings
-five-inch Frederick’s of Hollywood fuck-me heels
-a push-up bra insert
-Pia Mellody’s Facing Love Addiction (I knew I had that book somewhere)

Someone to Watch Over Me

I’ve always loved this song. When I was a kid, I would hear “Someone to Watch Over Me,” and think this is what romance was all about — seeking out my one perfect soulmate, who would take care of me and protect me always.

Now I listen to this song and think, what a fucked up message. I mean, what kind of emotionally healthy grown-up thinks of him or herself as “a little lamb who’s lost in the wood?” Aside from children, the eldery, and people with extreme disabilities; who really needs to be watched over? Were the Gershwins secretly into D/s play?

I used to think that I needed to be watched over, but you know what… whenever I would find someone who actually wanted to “watch over me,” it just annoyed the shit out of me. It might be a romantic notion (at least it was in my screwball head) to think of someone controlling your orgasms, your meals, your study habits, or what have you; but in reality it’s extremely irritating — especially when these so-called “dominants” are less intelligent or less accomplished than the people they are attempting to dominate. In my experience with BDSM, this is the case with most D/s couples. Sorry if I’m offending anyone here, this is only based on my experiences.

I know the Gershwins weren’t into D/s (well, I can’t know for sure, but I highly doubt it). They were just a product of their time. “Someone to Watch Over Me,” was written in 1926. Women had only been able to vote for six years, and the thought that they needed someone to “watch over” them was probably a pretty popular notion.

I still love this song. But when I hear it now, I don’t think of romantic love. I think of my Higher Power, and how he/she is watching over me. I have to wonder if this was somewhat intentional. A lost lamb longing for it’s shepherd is a pretty standard christian image (yes, I realize George and Ira Gershwin were Jewish, but still). The line, “looking everywhere, haven’t found him yet,” makes me think of when I was active in my love addiction. I was constantly looking for “him,” someone to fill this void and make me complete. I never found him though, because it’s impossible to fill a God-sized hole with a man. For the first time, I feel like I finally do have “someone to watch over me.”

I had to start this post with Ella, but I think I might love the Amy Winehouse version even more.

Gratitude List 10/22/11

When I first started working with my sponsor, everyday I would email her a list of five things I was grateful for. I’ve kind of been slacking with this lately. Today, however, I’m feeling so grateful I’m going to write my list here.

1. Awesome friends. My friend Marie spent over nine hours at my place helping me pack/keeping me company today. She went through three boxes of disorganized papers that she organized, filed, and helped me weed through. Now it’s one box of organized files. I could have never done this on my own. I get sooo overwhelmed by paperwork and just end up drowning in it. I told her, more that once, that if she had a dick, I would owe her at least 10 blow-jobs. Of course I was joking, but it’s still a little sad that I only know how to express gratitude sexually. Tomorrow, another girl, who I really don’t know all that well, is coming over to help me. I mentioned that I was moving and she offered to help. In the old days, my response would have been, “thanks, but I’ve got it covered,” even when I desperately needed help. I hope that wasn’t what she expected me to say.

2. A whole new wardrobe. Like an idiot, I used to buy clothes that were too small for me, thinking, “I’ll fit into this eventually.” With my history, the smarter bet if I wanted to fit into something in the future, would be to buy clothes two or three sizes too big. Today, while cleaning out my linen closet, I found a whole stash of these “skinny clothes” that I had stashed there a couple years back, and guess what? Most of them now fit or are very close to fitting. Those that were still too small I put in the garage sale pile.

3. A new, less-expensive apartment in a hipper neighborhood that is free of bad memories.

4. Hope. If you read my blog this morning, my day stated with some self-loathing. Luckily that feeling passed fairly quickly. When I was active in my addiction it was all self-loathing all the time. I now have hope for my future. Things are so much better than they were, and I know they will continue to get even better.

5. Recovery partners. Even though I ditched the meeting I had planned to go to this morning, I did contact a couple of my recovery partners. Their encouragement managed to pull me out of the funk I was in this morning.

One Thing I Won’t Be Bringing to My New Apartment

Most days, I feel that I am pretty much over HC, my “qualifier.” Today is not one of those days.

This is what I had planned for today: wake up at 7, do a bit of packing, go to a 10am meeting, come back home and spend the rest of the day packing with my friend.

Here’s what I have done so far: woke up at 9, decided I didn’t actually feel like going to a meeting after all, went on craigslist to see if HC had been placing anymore ads, saw that he had, got livid, checked the Facebook profiles of his wife and all of his family members, saw that there was no mention of a divorce, got livid again, fantasized about contacting his wife, fantasized about being his wife, cried over the fact that no one loves me, and then decided to write it all down here.

At this point, I feel like I have a better chance of becoming a supreme court justice than I have of ever becoming someone’s wife. HC’s wife is beautiful, skinny, has a successful career in the music industry, has two cute little boys, lives in a nice house, is married to a gorgeous, talented guy. Sure, her husband cheats on her every chance he gets with both women and men. But honestly, if I could have all that she has and the only downside was a husband who has meaningless sex with strangers, I would take it.

My sponsor told me I should pray for his wife, and my response was, “sure, I’ll pray for her to divorce him.” I don’t know why I care so much. Whether they divorce or not will have no effect on my life. I’m never going back to him. But still, it pisses me off that he gets to have this great life with his family, and gets to have sex with whomever he pleases. And it pisses me off that he lied to me time and time again.

But it’s not about him. Who cares what he did or what he does. That phase of my life is over. I’m moving to a new place, and want to leave all this HC baggage behind.

The rest of the day will be better. My friend will be here soon, boxes will be packed, stuff will be moved, my higher power will take care of and protect me. My life is moving forward. I am growing, blossoming, and getting healthier everyday.

An Animal Attempting to Become a Spiritual Being

Today, I wanted hump pretty much every man who crossed my path. There was my new landlord who answered the door shirtless (not even a pretty sight) when I went to drop off some stuff at my new place; the tall, thuggish looking dude at Rite Aid who I swear grabbed his crotch when he looked at me; the tall meathead guy who pulled up next to me at the grocery store in a freaking Trans Am (do they even still make those?) and got out wearing way too short shorts; the swarthy parking lot attendant, who actually was pretty hot… for a parking lot attendant. I mean, seriously? What the hell is wrong with me? I don’t actually want to fuck any of these highly inappropriate people. Is this what happens when I go nearly 5 months without sex?

I know this has to do with stress. I’m juggling several high-pressure situations right now. And this is how I deal. I’m an animal. All I can think about is indulging my basest instincts and losing myself in the release of sexual oblivion.

My sponsor finally cleared me to move on to Step 4, but have to keep reminding myself to follow Step 3, which is made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of my higher power. I wish I could just make this decision once and be done with it, but I have to keep making it several times a day, or at least reminding myself that I already made it.

I want to be a spiritual being. I want to be lead by a power greater than myself, but apparently it doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to constantly remind myself who is in charge. It’s not me, not my cunt, not my animal instincts, not the bottomless pit of neediness I’ve had inside since childhood. It’s God. My life and my will are now in the care of God. And thank God for that.

The Worst One Here

Most days, there is this voice that shows up in my head. It’s not a very nice voice. It tells me a lot of things, but mostly it tells me I suck. Not just that I suck, but that I suck harder than anyone has ever sucked before.

I went to a meeting today. It was a good meeting, but I had a hard time paying attention because I was distracted by the voice.

“You don’t belong here,” it said. “Most of the women here are obsessing over exes. Ex-boyfriends or husbands that actually loved them. People that they were actually in a relationship with. You’re obsessing over guys you used to have sex with. None of them ever loved you or even liked you. No one has ever wanted to be in a relationship with you and why would they?”

“The men here are obsessing over women far more beautiful and successful than you. No one would ever get obsessed with you or even be attracted to you. The men that you used to be involved with were only interested in you because they were sex addicts themselves and they would have slept with anyone. Everyone in this room has a better job and a much better life than you. You are, by far, the worst one here.”

I’m not positive where this voice came from, but I have some theories. I remember at a very young age my mom, who died in my early teens, would say to me, “You’re so selfish! You just think the world revolves around you, don’t you?” I was probably four or five. I know my mom who worked full-time in a demanding job was overwhelmed by the stresses of working, paying the bills, and motherhood. She also had some serious health issues around that time and was also dealing with depression. If she knew that this statement is what would stick in my head twenty-something years later, louder and clearer than anything else she ever said, I’m sure she never would have said it.

She did say it though. Maybe she said it several times, maybe she only said it once and immediately regretted it. I don’t know, but it still plays in my head like a loop, “You just think the world revolves around you, don’t you?” Don’t you know that your needs don’t matter? You’re a burden and need to stop bothering me.

My mom also said kind, encouraging things to me. She told me I was smart and that I was beautiful, but those memories are foggy. “You’re so selfish! You just think the world revolves around you, don’t you?” is as clear as if she said it an hour ago.

After my mom died (my dad had died a couple of years earlier), I went to live with my Aunt Buffy. She was verbally abusive and made it clear that my presence was a major burden for her. Almost everyday she reminded me that she wished I would just go away. I tried hard to be the perfect kid and win her over, but she could find fault in anything. One time she went into a verbal tirade and ripped me to shreds because I had closed the refrigerator door “wrong.” I had gently bumped it shut with my hip instead of closing it with my hand like a “normal” person. I’m sure the voice was already in place when I moved in with her, but she reinforced it and made it louder and stronger.

I know there is another voice in my head too. It’s faint, but sometimes it comes through over the more dominant, “you suck” voice. “Good job,” it says. “I love you no matter what.” “You are doing so great. I’m proud of you.” The relationship I have with my sponsor is reinforcing this positive, nurturing voice. I know the positive voice in the real thing. It’s my higher power, my higher self, God, whatever you want to call it. The “you suck” voice is just bad memories from childhood that got lodged into my psyche.

I’m now tasked with turning my will and my life over the the care of my Higher Power, who says, “I love you no matter what.” I need to let my Higher Power run the show, but the thing inside me that tells me, “you are the worst ever,” doesn’t want to give up the reins just yet.

Shame

I’m a good girl. At least I’m pretty sure that’s what most people think when they look at me. I got good grades in school, never got in trouble as a kid, have never been much of a party girl, haven’t ever used a drug besides pot. I even have a stereotypical “good girl” job. Even when I was acting out sexually, I still tried to cultivate and maintain an “oh, I’ve never done this before” image with the guys I was screwing. I did a lot of things good girls don’t do. I had sex with men I’d known less than an hour, I had sex with people I knew were married, I had sex with people I met on craigslist causal encounters, I occasionally had sex with more than one person in a night, I met most of the people I “dated” off of BDSM sites, I let people degrade and humiliate me sexually, and the list goes on and on. Very few people in my life knew/know about what I was doing behind closed doors.

While I’m not exactly proud of my sex addiction, I have to be honest… it was pretty fun. Since I’ve been in recovery, I’ve often fantasized about just being a sex addict. My, or more precisely, my addict’s ideal life would look a little something like this: happily married to a devoted, handsome, well-off man, with beautiful kids, in a beautiful house, with everyone thinking I am the perfect wife and mother; all while having lover after lover on the side. But this fantasy in no way resembles the actual life I was living in addiction. You know why? Because I’m also a love addict and there is nothing fun about love addiction.

I didn’t fall for every guy I was involved with, or even most, but when I did fall it was in a bad way. And it was always with the most inappropriate, unavailable, or shitty guy I could find. I don’t know how to just like a romantic interest in a normal way, I only knew how to like someone like a crazed, obsessed stalker.

This is what fills me with the most shame, the love addiction. Sex addition almost feels edgy and cool (two words that don’t usually describe me), but love addiction feels terribly pathetic. The things I did as a love addict — continuing to see someone after I knew they had lied to me about everything, sitting in my apartment on a Friday night waiting for a guy who shows up four hours late, begging someone to take me back after he’s rejected me, paying a psychic thousands of dollars to reunite me with a lost love, staying with someone I’m scared of — fill me with the most self-loathing.

A few nights ago I had a minor break down. I was so angry at myself for wasting months obsessing over one person, who probably barely remembers I exist; one person who lied to me time and time again. I called my sponsor and she reminded me that this is a disease.

“You wouldn’t be angry at someone for having cancer, would you?” she asked. She said I can be angry at the disease, I can be angry at God, but I can’t be angry at myself, because it’s not my fault that I have this illness. I know that she’s right, but sometimes it’s hard to believe.

At the same time I am grateful for the love addiction. My sex addiction was progressing, but I don’t think I was anywhere near a bottom. If I was only a sex addict, who knows what my bottom could have been? Thank God I stopped acting out before I contracted an STD or hooked up with someone seriously disturbed. My bottom could have been death. As unglamorous as love addiction is, it’s the reason I am in recovery today and for that I am grateful.

EthanNassour*IsALyingCheater.com

While I had many acting out patterns, the main reason I joined SLAA was because of my obsession over one guy (HC).  I would call the events that precipitated my recovery a “high bottom.” By this, I mean that if you found HC and asked him about me, he probably wouldn’t have anything bad to say. Our break-up was pretty low key. I didn’t lose it and call him a bunch of times. He didn’t have to threaten me with a restraining order. As far as he knows, I was able to keep my dignity in tact. This story is about a time when I was not able to do that.

Ethan was the first person I met on a BDSM site. Ironically enough, I actually checked out the site because my therapist at the time recommended I do so. Ethan was tall, blonde and muscular. He was really into working out. He had some kind of boring office job and lived in the suburbs. Ethan wasn’t really my type, but after a few phone conversations, I decided to meet him anyway. He told me he was 34. At the time, I was in my mid-twenties and he was the oldest guy I had ever considered dating.

Ethan lived kind of far away so we met for a drink at a place that was half way between us. Although we didn’t have much in common, and I hated his choice of outfit, there was something about him. When he suggested… no, told me that we were going to go for a ride, I said “Ok,” even though this went against all the safety protools I knew for meeting a stranger off the internet. We drove to a dark, empty parking lot and made out in the backseat of his car. This was my first experience with a “Dom” and I was putty in his hands. I don’t know if it was his suggestion that I call him “Daddy” or if I just started doing it on my own. It was the first time I’d ever called a man that before (aside from my actual Dad). I don’t really understand why, but it felt right.

We did everything but intercourse that first night in the back of his car. He wanted to have sex, and it was soooo hard to say no to him, but this was back before I turned into a total slut. Back then I had rules about things like not having sex too soon. In one conversation after this first meeting I even told him that I didn’t want wan’t to have sex with someone who wasn’t my boyfriend and he said something like, “ok, I’m your boyfriend now.” Haha, right? But my naive ass thought, “Problem solved!”

Before I met Ethan, I had never really liked sex. I had had maybe three or four sexual partners before him, and they were all ok. I kind of thought maybe I was missing something. Society as a whole was/is so sex-obsessed and every time I was with a guy I would think, “hmm, this is just ok.” I should probably go back and modify that first sentence. It wasn’t that I didn’t like sex, it was that I didn’t like sex with other people, because I loved, loved, loved to masturbate. In my early 20s, I would spend hours masturbating almost every day. I thought I was just some freak who loved masturbation so much that it paled in comparison to actual sex. After I had sex with Ethan on our second “date,” (is it really called a date when the guy comes over, fucks you right away, then falls asleep for an hour and fucks you one more time before leaving?) I realized that I actually loved sex, I just didn’t love boring vanilla sex with an early twenty-something guy who has no idea what he was doing.

There are lots of sexy, kinky stories I could go into right now about the fun times I had with Ethan, but this isn’t really that kind of blog. I’ll just say the sex was amazing and I was hooked right off the bat. Things deteriorated fairly quickly though. Even though he called me his girlfriend (haha), we never actually went out on a date. There were other things too. We could only talk on the phone during the day, because he claimed he didn’t have cell phone reception or a landline at his house. Even though he lived an hour away, he only came over to my place. He never spent the night. He could only make last minute plans.

I grew suspicious. He had told me his name was Ethan Peterson. When I googled Ethan Peterson, about 6 million entries would come up. Of course, I didn’t look at all of them, but I did look at a lot. I googled the name with the city he claimed to live in, the job he claimed to have, etc. I found nothing that seemed to be him. So I paid a few dollars and did a reverse number search on his cell phone. The results? His real name wasn’t Ethan Peterson, it was Ethan Nassour.* When I googled “Ethan Nassour” I found a lot. First, Ethan Nassour was 44, 10 years (!) older than the 34 that Ethan Peterson had claimed to be. I also found out that he had a completely different job and lived in a completely different city.

When I confronted Ethan about lying about his name, his age (10 fucking years!), his job, and his city; his response was comical. He said, “You need to get your anger problem under control!” Moi? An anger problem? Yes, that must be it. I got mad at him for lying about everything because I have an anger problem, not because he lied about everything.

Amazingly, I kept seeing Ethan, because I was that hooked on him. I kept digging, though. One thing that my research hadn’t turned up was his marital status. To lie about everything he had to be married, right? I eventually found out that he had a live-in girlfriend, Brianna. One time I even tried to email her on myspace to tell him about him and me. I got a response back from him. Apparently he was monitoring her myspace account. Eventually he made her close it down.

Why did I stick around digging for shit instead of just leaving this lying liar as soon as I found out he was lying? I don’t really understand the answer to that question myself. I guess it was because he was my drug and I was addicted.

I went a long-stretch of time without seeing him. During this time I learned (via my online spying tactics) that Brianna had moved to another city for work. He confirmed this, and made it sound like they had broken up, although I doubted they had. We started seeing each other again. One time I showed up at his house unannounced (I’d found his address online). He was pissed, but let me in and we had sex. From that time on, he always made me drive to him. His place was an hour away from mine, and he never let me spend the night. In fact, he would never even let me into the bedroom. I was only allowed in the main room and the bathroom. It was a pain driving all the way to his place late at night, and then an even bigger pain driving all the way back home even later at night, but I kept doing it. Sometimes I would get to his place and he wouldn’t even be there. He’d tell me that he’d be there soon and I would have to wait outside his house for sometimes up to two hours. How pathetic was I? Later I learned that he had more than one residence (and more than one live-in girlfriend) and this was why it would take him so long to show up.

One night, I was at his house and he took some very degrading pictures of me while we were having sex. He told me he would delete them when we were done. Why I trusted this guy after all the lies he told me, I have no clue. Afterwards, I asked him to delete the pictures like he had promised. He said, “No, I’m going to save them for insurance purposes.” I refused to leave until he deleted them. He said if I didn’t leave he would call the cops. I again refused to leave until the pictures were deleted.  So he called the police.

The police dispatcher wanted to talk to me. I explained the situation to her. She asked if the sex was consensual and if he had hit me. I said that it was and that he hadn’t. She then asked if he had pushed me, and I said that he had pushed me away a few times when I tried to grab the camera. I tried to explain to her that it wasn’t a big deal and that he hadn’t hurt me, but the situation had turned around on Ethan. It turns out that the crying girl who wanted her naked pictures deleted was a lot more sympathetic than the angry man, twenty years her senior, who refused to delete her pictures. The dispatcher wanted to stay on the phone with me until the officers got there.

I’m a wholesome (seemingly, at least), educated girl that comes from a nice family. This was the first and only time I had any dealings with the police, except for small things like my car getting broken into. I was so freaked out. I have a career that requires a spotless record and was so worried I was going to lose every thing over this shit. I was a crying mess. The police officers were so kind and reassuring, though. Apparently, like the dispatcher, they thought I was the more sympathetic party. While I didn’t want to get in trouble, I didn’t want to get Ethan in trouble either. They wanted to know if I wanted to press charges or if I wanted to file a restraining order. All I wanted was for him to delete the pictures. They said that unfortunately, they couldn’t make him do that, but they would talk to him and strongly suggest that he delete them. I still don’t know if he deleted them or not, because this was the last time I ever saw Ethan.

Looking back, this was the lowest experience of my life — having the police called on me, then having to sobbingly tell the police what I had been stupid enough to let this man do to me, having to listen to all the shit Ethan had to say about me, worrying that my career and good reputation would be over because of my addiction to this horrible man. This should have been my bottom. Unfortunately, it wasn’t, and I went on to act out for many more years before I got help for my addictions.

I have a lot of shame about this story and I’m revisiting this feeling as I write and edit this entry. How could I have been so stupid as to let things get to that point with Ethan? Why would I let someone so vile and untrustworthy capture me in such a vulnerable state? Why couldn’t I have been strong enough to end it without police involvement? I’ve only told one or two people this story before and I have some anxiety about sharing it on here. I do believe in the saying, “We’re only as sick as our secrets,” so that’s why I’m sharing it now.

It turns out this story does have a tiny bit of a happy ending. Well, maybe not a happy ending, but a validating ending. One day, a year after I had stopped seeing Ethan, I googled his name and found a website called http://www.EthanNassourIsALyingCheater.com. A woman had started this site to warn other women about Ethan. I swear I didn’t create the site, but based on what was posted there I could have. Aside from the police involvement, it was my story. It turns out I wasn’t the only person he had shaved 10 years off his age, and used the alias “Ethan Peterson,” with. It also turns out that while I was seeing Ethan he had not one, but two live-in girlfriends, in two different houses. One girl knew, but the other one did not. In addition to this website creator’s story, there were comments from about twenty other woman with similar stories about him! It always amazes me how these guys have the time to juggle so many different people. Interspersed with these stories were comments from the man himself threatening to sue everyone that had a hand in creating or commenting on the site. I’m not proud of it, but I got such sick, vindictive glee out of this website’s existence. Sadly, the site was eventually taken down and scrubbed from the internet.

I’m so grateful for my recovery and grateful that I will never get involved with a man like Ethan ever again.

*Ethan Nassour is a made-up name to protect the guilty from suing me. If your name is really Ethan Nassour and you found this site by googling yourself, my apologies. I’m sure you are a really nice person and not a lying cheater at all.

Moving Blues

Most days, I am truly grateful that I am single. I think about HC and how much it must suck to be his wife. I think about the men I have been involved with in the past and how miserable I would be now if I was still with any of them. Today is a different story.

A couple of weeks ago, I found a great new apartment (yay!) and I need to be out of this place by the end of the month. I’m starting to pack today and I am getting nothing done. I’m so overwhelmed by all my stuff and have no idea what to do with everything. To top it off, I have no one to help me. Most of my female friends are married with kids or just too busy to help me. I am really feeling sorry for myself. I wish I had a partner to help me sort things out or at least someone male to help with the heavy lifting. I even texted a couple of guys from my past (nice ones, yes, there were a few; who won’t expect a blow job in exchange for helping me out). No one has responded. I thought about posting something like, “Can anyone help me move?” on my Facebook wall, but how depressing will that be sitting on my wall with zero comments?

I really wish I had a boyfriend right now. It’s not just that I’m overwhelmed, I’m also seriously lonely.

But the thing is, even though my addict brain is telling me I can’t do this on my own, I know I can. Yes, it sucks. But it’s not impossible. And it’s not like if HC or someone else like him were in my life, he’d be helping me move.

I’m not the only person in the world who has to move on their own. People do it all the time. In fact, I’ve even done it before. So why am I writing this whiny post? I don’t know, but I’m sure procrastination has a little something to do with it.

Let Me Count The Ways That I Abhor You


I’ve been in a contemplative mood lately, and listening to a lot of music. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of songs that relate to the topics of my blog… sex, love, addictive and dysfunctional relationships.

When I was in college, I was a huge Ani Difranco fan. I went to see her shows whenever she was in town and I played her CDs non-stop. I was also a huge fan of my shit-head, idiot boyfriend Peter. “Fan” is not the right word, exactly. Is there a word for when you simultaneously hate someone’s guts and can’t live without him or her? Because that’s what I had with Peter. Since, I was immature… and insane, Peter and I were together on-and-off for six horrible years. Over the years, I have had a lot of truly terrible relationships. My relationship with Peter was the worst of the worst.

Peter was the first person I ever had sex with — I think that was part of the reason it was so hard for me to let go of him. I didn’t realize it at the time, because I had nothing to compare him to, but he was a terrible lover. We were having sex for a full year before I had my first orgasm, and it was from the bathtub faucet, not from him. Before I started masturbating in the bathtub, he had me convinced that something was medically wrong with me, because, “every other girl I’ve been with has been able to cum, no problem.” Yeah, he was a real gentleman.

We used to get into physical fights. At one point, he got into the hobby of knife collecting (no red flags there). After one particularly bad fight about who knows what, he stormed out of my apartment and in tears, I kept calling his cell phone non-stop. Minutes later he barged through my front door brandishing one of his knives. That taught me to stop calling him (that night, at least), but amazingly I kept seeing him for years after this incident.

One semester, I choose to do a program abroad. We agreed that we would take a break while I was gone. You’d think this would be a healthy move, but I spent every night in the computer lab talking to him on yahoo messenger. One night he told me (in graphic detail) about another girl he had sex with. Looking back, it was probably a lie and an attempt to manipulate my feelings. I hadn’t yet realized what a compulsive liar he was. I was so distraught, I drank a bottle of wine by myself and ended up purposely burning my arm with a cigarette. I still have the scars.

There are many, many more stories about this sick, sick relationship. I’m sure I’ll eventually write some more of them down for your amusement/horror. You’re probably asking, why did I stay with this asshole for so long? I guess the simple answer is that my self-esteem was nonexistent back then. He had me convinced that no one else but him would ever want me. To be fair, there were some good times too… although, I can’t remember any specifically. The sad truth is that I thought I was lucky to have him.

It’s been about 10 years since I finally put an end to the relationship. Lest you think I’m a girl who doesn’t learn my lesson, being with Peter taught me a lot. I vowed to never again get trapped in a long-term relationship with someone whom I didn’t actually want to be with, and I’ve stuck to that. He was also the last guy I was with who used physical violence in a non-consensual way.

So back to Ani Difranco and “Gravel.” While I was with Peter I used to drive around with my best friend and listen to this song over and over again. The juxtaposition of abhor and adore perfectly described my feeling for him. I still think of him every time I hear this song, and every time I think, “oh man, what were you thinking?”