Longing for Belonging

I could not believe why in the world he, or anyone else, would like me. In my mind, it was not even possible to be attracted to someone like me. But after many compliments, and all those moments when he made me feel taken care of, after calling me “hunny” and “darling” and telling me how proud he was of me, I slowly started to believe that maybe it was possible to like me after all.

I should have realized even before we met that he was not someone I wanted in my life. We had never met in person, and I was a little scared to go to his place all by myself. He expressed that he would be very disappointed with me if I did not keep my promise to come over, since he had been waiting for me all day. One of the worst things I know is to disappoint people, so I went.

On my way there, a million thoughts passed through my mind. What if he was not alone? What if he had a bunch of friends over and they would all rape me? What if it was an old man and not the guy in the pictures? My heart was beating so fast when I rang the doorbell. My legs wanted to run away, but my feet were glued to the ground and I did not want to disappoint him. Every second felt like eternity and I became more and more nervous. Finally, the door opened. It was him. It was the guy from the pictures, and he was even more attractive in real life. It was just us there in his apartment. My nervousness released a little when we sat down and talked. He made me relax. He could tell I was nervous and told me I did not have to be. He gave me one compliment after another, and it was just too good to be true—that a guy like that would actually be interested in me.

Nothing serious happened that night. I went home filled with euphoria, embracing the wonderful feeling of being in love with someone who seemed to love me back for the first time in my 22 years of life. I knew he was not an Adventist or even a Christian, but I could at least share about my beliefs and see if there was any interest at all. It was worth a try, I thought.

We met one more time before the two of us went home for Christmas. I did not want to tell anyone about him until I felt sure that this was actually going somewhere.

We kept texting back and forth and, even though I had told him that I did not want to have sex before getting married, he started to ask more and more intimate questions. He asked me if I would be willing to do certain things to which I responded no and again explained my principles. He said it was “not really sex” and thought I was close-minded and expressed how disappointed he was. After pressuring me, I asked for time to think about it.

A few days later, after asking myself who I want to put first in my life, I got back to him.  I explained one more time that my faith was really important to me and I wanted to respect myself. He was disappointed with my answer and, for some reason, I apologized.

As I continued to express how much I missed him, he always turned our conversations into physical and sex related things. I felt that I barely knew him yet and we were moving way faster than I was comfortable with. After telling me how sad it was that I was so close-minded and unwilling to compromise, he convinced me to do it.

We met as soon as both of us were back in town. I was in the middle of a sentence telling him about my Christmas, and suddenly his hand was under my shirt and inside my bra. I froze. I was not comfortable at all with the situation and tried to turn off my emotions to get through it. I wanted to be close to him, but not so close that I would put my principles aside. But that is exactly what happened. I tried to ignore everything and go on with life, but nothing was the same.

He knew how to convince me. He knew which buttons to push. He knew how to get around my will to get what he wanted. He knew that I had never been with a guy before and had no experience whatsoever. I trusted that he knew what was okay and not okay. Big mistake.

I ignored all the warnings even though I convinced myself that I was paying close attention to it. I saw what I wanted to see and closed my eyes for everything else.

I felt so used. I felt dirty and disgusting. I felt shame. He did what he wanted and then I had to leave because he had to study and did not have time for me anymore.

It took me one year until I finally managed to cut off with him for good. Part of me still wanted to be with him, but I knew he was just using me. He had made me feel wanted. That someone wanted to be that close to me gave me validation. I just wanted to belong to someone who would actually miss me when we were not together. He kept on manipulating me as I was longing for belonging.

Thanks to my very close friends and my psychologist, I eventually came to understand that I have been sexually assaulted. When I first realized it, I was in shock. I had said no until he wore me down. How could this happen to me? Or was it my fault?

Six months after I ended the relationship, I reported the assault to the police. I do not want other girls to go through what I went through. I refuse to keep silent about it. This behavior needs to end.

When I think about how commonly this happens, I cannot help but long even more for Jesus to come back. To start everything over. To wipe our tears. To create a new heaven and a new earth as it was from the beginning in Eden. Where sin will be no more.

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

Hebrews 13:8 was read for my baptism: “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

This is where I want to belong, to Someone who will never leave me nor forsake me. And this is where I will be truly happy. I cannot undo the past, but I have learned to see the warning signs, and I have found healing in a loving God.