The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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My Crazy Love Was Just Crazy

The relationship started out perfect. We got together at the residential facility where we both lived. He wasn’t afraid to be all over me in front of his friends and when he was with me, he didn’t focus on anything or anyone else.

He wasn’t like other guys who were scared to look like softies. He was ready to do anything for me. And he was gorgeous. We were always together and we were happy. We were 16.

The first couple of months were great. He respected the fact that I was a virgin. I wasn’t going to give it up unless I was in a relationship for over a year and I was truly sure about the boy. A lot of girls in my neighborhood turned out pregnant and alone—that was not going to be me.

He respected my boundaries and treated me like I was a goddess. We would play-fight, hug, kiss, cuddle, and talk for hours. We were honest with each other and we let each other know what we wanted from the relationship. He wanted someone to be loyal and hold him down and support him through the good and bad. I wanted the same. It felt like an equal relationship. We were always there for each other through the good times and bad.

A Beautiful Beginning

When one of us felt pain, the other felt it. One day I got into a serious argument with my stepfather over the phone. He told me I was worthless and that I wasn’t going to amount to anything in life. My boyfriend saw me sitting outside in tears and came and took a seat right next to me. My eyeliner was running and my face was red and puffy as hell from all the crying. He put his arm around me and kissed my forehead as he calmly asked me what was wrong.

I told him what happened and by the end of my story he was crying with me. He was hurt because I was hurt and I could see his sincerity in his eyes. I was relieved that I had him even when things went wrong. I rarely ever got support from my family at home.

I helped him too. When he found out his mother was getting abused by his father, he came and told me how upset he was. In our upstate facility, he was too far away to do anything about it. I consoled him and calmed him down.

Things turned during the fifth month we were dating. One afternoon, we were lying down on his bed, which we often did. But on this day, he kept pushing to have sex with me. I had never seen this side of him before. There were times he wanted to before, but he always respected my choice when I told him no.

But this time, he wouldn’t stop. I felt hurt and annoyed that we couldn’t just talk. At midnight he was still trying. I got heated and said, “You just want me for sex.”

He yelled at me, “You’re crazy. You just making some bullsh-t up to start an argument. You making a big deal out of nothing. You mad dramatic.” His tone of voice was scary. I was used to his calming, reassuring tone.

The Abuse Gets Physical

We argued some more and then he hit me in the face.

I was shocked. I started crying and cursing him out. He started begging me for forgiveness and kept repeating, “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to.” I forgave him, but that wasn’t the last time he put his hands on me. Everything got worse.

He started arguing with me in public. One time in the gym I was talking to one of my exes and he started screaming at me in front of everyone. I told him to stop buggin’ out and he smacked me again in the face. As I ran to the bathroom, he followed me saying, “Sorry.”

Hitting me became a habit. I kept telling him that it was unacceptable to put his hands on me, but he always said he didn’t mean to hurt me. My sucker-for-love-self always managed to believe him and give him chance after chance.

It also started to seem like we couldn’t just talk or cuddle anymore. He was constantly trying to have sex with me whenever we were alone.

Obsessive and Controlling

image by YC-Art Dept

His desire to control me started to become obsessive. He wouldn’t let me talk to any boys on IM or in person. He tried to keep me from hanging out with my girlfriends because he thought that I was cheating on him. When we weren’t together he was always calling me to make sure I wasn’t going out. He even started complaining when I didn’t let him look through my phone. He knew I wasn’t cheating. He was trying to control every aspect of my life; there were no boundaries in our relationship.

He had promised me that he would wait until I was ready to have sex. “Baby, I don’t care if I have to wait forever; I won’t rush you.” But now, after five months, that respect had been replaced by hormones. It was disgusting. I felt like I was with an animal.

Phone calls went from all-nighters to short and full of arguing about having sex or his jealousy. I wasn’t even happy when I was with him. It felt like hate. But I felt too attached to leave him. I felt like he was the only thing that I had going for me. I had cut off everyone else when our relationship got serious because I thought he was the only person I needed.

Before our relationship, I was doing well in school, I did a lot of activities, and I was popular. But I lost all of that because he didn’t want me doing anything that didn’t involve him. And I put up with it because I was so in love. I believed him when he promised me he would stop being so controlling and aggressive.

After he had been trying to control me and hitting me for about two months, I started doing poorly in school. I was too depressed to do anything at all so I moped around the house all day till I got a call from him telling me to go see him, which seemed to be the only thing I did anymore. I knew I needed to break up with him, but I didn’t know how.

“We can’t be together. I’m not happy with you and you’re always bringing me down. I think it’s better that we break up because you make me promises about changing, and you never keep them.” I lost count of how many times I said that to him. But every time he told me he was going to change. He promised me he would let me have my freedom without him, respect my boundaries, not put his hands on me. When I told him I didn’t believe him, he said I was the only girl for him and that no girl could compare to me. And I bought it every time.

Last Straw

I couldn’t find a good enough reason to leave him until one day I caught him trying to see another girl through his Facebook messages. It’s funny: As unhappy as I was with how he treated me I never thought he would cheat on me. The one quality that made him different from all the other guys I had encountered was being faithful.

When I laid eyes on that message I went ballistic. How could he try to talk to another girl? Why was he asking her if she’s single? He had a girl. Me! I cried and cried, and then I thought it through.

To me that was cheating, and cheating was the highest form of disrespect to me in a relationship. It was worse than hitting me. I figured that putting his hands somehow established how much he cared about me—I drove him that crazy. Cheating showed me that he wasn’t satisfied with just me.

I should’ve left him when he was controlling me, putting his hands on me, and trying to have sex with me. I let my desire for a faithful man overpower my self-worth. But now that he’d cheated, I found the strength to end it. I called him and told him I didn’t want anything to do with him. He started crying and begging.

My heart was shattered because this was my first love. I had been spending all my time with him. I didn’t know who to go to for that comfort now. The first few weeks I spent crying.

Was It a Lie From the Start?

But after three weeks I realized that I’d lived without him before, so I just had to occupy myself with things I liked to do. I started going out with friends and partying more. It was hard to rekindle my friendships because they all felt I left them flat for my ex. I apologized to everyone for losing contact with them, and they eventually forgave me.

I thought ‘love’ meant he’d be honest with me. But now I wonder if he was faking it the whole time to see if I would fall for his lies and have sex with him. Now, six months later, I feel happy that I left him. I’m doing way better in school and I have my priorities together.

I’m better off without him. I don’t have to stress myself about how he’ll react to my every move. I can do whatever I want. No more failing in school because I was upset over him hitting me. No more missing out on socializing because he didn’t approve.

I know now that, in a relationship, I shouldn’t make the other person my only priority because I’ll end up losing what’s right for myself. Now, I let a new guy know he can’t mistreat me. We’ll have to take everything slow and we will give each other mutual respect. If we just stay honest with each other, we won’t have to go through the drama of doubting each other.

Lastly, I let guys know that we have to give each other space to do what we want on our own time. When I have another relationship I will be sure we give each other enough freedom to build each other’s trust. Any girl should be able to let a guy know that both parties are equal and that she expects mutual respect and trust.

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