Following a terrifying encounter with a rogue clump of mistletoe, I was researching sex, trying to understand why it frightened me.
I’m not going to give you all the details for a couple of reasons. First, my parents read this blog and I love them dearly. They’ve been cringing enough already just reading through what I’ve laid down so far. Second, I’m not sure who else might read this and if I were to give details, this blog would be much less family friendly than it’s meant to be. That said, let us just say that I made a lot of mistakes with Mr. P, the main mistake of which was experimenting sexually. However, I can tell you with absolute sincerity that we never experienced coitus together. I was terrified I would get pregnant.
Now, before you say anything, I’d been told how sex works in sex education classes throughout my school years. I was more than well aware that it only took one time for a girl to get pregnant. That’s what the teachers all said and my parents agreed with it. So, if you’re a kid, remember, no matter what your friends might tell you, you only have to have sex once to get pregnant. That is a scientific fact.
I graduated high school in 1987 and moved my records to the local junior college. My parents agreed to continue providing me house room so long as I was studying and kept my grades up. The next year, Mr. P graduated and his family moved out of their little shack and into an apartment in town. My family helped him and Ms. C get things squared away and my mother and Ms. C became close friends. Mr. P and I continued to see each other and got further and further into trouble.
When Mr. P was nineteen, he put in his papers and was called on a mission for my church to Dublin, Ireland. He was there for about a year and a half and I wrote him every week. Then, he told me something had happened and he was transferred stateside to southern California. When he came back home six months later, he was… different. I couldn’t say how he was different, not at first. He gave me a claddagh for an engagement ring and we spent even more time together. During the next year, I learned exactly what had happened to change him. He had joined the church, not because he believed it was true, but because he thought he loved me and I had said I wanted to marry a returned missionary, which was what we’d been told in church to say to our boyfriends to encourage them to serve missions.
I’m told by sources who know (missionaries and returned missionaries mainly) that a mission will make or break your testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. Since he hadn’t had much of a testimony in the first place, his mission had broken what little testimony he’d had. Furthermore, he had managed to convince me not to serve a mission myself (one of my childhood dreams). I had one dream left, to be married in an LDS temple. It was something I had been asked to do in a special blessing I had when I was fifteen (the only blessing I have a written copy of).
Each day, things got more and more difficult with Mr. P. It was like he had either stopped being the person I thought he was or he didn’t love me anymore (or he never was that person to begin with and he never really loved me [secret thought there that, consciously, I never considered]). I didn’t want to believe it. I began to read books and magazine articles on how to save a relationship. I didn’t want things to end. I didn’t want to believe he could be like Mr. X and I hadn’t noticed. I didn’t want to think I had made a mistake up to this point and yet, I knew, somehow, that it was all true.
Then, one day, he took me aside and told me he didn’t think the bishop would give him a temple recommend. So, I would have to choose one of two things: I could be married to him or I could be married in the temple.
What is the sound of a heart breaking? I cried all the way home, praying to know what I already knew, that he didn’t love me. If he had, he’d never have asked me to make such a choice; not in a million, billion years. The next day, I returned his ring. The month after that, since Mr. P had been accepted at Boise State University, he and his mother packed up and moved to Idaho.
For a long time, I felt so lost. Mr. P and I had been dating for more than eight years and I felt like a part of me had been cut off. I felt so flat and ugly and dead inside. My father gave me a priesthood blessing promising me that the person I had chosen out of all the men in the spirit world would already be a member of the church when we met, or, if not, would join. A part of me doubted it. After all, I’d been rejected by two men I had chosen to trust. How could I ever trust anyone other than my own parents ever again?
When was the last time someone broke your heart? Did you feel lost or freed? How did you pick up the pieces and go on? Tell me! I really want to know.