Ex-Boyfriend and I were friends for several years before we started dating, very close friends. I knew he was attracted to me, but I tried to ignore it. We dated for about a year and a half, during which time I let a lot of physical stuff happen that I wasn’t really okay with. I was in love with him (still am) and thought I owed him my body. Also somebody inside believed that men are going to take what they want from you anyway, so it’s better to go along with him.
When I broke up with him, it was due to a combination of my issues with physical intimacy and his lack of emotional/relational maturity. He expected to take care of me, a role I fell into naturally because of my childhood grooming, but when I realized I was repeating old patterns and stopped caretaking, he got upset and insistent, demanding that we talk about it at length and even pressuring me to do couples therapy with him. There was a period of several months where I couldn’t deal with speaking to him at all, but it was hard because he is my best friend.
We started talking again maybe 5 or 6 weeks ago, and we’ve gotten together several times. I made it very clear we aren’t dating–even insisted on paying for my own meals and so forth when we got together. (I did let him pay for dinner on my birthday, but that’s a thing friends do, not a dating thing.) But most of the times we’ve gotten together, he gets physical. Not the heavy stuff, but enough that I’m uncomfortable.
Tonight, he did it again. He kept subtly trying to touch me, and I kept moving away. I even grabbed a pillow and hugged it, creating a literal barrier. He kept pushing. Eventually he grabbed me and pulled me over to him–not violently, but he’s a lot bigger than I am. He asked if it was okay, and I shrugged. He grabbed me and petted me and kissed me. Instantly I was an abused child again, tolerating it because to fight it would mean worse.
I want him to realize that anything short of a yes means no. Moving away means no, shrugging means no. But I know I also have a big part in this. I need to be able to be clear about saying no, but I can’t seem to make myself say it. It was not a word I was allowed to use as a child, and any physical intimacy bumps me right back into that child self. I study kung fu; I know how to use my voice and how to break somebody’s arm or knee easily. So why can I not say no to him? Why do I keep letting him do this to me?
I feel broken and dirty and ashamed and sick and little and alone and unsafe. And I hate it more than words can say.
I feel like I’m falling apart. It feels almost unbearable and I don’t want to go to bed because it’s dangerous and I’ve checked at least 3 times that my doors are locked and I just feel like I’m losing it. I hate this so much.
The thing is I’ve told him I’m not really okay with physical intimacy. I thought he understood. He even told me he felt like a rapist. But if that’s how he feels, why does he keep doing it?
And right now I’m mad at myself for not saying no directly. Not just with him–with so many people. I feel broken and wrong and like it’s all my fault, all of it. I want to crawl into the closet in the dark and hide under a pile of blankets where it’s small and dark and safe. Why did I never say no?
And I’m mad at the people who abused me because I shouldn’t have needed to say no. They should’ve known it wasn’t okay. And I did say no in a lot of ways, just not with my voice. But they never want to hear no. They just take what they want from you and you don’t matter at all, you’re not really a person. And I hate them for it. And I hate me. I want it all to stop.
Sorry. I’m really a mess.