Emily – You were nothing I ever wanted, yet everything I needed you to be.
Two years. It took two years before I started to entertain the idea of possibly becoming intimate again. The hand dealt me by fate was a cruel one for sure, but if I had Nhu-Thao in my cards, then all roughs could have diamonds. I had never done any serious dating before, and had never dabbled in online dating, but I was willing to give it a chance considering I wasn’t ready or willing to go drastically out of my way to look for anyone. Eventually I found OKCupid, I was perplexed by the idea of answering questions and receiving a match percentage on which to judge others by, a relatively quick way to determine compatibility, and allowed me to skip all of the unknown. I also found how the scores changed over time as I answered more questions entertaining, so it stuck.
After 6 months I had answered over 1,000 questions. It had basically become a game to me and I learned over time that anyone that scored below a 90% or answered less than 20-30 questions wasn’t worth my time. So for 6 months I watched people come and go, watched scores rise and fall below my threshold, and talked to handfuls of people only to find out that this method found friends much easier than a partner.
Then you appeared.
You had my immediate attention when I first saw your profile. Nobody in my area had come close to the amount of questions I had answered. But you were already at the high end of that average. You were on the cusp of my bar, sitting at 89%. Enough to get my attention but not enough for my action. Yet merely a week later you were at the top of my list with a 97% at over 900 questions answered. I spent hours pouring over your answers, reading why you chose what, and read your profile countless times before I finally sent you a message.
It was perfect, like meeting my female counterpart. We were almost exact replicas in how we thought about the world around us, and where we differed was minute, essentially not worth mentioning, in almost every case. I had found someone that was looking for their perfect match, that wanted to find them just as much, if not more-so than me. But in my haste I didn’t see or think about what exactly finding someone so quickly, or otherwise so deeply motivated would actually mean. Not until it was far too late.
The night we first met I learned you were a liar. You hid an alarmingly severe medical condition from me, and the idea that you were worried I would judge you because of such offended me. You also lied about your personal character. I had never stolen before I met you, but you coerced me into sneaking into a movie theater with you. I told you I didn’t want to do it, how uncomfortable it made me feel, yet I wasn’t going to walk the 5 miles on the side of the highway back to my car either. Then you took me to your house because you had to pick up some medication, yet you brought me there with the intention of me not leaving. I told you I wasn’t okay spending the night with you when I had just met you, and that I wasn’t going to enter your parents home without their knowing. Yet you didn’t give me a choice. I was 15 miles from my car by then with no clue as to where I was, and too embarrassed to call the cops and tell them I’d been kidnapped by a barely legal teenager.
So you held me hostage all night, and all of the next day, I told you countless times that I needed to get back to my dorm room, that I wanted to go back to my car. But you didn’t care about what I wanted. You cooked me breakfast, and lunch whilst trying to keep me entertained when all I could think about is when you were going to let me leave. Then you told me that you were going to have me forcibly meet your parents that night for dinner. I decided that they could be my out if need be.
You told me you didn’t get along with your father. What you didn’t tell me was that you refused to be in the same room as him. Do you have any idea how awkward it was to have you leave me alone with your parents when I first met them? I ate dinner alone with your parents, and neither of them could get you to leave your room. Only when I asked your father to drive me to my car did you leave. You begged your dad not to take me. Your parents buckled under your pressure and “asked” me to stay the night, but yet again the choice was stay or walk. I desperately wanted to leave, but I still wasn’t willing to walk 15 miles into town from unlit country roads with no idea where I was, and I still couldn’t bear the idea of calling the police with your own parents home or beg one of their neighbors for help. I was still effectively kidnapped.
That night your parents prepared the guest room. My one silver-lining was that I could lock you out. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t stop you. The doors had a hex-key to unlock them from the outside, a hex-key you had, and used, to enter the room when I refused to let you in. You laid down beside me and asked me to come back to your room, and to have sex with you. I refused both, yet you still refused to leave me alone. You spent yet another night next to me when I wanted nothing to do with you.
Sunday came and your parents prepared us breakfast. You refused to join us because your father was present so I ate breakfast with them alone. I used this time to ask your father again to take me to my car. He agreed but you were still having none of it. I finally broke when you tried to stop me from leaving again. I told you and your parents that I was going to leave, whether I was walking or being drove was their choice to make. Your father finally caught on and ended up driving me to my car. I’m thankful it was him and not your mother as you would have then tried to come with us. But I had finally gotten away.
Our first date lasted 3 days. In those three days I knew enough about you to know how grievous a mistake I had made. Yet for reasons largely beyond my comprehension at the time it was not the last time I saw you. In fact, we continued dating for 6 months afterwards.
This is a confession, not a book. So to keep this short and not have to relive every laborious detail I can recount I will hit the highlights of our relationship. If you became anxious regarding me or your own perceived behavior you completely shut down and ruined whatever was going on around you, countless times. When I tried to reach you with sympathy you didn’t want you retaliated angrily and refused to own your actions until your mother told you in front of us that you were the problem. When I first attempted to leave you you broke into my dorm room and refused to leave from in front of my door and slid page after page of apologetic notes underneath it until I gave you attention. I helped your parents move out of their house and you later accused me of stealing from them when I did this. You lied to me about taking birth control, and refused to let me have any part in the planning, the abortion, or the resulting medical issues; instead after you refused any and all help/aid from me you held it against me and used it to try and extort me and then my family when I refused to give you money for what happened next. You guilt-tripped me into agreeing to go with you on a vacation for my birthday that I didn’t want to take with you, only to fall asleep at the wheel enough times that I refused to let you drive. Then when I got into an accident you took the insurance check, bought a much more expensive car, and then threatened to sue me for the difference. After I called both your bluffs and I reached your deadline for giving you money you printed flyers with my name, my picture, where I lived, what car I drove, my phone number, my school email, and even my parents address and phone numbers. You defamed me with everything listed above calling for people to antagonize me and left these flyers in my dormitory, my workplace, across other areas of my campus, and then created a fake Facebook account and distributed the same flyers to every single person on my friends list.
It wasn’t until I threatened to press charges, and filed a police report that you finally went away for good. I had nightmares for months that you would never leave me alone, that you would start stalking me, or try and kill me, or I’d get served papers for a court summons or the police would come and arrest me on rape charges. So many sleepless nights I spent with you, and trying to forget you. Everyone that knows about our relationship asked the same question over and over. Why the fuck did I stay with you?
I thought about an answer to that question for a long time, I didn’t know if it was out of pity, out of some self-righteous feeling, or thought that if I quit I was admitting defeat. But eventually I settled on the truth. Despite everything you put me through, I stayed with you for so long because I felt I deserved you.
Unlike everyone before you, you took nothing from me. I lost everything when I gave up Nhu-Thao. Instead, you gave me the only thing I felt I deserved. Punishment.