I still remember lying on my bed for 30 minutes in the dark trying to work up the courage to check the results. I had just taken a pregnancy test. The first pregnancy test I had ever taken since being sexually active with my boyfriend Arik.
I was a Division I tennis player with a full ride scholarship at a Brigham Young University (BYU), so in my mind, getting pregnant was one of the worst things that could happen to me. I was at risk of losing everything.
But let me rewind real quick, naturally, you may be thinking, “aren’t Mormons supposed to abstain from sex before marriage?” YES! ONE.HUNDRED.PERCENT and initially that was my plan all along. I never expected to have sex before marriage or experience many of the things that I did, when I did. That “perfect” plan I made for myself didn’t end up how I expected and that’s completely okay.
So now that we’ve addressed the whole sex before marriage thing, let’s start from the beginning. The very beginning that is…before I met my husband before I had Hudson and even before I met Hudson’s biological father, Arik.
My story starts as a senior in high school. I was 17 years old and had kissed exactly four boys…not exactly the type of girl you would expect to get pregnant two years later. I had recently signed my contract to play tennis at BYU on a full-ride scholarship. My life was going exactly as I had planned.
New Year’s Eve came around and my friend and I decided to go to this big dance party put on by my church for people over 17. Little did I know at this party I would meet someone who would turn my life upside down.
We met New Year’s Eve and we kissed at midnight and the rest was history…so I thought. We shared an instant connection. He seemed kind and always had a smile on his face. I had friends who knew him and said he came from a good family and even had a reputation for being a likable guy. He was a sophomore at BYU and I was still a senior in high school. So we started dating officially and did the long distance thing for the next semester. He was a gentleman and he would casually send me huge flower arrangements on the regular. It seemed too good to be true…and it was.
Red flags. They were there and they started out very subtle. First, it was jealousy. He didn’t want me hanging out with ANY friends who were guys. He would always tell me, “you haven’t been in a serious relationship before so you don’t know how to be a good girlfriend.” Once the winter semester ended at BYU he came home from college and he wanted to be together 24/7. It was around this time when he began to pressure me into getting physical with him. I had never done anything like that, so to be completely honest I had no desire and because it went against both of our religions I really wasn’t interested even more so. But unfortunately, after a couple months of non-stop pressure, I gave in because that’s what you do when you’re “in love” and that’s what “good girlfriends in serious relationships do”. I was so young and naive that I believed him.
Summer ‘13 happened so fast, and before I knew it, it was time to go back to BYU. This is when things got worse. I would go to tennis practice and he would be there to pick me up the second I finished. From practice, he would take me to his apartment where we wouldn’t leave for the rest of the night. We never went out, not even to hang out with friends. I was a freshman in college and to him, I was immature for wanting to go out and be social. He didn’t want other guys to ever see me and had no problem voicing this. He was insanely possessive. If another guy even looked at me, he would get mad and look to start a fight with them.
One time I was in a biology group for a class project and my group consisted of two guys, me and my friend. We were randomly put in this group based on where we sat in the class. One of the guys in my biology group added me on Facebook and I accepted his friend request mainly because our group communicated through Facebook. My boyfriend got super mad about it and we ended up having a huge fight. Looking back, this was the beginning of a horribly dark relationship.
As I mentioned, my ex constantly pressured me to do anything and everything. Saying “no” was not an option. He started pressuring me to drink alcohol, which prior to meeting him I never thought about trying it because again, it’s against my religion. He said because we were engaging in sexual activity (not sex), drinking wasn’t any worse. If you’re not Mormon the rules are different, it’s totally normal for most other people to drink and that’s totally ok! But after a while of pressuring me over and over, I gave in… again.
We started drinking. Which is not only against my faith, it’s totally against the BYU honor code on top of physical relations of any sort. We started drinking on the weekends and truthfully, it became kind of fun. I was experiencing something totally new and seeing others Mormons that went to BYU drinking too made it easy for me to justify. I adopted this mentality “if they are doing it why can’t I?”. But adding alcohol into the mix only made my relationship worse.
Over the course of the school year I tried to break up with my ex- multiple times but in an attempt to break free, he would threaten me. He would regularly tell me that he would turn me into the honor code office at BYU and get my full ride scholarship taken away. Of course, in fear I would get back together with him, always worried that I might lose the one thing that meant the most to me- my tennis scholarship. The threats I received were usually laced with some sort of verbal abuse. I was yelled at for everything. If I didn’t want to drink, he would yell and scream at me until I gave in. He started buying tons of alcohol and he wanted me to drink every night. Literally EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. I never understood why he would force me to drink when he wouldn’t even be drinking…but it became clear to me later.
I knew from the beginning something was off, but by this point, I was living an actual nightmare and the scariest part was I didn’t know how to get out. You’re probably familiar with the cycle of abuse. If not, most abuse starts out emotional, progresses into verbal and if you’re like me the physical abuse comes after.
To be continued…
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