Every photo of him made my heart race. I’ve sent/received racy pictures since I was pretty young- maybe 12 or so? But I have never gotten pictures like Edward’s before. What I loved most about his photos was that he was new to it, which meant he was really putting himself out there and was being vulnerable for me. Realistically, he could have sent me fully clothed selfies with 7 parkas and a sleeping bag done up on his head and I still would have been obsessed.
I love every inch of him. Every….. fucking…… inch of him. I loved his hair and how good it felt with my fingers tangled it. I loved how it smelled. I love how even when he had messy bed hair he was still the most beautiful person I had ever seen.
I wanted to write my words all over his body with my lips; all the smooth skin, all his canvas of perfection and read him every day over and over again.
He used to trace the sides of my hourglass frame with his hands, stopping in the inverted curves at my waist and grab my little body, lovingly and with so much appreciation. His fingers grazed my skin; penning detailed maps only my heart could navigate. And my body burned to have him inside me.
NO EYE CONTACT
Looking at him, in those eyes, in those beautiful perfect eyes, was like home. I saw the universe. And I saw my future. I felt my heart pull every time I found the courage to look into them. But I’d look away out of fear because I had never felt anything so powerful. The way his eyes pierced my soul rendered me speechless and transfixed under his spell. Those eyes showed me the next 60 years of my life and all the secrets of love.
I knew from the first time I looked at him that this man was going to ruin me. He was going to ruin me for every guy who came after him. There was never going to be anyone who could compare to him or make my heart skip beats the same way he did. His eyes were my home because I could see his soul and knew that’s where mine belonged. What it had been searching for all these years. Him. I knew he was it. And I knew there was no way I’d get out of this with my heart intact.
But I was too shy and wasn’t ready to be emotionally vulnerable on that level, so I looked away.
WHY I WOULDN’T LET HIM PAY
In one conversation very early on in our relationship, I mentioned feelings of discomfort when allowing men to pay for me. It was something I didn’t have any experience with.
In response to my comments, Edward said he liked my sense of independence because he usually paid the bill with his previous girls and that was something he did not like. He paid for dates, traveling expenses, gifts, etc. and was sick of having to do so.
That moment was when I made a mental note to never ask for financial help or expect him to pay for anything. If I couldn’t afford it myself, I wasn’t going to have it. Simple.
There were nights when he would want to grab dinner, go to a concert, or venture out on a weekend excursion and I would decline the invitation simply because I didn’t have the money to afford it or pay him back and I didn’t want him to have to pay for me, like he did with the other girls.
With Connor, I paid for everything. He never had money, worked, or offered. And that experience became a template with all of the relationships after him. I didn’t know what it was even like to be treated to dinner until Edward.
I was beyond uncomfortable the power shift of expecting a guy to pay for me. In retrospect, I believe it has a lot to do with self worth. I had been put down my whole life and allowed myself to believe that I was nothing more than a nuisance. Therefore, people shouldn’t spend their money on me. I wasn’t worth it. I would have rather gone broke than to let someone pamper me like that. I didn’t feel like I deserved it. My dad paid because he had to. I belonged to him. But I didn’t belong to guys in my love life. Why should they have to deal with the burden of paying for me? Why should they have to deal with the burden of taking care of me? I wasn’t their child. I was so down on myself and so brainwashed by the psycho babble bullshit I grew up listening to that I forgot I deserved to have another human care for me.
This same mindset carried on throughout our entire relationship.
Whenever we were out walking around, I always said I wasn’t hungry or thirsty because I didn’t want him to buy me anything. I remember we went to a Yankees vs Redsox game in NYC and he took me to get food before the game started. We stopped at a food truck and I ordered got a plain hot dog. I never go into NYC with more than $20 cash and 1 debit card (out of paranoia stemming from the various robbery stories my parents instilled upon me as a child). I had used the $20 I had on taxi rides to my doctor’s appointment earlier that day and was only left with my debit card. With my card in hand, hotdog in the other, the food server told me he only took cash. Debit cards were not accepted. In that moment I was overcome with immense embarrassment. I was worried the people around the food truck were listening and everyone was just thinking, “aww, the poor girl can’t pay for a hotdog.” I turned to my left and asked Edward to pay for my $3. I explained I only had my card, but in that moment, I was wishing I was dead. I was absolutely panicked and horrified that I asked him for money. Even $3. $3!!!!!!!!!! I didn’t even think I was worth $3!!!!!! He was so sweet and cool about it. Handed the guy the money like it was no big deal, but I was thinking he must have been so irritated with me or thought of me as one of those girls he would always have to buy everything for. All I was thinking was wow, he probably thinks I’m a loser. Like a needy leech. He probably only thinks I like him for his money. And that was so far from the truth. I liked him for him. But never thought he liked me for me because no one ever did.
I constantly offered to pay only to constantly be declined. I’d sit there with a look of confusion and displaced anxiety. I probably made him feel uncomfortable now that I think about it. I wonder if I came across as ungrateful or if I made him feel like he was doing something wrong. Hopefully that isn’t the case and he knows he wasn’t… I had just never experienced someone taking care of me before. But he broke that trend.
While going to visit him, my family could never be bothered to drive me 45 minutes to the nearest Amtrak station or 58 minutes to the nearest Greyhound terminal. It somehow inconvenienced their life to the point that they would rather scream at me than to simply do what I was asking. So instead, I’d ask a friend or my 83-year-old grandfather to drive me to the bus station. The train station was south and the bus station was north, same direction I was heading to see Edward so bus made the most sense. Plus, it would shorten my overall trip by over an hour without all the train stops.
A bus wasn’t my ideal traveling option, but I did it willingly because it meant seeing him. I didn’t care if I had to take a bus or a ride a bike. Nothing was going to keep me from him. I don’t think he even realized how much of a big deal it was for me. In high school, I couldn’t even be bothered to go see a single one of Connor’s soccer games and in college I only took a train to see him once. I just didn’t care. I resented Connor and didn’t feel like supporting him when he had done nothing but tear me down and destroy me.
Edward was different. He made me want to travel across the world to get to him. I never told him I’d cry on the way home from seeing him or that I made sure to smell him the last time I hugged him so I could hold on to it on my way home. I didn’t ever want him to know I liked him that much. Which is really dumb, I know. But I just wanted him to see me as the cool girl he wanted. Not some dorky boy obsessed loser who looked at him like a god.
He’d offer to pay for my train ticket, assuming money was the issue, when really the struggle was figuring out how I’d get to the station. I didn’t know how to explain it to him. Family was his whole life. I figured he wouldn’t be interested in me if he knew how dysfunctional my family really was. I’d endure screaming matches, guilt treatments, and psychological warfare just to GET to the station. It was like I was intentionally stepping on a bomb in efforts to get to him.
But it was worth every second.
One night, I woke up at 3am, unable to sleep, I looked next to me and he was there sleeping peacefully beside me. Suddenly the world didn’t seem so lonely. I inched closer, draped his arm over me and slipped back into my dream.
That morning I awoke, my hair in a mess. My limbs twisted and tangled with his. I stopped and listened to his heartbeat thinking, this is what it’s all about. This is happiness.
I’ve read about victims of abuse who self inflict even after they’re away from their attacker because they’ve endured it so long that they don’t know a life without it. It’s comfort to them. It’s familiar. It’s the only kind of love they know.
This is something I associated with.
I remember feeling genuinely enraged because Edward was “too nice.” He wasn’t abusing me. He wasn’t calling me fat or telling me to lose weight. He wasn’t telling me I was ugly or that he looked at other girls to get off because I wasn’t cutting it for him. He wasn’t blaming me for any of his personal problems. He wasn’t making fun of me… now that I think about it… I don’t think he ever made fun of me. But the crazy part is I knew that’s not the type of person he was, but always felt like he would because of how I was brought up. That’s all I knew- not just from the men in my past love life, but every single person.
I only knew the abusive kind of love. That was all that was familiar to me. I was so mistreated as a child that I didn’t even know how to identify real love. I saw movies, but that wasn’t real. The love I knew was violent and messy. There was hatred and misery. Lies and betrayal. It was anything but happy.
With Edward, I remember crying one night like, “Why is he doing this? Doesn’t he like me? Why cant he just act like he cares about me?” And the truth is he did. He did like me. I think he liked me more than he let on. And I think he tried to show me that each and every day… the way proper affection is shown.
We were having sex and I was thinking it was “bad sex” because he wasn’t hate-fucking me. I never looked at my ex during sex because I couldn’t stand him. I couldn’t look him in the eyes while he was invading my body in the most intimate of ways after committing the most hurtful acts behind my back. I wanted to curl up and die or fade into the bed sheets until I was invisible.
Sex became more of a physical act than it did an intimate one. I had sex when I wanted attention. I didn’t know any other kind of intimacy so that was where my comfort level was set at.
I truthfully didn’t realize how much he liked me. I know that sounds dumb, but I really didn’t. He has this incredible life with incredible family and incredible friends, went to an incredible school, has an incredible background, which will lead to his incredible future. Nothing about him is average. It felt like he was 007 James Bond dating me… a pack of packaged raw hotdogs. So, I honestly thought the way he was ‘courting’ me was usual for him. Like it was natural. The typical treatment for all his girls. But the signs were all there and there were enough of them that I shouldn’t have needed the emotional reassurance. I should have felt safe enough to let my guards down. I just didn’t know and there was no way that I could’ve given my past experiences.
I picked fights SO MANY TIMES for no reason. I picked them just to start them because I was mentally saying, “THIS IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. ABORT MISSION IMMEDIATELY.” I was trying to protect myself and prevent the inevitable, but I know I loved him long before I realized.
Throughout our relationship, I watched him the same way you look on with sheer fascination. I had never lived in a world where happiness was a real concept. Complicated volatile drama was such a part of my life that I thought Edward was delusional and avoiding reality. Everything was so easy for him. Everything. It was all so uncomplicated. I didn’t understand him or that process of thinking.
The best way to describe it is like identical twins separated at birth, each living a completely dissimilar life. One goes to a happy, loving family and the other is forced into the opposite. Both have the same soul, but experience significantly different lives. Because of that, they approach situations differently. While the first child excels in trusting and loving others, the second child shies away from all things that threaten her emotional wellbeing.
He could handle things that were light and happy, but nothing of darkness. And I was the opposite.
I was a girl who mistakenly walked into a dark tunnel, following my family, with nothing but the light of my oil lamp. As each day passed, I walked farther and farther into the tunnel, my light dimming as my hope did. Eventually, it completely went out. There was no more light to guide her. My family separated from me and I was completely lost, consumed by darkness. But I grew to learn its depths so intimately that I no longer feared it. When others wandered down to my darkened world, I protected them, quieted their minds, fought off their enemies, and returned them to the light, like a forgotten hero of the underdogs.
People came and went. I saw and helped many faces over the years, but could never figure out how to get back to the light on my own. Until one day, there was a speck of something I hadn’t noticed before- A small bright light the size of a pin. I walked closer and closer to it. Closer to him. Edward. Finally, after a long lonesome journey, I made my way back.
That’s what being with Edward was like. He was like a beacon of light, parting the darkened grey clouds of my dismal life. He found me in the darkest of my depression’s drowning waters, led me back to shore and towards his light of happiness.
MEETING THE PARENTS
I’m very old fashioned. I take dating seriously and believe meeting the family is a big step. When a person introduces their significant other to his/her family, it means you have essentially screened the person and come to the conclusion that, ‘I really like this person and seek the approval from my family’. Meeting the parents is a sign that the relationship is serious and progressing. It’s a sign you seek their blessing. As in, ‘I want to see if you would make a good addition to my family’. That’s a big deal. It’s meeting the most important and influential people in someone’s life and seeing if you sink or swim within their current.
I never thought he actually wanted me to meet his family like that big step in the relationship. I thought he meant is more as a convenience scenario. I wanted to meet his parents because he wanted me to. Because he was that type of serious about me. Because he wanted to show me off. Because he wanted to make that big step.
I was proud to be with him and bring him home, which was significant for me because I had never felt that about my significant other before. My parents had only ever met one other guy I dated and that was Connor, same for my grandparents. So allowing Edward to meet them was such a huge deal for me. The biggest of deals. Whether he understood or not, I was so serious about him.
THE FIRST BERMUDA TALK
At some point, he told me the relationship would be ending because he was going to Bermuda for the summer. That’s when it went downhill. I was already in too deep. I knew there was no getting out of this alive. I knew if I wanted to leave, I would be leaving my heart behind. So I fought back tears and did my best to put on my big girl pants.
All I heard in my head was basically, ‘you only have until I leave to be with me. After that, we’re finished and I’m leaving. The relationship will be over. Permanently. Because I don’t give second chances or go back to exes and we would have ended.’
I told myself I was a plaything to occupy his mind until he needed to leave. And I didn’t understand the point in trying? I knew we were ending, so what was the point? But at the same time, I couldn’t tear myself away from him.
Plus, it was going to end anyway, right? How could he have expected me to give him everything I was while he stood there with a stopwatch waiting for our time to run out? It didn’t matter if he loved me or not. He was leaving me behind the second he boarded that plane. And that’s all I could think about. I could never enjoy myself in the relationship knowing that it was never and could never going to go anywhere. That no matter how badly I wanted him, I couldn’t have him. I could never just put my walls down and relax because it seemed like there was no point. Regardless of my behavior, I knew the outcome. I knew my expiration date. So, once again, something was being decided for me.
Why start anything if you know you’re just going to hurt someone?
WHEN HE TOLD ME ABOUT HIS FAMILY
Some time into talking, Edward told me his family invented one of the leading alcohol brands. While most girls would run towards wealth, I ran from it. I didn’t think I could fit in a world full of that type of luxury. Hell, I didn’t think I was even worth $1. And in terms of relationships, I felt I had to bring as much to the table as my partner did on all fronts: financial, appearance, personality, etc. The more I heard about his family’s wealth, the more I wanted to hide in the nearest bush or run for the hills.
In my mind, I didn’t let guys take care of me because I didn’t feel deserving of it. So there was no way I could keep up with expensive vacations and everything else his life offered if I couldn’t pay for it myself.
I tried to change the subject to squash my nerves, an attempt that he interpreted as me ‘not caring’ about his family, but that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Wealth aside, I deeply envied him for the close-knit family he had. He talked about his family like it was deep rooted in legacy, a strong name and values, pride, honor, respect, and love in the form of a tightly woven bond, things that I could not relate to.
I felt immeasurable because I knew I was never going to have money or a family ties like that. I couldn’t understand how someone who took such pride in his heritage would ever be interested in a damaged, beat up, dirty stray dog like me. And I especially couldn’t see how someone else’s family would accept me when my own family didn’t. I had always been a team of one and never knew it could be any other way.
I was always ashamed to tell Edward about my life. I didn’t want to talk about my family because I thought he’d think less of me if he knew what type of evil I came from. I didn’t want to tell him when I was working because I was embarrassed I didn’t have money like he did. And I didn’t want to tell explain my depression or and panic attacks because I was ashamed that I couldn’t choose happiness as easily as he did. It wasn’t a choice for me. He lived in a world of dreams and I lived in one filled with nightmares.
He was the coolest guy in the world and I just wanted to impress him.
I had no idea he slept with someone the night before Valentine’s Day. When I found out over a month later, my heart wanted to burst. I had been such an idiot. The whole time, I was telling him I didn’t care if he slept with anyone else, but that was a lie. I cared. I have always cared. I have never been a girl that shares her man with other women. I wanted him. I wanted him to not want anyone else and not look at other girls. So I lied to sound cool. Girls always get bad reputations for being clingy and catching feelings too soon. I just wanted him to like me and I didn’t think he would unless I acted like some carefree sex girl.
I flipped out when I found out, which was wrong of me to do because I had been giving him permission. For some stupid reason, I thought I was enough. I thought he didn’t want anyone else. I was only talking to him for 6 weeks at this point, but we were on very different pages.
The only boyfriend I ever had asked me out by text message when I was 16 and from there just always called me his girlfriend. I never had to wait for the title. It seemed insulting to wait for Edward to commit, especially after already having sex with me, which is specifically an exclusive couple’s activity.
I’m a very old fashioned girl and it was like, in my mind… you date as in you go on dates with people. You kiss at the end of the night. And go home. Dating is about spending time with people. But then like, having a real relationship is when you choose one person to do those things with and incorporate sexual physical contact. Aka sex. I should have been clearer, but it’s too late now.
Sex is a big deal for me so I don’t like having sex with anyone who isn’t my boyfriend. But because we had talked about sex so much, I probably gave him the impression that I was so cool about it and having some type of open relationship. But I wasn’t. I really really wasn’t. I didn’t mean to play head games with him. I just was so new to all of this. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know what I was saying. All I knew is I didn’t want to lose him.
Connor waited 11 months before we had sex, and I tell people it was for a million reasons, but it was really because I wasn’t ready. I just wasn’t. I wanted sex to be special. And then when my boyfriend kept cheating on me, I gave him my virginity and realized sex really isn’t all that special. It’s just two bodies slamming together. I told myself whatever I had to so I could cope with my decision and justify my actions. But the weird thing is, I didn’t feel that way with Edward. It was like… some part of me felt different and it freaked me out but I wasn’t sure what to call it.
Like don’t do that. Don’t have sex with multiple girls. It’s not cool. It’s not the gentlemanly thing to do. I just wanted someone to pick me for once. I wanted him to pick me, choose me, want me. Me. Just me. No one else.
I didn’t want anyone else. I wanted him. I was all his from the time I answered him on Tinder. I’m not some slutty girl that talks to multiple guys or is a slut behind their backs. If I’m yours, I’m yours. End of story. It doesn’t matter who hits on me or tries to hit me up. My heart is taken. That’s the end of it.
In my eyes, I was his girl. His. But in his, he wasn’t anything belonging to me. Did he not like me? Was I not enough? Was the sex not enough? Was the sex bad? Is this nothing real and just some Tinder hookup? What was the problem? Why couldn’t he just do right by me? Without that feeling of loyalty I could never come out of my shell. My guards would forever be up with him. I needed him, just like I have needed every other guy, to commit to me from the beginning if they expect to have a real relationship with me. I need the guy to show me I’m worth it and I mean something.
I’m sure he would have understood if I explained things about my past a little bit more, but I was afraid to tell him, run the risk of sounding like a loser, and lose him. I thought if I said, “I don’t want you dating anyone else. I don’t want to share you with anyone else,” that he would have thought I was some pathetic insecure girl (which, to be honest, I most certainly was). And I thought admitting that would have cost me the relationship. Like he would have seen me as some controlling, nagging girl.
APARTMENT DATE NIGHT
We were in his apartment. It was date night. He was watching TV in the family room and I was down the hall getting ready in his brother’s bathroom. Edward had grown lonely, made his way to the bathroom, and pushed the door open to check on me.
I was in my tall brown boots, skinny jeans, and a white draped blouse, with a little extra cleavage just for him- I figured he would appreciate the effort. I watched the eyes of his mirrored reflection scan me from head to toe, then back up again. He smiled, put his hand around my waist, pulled me in closer, told me I looked pretty, and kissed me on my forehead.
His sweet, short comment of approval caused me to mentally malfunction again. Accepting compliments was something I struggled with because I had never really received any from anyone else growing up. I tried to flake it off and act cool, kind of shrug like an unbothered cool girl. In doing so, I acted cold and distant in my attempts to get him out of the bathroom and away from me.
I shooed him out, closed the door, and mouthed, “OH MY GOD,” at myself in the mirror. I was so excited that he complimented me and instantly felt more confident. I was pleased with myself that I achieved his approval. That he thought I looked pretty enough to say so.
You guys… the big and really tall hunk of spicy man meat, THOUGHT I LOOKED PRETTY! ME! He thought that about me!!!
That night, I remember walking on his left side, linking my arm with his through his neighborhood. I was freezing, but his hands were colder so I let him put them in my coat pockets while we walked together. I remember the clicking sound of my boot heels on the ground while looking down, mentally saying, “Oh my god, is this really my life right now?!?” The whole thing felt surreal. Not just that night. All of it. Every moment I spent with him. It never felt real. It felt too good to be true. It felt too easy. But so perfect and right.
We would text naughty things back and forth to fill the gaps of when we saw each other. But I could feel he craved me in ways I couldn’t satisfy through any means of technology. I could feel how much he needed to feel my soft skin and kisses along his jaw line. I could feel how badly he wanted to hear my soft moans in his ear as his hands explored my body. I could almost taste his precum and it drove me wild. He was the sexiest man I have ever seen.
I spent three nights with Edward over a long weekend in Boston. One of the days, we tried to have sex in every room of his apartment. I remember looking up at him while having sex on his dining room table. I was on my back with my legs on his shoulders and I looked up and couldn’t help but to smile at him. I felt more naked than I ever had in my life, but I was safe with him…. Feeling his hot breath on my skin, closing my eyes to take it all in.
Waking up before him was both a blessing and curse. Fighting the urge to wake him like an excited child on Christmas was always a challenge. I’d listen to his soft melodic breathing, watching the rise and fall of his chest, the one I had nuzzled so many times in search of warmth and affection. And still, as I lay beside him, memorizing his every detail, I could never bring myself to disrupt his sleep. I’d wonder what he was dreaming about, and wonder if I still was.