I was fifteen when I first met Adam.
My best friend, Laura, was dating a boy, Landon, from the northern neighboring town’s high school.
I spent a lot of time over at Laura’s (most days after school and most weekends, often straight through Monday).
I eventually got tired of being “the third wheel” as Landon spent a lot of time over at Laura's as well.
Landon had someone in mind that he thought would be a good match for fifteen year old me.
Our first date was a movie group date.
We went in a group of maybe six or seven to see Just Married at the movie theater downtown.
I remember him walking into her house (where we were all meeting up to carpool).
He was “alternative” (I think that was the word back then) with his Spitfire baseball hat and skateboard gear and always carried at least one guitar pick in his jeans. His wallet had one of those chains that looked super edgy … well, at least back then.
He had light brown hair and light eyes, and he played guitar (in “a band!”) and basically any instrument he could get his hands on (mostly self taught) (c’mon!). He was smart and funny and had a great smile.
He was a year older than me, a junior, and I was smitten instantly.
We held hands halfway through the movie and immediately arranged “guitar lessons” every Wednesday after school at his house.
It was no surprise to my mother, when a few months later, I had to come clean about our relationship.
It was not that I thought my mom would really “disapprove” of him. I mean, she drove me to his house every Wednesday for “guitar lessons.”
When, clearly, after months I didn’t get any better, I mean, I knew she wasn’t stupid.
Things with my mom have always been “don’t ask, don’t tell.” We’re not “close.”
I had to tell her though eventually, because his junior prom was coming up, and I desperately wanted to go.
It was young, sweet, innocent puppy love.
You know the kind: holding hands, mostly sitting on the couch doing homework while he had “jam sessions” with his band. Me pretending to know how to play drums and looking through hours of prom issues of magazines with the other girlfriends. I used his mom’s car to take my driver’s test. We watched a lot of history channel with his dad. He would come over to my house and I would force feed him FRIENDS marathons and quesadillas. My dad would take us out tubing on his ski boat in the summer. When I would get grounded, we would pass notes (yeah, old school) between towns (remember, different high schools). We were crafty. His older brother and girlfriend annoyingly called us “the happy couple.” We never really fought (what do fifteen year olds really have to fight about anyways?). We just had fun.
He was my first kiss. He was extremely patient with me on the whole sex thing.
We dated probably for three or four months without ever having kissed; a true feat for a sixteen year old boy.
However, of course, there came a point where, without proper supervision, training, conversation, from parents, or really, anyone, and with all of our friends lightyears “ahead” of us in that arena, the conversation came up after almost eight months of dating.
He posed the question about getting more physical with our relationship. We had been saying “I love you” for months and, in high school, along with the comparative longevity of our relationship, that was practically an engagement.
He definitely never pressured me in any way; we would just talk about it.
The only conversations my mother ever had with me on the topic of sex was simply: “If you get pregnant, you don’t live here.”
I knew getting pregnant was not an option. Sex, well, again, never really discussed.
I don’t think my father would have had that conversation with me at that time if someone offered him a million bucks.
So, being the "responsible child" that I was, months before we decided to take our relationship to the “next level,” I went to the local clinic for birth control pills.
I made sure that I was on the pills for much longer than the recommended time before engaging in sexual activity. And then, like most stories, in a moment, my virginity was gone.
Maintaining our sexual relationship was, really, pretty easy.
Between friends houses and less than strict and rather busy parents it became routine.
The message was simply, “your sexuality is your business.” “Kids will be kids.”
Oh, and firmly, “Don’t get pregnant.”
In every message I was getting from the media and my parents, and his, we were doing nothing wrong. We were monogamous, we were consensual, we were in love, and we were “being careful.” We never drank. We never smoked. We got great grades. I played varsity sports. He was well respected in the musical community.
Still, underneath this, I was becoming more and more and more physically and emotionally glued to a boy that I would, ultimately, not spend the rest of my life with. This relationship would affect all my other relationships and my future marriage to the father of my children. This was not a lighthearted and calculated decision of passion; this was a bomb waiting to be set off in my heart, and I would spend years amid the rubble.
After a while, towards the end of his senior year, I started having panic attacks.
I can’t really explain them, but that’s when the tension started to grow. Perhaps it was being too adult too fast, or perhaps we just weren’t meant to grow old together and I was feeling that tension.
I loved him, truly, but I started having social anxieties. He said I ruined his prom.
I couldn’t stand to slow dance with him. Again, I cannot remember why.
I would be in a house full of people and all of a sudden need to get out of there and leave without telling him. I can’t say that any of that was directed at him personally, but I imagine it stemmed from my relationship with him just being too much too young.
As he approached, and passed over graduation, I started thinking about the future. I didn’t have a plan, and the plan used to be him, but now, I wasn’t so sure. We had more and more fights and as the future cast its shadow more heavily on the two of us, I had reached maximum capacity.
We had been dating for over two years when I asked him to drive me in his pick-up truck to the park. I ended it. It was horrible. I will never forget that moment. He hated me. I could tell. And, I kind of hated myself.
I told myself (and many other people around me as well) that I “deserved” to sew my oats, to date other people, to “experience life!”
And, so, I broke his heart, and in many respects, especially because of our sexual relationship, broke mine as well.
The next few months I simply “had fun.” I was working at a local country club and had met several older people working there: the kind that could buy alcohol.
We would go out, I would use one of their IDs, and I was introduced to the bar scene. I never got overly drunk, but at seventeen, a little goes a long way.
One of Adam’s friends often went out with us because I had connected him with a job at the country club. He made some advances toward me one night, but I rejected him.
A few weeks later, I tried to reconcile with Adam. He said he had heard about my “promiscuity” (I’m sure he used a different term) and declined the offer. I was really confused because the only “promiscuity” I had encountered at that point was the advance (which was refused) by his friend.
Obviously, there were some games of telephone being played, as they often are in high school and early adulthood, but the “damage was done.” Often, in a woman’s sexuality, perception is 9/10th of the law. Once I started to be “known” as promiscuous it almost allowed it to be okay. I never had sex, or engaged with any other young man in sexual acts, but I had a lot of “drunk make-out sessions.” Yeah, super classy stuff. But, Smirnoff Ice will do that to a girl. You’ve heard the country songs. And the rap songs…and the…oh, never mind.
The rejection from Adam was a huge blow to my esteem. The person who thought most highly of me in the whole universe thought, and whose opinion mattered most to me, had spoken, out loud, that I was unworthy.
Conversely, I had no one in my life countering this opinion. I would stay out late and was constantly getting into trouble with my parents. I was a nuisance to them and an annoyance to myself. I began drinking more and more and tried my first hit of marijuana (I didn’t enjoy it). I flirted with anyone who would pay attention.
And, then, like any teenager with their parents out of town and personally struggling, I threw a party.
The night of that party would become the real switch from suffering self-esteem to guttered self-esteem. That night would be something I would tell no one about for years. That night would destroy me and the next several years of my life. It would obliterate my previous openness and childlike seeking for God. It would unravel any lingering thread of dignity or direction I had left.
That night, I would be drugged by a man I had never met and would never see again.
The above is a work in progress towards my book which inspires the Christian wife with a troubling sexual past ... if you would like to see this happen, please consider a donation to help me attend the next step in my journey : The Mount Hermon Christian Writing Conference 2016